March 15, 2012                          HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLVII No. 9


The House met at 1:30 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Wiseman): Order, please!

Admit strangers.

The Speaker is pleased today to welcome to the galleries the members from the multicultural community newcomers and community partners.

Welcome to our Assembly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Members

MR. SPEAKER: Today we have members'statements from the Member for the District of St. Barbe; the Member for the District of Terra Nova; the Member for the District of Port au Port; the Member for the District of Bonavista North; the Member for the District of St. John’s West; and the Member for the District of Bellevue.

The hon. the Member for the District of St. Barbe.

MR. BENNETT: Mr. Speaker, I rise in this hon. House today to recognize the organizers and participants of the 8th Annual Snowmobile Ride for Breast Cancer Research, which took place on Monday, March 12.

There were close to 300 people in attendance. The event was so successful this year they may need to find a larger building to accommodate everyone next year. Almost every business in the area donated a prize, so it was a real community effort between participants and local businesses to raise money for this event. These dedicated women raised a total of $18,450, and one lady herself raised over $3,000. A moment of silence was held for those named who had passed away from cancer.

I would like to recognize, in particular, the hard work and excellent organization of this event by Donna Grimes and Betty Dempster, as well as all the volunteers who committed their time and their energy to make this such a successful event.

I would also like to congratulate and thank those involved in this wonderful event, and ask all hon. members to also recognize them for their efforts.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for the District of Terra Nova.

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

I rise today to commend the Traytown Junior Recreation Committee that was organized by Judy Tulk back in 2010, and since that time they have accomplished great things.

Recognizing the need for more recreational opportunities in their community, they refurbished the old town’s dilapidated playground as well as restoring the local outdoor ice rink. Through hard work and dedication, both projects were complete successes. Next, the committee plans to construct a beach volleyball court and, Mr. Speaker, considering their track record, I do not have any doubt in my mind they will achieve their goal.

This committee has formed key relationships with the town council, local recreation committee, the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation through its capital grants program, and even the Canadian Armed Forces who provided much needed skilled labour to the group, free of charge. Not only have these projects given the town and its residents tangible assets, equally as important, it has served as an exercise of community building.

I ask all members of this hon. House to join with me in congratulating this fine group of young people and thanking them for setting an example to others on how young people can effect positive change in their communities.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. CORNECT: Mr. Speaker, I rise today in this hon. House of Assembly to congratulate the business recipients in the Stephenville-Port au Port-Bay St. George area who were recognized for their business accomplishments at the Heart of the Community Gala in Stephenville during Business Week 2011 which was held this past fall.

Mr. Speaker, Noel Estoppey of Domino Pizza House was honoured with the Life-Time Achievement Award at the Gala. Claude, his father, started the business in Stephenville forty-nine years ago. Domino Pizza House is well known for its excellent food and notably for its charitable community spirit.

Ten additional businesses were also recognized with the Heart of the Community Awards: Callahan’s Contracting, Holiday Inn Stephenville, Romain’s Farm, Sew Much More, The Gravels Development Group, Tabletop Family Chiropractic, Deb’s Airport Café, Arlim Company, E.H. Scott Sales, and Stephenville Theatre Festival.

Mr. Speaker, I ask all hon. Members of this hon. House of Assembly to join me in congratulating the businesses that received these awards and to wish them a strong and prosperous future here in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. CROSS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise honourably today to congratulate and recognize fantastic achievements of the Crystal Gliders Figure Skating Club, who skate out of the Beothic Arena in Bonavista North.

I would like to preface this year’s accomplishments by a short comment about last year; the synchro teams competed in the 2011 provincial competitions and returned with one bronze medal in the Beginner 2 category.

This year, teams came away with four medals and, to top it off, they set two provincial records. The Loop Lightning earned bronze in PreNovice and the Kitti Koasters skated to bronze in Beginner 1. However, the biggest achievement came from the Krystal Blades and Krystal Koasters, who both skated their way to record-breaking gold medal wins.

The Blades captured gold in Elementary with a score of 26.55, while the Koasters earned gold in Beginner II with a score of 13.49. Both scores were overall skill records for skating skills.

The feat is pretty outstanding, considering each synchronized skating team, their blades actually hit the ice surface for roughly forty-five minutes of practice each week.

I respectfully express congratulations, and feel confident I am joined by all members of this House to extend congratulations to coach Claudia Drover, and each and every individual athlete and parent involved. Enjoy your medals, ladies, and one gentleman. Although they looked great on you, your smiles were much nicer.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. CRUMMELL: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to offer congratulations to Heather Strong and her Newfoundland and Labrador curling team, who recently represented our Province at the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Heather Strong and her St. John’s Bally Haly team consisted of Laura Strong, Jen Cunningham, Stephanie Korab and Noelle Thomas-Kennell, who won the right to represent the Province when they captured the provincial curling championship in January. The rink is coached by Jamie Korab.

Mr. Speaker, Heather Strong’s name has been synonymous with championship for many years. She is a ten-time provincial ladies champion and has represented our Province at the Tournament of Hearts nine times.

This year’s women’s Canadian championship curling field was again a very competitive one. Heather said that her rink’s goal was to represent the Province as best they could and they certainly put forward a tremendous effort.

Mr. Speaker, Heather Strong and her team are wonderful ambassadors for the sport of curling and for our Province. I ask all hon. members to join me in congratulating Heather, Laura, Jen, Stephanie, Noelle and Jamie on representing Newfoundland and Labrador at this year’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. PEACH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise in this hon. House today to talk of a remarkable couple that has reached a milestone in their lives. Albert and Harriett Piercey celebrated their seventieth wedding anniversary January 2012 with family and friends.

They are a true testament to a happy couple of seventy years marriage. There are not many who can attest to this accomplishment.

Albert is ninety-five years of age and Hattie turned ninety just a week before their anniversary. Both are of sound mind and have a lot of memories of their wonderful life together. They raised a family of eleven children – ten are still living, sixteen grandchildren, and twenty great-grandchildren.

On January 8, I had the privilege and pleasure of joining them in the celebration of their seventieth wedding anniversary.

Mr. Speaker, both are thankful for their good health and strength. I ask that all members of this hon. House join me in sending a well-deserved congratulation to Albert and Harriet Piercey for their seventieth wedding anniversary.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Statements by Ministers.

Statements by Ministers

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to inform this hon. House that March 18 to 24 is Multiculturalism Week in Newfoundland and Labrador – a time to celebrate how people of all cultures are making tremendous contributions to this Province.

To support the future prosperity of our Province, this government first launched an immigration strategy, Diversity – Opportunity and Growth, in March, 2007. Today, multiculturalism thrives in Newfoundland and Labrador. Through our Provincial Nominee Program, people from eighty-five different countries have settled in fifty-eight communities – many providing valuable services in often difficult-to-fill positions.

Mr. Speaker, throughout our history, Newfoundland and Labrador has always had a strong sense of identity. We are renowned for our warmth, our generosity, and for extending a warm welcome to people the world over.

Working in areas from medicine to engineering, from education to hospitality and many more, immigrants and international students are making significant contributions in our communities.

As part of this year’s Multiculturalism Week, Mr. Speaker, there are numerous community activities organized with strong support from all regions. At Confederation Building, multi-coloured lights will be lit once again next week to celebrate Multiculturalism Week and to symbolize the bright, prosperous and vibrant future for Newfoundland and Labrador. We encourage homeowners to do the same.

Mr. Speaker, the provincial government is proud of the many talents that newcomers bring and the contributions they make to this Province.

I invite residents and my colleagues in this House to celebrate Multiculturalism Week – an important reminder that when we encourage immigration and multiculturalism, we build vibrant communities, enrich our future, and make connections to the world.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burgeo – La Poile.

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

I would like to thank the minister for an advance copy of the statement. I would also like to welcome our guests today, the members of the Multiculturalism Society. One of the great things about this country is the cultural mosaic that we have established here; our Province, well-known for its hospitality, has always been a melting pot and been shaped by immigration.

People from all over this world have been welcomed here and they have made us a better place. They have contributed to so many valuable sectors of this Province, and certainly our economy. Memorial University has been a tremendous driver in this regard, as international students are attracted to our low tuition and our world-class programs such as our medical school and our marine studies. We used to have to go out and see the world, and now the world is coming here to see us.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John’s North.

MR. KIRBY: I thank the minister for the advance copy of her statement, Mr. Speaker, and I am happy to welcome our guests here today.

I am happy to recognize Multiculturalism Week and honour groups like the Association for New Canadians, the Refugee Immigrant Advisory Council, the Multicultural Women’s Organization of Newfoundland and Labrador, and others. Their ongoing work helps newcomers adapt to our Province and to make our culture even richer. I would like to commend their efforts and the workers in the Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism for continuing to work with people who come to this Province from all around the world.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Further statements by ministers?

The hon. the Minister of Child, Youth and Family Services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS JOHNSON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize National Social Work Month and express gratitude to all social workers in Newfoundland and Labrador for their exceptional service.

National Social Work Month is held annually in March and serves to highlight the continued dedication of our social workers, who provide supportive services to the most vulnerable populations in our Province. Our Province is very fortunate to have such accomplished and compassionate social workers. I am pleased to extend a thank you to these professionals for their valuable contributions and outstanding commitment to those who benefit greatly from their support.

There are over 1,400 registered social workers in the Province practising across a broad scope of service areas, including hospitals, seniors'homes, child protection, corrections, addictions, mental health, and schools, to name a few. Of these social workers, approximately 340 work with the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services. They are a key driving force in our goal to revitalize our child protection system.

The theme for National Social Work Month 2012 is Social Workers: Building Relationships, Strengthening Communities, Partnering for Change. This theme highlights the importance of working together, and our government remains fully committed to working collaboratively with all our stakeholders and social workers.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to recognize an outstanding individual in the field of social work whose dedication and leadership skills earned her a Distinguished Service Award from the Canadian Association of Social Workers. Wanda Lundrigan was nominated by the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Social Workers and selected as the winning representative for this Province. Wanda is in the gallery today with her parents, her son, and her colleagues, and I certainly welcome her here.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS JOHNSON: Over the course of her thirty-two-year career in social work, Ms Lundrigan has served countless individuals and groups and has been a valuable member of the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services as Assistant Deputy Minister of Service Delivery and Regional Operations.

I ask all hon. members of this House to join me in offering congratulations to Ms Lundrigan and to acknowledge all social workers for their positive impact they continue to make in the communities they serve throughout our Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burgeo – La Poile.

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

Also, I would like to thank the minister for an advance copy of the statement. We would also like to welcome and recognize Ms Wanda Lundrigan on her Distinguished Service Award; a very sincere congratulations to her on her career thus far.

We want to acknowledge and recognize the tremendous work that social workers do in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. They often deal with people at their lowest points in life. For example, Newfoundland and Labrador is facing growing concerns facing problematic substance abuse. There has been a growth in illicit drug use, and there are high rates of problematic alcohol consumption and prescription drug abuse amongst the population.

Social workers are dealing with more cases in addiction services than they have ever seen. We also have over 700 children in care, and of those over 200 are from Aboriginal communities. Social workers have to deal with these difficult issues, not just working with the children but working with the families as well.

There are many social workers in our Province who are doing tremendous work and very difficult jobs. We appreciate their effort and significant contribution to our Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John’s Centre.

MS ROGERS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for the advance of her statement. I would like to congratulate the amazing, incredible, Wanda Lundrigan for the work that she has done so compassionately and so expertly on behalf of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Myself, as a graduate of the MUN School of Social Work, I know the vital role that social workers play in our society. I would like to thank them all for their compassion, expertise and commitment in doing their work, often in difficult circumstances, and with limited resources. It is my hope that the government will see the benefit of providing resources for ongoing professional development and training to enable these very dedicated workers to employ their best practices in all the work that they do.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Oral Questions.

Oral Questions

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

MR. BALL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This morning the provincial government released the Lower Churchill generating project from environmental assessment. In doing so, they completely dismissed Recommendation 4.2 of the Joint Review Panel which called for an independent analysis of the other alternatives to meet the domestic energy demands.

I ask the minister: How can you dismiss this recommendation when the panel clearly demonstrated that Nalcor had not considered all options?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We have certainly looked at all of the materials that were in the environmental assessment report. There is an interesting quote, though, I would outline to the member opposite in the federal government release where they indicate that they have done their own economic analysis and that they agree that Muskrat Falls is the lowest cost option, and that is something that will be taken into account in the federal loan guarantee.

We have looked at all options, Mr. Speaker. The environmental assessment panel looked at the environment. Navigant did a report, and Manitoba Hydro did a report. We are satisfied, as is the federal government obviously, that Muskrat Falls is the lowest cost option. I think that is pretty obvious.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BALL: I will remind the minister it is the lowest cost of two options but, Mr. Speaker, the government also dismissed Recommendation 4.1, which called for a separate and formal review of the projected cash flow of the project. The panel called for this review to be made public, and it is also something that I have also asked for in this House.

I ask the minister: Why did you not commit to a formal and a public review of the financials of this project, and will your government commit to review this before the project is sanctioned?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Joint Review Panel looked at the issues affecting the environment and we certainly considered those, as has the federal government; however, when it comes to the economic analysis or the other options these are things that are certainly within our ability to have done. Mr. Speaker, Nalcor has looked at these issues, again, the federal government has indicated that they have conducted their own economic analysis.

I do want to correct, Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition when he said we have only looked at two options, we have looked at all options. We have looked at wind, we have looked at natural gas, we have looked at LNG, and we have looked at pipelines. I say to the Leader of the Opposition: What option is it that we have not looked at?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BALL: What I would like to see and what we have been consistently asking for is if the reports are done, make them public, that is all we have been asking for.

Mr. Speaker, there are a number of environmental issues raised in the recommendations of the Joint Review Panel on the Lower Churchill generation project. For example, Recommendation 6.5 recommends that a pilot study for methylmercury be conducted by the federal government, and the federal government is not committed to doing this study.

I ask the Premier: What assurance does government have from either Nalcor or the federal Department of Natural Resources that these pilot studies would be conducted?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FRENCH: Mr. Speaker, if you try to do a pilot project with something like the methylmercury, Mr. Speaker, what you are talking about doing is interrupting the ecosystem of another river to see what the potential outfalls would be from another one. This type of thing, Mr. Speaker, is not transferable from one river to another, so it made no sense. We believe you would be doing more damage by doing a pilot project to another river, Mr. Speaker, when it comes to sedimentation and many, many other issues, so it was decided not to do a pilot project.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BALL: Mr. Speaker, patient monitoring systems are used in hospitals all across our Province, in ICUs, intensive care units, and in emergency rooms. We understand that there is a potential province-wide health and safety issue with some new patient monitoring systems. So far, we have seen hundreds of occurrences recorded with this new equipment.

I ask the Minister of Health and Community Services: Why has this issue not been addressed to protect the health and safety of thousands of our patients who use these monitors?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, we continue to make millions of dollars of investments in health in this Province. We will continue to do so, and we will see evidence of that throughout the next four years as well. Patient monitoring is something that is exceptionally important to us. We will continue to follow that process as well, and the investments will follow.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BALL: I guess I understand from the minister’s response that she is probably not aware of this issue. If you make investments, outcomes are what are important. We have been saying that for quite some time. We have also been informed there is a petition that is actually circulating and signed by critical care nurses at Eastern Health. We understand that this has the support of other health care professionals. It appears that Eastern Health is ignoring the health and safety concerns of professionals who are using this equipment.

The last time Eastern Health and government, as we know, ignored a major issue we ended up with the Cameron inquiry. I ask the minister: Why isn’t Eastern Health, or your department, acting on this immediately?

MS JONES: It is a pretty serious issue.

MR. BALL: It is.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, I take exception to the fact that the hon. member opposite is inferring that Eastern Health would ignore anything to do with the health and safety of anybody here in this Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS SULLIVAN: The fact there may be a petition out there, which incidentally I have not seen; it has not come to my office.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS SULLIVAN: The fact that there may be a petition out there is not any indication of the fact that Eastern Health has received a petition or that anyone has ignored an issue in this Province, Mr. Speaker. What we do in this Province is we pay attention to whatever is needed in terms of health and well-being of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BALL: Mr. Speaker, I just ask the minister: Are you aware of the issue, and are you willing to do something about it?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, Eastern Health is more than capable of dealing with operational issues that come before them, and I have every confidence that all issues that they need to address are being addressed.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I understand now that the second round of testing of the Charlottetown school is completed, and it does show the presence of mould and poor air quality.

I ask the minister if he will confirm for me today that this is the case, and if so: Are you now ready to move to bring mobile classrooms into this community for temporary measures until a new school can be built?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. JACKMAN: Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear up front. I spoke to members of the community out in the lobby just a few minutes ago. Student safety will never be compromised by this government, or, I do not think, by anyone at all. Now, respecting the board’s authority in this, the board officials are on their way to Charlottetown, Labrador right now; there will be a meeting convened tonight, and the member opposite is right, the results of the second test are back. The preliminary results are back – there is further analysis being done – but board officials will discuss with the larger community tonight what the results are, and then a way forward.

One thing that is critical here, Mr. Speaker, is that this is not a remedy that can be found in a week, but we have to have students back into a learning environment, and I would ask for the co-operation of the community in that regard.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am well aware of all that the minister speaks of, however, the question was: Will you confirm that the second round of testing that was done still is showing that there is mould and poor quality in this school, and will you outline for the people of this community, who are very frustrated, what the temporary measures are, and if you are prepared to bring in the mobile units until a new school can be built in this community?

Mr. Speaker, they are looking for answers and they have been waiting for weeks for the government to move on this.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. JACKMAN: Mr. Speaker, I indicated yesterday that in the first round there was some mould found. The second set has shown some mould – now the full extent to it I am not aware of, but in terms of temporary arrangements, my understanding was that there were some facilities that were arranged to have students engaged, and then the parents decided to take the students out.

Mr. Speaker, this is going to be a lengthy process. There is no quick fix here; therefore, to think that if this is a tactic to get us to make a quick decision, Mr. Speaker, we simply cannot do that. I am asking the community to work with the board and government, and we will find the solution here, and it will be that these students will eventually return to a safe environment.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BENNETT: Mr. Speaker, this government has failed to provide leadership in labour relations, most recently with scab labourers hired by OCI. We hear today that our displaced trawlermen have been forced to chase our fish and their jobs to Nova Scotia.

I ask the Premier: Will she now act to settle this dispute on behalf of the OCI trawlermen?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister Responsible for the Labour Relations Agency.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FRENCH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Let me say as minister of labour and on behalf of the government, this is a very unfortunate incident that is happening, and we want to do everything in our power to expedite a negotiated settlement between both parties, Mr. Speaker. It is with that in mind that this morning I had a conversation with labour officials and asked the conciliator to make contact with both parties and ask both of them on my behalf to come back to the table and commence negotiations, Mr. Speaker. There is nothing that anybody would want more than this government than a settlement to be reached.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BENNETT: Mr. Speaker, a Nova Scotia business professor publicly stated that current guidelines on fleet separation and owner-operators in the fishery ensure vibrant and healthy rural communities.

