May 13, 1992              HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                  Vol. XLI  No. 36

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the House, through you, to send congratulations to the Royal Canadian Legion dart team from Happy Valley - Goose Bay, in recognition of the fact that for the first time in seventeen years, they won the Provincial Senior A Dart Championship held last week in Grand Falls - Windsor.

I would like to send special congratulations to Frank Ford, Theodore Chiasson, Charlie Chiasson, Joe Anderson, Wayne Pike, Sean McCarthy, Paul Hutchings, and particularly Mr. Charlie Chiasson who was the MVP for the playoffs. I think the House should show their congratulations to this particular team.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. PARSONS: Certainly, Mr. Speaker, we on this side agree with what has been said. Any time that people excel in sports it should be acknowledged, and I feel quite confident that will not be their last, hopefully not.

To all the people involved in sports out there, no matter what it may be, be it -

AN HON. MEMBER: Flatrock didn't have a team in.

MR. PARSONS: Flatrock didn't have a team in. If they had, perhaps they would have won, but that is beside the point.

I, too, wish to go on record, representing this side of the House, in saying that congratulations should be sent.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Before going on to Statements by Ministers, on behalf of hon. members I would like to welcome to the galleries today, thirty-one students from Holy Cross School, Ricketts Road, here in St. John's. They are accompanied by their Vice-Principal, Mr. Ed Wade, and teachers, Miss Lynn Dawe, Ms. Kerry Flynn, and one parent, Mrs. Mitchell.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Also I would like to welcome to the Speaker's gallery, the Mayor of Stephenville, His Worship, Cecil Stein.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you.

Mr. Speaker, last night I watched with deep concern a special report on Here and Now concerning the provincial economy. I was particularly saddened and startled, I guess, is probably the proper word, to hear for the first time ever, out of the mouth of this Premier, that his government's own admission is that he and his government are pursuing a policy of forced resettlement and forcing people out of this Province, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shame! Shame!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask him simply at the outset, when he spoke of a strategic plan for resettlement, how many communities does his strategic plan target for elimination? Will he tell us that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I can't imagine that the Leader of the Opposition would be trying to deceive the people of this Province. I can't imagine he would do that. I find it difficult to believe that the CBC would do it, but that is possible.


PREMIER WELLS: It is possible. But let me say, at no time did I ever say this government is committed to resettlement or it is part of our strategic economic plan or anything. Now, for the Leader of the Opposition to take that or take those words or some excerpts that the CBC may have put forward and characterize it in that way, is grossly irresponsible.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, it is the policies of this government and this Premier that are grossly irresponsible, that is what I say.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, he can try to use the verbal trickery that he often uses and try to fool the people but the clear message was there last night. Now, the Premier also talked about in the interview, interspersed throughout that program - what he was talking about, he says, was a voluntary resettlement, because he used quotes, and I am sure he will remember them. Does he remember saying, after talking about what might occur, that 'if an amount of resettlement occurs as a result of that approach, it will occur,' as if to say, sobeit; did he say that? Does he remember saying it? Because, Mr. Speaker, if his policy is a policy of voluntary resettlement, there is nothing voluntary if people in rural communities in this Province are forced, and deliberately cut off from jobs and essential services. And is he not following that policy? Is it not clear with a vengeance, in every social and resource policy act that this government commits?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker. The Leader of the Opposition is dead wrong again. Now, I haven't seen the television report - I will get a copy of it and take a look at it, but I do remember the interview, and what I said to the person who did the interview was simply this, this government is honest enough to tell the people of this Province - which the former government was not - this government is honest enough to tell the people of this Province that no government, no matter what its political stripe, no government can provide or ensure that they will provide economic opportunity dispersed among 700 or 800 communities in this Province in each and every single one of the 700 or 800 communities. Mr. Speaker, we are honest enough to cope with that, so we said, We have to find a way of picking up and dealing with the situation where the former government failed miserably and could see nothing but cucumbers for years and focus their whole effort on cucumbers.

