June 7, 2012                       HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                    Vol. XLVII No. 45


The House met at 1:30 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Wiseman): Order, please!

Admit strangers.

Today we are very pleased to welcome to our galleries, two guests with the Girl Guides of Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Office. We have with us Ms Kay Penney, the incoming Provincial Commissioner, and Ms Pam Eavis, incoming Provincial Deputy Commissioner.

Welcome to our Assembly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Members

MR. SPEAKER: Today, we will have members' statements from the Member for the District of Bellevue; the Member for the District of Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune; the Member for the District of St. John's Centre; the Member for the District of Conception Bay East – Bell Island; the Member for the District of Lake Melville; and the Member for the District of Lewisporte.

The hon. the Member for the District of Bellevue.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PEACH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise in this hon. House today to congratulate two Cadet Corps in the District of Bellevue. 209 Great Eastern is a Sea Cadet Corps from Dildo; this corps has cadets from surrounding communities from Blaketown to Green's Harbour. On May 26, I had the great pleasure of attending the 209 Great Eastern ACR.

On June 2, I had the pleasure of attending the annual review of the 2093 Army Cadets of Norman's Cove. This annual review marked the fortieth anniversary of the 2093 Army Cadet Corps. The marches were superb, with boots shining and uniforms outstanding. Mr. Speaker, both the 209 Great Eastern Sea Cadets and 2093 Army Cadets displayed the talent of professionalism like no other. Thanks to their leaders and support of their parents, both annual reviews were a huge success.

I ask that all members of this hon. House join me in congratulating 209 Sea Cadet Corps of Dildo and the 2093 Army Cadet Corps of Norman's Cove on a very successful year.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Fortune Bay – Cape la Hune.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS PERRY: I rise today to commend the 3065 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps of English Harbour West for its strong presence in our community, which is providing our young people with great experiences and helping guide them to become our future leaders.

Cadets, your involvement in the corps is something in which you should take great pride, and I thank you for inviting me to share in your awards banquet. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and it is a pleasure to pay tribute to the following award recipients. Best Green Star and Junior Cadet went to LCpl Patricia Hammond; Best Red Star, Cpl Quinton Poole; Best Silver Star, MCpl Kaitlin Savoury; Best Gold Star, Commanding Officer, and Comradeship Award, CSM Devon Hodder; Best Senior Cadet, RSM Drucilla Dominix; Most Improved Cadet, LCpl Tucker Dominix; Best Dressed Cadet, SGT Kelsey Savoury.

I also commend your Captain, Maxine Clarke, and Civilian Instructor, Steward May, for such dedication in promoting the program's core values of loyalty, professionalism, mutual respect, and integrity.

I ask all members to join me in congratulating this corps and encourage the cadets to continue their journey, enjoying all the rewarding experiences the corps has to offer, which will serve you well as you progress through life.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS ROGERS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, it is Seniors Month and I am happy to speak about the Seniors Resource Centre of Newfoundland and Labrador. A non-profit, charitable organization administered by a Board of Directors, their core values of respect, choice, collaboration, growth, and development guide them in all the fantastic work they do with seniors Province-wide.

The centre supports the well-being and independence of all older adults in the Province through programs and they work to influence policies affecting seniors. Our Province is one of the fastest aging in the country so we know how important the work they do is, not only for the seniors of today but for all of us – even some of us here in this House.

The wonderful staff and volunteers at the centre work in partnership with older adults, family members, volunteers, organizations, communities, and all levels of government. They offer great services like a toll-free info and referral line, a Community Peer Advocate Program, Caregivers Out of Isolation, Mall Walkers, a Friendly Visiting Program, Seniors Speak Out on Elder Abuse, Bridging Cultures, and more.

Friday evening the centre is having a dinner and auction in St. John's to fundraise for the fabulous work they do. I encourage folks, everyone here, to join them.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The Member for Conception Bay East – Bell Island.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BRAZIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I recently had the privilege of addressing the Con Ba Su Area Girl Guides AGM in Paradise. This includes the Towns of Paradise to Georgetown, Mount Carmel and St. Mary's region. Currently, there are approximately 800 members in this area.

Several milestone pins were presented for years of service. They included: Violet Butler, thirty years; Nina Butler, forty years; Carrie Gosse, forty-five years; Zita Butler, forty-five years; Frances Rideout, fifty-five years; Rachel Fagan, sixty years; Dot Bishop, sixty years; Ellaline Smith, sixty years; Margaret Butler, sixty years; Margaret Greeley, sixty years. Unfortunately, Ms Greeley passed away last week, Mr. Speaker.

On June 9, Kay Penney of Paradise will be installed as the new Girl Guides of Canada Provincial Commissioner for Newfoundland and Labrador. Kay brings seventeen years of service to guiding and started volunteering her time with Girl Guides in the St. Thomas district. Pam Eavis, a resident of Topsail, will be installed as the Provincial Deputy Commissioner.

At the Girl Guides of Canada national AGM held in Calgary this past weekend Sharron Callahan was installed as the nineteenth Chief Commissioner for Girl Guides of Canada. Sharon is a resident of St. John's.

I ask all members to join with me in congratulating the Con Ba Su Area Girl Guides and their leaders.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in this hon. House to recognize the thirtieth Annual Labrador Indoor Soccer Cup, held in Happy Valley-Goose Bay last week, with twenty-nine teams from all over Labrador and thousands of spectators blocking the EJ Broomfield Memorial Arena for six full days. It was certainly my pleasure, Mr. Speaker, to participate in the awards ceremonies.

The men's event winners were: Lewis Concrete, consisting of Glenn Pittman, Jeff Holwell, Brud Roberts, Keith Winters, Jody Snow, Carlos Spearing, Dagan Kelly, Andrew Warr, Mike Daly, Adam Trasher, Colin Caroll, and Sheldon Broomfield.

The ladies event winners were: Woodward's, consisting of Robyn Wells, Karen Gregory, Gill Wade, Riley Winters, Jamie Rose, Brittany Coombs, Caitlin Lyall, Kelcie Winters, Vanessa White, Keira Eavis, and Lindsay Gambin.

I would also like to thank the organizing committee, Mr. Speaker, consisting of Chairperson Trevor Paine and members Paul Motty, Mick Emmens, Mal Wells, Carl Cull, Pat Loder, Barry Keough, Glenn Pittman, Steph Janes, Gail King, Gail Rowsell, Rob Densmore, and Michelle Pittman. Also, Mr. Speaker, thanks to the sponsors: Bud Lite – Bentley's, Woodward's, and Nalcor Energy.

I ask all hon. members to congratulate these players, organizers, and sponsors for their great efforts in helping to make the 2012 Labrador Cup such a phenomenal success.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the music department at Lewisporte Collegiate and the great work being done by their music teacher, Mr. Lindy Whitt.

The senior concert band is made up of eighty-four students from Levels I, II, and III. It is the largest band in the school's history, which has continued to grow despite the fact that the student population has decreased significantly over the years. In a school of 260 students, to have a band membership of eighty-four is quite remarkable.

This year the concert band has performed at many different venues and won many awards. They received a gold standard at the Kiwanis music festival. They won the Stanley Memorial Rose Bowl for best performance by a group, the Alphonsus Hennessey Award for best performance by a concert band, and the Trans Continental Award for the most outstanding performance of the festival.

Mr. Speaker, the dedication of the students, the passion of their teacher, Mr. Whitt, and the support of the parental body have all come together to attribute to this great success.

Members, please join with me in sending congratulations to the students, teachers, and parents who are affiliated with the music department at Lewisporte Collegiate.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Statements by Ministers.

Statements by Ministers

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MARSHALL: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to provide an update to this House on the Home Heating Rebate Program, which continues to benefit thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians each year by helping them deal with home energy costs.

The Home Heating Rebate is available to residents of the Province whose adjusted family income was $40,000 or less and who have directly incurred costs to heat their home. Regardless of the source of energy, Mr. Speaker, eligible households on the Island receive a maximum rebate of $250 while those in coastal Labrador communities can receive up to $500, depending on income level.

Mr. Speaker, as of May 28, more than 61,300 rebates have been issued for the 2011-2012 heating season totalling over $15 million. This can be compared to 2004-2005 when just 13,500 rebates were issued worth $3.4 million. Since this government presented its first Budget in 2004, Mr. Speaker, approximately 438,000 rebates have been provided to residents of the Province at a value of over $105 million.

Mr. Speaker, all applications for the rebate are received and processed by the Home Heating Rebate office in Grand Falls-Windsor which was opened in early 2010. I want to commend the staff at that office, who have efficiently handled tens of thousands of application forms each year while also answering enquiries related to the program. The office provides similar services for the Parental Benefits Program and the Residential Energy Rebate.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make it clear that the Home Heating Rebate and the Residential Energy Rebate are two completely independent programs. The Residential Energy Rebate sees the elimination of the provincial portion of the HST on home energy for all residents, regardless of income, who are invoiced for energy use that they use in their residences. In most cases, the rebate is applied at the point-of-sale and the savings can be seen directly on the invoice. Many people are able to take advantage of both rebates.

If a resident believes they are entitled to receive the Home Heating Rebate, I would encourage them to submit an application as soon as possible. The deadline for the 2011-2012 rebate is September 30, 2012. Information, including the required form, can be found on the Department of Finance's Web site.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BALL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

It is certainly good to get an update on this program. As we know, there have been too many people over the years that have had to make the choice between heating their homes, buying food, or buying medications. People should never, in our opinion, have to make that choice of paying for those necessities and basics in their lives; yet, indeed, through the colder days of the year it is often a decision that has to be made.

This program, Mr. Speaker, is a very good effort to ensure that people do not have to make that decision. That is why, when you think of the history of it, it was first introduced in 2001. The date, I believe, was on January 11, 2001, which is when we saw the first Home Heating Rebate. As we know, the Minister of Finance of the day recognized the social impact it could have, and hence the program was introduced. The program has improved, as we know, over the years as the finances of the Province have improved, but the principle remains the same. Some people need assistance to pay for their heat and government should help.

I want to remind people, as the minister said, that the deadline for submissions for applications is September 30, 2012. I also want to recognize the fantastic work that is done at the Grand Falls-Windsor office; the staff and the due diligence they do. I know at my office, the district office, we deal with this office on a regular basis and I want to commend the workers for the great work that they do.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

As his statement notes, many people in this Province depend on the Home Heating Rebate government chooses to announce year after year, and as the minister noted, more and more people apply each year. Last year, government took our advice and removed the provincial portion of the HST from home heating fuels. We have been calling for some time, and I call again, for government to take our advice again and stop letting people hang every year waiting for an announcement that this program will again be offered. We encourage the minister to make the Home Heating Rebate a permanent program.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DALLEY: Mr. Speaker, today I would like to acknowledge the opening of the exhibition Black Ice: David Blackwood Prints of Newfoundland, happening at The Rooms tomorrow.

David Blackwood is one of Canada's leading print makers and most popular artists. Black Ice showcases iconic Blackwood etchings, revealing the richness of his imagination. It also includes related historical artifacts and archival material from Mr. Blackwood's own collection.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Blackwood has been telling stories about this Province in the form of compelling visual narratives for thirty years. He is known for exploring the timeless theme of the struggle for survival in our own distinct environment and how this impacted on a centuries-old way of life.

Opening to the public at the same time as Black Ice is an exhibition co-curated by Mr. Blackwood, entitled Back in the Day: David Blackwood's Newfoundland and Labrador. This exhibition will be located in The Rooms atrium and will feature images, related archival documents, and artifacts from The Rooms collections. The exhibition draws on Mr. Blackwood's own experiences and memories of Wesleyville, where Mr. Blackwood was born and raised.

There are a number of scheduled events planned while these exhibitions are on display, including a public opening reception which Mr. Blackwood will be attending tomorrow, as well as a special presentation by a senior curator from the Art Gallery of Ontario, as well as guided tours of the Black Ice exhibition beginning June 13 through to September 9.

I encourage all residents to take the time to visit The Rooms to see this incredible exhibition highlighting the work of David Blackwood, one of our Province's most distinguished artists.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. JOYCE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

We also here would like to congratulate Mr. Blackwood on his exhibition. We encourage all people in Newfoundland and Labrador who have the opportunity to visit it. As we all know, he has over thirty years of history in Newfoundland and Labrador, giving us his real life experiences through his art. There are some through lithograph, the kites from Wesleyville where he grew up. One of the most memorable ones, Mr. Speaker, that I can remember is The Lost Party, from the SS Newfoundland disaster in 1914, that he did to try to keep Newfoundland heritage alive.

I say congratulations to Mr. Blackwood. Congratulations to the people at The Rooms for pulling off this exhibition, because it will keep Newfoundland and Labrador's culture alive. It will let everybody know what it is like to live in rural Newfoundland, the struggles that we had, and I just thank David Blackwood for keeping all this alive for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to stand in celebration of the incredible work of our own David Blackwood. From Hauling Job Sturge's House to the Burning of the Methodist Church, to whales and mummers, the lamp shining its light for us to see Uncle Sam Kelloway's, Granda Glover's Place on Bragg's Island, the young woman from Wesleyville, Black Ice, and the lighthouse at Cape Spear beckoning to every Newfoundlander and Labradorian. David Blackwood has touched our hearts, our souls, and our imaginations, and told our stories. I, like many, cannot wait for this amazing opportunity to be immersed in the cultural treasure he has given us all.

Bravo, Mr. David Blackwood.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Oral Questions.

Oral Questions

MR. SPEAKER: The Leader of the Official Opposition.

MR. BALL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yesterday in reference to an ongoing situation at Kruger, the Minister of Service NL sent out a press release stressing that government legislation would not impede the implementation of the negotiated agreement. This has caused quite a bit of concern with the unions, who really do not want to see changes to their pension calculations, merely trying to hang on to the current pension formula.


I ask the Premier: What are you willing to do to settle this confusion?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Service Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DAVIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I cannot overstate how critical the circumstances are in Corner Brook as it pertains to Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, the mill that has been in operation in Corner Brook, very important to the economy of Western Newfoundland, and very important to the entire Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is a very critical and a very sensitive time, Mr. Speaker.

I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that there have been some flags raised around a section of our solvency regulations, regulations that we brought in to address pressures, economic and global pressures that exist in the markets today. Attention has been drawn to Section 8(1)(k). I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that it is our belief that 8(1)(k) does not interfere in any way with the ability of the workers in Corner Brook and the operators of the mill to conduct and carry out a collective agreement.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BALL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This is where some of the clarity needs to happen. I think the union has asked for clarity on this.

Just to be clear, and for the record, I ask the minister: Will you be willing to implement and make the changes that are required to keep this pension plan intact if that is what it takes?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, this government has responded to this question directly to the union in private meetings. We have responded to it publicly and we have responded to it here in the House of Assembly, Mr. Speaker. We do not believe that regulatory changes are required at this time to secure the benefits that the pensioners have. They have our word as a government that if regulatory changes do appear to be necessary, we will make those changes, but we do not believe they are required.

Pension issues will not prevent an agreement between the union and Corner Brook Pulp and Paper. Any impediments that may come up in the pensions will be dealt with by this government to ensure that those pension rights are secured. We cannot be any clearer than that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BALL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We have been saying for quite some time that the mining industry in Labrador will need power. Yesterday, the chairman of Alderon indicated that their project will tap out all remaining capacity in Labrador West.

I ask the Premier: The mining industry needs power; how are you going to get it to them?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

For months now, Mr. Speaker, in fact since Muskrat Falls has been announced, we have indicated that Muskrat Falls will meet the growing Island demand, the industrial demand at Vale Inco, and the residential demand. Also, Mr. Speaker, Muskrat Falls will allow the extra 40 per cent of power that we will import to the spot markets while we are waiting for the mining developments to go into business will be provided to them. We have indicated clearly that Muskrat Falls' extra power will be used for the mining companies if they sign on the dotted line and an agreement is reached.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BALL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Nothing in the current Muskrat Falls proposal includes transmitting power to the Labrador mining companies.

I ask the Premier: When will we see a transmission plan of getting the power to those companies?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, it is really too bad that they were not paying attention to the Minister of Natural Resources when he has addressed this question a number of times in the House, and they were not paying attention because they did not realize that the mining companies in Labrador would need this kind of power. It is the same short-sighted arguments we have seen against Muskrat Falls since the beginning.

Mr. Speaker, when bankable feasibility studies have been completed, when mining companies are prepared to proceed with development, when they have negotiated agreements with Nalcor on the purchase of power, Mr. Speaker, included in that will be arrangements for transmission. We are not going to build transmission lines willy-nilly all over Labrador until we find out where these developments are definitely going to go ahead.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Official Opposition.

MR. BALL: I remind the Premier, I did not ask for her to build a transmission line, what I asked for was the plan. Mr. Speaker, getting power to these companies should be a top priority for this government.

I ask the Premier: What is your position on government funding for transmission lines for these operations?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

The $5 billion that is set aside for Muskrat Falls, or the current numbers, Mr. Speaker, includes building a transmission line from Muskrat Falls to Churchill Falls. So we then need, Mr. Speaker, to get power to Labrador West. If these mining developments are going to proceed, and that is up to them, Mr. Speaker, then there will have to be another 250 to 350 kilometre line built. When these companies come in – not only the iron ore – but when these companies come in with concrete proposals and indicate to us that they definitely want the power, then at that point, Mr. Speaker, we will have discussions with them as to the building of transmission lines and how the costs will be dealt with.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BALL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Well, the minister stated last week that the mining companies in Labrador could not afford Muskrat Falls power.

I ask the Premier: Can you tell us today what would be the industrial rate for Muskrat Falls power?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, in this instance they listened to part of the answer, and only part of the answer.

Mr. Speaker, the Opposition House Leader, the Member for Cartwright – L'Anse au Clair, said in a scrum some weeks ago that she would support the development of Muskrat Falls if all the power was going to stay in Labrador. Well, Mr. Speaker, if all of the power is going to stay in Labrador, they have to be able to cover off the costs of that power, and mining companies alone could never do that, Mr. Speaker. They could not take a $4 billion project and divide that amongst six or eight companies and still pay for their power and make money. That is why there has to be other customers to make the whole plan work, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The Leader of the Official Opposition.

MR. BALL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Just so the Premier can clarify: Are you expecting the customers in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick or in New England States to pay for the cost of Muskrat Falls power?