I ask the Premier: If she has not strayed from these policies that she indicated in the House last week, has she outlined this position to the federal government, and if so, will she table this document?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the hon. member for the question. I think the Premier has actually been very clear on government policy on that many times over the last five or six days, as have I been, in public statements and in meetings with the federal minister. This government will stand and support the harvesters, inshore and offshore, in Newfoundland and Labrador. Our policy has not changed; we have communicated that to the industry, and we have communicated that to the federal minister.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burgeo – La Poile.

MR. A. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills whether seventy-one agencies delivering employability programs should issue layoffs this Monday, given their contracts expire in two weeks. The minister provided less than nothing in her answer.

I ask the minister: Hundreds of people need an answer. These programs are essential to keeping rural areas alive, and this is federal funding. What is the holdup, and when will you notify the organizations?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, the funding is federal through the LMDA but it is devolved through the Province and we certainly make the decisions on the spending of the money. It is related to the skills development of the people in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, we recognize the work that is being done by the third parties. We will be looking at all the services that we deliver through the Department of Advanced Education and Skills. We will be seeing what services provide the best opportunities for the people of this Province to be able to attach to the labour market. As we do that review, Mr. Speaker, we will be in contact and in communication with our third party deliverers.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burgeo – La Poile.

MR. A. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, representatives of these seventy-one agencies are actually afraid to come forward and ask government these questions themselves.

I ask the Premier: The recent heavy-handed cuts to the FFAW have intimated local organizations from speaking out. How can this government assure people that free speech does not have a cost?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS BURKE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to inform the hon. member that since being the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills I have had many conversations with people who are attached to the EAS offices. I have certainly heard some opinions expressed by them. I have also had the ability to consult with many of the staff across the Province and I have not heard or have not witnessed anyone who seemed to be afraid or would not speak out or would not answer a question, or was afraid to send me an e-mail or talk to me.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to reiterate, as I have on a number of occasions here in the House of Assembly, that this is a new department. We are in a new economy right now. Things are changing in the labour market, and because we have done things for many years does not mean that today as we move forward it has to be the same way. We need time to look at all our services and to make sure that it is the most effective delivery.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

MR. EDMUNDS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Animal Health and Protection Act has been before the House of Assembly now for almost two years. Until this act becomes law, it cannot be implemented by law enforcement and animal rescue groups. In the meantime, animals suffer at the hands of the cruel and the neglectful.

I ask the Minister of Natural Resources: When will this act be proclaimed?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Animal Health and Protection Act will level fines for those who commit crimes, Mr. Speaker. It is enforcing the acts and the definition of cruelty to animals and it will strengthen provincial legislation. We are currently in the process of developing those regulations, Mr. Speaker, and we expect to have all that done in the very near future; however, there is still an act in place.

Also, Mr. Speaker, we still have to come back to the basic fact of human compassion in dealing with animals. We have to expect people to act in a certain way. The police still have abilities and authority to investigate. What we are doing, we are very concerned about the way that people treat animals because the way that people treat animals oftentimes can be a reflection of the way they treat other people. Mr. Speaker, we are very concerned with this act and we will move to the regulations.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

MR. EDMUNDS: Mr. Speaker, the hon. minister has stated that there is a mandatory training program.

I again ask the question, Mr. Speaker: When will this training program be developed and when will the act be proclaimed?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated recently, we are working on the enforcement issues. The enforcement issues are a little bit complicated, Mr. Speaker, and we will work our way through them. Up until that point, Mr. Speaker, the police forces in this Province have the ability to investigate complaints that may arise and make charges as they are appropriate. Also, Mr. Speaker, the –

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) municipalities have the right.

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

MR. KENNEDY: Also, Mr. Speaker, municipalities oftentimes have enforcement officers and they have the ability to investigate. Again, Mr. Speaker, I come back to the basic human decency of human beings and that they have to be responsible for the protection of animals. What we are seeing, Mr. Speaker, is a concern out there in our society, and that is a concern that is reflected by our government and will be reflected in this legislation which will be brought in very soon.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

MR. EDMUNDS: Mr. Speaker, the Province’s chief veterinarian is warning that Labrador is on the verge of a rabies outbreak. There are already major concerns with respect to animal control in many Labrador communities such as lack of infrastructure to handle such an outbreak.

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Natural Resources: Given this public health concern, is the department prepared to implement the appropriate measures to ensure protection from this deadly disease?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Yes, Mr. Speaker, this government is always going to implement measures that protect and further public safety. The chief veterinarian, Mr. Speaker, reports to the deputy minister who then reports to me.

We are aware of what is going on in Labrador. We follow it on a daily basis, Mr. Speaker, or as these incidents arise. I can assure the member opposite and all people of this Province that we take all of this very seriously, especially health concerns like rabies, and that our department is on top of it and doing what they can and will do whatever is necessary.

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.

Mr. Speaker, government has rejected the first two recommendations of the only truly independent external review of government’s Muskrat Falls project, which the environmental assessment panel recommends to be done before sanctioning. Mr. Speaker, government’s response to the recommendations is a blanket rejection without any in-depth explanation.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Premier: Will she explain to this House the basis for the rejection of the two recommendations?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite wonders sometimes why I do not answer her questions; well, I just counted four questions in there, so I will just try to pick one and answer. I assume she is talking about the economic analysis and the need for a least-cost option analysis.

Mr. Speaker, analyses have been conducted. It is pretty obvious to everyone, including the Premier of Nova Scotia, who, by the way, you should read his news release today – a very, very good news release supporting this project from an NDP Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: It might be helpful if I could make a suggestion to the Leader of the Third Party that she have a conversation with Premier Dexter. He could probably educate her on the benefits of this project, not only to the people of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, but to the people of Atlantic Canada and Canada as a whole.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

It is obvious – I asked one very specific question; he could not answer one. It is a good thing I did not ask a multiple of three or four.

Mr. Speaker, government does not accept the Joint Review Panel’s recommendation 4.2, which says there needs to be an independent analysis of alternatives to meet domestic demand for electricity.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Premier: Did government do a full analysis of each point made in recommendation 4.2? There are eight. Did they do an analysis of each point, and if they did, would the Premier share this analysis with the House?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This was an environmental assessment panel; we certainly take into account all of their comments on the environment. When we look at least-cost options, Mr. Speaker, it becomes very simple. Nalcor gave Decision Gate 2 its greeting. Natural gas was eliminated, Mr. Speaker. Wind was eliminated except to the extent that it could be integrated into the system when it is fixed up.

Mr. Speaker, what is left? That is why I keep saying to the Leader of the Third Party – what is left? What are the options you are talking about?

Mr. Speaker, we have refurbished Holyrood and we have Muskrat Falls. Again, I say to the Leader of the Third Party: Do you accept we need the power? Because if you do, we have to do something about it.

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.

Mr. Speaker, we asked Nalcor for the detailed analysis of alternative energy options supposedly they did. We were told that whatever they had was on the public record. Mr. Speaker, the panel judge – the information on the public record was not as adequate, as we have decided.

Mr. Speaker: Will the Premier share with this House the analysis that was conducted that led them to decide that the panel was wrong?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that there are breaks in the one big happy family theme, because we have Mr. Mulcair, who apparently supports the project; we have the late Mr. Layton, who supported the project; we have Mr. Harris, who supports the project; we have Premier Dexter, who supports the project; and the Leader of the Third Party does not support the project, based on her analysis. Well, Mr. Speaker, for a full year she did not know that Muskrat Falls existed in this House – Muskrat Falls or the fishery – and now she is an expert.

Mr. Speaker, we have conducted an analysis – it becomes very simple, Mr. Speaker; we cannot build a 650-kilometre gas line, we cannot import natural gas, we cannot develop 300 to 500 megawatts of wind, so what is left? We have Gull Island – which we would love to do. Muskrat Falls is the least-cost option, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

Mr. Speaker, I point out to the government –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MS MICHAEL: Mr. Speaker, I cannot answer.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would point out to the minister, Mr. Speaker, that the panel pointed out quite rightly that the choice by Nalcor of the one-island-only option was based on what – we do not know, they did not know; that is why we keep asking for the analysis of the other alternatives.

Mr. Speaker, the Joint Review Panel recommended Nalcor examine the suggestion made by the Helios Corporation that an 800 megawatt wind farm on the Avalon Peninsula would be a viable energy alternative to the Muskrat Falls proposal, in terms of supplying domestic needs economically. Mr. Speaker, government did not accept this recommendation as one of the parts of 4.2.

So, Mr. Speaker, I ask the Premier: Will she share with this House the analysis on which they based the decision to reject that recommendation?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Does the member opposite not accept that Manitoba Hydro International, who were hired by the PUB, independent of Nalcor, and independent of this government – that that is an independent report? Is that what she is saying? Is she criticising not only the PUB, but Manitoba Hydro?

Mr. Speaker, Manitoba Hydro International was clear: we can incorporate 80 megawatts of wind into the system when fixed up in 2025. Mr. Speaker, we have unlimited wind potential in this Province, and we will develop wind if and when we can. Right now, we have a couple of wind farms ongoing. This is a classic example, Mr. Speaker, of seeing what she wants to see and not taking into account the facts. So, do not let the facts get in your way.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS MICHAEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I do not need the minister pointing his finger at me. If somebody is ignoring the facts, he is ignoring the fact that Manitoba Hydro was only permitted to analyze the two options that Nalcor had already decided upon. The PUB was only permitted to analyze the two options given to them; they were not allowed to go out of that framework. That is a piece of fact I would like the minister to think about, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, another recommendation rejected by this government was that there needed to be a more thorough examination of the potential for renewable energy sources on the Island; wind, small-scale hydro, tidal, to supply a portion of Island demand as a better energy option to the Muskrat Falls.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the minister: Could we have some facts in answering why they rejected that recommendation?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Some facts, Mr. Speaker, we are going to need energy in this Province, we need power. It is going to cost money. We need more power; the price of oil is going up. Holyrood costs more money, so we refurbish Holyrood at a cost of $600 million to $800 million, it does nothing for the environment. We develop small hydro and wind, Mr. Speaker, seventy-seven megawatts of small hydro and we develop wind. Mr. Speaker, it costs $2.2 billion more than the Muskrat Falls option.

Muskrat Falls is clean, renewable energy. It has the support of the Premier of Nova Scotia, has the support of the federal government who have conducted their own economic analysis, Mr. Speaker, and concluded that the loan guarantee is appropriate, not just from a political whim but from an economic analysis. What more does she want?

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.

Mr. Speaker, government actually did say with regard to Recommendation 4.1 that it accepts in principle that a review of the project’s financial viability is required prior to sanction.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Premier: Will she tell this House what government will do to ensure Nalcor confirms, prior to sanction, that Muskrat Falls will in fact provide significant long-term financial returns to government for the benefit of this Province?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What Muskrat Falls does, Mr. Speaker, it not only provides energy to the Province at present – it sounds like she is against Labrador mining developments also because they cannot go ahead without power. It provides power for the mining companies, Mr. Speaker.

Do you know what it does, Mr. Speaker? It provides a future for our children and our grandchildren. It allows for us to develop a renewable energy source, Mr. Speaker. As we utilize our oil, the non-renewable energy is used to develop a renewable energy economy, Mr. Speaker, consistent with the energy plan. The difference between this side and that side, we have vision, they have tunnel vision.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John’s Centre.

MS ROGERS: Mr. Speaker -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for St. John’s Centre.

MS ROGERS: Mr. Speaker, the rent supplement program through the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation helped 1,732 families, many of them seniors and people with complex needs. They helped them this year. It was a wonderful program but it was exhausted months ago. There are at least 13,000 tenant households paying more than a third of their income on rent and many of them are paying half their income on rent.

As rents skyrocket, Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the government: Will the government expand their rental assistance program to help more of the thousands of families who cannot afford their high rents province-wide?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister Responsible for Housing.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HEDDERSON: Mr. Speaker, what a difference a day makes. Yesterday, we did not have a plan. Yesterday, we were not investing. Today, the hon. member on the other side is telling us to increase our investment. I do not know what they are asking I have to say, Mr. Speaker. I will say that the plan we have in place, Secure Foundations, is a solid foundation for us moving forward and addressing the needs of the people in this Province with regard to housing. I stand by that. Again, I challenge the member opposite to come forward with, let’s say, more creative solutions than just simply what you have just put forward.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John’s Centre.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS ROGERS: Mr. Speaker, the affordable housing initiative that was a joint federal-provincial and municipal program has proven to be a successful program for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS ROGERS: - even with the challenges for both developers and non-profit groups that had to access it. Also, in the latest proposal call there were more applications than the money could accommodate, approximately double the amount, and many of the projects were affordable housing for seniors and people with complex needs province-wide. Many community groups and housing groups have asked that the Province provide a stand-alone unilateral program for 2013 to bridge the gap…

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister Responsible for Housing.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HEDDERSON: Mr. Speaker, I am trying to find a question in all of that rhetoric but I did find something that came across, and it was the success that this government is having in support of affordable housing.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HEDDERSON: Mr. Speaker, 1,100 over the last number of years, and I will leave it at that.

MR. SPEAKER: The time for Question Period has expired.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Presenting Report by Standing and Select Committees.

Tabling of Documents.

Tabling of Documents

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MARSHALL: Mr. Speaker, pursuant to section 26, subsection 5(a) of the Financial Administration Act I am tabling one Order-in-Council relating to funding pre-commitments for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

MR. SPEAKER: Notices of Motion.

Notices of Motion

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Amend The Pharmaceutical Services Act. (Bill 12)

MR. SPEAKER: Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given.

Petitions.

Petitions

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to rise and present a petition with regard to family based caregivers in the Province. It says:

WHEREAS home care allows the elderly and people with disabilities to remain within the comfort and security of their own homes, and allows people to be discharged from hospital earlier; and

WHEREAS many families find it very difficult to recruit and retain home care workers for their loved ones; and

WHEREAS the PC Blue Book 2011, as well as the 2012 Speech from the Throne, committed that government would develop a new model of home care and give people the option of receiving that care from family members; and

WHEREAS government has given no timelines on this commitment or indicated when they plan to implement pay for family caregivers;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to implement a new home care model to cover family caregivers in the 2012-2013 Budget.

Mr. Speaker, this petition is being submitted by people from all different areas of the Province. In fact, this one here, I think all of the names on it are from St. John’s – no, some from Mount Pearl on this petition as well. Basically, what they are asking is that the government implement a program to pay for family caregivers in the Province, as per the commitment that they made to the people in the election last fall. It was in the middle of the campaign, Mr. Speaker, when the Premier committed that she would ensure that there was pay for family caregivers in this Province.

As we know, there are so many cases all over Newfoundland and Labrador where people have to care for elderly parents, adult children and so on, and they are not able to work – they have to give up their jobs in order to do that. We get e-mails all the time. You can go to any area in this Province, Mr. Speaker, and you will meet a family who is in that predicament. Last fall, Mr. Speaker, in the news there were two very prominent cases in this Province of where there were families who could not find care at all for their adult children. They were older people and they were not able to look after their adult child any more, although they had cared for them for over forty years. That child had developmental and physical disabilities and no other family member could care for that person unless they gave up their job to do so, and that meant they would not have enough income to supplement their families.

So, Mr. Speaker, family caregiving is a very important issue in Newfoundland and Labrador, especially when we have cases where long-term care facilities are filled, where there are wait-lists in almost every area of the Province right now for long-term care. Especially, Mr. Speaker, in cases where people want to stay close to home, even though they may have the option for personal care at level one and level two, that option is mostly only available to people who live in more urban or specific rural areas of the Province. It is not available to every area. I am blessed because I come from a community that has a personal care home for level one and level two, and I have family who are actually in that home. We have the option to be able to use the facility, it is in our community, and it is readily available to us. There are lots of areas of the Province like that, where that service is available, but there are lots of areas where the service is not available and it is not an option. In cases like that, Mr. Speaker, they need to have some other supports. We are asking the government to make good on their promise.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John’s North.

MR. KIRBY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise again today to present a petition on behalf of the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador. This is the fourth time, so members will be getting used to hearing this. This is a petition regarding needed changes to the Department of Education school bus transportation policies. It reads as follows:

WHEREAS the school district restructuring has resulted in longer bus travel times and more hazardous winter travel for rural students of all ages; and

WHEREAS due to recent school closures, children living within 1.6 kilometres of school face increased barriers of congested streets and busy intersections in the walk to school, and parents without cars are having more difficulty getting children to different schools on foot; and

WHEREAS only those child care centres outside the 1.6 kilometre zone and directly on bus routes are included on kindergarten noontime routes, causing hardship for working parents; and

WHEREAS the 1.6 kilometre policy has been in place since 1975, and student transportation policies have not been reviewed through public consultation since 1996; and

WHEREAS parents are expressing the need for more flexible policies for student transportation and school restructuring to meet the current needs of school children;

We, the undersigned, petition the House of Assembly to urge the government to conduct a review of school bus transportation policies and school restructuring to ensure safe and quality education for all school children in the Province.

As in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I took this petition on for a review of school busing regulations in response to the concerns of a constituent. It is interesting; when I was walking around my district going door to door, getting petitions signed, I had an elderly grandmother in the district say to me that she thought that our school children are, I quote her, our most precious cargo. It was really interesting to hear people laughing at that in the House of Assembly here when I say that, because I really think people need to have more respect for where parents are coming from.

This policy has been in place for almost forty years now. The public needs to be served with programs and services, Mr. Speaker, that are designed for the twenty-first century. They deserve better than forty-year-old policies on busing. Many new housing developments on the Northeast Avalon have been built without any sidewalks whatsoever. In my district that is the case, in Paradise –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. KIRBY: – in Mount Pearl, parents and school councils are e-mailing me and telling me that we need this change. I also have been getting petitions from across the Province as I said. This particular petition today has petitioners from St. John’s, and also Musgrave Harbour and Lumsden.

I thank you again, Mr. Speaker, and I hope the government will see fit to heed this request from their petitioners.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burgeo – La Poile.

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

I have a petition here today.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament Assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS hundreds of residents of the South Coast of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, including residents of the communities of Burgeo, Ramea, Grey River and Francois use Route 480 on a regular basis for work, medical, educational and social reasons; and

WHEREAS there is no cellphone coverage on Route 480; and

WHEREAS residents and users of Route 480 require cellphone coverage to ensure their safety and communication abilities; and

WHEREAS the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development recently announced significant funding to improve broadband services in rural Newfoundland and Labrador; and

WHEREAS the residents and users of Route 480 feel that the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development should also invest in cellular phone coverage for rural Newfoundland and Labrador;

WHEREUPON THE UNDERSIGNED, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to support the users of Route 480 in their request to obtain cellular phone coverage along Route 480, and as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I am here reading a petition of this nature for the fourth time since we opened the House of Assembly last week and I certainly intend to keep rising and raising this issue.