Well, Mr. Speaker, we are not prepared to do what the former government did, decentralize from St. John's to Mount Pearl. That's what they did, decentralize from St. John's to Mount Pearl: provide economic activity, switch it from St. John's to Mount Pearl and the devil with the rest of the Province. Well, Mr. Speaker, that is not our objective. Our objective, and we stated it very clearly, is to make sure that we do the very best that any government can to cause economic activity to take place in every single region of this Province. We can't do it in every community, we admit it, and we are honest enough to admit it, the former government wasn't. What we want to do is make sure that there is an acceptable level of economic activity in all regions of the Province and not just in St. John's and Mount Pearl, so that people will be able to live where they want to live, in the communities they live in now and drive a reasonable distance to find economic opportunity. That, Mr. Speaker, is exactly what was said and not the garbage you are hearing from the Leader of the Opposition.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The people of this Province remember clearly during the 1989 election campaign when this Premier promised to bring home every mother's son, too.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Does he remember saying also in the interview when talking about the economy that if people then want to live thirty, forty, seventy or eighty miles away from where they work and drive back and forth every day, get there by some other means, or live where they work during the week and go home on weekends, or whatever they want to do, does that not indicate that he is pursuing a policy of voluntary resettlement? What could be clearer, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I can't imagine that the hon. member would be deliberately deceiving the House because hon. members are not supposed to do that, so I don't know what he means when he says that I promised to bring home every mother's son. Now they can't deal with the truth so they have to fabricate these straw men that they are competent of knocking down. They can't deal with persons of strength so they fabricate these weaklings that they can knock down. Well, Mr. Speaker, it isn't going to work because the people of this Province know the record of performance of the former government, and they know the record of performance of this government, and we have the widespread support of the people of this Province, and we say that with complete confidence.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, I have spelled out very clearly what the government's objective is, and when the strategic economic plan is released later this week there will be more detail on that. That approach, Mr. Speaker, in case the hon. members opposite don't realize it, that approach has widespread support throughout this Province. It was gathered as the Advisory Council on the Economy travelled throughout the Province and put forward these suggestions as to the way to deal with our economic problems. It engendered widespread support throughout the Province.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. members opposite want to characterize it as resettlement because that is the only kind of weakling straw man they are capable of dealing with. They can't deal with the reality so they have to construct or fabricate this straw man who they are capable of knocking over. Well, Mr. Speaker, they can flail away like Don Quixote at windmills if they want to. This government is going to get on with the job of rebuilding the economy of the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, it never ceases to amaze me the selective memory that the Premier has. He didn't remember promising university education and university courses to Labrador West either until CBC played the tape back for him. Then he quickly changed his mind.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Mr. Speaker, let me ask him this. I am sure he must remember doing the interview, and I don't understand why he doesn't remember some of the quotes. But there was another message that was conveyed loud and clear last night in that story with his interview sprinkled throughout and that is that we have too many people in this Province. The old friend of the Premier's, Percival Coates theory, I guess it was.

I want to ask him: when he was a member of the Smallwood administration and the Smallwood Cabinet, that clearly was the philosophy of that particular government of which he was a member, now isn't that really his strategy, not only to force resettlement but to force people out of this Province altogether, to bring us down to a population of 350,000 or 400,000 people? Does he still share that philosophy of the old Smallwood government or does he not?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, the first thing I am going to do is answer the first comment the hon. member made. I am going to stake the quality of my memory against his intellectual integrity. I will ask him to bring to this House the statement where I said I was going to bring home every mother's son, and if he does I will resign. If he can't, he will resign. Now, meet the challenge.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Now meet the challenge! Or otherwise display a little intellectual integrity for once!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, let me deal with his other fabrication.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: Far from saying there are too many people in this Province, I have said on numerous occasions, there is nothing wrong with the economy of this Province that another 5 million people would not resolve! We have the land area, the resources, the capability, and a whole lot of other things to build a sound economy with a lot of people. It is not less people we need, it is more people, to generate more economic activity in the Province.