AN HON. MEMBER: No, no.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, Mr. Speaker; the customers in Nova Scotia are going to pay $1.2 billion for the power. Absolutely, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Mr. Speaker, there is a way that these projects are planned, not only in Newfoundland and Labrador, but in Quebec and all over the world. Mr. Speaker, that expertise resides now in Newfoundland and Labrador. Thank goodness, Mr. Speaker, we waited for the development of the Lower Churchill until that expertise was here because the Liberals were going to give every kilowatt of the power to Quebec, and we would have had to go to them to see if we could do any of these developments in Labrador. Not anymore, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. JOYCE: Mr. Speaker, yesterday in a ninety-minute time span there were three motor vehicle accidents on the Outer Ring Road, all within Portugal Cove and Torbay exits.

I ask the minister: Has your department done an investigation on the condition of the road infrastructure in this section of the Outer Ring Road?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Transportation and Works.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HEDDERSON: Mr. Speaker, unfortunately motor vehicle accidents occur on our highways. We would like to see none whatsoever, but in this particular case there were circumstances surrounding those accidents, weather wise and other wise. Of course, the investigations carried out will be carried out by the most appropriate people, in this case, I believe, the RNC.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. JOYCE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, having three accidents in a specific area in a short period of time is very concerning.

I ask the minister: Are there any safety issues on this particular section of the Outer Ring Road, and are there any plans for improvements this year?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HEDDERSON: Mr. Speaker, when you look at the highway system here in Newfoundland and Labrador and the construction of such highways, they are always done to the national standards with safety in mind. As well, you have to look at the individual accidents. A lot occurred within a small space of time. The factors involved there, particularly on the day that you are referencing, would be the heavy, thick fog. I know the investigating officer, when interviewed, indicated that speed and distance, making sure that you drove according to the conditions of the day, would explain why we did have that number of accidents within a small period of time.

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

MR. A. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, the comprehensive agreement between the College of the North Atlantic and the State of Qatar will expire in August 2013. Staff at the college is anxious over whether or not another ten-year agreement will be renewed, as they would need considerable notice to relocate.

I ask the minister: Can you tell us what the status of the agreement is and what is the future of the college in Qatar?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, the negotiations with the State of Qatar for the college have been ongoing for some time. They are continuing at this time. Mr. Speaker, it is this government's intention to continue that contract, but in saying that we also want to make sure that this Province is well protected and we get the best results that we can from that contract.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. A. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, according to a recent report by the Citizens' Representative, the College of the North Atlantic is being sued by employees in Qatar for an end-of-service gratuity required under Qatari law. The college has repeatedly used college funds to fight employees individually, even though the State has, on every occasion, ruled against the college. In addition, the Citizens' Representative has advised that Qatari court rulings must prevail.

I ask the minister: Why does the college continue fighting its own employees in court, and when will the college cease these needless court actions and distribute payment to college employees?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS BURKE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is our understanding based on the contract that we do not pay the end-of-service awards that they would pay in the State of Qatar. The employees who we are talking about are also covered under Canadian law and the Canadian pension – CPP, they pay into that as well.

We understand that there is an appeal going through the higher level of court in Qatar regarding this issue. Mr. Speaker, it is our understanding that we will be appealing that decision. We feel that based on our contract and based on Canadian law and CPP contributions, that we do not pay that gratuity.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. A. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, we know of several instances of the college being sued by these employees over their entitlement to this end-of-service gratuity.

I ask the minister: Can you tell us how many lawsuits have now passed through the courts regarding this end-of-service gratuity, as well as the estimated costs for the college in legal fees and payouts?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS BURKE: As I said, Mr. Speaker, this was a contract that had been negotiated with the State of Qatar and how we pay the employees. Mr. Speaker, it was our understanding that we do not pay the end-of-service gratuity based on the contract. We have consulted with the State of Qatar; we will also be appealing the decision to a higher court.

As we negotiate this contract, the concerns of this government are to ensure that this government is protected and we are able to provide the services that the State of Qatar wants. Mr. Speaker, it is not at all costs, and it is certainly going to mean that we represent the best interests of this Province in any negotiations we have.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. A. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers is a federal-provincial program to help unemployed older workers in communities affected by downsizing, or closures, find work. In February 2012, the federal government announced $2.2 million in funding to help fund 115 unemployed older workers through thirteen separate projects. We learned in Estimates that the $2.2 million has been reduced to $897,500.

I ask the minister: Which of the thirteen TIOW projects will be axed in light of this funding cut?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, as we move through this fiscal year, we look at the labour demands and the issues we have to face, in particular with some of the plant closures – and we have a ministerial committee to address that – as we go forward, we are not necessarily dependent upon the federal government for what programs or services we are going to offer, Mr. Speaker.

If there are needs we see in a community and there is a way that the Department of Advanced Education and Skills or other departments that we work with are able to go in and provide services, Mr. Speaker, we will do just that. This government is not dependent on the TIOW from the federal government to ensure we work with the people who are displaced in this Province, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The Member for St. Barbe.

MR. BENNETT: Mr. Speaker, government's one simple reason for removing the Parsons Pond road is the concern for moose and caribou populations. Meanwhile, Nalcor's environmental impact statement for Muskrat Falls explicitly states that, although the 1,100 kilometre corridor intersects twenty-four moose management areas, including Parsons Pond, determining the effect on moose is not practical because moose are not a native species and because their densities pose hazards to drivers.

I ask the Minister of Environment and Conservation: How can you say that moose populations are of concern in Parsons Pond, but irrelevant to the 1,100 kilometre Muskrat Falls transmission corridor, which passes through Moose Management Area 2 and Caribou Management Area 69, which includes Parsons Pond?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FRENCH: Mr. Speaker, I am amazed – I am amazed. I hardly know how to respond to the hon. member. He is here asking questions in the House. He is assaulting me every time he sees me, Mr. Speaker, to look after the moose. There are not enough moose on the Northern Peninsula, Mr. Speaker. So here we are making a decision to increase the numbers of moose and to make sure to protect the wildlife we have in the area. Now he is against it because his local area people believe this road should stay in place, Mr. Speaker.

As I said before, it is a very easy thing for us to do. Mr. Speaker, we have to do the right thing here. We have to side on the side of conservation. It is the right thing to do, and that is what this government stands for: doing the right thing.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BENNETT: Mr. Speaker, the contracts for seven of the nineteen Regional Economic Development Boards ran out on March 31, but they have yet to receive any provincial core funding for 2012-2013. ACOA has given the boards just two more weeks to sign their contracts for 2013 but they need to know the Province's intentions before they can develop their plans for this year.

I ask the minister: Is IBRD prepared to make their 2012-2013 commitment to the RED Boards so they can meet the ACOA deadline and requirement?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HUTCHINGS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, this initiative was driven by the federal government, ACOA. They decided to cut 75 per cent of the total funding for the REDBs. We have worked closely, continue to work, my officials with the RED Boards as we move forward through the transition. Our staff is engaged. We will certainly look at the capacity we have on the ground. We have built that capacity since 2003. Our programming and funding have increased substantially since then, almost $2 million to services and core funding, whether it is initiatives through finance in terms of tax credits, those sorts of things. We are up to $200 million in terms of economic development. We are confident we can work and move forward, and work with the capacity on the ground to continue to build economic development. We will certainly work along with those in the REDBs in the transition period as we move ahead.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The Leader of the Third Party.

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

In response to my question yesterday the Minister of Natural Resources stated that he informed unions, government's framework of assistance for the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper mill would involve the power asset.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Minister of Natural Resources: What assurances has he given Joe Kruger regarding his company's power assets?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, one of the things I did do as opposed to speaking to key players, as the Leader of the Third Party has done, I have actually met with the unions, sat down with them, sat down with the retired workers and heard their concerns. They have outlined to me, Mr. Speaker, what they would like to see government do if an agreement is reached. They have outlined the issue of capital assets in the mill, the issue, Mr. Speaker, of their pensions. They have raised the issue of the power asset. There have been no assurances given to anyone on anything, Mr. Speaker. The power asset is there, it is a reality. It is one of the things that make Corner Brook Pulp and Paper attractive, in that it can provide cheap power.

Mr. Speaker, we are hoping at the end of the day that an agreement will be reached. I suggest to the Leader of the Third Party that perhaps the key players she is meeting with are not informing her of the true state of affairs.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The Leader of the Third Party.

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

I ask the minister, Mr. Speaker: What is it? Are they involved in the power assets or not? Yesterday he said he would, today he is saying nothing about the power assets, so make up his mind.

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week the Premier and senior ministers gave Joe Kruger an outline of the framework of assistance that will implement if Corner Brook Pulp and Paper and the unions come to an agreement. Armed with this knowledge, the next day Kruger gave the unions a deadline of June 15. Union officials I spoke with have not yet received a smiliar type of briefing from the government.

I ask the Minister of Natural Resources: When did he meet with the union officials to brief them in detail on government's framework of assistance?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENNEDY: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

The Kruger financial situation is very serious, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Finance was given permission by Joseph Kruger to meet with the unions and to outline the dire straits in which this company finds itself.

It is not only the situation, Mr. Speaker, of this industry, but the situation of this company. Mr. Speaker, when we talk about a framework, all I am talking about - will there be a loan? There will be no subsidies, Mr. Speaker. What we will be doing is looking at a way to help Kruger survive financially, meanwhile looking after the assets in the mill, looking after the power assets, Mr. Speaker, and trying to ensure that the workers of Corner Brook are looked after. We are not playing politics, Mr. Speaker. We are here to help. We understand the importance of this mill and we understand the situation which families, friends and neighbours find themselves in, in the Corner Brook area right now, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The Leader of the Third Party.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Unions in Corner Brook are staring down an ultimatum, Mr. Speaker. Time is of the essence.

I ask the Premier: Will she send her Minister of Natural Resources to Corner Brook to fully brief the unions on their plans?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, this government has been in regular communication, not only with Mr. Kruger and Corner Brook Pulp and Paper but with the unions long before we came to this particular place. This is an industry that has been in dire difficulty for a very long time and people in this Province recognize it. We have lost two mills, Mr. Speaker.

In this effort to try and save Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, preserve the jobs in that region, Mr. Speaker, and help contribute toward a sustainability plan, there is a role for the union, there is a role for the employer, and there is a role for government, Mr. Speaker. Everybody needs to get to their piece sooner than later because banks are waiting.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS MICHAEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The whole Province waits anxiously while the future of the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper mill hangs in the balance, Mr. Speaker. Its closing will affect everybody.

Government briefed the president and owner of the company that runs the mill on its plans. Why won't government, I ask the Premier, let the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, whom they represent, also know their plans?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the plan is quite simple. What we are saying to the people in Corner Brook, what we are saying to the union, and what we are saying to Mr. Kruger, is: you have issues to resolve where it is not appropriate for government to be involved. Labour has to determine at what price they will provide their services to Corner Brook Pulp and Paper. We have no role in that. That is a negotiation between the people who work at that mill and the people who own it. What we are saying is: once you conclude those negotiations and through those negotiations work out a sustainability plan for the mill on a go-forward basis, then we, as a government, will come in and try to assist in securing that sustainability; this is the framework and the principles we will use in determining what that support –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

The Premier knows as well as I do that the issue of the pension, which is a key one, is not part of negotiations; that is under legislation.

Mr. Speaker, recently in the media, Emera President Chris Huskilson said although he has yet to receive Nalcor's new numbers on the entire Muskrat Falls Project, he sees his part in the deal still on budget at $1.2 billion. We know Premier Dunderdale would still consider sanctioning the project – excuse me, Mr. Speaker, I should not have used her name; I did, and that was an accident. We know the Premier would still consider sanctioning the project if the price tag rose to $8 billion. She has told us so.

So, I ask the Premier: has Emera indicated to the Province how much is too much to pay for their part of the bargain?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER DUNDERDALE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, if the Leader of the Third Party thinks I am going to engage in this kind of foolishness with her in the House of Assembly, she is sadly mistaken.

Mr. Speaker, she takes one piece of information and flings out at the very last question in Question Period an isolated piece of information that cannot be answered in any kind of a sensible way here in the House of Assembly. She is at again today, Mr. Speaker.

Right now we are dealing with Decision Gate 2 numbers. Mr. Speaker, when we get to Decision Gate 3 numbers and we see how costs have escalated with regard to Muskrat Falls, and we see how costs have escalated with all of the alternatives, we will determine whether or not $8 billion is too much to pay.

And back to your Corner Brook piece, I would also like to share, Mr. Speaker, that the pension issue is an issue (inaudible) –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment and Conservation. Since 2006, the provincial government has rubber-stamped federal plans to allow mining companies to save money by using natural ponds as tailings impoundment areas. As a result, we have lost Trout Pond in Central Newfoundland and are about to lose Sandy Pond, the home of trophy-class trout and an endangered eel, without a peep from the provincial government.

I ask the minister: Will his department stop any further giveaways of our waterways for mining companies to use as cheap toxic dumps?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FRENCH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, our job in the Department of Environment is to minimize – when industrial development occurs and it does so within – our role is to mitigate environmental damage. In the case of Sandy Pond, that is exactly what we are doing; we are mitigating the environmental damage. Putting those tailings underwater, Mr. Speaker, is the best thing we can do. It is better than burying them underground and it is better than stacking them in piles. That is exactly what we have to do.

All he has to do is refer to the leader. The leader of his party sat on environmental panels before, Mr. Speaker, and approved the actual burying. I suggest he talk to his leader.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. MURPHY: We could be doing better than that, I say to the hon. minister.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MURPHY: Mr. Speaker, the Harper government has introduced legislation to dramatically cut the environmental assessment process and remove protection of fish habitats. Environmental assessment in this Province has always relied on federal regulations to protect our waterways, ecosystems, and fish habitats, and now those regulations are gone.

I ask the minister: Will his department enact laws and regulations to maintain the level of environmental protection this Province needs?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FRENCH: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should obviously do his research. He did not know about things that his leader did years ago, when she sat on environmental panels. He does not know what he is talking about now, either.

Mr. Speaker, in 1983, we passed in this House – I did not pass it; I was not here at the time – the Environmental Protection Act. That act, Mr. Speaker, is one of the most robust environmental acts in the country. We partnered with the federal government. When we need their resources, Mr. Speaker, we partner with them. We partner with them in a number of areas: Environment Canada is part of our decision making; Fisheries and Oceans Canada; CEAA is a part of it; Transport Canada; and Health Canada. Mr. Speaker, when we need their advice and their issues, they will still come to this committee. Nothing will compromise the environment of this Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS ROGERS: Mr. Speaker, seniors have contacted us saying that their 65Plus drug cards were cancelled because they were no longer eligible for –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS ROGERS: – the federal Guaranteed Income Supplement.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS ROGERS: Maybe they did not do their taxes in time to get the GIS, or maybe their income was a few dollars over the $16,368 cut off.

I ask the Minister of Health and Community Services: When will her department do the right thing and stop tying eligibility for a provincial program to a federal one, and be fair to seniors by making this 65Plus Plan available to all seniors?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, in this Province we have unquestionably one of the best programs for seniors with regard to drug coverage that we are going to find anywhere.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite was in this House when we debated the legislation and when we looked at generics, and what we have in this Province now is a situation where seniors who were covered under the NLPDP do not pay any more than $6 per prescription. That is something that I think demonstrates our commitment to the seniors of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member has time for a quick question.

MS ROGERS: Mr. Speaker, I ask the minister: Will she introduce a policy that people who are denied eligibility for one drug program, like the 65Plus Program and are denied, that they automatically get information about other programs that they are entitled to?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services – a quick answer.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, all of that information is available on our Web site and many people who move from one program to another program know how to find that information. Mr. Speaker, there are people who are no longer eligible from time to time for one program who do meet the eligibility criteria for another program, as in the Assurance Program, Mr. Speaker. That is all available –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am sorry; the time for Question Period has expired.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Presenting Reports by Standing and Select Committees.

Tabling of Documents.

Tabling of Documents

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Service Newfoundland and Labrador.

MR. DAVIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to stand today to table the 2011 Annual Performance Report of the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Notices of Motion.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I give notice, seconded by the Minister of Municipal Affairs, that under Standing Order 11, I shall move that this House not adjourn at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, June 11, 2012.

Further, I give notice, under Standing Order 11, that this House not adjourn at 10:00 p.m. on Monday, June 11, 2012.

MR. SPEAKER: Further notices of motion?

Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given.

Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given

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

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, in response to the question asked from the Member for Cartwright – L'Anse au Clair on March 28 regarding the independent analysis of alternatives to meet domestic demand for electricity, I would like to refer to the review completed by Navigant Consulting for Nalcor Energy in September 2011. I would also like to discuss, Mr. Speaker, the Manitoba Hydro International report.

MHI, Mr. Speaker, were hired by the PUB as an independent consultant to review and report on the two options which had been identified as the least-cost options to respond to the Island's power needs. In the time leading up to the special debate in the House of Assembly, Mr. Speaker, we will also be tabling reports in relation to natural gas and wind alternatives. MHI has been hired by our government to complete an independent review of the Decision Gate 3 numbers.

The Navigant review, Mr. Speaker, considered a number of electricity supply options that could be theoretically considered to meet future requirements. Included options, Mr. Speaker, represent a range of choices from local resources, to importing fuel from world markets, and to interconnecting with the North American electricity grid. In summary, Mr. Speaker, Navigant supported Nalcor's position that of all of these possible scenarios, which were accessed by Nalcor, Muskrat Falls represented the lowest-cost option.

The MHI report, Mr. Speaker, supports the Island's additional need for power and concludes that the Muskrat Falls generating station and the Labrador-Island link project represents the least-cost option of the two alternatives to deliver the power. It concluded, Mr. Speaker, that Nalcor's analysis was reasonable, appropriate, and was performed largely in accordance with industry best practices.

In its report to the PUB, Mr. Speaker, MHI identified several reasons why Muskrat Falls is the best option, which include: it is the least-cost option; residential electricity demand and industrial growth is likely to grow faster than Nalcor has predicted; Holyrood may need to be closed earlier than first suspected; and carbon pricing in the future could make the isolated Island scenario even more expensive. The MHI report, Mr. Speaker, applies an extensive sensitivity analysis and even then concludes that Muskrat Falls is the least-cost project to meet the energy needs of the Island.