I have taken the opportunity to write to the minister responsible for this department. He is certainly aware of this issue and I would say that this is an issue of concern to everybody here because my estimation is that one-third of the districts in this House have issues with cellphone coverage – certainly a lot of members on the other side, a lot of members on this side. This is an issue of provincial concern.

I am getting tons of feedback on this, Mr. Speaker. The petitions are going out, they are getting signed, I am getting phone calls, I am getting e-mails, I am getting Facebook messages, I am getting tweets. This is an issue in 2012. This is not an issue from 2000; this is a 2012 issue. There is no reason that we cannot have this service in this Province. Again, I am hoping that the minister will present us with the strategies for this implementation of cellphone service. I look forward to working with him to get that service in this Province for all the members of this House.

There are members here – again, I would say the Member for Gander, he may have it. I would certainly say the Member for Cartwright – L’Anse au Clair, the Member for Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune; this is an issue all over this House. Again, Mr. Speaker, this Route 480 –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. A. PARSONS: – is a 150-kilometre stretch of roadway, very desolate, and people have to drive this roadway every day for every service that they want to get, Mr. Speaker. Again, I am going to keep raising this. What I would say is that three and a half John Noseworthy contracts will cover cellphone coverage for a lot of people in this Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to present a petition with regard to search and rescue services. This is not the first time I have presented this petition, but as they come in I will continue to present them. This one, of course, has signatures from Goose Bay, Natuashish, Postville, and I think it is Northwest River and Mud Lake, Mr. Speaker. It says:

WHEREAS Labrador is a vast land mass with many isolated communities; and

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

WHEREAS it is clear that permanent search and rescue assets are required in Labrador;

WHEREUPON your petitioners call upon all members of the House of Assembly to urge government to do a full investigation into the Burton Winters tragedy and search and rescue in Labrador and lobby the federal government to establish permanent search and rescue capability at 5 Wing Goose Bay.

Mr. Speaker, people are continuing to circulate these petitions throughout Labrador because they do not feel like this issue or situation is anywhere near being addressed. In fact, they have begged and pleaded with the Province and the feds to act accordingly, to carry out a full investigation to find out what really happened. What was the cause? What was the breakdown in communications? Why is it that a call could go out for search and rescue services at 6:30 in the evening and not reach the people that it should have reached until the next day? Why is that, Mr. Speaker? Why is it that it took two days to get search and rescue equipment in the air and on the ground in that North Coast community to respond to this emergency? Why is it, Mr. Speaker, that there were Griffon helicopters broken down in the hangar in Happy Valley-Goose Bay? Why is it, Mr. Speaker, that there were three Cormorant helicopters in Gander and none of them were discharged? That is the answers that people are looking for. They want to know why there was not a response mechanism that worked.

The federal Minister, Peter MacKay, and the Member for Parliament for Labrador, Peter Penashue, came back and said they did a review of protocols. What was their response? Don’t you call us, we will call you. That is the only change. Instead of you calling back search and rescue when they do not respond, now they are going to call you back in a few hours when they have something available. Mr. Speaker, that is not the answer this family is looking for and it is not the answer that people in Labrador are looking for. Mr. Speaker, they deserve better and they will keep petitioning the provincial government to stand up and be the person that fights this in Ottawa on their behalf to ensure that they get some results and they get some answers.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker, the Orders of Day.

Orders of the Day

MR. KENNEDY: I move, pursuant to Standing Order 11, that the House not adjourn at 5:30 o’clock on Thursday, March 15, 2012, and I further move, Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 11, that the House not adjourn at 10 o’clock on March 15, 2012.

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’.

AN HON. MEMBER: Nay.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion carried.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. KENNEDY: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

I call number 1 from the Orders of the Day, Mr. Speaker, Committee of Supply.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that I do now leave the Chair for the House to resolve itself into Committee of the Whole to consider Bill 2.

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’.

Carried.

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

Committee of the Whole

CHAIR (Verge): Order, please!

We are going to resume debate on Bill 2, Interim Supply.

I recognize the hon. the Minister of Municipal Affairs to pick up where he left off last time. I think he had seven minutes left to speak.

The hon. the Minister of Municipal Affairs.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. O’BRIEN: Yes, Mr. Chair.

I must start off my speech in regard to being amazed. After we won the election in October, all we heard in regard to the open lines and Tweeting all over the place, whatever ‘Twitter-twa'and ‘Twitty-twist'is, in my world, because I am not into it that much, I hear all about it in regard to having this House of Assembly open.

We witnessed a person out on our lawn in front of the House of Assembly in all kinds of weather, ended up shaving his head in order to get the House open and that kind of stuff. Just that time when we were voting in regard to having the House proceed here and go on beyond, the Third Party voted against it. I cannot understand that, Mr. Chair, after hearing so much on Open Line and on ‘Twitter box’; I just cannot understand it.

I will tell you one thing, Mr. Chair, I will not need a ‘Twitter box'to get my word out here in the House of Assembly in regard to the fiscal arrangements and all that kind of good stuff that I have in Municipal Affairs from my point of view as being the minister. I want to be quite clear in regard to this House, to the municipalities in Newfoundland and Labrador. I want to be quite clear to every member in this House of Assembly, and I want to be quite clear to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that we are committed to having healthy and sustainable communities in this Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. I will tell you something in regard to moving forward and consulting and developing a new fiscal arrangement with municipalities in Newfoundland and Labrador on a go-forward basis – and you heard me say in this House that we have to have something sustainable and we have to have something affordable. Do you know something? We did not need a new fiscal arrangement to have this government invest in municipalities in Newfoundland and Labrador. We did not need one. We did not have to be asked.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. O’BRIEN: As soon as we saw that we had surpluses and we had good times and became a have Province in Newfoundland and Labrador, we started to invest in our municipalities, because we knew it was the right thing to do. We invested where it was key to municipalities, in their municipal infrastructure. That is exactly where we did it. The thing that is most important to all municipalities in Newfoundland and Labrador is necessary infrastructure, and we have invested over $500 million in municipal infrastructure since 2008. Now, that is called responsible government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. O’BRIEN: That is called a partnership of both levels of government. This is the kind of stuff that we did as a government. We did not wait to be asked, we did wait to be lobbied. We did not wait at all, we just invested. We invested in the right places, we strategically invested. We did not waste our dollars; we got the bang for our money. We invested in important infrastructure such as clean water and dealing with waste water. Not to count the significant investments that we have made in Municipal Operating Grants. We had a one-time increase last year of $4.6 million. The Community Enhancement Programs, it was never mentioned in this House of Assembly – not counting fire trucks, which is a municipal responsibility. These are all municipal responsibilities in other jurisdictions in Canada. In other provinces in Canada, municipalities actually have to bear 100 per cent of that cost. In some cases, they have to bear 100 per cent.

As a matter of fact, New Brunswick has now started to reduce their unconditional grants. They have done that this year. The reason why they have started that process is because it is unsustainable; it is not affordable by the Province of New Brunswick. That is the reason why. Where are we to? We are absolutely supporting municipalities in Newfoundland and Labrador. Instead of going the other way, we are actually supporting them. Then you have people out there such as the Third Party –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. O’BRIEN: Then you have the Third Party out there talking about a new fiscal arrangement and all that kind of good stuff, listen to them, give it to them, do not analyze it to see exactly what the domino effect of it is. They do not even understand in regard to the HST portion of municipal capital works that it does not really mean a lot to small municipalities, not at all, because we build in the portion of the HST in the actual funding. So, the most that they would pay is their actual ratio. That is the most they would pay. With 90-10, they would only pay 10 per cent of the provincial HST portion which is just about nothing, it is minuscule. It does not mean a lot.

If I am going to enter in regard to consultations and determining a new fiscal arrangement for municipalities, I am going to make sure that I have a bang for my dollar, that I do make them healthy, that I do make them sustainable. That is what I want to do. We have done that over the last while. I see the hon. member from the Northern Peninsula shaking his head up there when he had major investments in his district, and he can say that. When I sit down, get up on your feet and name them off. Name them off over the last number of years and how many times I have been in your district announcing fire trucks and your new ice surface up there and all kinds of stuff in St. Anthony and all over your district, CEP and everything else. Get up and give it where it is, give credit where it is due, to the government that has invested in the Northern Peninsula; we did not forget it.

I remember being up in the Northern Peninsula and I said to a person that prior to 2003, I went up on the Northern Peninsula on a holiday and the highway up there was nothing but a cow path. I would like for somebody to drive from St. Anthony today down to Deer Lake and come back and tell me exactly what it is like, since we took government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. O’BRIEN: That is the kinds of things that we have done. I find it amazing how you can get on your feet and talk about this, that, these, and those and forget about all the good things that has happened and this kind of stuff. You do not make any sense. You talk about a money tree out in your backyard. That is all you do. You talk about everything this, that, these, and those and everything else. No substance to it, none whatsoever. No thought, all fluff – all fluff. They only talk about their 1 per cent across the board reduction in government budgeting in their NDP Book, and then all of a sudden they are in here spending all kinds of money. They are talking out of two sides of their mouth. Anyway, they do not make any sense.

Listen here, I want to be quite clear and serious here, in regard to a new fiscal arrangement, when it comes to a new fiscal arrangement it has to be both ways. It cannot just be municipal government and not the provincial government. It cannot be just provincial government and not municipal government, it cannot be. You have to consider things that we pay for now in regard to policing services like the RNC, right now we are funding 100 per cent of policing services in the City of St. John’s, Mount Pearl and the area, in Corner Brook and Labrador West to a tune of about $46.4 million.

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. O’BRIEN: By leave, Mr. Chair, a couple of seconds?

CHAIR: Does the member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

CHAIR: By leave.

MR. O’BRIEN: The RCMP on a 70-30 share from the federal government, we absorb $64.6 million of that. If you were to pass that along to municipalities, that is not sustainable. You cannot have it, but then you cannot have it in both hands either. We have to enter into a serious discussion with regard to the full fiscal arrangement – something that is sustainable and affordable to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, this government and municipalities.

In closing, I would not want to enter into that and develop a fiscal arrangement that we are going to tear the guts out of four or five years down the road, Mr. Chair.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: The Chair recognizes the Member for the Bay of Islands.

MR. JOYCE: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I stand to offer a few words today on this debate also. Mr. Chair, I have to respond to the Member for Mount Pearl North yesterday when he was criticizing me personally in the debate with Newfoundland and Labrador Housing. Obviously, someone wrote his speech beforehand just to attack me personally, which is obviously a part of it.

He forgets, the Member for St. John’s North, the Member for St. John’s West came over and thanked me for my support and thanked me for my positive comments that I put forward. He came over and said, Ed, thank you very much. The minister who was sitting there, that I spoke to after, he said thanks; they were great comments, they are great input. Even the Member for Humber West, when we were discussing it, we were acknowledging each other, how much we deal with Newfoundland and Labrador Housing and the complications. Yet the Member for Mount Pearl North had to get up because someone prepared his speech. I can tell you one thing, when you were up to the Liberal convention in Montreal, going to run for us against Harvey Hodder, you did not have that speech; I can guarantee you that.

Mr. Chair, I am going to change my focus – or when you are down on Portugal Cove Road –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. JOYCE: – when you and your friend were having breakfast, came over to Gerry Reid, and shook his hand. He said: Gerry, I am going to run if Harvey Hodder does not run for you; save me a seat. I even have the weight lost; I am ready to go.

Go ask Gerry Reid; that is not what you were saying then. Anyway, Mr. Chair, a bit of co-operation here – I just heard the Minister of Municipal Affairs stand up and speak. Of course, with the new idea of co-operation that I have always had, but now people are understanding more and more. The minister did give a new fire truck. It was part of the responsibility, I gave a new fire truck to the town of Meadows; it is going to be delivered in probably May or June. Well-deserved, and I am such a nice guy, I am hoping – he made a commitment yesterday, he made a commitment that he is going to show up when the new truck is delivered and I am going to hold him to it.

I am such a nice guy, I am even going to let him deliver the keys to the mayor. I already told the mayor that he is going to present the keys to the mayor, because he made a commitment that he is going to show up and I hold him to it. I said before, and I made the commitment before, that if there is something positive in the Bay of Islands, I will recognize it. This fire truck that the minister did deliver is a positive because there is the largest K-12 school in the Province in the Town of Meadows; there is a senior citizens home and this fire truck is well-needed. I am glad that the commitment was made and it is being ordered and it will be done.

The Minister of Service Newfoundland and Labrador made some statements the other day that I just cannot let pass, where he was saying he was twenty-five years in the Constabulary –

MR. DAVIS: Newfoundland and Labrador.

MR. JOYCE: Newfoundland and Labrador.

He made the statement the other day, talking when he was in the constabulary, and I respect what he did when he was in the constabulary and I respect all people who work in the constabulary and all throughout the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, but I always find it that when you are out, you should not go back and just criticize. For example, cars that should not be on the road; I asked the minister, how many cars were in accidents because of faulty cars that he is blaming this government for, the previous Liberal Government – none. How many accidents were caused? None, as I expected.

My other question is, how many cases were thrown out because of a lack of equipment? None – that is right, the minister just said zero. What I am saying, you cannot all of a sudden just criticize the past because you think, we are so good. If you are so good on your own merits, you would not have to criticize the past. Minister, you do not need it, you do not need it. You had a reputation, a great reputation in the constabulary, and keep it that way. That is what I say. There is no need to criticize the superiors at the time and that. There is no need. You had a fine reputation, and keep it that way.

The Minister of Advanced Education and Skills spoke the other day, and I agree with her comments when she was talking about down in Long Harbour, Vale Inco. She was talking about 98 per cent employment. This deal, Mr. Chair, was known as the Voisey’s Bay deal. This is a deal that the Liberal Government put through and the minister was saying the other day about –

AN HON. MEMBER: Who put it together?

MR. JOYCE: The Liberal government put it through, 98 per cent employment in Newfoundland and Labrador. It was a deal that we struck, the same deal when some of those members were on this side over here. Some of those people were on this side over here saying, you could drive a Mack truck through it, there was more off-ramps then the 401, but yet the minister stood up the other day talking about what a great employment, 98 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador.

That brings me back again to Muskrat Falls. This brings me back to Muskrat Falls. One of the reasons why the deal with Voisey’s Bay was so strong was because we took the deal; we presented the full deal in the House of Assembly. We debated it back and forth, there were changes made during the debate and that is what strengthened the deal. This is all I am saying is that it should be an option for the government to bring it to the House, bring it down so we could strengthen the deal.

If it is such a good deal and we can make positive comments, either side, it is better off for all Newfoundland and Labrador. That is the only point I am trying to make here. If it was good for Voisey’s Bay, Mr. Chair, it should be good for this. We all can have an opinion on it. We all can go out and seek some input from professionals so we can strengthen the deal. If the deal is going to go ahead, we strengthen it for Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Chair. That is all.

There are a lot of issues I would like to bring up, Mr. Chair, and I will over the debate, all throughout the Budget Debate; like twenty-four hour snow clearing or call-in for snow clearing. I know I wrote the minister several times, it is a big issue out our way. Cellphone coverage is a big issue all across the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The long-term care facility, I mentioned it to the minister. Minister, with all due respect – and I ask you to look into it, and I do. We called today; there are fifteen beds still not open. The tender has not been called, Minister, please.

MS SULLIVAN: (Inaudible) on that.

MR. JOYCE: Okay, thank you. Thank you, Minister, for that – and I know the minister will, and thank you for that, Minister.

One other thing I have to bring up is the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, the Kruger mill in Corner Brook. Mr. Chair, it is not very often that I do this, because people do not think – but I think everybody, we need to dial down the rhetoric on Corner Brook Pulp and Paper. It is a very important issue. I honestly do not think there is any member on this side or any member over there who wants to see that mill closed for any reason, I just cannot believe it. I cannot believe it is possible, I just do not; I really do not. I feel for the sake of all the workers, some of them are my family, friends. I know the Member for Humber West has a lot of friends; the Member for Humber East has a lot of friends. We should just dial down the rhetoric for Corner Brook Pulp and Paper.

I am not saying that we cannot bring things forward, and I will give you a good example. The Member for Humber East mentioned about the money that was put into Kruger before. What we have to do is ensure that if there is money put into Kruger, it is for the longevity of the mill. I will give you a good example. It was about two years ago, there was money put in for a transfer of land to the government. When the Auditor General looked at it, the Auditor General said he could not find any deals or any transactions of what was transacted. There were a lot of questions. Was the money put towards the longevity of the mill? These are just comments. I am not saying that no, it should not have been done, but this is where it is not out in the public. This is where it is not put in there so that everybody can see where the money was spent and what was done in the mill to ensure the longevity of the mill. That is one of the things.

The $5 million last year for training, and this is something that the minister can look into, I say. What it is, there was $5 million last year put in for training. A lot of people in the mill do not realize where the money went. I do not know if the money was spent, what it was spent for, but a lot of people in the mill – the lack of education on the people in the mill, where did the money go? How did it go?

Another thing we have to look at in the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper industry and in Kruger, one thing. When there were forty-seven people laid off, there were a lot of younger ones laid off. I understand that, and I understand the government cannot force them, but with $50 million in six years and dealing with them, is there any way that government can go to Kruger and say is there any way – for example, I know three or four people within the next three or four months are going to retire anyway, they are going to retire. If there is any way that we can say: okay, can you bridge that gap for those people? I know a lot within the next year are going to retire. Is there any way we can bridge that gap so they can move on somehow and keep young people in the Corner Brook area? That is a big concern for a lot of the younger people in Corner Brook. These are issues that I bring forward, not in a critical way, but it is just some way that if we can help out the young people in the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper.

I know, Mr. Chair, my time is up, but I ask all people in this House, because I have a lot of friends, a lot of family still in the mill. Let’s dial down the rhetoric. Let’s all try to work together, give some positive comments on it. Let’s try to help out.

Time to clue up, Mr. Chair?

CHAIR: Does the member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

CHAIR: The hon. member, by leave.

MR. JOYCE: Just dial down the rhetoric, because if the mill closes it is going to be devastating to Corner Brook, it is going to be devastating to a lot of people, and it is going to be devastating to a lot of people I know: the Member for Humber West, the Member for Humber East, and for all the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Whatever the government can do to help keep this mill going is going to be appreciated by everybody, myself included.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

It is my pleasure today to stand and have a few more words in the debate on Interim Supply. I would like to begin to say that I absolutely support the remarks made by the Member for the Bay of Islands. Corner Brook Pulp and Paper is extremely important, not only to the people in the Corner Brook region but to all of the Province, Mr. Chair. We have been very supportive of that industry. We have done much to try and increase its viability. There has been an investment of over $50 million in Corner Brook Pulp and Paper in the last five years. We continue to try to find innovative ways to work together, to ensure that the mill has the capacity to withstand the volatility that still exists in the world market of pulp and paper.