Now, the validity of the Opposition Leader's comments, his total comments this afternoon, has been clearly demonstrated in that one instance. Because not only have I never suggested any such thing, I have suggested, always and constantly, just the opposite. It is more people we need in this Province to generate more and greater levels of economic activity, and a greater diversity of economic activity. Not fewer people. But again, Mr. Speaker, it is a measure of the lack of competence of the Opposition that they cannot deal with the real man, they have to fabricate these straw men that they can blow at.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I am quite prepared to put my record about dealing with the people of this Province up against his any day. Any day!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: And let me say this to him. I will do better than my producing the words and the promise of the Premier to bring home every mother's son, I will make a plea to CBC television and ask them to play the clip when everybody in the Province can see it!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, any way you want to slice it, the Premier as I said last week has become a master of verbal illusion, verbal trickery, and fooling the people.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: Any way you slice it, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: I ask the hon. member to get on with his question.

MR. SIMMS: Any way you slice it, the clear message that the Premier gave to the people of this Province last night was that his economic plan is a plan to force resettlement and to force people out of the Province. Any way you slice it.

Now I want to ask him this: Will he give a strong, firm commitment to rural Newfoundland, rather than turning his back on it as he has been doing? Will he give the rural parts of this Province an opportunity and a chance to survive? And if he will, he is in his fourth year, when is he going to start?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I draw the House's attention that the hon. the Leader of the Opposition has not accepted my challenge. Instead he has looked to the CBC. Now put his seat on the line! Let's see where his conviction is! Let's see if he has any conviction!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Where's his conviction now?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!


PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, this government's commitment to the rural part of this Province is very clear and it is very strong. We are not moving the highways office from St. John's to Mount Pearl. We are not concentrating on building cucumber plants in Mount Pearl. We are concentrating, Mr. Speaker, on providing for balanced economic development in all parts of this Province, and we will do so, Mr. Speaker. We hope, given a reasonable amount of time, we will achieve that rebalancing of economic activity in the Province.

I remind hon. members, Mr. Speaker, that you cannot achieve this overnight. Just look at one statistic, and one only, just to be convinced of it, if you want to really assess what can be done economically in realistic terms. If the economy of this Province performed at twice the national average every single year without fail for twenty years we would still not have caught up to the national average. Now, Mr. Speaker, I have told people this, but you must start the climb by putting your foot on the first rung of the ladder first. You can't suddenly leap to be there in one fell swoop. Mr. Speaker, we have the honesty and the political integrity to tell the people of this Province that that is so.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber East.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Premier about another throwback to the Smallwood era, Ed Roberts.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, political scientists say constitutional convention requires that an nonelected Cabinet Minister get a Legislature seat very quickly, within weeks not months. Now, in the case of Ed Roberts it has been six months since the Premier announced his intention to go outside his elected caucus and bring Mr. Roberts into his Cabinet as Minister of Justice. It has been three months since Mr. Roberts has been in the position.

Won't the Premier concede that he has gone way beyond the bounds of constitutional propriety? Won't the Premier admit he has been breaking the rules of democracy?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I frankly confess to the House that I would have preferred to see Mr. Roberts in the House before this. Everybody knows what was expected at the time that Mr. Roberts was sworn in, three months ago now. It was anticipated at that time that Mr. Kelland was about to resign. That is frankly what I relied upon. However, all the people in the Province know of a decision Mr. Kelland has made in the last little while.

Now, in the meantime, Mr. Roberts has been carrying on a dedicated effort on behalf of this Province to deal with major constitutional issues, and if Mr. Roberts were not there doing it, it would place a much greater burden on me.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would ask members to my right, please, to refrain from interfering. If they are not happy with the question that the person has asked, they will get another chance to ask a question.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for your intervention. You will notice that that is a normal reaction when people don't like truth. They don't like reasonable explanation and they want to avoid it coming out, so they will resort to that kind of thing. The hon. member's question is not an unfair question and I am attempting to answer it.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I agree that I've got to try and take steps fairly soon to deal with the matter. It is longer than I would like to have seen it. It is not of my doing that caused it to be that long, but I believe it is in the best interests of the Province to have Mr. Roberts continue as Minister of Justice until it is convenient for him to find a seat in the Legislature.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, we have a Constitution. It is not acceptable for a Premier to make up the rules as he goes along because he failed to plan in the first place or because his arrogant presumption has been foiled.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, my question is: Will the Premier take charge, comply with the Constitution, remove Mr. Roberts and put an elected member in the Cabinet as Minister of Justice?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the Government, and I as Premier, are in full compliance with the Constitution. There is nothing that is being done or not being done that is contrary to the Constitution. There is a parliamentary convention that a person who is appointed to a Cabinet as a minister, will seek a seat or will obtain a seat - not just seek it, will obtain a seat - within a reasonable time, but there is no specific limit on what is a reasonable time. It is reasonable in all of the circumstances. My own view of it is that it is shorter rather than longer. I agree with that. I don't disagree with it. But I have explained to the House the particular circumstances in which the government found itself because of a reversal of a decision that a member had made.