With respect to natural gas, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources has travelled to New York on several occasions, once with the Minister of Finance and once with the Premier, where meetings were held with PIRA, a leading oil-forecasting company, and Wood Mackenzie, a worldwide energy advisor. During these meetings, Mr. Speaker, there were extensive discussions of the effects of shale gas on present and future pricing of natural gas, the impact on North American energy markets, and the worldwide market for natural gas.

The minister and departmental officials have also met with industry representatives who have explored and continue to explore, Mr. Speaker, developing our offshore natural gas. We are told that there are no plans to develop natural gas in the short term, as it is not economically feasible. There are two possible scenarios, Mr. Speaker, for using natural gas to generate electricity in this Province. The first is to build a 350 kilometre to 650 kilometre pipeline from the Grand Banks, which has an estimated capital cost of $1 billion to $2 billion, minimum; or two, Mr. Speaker, to import natural gas into the Province, which I call the LNG option. Under the first scenario, the pipeline scenario, the decision to develop natural gas and build a pipeline must be a decision made by the oil and gas companies who have a license to develop and produce. The Province cannot force the oil companies to develop natural gas; we have no legislative authority to order an existing project to deliver gas to the Province.

Additionally, Mr. Speaker, the current low price of natural gas, approximately $3 per million BTU, is a deterrent to its development in this Province. The price needed to make such development viable, according to the oil companies, is a minimum of $10 to $12 per million BTU. The experts we have consulted predict that gas prices will be in the range of $6 per million BTU for the next decade. We are told it is simply not economically feasible, Mr. Speaker, to pursue this scenario.

Similarly, in addition to exposing the Province to volatile fuel prices, we are told that importing natural gas into the Province is cost-prohibitive. The cost of building an LNG terminal alone, Mr. Speaker, will be in the range of $1 billion to $2 billion. Dr. Wade Locke reviewed this option and concluded that natural gas would have to cost less than $5.75 per million BTU delivered to the Province to be a cheaper alternative than Muskrat Falls. This compares, Mr. Speaker, to the prices which are currently being paid in Europe and Asia and which represent larger markets than our own, where they are paying currently between $13 and $16 per million BTU.

Additionally, Mr. Speaker, natural gas would not provide power for the mining developments in Labrador. Muskrat Falls, however, would meet the Island's demand and also supply power for industrial development in Labrador.

That being said, Mr. Speaker, our government has contracted Ziff Energy, a Canadian consulting firm with many years of global experience, to provide natural gas reports. Mr. Speaker, in relation to wind, in the next couple of weeks we will be contracting a company to provide a report on wind.

Mr. Speaker, before the House of Assembly proceeds to its special debate, we will be tabling reports on the liquefied natural gas option, the pipeline option, and wind.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS BURKE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today in response to the Member for Burgeo – La Poile, who has tabled a question in the House of Assembly regarding the contract between Mr. John Noseworthy and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

As confirmed by an Order in Council tabled in the House of Assembly on Thursday, March 8, 2012, former Auditor General John Noseworthy has been retained by the Department of Advanced Education and Skills as a consultant to complete an assessment of the current programming and business transformation for the Department of Advanced Education and Skills.

This department was created to help address labour demand and has a mandate to ensure Newfoundland and Labrador has the highly educated graduates and skilled workers needed for this fast-growing economy. Given this new mandate, a comprehensive transformation plan is needed to ensure all departmental policies, programs, and services are streamlined and best fitted to meet the growing labour demands of Newfoundland and Labrador.

To undertake this task, Mr. Noseworthy has been hired as a consultant to examine programs, services, and delivery methods of the Department of Advanced Education and Skills to identify ways to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness to best meet the future needs of this Province. Mr. Noseworthy has a distinguished track record in the public service and has the right skills and knowledge to successfully carry out this work. His experience and expertise in reviewing program effectiveness, advising Cabinet ministers, and managing projects, as well as his in-depth knowledge of government process and accountability requirements, make Mr. Noseworthy the ideal candidate for this position.

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Advanced Education and Skills was created in the fall of 2011 as a result of the merger of the former Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment and the Advanced Studies Branch of the Department of Education. The new department was created in response to rapid growth and expansion in the provincial economy and the need to focus on supplying highly educated graduates and skilled workers for our fast-growing economy.

This department will house the soon-to-be-developed Workforce Development Secretariat. As announced in Budget 2012: People and Prosperity, this secretariat will focus on ensuring that labour market policies and programs are strategically aligned to develop and employ a highly trained and skilled workforce that can meet evolving labour market demands. As a new department, the minister and the executive are charged with the responsibility to develop a clear vision and direction and to utilize the substantial resources available to ensure the Province's workforce is developed. This will allow us to capitalize on the economic opportunities that are known and predicted for the next five to ten years, and to further position the Province to pursue and achieve long-term economic success beyond 2020.

Mr. Speaker, I will conclude at this point so we can get through the other business for the day, and I will provide my answer at another time.

MR. SPEAKER: You are rising on a point of order?

MR. BENNETT: Yes, Sir.

Should not this response be tabled by the minister?

MR. SPEAKER: Are you asking the minister to table her response?

MR. BENNETT: Yes, Sir.

MR. SPEAKER: The minister, when she concludes her comments, will table her response.

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker, if I could –

MR. SPEAKER: (Inaudible) to the point of order.

MR. KENNEDY: The only concern I would have, Mr. Speaker, about tabling the documents – for example, the document I just read from then, I did not finish it because of time restrictions. Hansard contains a copy of what is said. What we are tabling is the notice or the answer to the question, and that is in Hansard. Obviously, Mr. Speaker, there are time restrictions, and sometimes – I have noticed the last couple I have done, I have not had time to get through them, so I would have some concern with that.

MR. SPEAKER: Further to the point of order.

MS JONES: Yes, Mr. Speaker, it was my understanding that the long-standing practice in the House of Assembly is that when you read from a document and you are asked to table that document, it is normally required. Whether there are exceptions under our Standing Orders when it comes to answers to questions which have been placed on the Order Paper, our Standing Orders are not clear from what I have looked at and I would look for a ruling from the Speaker on that.

MR. SPEAKER: I could speak to the point of order.

This issue of – and the Member for Cartwright – L'Anse au Clair is accurate in her observation in that the Standing Orders on this issue is somewhat ambiguous. It is akin to some of the other Standing Orders that we have dealt with in this House. Throughout this process of having questions that have been laid on the Order Paper answered by Cabinet Ministers on behalf of Government, it is government's prerogative to decide to answer the questions. There is no Standing Order that says what that time limit should be, nor is there any Standing Order that tells how long the question should be.

In many other jurisdictions, the language in Standing Orders is much clearer. It is difficult to be guided by other jurisdictions and what their Standing Orders may dictate. The Speaker in this Assembly would be relying on some precedent, some past practice and rulings by past Speakers. Clearly, in the area of ambiguity, the responsibility then rests with the Speaker to provide some comment.

Let me just share with you some observations that we should be guided by. In the absence of clarity in the Standing Orders, the Speaker can look to a couple of things. Oral Questions, and very clearly in this House there is an opportunity to ask questions orally. We have said that they will be forty-five seconds to ask the question and forty-five seconds to respond. If the question is much longer, if a member of the Opposition were to ask a question to government that would require a fairly lengthy and in-depth answer, it cannot be answered in Oral Question Period. Government has the opportunity, if they wish, to have that answer provided in a written statement by way of Ministerial Statements.

Then when you look at Ministerial Statements in this House, again it is somewhat ambiguous in terms of the time allocated for Ministerial Statements, but if you reflect on Ministerial Statements that are delivered in this House today and in past sessions, they tend to range somewhere between two and four minutes. If you were to be guided by that, in terms of allocating a time period to provide an answer to the question, a complete answer to the question, not spread over two or three days, but the complete answer to the question if you were guided by that Standing Order, it would suggest that the answer has to be provided, and provided in a two to four minute time frame. That would provide some guidance to the House but neither - the Standing Orders are somewhat ambiguous.

The Speaker has been trying to be guided by the Standing Orders that reflect Ministerial Statements and provide some latitude in having the answers provided for in somewhere between a two and four minute period. Ministers, if they wish, can stand and provide an answer to the question that was laid on the Order Paper by giving the answer orally, or they can table the document and have the document tabled if they wish. So the minister responding has the opportunity to one of each.

In debate in the House, clearly when ministers stand and read from a prepared text, they have, if asked, an obligation to table what they read, but if they are standing and giving an answer and using what might be very detailed notes, they are not obligated to table that because they are not reading directly from the text.

So, in answer to the point of order that is being raised and providing some clarity to the House with respect to responding to questions that have been placed on the Order Paper, in future we should be guided by my comment with respect to Ministerial Statements. In the absence of anything clear in the Standing Orders, I have had an opportunity in recent days to reflect on and read some of the past rulings by previous Speakers who were again caught in the same spot with very ambiguous Standing Orders and have relied on some judgment that they used at that time.

The judgment that I am using now and the ruling that I am making to guide this House is that ministers who are responding to questions that have been placed on the Order Paper should be guided by the same timeline that they use for Ministerial Statements, which would range somewhere between two to four minutes. That four-minute period would be all-inclusive to provide the answer to the question in total. If your answer is much more detailed and it requires a much more lengthy response, then the minister can table the full document and not enter anything into the record orally.

Petitions.

Petitions

MR. SPEAKER: The Member for The Straits – White Bay North.

MR. MITCHELMORE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I present a petition to the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS in the District of The Straits – White Bay North, despite the $4 million Rural Broadband Initiative announcement on December 22, 2011, only one community, Ship Cove, is slated for broadband coverage; and

WHEREAS the communities of Pines Cove, Eddies Cove East, Bide Arm, North Boat Harbour, L'Anse aux Meadows, Great Brehat, St. Carol's, Goose Cove, Grandois, and St. Anthony Bight still remain without services; and

WHEREAS many small businesses within the district rely on Internet to conduct business; and

WHEREAS broadband Internet permits a business to be more competitive than the slower dial-up service; and

WHEREAS broadband Internet enhances primary, secondary, post-secondary, and further educational opportunities;

We, the undersigned, petition the House of Assembly to urge the government to reinvest in the Rural Broadband Initiatives in Newfoundland and Labrador.

As in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, the petition is signed today by residents of Anchor Point, Black Duck Cove, St. Anthony, Green Island Cove, Pines Cove, and Eddies Cove East. It is quite clear that some of these communities of which the petitioners have signed have broadband access, but they see the need for other communities to really have a true connected network.

If we look at the value across Canada through the CRTC, what they have reported in 2008, the Internet revenues from sales there in 2008 was $6.2 billion. It represented only a reflection of 15 per cent of telecommunication sales. There is a great opportunity when we look at doing business using the Internet.

Mr. Speaker, this is a petition I have presented several times in this House of Assembly. I call on other members to urge the government to address this problem because there are over 200 communities across Newfoundland and Labrador that do not have access.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The Member for St. Barbe.

MR. BENNETT: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a petition.

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

WHEREAS with declining enrolment, distance education by Internet is now an accepted way to deliver educational services to students living in small communities; and

WHEREAS students have little to no say in where they or their families reside; and

WHEREAS many families do not have the ability to relocate so that their children can access educational opportunities in larger centres; and

WHEREAS many small businesses rely on the Internet to conduct business; and

WHEREAS high-speed Internet permits a business to be more competitive than the slower dial-up service; and

WHEREAS no high-speed Internet service exists in the community of Bird Cove; and

WHEREAS there are no plans to offer high-speed Internet to residents of this community;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to partner with the private sector and offer high-speed Internet service to these communities.

As in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, there are many small communities in Newfoundland and Labrador who do not have high-speed Internet service. While the government has made some advances and some steps forward, in 2003 approximately 60 per cent of the residents of the Province had access to high-speed Internet service. Today, nine years later, we are still only up to 85 per cent. Mr. Speaker, this means that 15 per cent of our population, approximately 75,000 or 80,000 people, have no high-speed Internet service.

We have seen that businesses have had to close in small communities. These small communities are being literally left behind in the high-speed Internet sweepstakes. It is simply not good enough that government would throw blocks of money in various areas and expect the best outcome. The best outcome, Mr. Speaker, is to have a targeted approach that helps all of these small communities access contemporary, 2012 high-speed Internet service.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for The Straits – White Bay North.

MR. MITCHELMORE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I stand today to present a petition.

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

WHEREAS the Regional Economic Development – RED – Boards diversify, grow, and strengthen economies throughout the Province by providing training opportunities, marketing advice, proposal writing, leveraging of funds, collaboration, and other means; and

WHEREAS the federal government's decision to cut funding to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency – ACOA – is resulting in the elimination of funding to the RED Boards and their termination in May, 2013; and

WHEREAS 75 per cent of the operational funding for the RED Boards – roughly $3.6 million – is provided by ACOA, with the additional 25 per cent from the provincial government; and

WHEREAS the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development – IBRD – has $200 million in their suite of programming, some of which has poor uptake; and

WHEREAS just 1.5 per cent of the Business Attraction Fund of the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development was used last year, $366,800 of a $25 million budget;

We the undersigned petition the House of Assembly to urge the government to commit to bridge funding in its 2013 Budget, which may come from the Business Attraction Fund, to help preserve the RED Boards in Newfoundland and Labrador, who provide to support to municipalities, communities, organizations, and businesses.

As in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, the petition right here is signed by residents of Paradise, St. John's, and Mount Pearl. It is quite vital, the work that these organizations have done, the nineteen of them across Newfoundland and Labrador. Right now, they certainly are in a transition period and they certainly need funding to continue their operations.

There have been millions of dollars that have been leveraged and there has been great work done, whether it be looking at agrifood development, community capacity building, workshops, or whether they are doing supplier training for helping local businesses be able to tap into some of these larger projects that are happening here in the Province. We are not talking about a significantly large portion of money, when there is so much that can be unused in a department. We would like to see these boards preserved.

Maybe they need to have a bit of a change in focus, Mr. Speaker, but there does need to be the ability for these organizations to exist and provide economic development, community economic development. They have been undergoing performance-based management and they certainly can be given funding based on their performance.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Orders of the Day.

Orders of the Day

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

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

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Municipal Affairs, for leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act And The City Of St. John's Municipal Taxation Act, Bill 30, and I further move that the said bill be now read the first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the hon. Minister of Municipal Affairs shall have leave to introduce a bill, An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act And The City Of St. John's Municipal Taxation Act, Bill 30.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the Minister shall have leave to introduce Bill 30 and that the said bill be now read the first time?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: Nay.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion carried.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Municipal Affairs to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act And The City Of St. John's Municipal Taxation Act", carried. (Bill 30)

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act And The City Of St. John's Municipal Taxation Act. (Bill 30)

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

When shall the bill be read a second time?

MR. KENNEDY: Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, Bill 30 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MR. KENNEDY: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

I move, seconded by the hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board for leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act to Amend The Public Service Collective Bargaining Act, Bill 31, and I further move that the said bill be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board shall have leave to introduce a bill, An Act To Amend The Public Service Collective Bargaining Act, Bill 31, and that the said bill be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that minister shall have leave to introduce Bill 31 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'.

Motion carried.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Public Service Collective Bargaining Act", carried. (Bill 31)

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Amend The Public Service Collective Bargaining Act. (Bill 31)

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

When shall the bill be read a second time?

MR. KENNEDY: Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, Bill 31 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MR. KENNEDY: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

I move, seconded by the hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board, for leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Amend The Public Service Commission Act, Bill 32, and I further move the said bill be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board shall have leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Amend The Public Service Commission Act, Bill 32, and that the said bill be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the minister shall have leave to introduce Bill 32 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'.

Motion carried.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Public Service Commission Act", carried. (Bill 32)

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Amend The Public Service Commission Act. (Bill 32)

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

When shall the said bill be read a second time?

MR. KENNEDY: Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, Bill 32 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. the Minister of Municipal Affairs, for leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Amend The Assessment Act, 2006, Bill 34, and I further move that the said bill be now read the first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the hon. Minister of Municipal Affairs shall have leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Amend The Assessment Act, 2006, Bill 34, and that the said bill be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the minister shall have leave to introduce Bill 34, and that the said be now read a first time?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

Motion carried.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Municipal Affairs to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Assessment Act, 2006", carried. (Bill 34)

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Amend The Assessment Act, 2006. (Bill 34)

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

When shall the bill be read a second time?

MR. KENNEDY: Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, Bill 34 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Municipal Affairs, for leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Amend The Municipal Affairs Act, Bill 35, and I further move that the said bill be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the hon. Minister of Municipal Affairs shall leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Amend The Municipal Affairs Act, Bill 35, and that the said bill be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the minister shall have leave to introduce Bill 35 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'.

Motion carried.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Municipal Affairs to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Municipal Affairs Act", carried. (Bill 35)

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Amend The Municipal Affairs Act. (Bill 35)

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

When shall the bill be read a second time?

MR. KENNEDY: Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

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

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

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Municipal Affairs, for leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act Respecting Regional Service Boards In The Province, Bill 36, and I further move that the said bill be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the hon. Minister of Municipal Affairs shall have leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act Respecting Regional Service Boards In The Province, Bill 36, and that the said bill be now read a first time.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the minister shall have leave to introduce Bill 36 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'.

Motion carried.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Municipal Affairs to introduce a bill, "An Act Respecting Regional Service Boards In The Province", carried. (Bill 36)

CLERK: A bill, An Act Respecting Regional Service Boards In The Province. (Bill 36)

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

When shall the bill be read a second time?

MR. KENNEDY: Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, Bill 36 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Municipal Affairs, that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole to consider Bills 23, 24, 25, 26, and 28.

MR. SPEAKER: It has been moved and seconded that I do now leave the Chair for the House to resolve itself into Committee of the Whole and to consider the bills referred.

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.

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

Committee of the Whole

CHAIR (Verge): Order, please!

In Committee of the Whole this afternoon we will be considering Bills 23, 24, 25, 26, and 28.

We will begin with Bill 23.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement Act". (Bill 23)

CLERK: Clause 1.

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

The Opposition House Leader.

MS JONES: Oh, no, (inaudible).

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clause 1 carried.

CLERK: Clause 2 to 5 inclusive.

CHAIR: Shall clauses 2 through 5 inclusive carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clauses 2 through 5 carried.

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

CHAIR: Shall the enacting clause carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, enacting clause carried.

CLERK: An Act To Amend The Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement Act.

CHAIR: Shall the title carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, title carried.