We hope, and experts in the field tell us that they expect the capacity issue to be dealt with in the next year or two and that this industry should settle down and be sustainable. We are going to do all that we can and all that is reasonable for us to do as a government, Mr. Chair, to ensure that Corner Brook Pulp and Paper remains in that mix of pulp and paper companies not only in Canada but in the world.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: I would also say to the Member for Bay of Islands that we have learned a thing or two since Voisey’s Bay. While he waxed eloquently about it, I think the ringing criticism that we all remember from the Voisey’s Bay debate in this House was there were enough loopholes in that contract to drive a Mack truck through it. Unfortunately, that was the case.

An opportunity arose in November 2010, when we were supposed to have the development plans for the hydromet facility submitted by Vale Inco, and they were not able to meet their deadline. Because they were not able to meet their deadline, there was an opportunity for us to reopen parts of the contract. Because we had that opportunity, we were able to go in and we were able to negotiate definitive benefits for the people of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: All Vale Inco was required to do, under the Liberal agreement, was to use their best efforts to ensure that there were business opportunities in this Province and to ensure that there were opportunities for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to get employment. That is all that was in the original agreement.

Because we were able to reopen the contract, there was a very intense negotiation over several months, and we were able to ensure that 70 per cent of the benefits that would come from that hydromet facility would be reaped here by the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and the businesses of Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: While having the development is a good thing, I would not get that enthusiastic on the other side of the House about patting yourself on the back because you certainly have a thing or two to learn about negotiation. You did in Voisey’s Bay, and you certainly did in the Grimes deal on the Lower Churchill. We hear the former Leader of the Liberal Opposition and the current House Leader for the Opposition wax eloquently in this House day in and day out about power for development, mining developments specifically in Labrador. I congratulate her for that. That is extremely important. There are huge opportunities for mineral development in Labrador to benefit the people in Labrador, first, and then the rest of the Province and the rest of the country; however, when she was a minister in Roger Grimes government and they negotiated the deal with Hydro-Quebec not one kilowatt hour of power was destined for Labrador. Every last kilowatt was going to Quebec. What a difference time makes.

Again, it is the same old attitude that we have seen: Do not do as I did, do as I say – not acceptable. There has to be a principled approach to development here in this Province. Far too long, for over 500 years our resources were developed to the benefit primarily of others. That ended eight-and-a-half years ago.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: That is why we are so happy today to learn that Muskrat Falls has been released from environmental assessment.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: This is a significant milestone as we move towards Decision Gate 3 and make the decision as to whether or not we will sanction Muskrat Falls.

Mr. Chair, for the last four months we have heard members from the Opposition put up a hue and cry about the House not being open because they wanted to be here. Yes, you wanted to be here to discuss important issues like the development of Muskrat Falls. Yet, not one new piece of information, not one bit of analysis, not one new question, Mr. Chair, with regard to this project. Now, I know what we have been doing since October 11. We have been doing the Budget. We have been doing health care strategies. We have been running the Province. We have been preparing legislation. What have they been doing, Mr. Chair? Diddly-squat, I say to you; diddly-squat.

Mr. Chair, we have heard the Leader of the Third Party ask questions today about alternatives. We have heard the Leader of the Opposition talk about alternatives to Muskrat Falls and give us the analysis why you cannot use LNG. The minister has risen in his place time and time again and talked about his conversations with Wood MacKenzie, he has talked about his conversations with PIRA, and he has talked about his conversations with Ziff Energy.

These are all public companies providing services out in the business domain. I would love to hear from the opposition parties, why they have not interacted with these companies. They are not run by us; they are not operated by us; they have no vested interest in us, and if you do not like those, you can find others. The world is full of expertise. The Leader of the Third Party could get herself to Brazil to investigate how Vale Inco operates in Brazil; surely, God, you could contact Wood MacKenzie, or Ziff Energy, or PIRA – internationally renowned experts in the energy field – and ask a few questions. I am sure that they would give you the same answers that they have given us, and that the minister gives you day after day that are available to you on Nalcor’s Web site, on the PUB’s Web site.

Mr. Chair, we have had the environmental assessment panel come back and say this is the least-cost option; the benefits of developing Muskrat Falls outweigh any negative impacts. Mr. Chair, we have had Navigant test the methodologies and assumptions used by Nalcor. Mr. Chair, we have had MHI come in and say of all of the options – and they looked at ten different options – they say that Muskrat Falls is the least-cost option. More than that, not only have they confirmed the assumption that we are going to need more power, they say that we have underestimated the amount of power that we do need.

Mr. Chair, we have a transmission system that can only bear eighty megawatts of wind. That has been validated by MHI. The Member for St. John’s North shakes his head; stand and give us your analysis. Show us – show us your report. Stand up and show us what it is you have. Instead of saying, give us the information, you show us where the analysis is flawed.

Mr. Chair, none of them have been able to do it. None of them have any expertise in power development that I know anything about. Obviously, in the year that they were not asking questions, they were not looking for answers either, either from us or from anybody else.

Mr. Chair, Muskrat Falls is the least-cost option, a wonderful project, first of all for Labrador and then for the Province.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: Order, please!

The Chair recognizes the hon. the Member for Burgeo – La Poile.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. A. PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

That is what I call anti-climatic, people.

It is an opportunity and an honour to stand up here again today and get to speak on behalf of my district and certainly for the people of this Province. What I would say, we have not gone to see these companies; we have spent all of our money on FOI requests. All of our money has been spent on FOI requests, because we are trying to drag information out. I will just put that there.

We want to talk about Voisey’s again. I would say that we should refrain from going back to revisionist history where there were no loopholes in that deal, that deal did fine; but if we want to talk about deals, there is a lot of money possibly on the chopping block from Hebron being gone. Again, it goes both ways here. I will put that out there.

I am going to revert to the story I was telling last time I had an opportunity to speak. That goes right over to the hon. member, the Minister of Tourism. I am going to take you back to my district, because as great as my district is, we do have some difficulties there, some difficulties that deal with the basic necessities of life – the basic necessities of life. When we talk about how great things are – and I have great natural things going on in my district, but we are missing out on some necessities there.

I think I ended off in Burnt Islands, so I am going to keep on going down the coast. Down the coast we have Rose Blanche-Harbour le Cou, which is home of the Rose Blanche Lighthouse, which is an amazing piece of work – about 10,000 visitors per year, a beautiful facility. It is just hand built with stone and slate. Have you ever been out there, minister? I hope you have been out there. It is fantastic. You should come out and see it during tourism week this year. When you get down there – and I am going to sort of cross paths here now in a second – but when you get down there you have to take the ferry from Rose Blanche –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. A. PARSONS: – over to La Poile. Again, you are not going to hear what I have to say if you are not going to listen.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. A. PARSONS: Now, listen.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

Thank you very much.

One observation that I have made since sitting in this Chair, when we are calling for order it would be advisable, I think, if the people who are speaking at the time – and this is no aspersion to the present speaker – would stop their speaking so that we can restore order. If you continue speaking when we are calling for order, it makes it much more difficult.

I now recognize the hon. the Member for Burgeo – La Poile again.

MR. A. PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

It is hard to hear when there is some noise in the air.

Anyway, we are going to take the ferry across to La Poile now. That ferry, it is funny when you go down there, there is a sign that says: Ferry to La Poile and Grand Bruit. If you did not know, Grand Bruit has been resettled but the sign is still there, three years later. What does that say about tourism when we go down there and there is still a ferry to somewhere that has been resettled and it has been empty for three years?

We go down to La Poile, it is a beautiful spot – if you have not been to La Poile, you probably have heard about it in the news lately. La Poile is the community that has no cellphone service, and in the winter a storm knocked out the power. After twenty-four hours, their battery pack was gone for their phones so they had no phones. No land lines, no cellphones, a helicopter could not get in, and a boat could not get in. These people were there and if it was not for their resourcefulness, they could have had a hard time and thank God the weather let up after three days.

This comes back to the basic necessity of cellphone technology in this day. La Poile is a beautiful community. The boat to get there is not such a fun ride, I think I have already told you that story, I think I mentioned that one. If you were to go past La Poile you would go to Grand Bruit, but it is not there. So what I am saying is that if we are going to work on tourism, we need to work on signage. Signage, I believe, falls under the purview of the Minister of Transportation. We need to work on our signage. That is not a slight, that is just saying what is actually factual reality. There is a sign –

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. PARSONS: Oh, signage is tourism. Well, this is on you too, Minister. That sign needs to be fixed. If we have tourists coming off the Marine Atlantic ferry and they are looking around and they see a ferry to Grand Bruit, how do they not know the difference? Actually there are two signs that say Grand Bruit, still.

When I go down to La Poile and I look at the ferry schedule of La Poile, it still references Grand Bruit and that does fall under the Minister of Transportation. There is a sign down there that still references Grand Bruit, it has been gone for three years, they have been resettled out of their homes, but still it remains. This needs to be fixed. I do not care what department it is under. It is just a fact that if we are going to improve tourism on the Southwest Coast, we have to have updated signage for tourists who are coming over to explore this beautiful Province.

My district, I ended off there, but actually if I were to go past Stephenville, past the highway, I hit the Burgeo Highway, 150 kilometre stretch of road – again, no cellphone service. I have talked about this ad nauseam. The Minister of IBRD probably is sick of hearing me talk about cellphones at this point, but the fact remains there is none there and there is none up there for the Minister for Labrador either. So, again, you know what I am talking about, no cellphone service. There is no cellphone service up in many parts of Labrador either.

Anyway, I go down to beautiful Burgeo and the Burgeo sandbanks. Now if you have not been down there, it is world-class, just an absolute beauty of a place; but, again, it is not being promoted enough. We have a great, great tourism program, but we need to put more money into exploring other areas of this Province. More exposure I would say to you – more exposure.

Now, when there is Burgeo, you take the ferry over to Ramea. Ramea is home to the Rock Island Festival, beautiful spot. Again, it is fantastic. The Member for Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune would know what I am talking about, Ramea is beautiful. It is very closely located to François which is in her district. Ramea, I can go over to Grey River, a tiny little community, just absolutely pristine and beautiful. They have some environment issues down that way that I have been talking again to the Minister of Environment about, but the thing that ties this crowd in together, they have no cellphones either. No cellphones there. Again, many members on the other side can talk but I say to you, I estimate one-third of this Province, one-third of the districts are not covered by cellphone service. So it is not just my problem, the problem goes over there as well.

I am going to take a little trip away from tourism and I am going to talk to a current issue, because I hear the Minister for Advanced Education and Skills talking to me. What I would say is that we have a serious issue there. We have a number of community organizations that are looking at the possibility of having to issue pink slips on Monday, and all they want is an answer. I do not care what anyone says, a lot of these crowds are afraid to speak. They are afraid to speak out. They are scared to death. There is no whistle-blower legislation either, that I am aware of, that will protect these people. These are people who are providing services to various groups, whether it be people with disabilities, to women, to students, trying to help them get employed. Like I say, it is a double-edged sword here. Not only are we talking about the ones who are currently employed, having their employment taken away from them, who is going to help the people that they are trying to help, the unemployed? A double-edged sword. I believe the Member for Terra Nova, there might be a centre in your district as well. There might be a place in your district as well.

Again, what I am saying is of provincial concern. There are places in Stephenville, places down in Grand Bank, places in Marystown, places in St. John’s, and places in my district. This is going to affect a lot of people. I asked some simple questions today. I wanted answers on whether these groups were going to have to issue layoff notices or not. I do not have the answers, and this concerns a lot of people who are on Monday wondering about are they going to have jobs come April 1.

Again, I ask this in all seriousness, I am hoping the minister will speak to me on this, or speak to the people and reassure them that their jobs are safe. This is a huge thing, and I know that government is currently looking at cuts or reductions or efficiencies – whatever part of the vernacular that you want to put in, it all amounts to the same thing – but these people deserve to know and they deserve to know now.

There are so many other issues I have, I feel like I am getting counted down here again. I do not know what else I am going to get to speak about. Well, since the minister is here, why don’t we talk about health care? Why don’t we talk about health care? There were a lot of questions asked today. I am hoping that these questions are going to be answered soon. I do not know if they are on your plate or not, or if they are just sitting there locally, but we need to answer these questions, okay? I do not even want to get into the issue that is still there, which comes down to the skin surgery. You look at these people and tell me that is not a medical emergency, a medical necessity.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. PARSONS: You are telling me that it is not?

AN HON. MEMBER: Emergency?

MR. A. PARSONS: Yes, their general practitioner did. You are going to tell those people that this is not medically necessary? We are going to pay for bariatric surgery which has results that could end up in this, but that part is not covered.

Again, Mr. Chair, my time has run out. I thank you for your time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KING: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

It is indeed a pleasure to rise today and to give my maiden speech for my second term in the House. I have to compliment the member opposite, I tell you, he reminds me a lot of the previous Member for Burgeo – La Poile. There is no doubt about that, no doubt about that. He has flair. I am still waiting for more use of the Joe Chesterfield, and I am sure that is going to come in the –

MS SULLIVAN: Uncle Joe to you.

MR. KING: Yes, Uncle Joe, that is right. I am sure we are going to see that in due time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KING: Mr. Chair, first of all, a couple of quick comments to congratulate all members who are returning to this House, and of course, a number of new members who are sitting on both sides. Congratulations to all of you. It is a place where we have lots of heated debate, and probably going to have some shortly, but it is an honourable place where we have an opportunity and a privilege to represent people throughout the Province. So all of you, I certainly congratulate you and wish you nothing but the best.

I want to take a few moments, Mr. Chair, to have a chat about a topic that does not seem to get a lot of attention in the House. I am taking time today during this debate where we have latitude to talk a little bit about the fishery. As many people know in the Province, we have had a number of fairly significant challenges over the last several months in this Province. Some challenges are of an operational nature and some challenges certainly are more along the labour lines.

Mr. Chair, I will touch on a number of them very briefly. We had the OCI decision around the closure of the Marystown and Port Union fish plants, and an alternate proposal to see further processing at Fortune which had considerable debate from many in the Province. At this point in time, we do not have a sufficient resolution to move forward there. I am pleased to say to members of this House that government is indeed moving forward with the Port Union group. They have asked for our support. They recognize that their plant is permanently closed and have asked for our support. The member who sits on the government side has been working diligently with me, Mr. Chair, to move forward on that issue, and we are certainly going to do that. We will step up with some employment supports, we will provide some community economic development opportunities in the area. For those who are interested, my colleague, the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills will be around and giving support to provide for retraining opportunities and funding, Mr. Chair. I am very pleased to acknowledge that as well.

The Marystown issue, as many would know, we, as government, provided some short-term employment supports for a number of employees within the last seven days. We did that, Mr. Chair, in spite of the fact that there still seems to be a labour dispute versus a permanent plant closure acknowledgement there. We did that because we recognize the challenges that some of those individuals face when they are nearing the end of an opportunity to qualify for Employment Insurance.

The other quick comment, Mr. Chair, I would like to make is we have had some discussion in the Province around the DFO policy review, if you want to use that word. I forget the exact title of it, but policy review. I have to say, as Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture for Newfoundland and Labrador probably one of the single greatest challenges is that people do not understand the difference between federal policies and responsibilities, and provincial policies and responsibilities. It is not only people, Mr. Chair. It is not only people of the Province; it is people in this House of Assembly who do not understand that.

Just this morning, for example, I had a call from an individual who is frustrated because they fish a species where they want to have a longer boat. They want a larger boat so they can go further offshore and be safer for them and their crew. The issue is a federally regulated issue. The reason they called me is because they went to the federal government who consulted the union and the union said no, they did not agree with the fisherperson, so they landed on the provincial government doorstep. Mr. Chair, that happens every single day when you are the Minister of Fisheries. The challenge is that all members of this House do not take an opportunity to provide factual information and help people understand the process.

Mr. Chair, that is indeed a challenge. Probably a greater challenge, Mr. Chair, is you see these trivial releases go out sometimes from members opposite, yet very few questions of substance are being asked in the House of Assembly, and I reference my Opposition critic who continues to put out press releases without significant debate in the House of Assembly.

I say to the member opposite, I reference a couple of things in particular that are so far off the wall. Number one, suggesting government take back a quota when either A, the member is spreading information that he knows is not the most accurate information in the world, or else he just does not understand. The fact of the matter is that the quotas attached to Ocean Choice International have nothing to do with this government; they are regulated through NAFO and the federal government.

If the member wishes to challenge that, I invite him to stand when I am finished because I think members on this side will provide some latitude today, if there is any interest on the other side, in talking about issues in the fishery. For some reason those issues do not come up in Question Period for any degree of time where we can have the debate. I say to the member opposite, if you would like to have a talk about that then I would invite you to get up, stand and share some of your vision and your views for the future because this is the place to do it.

I also reference my colleague opposite from the Third Party. I certainly welcome him as a new member to the House and congratulate him. I wish him the best of luck, because I think he is going to need it. He has raised a number of issues and I am only going to touch on a couple here today, Mr. Chair. Probably the single biggest issue that I want to raise here is the member sits here day after day after day with very few, if any, questions on the fishery. Today, a press release goes out from the member opposite asking the Minister of Fisheries for Newfoundland and Labrador important questions. It is the same party for months, upon months, upon months called on us, through the public forum, to open the House of Assembly because there are important issues to debate.

Let’s be clear, members in this House do not debate through Twitter, contrary to popular believe. I have said that, Mr. Chair, I do not engage very often but I did engage a couple of nights ago to say that if you have important questions on the fishery or sealing – because I would love to talk about all of that today – that this is the place to do it. Not only is it the place to do it, you have an obligation and a responsibility, when you put your name on the ballot to get elected to represent the people, you have a responsibility to raise those issues on the floor of the House of Assembly, I submit to you, and I invite you to do that today.

There are a couple of things that I would like to reference in particular. The Third Party, Mr. Chair, and in fact one member opposite there today keeps referencing, on any number of occasions, members opposite as being temporary members – that would be my word – or holders of seats because the Third Party claims that there is a number of seats that they would like to take, including one neighbouring me in Burin – Placentia West, Mr. Chair.

Let’s be clear – and I can produce this, I have a document here somewhere, a press release and a letter – that the party opposite were certainly not very truthful in the election when they ran in that district because their own party policy, which I can show you if you want to see it, is that they support no shipping out of unprocessed materials from this Province. Now, Mr. Chair, let me tell you the first thing that means, if they ever, ever win the government it is the end of the lobster fishery because that is all we have, except for a small amount of processing, is live lobster because that is what the market calls for. So, let’s be clear upon that, it is the end of the lobster fishery. Second, Mr. Chair, unfortunately, if the local candidate and the party had been truthful with the people on the Burin Peninsula, they would have told them that their policy would not have closed the Marystown plant three or four months ago, it would have closed it about eight years ago because the only thing that kept the Marystown plant going was the ability to ship product out of this Province to subsidize the entire operation of the company and keep workers in Marystown.