CHAIR: Shall I report the bill without amendment?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

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

CHAIR: We are now debating Bill 24.

A bill, "An Act To Extinguish Obsolete Actions In The Province". (Bill 24)

CLERK: Clause 1.

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clause 1 carried.

CLERK: Clauses 2 to 9 inclusive.

CHAIR: Shall clauses 2 through 9 inclusive carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clauses 2 through 9 carried.

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

CHAIR: Shall the enacting clause carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, enacting clause carried.

CLERK: An Act To Extinguish Obsolete Actions In The Province.

CHAIR: Shall the title carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, title carried.

CHAIR: Shall I report the bill without amendment?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

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

CHAIR: We are now debating Bill 25.

A bill, "An Act Respecting The Practice Of Optometry In The Province". (Bill 25)

CLERK: Clause 1.

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clause 1 carried.

CLERK: Clauses 2 to 66 inclusive.

CHAIR: Shall clauses 2 through 66 inclusive carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clauses 2 through 66 carried.

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

CHAIR: Shall the enacting clause carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, enacting clause carried.

CLERK: An Act Respecting The Practice Of Optometry In The Province.

CHAIR: Shall the title carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, title carried.

CHAIR: Shall I report the bill without amendment?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

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

CHAIR: We are now debating Bill 26.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Consumer Protection And Business Practices Act No. 2". (Bill 26)

CLERK: Clause 1.

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clause 1 carried.

CLERK: Clauses 2 to 6 inclusive.

CHAIR: Shall clauses 2 through 6 inclusive carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clauses 2 through 6 carried.

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

CHAIR: Shall the enacting clause carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, enacting clause carried.

CLERK: An Act To Amend The Consumer Protection And Business Practices Act No. 2.

CHAIR: Shall the title carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, title carried.

CHAIR: Shall I report the bill without amendment?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

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

CHAIR: We are now debating Bill 28.

CLERK: Clause 1.

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. MURPHY: Mr. Chair, I wanted to ask a couple of questions on Bill 26. I do not know if you saw me standing or not.

CHAIR: I did see you standing when we were passing the enacting clause and the title. I did not see you stand when we called the clauses.

MR. MURPHY: It may be too late if that is the case, but I just wanted to ask the minister a couple of questions on Bill 26. I do not know if we are past that process or not.

CHAIR: With leave of the House we can do that.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

CHAIR: Go ahead, the hon. the Member for St. John's East. Considering that the bill is passed, we will not go back and do the vote, but you can go ahead and ask your questions.

MR. MURPHY: I just wanted to get some clarification basically from the minister as regards to the act and Bill 26, as regards to the permitting. I am still not quite sure exactly the intent. I know it is moving from the licensing of direct sellers. I am just wondering as regards to a bit of clarification on that first of all, if he can give me that.

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Service Newfoundland and Labrador.

MR. DAVIS: Yes, Mr. Chair, there is no change in the policy that is being followed on licensing direct sellers. What has taken place is that many years ago there was a change made in the legislation that existed at the time that removed the requirement for direct sellers – the people who are actually conducting the business front line, door to door, or in a place other than a place of business. The requirement for them to be each and individually licensed was removed several years ago.

When the new act was developed in 2009, that requirement was erroneously put back into the legislation. We did not change the policy, we did not change how we did business during that period of time, but we did recognize that there was an error in the act, and this was correcting that error. So, we have not changed how we are doing business whatsoever. We are doing it the same way we have done it now for twelve or fourteen, fifteen years.

CHAIR: The Member for St. John's East.

MR. MURPHY: I guess just a follow-up then to the minister. I take it that bonding then, any type of selling, for example, as regards to that would have the requirements of bonding, like alarm companies and that sort of thing, they are going to remain not affected by this, or are there side effects from that?

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Service Newfoundland and Labrador.

MR. DAVIS: That is correct. The only thing that changes here is who is required to be licensed. Direct sellers themselves have not been required to be licensed in Newfoundland and Labrador for many years. The businesses who are in the business of conducting business by way of direct selling license themselves and they register how many people they have operating or working in their business. So, that is the way it has been done now for many years in this Province, and that practice will continue.

CHAIR: The Member for St. John's East.

MR. MURPHY: Okay, thank you, Mr. Chair.

I have no other questions.

CHAIR: We will now debate Bill 28.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Psychologists Act, 2005". (Bill 28)

CLERK: Clause 1.

CHAIR: Shall clause 1 carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clause 1 carried.

CLERK: Clauses 2 to 21 inclusive.

CHAIR: Shall clauses 2 through 21 inclusive carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, clauses 2 through 21 carried.

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

CHAIR: Shall the enacting clause carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, enacting clause carried.

CLERK: An Act To Amend The Psychologists Act, 2005.

CHAIR: Shall the title carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

On motion, title carried.

CHAIR: Shall I report the bill without amendment?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

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

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. KENNEDY: I move, Mr. Chair, that the Committee rise and report Bills 23, 24, 25, 26, and 28.

CHAIR: The motion is that the Committee rise and report Bills 23, 24, 25, 26 and 28 carried without amendment.

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay'.

Carried.

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

MR. SPEAKER (Wiseman): Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Lewisporte, and Chair of Committee of the Whole.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole have considered the matters to them referred and have asked me to report Bills 23, 24, 25, 26 and 28 carried without amendment and ask leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair of Committee of the Whole reports that the Committee have considered the matters to them referred and have directed him to report Bills 23, 24, 25, 26 and 28 without amendment.

When shall the report be received?

MR. KENNEDY: Now, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Now.

When shall the bills be read a third time?

MR. KENNEDY: Now, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Now.

On motion, report received and adopted. Bills ordered read a third time presently, by leave.

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

MR. KENNEDY: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

I call from the Order Paper, Order 2, third reading of Bill 23.

I move, seconded by the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills, that Bill 23, An Act To Amend The Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement Act, be now read the third time.

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

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion that Bill 23 be now read a third time?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

Motion carried.

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Amend The Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement Act. (Bill 23)

MR. SPEAKER: This bill is now 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 To Amend The Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement Act", read a third time, ordered passed and its title be as on the Order Paper. (Bill 23)

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

MR. KENNEDY: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I call from the Order Paper, Order 3, third reading of Bill 24.

I move, seconded by the Minister of Municipal Affairs, that Bill 24, An Act To Extinguish Obsolete Actions In The Province, be now read the third time.

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

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion that Bill 24 be read a third time?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

Motion carried.

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Extinguish Obsolete Actions In The Province. (Bill 24)

MR. SPEAKER: This bill is now 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 To Extinguish Obsolete Actions In The Province", read a third time, ordered passed and its title be as on the Order Paper. (Bill 24)

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

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

I call from the Order Paper, Order 4, third reading of Bill 25.

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills, that Bill 25, An Act Respecting The Practice Of Optometry In The Province, be now read the third time.

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

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion that Bill 25 be now read a third time?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

Motion carried.

CLERK: A bill, An Act Respecting The Practice Of Optometry In the Province. (Bill 25)

MR. SPEAKER: This bill is now 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 Respecting The Practice Of Optometry In the Province", read a third time, ordered passed and its title be as on the Order Paper. (Bill 25)

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

MR. KENNEDY: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

I call from the Order Paper, Order 5, third reading of Bill 26.

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills, that Bill 26, An Act To Amend The Consumer Protection And Business Practices Act No. 2, be now read the 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 that Bill 26 be read a third time?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

Motion carried.

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Amend The Consumer Protection And Business Practices Act No. 2. (Bill 26)

MR. SPEAKER: This bill is now 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 To Amend The Consumer Protection And Business Practices Act No. 2", read a third time, ordered passed and its title be as on the Order Paper. (Bill 26)

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

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. Speaker, I call from the Order Paper, Order 6, third reading of Bill 28.

I move, seconded by the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills, that Bill 28, An Act To Amend The Psychologists Act, 2005, be now read the 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 that Bill 28 be read a third time?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

Motion carried.

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Amend The Psychologists Act, 2005. (Bill 28)

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

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The Psychologists Act, 2005", read a third time, ordered passed and its title be as on the Order Paper. (Bill 28)

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

MR. KENNEDY: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

I call from the Order Paper, Order 8, second reading of Bill 27, An Act To Regulate The Personal Services Industry Act.

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 move, seconded by the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills, that we debate Bill 27, An Act To Regulate The Personal Services Industry.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that Bill 27, An Act To Regulate The Personal Services Industry, be read a second time.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Regulate The Personal Services Industry". (Bill 27)

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

MS SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I rise before this hon. House today to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Regulate The Personal Services Industry. Mr. Speaker, the Personal Services Act will continue the provincial government's commitment to protect public health by implementing for the first time in this Province a new regulatory environment for personal services establishments and tanning facilities.

Personal services establishments are those that provide tattooing, body piercing, and lesser known procedures such as scarification, skin peeling, sub dermal implants, and tongue bifurcation. Tanning facilities, Mr. Speaker, are those that provide clients access to tanning beds or booths that expose them to artificially produced ultraviolet light. The purpose of the draft bill is to put in place measures to better protect the health and safety of the public of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, I had the pleasure this morning of hosting a press conference to talk precisely about this bill and to lay out for those who attended some of the specifics. I will be happy to do that here in the House this afternoon for those of my colleagues who were unable to be there, but also for those who are viewing via television. This act, I think is a very important act in terms of health and safety in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, the measures that we make reference to will reduce the risk of transmission of blood-borne diseases during procedures performed at personal services establishments, and further, will reduce the incidents of disease such as skin cancer or melanoma from the use of tanning beds in tanning facilities.

Mr. Speaker, many jurisdictions in Canada, the United States and throughout the world regulates personal services establishments and tanning facilities. Across Canada, the manner in which these premises are regulated and inspected varies greatly, however. Public health interventions range from no regulations at all and no inspections, to regulation and routine inspection.

Through the Personal Services Act we will be able to do the following, Mr. Speaker, and I am sure the people particularly at home who are viewing and hearing this for the first time will be interested. We will prohibit indoor tanning facilities from offering services to persons under the age of nineteen.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS SULLIVAN: We will also prohibit personal services establishments from offering invasive body modification procedures such as scaring, subdermal implants, branding, skin peeling and tongue splitting to persons under the age of nineteen. We will prohibit personal services establishments from offering body piercing and tattooing services to persons under the age of sixteen without the written consent of a young person's parent or guardian.

Mr. Speaker, further to those three regulations, we will require personal services establishments and tanning facilities to provide information to clients on the health risks of the services to be provided and to post health warning signs in the premises.

We will require personal services establishments and tanning facilities to comply with provincial health standards that will be developed. We will also require personal service establishments and tanning facilities to register their businesses with Service NL.

Mr. Speaker, we have heard from operators of personal services establishments and tanning facilities that they support the development of health and safety standards. The provincial government will collaborate with industry representatives to develop these standards, and it is expected to take at least a year to carry out this work. The legislation will come into effect once government has developed the health standards and other supporting regulations.

Mr. Speaker, my department commits to working hand in hand with Service NL, as well as other stakeholders in the industry, as we ensure that the regulations that we develop, the policies that we develop are the best that we possibly can, Mr. Speaker.

We recognize that for tanning facilities we will be implementing an age restriction that may result in minor economic impacts related to the restriction. During our consultation process, we heard that tanning for youth under the age of eighteen represents about 3 per cent of the clientele.

As with any legislation that imposes restrictions and standards on an industry, we must ensure that establishments and facilities comply with the legislation. Inspectors with Service NL will enforce this legislation, Mr. Speaker. The Department of Health and Community Services will certainly collaborate with Service NL to develop that inspection program before the Personal Services Act comes into force.

Persons and operators who fail to comply with the requirements under the Personal Services Act will face a fine, and inspectors will have the authority to issue summary offence tickets, which will be issued when there is non-compliance of a written order given by an inspector. Fines for failing to comply with the Personal Services Act will range between $50 and $5,000, Mr. Speaker, consistent with the fines applied under the Tobacco Control Act. Further, the act will allow inspectors to enter premises and to take the necessary action. For example, issue the orders or in fact close a facility if an immediate risk to health is identified during an inspection.

Regarding the personal services establishments themselves, Mr. Speaker, let us first consider in a little more detail what this means for them, and then I will talk about tanning facilities after that. As many of you will know, the catalyst for the work leading to the regulation of personal services establishments under this bill was the sudden death of a young woman from St. John's in 2006 from infection complications arising from a body piercing. Mr. Speaker, on a regular basis, I hear from the mother of that young girl. I know she is watching today and applauding this action today, Mr. Speaker. I commend her for her vigilance and for constantly keeping this before us.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, following an examination of the death, the Chief Medical Examiner recommended that the provincial government enact regulations regarding the operation of tattoo and body-piercing parlours to establish consistent practice and reduce the potential risk to the public. In our 2011 Blue Book, we committed to developing appropriate standards for the industry to protect public health and safety. Today, Mr. Speaker, we are delivering on that commitment.

Procedures performed at personal services establishments are often invasive and involve the direct application of instruments and chemicals to the body. For example, body piercing and tattooing involve the introduction of potentially contaminated equipment through the skin, which can provide an opportunity for the transmission of blood-borne diseases. These diseases include bacterial infections, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV infection. When the Personal Services Act comes into force, we will ensure that personal services procedures are being conducted in premises utilizing equipment and procedures that minimize the risk of disease transmission and protect the health of the client and the worker doing the procedure.

I would like to address now some of the issues around tanning facilities, Mr. Speaker. In 2009, the World Health Organization, better known as WHO, classified UV emitting tanning devices as a Group 1 agent. This now classifies the use of tanning devices with tobacco smoking and many other agents as carcinogenic to humans, Mr. Speaker.

The WHO recommendation was based on the review of over twenty epidemiological studies. These studies indicated that the risk of melanoma, which is a form of skin cancer, increases by 75 per cent when the use of tanning devices starts before the age of thirty. There is also evidence which demonstrates an increased risk of ocular melanoma, which affects the eyes. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, the incidence of melanoma has increased significantly in Canada over the past several decades.

In Newfoundland and Labrador in 2011, Mr. Speaker, the incidence of melanoma was nineteen male and twelve female cases per 100,000 people. So, Mr. Speaker, if we do the math on that, we are looking at about 150 incidences of melanoma last year in this Province alone. Another recently published study in the International Journal of Cancer suggests that there is a significant increased risk of early onset melanoma when tanning beds are used during adolescence and early childhood. Due to the significant amount of evidence regarding the link between tanning bed usage and skin cancer, a number of jurisdictions worldwide have implemented legislation that regulates tanning facilities. Australia and some US states have already banned or are in the process of banning tanning for youth under eighteen years of age.

With the increasing incidents of skin cancer and the connection between skin cancer and tanning beds, we believe it is prudent to take action to prevent exposure at an early age. An age restriction on the use of tanning beds is supported by the medical community here in this Province, Mr. Speaker. It is also supported by the Cancer Control Advisory Committee – that I am happy to have advise me on a very regular basis – the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Dermatology Society, and the Canadian Paediatric Society.

In Canada, a number of provinces have either moved forward with regulating tanning facilities or are considering doing so. Nova Scotia currently has regulations in place to ban tanning for those under nineteen years of age. Nova Scotia also requires tanning bed salons to display mandatory health warning signs. This fall, British Columbia may limit the use of tanning beds to those under eighteen, and Quebec is considering an age restriction as well. As you can see, Mr. Speaker, we are among the top three or four provinces in the country to move forward with this legislation.

During a targeted stakeholder meeting held recently, operators of tanning facilities were generally supportive of health and safety standards for their industry, such as: skin typing of all clients and not providing service to clients with skin types that put them at a greater risk to skin cancer; having certification and training for tanning bed operators; posting of health warning signs; requiring clients to wear protective eye wear; requiring remote control timers for tanning beds; and prohibiting self-service tanning beds.

Mr. Speaker, according to tanning salon operators at the stakeholder meeting, about 3 per cent of their clientele are under the age of eighteen and the financial impact on operators is expected to be minimal. By passing the Personal Services Act and banning tanning to those under the age of nineteen, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will be implementing measures to protect the future health of youth in this Province, Mr. Speaker, and we will demonstrate a commitment to disease prevention. By doing so, we will become once again a leader on the national stage.

Mr. Speaker, I implore everyone in this House to consider what we are presenting here today as a very important piece of legislation, a piece of legislation that looks to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Mr. Speaker, particularly of our young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, particularly where we look at the age restrictions around tanning to nineteen years and under who will be prohibited from being able to receive those services, when we look at the age restriction of nineteen as well for any body modification procedure, Mr. Speaker. I am happy to say that in this Province at this point from the information that we have been able to glean, there really is not very much if any of the body modification procedures happening. In any case, we will now have some preventative measures in place when we restrict that age to nineteen.

Then, Mr. Speaker, the other important piece, I think is the age restriction that we will be legislating to the age of sixteen, with consent of a parent, for tattooing and for body piercing. Some have asked me in the press conference this morning the reason for sixteen as opposed to nineteen there, why did we choose the age of sixteen. The reason is that the child youth act identifies the age of sixteen as being the age when a child is no longer a child but a youth and is able to emancipate himself or herself from a parent. Mr. Speaker, that is the reason that we chose the age of sixteen for that particular prohibition that we have put in place.

Mr. Speaker, I ask everyone in the House to give this some serious consideration, some serious thought. I really do hope that we will be able to unanimously support this bill, Bill 27, An Act To Regulate The Personal Services Industry of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER (Kent): Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Burgeo – La Poile.

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

I am very happy to stand here today and speak to An Act To Regulate The Personal Services Industry, which is really a first for this Province. Given that it was not very long ago that we were in this House, I was asking questions on this, it will be awfully hard for me to not support this piece of legislation.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. A. PARSONS: I can indicate very clearly that I am in support of this legislation, but I feel I should at least go through the reasons why we found this to be an issue.

I could start off by saying that, as part of the Opposition, people sometimes bring their concerns to you so that you can address government. That is how the political process works. This is one of the issues that came to us. It is only when you actually hear from these people, and you start getting into the science and studies behind it, that you really get hit with the effect of some of these things.

I am specifically going to talk about tanning to start off, because it has been proven now that tanning contributes to cancer. It is out there. It is contributing. I just look at some of the numbers. I will just go ahead of myself just to say that also supporting this are a number of very renowned health organizations: the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Dermatology Association, the Canadian Cancer Society, the American Cancer Society, and the Canadian Paediatric Society. So when you have these individuals on board, that gives you an idea that the people who are studied in this field know that it is a good thing.

When you hear some of the statistics, Mr. Speaker, about melanoma and skin cancer being the most common cancer in Canada, with 80,000 new cases last year, the converse of that is it is the most preventable form of cancer. Anything we can do to help reduce this is going to help stem that rise in the number of cases of this cancer. When you hear the numbers like one skin cancer diagnosis every seven minutes, it is a staggering number and it is too much.

That is why this piece of legislation is aimed at young people. When you reach that age of majority, when you reach nineteen, you are given that choice as adult, someone having capacity that you can do things, good things, and some things that may not be good for you, but you are allowed. I have heard some people use this term, the nanny state, and are we moving too far. I do not think that is the case here specifically, because we are looking at it through the interests of children and youth. Again, by law, these children and youth do not have capacity to enter into contracts and there is a reason for that.

We do not allow youth to buy cigarettes or drink alcohol. They have to reach a certain age before they are allowed to drive. They are not allowed to vote until they reach a certain age. In this case, we are eliminating that ability to go out and contribute to your own medical malfeasance. It is going to hurt you, so we are trying to eliminate that, especially when it comes to the tanning bed issue as well as body modification.

I was very happy that the department gave us a full briefing. We sat down and we had a chance to review the legislation in advance. We had a chance to talk to the people who are involved in this. I have to be honest, the tanning is one thing, but when you see some of the definitions in the legislation when we talk about personal services, such as tongue bifurcation, branding, skin peeling, scarification, and sub-dermal implantation, I have to be very honest, a lot of these things are – and again, I do not consider myself dated; I am fairly young, but a lot of these things are even new to me. It was not long ago that the only thing you heard about really was maybe ear piercings and tongue piercings, and then it went to the face, and now we are talking about operations where we are going to have a forked tongue.

It has been proven that some of these operations, some of these procedures are deadly; they are deadly, and that is what we are worried about here. If they are not done in a sanitary, healthy environment by supervised officials, then it can lead to death. That has been referenced by the minister here, and we need to avoid that. I guess there are the two sides here; it is the preventing of the actual act, and the second part is the regulation of the industry. So again, we are obviously very much in support of that.

I will just go back to the tanning part and just the numbers that we see. The fact is that this Province had a 200 per cent increase in the numbers of melanoma. So, when you see staggering numbers like this, we need to take a stand to stem the tide of preventing this disease.

The other thing about tanning, when you think about it, when you talk about some of the personal services, some of these are done for a cultural or religious reason; again, I am not fully aware of that, but I know that that is the case. Tanning is done mainly for aesthetic purposes. There is no purpose that I am aware of just for the concept of beauty that has been put out there in society. The fact is that 70 per cent of tanning bed users are females aged 16 to 29. Now, when they get over the age of majority, if they choose to do that, that is fine, the same way if you choose to smoke cigarettes and contribute to your own health issues, well, you are given that right; you have to be that age majority when you have that capacity to make these decisions on your own.

I think one of the concerns was whether we are going to get a backlash from individuals, and I think with any new legislation that takes away somebody's right to do something, you are going to deal with that. I am sure that when anti-tobacco legislation was brought out in the beginning, people complained about it. When the cellphone legislation, cellphones while driving, was brought out, people complained about it. Now when we look at cellphones, it is a natural way, and we know that it contributes to safety. So, in this case there may be some backlash at first, especially from business owners that may lose some revenue, but I am hoping that the statistics that the minister referenced are correct in that it is not going to be a hit on the bottom line. The businesses will continue on.

When you talk about the fact that something like tanning is actually just as deadly a carcinogen, or just as high-rated as tobacco, again that tells us why we are moving forward this way. The other thing too, is studies have shown there are some provinces that have implemented voluntary guidelines, Mr. Speaker, and these guidelines have been proven to be not very successful. We have a guideline there but it is not mandatory, you do not have to follow it. It is still not doing what it is intended to do.

The other thing too, this is not revolutionary legislation in that we are the first Province to do it. Other provinces have already enacted this or put it through their Legislatures. It has also been done down in the States, I believe in California. Again, we have had other pieces of legislation and studies to look at and examine to see the effects and how we should go about this the best way.

I am just going to move on to the legislation itself, which we have had an opportunity to review. There is not much in there that I need to question. It is very comprehensive. It lays out the definition section. It lays out the personal services that are being referenced and it lays out the facilities that we are dealing with here. The questions that I had were actually answered very well in the briefing.

I like the fact that there are protections here and we have to have this proof of age. The same way that if a young person tries to buy alcohol or cigarettes, proof of age. That is there. We need to put those protections in. I also like the fact that there is a section that specifically mandates the provision of information. If you want to obtain one of these personal services, the facility needs to give you an explanation of the procedure, potential health risks, and potential results of this. Such as the fact that – some people forget I guess sometimes that things like tattooing are permanent. People do not realize, especially young people, do not realize the implications or consequences of their actions. I guess the beauty of being young is that you do not always think ahead.

Another thing here which is very important, especially for the health side, is the after care instructions, and this is all in section 5 of the legislation. We are talking about after care instructions, health instructions that need to be followed to ensure the procedure you undertake is not only performed in the most safe manner possible, but the after care is what you need to ensure that there are no results – sometimes you get this toxic shock that might come in. We need to make sure we eliminate or reduce those possible risks.

When you look through the legislation, there are more protective measures. Sections 6 and 7 talk about refusal to provide service if somebody is intoxicated. We talk about signage that needs to be displayed. Again, more steps taken to ensure that we are going to eliminate the possibility of people trying to avoid this legislation or slip through the cracks.

Now, one section, and this is going to take time. I cannot say it is the tricky part but this is the part that may take some time, is the registration part. This is another piece of legislation that the burden falls on Service Newfoundland and Labrador to uphold and maintain this legislation. My concern was that, are businesses going to be affected negatively by the registration process? Is it going to cost them anything? No. That was one huge concern that was alleviated for me is that these businesses are not going to have to pay for this. They might get a hit at the beginning but it is not going to cost them to deal with government regulations. That was a big concern that was addressed for me.

The second part is the registration. You have a time period to file a registration. It is like anything, it is going to take some time to identify the purveyors of these services, where they are, their location. It is like anything, we have to take this time and make sure that it is done.

We also discussed the possibility of inspectors. This could end up being similar to the inspectors they use when we talk about youth buying tobacco is that you employ a young person to try to beat the system, and that is how you figure out if somebody does it. I am assuming that we might even use a similar system here. If a young person tries to get tanning services, if they do it then obviously the system is not what it needs to be and we can make sure that is remedied. That would fall under the offences section of this.

We talk about the powers that these inspectors have. You always have that balance between what is too much power and what is not enough power. It is always a delicate balance. In this case I think the inspectors are given the same authority that they have been given under similar pieces of legislation.

We move into, Mr. Speaker, protection from liability. This is one section that I found very interesting and it works. What this section does, it protects a person who reports these things being done. It says that they shall not be dismissed, suspended, disciplined or demoted for self-reporting that their business is contravening the law. That is a good thing. It is similar to like whistle-blower legislation. We need to have that because half the time you can eliminate this by making sure that people are not afraid to report their employer breaking the law.

We talk about the offences and penalties section when we get to section 18. There might be some trouble, like anything, when we talk about there are offences for who is an owner of a facility. There are punishments for the employee and punishments for the employer. All the penalties are done by fine. When you get into – your first offence is only $50, and that is fine. If you slip up, you are going to get dinged. The effect there is that if you get your second and third offences, you are getting into significant money. If you are going to keep breaking the law, it is going to hit your bottom line and hit your pocketbook. That is what stops a lot of people from breaking any legislation.

Again, what I would say is that the legislation, from what I can see, appears very thorough. I know the regulations are still ongoing and I am hoping that they are brought in sooner rather than later. I have been told that it may take up twelve months. When it comes to this legislation and regulations, there is that balance we talk about where you cannot have a knee-jerk reaction to legislation. We cannot bring it in right away, we need to make sure we do our due diligence, but at the same time we cannot get caught up and let things get shuffled under the rug. We need to make sure that we continue on with this and get it implemented; however, the good news is that we do no need to hold up on the tanning aspect of the legislation. We can implement that, even if we are not ready on the piercing.

One of the reasons it is being held up is that I understand the department is still consulting with experts in the field and the actual purveyors of this service: the tattoo industry. We have seen them in newspapers lately talking about this; they want this. These people who actually work and have their own businesses, they want this, because they are competing against the people operating out of their houses, and that is an issue. These are the people who we need to crack down on and make sure cannot provide this service because if they are not regulated, then the safety aspect is not there. These people are willing to work with the department, and I hope this consultation works well.

I will continue on, Mr. Speaker, by saying that, again, we might see some backlash about this. I cannot imagine that many parents are going to be too upset about this. Again, when you listen to the reaction, whether it be in the media, whether that be TV, newspaper, or on-line, it is not like you allow public sentiment to always tell you what you are going to do, but so far what I have seen since the announcement of this legislation has been very positive. Many people are in favour of this. In fact, there are some calling for an outright ban.

Now, is there any need to go there yet? Time will tell, but this is a very good first step. It is a step in the right direction. What we are doing is protecting our youth. Again, sometimes you have to start at the youth stage. By working with youth, they carry these lessons on into their adulthood and whether they want to partake of this service or not, they might avoid it. Again, what they are doing is protecting their own health, and I guess in a way what they are doing is eliminating costs on the system down the road, costs both on the system but on them personally. If we can prevent any kind of disease, we need to do that.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to start to clue up here because I think I have addressed the reasons I am in support of this. We had a number of organizations and health groups that are in favour of it. We have a lot of parents and people who have been involved in this and are in favour of it. Again, having looked through it, it looks very good to me. I think this is a very good step. I am certainly happy to support it. My concerns as it relates to the proprietors have been addressed. We have to make sure that we take into account their thoughts on this, and we have made sure that the enforcement and the regulation is there. Again, it does not appear to be too cumbersome on small business. We always have to take that into account, but it sounds like they have played a role in this, Mr. Speaker.

So, on that note, I am just going to say that I am happy to speak to this today, I was happy to raise issues on this in the House and bring those concerns forward, and I look forward to supporting this when we move forward to the vote.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

It is an absolute pleasure to stand here today. This is one of these pieces of legislation which is actually quite interesting, and I think what we have heard already, I think it is going to be a pretty common thread throughout – everyone is in agreement with it, and think it is certainly a good idea.

The minister has laid out this pretty well clearly, so I would like to change speeds and take it in a bit of a different direction and just focus on some of the terminology. We are all familiar with tanning and piercing and tattoos, obviously, it has been a part of our culture – North American culture – for years now, but there are some other things that are more obscure that are put in the definitions. I would like to just take a minute, because although some of us may know, there is a lot of people out there either watching from the galleries or on the television thinking: What are these other procedures?

All of these are forms of body modification, and while things appear to come out every second day, you always hear something new in the news type thing. We focused on some of the more common ones – and I do not feel overly comfortable saying the common ones, because in the larger picture, I guess, they are not overly common, but there are pockets of body modification enthusiasts that this is quite common amongst those groups. So certainly, I would say, if anything, this government is being proactive. Before this becomes a bigger issue, certainly, we are nipping it in the bud, because we do see it on the horizon, and it takes place in many provinces – maybe not so much in Newfoundland and Labrador, but certainly in other provinces, other states, countries, what have you.

I will mention, actually, some of these that are listed in the legislation that we are proposing are not actually offered currently in Newfoundland and Labrador. Some of them, as I understand, have been offered in the past when certain individuals have been practising here – different artists, I will call them – but currently I do not think some of these are offered, but again, it certainly is important to discuss them.

So first I was going to take a look at the subdermal implantation, microdermal implantation, also known as 3D design or pocketing. So again, I just want to put this into context, because it is fine to say subdermal implantation, but people are saying: What exactly is that and why are we making sure that individuals under the age of nineteen cannot have it done? As the minister had said, it refers to the placement of body jewellery or devices under the skin, giving a rippling effect type thing. The humps and lumps in your skin would actually create the design. To begin, the person would have the procedure performed – and I do not mean to be grotesque or anything, but there are a couple of layers of skin, as some of you may have learned in biology class back in the day. They would cut the first layer of skin. They would use a medical instrument that would actually separate two levels of skin and import beads and other materials, stitch it up, put surgical tape over it, and that would take some time to heal. That is actually what is being done.

It is obvious that such a procedure is intrusive. It comes with many risks with regard to infection and whatnot. Any time you open the body up, it comes with risks, certainly. Putting in legislation and making sure that places such as this that do business are regulated is of the utmost importance. That is the first part I just wanted to touch on.

Scarification, of course, is pretty self-explanatory. It refers to scratching, etching, or cutting the skin. The actual cuts would cause the design. Again, many people do not think this is overly common, but it is practiced heavily in some circles and in some cultures. Any time you open up the skin it is prone to infections.

Skin peeling is somewhat self-explanatory. I wanted to educate myself in these, because when you are talking about such procedures you want to have knowledge yourself. I went to the old, trusted YouTube and I looked at a couple of these procedures, just so I could wrap my own head around it. Skin peeling, Mr. Speaker, is a practice where they would cut on either piece of skin in a circle and they would use a knife or some sort of surgical material to go in under and take that skin off. It is actually removing the skin to create a design. As the other ones I stated, any time you do such a thing, you are opening yourselves up to the possibility of infections and sometimes even worse.

The other one there – I am almost to the end – is branding. Most of us would be familiar, I guess. If any of us worked on a farm – and I do not know if the Member for Kilbride is familiar with branding; that is where most people's minds would go, the branding of cattle and whatnot. The same type of premise would be used. There are a couple of different types of branding used in the industry where metal is heated up in excess of 1,000 degrees and would be applied to the skin. There is also electrical cautery, I guess you would call it, where you use electrical tools to make the burns. There are a couple of others, like cautery pens, what is used in surgery when a doctor burns off or stops the bleeding of an artery or whatnot. It is the same type of mechanism; the same tool is used in this type of procedure as well. The interesting thing about these types of branding is it actually causes third degree burns on your body, significant burns, and it can take six to twelve months to heal.

We can say it pretty quickly and try to make light of it, but these are serious procedures that are being done. You want to make sure you have an environment where they are done correctly, up to standards and where the people doing it are accountable.

One of the most bizarre – and I know the Member for Burgeo – La Poile had mentioned it as well as the minister – is the tongue bifurcation, I think is the pronunciation. This is somewhat bizarre, but it is done. It is done actually quite frequently on a global scale; thousands of people, I would imagine, had it done. It has been around since the early 2000s, I think. Before that you never really heard about it, but earlier on in the 2000s you saw this come to the forefront.

What that is, is the cutting, the separation of the tongue starting at the front and going back to where it joins on the bottom, right to the back there. That would be sutured up, and after it heals, after some time, you would have a forked tongue, sort of like a lizard-type thing.

I can only imagine if politicians from back in the day could see this now, saying: what in God's name are they talking about in the House of Assembly? This is what this legislation is concerning. I think it is good to put it out there so people know and they can wrap their heads around it. While 95 per cent of the people who are watching this today are saying, my God, who would ever get that done, that is foolishness, there are people getting it done. It is the government being proactive to make sure that industry – that I am sure if it has not already arrived here on our shores, it will shortly – we are getting out in front of it, making sure that it will be regulated, because it is a health concern.

I thought it was important to give a little bit more of an in-depth description of those. As I said, not to be grotesque or anything of that nature, but I think it is important to know what we are talking about here. I think after describing those, most people would agree that limiting to people nineteen years of age and older is sensible. When you are talking about opening up your body and doing procedures on your body where you are going to be prone to infection and different injuries and whatnot, obviously it is important to do that. You want to make sure these things are performed in a safe and sterile environment, and to people who are mature enough to make the decisions.

A big piece of this, obviously, like many things, is the legislation surrounding the inspections. It is all fine and dandy to put legislation in place, to put rules in place, but if you do not back them up with the enforcement, obviously they do not have any teeth. You know where that would lead; it would lead absolutely nowhere. This whole discussion would be kind of enhanced, because if people are not forced to follow regulations, many times they will not.

As was said there, inspections will be done prior to an establishment opening. Then once the establishment is open, there will be continual checks to make sure that everything is being compliant with the specific standards. I am sure we will be hearing from the Minister of Service Newfoundland and Labrador shortly and he will go into a little bit more detail on those.

People who fail to comply with these regulations will face the penalties. The penalties actually mirror what is in the Tobacco Control Act, between $50 and $500, as the previous speaker had mentioned. I guess that would be determined at the time, based on what the occurrence was and how bad it was or if it was the first time or whatnot.

The other piece of course, as I said earlier, tattooing and body piercing, we are all very familiar with, and these procedures now are on a different level and they would require parental consent for anybody under the age of sixteen – again, making certain that checks and balances are in the system. It is important to note that the lower earlobe piercing is excluded from this legislation. Your normal ear piercing, which I know a lot of times people have their infant's ears pierced, which I am not overly crazy about. Having a young daughter myself, I do not see myself doing that. People are free to get their lower lobes pierced, so that would be the traditional piercing, which many people I am sure in this House have done themselves. Once you deviate from that area, of course then it would fall under new legislation.

Now, if I may, perhaps the portion of this legislation that affects the most people and I think it is dominated most of this conversation and has come with the most applause from the general public, as well as members from this House, is as it relates to indoor tanning. As in the case with body modifications that I mentioned earlier, tanning would now be banned for people under the age of nineteen.

This was a decision that government did not take lightly. Certainly, it has been in the hopper for a while. We have done consultations between health professionals and the industry, and that is the piece that really gives this legitimacy. I was not able to make the news conference today actually because I had a meeting and a previous engagement, but I hear there was a local person from the industry, a very well-respected person from the industry, who was on hand and he was very congratulatory of government for taking this step. Dr. Landells was there as well who is, I will say, a dermatologist, Minister, a skin specialist. He was there. I cannot even begin to echo the amount of praise that he had put on government for taking this step. This is an individual who sees obviously how indoor tanning can negatively affect people, and especially he has seen it in youth in particular. It is something that he holds so dear to his heart.