Mr. Chair, I challenge the member opposite and my critic to stand up today and let us have a chat about the fishery and let us raise some issues, but let us raise issues of substance. I am not going to use all of my time, I am going to let you get up because I have a number of things I would like to talk to you about. I ask you all to be hon. members in this House and if you are going to come forward, you present information that is factual and that is accurate and present information that shows where you stand on issues, not trivial press releases calling the minister to resign because he made a joking comment to ministers in this House. If you want to be taken seriously, you do not put those kinds of press releases out. You tell people how you would do things differently and you challenge me to ask me how I can improve things, and I will certainly do that.

With fifty-three seconds, I am going to take my seat and I challenge the members opposite to stand and talk about the fishery, please.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: Order, please!

The Chair recognizes the Member for St. John’s North.

MR. KIRBY: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I was challenged by the Premier earlier. I was hoping to have an opportunity, the honour in fact, to follow Newfoundland and Labrador’s first female Premier in debate, but I did not get a chance, so maybe I will get a chance to do that at some point.

I just want to say, off the top, thank you very much to the Minister of Finance. The last time I spoke in debate – this is my fifth time on my feet in debate on the Interim Supply bill – the Minister of Finance got up and gave some very honest answers to questions I was raising around Corner Brook Pulp and Paper. I have great respect for the Minister of Finance. He conducts himself with the dignity and good comport that we would expect from Members of the House of Assembly. I just would say to the Minister of Finance that we do know that the price of newsprint has rebounded on world markets in recent months, so that really is something that should factor in the equation on the future of the mill in Corner Brook. I reiterate my earlier statements about the need for investments in infrastructure for the long-term viability of the mill.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. KIRBY: So, I just want to say – we are hearing a lot of yelling again, but that is okay; people like to yell, and sometimes they wait their turn. We are hearing a lot about people needing to do their research, Mr. Chair, and I agree. In order to have a plan, you should do your research. This government should do its research – but it is more and more apparent to me, Mr. Chair, that this government has no plan, no plan whatsoever.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. KIRBY: If you just give me an opportunity to speak, if I can have an opportunity to speak – well, just to reference yesterday, for example. We had a Private Members'Day, and members of this government got up and boasted about its record on housing. There has been significant inaction on this file – on the issue of affordable housing in this Province, there is a refusal, a refusal to acknowledge that there is a crisis in housing in this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. KIRBY: You can laugh all you want. The minister responsible for housing in this Province, he is over there laughing away. He can laugh all he wants, that is fine. I do not think it is laughable, Mr. Chair, that there is a crisis in housing in this Province right now. There is no strategy here – and you cannot take a bunch of disparate statements and try to bundle them together and say that that is your strategy. That is not a strategy; that is a laundry list. So yesterday we had a litany, just a list and a list, so we put it all together – that is supposed to be a strategy. I will make an analogy. You can have all the parts of a Ski-Doo, Mr. Chair, laid out in the shed, or in the garage, or in the back yard – all the parts of a Ski-Doo, you can have the skis, you have the engine, you can have the windshield, you have the seat; you have all the parts of a Ski-Doo, but you do not have a Ski-Doo. All you have are parts of a Ski-Doo, and you cannot just jump on the Ski-Doo and go, because it is just parts, it is not something that is complete. So you cannot just get up and list things and say, well there is the strategy, because that is just a laundry list of spending.

So that is not a plan. There is no plan for housing. You have to admit that – there is no plan for housing. It is like the infrastructure strategy. The Auditor General went looking for the infrastructure strategy and he found a laundry list. That is all they had, no plan whatsoever – no plan whatsoever. We also have no plan for whistleblower legislation, no plan whatsoever. We have seen no serious plan on this, Mr. Chair, despite the fact that it was quite a long time ago we had a recommendation from Justice Derek Green after the spending scandal, saying that we needed to have whistleblower legislation in this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. KIRBY: Whistle-blower legislation is not funny at all. The Premier is over there having a great laugh at my suggestion that there should be whistleblower legislation. I do not think that there should be any – this is not a laughing matter at all.

There is no plan; this is a government with no plan, making it up as they go along. No plan to deal with the housing crisis, no acknowledgement that there is even a crisis. The Province does not have a formal infrastructure strategy; there is some $5 billion in spending for which there is no plan. There is also no plan for child care. They keep saying, Mr. Chair, that at some point there is going to be a ten-year strategy for child care. We have not seen that. At the rate that this is being dragged out, that is going to be a grandchild care plan, not a child care plan. There is no plan – no plan for child care.

Another one here, back in 2007 this government announced that it would develop a Strategic Adult Literacy Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador. Money has been spent on that; money has been spent in this area and resources have been dedicated to it. Stakeholders have said what they want to see, government asked stakeholders what they wanted to see and they provided briefs, they met with members of government. There is still no plan, five years later – no plan whatsoever.

Adult literacy is a major issue in this Province. We continue to have among the lowest literacy rates in Canada, in Newfoundland and Labrador, and that is no laughing matter either. Government members should know – if they have done their research here, Mr. Chair – that literacy skills are essential; essential to our workforce, to our training needs, essential to help retrain, to help re-skill older workers, no question about that.

It is essential for public health. If an adult cannot read, how are they supposed to follow a prescription on a pill bottle? We have public health problems that result. It is essential for citizenship. People run in elections and they put literature in your mailbox. If you cannot read it, how are you supposed to know who to vote for, Mr. Chair? It is essential for community development. Literacy is essential for economic growth and for productivity in this Province.

There is still no plan, no plan at all. The Minister of Advanced Education and Skills said last spring that it would be released at that time, that it would be released then, back in 2011 – nothing.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. KIRBY: The current Minister of Advanced Education and Skills said that.

No plan for family literacy at all in this Province, no plan whatsoever. No plan for improving the literacy levels in our Aboriginal communities or amongst our Aboriginal peoples, none at all. No plan for English as a second language. No plan for general educational development preparation and no plan to improve the workplace literacy skills of workers in our labour market. No plan. There is also no plan for search and rescue. Lurching from one tragedy to another it appears. That is what we are doing in this Province. No plan for the Marine Rescue Sub-Centre, none at all, despite the fact that this government has embraced Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s agenda holus-bolus, no question, none at all. No plan at all for that Marine Rescue Sub-Centre.

No plan for more resources for ground search and rescue. No plan for an independent offshore safety agency. No plan for a thirty-minute run dry time that was recommended that we need in this Province. No plan to implement many of the measures that were suggested by Mr. Justice Robert Wells. There is no plan for providing the types of services and programs that are vital to the lives of people in Newfoundland and Labrador, none at all. No plan for services and programs that are so important to people in this Province. No plan for critical and crucial programs and services, none whatsoever.

Now, talking about another area where we need a strategy –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. KIRBY: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Another area where we need a plan is for replacing those workers who are going to retire as we go into the future. We have the most aging population in the country in this Province. We are aging more quickly than any other province in Canada.

Yesterday, I went and met with workers at Eastern Health. Those are skilled-trades workers who do work that are essential to hospital operations. Their work is crucial to the operation of health care facilities in this Province, no question. These people are literally keeping the lights on in our hospitals. They are literally keeping the water running in our hospitals. They are keeping our patients fed. When they are lying there in their hospital beds, they are feeding those patients. The cooks, the electricians, the carpenters, et cetera. There are thirty positions that are vacant right now at Eastern Health and they are not being filled. That is going to get worse because as the workforce ages we are going to have more and more people leaving the labour force and retiring. In this group of workers in particular, they are amongst the oldest workers at Eastern Health. We need to do something because labour market conditions are changing. It is harder and harder to find skilled candidates that we need for these areas. So, we need a plan for that, for the workforce as the population ages. Increasingly, as I said, it has become obvious –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. KIRBY: – that there is no plan, Mr. Chair.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: The Chair recognizes the hon. the Minister of Child, Youth and Family Services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

It is a pleasure to rise in this House today to speak to Interim Supply. Just about twenty minutes ago, ten, fifteen minutes ago, we just heard the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture so eloquently speak about the fishery and the importance of the fishery in our Province. I heard him put out the challenge to Opposition members to get up on the floor and speak to this very important issue. Mr. Chair, seeing no takers, I would certainly like to take the opportunity to get up and speak about the fishery.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS JOHNSON: Mr. Chair, it has been said many times, and it is absolutely true, the fishery is the backbone of this Province, and it is absolutely shameful and unbelievable that we do not hear very many members from the opposite side get up and speak to this very important industry in the Province. Tens of thousands of people are employed throughout the Province, and, Mr. Chair, all we see are comments on Twitter and press releases: Get up on your feet in Question Period and ask the questions.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS JOHNSON: I have been here eight years, and I think probably the first time I ever heard a question on the fishery from the Third Party was this session in the House. I may even, in fact, have heard a second one, I cannot quite be sure. Mr. Chair, for such an important industry you would think they would get up and ask more questions on such a vital industry and stay off the Twitters and the silly press releases that we see.

I am going to take the opportunity to speak about the fishery because I come from a fishing district. We have several fish plants in the district, we have P. Janes & Sons, we have Green Seafoods, Quinlans, Quin-Sea. Mr. Chair, when you talk about a fishing district, I can certainly say that I come from a fishing district. We have some of the highest landings of crab and shrimp in the Province, the highest processing numbers of crab and shrimp. Usually they are the top one, some years it might be number two. Mr. Chair, it employs thousands of people in my district, from harvesters, to deckhands, to plant workers, and the list goes on and on. The value of the spinoffs from the fishery in my district and for the businesses, are tremendous. I remember being a young girl and going to Bay de Verde for a drive and I was a very young age at this time –

AN HON. MEMBER: You are not that old now.

MS JOHNSON: Thank you for that.

I remember visiting Bay de Verde, a beautiful picturesque community – and if you have never been to Bay de Verde and Old Perlican and, in fact, throughout the entire district, I certainly welcome the members to visit. It is such a lovely place. One of the things that struck me was the beehive of activity with the plant. The other thing that struck me was the smell, and I remember as a little girl saying, what is that smell? One man said to me at the time, that is smell of money. Mr. Chair, it is so true that the economic dividends that come out of my district to the people of my district in the employment are certainly significant to say the least.

Mr. Chair, all we hear from the Opposition, from both the Official Opposition and the Third Party, is we do not do enough for our fishery. Time and time again, you are not doing enough for the fishery. Mr. Chair, I would like to take this opportunity to give a few examples of what it is we are doing for fishery just in my district alone. Now I am sure the minister and others can speak to what goes on in their districts, but there is a Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program that we introduced a few years back, and we have spent $6 million on 127 projects. These projects go to improving the quality of the product that is produced, enhancing and promoting innovation so that we can get higher yields from the product. Higher yields mean more work hours for the people who work in the plant, for the people who work on the wharves, for the truckers, and so on. A lot of this money goes to ensuring that our industry is sustainable and competitive in the global market.

I would just like to get into a few of the projects, because they speak to how it is we go to looking at improved technology to have that sustainability in the industry, but also looking at it from a waste-management perspective and some of the things that we are doing. Again, these are just a few of the projects, but just recently, Mr. Chair, in fact just a few days ago, we announced nearly $85,000 for Quinlan’s in Bay de Verde to do some research there. The purpose of that money was to promote high-quality slush ice shrimp products. A lot of it is technical certainly, but it is an example of the department supporting the development of international markets. This is a global place; it is very competitive and having that competitive edge is critically important. By having that competitive edge and being able to sell more product into the international market – that translates into more jobs for the people who work in our districts, Mr. Chair. So we did announce $100,000 for that project and again it is to look at new approaches for product development and the promotion of that product.

We also provided funding to foster future growth and competitiveness, and this is to explore ways to improve the crab processing yield. A lot of it is technical, but it is quite interesting in terms of looking at some of the projects that the minister has been supporting and the previous ministers before him. Most of these projects are pretty recent, in fact just as recent as December of 2011 and August of 2011. This is looking at a new convection cooking model and comparing it to the boiler method that they use right now to see if the yields will be higher. Higher yields translates into more product, more product translates into more processing, which translates into more jobs for people.

Mr. Chair, we also provided $13,000 to Quin-Sea in Old Perlican. This was quite an interesting research project too, and it was trying to extract more product from the crab. As you know, there is some wastage, so this used the technology of a spin sheller to try and extract more crab meat from the broken crab shoulders. Quite interesting, but if you can extract more product, it is more product that is for sale.

We also hired a consultant – and this one is rather interesting from a waste management perspective – to review the options for processing the poly-woven bags that are used before they go for disposal. This would be looking at washing them, cleaning them, using bio-friendly cleaners and sanitizers, and so on. It shows that there is a commitment on behalf of the processors and on behalf of government to find innovative solutions toward the environment as well.

Some other examples of funding that went to fish plants in my district are Green’s in Winterton; this came from a solid waste management fund and this was to develop a prototype that replaced the current cardboard liner that they would use with a reusable plastic liner. Mr. Chair, this was a pilot project which turned out and proved to be extremely successful as they have now completely switched to the reusable plastic liner.

Even better than that as a good-news story, was that these reusable liners are being manufactured locally right here in Newfoundland and Labrador; in fact, they are being manufactured in Witless Bay.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS JOHNSON: Here is an example of assisting the environment, finding more efficient ways so that the fish plant owners can put more money into their products and their plants, but also finding a local solution to an environmental problem, and having that manufactured right here is absolutely wonderful.

We also provided funding to Green’s to look at value-added mussel development, Mr. Chair. They have a mussel production there, a very unique market niche. This certainly goes to making the company stronger in their diversification of the products and secure much larger orders.

There are numerous other projects that we have funded through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Again, when we hear from the Opposition we have been doing nothing for the fishery, it is simply untrue. The number of dollars that go out through the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, and other departments, particularly when it comes to the environmental solutions, are quite significant and it translates into more jobs.

You look at the CEP programs, Mr. Chair, when there was troubling times in the fishery and some of the plant workers could not get to work, again, this government stepped up to the plate and we put a community enhancement fish program in place. Certainly, a lot of the people from my district benefited greatly from that.

Another area where the government puts a lot of funds into the fishery is through the Special Assistance Grants. These can be $3,000, $5,000, which could go into harbour authorities to enhance the wharf, enhance some of the facilities that are used by the harvesters, and would go back into enhancing the fishery in that area.

Mr. Chair, to say we are not doing anything is just not good enough to hear from the Opposition. When you get upon the floor of this House, you have a duty to your constituents to be truthful and factual. What is wrong with saying that things are being done but certainly progress needs to be made? We will certainly agree that everything is not perfect, but acknowledging that there is progress would go a lot further than simply getting up and saying you are not doing anything all of the time. People are sick and tired of hearing that, Mr. Chair.

It is very interesting –

CHAIR (Kent): Order, please!

I remind the hon. minister that her time for speaking has expired.

MS JOHNSON: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: The Chair recognizes the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BALL: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

While the member opposite mentioned about the fishery, I guess it would be remiss of me right now if I did not speak for a few minutes on the fishery before we get into some of the –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BALL: Even in my own district, we had a couple of fish plants. Unfortunately, we had one that was closed down just recently, just about a couple of years ago, and the impact that it has on the district, so I can certainly assure you that there has been a tremendous impact, especially on families. I know even this year it was very difficult for people to find work. We have had, certainly, high numbers of unemployment in the district, and we have a lot of people who have left the district. As a matter of fact, in double digits we have seen out-migration from the White Bay area of the district, largely because of the closure of the fish plant in Jackson’s Arm.

I have to say this year, as I mentioned, it was very difficult for people to find work. We had eighty-three people who did not have enough hours this year to actually even draw EI for this year. I will say, there was a bunch of projects that went to the district that enabled people to become EI eligible this year, but that is not the kind of work that these people are looking for. They are looking for meaningful employment, something that is lasting, and something that is long-term. That has not come yet. The fishery is an issue. We still have the issues in Marystown. We still have issues in Port Union. All around this Province there are many things that needs to be addressed with the fishery and where a long-term plan and some leadership is required.

I want to address some of the comments that were made a few minutes earlier about the Voisey’s Bay deal and one of the things that makes the Voisey’s Bay deal significantly different than the discussion that we are having today on the Muskrat Falls deal. Even though I was not in the House at the time, I do understand that there was a completed deal that was brought to this House and there was considerable discussion. As a matter of fact, all members in the House were given the opportunity to speak to the Voisey’s Bay deal in detail and of course a vote was called. There was the full completed deal with a statement of principles that was brought to this House for all members to have input. As a matter of fact, there was an opportunity for amendments. Like I said, even though I was not here at the time, I do understand that there was no amendments that came forward. The statement of principles, however, they were available. There was a discussion on this and all members actively took part in this. That is one significant difference, there is no question about that, in the Voisey’s Bay deal to where we are right now.

We know the impact of the Voisey’s Bay deal and the impact it is having on our Province right now, we see it as we look to our tradespeople, and it is actually a very contributing factor to our trade workers right now, not finding enough for the Province. This deal, as I said, the Voisey’s Bay deal has been very successful and it is contributing millions and millions of dollars to our economy.

If I could just speak for a few minutes on the Muskrat Falls deal and we have been accused, I guess, of not asking any new questions or looking for any new information. Mr. Chair, what we have been asking for is not the fact that we have not been asking new questions, we have not been getting any new answers. There is still a considerable amount of information that we are still looking for, and we will continue to ask those questions on behalf of the people of the Province, things like LNG. If those reports are readily available, if the argument is as compelling as they claim to be, well all we are asking for is let the public and let the Members of this House of Assembly see the information. Let’s see the information on LNG, let’s see the information on natural gas. Where is the power purchase agreement with Newfoundland Hydro? It affects all of us, and it will affect the financing of this project.

We have already heard this week that there will be a $2 billion equity that will be provided by the government. We have opportunities in this Province. We have some long-term debt to deal with. What is the opportunity with that $2 billion? Is this the best place to park it for our future? There are opportunity losses – or costs, as I would say, as I would repeat – with this $2 billion. We recognized that earlier with the Atlantic Accord.

The other thing is the $3 billion that will be borrowed by Nalcor, and of course we will, as a Province, backstop that loan. Nalcor is owned by us, as residents in the Province, and supported by the government. So in actual fact, we will guarantee that loan. That is a significant liability. What concerns me there, however, is the ability to pay and to raise finances, just in case we do see a cost overrun. We recognize there is an escalation in this project, an escalator in terms of costs of construction over a multi-year contract, but a 15 per cent cost overrun on a project of this magnitude and over many years in a very difficult environment is not a very big contingency fund, in my view. With that, and because of that, what we have asked for is a cash flow analysis of Nalcor, which would not be unfair at all. If the ability to finance this is there, why not put this information available, I ask, Mr. Chair? All of us, at some point in our life – it does not matter if we are building just a simple house or whatever it is - went looking for financing on something. It is important to know that you have the ability to pay. That is all we are asking for here. The people have a right to know, and we all have a right to know and deserve what those answers would be.

We recognize, too, through some of the reports that we have had – and the MHI report talks about some significant gaps, gaps that still exist in this project. We have been asking where they are and for updates on those reports. For instance, the system integration, which is seen to be a major gap – which has been recognized by Manitoba Hydro because it reviewed the documents that Nalcor gave them. These reports, even though they are available, the solution to those gaps we still have not heard. Yet, we say we are willing to go ahead and continue the discussion on this deal, and even bring it to sanction. I think the public of this Province deserve to know where we are, updating this project on a timely basis. It is not unusual and it is not something that, in my view at least, we should not be asking for. It is something that people have a right to know.