I think when people in the industry and health professionals speak, it is one thing for politicians to get up and banter back and forth and weigh in on the subject, but when you have health professionals and you have people in the industry who know this stuff inside and out, I think it really give legitimacy to the whole issue. I think the public can take more of a comfort in it when industry and health professionals are involved. That is exactly what has happened. I would like to commend actually Dr. Landells, as well as – I will not go into the name of the individual from the industry – a well-respected person in the industry here, in the local scene, for coming on board and supporting this and giving their input, because I think it was greatly appreciated and it helped form and shape this whole legislation we are talking about here today.

Now just a few facts – and some of these I do not mean to be repetitive. I do not know if all of these were touched on, but just a few facts with regard to indoor tanning, some of which I know the minister had alluded to, but just to reiterate, just a couple. Tanning is now rated comparable to smoking in relation to its carcinogenic effects on humans. We all have accepted over the last number of years the effects smoking has. We have made great leaps and bounds in the last number of years – I would say even in the last five to ten years with regard to smoking. I think, again, initiatives by this government have done well with that. When you are putting tanning next to smoking, it is a no-brainer. It is not something that we have to stand up and convince people. It has the same potentially deadly effects as smoking. That really puts it in context.

If used prior to the age of thirty, the likelihood of developing a form of melanoma rises by 75 per cent – 75 per cent. It is massive. You just look at the individuals who are more prone to using the service – I do not have the stats here in front of me; I know they were discussed earlier. So often, as an MHA, you get to go graduation and you see people who are – for lack of a better term – baked. They have been in a solarium for five days a week for the last three months to get this brown aura to their skin kind of thing. While it may look fine to some – and maybe that is the look they are trying to achieve – you can just imagine the damage they are doing. When you think that just using it once before the age of thirty or thirty-five increases it by 75 per cent, I can only imagine what it does when you are doing it on a daily basis for three months straight. It just must be horrible.

Tanning beds are approximately – and this is also interesting because you know the kind of burn you can get out in the midday sun. Tanning beds are actually five to fifteen times stronger than the midday sun. It can obviously give you quite the burn, when you know the type of burns you can experience when you are just out in your garden doing gardening work and whatnot. This is actually potentially five to fifteen times stronger than that. Again, it is very obvious.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is higher than that for young people.

MR. S. COLLINS: Exactly, and even more potentially dangerous for young people. That is right.

Not only can using these devices cause skin cancer, which obviously most of the focus has been on, they are also linked to cataracts, suppression in the immune system, as well as premature skin aging. I do not know if anybody watched the movie Something About Mary back in the day, there was a woman there who smoked and spent many days in the tanning salon. There was an orange colour about the woman and she was quite wrinkly. It is playing up on the notion that this obviously can have huge effects on your skin, not only skin cancer but if you can survive and you are lucky enough not to ever develop melanoma, you are potentially going to be the colour of an orange and quite wrinkly. It is kind of ironic that people go to these tanning salons to achieve beauty, when, in actual fact, it is kind of kicking them in the rear end on the later part of their life when they their face looks like an accordion. Certainly, those are some other things. Those things are just skin deep, but again, something to mention.

An interesting fact put forward by the Canadian Cancer Society states that 25 per cent of people who regularly use indoor tanning beds come down with a condition. The first time I have ever seen it was yesterday: tanorexia. Basically that is someone who becomes obsessed with going to a tanning salon. They are always trying to achieve that certain colour, that certain shade, or whatever the case is, and they become obsessed. It is much the same as anorexia where it is a disorder of obsession. The same thing can be; you can never be dark enough. Most of us watching this or hearing this would say that is a bit foolish to think that, but it is quite common. Over 25 per cent of those using tanning beds can develop this illness. It is something to think about.

The information – whether from the WHO, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Medical Association, and local experts, as I said, like Dr. Landells – is overwhelming and has to be given attention. This is what this legislation is doing. No matter who you look at, no matter what information facet you look at, and no matter which media you listen to, it is always the same. We have heard that, obviously, and we are taking that now and putting it into action – absolutely fantastic.

I am proud to say that, while we are not the first Province to adopt such legislation, we are amongst the first. Only Quebec and Nova Scotia have a law prohibiting people under the age of nineteen from using tanning beds. All other provinces have voluntary guidelines, which we have as of right now. I am happy to say that BC, Ontario, and Manitoba all have legislation in the works. We are not the trailblazer, but we are one of the few, which I think is something to be very proud of.

We have taken essentially a proactive approach with this. Many provinces have not jumped on board yet. There are some in the queue that are trying to get their legislation together as we are doing right now. It is good to see that all the Canadian provinces are moving towards this. If you look on an international level, as was stated earlier, France, the UK, and Australia have similar measures. The entire countries do.

I really think in ten or twenty years we are going to look back and say: My God, how foolish were we getting in those things? It is so barbaric, getting inside a thing and essentially burning yourself up trying to chase beauty. As you can tell by me, I do not frequent the tanning salons with my pasty, white skin, but maybe a spray tan might be in order before too long.

The primary objective of these regulations is to reduce the risk of illness, injury, and death among people who undergo high-risk personal service procedures. We as a government are mandated to upkeep public safety. That is a big part of what we do. That is a big part of our responsibilities.

God love the Member for Burgeo – La Poile, but I noticed in a recent article in the paper, I think it may have been put out yesterday, when asked what he thinks of the legislation, he said: of course we are happy with it. This is something that we had brought up. We had actually asked questions in the House a month ago. This is something we brought up, so we are glad that government is listening to us. While that is all good and fine, and he did bring it up a month ago, this was actually in our Blue Book and the Premier put this out months ago. It is a promise made and promise kept from our Blue Book.

I think if you have been listening to the goings-on in the House over the last month or two –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. S. COLLINS: If you had been listening to the debate in the House over the last month or two, you see a lot of that happening; that seems to be a recurring thing: a promise made in the Blue Book, a promise kept. This is one of these instances where we made a promise and we are following through with it today.

I am very happy to know that the Opposition – I am going to guess, I am going to go out on a limb and say both Opposition parties are in full support of this. How can you not be? I would argue –

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Third Party.

MR. S. COLLINS: Absolutely, both parties would have to be in favour and it only makes sense. It is public safety, especially when you look at some of our younger individuals. Like I said, it just makes sense.

I have been very pleased to be part of this discussion today. Like I said, this is one of those ones that have profound effects, I believe. I think it is the start of something much bigger with regard to this in the regulation of this industry.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. S. COLLINS: I would like to thank the minister and all of her staff. I know we have been briefed and briefed quite well. We got a crash course in all these things so it was quite well done and certainly appreciated. I would like to thank the industry and health professionals for being involved and giving their input. I would also like to acknowledge, as did the minister, the woman of that –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. S. COLLINS: – young child who suffered so tragically just a year ago. As the minister said, she has been so diligent, and I would like to give her congratulations on keeping this on the forefront.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. S. COLLINS: At the end of the day, our children are our biggest asset and something we have to protect. For her to do that, and I hope she is watching today, because this is an accomplishment to her as well. I commend her for her actions; I commend the department for what they have done. I am very happy to speak on this fantastic legislation.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I am glad to have the opportunity to rise and to speak to Bill 27, the Personal Services Act. I want to thank the minister for her –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS MICHAEL: – introduction to the act, and also thank her staff for the excellent job they did in the briefing that we were given. It really was one of the best briefings I have ever had. They were very organized and knew exactly what they were doing, it was very clear.

It is an important act and it is interesting to note that the issue is a modern issue in terms of the way we are dealing with it in our country. When you look at the pieces of legislation that have come in around the issue of tanning and the issues around the different things that can be done to one's body that are outlined in the bill, these pieces of legislation and regulations are all quite short in time.

For example, the first province to bring in the piece of legislation around tanning was Nova Scotia, and that was only in December of 2011. All the provinces that have come onboard are all – actually, pieces of legislation are coming into effect now during this period of time. Quebec's just came in last week. Manitoba's I think will be taking effect on the fifteenth of June. We are debating it now. Ontario is in the process of soon being ready I think to bring it into their Legislature. Those five provinces have all sort of been working on the legislation all around the same time.

I think Nova Scotia has become a bit of a model for everybody, I am happy to say, noting that the Nova Scotia government was an NDP government. They have become a model for the provinces that are working on it. The Nova Scotia legislation was a model for ours when it came to the tanning part. I would like to point out that in the other provinces the pieces of legislation are separated out. You have one act for the tanning and then you have another act for what we are identifying as the personal services that are in our act. We have it combined in one act. We are dealing both with the tanning and with the personal services.

For the sake of anybody who is watching us on television and who may have just clued in, I will point out that when we are talking about personal services the bill states that it means a service intended to permanently or semi-permanently alter the body for cultural, artistic or expressive purpose including tanning, body piercing, tattooing, and a whole number of services that can be done to one's body in terms of doing branding or tattooing or doing implantation, that kind of thing. The other provinces actually have two separate acts dealing with those two areas.

In Nova Scotia, for example, their act dealing with the personal services is actually named very clearly, the Safe Body Art Act. That also came in, in 2011. The issue has become, I will not say it is an epidemic issue but it has become a serious issue right across the country. There is only one province that so far has not dealt with this issue and has nothing on this issue right now, and that is Alberta. We have three provinces where they have guidelines. In actual fact, I think one of the speakers already has mentioned the guidelines. The guidelines are not having the same effect as legislation, and it is PEI, New Brunswick, and Saskatchewan who have guidelines. Out in British Columbia, I think they have regulations. I think the regulations are on a municipal level that they have the regulations.

The provinces that are dealing with it through legislation, dealing with the two issues, the tanning and the body art – because that is, I think, the phrase that really describes the personal services, as we call it in our bill. There are five provinces dealing with that, and I am really glad we are one of those five provinces because the issues are quite serious. Obviously, one of the things the act recognizes is that the issue of tanning is quite serious because of the incidents of skin cancer. The minister has spoken to that; other speakers have spoken to that, given the statistics, et cetera.

I think what is really important, the statistic that really stands out for me with regard to the tanning, is the fact that the potential for getting cancer, for getting skin cancer, melanoma, from tanning is increased by 75 per cent when the use of tanning starts before the age of thirty-five. Not the age of nineteen, not the age of fifteen, but the age of thirty-five. Even one session of tanning will increase your chances by 75 per cent of getting skin cancer. That really blows my mind, and it frightens me. It makes me wonder why anybody would run the risk of doing tanning, knowing you have increased your chances by 75 per cent if you start tanning under thirty-five. Just one session can increase your chances by 75 per cent. It is quite frightening when you think of it.

With regard to the tanning, the main issue is the issue of skin cancer. When it comes to body art, the personal services that are described in the act, it is different. The risks there are still health risks but they are risks that have to do with infection.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS MICHAEL: For example, there is the potential of contracting hepatitis B and C. There is the potential of contracting human immunodeficiency virus, HIV, bacterial infections, allergic reactions. People can actually become deformed with some of the skin art that is done. I think the major issue is the potential for infections, but in terms of occurrence, the higher dangers have been proven to be with the tanning. As I said, while both things are in the bill, and I am not saying one is more important than the other, in actual fact the medical potential dangers from tanning, I think, at this point are statistically higher. I think it is really good that both things are being dealt with, because the potential of the industry, the body art industry in particular, is not as big in this Province as the tanning industry is, but the potential for it growing obviously is there. It is important that we have the legislation covering it even though the industry is not that big yet.

I think it is important to know, as I think the minister has done, that there is support for this act, both from the medical profession when it comes to the incidents with regard to cancer; certainly, Dr. Landells is one of the people who has been so outspoken –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS MICHAEL: Mr. Speaker, if I could just ask for a little bit more silence. My hearing is really being affected right now.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is a considerable noise level in the Chamber at this time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask members for their co-operation. Once again, I will recognize the hon. the Member for the District of Signal Hill – Quidi Vidi.

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

When it comes to the body art, or the personal services as the bill names it, there is support from that industry as well with regard to what is happening. I am sure there are going to be people who are going to not want this bill. There are going to be people who are going to say it goes too far. We have chosen to do something which I think is really important and that is we have chosen a ban with regard to tanning right up to the age of nineteen.

Nova Scotia also has a ban. I do know that in Manitoba they are going to be allowing the tanning between sixteen and nineteen with parental consent. Some people might say: well, why didn't we go that route? I think the statistic with regard to the incidents of melanoma if you start tanning under thirty-five would indicate that we should ban it as long as we can. I think under our law, the way our law is with regard to tobacco, we ban tobacco up to the age of nineteen. I think the model is looking at the tobacco act on this one and following the tobacco act, which I think is a good way to go.

I support that. I know the minister spoke to that. I am bringing it up because I am supporting it. There will be people who are going to say to some of us: why did you vote for that?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS MICHAEL: Why did you say yes to having the ban right up to nineteen? I think for the same reason that we have the ban on cigarettes right up to nineteen. I think it is very important to show people how serious the issue is and how important it is, Mr. Speaker.

There are a couple of things that I did look at carefully in the act.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS MICHAEL: It had to do with the rights that were given to the inspectors. I think this is a key thing, the whole role of inspection. If this act is going to really benefit us, then we have to make sure that the inspections take place. It is not going to be simple; there are two things that have to happen according to the act. First of all the businesses – whether they are businesses in public buildings or they are businesses in someone's home – are going to have to be registered. Then, once they are registered, you then get the inspections that will take place.

One concern I have is that the inspections will be done under Service NL as our inspections are, whether we are talking about food inspections for example – food in all areas, in restaurants, and wherever food is prepared. Food inspections are just one example. Inspections are done under Service NL. If the act is going to have teeth, then it is going to be important that Service NL has the resources as they add this whole new area of inspection to their work.

We do know that when it comes to the personal services, as they are described in the act, there are not as many establishments with regard to personal services. They are fairly few actually in the Province. Tanning is bigger, but it is still not overwhelming. I think there does need to be an assessment done to see how much workload is being laid on Service Newfoundland and Labrador with the act. We need them to make a decision whether or not they need more resources as they have this added to their workload.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS MICHAEL: As I said, what is going to make it effective is having the inspections. We have to make sure that the places, whether it is tanning or whether it is the personal services, that everything is being carried out under the regulations.

Now, there was one thing in the briefing that was mentioned the other day that I liked. They did tell us that the regulations may not be finished for about a year. That would be all the regulations. They indicated that if the set of regulations for one part – for example, if the set of regulations with regard to tanning were to be finished in a shorter period of time then only that part of the act pertaining to tanning would actually be brought into effect. We would not have to wait for the whole act.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Once again, I ask members of the House for their co-operation.

The hon. the Leader of the Third Party.

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

It is important that we make sure the resources are going to be there to do the inspection the way it needs to be done.

One thing that I did study carefully, because I actually got a bit confused in it – and it was not something that was explained during the briefing – is the difference between the inspectors being able to enter premises without warrants and the times when they have to have warrants. I think it is a real important distinction. If it is just to go into the premise to ask for co-operation to try to figure out what is going on a warrant is not needed, but if there is going to be a search of the premises, the removal of things from the premises et cetera, a warrant will be needed. I was glad to see the detail with regard to the warrant because it will even allow warrants to be transmitted to inspectors electronically if necessary, which of course meets what is happening in our technological age. That if a warrant cannot be gotten face to face it will be able to be transmitted electronically. I think that is very important.

These are some of the main issues, Mr. Speaker, I see in here. The purpose of the bill, obviously, is for the protection of people in the Province. That where services exist, that people know they are going to be safe, as safe as possible when they use those premises in terms of sanitary conditions et cetera. It is to protect people and also giving them warnings about the service they are having.

For example, especially with regard to tanning facilities, the warnings with regard to the potential for contracting melanoma, facilities will have to post signs. They will have to provide clients with information. They have to be told, it is not just dependent on them to read a sign. It is not just dependent on them to read a brochure. They have to be told what the dangers are with regard to the service they are paying for.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS MICHAEL: I think the act seems to be really comprehensive. As I said, I have looked at it in comparison to the Nova Scotia act, as I know the Department of Health and Community Services did; those who put the act together.

I like the idea – I think I have made this point and I am going to make it once more – that the model we have used with regard to fines and the model we have used with regard to the ban are similar to our Tobacco Control Act. It is not just something brand new that is being plucked out of the air.

There is one other thing in the act, Mr. Speaker, that I am going to mention, but I know one of my colleagues is going to speak and I am going to leave it to my colleague to go into the detail. I find it very interesting that the act actually has a whistle-blower clause in the act. I found that the word whistle-blower is not used, but that is what the clause is. I find that very interesting and I am glad to see it. My colleague, when she speaks, will speak to that issue.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Service Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DAVIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is indeed a privilege to have an opportunity to speak to this very important bill this afternoon. It is an important piece of legislation that we have heard spoken about by several members now who spoke very clearly on the importance of this legislation and the health and safety of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

The intention of the act, Mr. Speaker, is to regulate what we are referring to as the personal service industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. One of the paramount concerns we have heard about today is tanning and the effects of tanning on young people in the Province, especially young people in the Province, but for all people in the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DAVIS: Mr. Speaker, for some time now it has been talked about and it has been preached to us in some ways how tanning can affect the health of everybody, every man, woman, and child in Newfoundland and Labrador. The medical community, advocacy groups, cancer survivors, and so on have all been continuing to urge people to protect themselves from the dangers of the sun.

What we are talking about here today, Mr. Speaker, is indoor tanning. We heard today, when I was at the press conference this morning held by the Minister of Health and Community Services – and she had Dr. Landells there; she also had a business owner who is in the business of tattooing here in Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DAVIS: I listened very carefully to Dr. Landells and some of the comments that he made, as it pertains to the increased danger to the health of people who use artificial tanning versus tanning in the natural sunlight; we know in the natural sunlight it is dangerous, but artificial tanning, there is a significantly higher risk presented to people who utilize these tanning businesses, tanning salons, tanning beds, than there is to people who use natural sunlight.

Mr. Speaker, that is what this bill is about. This is going to protect and control the way our young people are able to use these services, it is going to protect and control how the businesses must operate, and it is going to protect Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Mr. Speaker, from my perspective, as the Minister of Service NL, in our department we are seen quite often as the regulatory branch of government. We are the branch of government who, quite often, is responsible for conducting inspections and to ensure compliance with regulations and legislation in our Province. And that applies in many different ways and many different areas. We have in our department – and located throughout the Province – environmental health officers, and environmental health technicians, as well, who are educated, and who are certified as environmental health officers, as certified health inspectors. They do the work of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador when doing inspections on businesses to ensure the compliance with health-related matters. They are the people who inspect businesses such as restaurants in the Province. They conduct thousands of inspections each year. It is environmental health officers that will carry out the inspections relating to the personal service industry.