The transmission link, for instance, is still a gap over the Strait of Belle Isle. We still have not found a solution to that. Is that going to be $150 million, as was suggested by Manitoba Hydro, or not? Where does that fit into the budget? Which brings me to the point where one of the serious gaps that Manitoba Hydro discussed, which indeed, was the budget itself. I understand that before this goes to sanction there will be a complete budget - or what Manitoba Hydro has been asking for is a more detailed budget.

Right now, where we are for the information that we know at Decision Gate 2, is that this project could be 30 per cent less, it could be as high as 50 per cent more. This is important, that is an 80 per cent variance on this project and it will have significant risks as we try and arrange financing. These are things that we still have not addressed, and the people I believe in the Province have a right to know.

We have been accused also of being partisan to this. I can assure you that in my years in business we have had many, many developments. For me, I am pro-development, but simply asking questions on behalf of the people of the Province does not mean that we are anti-anything, it does not mean that we are partisan. For instance, people like Cabot Martin, who have had years in this Province being a significant contributor as a principle advisor back in former PC governments actually, and was a key player in the Hibernia development; David Vardy, Ron Penney, and even former Premier Brian Peckford, we could all say would actually lay the foundation along with his counterparts in Ottawa on what happened to our offshore developments today. These are people we should not simply dismiss. We need to pay attention to what they are saying. They deserve answers because they are asking those on behalf of the people of the Province.

We have some well-known lawyers in this very city who are concerned about the process, and quite frankly, we agree with that. The process to me has been flawed. The information that is available should be available for public view, and there is really no reason why the public of the Province should not have access to this. What is important here is that we do have time; we have had time to deal with this. What is important is that we get this right. We had time to deal with Hebron. Right now we already know that there is $100 million-or-more of work that will be leaving this Province. We have had time to plan for that and it has not happened.

We seen Nalcor just last year in a joint project in Parson’s Pond; we thought it was going to be $14 million for three exploration holes. What did we get? We got two holes for $23 million. These are significant overruns and this is a serious problem for us because as a Province we will assume the risk of those overruns.

Mr. Chair, as I finish up today, I will say my concern is that we do have time. It is important that we get this project right if indeed it is going to go ahead. It is important we consider all the options that we have available to us. This opportunity will come; it is once in a lifetime for us. The big thing is get it right.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: Order, please!

The Chair recognizes the hon. the Member for the District of Bonavista North.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CROSS: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

It is indeed an honour to be here today. I guess since it is the first time I have really been to my feet, I have a couple of little housekeeping chores to take care of before I get into the debate.

Everybody wants to go on record as congratulating the very first female Premier in our Province. I want to join that record and put my name in history as welcoming her here to this position. The new energy she brings to this position is evident – passion, commitment; she is articulate and knowledgeable. She will battle with the best of them. This is lady is our tenth Premier, but I would rank her as a ten.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CROSS: Vince Lombardi said: "The strength of the group is the strength of the leader[s]."

This lady demands strength in us in the backbench, in the Cabinet, in the Province. When you have someone of that strength before you, you rise to the occasion.

I would even stand to venture that she could rise the Opposition to a scattered occasion.

We have the debate challenge today to speak about the fishery. What we really need is to hear the Leader of the Third Party on the fishery.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CROSS: In fact, I would gladly give up my seat to hear her opinion right now.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CROSS: The challenge is out. I would like to commend the Leader of the Opposition; we had two minutes and thirty-six seconds of his time in the last address.

I would like to take the time today to talk about the fishery, but in getting to it I would also like to entertain the topic of tide. I am not thinking about the tide that comes in detergent form; I am going to think outside of the box. Tides have governed our lives as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians for far longer than we have been known as Newfoundland and Labrador. Tide has shaped this rock. In that tide swim, swam and crawls the fish and all of the other species in the water that we wish to harvest. Tides are governed by outside forces, Mr. Chair, of which we have mere control, but study and engage them. We react, and how we react makes us efficient and enables our survival. Tide controlled our lives in past generations, Mr. Chair. We launched our boats; we manoeuvred with the tides. If the tide was not in, we could not get the boat in the water. If we ran aground, we waited for the tide to rise. If the tide rose too high, we moved out of the way. If we got caught in it, usually personal strength did not allow us the chance to survive.

We have also used our technology to overcome and capture the power of tide to our advantages. Paying attention to the tide and studying it has lessened our importance for survival to it. We have built bigger vessels; literally and figuratively these bigger vessels have helped us overcome the tide. That tide is closely connected to my district. We are in Bonavista North; we are in Newfoundland and Labrador. We came here because of the fish. We came here. That is what brought us here. It is what has kept us here and it is what is going to keep us here long after non-renewable resources are gone, but we have to turn the tide on how we treat that resource.

I am proud to represent the great District of Bonavista North here today and need I say, after this being the fourth victory, it is soon to be considered the Tory stronghold of Bonavista North.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CROSS: We have a proud history of fishers and sailors over the years. There are too many names to start mentioning all the family names here. If you leave one out, you will have to answer questions. There is not one family in Bonavista North that cannot be connected and traced and tracked back to roots in the connection of the sea and the fishery. I often try to imagine what it must have been like when the fishery was in its heyday, in Skipper Eli Cross’s heyday, my grandfather. The Labrador fishery was a very important portion of his life. He was a great sailor, and I can imagine when you put down the traps and everything, and the over abundance of fish that was in them – everything else was a nuisance. Cod was the only thing we went after – cod. What a day when we could trace ourselves back to that in our roots. Here, boys, have at it – no rules, no ways to say you have anything here that is going to stop you. You can get as much fish as you want; there is as much out there as you can capture.

Hey, these days have changed. These days have changed. We have witnessed and realized the need for diversity. First, we had to diversify ourselves within the fishery. Now we have to diversify ourselves to things outside the fishery. We went on for so long, became so good at being fishers and harvesters, and became so good at creating unions and union movements that everybody had their own little niche in the sand. Everybody wanted a piece of the action. Everybody wanted a bigger piece of the action.

Now it comes to the point that not only do we have to diversify in that way, we have to diversify our ideologies. We have the lion and the lamb; we have to have the union, the fisher, the harvester, the processor all sit down together to keep this industry afloat and alive. We are at the brink where we have to park these selfish interests and look for the common good.

The fishery undoubtedly is going to be a big focus in the next four years because for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians the fishery is connected of two things; it is economics but it is also culture. It is embedded in this Province and the challenges have never been greater to keep it alive than today.

In dealing with our aging workforce and overcapacity issues, sustainability issues with species, the greatest challenge is this inevitable rationalization. It is taking place without us if we are not going to be there to see that it changes and sustains. There has been a lot said from all quarters about what work needs to be done, but we have to park these agendas at the door, go into the meeting and when all is said and done, there had better be more done than there is said. Talk is cheap, this fishery requires action.

The future of this fishery has a diverse range of opportunities and it is not just like it was fifty years ago to be in a boat. Now, not only do you harvest but you have enforcement, you have policy-makers, and science to enhance the sustainability. These opportunities will be fewer, if any at all. The clock is ticking; it will be too late holding out if we keep on holding out. It is like you are in a big poker game and you have the big hand, the big hand is going to win. If you hang out too long, your hand loses. Some real tough decisions have to be made and accepting these decisions for the common good will ensure that there is a future for all of us.

This government encourages this form of collaboration. We put our historic survival and our support skills in play. There are no tougher yet compassionate people than Newfoundland and Labrador people. Our communities have survived this forever. The people who adopted this land in the last 500 years have survived. The Aboriginal people have survived here forever; they can teach us more than we can ever want to learn. We have to park our agendas for unions and processors and harvesters, the individual things, at the door. We need to honour this legacy of survival in this Province we call home, and we have to survive.

I have only touched the tip of the iceberg – maybe icebergs will be my next topic. These should not be perceived as troubled times, let’s look at them as a challenge and an exciting time. I count it as a privilege not a curse to be here, to be active and proactive in this process. I am ready, our minister is ready, our party and our team and our government is ready.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CROSS: Can we say that for the other side of the House? Again, I will reiterate, I would like to hear what the Leader of the Third Party has to say.

I have to put some of my notes away. I want to close, I have twenty seconds, I want you to think, think fishery, think Muskrat Falls, think of the other things that I gave you but also think municipal affairs, all these other ones and here is the crux of my message today. I am going to quote, "There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune." Yes, this is from Julius Caesar. "Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures."

CHAIR: Order, please!

I remind the hon. member that his time for speaking has expired.

MR. CROSS: Will shallow in miseries with the members of the Opposition.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for St. John’s East.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MURPHY: Mr. Chair, it was almost like a religious revival hour and I would have given the hon. Member for Bonavista North all the time he wanted because he is truly an inspiration to the Third Party, knowing that the hon. Member for St. John’s East would love to get up and talk to a few fisheries issues. We are not afraid – it is in everybody’s heritage here – to talk about the fishery over here. For example, I know that a co-operative venture, for example, like Fogo or a co-operative venture like they have going on the Northern Peninsula right now is a great thing for the Province and it is keeping money in the economy. We are not afraid to talk fishery over here, but the point is we all like to have turns to talk over here. That is why yours truly is up right now, but be assured that we have a great critic when it comes to fisheries, to answer to fisheries, and you will be hearing more from him in the future, but may I digress.

Mr. Chair, again, thank you for the opportunity to speak to Interim Supply. We can talk to fisheries; we can also talk to the Corner Brook paper mill. I can speak to my own family tree. I come from a family of fishers on the Murphy and the Kelly side from Bonavista, Tickle Cove in particular. I can talk to the Langdon and the Fifield side of the family from the West Coast of the Province and from Central Newfoundland, Bishop’s Falls, when it comes to the forestry. A lot of my relatives worked at the Corner Brook paper mill, and it only gives me great pleasure to hear from the Minister of Natural Resources that there is still some hope for the Corner Brook paper mill yet. I wish government all the best and hopefully they will bring due diligence to keeping the plant open.

Mr. Chair, speaking to Interim Supply, I wanted to come back a little bit to Muskrat Falls and again talk about the possibility of some of the options that have not been looked at, and talk about – I guess talking about the options that were there, but at the same time, talking about why some of these options were not looked at. It is only going to give great pleasure, I think, to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to know that Mr. Bruneau – Dr. Stephen Bruneau, I believe; his proper title being Doctor – will be holding a forum, for example, on March 28 over at the Harris Centre at MUN, talking about natural gas and the possibility of what this Province can be losing out on. It is nice to know that people are still talking about it, because in some cases that is our job, to oppose government, particularly here in Opposition.

Do we want to see Muskrat Falls fail? If it is an entirely good thing, this Party over here, the New Democratic Party of Newfoundland and Labrador, would want to have all options looked at. If all of the options were looked at, we would want to see that project succeed as much as anybody else, particularly as well as the government. But, those options, as we know, have not been looked at, and that is why we have no other choice but to hold government accountable. That is my job. That is my comrades'job over here on this side. It is the job of the loyal Opposition. It is not the fact that we are against development in the Province. We are not against the Muskrat Falls project, but according to the House of Assembly definition as to regards of what my job is, on this side of the House my job is to oppose and to hold government at account. If government does not want to make all of that information available to us or to the general public, then it is our job to scrutinize government as a result of that – but government, at the end of the day, makes the decision on what information they want to release, and we can only comment on what we have.

Anyway, let me get back to it again, regarding what I think that we are going to lose in not looking at all these options. When we are talking about the Helios windmill plan – their project involved a wind-generation farm that would possibly generate 800 megawatts of electricity, possibly at a cost of 7.5 cents a kilowatt hour. Mr. Chair, when we are talking 7.5 cents a kilowatt hour, we are talking – right now consumers of this Province are looking at 10.7 cents a kilowatt hour cost on their electricity bill. I look to Nova Scotia where Nova Scotians are paying 4.4 cents a kilowatt hour right now when it comes to natural gas, and I have to ask – being a responsible consumer, I guess, and wanting to know the answers to these questions – why is it that we cannot have natural gas here in Newfoundland and Labrador? Why can’t we have it playing as a viable option to Newfoundland and Labrador consumers? Why can we not have 4.4 cents a kilowatt hour worth of energy playing against right now, $1.05 to $1.10 cents a litre heating oil, for example, that some people cannot afford.

We are talking about the possibility to future generations of this Province missing out on a simple affordability measure here that would help keep dollars in consumers'pockets, and we are not being responsible enough to look past 2017 and say, what can natural gas mean to consumers of this Province. So, Mr. Chair, I would simply like to bring up that point when it comes to that, that we have to look at those as viable options.

I guess a couple of other concerns still arise, particularly from today when it comes to the response on the part of the federal government, and when it comes to the Province’s release of the environmental considerations today. I think mercury is still playing in the back of my mind, and I think I still have a concern, or our party still has a viable concern, what this project is going to bring to the environment, particularly to the waters of Lake Melville, and downstream from that – the responsibility to our children and our children’s children. If anybody thinks that mercury is not a serious issue, again, I am going to repeat the same refrain that we had a situation over in Japan years ago where Minamata disease occurred because of mercury, to the end consumer in the food chain, to human beings. It caused God only knows what kind of devastating conditions to the people in Japan. At the same time as that, we have the James Bay Project in Quebec that had a direct concern of elevated mercury levels that pretty much ruined the fish stock in the waters that the people were using there. These are really serious concerns and I would hope that there would be more redress to those particular conditions.

The other concern I have is probably about the projected costs of oil. I know that there is a lot of volatility when it comes to oil prices and yes, I do know that they are rising. To what degree, happens to be the question. We hear various estimates out there, anywhere between $150 and $200 a barrel that oil prices could be going. We are also hearing about the counterbalance to those oil numbers in the form of natural gas ‘fracking'which is becoming basically a worldwide trend.

We forget that any kind of a change in technology today can pretty much make things redundant overnight. I think that it is probably best phrased in the last little while by the words that Brian Peckford said in his letter to the Premier when he talked about the simple fact that hydro was king in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, but is the same right now in the particular case where you had transatlantic trips by ship for example were made redundant by the simple invention of the airplane, and several years later all of a sudden what happened to transatlantic shipping of people.

We see rapid advances in technology and man is advancing so fast when it comes to its inventions and to its technical abilities, that it almost makes Muskrat Falls look redundant at times. That is a direct concern that we have. We are wondering if government is looking at those options and like I said, natural gas and ‘fracking'are out there. There has been no study, as far as I have seen, that has been done as regards to the impact that it is going to make on hydroelectric issues.

The other thing that concerns me is a line that I saw in a report by the International Energy Agency talking about the price of oil, talking about the volatility of it. I know it has been quoted here several times that oil consumption is going to climb to 99 million barrels in the run of a day by 2035. A line that I saw later in the same report said something along the lines that consumption of oil was going to drop back to somewhere around 84 million, 85 million barrels in the run of a day because of the simple nature of ‘fracking'and the advent of natural gas. We could be missing the boat when it comes to natural gas –

CHAIR: Order, please!

I remind the hon. member that his time for speaking has expired.

MR. MURPHY: By leave? Could I have leave to finish up?

CHAIR: Does the hon. member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

CHAIR: By leave.

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I will just finish up by saying that I think that government needs to revisit before it is too late to get the proper people in to do a concerted study on natural gas. I know that the Province does not have a natural gas royalty regime as it stands now, it has been too long in waiting. We need more study done on natural gas and to bring it to the market, not only to the advantage of the consumer but as a possibility to offset this Muskrat Falls Project.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: The Chair recognizes the hon. the Government House Leader.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Chair, what I say to the Member for St. John’s East is that this government relies upon experts, not self-professed experts who run a number of figures and come up with the cost of gas each week. What we deal with are people out there who know their business. Nalcor, first and foremost, Mr. Chair, have looked at natural gas, they have looked at liquefied natural gas.

Mr. Chair, since I became the minister in November, I have met with experts in this area. I have talked to both PIRA and Wood MacKenzie in New York on the effect of shale gas. There is no question, and both these expert companies will refer to shale gas as a game changer. What we look at is the price of natural gas. There is no question that the price of natural gas is currently below $3 per million BTU and it is only projected to rise to $6 in the next decade for example. We know that natural gas has had a significant impact.

Now, what does that mean to us as a Province? We currently, Mr. Chair, have no natural gas on land discovered. We certainly have significant offshore natural gas with 11 trillion cubic feet of natural gas discovered and it could be up to 60 trillion feet undiscovered. Mr. Chair, we have significant natural gas reserves. Now, how do you deal with that, though? How does that replace Muskrat Falls? How does that replace Holyrood? This is what you have to do, and it sounds like the member opposite by reading a report on-line has become an expert. Well what I say to the opposite party, take some of your money that the Member for St. John’s North used to go have his chili party in Corner Brook and hire an expert. Hire someone who can look at what we are saying. He went and he had his picture taken in Stephenville, he had his bowl of chili in Corner Brook. Well, use that money to hire an expert because that is what we are doing, Mr. Chair.

Let’s look at the options. In natural gas there are two scenarios. One is to build a pipeline from the Grand Bank, and that is apparently what Dr. Bruneau is going to suggest. Mr. Chair, we will put Dr. Bruneau up against any of the experts we have retained and we are using, put him up against Nalcor. He is entitled to his opinion. Mr. Cabot Martin who is out there has very strong opinions on natural gas, so be it.

Mr. Chair, we deal with facts. As I said earlier today, we deal with facts, not theory or hypothesis. This is a fact; the Grand Banks is 350 kilometres away from Holyrood on a straight line. What I am told, Mr. Chair - and I have met with Union Fenosa out of Spain, I have met with Husky, I have talked to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. What we are told, Mr. Chair, is that direct line cannot take place. It could be a 650 kilometre pipeline to bring natural gas to Holyrood. That capital cost of natural gas, Mr. Chair, is not as expensive as Muskrat Falls but the operating cost becomes high.

In the United States right now we know that natural gas, the shale gas is around, as I say, $2.50, $3, projected to rise to $6. I am not making this up. The experts are telling us this, Mr. Chair. If the hon. member opposite wants to learn something about the price of oil and the volatility of oil, I would invite him to read the PIRA report that was filed at the Public Utilities Board. Dr. Mark Schwartz outlines in detail why he thinks the price of oil will continue to rise and why Holyrood will cost so much money. He does not deal with Holyrood but he deals with the price of oil.

First and foremost, Mr. Chair, we have the volatility in the Middle East. We currently have the opinion of Dr. Schwartz and PIRA and these people with over, I think it is 600 different corporate clients, sixty countries including countries from the Middle East; I do not know if they are retaining the Member for St. John’s East. What they are doing, Mr. Chair, they are outlining supply versus demand. It is not only mathematical calculations, Mr. Chair, they look at geographical, geopolitical and they come up with forecasts, which are best estimates.