I want to talk for a few minutes about the tanning business in particular and inspections that will take place there, because we know, Mr. Speaker, a significant aspect of these regulations pertains to tanning salons. One of the things that we plan, and we intend on doing as an inspection regime in the first place, is we are going to require these businesses to register. Under this legislation, a business will be required to register with the government –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DAVIS: – as a business who is engaged in the personal service industry. This will give us a database of the businesses that are carrying out these services to the people in Newfoundland and Labrador; it also gives us an opportunity to track their progress, track their work, and track their activities as a business.

Several years ago, when the age restrictions on the use and sale of tobacco products came in, the department engaged in utilizing test shoppers, youth test shoppers in retail businesses. They would actually go into retail businesses, underage, and attempt to purchase tobacco products. It was a process used, and is still used, by government to ensure compliance of the regulations.

Mr. Speaker, we intend to use a similar process. It is our intention when it comes to the tanning business to use test shoppers. It is a good warning. It is a good warning here today to people who are engaged in the tanning business; when someone comes in and is trying to access your business, your tanning business, you never know, this may be someone who is youth test shopper who may be testing your own protocols and your own business. That is one way, a very effective way, in order to control and encourage operators to abide by the regulations. They should do it anyway. They should do it anyway, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DAVIS: A business in Newfoundland and Labrador, when there are regulations in place that regulate their business, to be a good business, to be a good business operator, you should abide by the rules and regulations. We know that there are times when business operators do not want to comply with the regulations. They want to go outside of the regulations and may want to provide tanning services to someone underage without the proper documentation and authority to do so. One way to help us to ensure that they think twice about doing something like that – think twice about cheating the rules, if you like, Mr. Speaker – is the use of youth test shoppers, because they never know; when a person comes in, they may be a youth test shopper.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, inspectors will be able to examine for compliance with potential requirements such as the posting of health warning signs. This was referenced by the hon. member opposite who talked about this, the maintenance of informed consent records and the use of protective eyewear so we will be able to conduct inspections to ensure compliance with those regulations.

Our inspectors will not be required, I should point out, to inspect the aspects of the operations that pertain to the equipment itself. The actual labelling, construction, and design of the equipment is actually regulated by Health Canada under the tanning equipment regulations; that is not an aspect of it that we will be regulating provincially because it is already currently regulated by the federal government.

Mr. Speaker, under the tattooing, body piercing, and body modification part of the bill, again, in reference to how we will carry out enforcement action, inspectors will be responsible for examining the procedures related to the prevention of blood-borne pathogen transmission. This is a very important requirement of this bill. I know my colleague, the MHA for Terra Nova, referenced this earlier about the risk of the transmission of diseases. It is a very important part of what we are doing here.

There are requirements in these businesses. We will require that they have certain sterilization equipment, such as an autoclave which is widely used as a piece of sterilization equipment, quite often found in medical procedures, medical practices, and medical facilities. We will require that they have the availability of cleaning and sanitizing chemicals and the proper equipment as well. We will require that they maintain records showing the proper functioning of the sterilization equipment, so that they are doing their proper testing to make sure that the equipment itself is working properly.

We will be looking for such things as the storage condition for equipment, informed consent records which will be required as well, and very basic things like handwashing equipment and handwashing stations, and the utilization of such equipment. Handwashing is a very basic requirement to ensure the protection of health of people in such a circumstance. We will even be checking for those types of operations. There will be other checks as well that our inspectors will be doing.

I am going to move to the enforcement side of it just for a few moments. That is going to be a very key part of this as well and a very key part of the legislation that is proposed today. Under the enforcement aspects of this, this will give inspectors an authority to have a number of abilities to them to take action against those who are not conforming to the law.

First and foremost, Mr. Speaker, they can order an employee to take corrective action immediately. If they go into a business and they find that there is a lapse in the requirements of the regulations, one of the authorities that we are going to grant to our inspectors is the ability to say to an employee, to say to an operator, to say to an owner of a business, a person engaged or employed in the business, to say you need to correct this right away. We want you to correct this right away. That happens sometimes in some of the inspections that our environmental health officers carry out in these days right now in the work that they carry out on a day-to-day basis. They will identify with a circumstance that is unacceptable to the inspector and maybe the operator was not aware of it, maybe the operator – it was a lapse in knowing that they are required to do it. They may say: Look, you need to fix this right away. It is not a critical or important piece of conducting your business, but it is something we require you to do; and they can do that.

The second thing that an inspector can do, Mr. Speaker, when they find a circumstance where they have identified there is an immediate health threat the inspector can order a business shutdown. There on the spot our inspectors will have the ability to close the doors, lock the doors, and say: You cannot continue to operate under these circumstances. You need to correct those circumstances.

An example of that, Mr. Speaker, would be the inability of an establishment to sterilize reusable equipment. For example, if we went into a business and they did not have an autoclave on site, or it was not operational, or they were not qualified or able to use it properly, the health inspector under that circumstance could order the business closed immediately. That is bearing in mind that the intention is to protect the health and safety of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Mr. Speaker, the third thing that an inspector can do and is available as an option to them when they are carrying out inspections is to lay charge. That is what the act will do. The act will give the authority of an inspector to actually lay charges under the act. The bill lays this out. I should point out, the regulations will address many of these aspects.

If charged and convicted under the bill, the fines are actually laid out right in the act of what the minimum and maximum fines would be under section 18. It indicates that in a case where a person is charged who is not the owner, where a person who fails or contravenes this act or the regulations of the act, which are yet to be drafted, but will be drafted, or fails to co-operate with an inspector or comply with an order of an inspector, then the person may be convicted. If so, it lays out the maximum fine for a third offence up to $500 for an employee; that is a person who is not the owner. In the case when a person is the owner of a personal establishment, for a third offence the fines range from $500 up to $5,000: $500 for the first offence, $2,500 for the second, and $5,000 for the third offence.

I should point out as well, that if the business or the employee, or the operator was to contravene the act on a given day and the inspector went back the next day and they were doing the same thing again the next day, that is a separate offence. The act clearly lays that out. Committing a breach of the act on one day to the next would be considered to be a separate breach of the act or the regulations.

As well, Mr. Speaker, this bill provides for regulation making authority. For those who are not aware, the regulations are quite often the nuts and bolts of how a process is carried out or how a process is executed. They are sometimes referred to as the vehicle in how you carry out the work or how you execute what is contained in the act.

Under this act it is proposed that the minister may make regulations designating services or procedures as personal services. The minister would have the ability to say that a certain service falls within this act, prescribing personal services for the purpose of the paragraphs that are contained in here. As well, it also outlines, Mr. Speaker, providing for the appointment or designation of and prescribing duties and powers of inspectors, which is an important part.

There are a number of aspects of this act which will allow regulation-making authority, and that will be a very important part of what the minister and the Department of Health and Community Services has to carry out over the next several months. It is a fair bit of work to do. We need to make sure that it is done properly; I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, officials in my department, in Service NL, will work with the officials in Health and Community Services to ensure that these regulations are drafted and will be effective. It is not much point in bringing forward an act – it is not much point in developing regulations if they are not going to be effective to achieve the goal of the act itself.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to wrap up my comments this afternoon. Just to remind those that are watching, I know I have focused this afternoon somewhat on tanning; I focused my comments on the enforcement piece of the act and the regulations that will be drafted as well, but I just wanted to wrap up and to talk about one more time, to reiterate the seriousness of the matter when it comes indoor tanning and the health concerns that can be created by indoor tanning.

We have heard stories; we have seen the media reports. Recently we have seen media reports, and we have seen some in Canada; we have seen some in other countries and from the United States as well. You know, it can be scary stuff, Mr. Speaker. It can be scary stuff, and you speak to dermatologists; I had a chance to speak with Dr. Landells this morning while he was here. I know other dermatologists myself personally and have had the same discussions with them on how serious it is and how much damage can be caused. Once the damage is done, it is done forever, and that is really concerning for me, Mr. Speaker. I know it is concerning for our government. I know it is concerning for the Minister of Health, and that is why this legislation is here.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to have spoken to it today and I will be pleased when the opportunity comes to make my mark in the House here and support this bill.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER (Verge): The hon. the Member for St. John's Centre.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS ROGERS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am happy to rise in the House and speak to this act. In regards to tanning, what a relief this must be for many parents and to many in the medical profession. Especially I would like to thank Dr. Ian Landells, such a committed dermatologist who has worked so hard for this act.

I applaud this bill for its intent of offering more protection to the citizens of our Province who avail of these personal services, and the more protection for not only those citizens who avail of these services, but also more protection for the people who work in these industries.

I am sure, also, that there are many, many parents Province-wide who would have loved to have seen the same age requirements applied to the great art of body piercing and tattooing. I mean, how many parents have looked up in surprise as their sixteen-year old has come home with their new ‘tat' or their new hardware and have been so dismayed? Alas, we will not go there. I would also like to thank the people in the body piercing and the tattoo art industry, and all the artists and establishments in this industry who have helped move us to this point as well, especially the incredible tattoo artist, Dave Munro.

I am fully supportive of this move to require personal services establishments to be registered. I think that it is a progressive move; I think rather than a regressive or a backward move, it is actually quite modern and quite responsive to the needs of our citizens today, and I think it is a good thing.

The inherent dangers when appropriate health and safety measures are not undertaken are quite dangerous. We all know that, and everybody has spoken to that today. I would hope that this government would also look at the issues of other establishments that offer other personal services, including the area that might seem rather benign, the area of spas and other establishments that offer manicures and pedicures; we know that if they are not done properly, they can carry inherent health risks if not undertaken with the appropriate health and safety measures. We have all heard these stories; we have all heard from people, we probably all know people who have had problems with infections and other issues because proper health and safety protocols were not followed.

I also applaud this act's determination to ensure that all possible health risks will either be posted, and/or offered to clients who are availing of these services. I applaud, Mr. Speaker, the inclusion of whistle-blower protection for employees in these areas. It also means that the employees are not in danger when reporting violations that put the health of our public citizens in jeopardy.

I think in this act with the inclusion of whistle-blower like protection, it points to the real value and the role that whistle-blower protection has in our society. I urge, encourage, applaud, push, cajole, encourage this government yet again to honour its commitment that it made to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador five years ago when this government said that they would enact whistle-blower protection in the public sector. That has not happened. I have so little faith that it is going to happen unless government once again makes a commitment to this.

Whistle-blower protection is not only for the protection of workers, but it is for the protection of the general public. If people know that they can identify things that are going wrong, they know they can do that safely without having to fear losing their jobs, it leads to a culture of safety and responsibility for everyone. Just as does this particular act which we are applauding and supporting today.

We need a law that will stipulate mechanisms and guidelines for both internal disclosure and protection, and for external disclosure and protection. I believe that the people of the Province will not abuse, and our public sector workers will not abuse whistle-blower protection but that they will –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would ask the member to speak to the bill that we are debating.

MS ROGERS: Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to applaud the provision of this in the act. I do believe that there is every reason to enact this legislation, that there is no reason not to. I would like to particularly support the issue of whistle-blower protection in this act, and I would hope that the government will take this further beyond this act and apply it to the public service sector employees of our Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for St. John's West.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CRUMMELL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It gives me great pleasure to stand here today to speak on this bill, An Act To Regulate The Personal Services Industry. From the sounds of things so far, it seems like both sides of the House are in agreement. I know this legislation is solid, it is sound, it is detailed, and very comprehensive and much needed.

As I was preparing to speak on this bill, Mr. Speaker, I have been listening to my colleagues here this afternoon and found myself thinking that the reason we are here discussing this today is obviously because of changes in our society, and society in general. This is not to say that body piercing and tattooing does not have a very long history, of course it does. The topics we are discussing here today, tanning facilities and body modification procedures are being discussed because they have entered into the mainstream of society. We need to ensure that the personal services industry is regulated in a manner that protects public health and puts in place safeguards for clients and employees alike.

Mr. Speaker, speaking for myself, I know that when my parents were growing up they probably never thought about lying around in the sun. I am sure none of our parents really did, or let alone probably getting a few piercings and certainly that was happening. Tattoos, on the other hand, Mr. Speaker, were common place. My father was in the navy. He never came back with a tattoo, but my brother was in the navy and he came back with both arms tattooed up one side and down the other. Some beautiful, beautiful tattoos, I have to say.

Other than that, by the time I reached adulthood tanning facilities were just starting up then and more men were getting ear piercings. Today, Mr. Speaker, times have changed even further, and anything goes. Both men and women of all ages are going to tanning facilities and they are getting tattoos and various body piercings. These services have become an established part of our popular culture.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a few moments to discuss tattooing, body piercing and body modification, which I will refer to as body art. I think it has been referred to as body art by a few members here earlier. Body art, in its different forms, dates back to ancient times. All forms of body art are a common, human characteristic and have been practiced on all continents and with all races. Anybody who watches the National Geographic Channel or the Discovery Channel – two of my favourite channels for sure – will have seen a myriad of examples globally, and how these traditions continue to this very day. Body art, Mr. Speaker, is in every form and is very old.

Tattooing, the practice of producing an indelible mark or figure on the human body by inserting pigment under the skin using needles or other sharp instruments has been around since the beginning of humanity. In Japan, there is evidence from clay figures from 10,000 BC of facial tattoos. Today, the popularity of tattoos and body piercing is a fashion statement inherited from past cultures and peoples, and has been accepted by all social classes and younger and younger age groups.

Mr. Speaker, the body art industry is one of the fastest-growing industries, not only in Canada and North America, but certainly the entire world. When we look to body tattoos and today's popular culture, we see numerous examples of celebrities tattooed and pierced who are often role models of our children. Few of today's artists, actors, singers, and professional athletes are without such adornments. In fact, Mr. Speaker, the constancy of media exposure with celebrities who have tattoos or piercings has set its own trend throughout the world. Big-name actors such as Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, and Angelina Jolie; popular singers like Adele, Rihanna, and Keith Urban; and professional athletes such as David Beckham, Brett Lawrie, and LeBron James influence millions around the world with their body art.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CRUMMELL: I have to take a little sip on that one.

Mr. Speaker, today's youth are bombarded with images every day of role models and idols and they want to follow that fashion lead. They want to proclaim their individuality, their individual identity, not only by what they wear in terms of clothes and jewellery, but what they wear on their skin and on their body.

Mr. Speaker, I am saying that there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, I have many friends and family who have beautiful, impressive body art. People are getting tattoos today for many, many different reasons. When people decide on a tattoo that they want to get, they usually pick something that has some type of an emotional attachment to them. They want to memorialize and they do so by getting a tattoo, something that meant something significant to them. People can get a tattoo of virtually anything today. In the past, tattoos could only be done in a dark colour and today they are in many, many different colours. Some of them are very, very beautiful and it is an art form for sure.

Mr. Speaker, when we look at moving forward as a society and when we look forward about what is happening today in our culture, we understand that body piercing and tattooing is an art form and it is a personal choice. We accept that. I believe today's society agrees that these persons under the age of sixteen may not have the capacity to fully understand the risk and implications associated with the procedures, and I think we all get that. That is why, Mr. Speaker, this proposed legislation requires personal service establishments from offering body piercing and tattooing services to persons under the age of sixteen without written consent of a young person's parent or guardian.

Understanding the risks, such as contracting hepatitis B and C – how many fifteen-year-olds know what hepatitis is? I have a fifteen-year-old son and I am sure he does not know what hepatitis is. HIV is a little bit more in the public view. Bacterial infections and allergic reactions can be life-threatening. There are many cases documented in this and other Provinces, and across North America and the globe.

Mr. Speaker, this brings me to the other piece of the legislation; not only will there be restrictions and consent required, but establishments will be inspected to ensure compliance with legislation and standards. There will be requirements to provide information on premise about the health risks associated with the service and after-care steps for procedures. Mr. Speaker, that is well enough and good enough for people of the age of consent to understand exactly what they are getting into, and what the ramifications are. This is a very, very important part of this legislation. Mr. Speaker, this is all about protecting the public and this is all about helping to prevent illness and injury.

Mr. Speaker, I would now like to turn my focus on the proposed legislation on indoor tanning facilities. Mr. Speaker, living in a Province like Newfoundland and Labrador has its benefits and it has its challenges. Getting our minimum dosage of vitamin D from sunlight, for example, is definitely a challenge

AN HON. MEMBER: Especially in here.

MR. CRUMMELL: Especially in here. Take the last few weeks here on the Eastern Avalon: windburn, yes; sunburn, no, definitely not. If we lived in a more moderate climate, I believe people would have a reasonable tan by this time of the year and probably would not feel pressured to subject themselves to artificial ultraviolet rays to give them that quote-unquote healthy look.

Mr. Speaker, we know melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer there is. It is a leading cause of death from skin disease. We know exposure to ultraviolet radiation in childhood increases dramatically the incidents of melanoma later in life. Yet, Mr. Speaker, as we as a society continue to ignore the facts, controversy has been around for years and years regarding indoor tanning.

Today there is absolutely no controversy at all. The facts are very clear. Mr. Speaker, we all know the stories and we all know the people in our communities who, through exposure to ultraviolet radiation, both artificial and natural, develop skin cancer. While we continue to hear these stories, many of us individuals collectively simply continue to ignore the facts. Why are young people and, indeed, older people continuing to take these risks, as well as parents and family members? We let them do that.

I am just going to quote something here from the Canadian Cancer Society. It says: "The research we fund also contributes to better cancer prevention strategies, such as a survey that found young people spend the most time in the sun out of all age groups but are least likely to protect their skin from sunlight overexposure. This helps us target our sun safety messages to the people who need it."

Mr. Speaker, from a personal perspective, I have witnessed first hand the challenges parents face with regard to dealing with young adults and the pressures to allow tanning, whether it is for proms, weddings, upcoming vacations, whatever the case. I have a couple of nineteen-year-old daughters, Mr. Speaker, and I have been subject to these conversations in my household, as have many of us here that have children in their teenage years and young adults.