There are 90 million barrels of oil (inaudible) today, so we know that shale gas, or shale oil, shale liquids could add another 1.5 million barrels. It does not meet the demand. China is growing so fast, if China continues to grow at 5 per cent, it will outpace the United States as the biggest consumer of oil. Shale gas, Mr. Chair, is not affecting the price of oil in that respect. Where shale gas is having an impact is in the Northeast United States energy markets because now a lot of the coal-fired plants, a lot of the nuclear plants that are coming of age are being replaced, back to natural gas, bringing it in.

How do we get the gas? We have given production orders, Mr. Chair, to the oil companies. We cannot force the oil companies to develop the gas. I have met with them and they said we are not developing the gas right now. In fact, Mr. Chair, what one oil executive said to me is: Do you think for a second that if we can make money today on natural gas we would not be doing it? We are in the business of making money.

Mr. Chair, we have issues of joint management. We could bring in a piece of legislation and the Atlantic Accord would have to be amended. There is a very practical issue, Mr. Chair.

Who is going to develop at $3 per million BTU when they are hoping, or they tell us the cost could be minimum $10 to $12 per million BTU to develop it. So not only do you have to build a 650 kilometre pipeline, you have to pay four times more what the gas is worth to develop it. Natural gas is part of our energy plan, Mr. Chair, and it is something that we will develop, the companies will develop in conjunction with us as we move along. Right now, we are told it is not economically feasible. Mr. Chair, a little bit of common sense goes a long way.

We do not have a market for natural gas. We have no pipelines in our roads which deliver natural gas to people. We do not burn natural gas in our homes. What do you do with the excess natural gas? Who is going to buy it? Where is our market? Mr. Chair, the importation is not economically feasible - excuse me, the building of the LNG terminal.

Import natural gas, it sounds good, $3 per million BTU, but, Mr. Chair, we have to get it here. We have opinions. Dr. Locke put forward his opinion, Mr. Chair. In order for natural gas to be economically attractive it has to be less than $5.75 per million BTU. What we are told, and the latest estimates we have is that the cost of bringing natural gas to Newfoundland and Labrador, to Holyrood, would be minimum $10 to $12. What you have is twice the cost. Natural gas, you are simply substituting oil for the volatility of another fuel. You are still held hostage as we move forward. What Muskrat Falls will do, Mr. Chair, it will stabilize electricity rates then reduce them. That is the kind of thing we are looking at, Mr. Chair, in the long-term best interest of our people.

Now, let’s look at why the cost would be $10 to $12. Mr. Chair, you pay a premium for your natural gas, then you pay the liquid faction cost, you pay transportation costs, and you have to degasify. You put all of that together, that is where the cost adds up. That $3 is $7, $8 or $9, or $10 to get here, Mr. Chair.

Let’s take it a step further. The Americans are going to become exporters of natural gas. To become exporters, Mr. Chair, they have to have markets. You pay $12 to $13 in Europe for natural gas, per million BTU, up to $16 in Asia, with Japan being even more. So that natural gas is going to get on a tanker in Louisiana – it is going to the highest bidder, Mr. Chair. I can tell you, the little bit of natural gas that we need in this Province is not going to get us that price we need. So what is happening? That tanker is going to Europe. So if we want it, we pay for it.

So, Mr. Chair, how many studies do you need, how many experts do you have to have tell you that natural gas is not economically feasible. There is no one saying that it is not technically feasible; there is no one saying that our natural gas is not a valuable resource, but Mr. Chair, what I say to the member opposite, what I say to the other members opposite: Do you accept we need the power? If we need the power, we have to do something. We are going to run into problems with electricity in 2015. By 2020, we will have blackouts. Mr. Chair, I fully expect that the Member for Cartwright – L’Anse au Clair will stand up in this House before we finish in May or June or July and say: I support Muskrat Falls because I believe in Labrador; Labrador mining needs the power, Mr. Chair. I thank this government for what they are doing, and they are going to provide power to Labrador.

Now, where are we going to get it to? Where are we going to get it? So, I say to the Member for St. John’s East, as you talk about natural gas, you talk about wind – look at the facts. Tell us, do you accept that we need the power. Is Manitoba Hydro International wrong on that too? Mr. Chair, we need the power. We have to do something about it. Muskrat Falls is the least-cost option; natural gas is not an option, wind is not an option. What other options are there – I keep asking that question.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: The Chair recognizes the hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

If I was not in such a good mood today, I would probably have a debate with the Government House Leader over natural gas, but I am not going to, Mr. Chair.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Happy birthday to you!

MS JONES: They are cutting into my time now.

[Happy Birthday is sung by the members]

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS JONES: Mr. Chair, those were the beautiful voices of the House of Assembly ensemble this afternoon.

Thank you all for the wonderful birthday greetings and birthday wishes. Mr. Chair, in the spirit of celebration, I know that all members in the House of Assembly are like myself and they believe that giving is more important than receiving. Mr. Chair, on that note I would like to thank them for their wonderful tune this evening to Happy Birthday, and I will tell them what I think they should be giving me, because I would like for them to go home this weekend feeling like that was a nice thing I did today as the Minister of Municipal Affairs.

I am going to start with the Minister of Municipal Affairs, because I sent him an e-mail today and he said, Yvonne, every time I open an e-mail from you, it is an emergency. I do not blame him for saying that, because I think in the last week, every day I have woken up to an emergency in my district, which is unfortunate; I am sure that many of you have gone through that in your own districts, where a waterline has broken down, or something is froze up, or something is closed down, and so on. I think that is the nature of our jobs many days, in terms of as MHAs, trying to find a way through all of those particular things. I am not going to ask for something as tiny as the chemicals to get the sewer system thawed out in Charlottetown today, minister, but I will tell you that your colleague there next to you, the Minister of Education – a new school for Charlottetown would not go astray this evening, I will say to the minister. It would be a lovely birthday present for the community and for the children in that community, because like we say, it is all about giving.

Mr. Chair, I know the school board is in there tonight and they are having a meeting. We also know, Mr. Chair, that there has been some bad air quality and mould testing that has happened in that school and it is unfortunate. It has happened in a lot of our schools around the Province simply because it is older infrastructure. It is like everything – when it starts to get older, it starts to get problems. When you start getting problems, you start looking for ways to try and fix it that is within the fiscal realm of doing so, and I guess this is a school that is very old and it does need to be replaced. I guess that is a decision that the government will have to come to terms with, and at the same time, the people will continue to push for it.

Mr. Chair, there are lots of things on my wish list; my good friend the Minister of Transportation and Works, he is not off the hook on the birthday gift either, Mr. Chair. He knows what I am looking for. He has about, I would say, a docket in his office about that big –

MR. HEDDERSON: You know those boxes that came in the other day.

MS JONES: Yes, probably about eight boxes of it, absolutely, of requests looking for the pavement for the highway through Labrador. I am going to tell you, that highway has made a huge difference to the lives of the people in Labrador and to the people in that part of the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS JONES: Absolutely, Mr. Chair, I will not forget in 1996 when I first ran in politics and I travelled almost my entire district by snowmobile because there were no roads into most of the communities. I remember the number one issue on the agenda was building roads to communities. Mr. Chair, I am a very proud MHA and very proud of the governments that saw the vision that I had seen at the time to say that today, I can get in a car and drive into almost every community in my district with the exception of three, and I am still working on those. You never give up until the job is finished.

Mr. Chair, we need to get those roads paved as well and that is part of the birthday list today, along with the new ferry that we need on the Strait of Belle Isle – cannot forget that one. Mr. Chair, I will ask you to throw in one for my friend over on Bell Island, too, because it is all about giving. Maybe we can get a couple of ferries thrown in here, but definitely one on the Strait of Belle Isle, where we know that we have been having all kinds of problems every year with ice. It is an old vessel; it is aging infrastructure and when you are dealing with that, sometimes you reach a point where the only option is to have it replaced. That is obviously where we are. The Apollo has served the people well in its time, but its time has come and we need a new ferry for that service. We would certainly encourage the government to make that part of their Budget this year, to go to tender for that, and to start their negotiations with the federal government on trying to get the new highway through, Mr. Chair.

Of course, one of the big things on my birthday list is for the Minister of Natural Resources, and that is to get the power for the people of Labrador coming out of Muskrat Falls. Mr. Chair, I sit in anticipation, waiting for the day when the Minister of Natural Resources will walk the soil of Labrador, stand onto a podium and say, Muskrat Falls power is going to be made available to the people of Labrador first, for the mining industry and the industrial customers, and we are going to do a full environmental assessment now and design work on building the transmission capacity to make that happen.

Mr. Chair, I wait with bated breath for the day when they will stand and make that announcement. Mr. Chair, I will say to the minister this, that when he is prepared to make Muskrat Falls power available to the people of Labrador first, and ensure that the power lines are going to be put there to bring the power to industry and to communities, there will be no doubt; it will not matter what political party it is to me, I will be the first one there to support it, and you can take my word on that.

Mr. Chair, I have yet to see it happen. I have to wait to see it happen. When I see it happen, Mr. Chair, I will be the first one there. I will bring the birthday cake. You will not have to bring anything; I will bring it all.

Mr. Chair, the other issue I want to talk about is search and rescue in Labrador. I have gotten up and talked about it a number of times in the House, I have had a number of discussions with my colleague, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, on this in terms of what can we do in terms of trying to meet the expectation and the demands that are out there in Labrador and in the Province today, because there is a real cry for improved search and rescue services. Mr. Chair, it has to happen. Saying we are going to change the protocols and add a phone call is not good enough, it is not good enough. There has to be more. They need to have the answers, they need to know. Like I said, why is it the call left the community for emergency help and did not get to the people who should respond for at least twelve or fifteen hours later? Why is it there were Griffon helicopters in the hangar on the base in Goose Bay and they were not available to be used? Why is it, Mr. Chair, that we could not get Cormorant helicopters out of Gander? Why is it that no one was there for the first line of search and rescue and it took almost forty-eight hours to get the attention?

Then, Minister MacKay and Peter Penashue come out and say, well, do not call us, we will call you. That is the new change in protocol. In the past, if you called for help and it did not come, you called back. Well now you do not have to call back, they are going to call you. That is not an improved service for the people of Labrador, and we need to make sure that that service does get improved.

Mr. Chair, I cannot forget the cellphone services. That has to be on my birthday list. You do not even need to put a bow on that, I say to the minister of industry. All you have to do is run the cable directly; do not even wrap it up. That is all you have to do. We would love to get that cellphone service and high-speed Internet through all the communities, Mr. Chair, all the rural communities throughout the Province, especially those in my area and on the Trans-Labrador Highway. I drive that highway a lot, and I am going to tell you, it is not a good feeling when you are out there. It is not a good feeling knowing that you are out in the middle of nowhere in the wilderness. I drove back and forth to Goose Bay several times this winter to get flights in and out to St. John’s and get in and out of my district. I can tell you, sometimes being on that road after dark in the middle of nowhere, knowing that you have no cell service, you have no way to communicate with anyone if something were to happen, there is very little traffic on the road, those kinds of things make you feel somewhat insecure. I think having those cellphone services across Labrador is really a safety precaution as much as it is anything else. When we talk about doing good roads and we talk about doing good signage, well, all part and parcel to that is having good communications.

Mr. Chair, I thank all hon. members. I wish you all a good weekend and when I am travelling up the bay on Saturday in my district to the cabin, I will be thinking about all the gifts I am going to have on my desk when I get back on Tuesday, all wrapped up and ready for the people of my district.

Thank you very much. I am sure there are other speakers as well. That concludes my time.

Thank you.

CHAIR: The Chair recognizes the Member for Bellevue.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PEACH: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Listening to the Opposition House Leader, you would not know that it was her birthday, you would almost think it was Christmas with the list that she has, but in all seriousness, happy birthday Opposition House Leader.

MS JONES: Thank you very much.

MR. PEACH: Mr. Chair, first I want to say that it is a great privilege for me to stand in this hon. House and take my place as the representative for the District of Bellevue and join all my other colleagues in voicing their opinions on different things for their district, but my district is quite an historical district of fishery from one end of my district to the other. Every community in my district depends on the fishery. I want to speak on the fishery today, but before I do, I also want to take this opportunity to thank the people in the District of Bellevue who put their trust in me on October 11, 2011 and re-elected me back to the House of Assembly as their MHA for another term.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PEACH: I also want to go on record to say that for the first time in provincial elections history that a Progressive Conservative candidate won the three polls in the Town of Arnold’s Cove -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PEACH: - with overwhelming support.

I will tell you this little story now. In 2007, Mr. Chair, when I got elected and I was being sworn in by the Lieutenant-Government John Crosbie, who was a long time member in that town, over in that area, in that district, said to me: You will never, ever, no matter what the government pumps into Arnold’s Cove, no matter what you do for Arnold’s Cove, you will never, ever crack the Town of Arnold’s Cove. Mr. Chair, you work hard, you work for the people, you commit to the people and you win the district.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PEACH: Secondly, Mr. Chair, I want to send out congratulations to the Minister of Fisheries on the fantastic job that he is doing, as well.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PEACH: I want to say to the Minister of Fisheries, I have a long-time history in the fishery myself, going back to the late 1970s. I was president of the fishermen’s union for fourteen years, I was with the Federation of Labour, I worked in the fish plants, and I held a full-time fishing licence. I have to say to the people over in the Third Party, it is not all that bad on this side.

Mr. Chair, I do want to say that the task that lies ahead of our Minister of Fisheries today is far more difficult than what it was back in the 1980s. In 1985, I was also a victim of a plant closure in Grand Bank, and so was our Premier, who was a victim of a plant closure in Burin. We went through the same pain that they are going through in Marystown today; we understand the pain that they are going through.

Earlier today, the Minister of Fisheries rose in this House and he spoke on the fishery. He challenged the parties on the other side, and he challenged the fishery critics on the other side, he challenged the leaders on the other side. The Leader of the Third Party has not been up, the fishery critic for the Third Party has not stood up, and the fishery critic for the Opposition has not stood up. We heard from the Leader of the Opposition party; he stood up and spent two minutes on the fishery.

Those are the same people who were in Marystown walking the picket lines with the people, who were in Marystown and raised their hands in the air saying, elect us, we are going to take charge here, we are going to change things for the fishery, we are going to make sure that your voices are heard. Where are they heard today? We have not heard a word today, not a word, not a person stood up, not a soul.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PEACH: If that is what you call representation, I do not know what it is. If that is the kind of representation that is going to come from that side on the fishery, then shame on you. Shame on you because I will tell you there are people out there who needs very constructive decisions made. I am going to call on the fishermen’s union too today, because I think it is time that we went back – forget about the past, what happened in the past is not there any more.

We heard some of our colleagues talking about all the cod fish that were in the waters, around Newfoundland waters. There is still quite a bit of fish in Newfoundland waters but it is not controlled by this government, it is controlled by the federal government. We also have to make constructive decisions as to how we handle that fish from here on into the future.

Mr. Chair, I just think that the parties that are playing the game right now have to stop playing the game. They have to stop playing the game and get serious. We have people out there, we have plants out there, we have workers out there in Port Union, in Marystown, and there is a little plant in my district that nobody has not even mentioned yet, South Dildo under OCI, that has not opened up for the last three years and we cannot get a decision out of them if they are ever going to open up.

MS JONES: Who is the crowd from government? (Inaudible).

MR. PEACH: Who is the crowd from government?

Never mind the crowd in government that has nothing to do with it. The government has nothing to do with it; you know the difference of that. The government has nothing to do with it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PEACH: The OCI owns the plant in South Dildo, OCI owns the plant in Marystown, and they have the management rights to it. They have the quotas and we do not have control over that.

From New Harbour, in my district, we have a crab plant, pelagic species plant in New Harbour, that operates year-round and people are getting work every year. Every year the pelagic species is doing good in the plants for those people. We have another plant in Long Harbour that is doing really good. We have Icewater Seafoods in Arnold’s Cove, a processing plant in Arnold’s Cove. We have put money into Icewater Seafoods to maintain that plant. Back in 2005, I believe, we bought the quota to keep that plant open in Arnold’s Cove. That Arnold’s Cove plant is the most modern in technology in the fishing industry in North America. It has the best plant –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PEACH: Myself and the minister and the minister before were down in Arnold’s Cove and went through that plant, and I wished that when I worked in the fish plant and the women who worked when I was president of the locals in Grand Bank had the opportunities and the luxuries that they have in Arnold’s Cove today, because you could not find a place to sit down to work at the fish but in Arnold’s Cove they have the seats so that the women and the men can sit down now and work at the fish. What a difference, what technology. All species, all different parts of the fish are being put through the plant there. They have the good markets. They have the best markets now competitive to any markets in North America and any markets in the UK and EK.

If our ground fishery is going to survive, this plant in Arnold’s Cove will be the leading processing plant in Newfoundland. They have the skilled workers, the technology, and they have the markets. Let’s hope they can secure the product to maintain a healthy and prosperous workplace in the future in the twenty-first century.

I also want to speak a little bit about the South Dildo seal plant. We have a seal plant in South Dildo that is the largest seal plant in the world. They have moved all their equipment that was in Norway to Newfoundland and now we have the largest seal tannery in the world. There are about forty-six people who are employed in that plant year-round. That is a big thing. We hear talk about the seal market is going down and how the seal fishery is gone, but these people are still working. The way that operates is that the seal skins – I am being told – are worked on for about two years before they are ready to process. So, let us hope that this year the seal fishery, again this year, that pelts can be bought, and let us hope that there is a market found for that as well. I am being told by Icewater Seafoods that they have one challenge on their plate this year, and that is to deal with the markets in China. If they can be competitive with China for one more year, they will be over the hurdle and they will be able to access markets in other parts of the world as well.

Mr. Chair, I know my time is getting short, but I want to throw out another challenge again that already three of my colleagues have thrown out to the other side of the House: You should rise and you should speak on the fishery. You knew all about it, you supported it, you went out and you met with the people out there, you talked to the people on the picket lines, and here what do you do today? The Minister of Fisheries gets up and throws out a challenge to the fisheries critics, and nobody gets on their feet. Not one soul on the Opposition side or the Third Party gets on their feet. I even heard the Opposition House Leader up speaking before me and never mentioned one thing about the fishery, but she had an awful lot of things on her list – never spoke one thing about the fishery.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PEACH: So, Mr. Chair, I certainly would like to throw out that challenge and I might not do it here, I know I will get more time to speak on other issues, but today we have been debating the fishery, and it is very important to my district, so I thought I should stand on my feet as an MHA and speak on the fishery.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PEACH: With the last seven seconds I have left, Mr. Chair, I plead for the people on the other side to get up and challenge it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: Order, please!

The Chair recognizes the Member for Signal Hill – Quidi Vidi.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I am very pleased to stand this afternoon for the last seventeen minutes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS MICHAEL: How many? No, I get ten plus. There is less than twenty minutes left in the Interim Supply debate.

I am very happy to speak this afternoon, Mr. Chair. There are so many issues that one can talk about that are important in this Province – way too many. This afternoon I want to take the opportunity to talk about, Mr. Chair, the response of the government to the report of the Lower Churchill environmental assessment process.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

MS MICHAEL: I am very glad that finally we have heard from the government with regard to their response to the report. The report came out in August of 2011, and we finally have the response from the government and I am glad that we finally have it.

I was really pleased with that report when it came out and I thought that Recommendations 4.1 and 4.2 were excellent recommendations, Mr. Chair. It showed that the environmental assessment panel had done an indebt analysis of all of the information that had been given to them, that they had used experts, as they are permitted to do, to come to the conclusions that they came to, and they put great thought into the first two recommendations of the report.

I was hopeful, but not terribly hopeful, that government would pay attention to those two. That government would realize that the estimates that have been done by Nalcor, several years ago now, with regard to the cost of the project are estimates that would have to be updated; that there would have to be updated information with regard to cash flow for this project; that there would have to be updated figures with regard to the expenses that are going to be incurred, everything from the building of the project right through to the cost of commitments that will have to be made. Commitments, for example, to the Aboriginal groups; commitments with regard to mitigation, that there is not an up-to-date analysis of the cash flow of the project. All the panel has said in the first recommendation is that it is essential that such a review be done prior to sanctioning, yet today in the House in Question Period when I raised that issue and looked for an answer from the Premier, the Minister of Natural Resources stood up and gave no answer to whether or not they are going to go ahead and act on that recommendation.

The response from government is they agree in principle with that, but agreeing in principle is not taking action. So, saying agreeing in principle is a non-response, I would say. This government will never say where it stands on things, so here we have a reputable panel making this recommendation, and government agrees in principle with no commitment to action. So we could see at this point in time, we can legitimately say that we could see at the moment of sanctioning a project being sanctioned without our knowing what the true financial picture is. If that happens, I am telling you this government is going to hear some noise in this Province because people in this Province are not happy with the way this government has been moving around Muskrat Falls.

The government across the way makes fun of us when we say we want to see a plan. They make fun of us when we say that we do not have detailed information. Well, we are just reflecting –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

MS MICHAEL: – what people are saying out in the Province. More and more people are saying they do not know what the plan is. They do not know; they do not have adequate information. Mr. Chair, I am really happy to be able to remind this government that we just do not want words saying they agree in principle with stuff; we want action.

It is also important, and the report says the same thing, that at the moment of sanctioning, not only should that review happen, but the results of that review should be made public. Just like where the project is at the moment had to be made public during the environmental assessment process. They had to present a financial plan –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

MS MICHAEL: Now if they had to present the financial plans –

CHAIR: Order, please!

The Chair is having difficulty hearing the hon. member speak.

Back to the Member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I am having a bit of difficulty. When I start shouting, it is because I cannot hear myself, so thank you very much; I was shouting that time and I do not like it, so thank you.

The proponent, Nalcor, had to present openly everything to the environmental assessment process and they have had to do it to the PUB as well, but if they get to the point of sanctioning and we do not know what the updated financial analysis is, that is not acceptable. All we want to hear from this government is: Will you commit? Will you say definitively that there is going to be an updated review according to the recommendation, not just in principle, that you are going to make sure that there is going to be an updated review and that updated review would also be made public prior to sanctioning as well. That is all that the panel is recommending. It seems very simple to me, seems very simple. They are dancing around it with this, we agree in principle.

It is really interesting when they come to Recommendation 4.2, because Recommendation 4.2 goes down the path that they really do not want, and that is the Recommendation 4.2 wanting in-depth analyses of the alternatives. Not Nalcor saying, oh, we have looked at wind power, for example; we had a look at it and we decided it was not worth going any further. That is not good enough. Not with the expertise that exists in this world today around wind power. Not with the research we are already doing ourselves, the research that we are doing on the South Coast which is looking so good. Not with the success of wind power in this world to say, oh, we looked at it, and it cannot happen. That is not true. That is not true at all.

Where was the analysis? Why didn’t Nalcor put together another Island option? Why didn’t they do that with facts and figures like they did for the two options they did submit, and put it to the public, put it to everybody to do an analysis of so that we could say, all right, there are three options here – which is the better one? I do not know, because the analysis was not done. What we are saying is that analysis should be done. That is what the panel is saying as well; that is what many experts are saying also.

I have had all kinds of engineers who have come to me talking to me about Muskrat Falls spontaneously –

I am not looking for them – and saying what their concerns are, that the analysis has not been done. They are not sure either if that third option is an option that would work, but they think it should have been thoroughly explored; if we had used, for example, another option for the Island only, which would have been small hydro and wind power, and maybe other sources thrown in as well.

No, you chose one option only, and that was the hydro plus the thermal, that is the only thing. That is not very creative. You have hydro plus thermal now, so why didn’t you get more creative? That is what we do not understand, Mr. Chair. We do not understand why they didn’t get more creative. The arrogance of them that they just say, everybody else does not know what they are talking about. So experts who are saying this do not know what they are talking about. Experts in our Province, experts outside of our Province, do not know what they are talking about, Mr. Chair. This is what really annoys me when the government starts that kind of stuff.

People are hearing what you are saying and people understand that there are other options and they are asking why. Engineers are asking for sure. Everybody is out there, wanting to know why they are doing it. They were afraid of it, Mr. Chair –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

CHAIR: Order, please!

MS MICHAEL: – because there was some reason that we cannot figure out. For some reason they made their option for it and they were determined to make everything work towards saying it is the only option. That is what they did. They manipulated the process. They manipulated the process by saying that is what we want. Now we have to make everything work so that is what we get. That is not acceptable, and I do not know what to say to them, because they will not listen to anything that is being said.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MS MICHAEL: They will not listen, and you know you will not listen. You just do what you want to do. You do not listen to what other people are saying, what experts are saying or what communities are saying.

Mr. Chair, in frustration, I say thank you for my ten minutes and I will sit down, but in absolute frustration.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KING: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I am rising today the same way the Leader of the NDP is sitting, out of sincere frustration for the lack of attention that we have seen to the fishery from the opposite side of the House today. It is absolutely incredible, Mr. Chair, incredible, the lack of attention and lack of interest on the part of the other side of this House to speak to the fishery. I say to you, Mr. Chair, there is a motion that we sit this evening, so my only saving grace is that they may speak after I speak.

I want to raise a couple of things that I think are very important, Mr. Chair. I want to raise a couple of things that I think are very important for members opposite, for members of the media, and members of the public to be aware of. So far today, neither my Official Opposition critic nor the NDP critic have asked a single question or raised one word in this House; however, one party decided to raise questions for a press release, Mr. Chair.

As I said a few minutes ago, Mr. Chair, you get elected when you put your name on a ballot and you serve the people of this Province to the best of your ability. You serve the people in this Chamber. That is what we are all elected to do. Members opposite asked to have this House open, Mr. Chair. We are here. I asked today to have a focus on the fishery. Many of my colleagues all around the backbenches here stood in this House and they talked about the importance of the fishery to this Province, they talked about the importance of the fishery to their districts and they talked about the many, many investments that we continue to make in the fishery in this Province, Mr. Chair.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KING: What did you hear from the previous speaker from the other side of the House? Not one word, not one syllable about the fishery, Mr. Chair, not one syllable. They have chosen not to take me up on my offer. They put out a press release asking if I am prepared to meet. I am absolutely prepared to meet about the fishery. I am prepared to do it right now. When I sit down, members opposite, as I said before, I invite you to stand up and share your comments.

Mr. Chair, my other critic who has not spoken, I can share it with you too somewhere on my BlackBerry. He wrote an e-mail to me asking me to have a debate on the fishery. I say to members opposite, absolutely. It is 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon, I have the entire evening. Let’s stand, I will have my ten minutes, I will sit and members opposite can stand for ten minutes, back and forth. Let’s debate the fishery, because I recognize what I was elected to do, to bring issues to this House of Assembly and to discuss issues in here, Mr. Chair, and that is what I intend to do.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KING: I invite members opposite to do the same.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KING: Mr. Chair, I want to address a couple of issues from the Official Opposition because they have been putting out a stream of press releases lately about, not so much their vision of the fishery of the future as much as the criticism of our government and what they do not feel we are doing, and they offer some degree of support for their positions.

Mr. Chair, I want to raise a couple of things. I have a press release here; I do not need to share it. It is there for public consumption if you want it, but the critic for the Official Opposition says to me, and I paraphrase, Mr. Chair: The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador should adopt, should adopt the Iceland model for the fishery. Here is the Iceland model for the fishery, for all of those who are interested in listening. Are you ready? Here is the Iceland model.

In Newfoundland and Labrador we have 10,800 harvesters. Iceland has less than half of that, less than half. We have 10,300 plant workers, Iceland has a third of that. We land 300,000 ton of fish, Iceland lands three times that amount. The landed value in Newfoundland and Labrador $439 million, Iceland $1.3 billion. I say to members opposite, is that the model that you are saying we take in Newfoundland and Labrador? We continue to cut the harvesters, we cut the processors and we go to big business, because that is not what you have been saying. That is not what you have been saying publicly when we are talking about trying to help companies survive and at the same time help plant workers.

Mr. Chair, this is serious stuff we are talking here. We heard the Member for Bellevue talk a few moments ago; we have heard a number of members speak here. We have a Member for Port de Grave, Member for The Isles of Notre Dame, and many others who want to get on their feet, but, Mr. Chair, this is serious stuff. We are talking about the future of the fishing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador and we are talking about the future of the lives of the people. I cannot say it nearly as good as my colleague from Bellevue said a few moments ago, people in this House lived through the challenges in the fishery. They lived through the challenges and we take our responsibility seriously by acknowledging that. None of us on this side are going to stand in this House and make fun of the fishery and throw out false accusations and false suggestions that cannot work.

We understand the challenges of the fishery, and I took that upon myself when I took on this role, and I will stand and I will defend my actions any time I am asked to do that, Mr. Chair. I will stand and defend it any time I have to do it but it is very important for all of us to recognize the challenges in the industry. There are challenges on the processing side, Mr. Chair, we are dealing with issues around shipping out of product and whether we are going to support that or not, or what degree we are going to support.

Mr. Chair, there has been a very good debate generated in this Province, a very good debate, publicly about no more ship outs, leave the fish in the water. That is fine, but I will tell you the giveaway is leaving it in the water. People need to be more informed about the fishery and more informed about the markets before they make such – what I would say – irresponsible suggestions.

We hear from time to time from other politicians who claim that they know more about the fishery than anyone else, Mr. Chair. I say to you, as I have said to many other people, Mr. Chair, as a result of a lot of those suggestions here is what we have today: We have a plant closed in Marystown, as my hon. colleague from Bellevue referenced, more than 200 people who are taking a false sense of hope from some politicians who are telling them the plant is going to reopen.

Mr. Chair, I hate to the bearer of bad news, but that plant is up for sale. So how responsible is it for politicians and interest groups to be putting false hope and false propaganda out for people who are fifty-five and sixty years of age and older and do not know what their future holds in store, Mr. Chair. I say it is terrible and it is not going to happen on this side of the House. I know we will take our lumps for it, but we are going to be honest with the people, Mr. Chair.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KING: The other situation we face, Mr. Chair, with leaving the fish in the water is that we have a plant in Fortune that right now has no future, based on producing the quotas that were suggested. Mr. Chair, I am confident we are going to find a solution forward on that; I am really confident. We will continue to have discussions with the company that makes sense to us.

I say to members opposite, before you weigh into the debate, please, become informed about the world markets. Understand what we are talking about when we are talking about whether we process fish here or whether we allow some exemptions, Mr. Chair. There is going to come a point in time where there is going to be a very, very, very big choice that we are going to have to make.

The last point I want to make, Mr. Chair, is that my critic from the Official Opposition in one of his releases quoted a report, and it is here if anybody wants to see it, The Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel. I want people of the Province to know what that report states. I also question, to be frank, whether the member read it or even read the executive summary.

The report clearly states – I read it – number one, that you close down the wild fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador, more than $1 billion enterprise annually, close it down; and number two, Mr. Chair, close down the aquaculture industry, more than $113 and countless jobs created because of the investments that this government has made in partnering with people in the private sector, Mr. Chair, close it down. Close it down is the position articulated not only in the document but by the Official Opposition in one of their releases, Mr. Chair. I challenge the members opposite that at some point in time please, please stand in this House and talk to us about the fishery. The night is only young, let us stand up and let us have a good debate about the issues in front of the people of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. This is as public as it gets. When members want to talk to me in a public forum about the fishery, how much more public do we get than the people’s Chamber, Mr. Chair?

I will take my seat and ask members to state the truth.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I move that the Committee rise and report the resolution.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader, I do believe we have to vote first and we rise right after that.

Shall the resolution carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye’.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay’.

Carried.

On motion, resolution carried.

A bill, "An Act For Granting To Her Majesty Certain Sums Of Money For Defraying Certain Expenses Of The Public Service For The Financial Year Ending March 31, 2013 And For Other Purposes Relating To The Public Service". (Bill 2)

CLERK: Clause 1.

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye’.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay’.

Carried.

On motion, clause 1 carried.

CLERK: Clauses 2 through 4 inclusive.

CHAIR: Shall clauses 2 through 4 inclusive carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye’.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay’.

Carried.

On motion, clauses 2 through 4 carried.

CLERK: The schedule.

CHAIR: Shall the schedule carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye’.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay’.

Carried.

On motion, schedule carried.

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

CHAIR: Shall the enacting clause carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye’.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay’.

Carried.

On motion, enacting clause carried.

CLERK: WHEREAS it appears that the sums mentioned are required to defray certain expenses of the Public Service of Newfoundland and Labrador for the financial year ending March 31, 2013 and for other purposes relating to the public service.

CHAIR: Shall the preamble carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye’.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay’.

Carried.

On motion, preamble carried.

CLERK: An Act For Granting To Her Majesty Certain Sums Of Money For Defraying Certain Expenses Of The Public Service For The Financial Year Ending March 31, 2013 And For Other Purposes Relating To The Public Service.

CHAIR: Shall the long title carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye’.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay’.

Carried.

On motion, title carried.

CHAIR: Shall I report the bill without amendment?

All those in favour, ‘aye’.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay’.

AN HON. MEMBER: Nay.

CHAIR: Carried.

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

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Chair, I move that the Committee rise and report the resolution.

CHAIR: The motion is that the Committee rise and report the resolution and Bill 2 carried without amendment.

All those in favour, ‘aye’.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay’.

Carried.

CHAIR: When shall the report be received?

MR. KENNEDY: Now, Sir.

CHAIR: The report shall be received now, and the Committee will rise.

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

MR. SPEAKER (Wiseman): Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Lewisporte and Deputy Chair of Committees.

MR. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of Supply have considered the matters to them referred, and have asked me to report Bill 2 passed without amendment.

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

When shall the report be received?

MR. KENNEDY: Now, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Now.

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

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

MR. KENNEDY: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I move, seconded by the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills, that the resolution be now read a first time.

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

All those in favour, ‘aye’.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

The motion is carried.

CLERK: "That it is expedient to introduce a measure to provide for the granting to Her Majesty for defraying certain expenses of the public service for the financial year ending March 31, 2013, the sum of $2,738,246,500."

On motion, resolution read a first time.

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

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills, that the resolution be now read a second time.

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

All those in favour, ‘aye’.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

Motion carried.

CLERK: "That it is expedient to introduce a measure to provide for the granting to Her Majesty for defraying certain expenses of the public service for the financial year ending March 31, 2013, the sum of $2,738,246,500."

On motion, resolution read a second time.

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

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker. I move, seconded by the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills, that the bill be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the hon. the Government House Leader shall have leave to introduce Bill 2, the Interim Supply Bill, and that the said bill be now read a first time.

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

All those in favour, ‘aye’.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: Nay.

Motion carried.

Motion, the hon. the Government House Leader to introduce a bill, "An Act For Granting To Her Majesty Certain Sums Of Money For Defraying Certain Expenses Of The Public Service For The Financial Year Ending March 31, 2012 And For Other Purposes Relating To The Public Service", carried. (Bill 2)

CLERK: A bill, An Act For Granting To Her Majesty Certain Sums Of Money For Defraying Certain Expenses Of The Public Service For The Financial Year Ending March 31, 2013 And For Other Purposes Relating To The Public Service. (Bill 2)

On motion, Bill 2 read a first time.

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

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills, that the Interim Supply Bill be now read a second time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the said bill be now read a second time.

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: A bill, An Act For Granting to Her Majesty Certain Sums Of Money For Defraying Certain Expenses Of The Public Service For The Financial Year Ending March 31, 2013 And For Other Purposes Relating To The Public Service. (Bill 2)

On motion, Bill 2 read a second time.

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

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I move, seconded by the Minister of Fisheries this time, that the Interim Supply Bill be now read a third time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the said bill be now read a third time.

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’.

The motion is carried.

AN HON. MEMBER: Division, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Division has been called.

Summon the members.

Division

MR. SPEAKER: Is everybody ready?

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

All those in favour, ‘aye’.

CLERK: Ms Dunderdale –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CLERK: Mr. Kennedy, Ms Burke, Mr. King, Ms Sullivan, Mr. O’Brien, Mr. Jackman, Mr. Marshall, Mr. Hedderson, Mr. Felix Collins, Mr. Verge, Mr. Kent, Mr. Forsey, Mr. Granter, Ms Johnson, Mr. Hutchings, Mr. Davis, Mr. Sandy Collins, Mr. Brazil, Mr. Kevin Parsons, Mr. Little, Mr. Hunter, Mr. Osborne, Ms Perry, Mr. Dinn, Mr. Cornect, Mr. Littlejohn, Mr. Crummell, Mr. Pollard, Mr. Cross, Mr. Peach, Mr. Lane, Mr. Russell.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against, please rise.

CLERK: Mr. Ball, Ms Jones, Mr. Joyce, Mr. Edmunds, Ms Michael, Mr. Kirby, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Mitchelmore, Ms Rogers.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Order, please!

CLERK: Mr. Speaker, the ayes: thirty-three; the nays: nine.

MR. SPEAKER: I declare the motion carried.

Motion carried.

CLERK: A bill, An Act For Granting To Her Majesty Certain Sums Of Money For Defraying Certain Expenses Of The Public Service For The Financial Year Ending March 31, 2013 And For Other Purposes Relating To The Public Service. (Bill 2)

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

On motion, a bill, "An Act For Granting To Her Majesty Certain Sums Of Money For Defraying Certain Expenses Of The Public Service For The Financial Year Ending March 31, 2013 And For Other Purposes Relating To The Public Service", read a third time, ordered passed and its title be as on the Order Paper. (Bill 2)

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

MR. KENNEDY: I do move, Mr. Speaker, that this House be now adjourned.

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

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’.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Nay.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion carried.

This being Thursday, and Monday being a holiday, this House stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday of next week.

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