Mr. Speaker, when talking to other parents at various meetings, sporting events, or functions, invariably the discussion would turn to prom traditions, expensive gowns, limos, tuxedos, and, of course, tanning. Young adults would pressure their parents through expressing the importance of looking as good as they possibly can from prom night vis-ŕ-vis the perfect tan. Parents who by now are well aware of the risk would articulate their concerns to their children and would eventually be worn down by constant nagging and begging, and give in; it does not happen to everybody, but it happens to a lot. Mr. Speaker, despite all the evidence parents put before their children, results are often predictably the same.

This morning at a press conference I was fortunate to attend Dr. Ian Landells' speech, or his talk; he is a prominent dermatologist here in the city. He thanked the Minister of Health for bringing forward this legislation and he said, as the father of two young children he would not have to worry about the prom ritual like we all have to worry about the prom ritual today. He was very thankful of that and, Mr. Speaker, I know for a fact that there are thousands of parents in Newfoundland and Labrador that are breathing a sigh of relief today because they will not have to face the ritual prom conflict with parents and teenagers about looking best on prom night.

Mr. Speaker, before I close, I would just like to have a quick look at what is presently happening in other jurisdictions. It was referred to by members opposite and members on this side, but I do have a few specifics about what is happening in other jurisdictions that I would like to go to right now. In British Columbia, it was referred to earlier, right now in the Capital Regional District of Victoria and twelve other municipalities, a bylaw was passed January, 2011, that anyone under the age of eighteen is banned from using tanning facilities; the Public Health Act regulations provincially in BC are anticipated in this fall 2012 to be enacted. There will be an age restriction similar to the Greater Victoria Area.

In Alberta there are absolutely no restrictions whatsoever and no voluntary mandate to businesses. In Saskatchewan, the guidelines for tanning salon owners and operators, voluntary guidelines, were enacted in 2006. They are a little bit behind the times. Speaking of time, I think I am going to get to my close here.

In closing, I would just like to say the regulation of the personal services industry time has come. Today, tattoos and piercings, for instance, have become extremely popular all over the world, both amongst the rich and the famous, and in fact, within the general population as a whole. Developments in popularity brought about by the tattooed and pierced celebrities and athletes, as well as focus on health and sterilisation, have helped pushed tattooing into the mainstream of our culture. In fact, Mr. Speaker, tattooing and piercing has become established as part of our popular culture.

Mr. Speaker, in just closing, for the sake of time, I did have a few other notes here, but I understand we are trying to get as many people up as we can here today on this important bill. I would just like to say while our commitment to the health and well-being of our residents of Newfoundland and Labrador is the key objective of this proposed legislation, we are also trying to provide balance as the personal services industry and tanning industry continues to grow. Our government wants to ensure businesses have regulations to guide their business practices and pave the way to ensure operators are not only viable, but they prosper. Mr. Speaker, coming from a business background, I think that is very important; I think we are providing balance in this bill, I think the operators and the owners of these establishments are going to be very happy with what they will see at the end of the day, and I am looking forward to the regulations coming into effect in the very near future.

And I will close on that, Mr. Speaker, and encourage all members of both sides to vote unanimously for this bill. I think it is a great bill and I know for a fact that there are many people at home watching this that support this as well.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

If the hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services speaks now, she will close the debate.

The hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank everyone who has participated in this debate today. It seems to me that it was a very positive debate, that there is a lot of support; in fact, I anticipate there will be unanimous support for this bill, and I am certainly very pleased about that, Mr. Speaker.

There were a couple of issues that were mentioned throughout the debate that I would like to respond to. One was from the Leader of the Third Party, with regard to having enough employees to be able to ensure that the inspections and so on would be able to be carried out. Mr. Speaker, Service NL has guaranteed us that they will be able to accomplish the work that we are going to ask of them, so I am very confident of that.

Mr. Speaker, I think, as well, there was a question from one of the other members of the Third Party with regard to manicures and pedicures and whether or not at some point in time that might be able to be included in the legislation. Mr. Speaker, there is a very clear provision in the legislation that indicates that the minister can enact other legislation, or add to that legislation, or can amend the legislation, so clearly that can be accomplished as well. Hopefully that responds to the concerns that were brought up during the course of the debate. Our intention is to regulate this debate such that we look after the public health and safety of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, Mr. Speaker.

The response that we have had here in the House has been tremendous. The response that we have had from the communities with which we did some partnering and some stakeholder consultation was also very supportive of this piece of legislation or this bill that we are bringing in here today, Mr. Speaker.

I look forward to seeing the legislation passed. I look forward to the vote that we will take on this Act To Regulate The Personal Services Industry, Mr. Speaker. I am sure it will be ultimately of a benefit to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Thank you for the opportunity, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Is it the pleasure of the House that the said bill be now read the second time?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

Carried.

CLERK: A bill, An Act To Regulate The Personal Services Industry. (Bill 27)

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

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

MR. KENNEDY: Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Regulate The Personal Services Industry", read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill 27)

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

MR. KENNEDY: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I call from the Order Paper, Order 1, Address in Reply.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for The Straits – White Bay North.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MITCHELMORE: Mr. Speaker, since the Maritime Archaic Indians some 5,000 years ago, the recent Indians, the Vikings, the Basque, the French, English and other cultures, the District of The Straits – White Bay North has had an abundance of natural resources enabling a life from the land and the sea. These resources have enabled communal success, however interactions from this way of life has also brought its share of devastation as this year we have again lost fishers to the sea.

It is during these times of great loss our friends, our neighbours, and the community come together in this time of need. In the words of Jim Diers, "Community is the engine room of people powered change; although there's a role for government and other agencies with staff and budgets, there is no substitute for people identifying with and caring for one another and the place they share." People powered change, Mr. Speaker. This is something we need to connect with, people.

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure I stand in the House of Assembly to give what is called my maiden speech. I would first offer my sincere thanks to the thirty-five communities that make up the District of The Straits – White Bay North. Special thanks to my mother Katrina, my family, friends and greater community members for contributing their time to volunteer, to fundraise, to organize a campaign that connected with the grassroots of voters, not only at the doorsteps but through the social media, yes, even on Twitter, as we collectively encouraged many to vote New Democrat for the very first time.

The outcome of the provincial general election on October 11 provided me with the privilege of being their representative. I am honoured. I am honoured to be part of a team, both with a rock solid leader in Lorraine Michael, and to listen to the everyday people. It is during the campaign that I truly witnessed the many unique talents and lifestyles and the resilience of the people. From the very first doorstep to the last, I personally took the time to visit them all.

Encountering people mending a rooftop, talking in outports, gutting a fish at the wharf, digging for potatoes in the garden, chopping firewood, making lobster pots, mooring a boat, building a birch bark canoe, displaying handmade snowshoes and several people moose hunting with the orange on, preparing partridgeberries, bagging bakeapples, and pulling buns of freshly baked bread from the oven. Whatever the household, everyone had something to contribute and be part of that conversation. I was forever richer for having met the residents who continue to call this place home. I will not forget a household in Wild Bight, saying I was the first politician he had seen in twelve years to come to his door.

In the beginning I had a mission to visit every community, every household, but this response made me ever more determined to reach them all. Even after being bit by a German Sheppard on the campaign trail, I kept moving. The neighbour bandaged me up and onward I went.

I believe as politicians we must make ourselves available to the people we represent. We must reconnect with them, not only at election time but year-round. One lesson I have certainly learned when I was campaigning is that it is not always a good idea to carry around those doggie treats.

At twenty-six years of age I stand with you, my colleagues, as the youngest elected member of this Assembly. I look forward to bringing a vision, one that reflects the core values of the residents of The Straits – White Bay North, and the everyday people of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. I look forward to raising concerns, presenting new ideas and working with you all to find co-operative solutions to better serve the people of this Province.

As a native of Green Island Cove, a community consisting of just 167 people in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, I have never really felt isolated. I have always been part of a larger network. The thirteen communities from Eddies Cove East to Anchor Point are commonly referred to as The Straits, a unifier all residents would identify.

Mr. Speaker, the fishery remains the backbone of the economy in my hometown, despite plant closures and transition towards shellfish in the industry. The people living in our region are adapting to the changes. As we evolve as a society, we also struggle to continue with maintaining some of our past traditions, such as Christmas ‘mumming' and ‘jannying' there, rug-hooking, or sealskin boot making. I can say there are a number of people in my district who hold on to this tradition. I practiced many of those myself.

As the rest of the world and popular culture have become more accessible to us, these influences, such as mobilization and technology have steadily advanced. This presents a new opportunity to share our experiences and our culture with the rest of the world. However, eleven of the thirty-five communities in the district do not have broadband access, a matter I will continue to press to bridge these telecommunication gaps as long as I am the member.

I, like many, have left the region to attend post-secondary in the capital city, St. John's. I adapted to a change in lifestyle and the amenities of the city, but I also spent a year studying and working in Europe, visiting twenty-seven countries and living in cities with millions of people who speak different languages. These cross-cultural experiences established an understanding and built relationships that I never thought would exist in a lifetime.

In 2009, I returned from living in Western Canada, after travelling all provinces in Canada, to my home, rural Newfoundland and Labrador. I moved back to my hometown to make valuable contributions, to accelerate the process of advancing the social, community, and small-business enterprises. L'Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site has stimulated development of Norstead: A Viking Village and Port of Trade. Dr. Wilfred Thomason Grenfell established a legacy which promoted the Grenfell Historic Properties, and French Shore Historical Society is bringing to life our vibrant French heritage, just to name a few.

Today, most youth in rural Newfoundland and Labrador are not choosing to follow in the footsteps of their parents, grandparents, and fellow members of the community. I am not a fisherman, although my father was. He was also a trained carpenter, but I am not sure I am to be trusted with all power tools. However, I do love the rural lifestyle and believe many youth would love the ability to remain and live in rural Newfoundland and Labrador if the employment opportunities and adequate level of services existed.

The current provincial government has been making strides and investing in youth, especially through the Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy, although more must be done on a communal level to deal with the recruiting of professional positions. There are many vacancies listed in health authorities, some for several years. Maybe we need community-based orientation programs; offer spousal supports, or offer measures that can grow rural regions. We must also address the growing housing crisis, especially in the St. Anthony region.

There are great challenges in our primary industries: the fishery and the forestry, that even today sustain many parts of rural Newfoundland and Labrador. The provincial government must intervene, working with all levels at the federal and municipal, and community groups and with stakeholders. Measures can be taken to stabilize our fishery and our forestry with appropriate planning and action. The adoption of land-based certification for specific Crown land areas would open new international markets for products. We must advance the local marketplace, review resource allocation, and provide maximum benefit to the people of the public resource that we own. We must look at providing that greatest benefit and look at alternatives, other economic models, such as community quotas, local co-operatives, and royalty regimes.

The Great Northern Peninsula is resilient, and has had its share of success in partnership when communities come together to get that maximum benefit. In 1997, when the federal government released its management plan, there was an allocation of 3,000 metric tons of shrimp for sixteen communities – seventeen at the time – on the northern part of the peninsula, enabling St. Anthony Basin Resources Incorporated, SABRI, to make local decisions for the sustainability of the harvesters, processors, community, and the region.

The inclusive management board is made up of fishers, fish plant employees, community representatives, and local development committee reps. This broad representation from various groups and interests may present for some tough decisions; however, the group realizes they have to make good decisions, that it will have local impacts. SABRI's community-minded approach hosted a series of consultations with the communities. They found commonalities. They levered funds to advance infrastructure based on community need. This model is something that would work if we integrated it with regional economic development boards to pursue more direct community economic or CED initiatives.

SABRI has removed and replaced existing cruise docking facilities at L'Anse aux Meadows. They have also developed a bus turnaround, walking access to the French oven site in Quirpon, development of integrated signage, trail guides, kiosks. Their reinvestment in local infrastructure, local projects, and local employment is fundamental. It means community-capacity building. Their organization manages the district's only aquaculture site, a mussel farm. They provide scholarships, hundreds of thousands of dollars – over $200,000 since their existence – and donate to non-profit groups, heritage, sport, recreation, and others. SABRI is truly a local success story on the Great Northern Peninsula that was given a small quota, a small allocation of 3,000 metric tons, and managed efficiently to get the greatest benefit for the people of the region. They should be commended for the work they do and the significant impact they have made.

In addition to attracting new business to the Province, why not look at using funds in the Business Attraction Fund to enable community economic development organizations to create and sustain new jobs in rural regions under a performance-based management? Let's create an environment to accelerate rural renewal in many parts of the Province, as all hon. members of this House. When communities come together and collaborate for the common good of everyone, there is greater success. There is no reason why communities could not have greater decision making over other resources such as the forest; however, much of this success hinges on government to enable the local economy to develop.

We are beginning to see local groups with common interests working together, sharing closer finite resources. We only have to look at co-operatives and how they have thrived in the days of Grenfell. We need more local co-ops. Agriculture, forestry, fishery, crafts, tourism, the retail sector, as well as collaboration from communities business and government, we can build stronger networks. I am an optimist and I have seen the benefit of communities working together in my district, such as the Northern Peninsula Regional Services Board which manages solid waste from River of Ponds north, to also include fire and emergency services for the thirteen communities of The Straits.

The Northern Peninsula East Heritage Corridor, consisting of a network of communities: Grandois, St. Julien's, Croque, Main Brook, Conche, Roddickton, Bide Arm and Englee – they worked to build their tourism assets. As a collective unit, they have been able to create a number of reasons for people to spend time vacationing in their towns. I have visited many times the underground salmon pool, walking trails, boat tour, French Shore Interpretation Centre, which has the only of its kind, a 222-foot tapestry on Jacobean linen depicting the unique culture since the beginning of our time on the Peninsula, and attended many social events throughout the community.

The Straits-St. Barbe Chronic Care Corporation represents twenty-six communities. They have a thirty-three bed personal care home, respite care, and they administer a Newfoundland and Labrador Housing site. They are about working together and making sure that people, seniors, can stay closer to home to get care. The Eagle River Credit Union branch in St. Anthony is another success story of communities working together deciding what it needs as an organization. They have six branches with $79 million in assets, founded through co-operatives. The St. Barbe Consumers Co-op in Flower's Cove and Grenfell Memorial Co-op in St. Anthony continue to exist for their ability to serve their members.

Communities decide on what it values and what it needs to be happy. We have unique ideas in rural Newfoundland and Labrador and solutions to fill those voids do not always register or align with a one-size-fits-all approach sometimes issued by government. We have to be flexible and recognize that there is a wealth of creativity, ingenuity, and knowledge in our rural economy. Our suggestions do not always require hiring a consultant, sometimes it is a matter of good common sense.

Where are the farmers markets, the social spaces, the community murals, the open-air art museums, the community gardens, the ride shares, or our alternative rural-based public transit? There are small measures that can help rural revitalization generate revenue and help retrain employees to lead to long-term growth in various industries. Enhancing the community also advances tourism and attracts a climate for further business development.

After working in business development, I found there was a constant disconnect in what government offers in programs and what the community needs to be more successful. I found this quote and I have said it before but I will say it again: "Some of the challenges undermining the strength of our rural communities flow from deliberate interventions in the economy over the years by governments at all levels. If governments have created many of the conditions that damage rural sustainability and viability, they also have the power and obligation to intervene in ways that strengthen these communities and enable them to survive and thrive in a modern world." This talked about the indispensable role that rural economies play and there is nothing natural about letting them die. That quote is from the former Speaker, Roger Fitzgerald, MHA.

The Great Northern Peninsula has untapped opportunity and potential for the residents currently living, transient families, and those who have yet to experience for themselves. We must first address a gamut of issues ranging from deficiencies of basic infrastructure for some communities. The community of Grandois, for instance, has a waterline that goes from a pond. It is placed on top of the ground and as the temperatures cool, the water freezes. This has left people in the community to bring water via tubs in snowmobile. Imagine in the twenty-first century in Canada where seniors have to bring water to flush toilets and boil water to have hot water for a bath. It makes the concept of a have Province quite questionable when we have such basic infrastructure deficits – it is 2012.

There are numerous communities in my district that are unorganized; they do not have clean drinking water. Several local service districts and towns in my region are on boil order. The Town of Conche, after ten years, has finally been able to upgrade its system and remove that status. Clean drinking water should be a given, it should be a right to all Canadians. A number of unincorporated communities are asking for assistance.

The district I represent also has too many gravel roads still in the provincial inventory, and I have raised the issue. Government has invested millions of dollars in realigning the route to Conche, for example, but there is still 17.4 kilometres that goes unpaved. In Croque, and St. Julien's, Grandois, they have thirty kilometres on an old woods road, and there is wood that actually comes up through the road. This is a challenge. There are many communities in The Straits that have secondary roads that are also in poor condition.

Canada's first Prime Minister recognized that connecting British Columbia to Eastern Canada was an investment in Canada's viability and sustainability as a nation. It was costly, but far cheaper than the alternative of letting Canada just go into a whole bunch of small, remote, disconnected states. The same is very true for connecting Newfoundland to Labrador and mainland Canada via a fixed link. This is no longer a pipe dream. With Quebec completing Route 138, and the opening of the Trans-Labrador Highway in 2009, it will only be a matter of time before traffic goes north from Montreal across the Strait of Belle Isle.

We need to advance the knowledge-based economy; however, this comes with a need for investment in telecommunication infrastructure for broadband Internet in eleven of our current communities without the service. There is a significant amount of roadway and geography without cellphone coverage, not to mention lack of 911 coverage.

These investments advance the community, they advance economic development, business, education, and improve the delivery of health. Telecommunications centres in rural, remote areas can eliminate barriers to travel, and enable people to hold meetings and gain an education from a distance. It is time to increase the quality of life through education and advancements. I would like to see a plan to address these gaps. Even in a challenged rural economy, the Great Northern Peninsula, I have, along with others, hope and optimism. As citizens, we can achieve, no matter what age our birth certificate state. There are some things best done by the community, some done by what is accomplished by government, but some working in true partnership.

So I will close by saying, the Great Northern Peninsula is stronger when we work together. Despite the population and vast geographical differences, we have been overcoming barriers and working together in larger groups in partnerships. As the newly elected member of The Straits – White Bay North, representing the views of the constituents, I will work with you all here in this hon. House to build a more resilient district, a more resilient Province that is prosperous in Newfoundland and Labrador because it is time.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It now being 5:13 in the afternoon, I move, seconded by the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board, that this House do now adjourn.

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

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

All those in favour, ‘aye'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

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

Carried.

The House stands adjourned until 1:30 o'clock on Monday of next week.

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