Now, when Mr. Roberts gets back from dealing with this series of constitutional meetings for me, I will deal with that issue.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber East, a supplementary.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What is the Premier's constitutional authority? I challenge the Premier's arrogant statement that he is complying with constitutional convention. Constitutional convention requires that an nonelected Cabinet Minister get a seat in this Legislature within weeks.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I have told hon. members time and time again, the Question Period is not a period for debate. I ask the hon. member to ask the question, please.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I asked the question. The question is: What is the Premier's legal authority? Is it simply improvising, making up rules as he goes along?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker. The authority is several hundred years of parliamentary practice, from which the convention is derived.

Now, maybe the hon. member doesn't know it, I am shocked if she doesn't, but there is not one word in the Constitution about it, not one word. So there is no contravention of the Constitution. When she asks what is my constitutional authority, I ask: What is her constitutional authority for this proposition that it has to be within weeks? It is just fabricated again. When they have nothing to rely on, they fabricate things. That is their standard pattern. Mr. Speaker, the authority for it is several hundred years of parliamentary practice in British and other Commonwealth parliamentary jurisdictions.

I readily acknowledge that the practice is to do it as soon as possible, in the shortest term possible. I don't know what the longest has ever been. I may explore it. Maybe this has already been the longest. I don't know. But there is no absolute limit on the thing, and I have already told the House what the government's intentions are and what my intentions are. We will deal with the issue in due course.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

There is no defence like a good offence.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I ask the Premier: Is it not true that we are now in the last years of the 20th. Century and what may have been done in medieval times no longer pertains to 1992. What is the Premier's legal authority for having a nonelected Minister of Justice for months on end with no prospect of his getting a seat in this House of Assembly in the year 1992? What is the Premier's constitutional authority?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Let me remind hon. members that there is no constitutional or legal authority that a minister has to be in the House at all. There is nothing written anywhere. I remind hon. members that that is the constitutional practice. Over the years any number of senators, not elected members, there is not yet an elected senator in Canada, any number of senators have been members of the Cabinet, so there is no written specific authority for it.

This member is trying to convey the impression that there is some written constitutional requirement or some specific constitutional requirement. There is not. There is several hundred years of parliamentary practice that government is responsible to the elected Legislature and will be part of the elected Legislature. From time to time it is necessary to have somebody who is not part of the elected Legislature for one reason or another. The convention is, the political convention, and that is what it is, no more than that, is that fairly quickly, as soon as it can be arranged, the person who becomes the minister will seek a seat in the elected Legislature.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me just remind hon. members of something else. The Liberals of this Province elected me as their leader in June 1987. That government, of which that member was Minister of Justice at the time, when the hon. Member for Windsor - Buchans resigned in June of 1987 kept the seat vacant for six months, until December, until the law required them to call it. Now, where was her sense of Parliamentary democracy then?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: What was she saying to the Premier of the day as his chief legal advisor about what he should do to respect Parliamentary practice? Such hypocrisy!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the Premier was fortunate, he got both his MHA salary and $50,000 a year besides.

My question is to the Minister of Social Services, who again is absent. So in his absence, again, I will direct it to the Government House Leader. The incident this weekend, and on Monday, at the Youth Remand Centre in the St. John's area and at the other facility, I predict, is just the tip of the iceberg. Will the minister confirm that there have been several serious incidents during the past month in Whitbourne at the boy's home?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, everybody knows that in institutions like this there are always problems and I guess there always will be problems. As I indicated in a question previously a lot more youths have been sent to these institutions recently, directed to them by judges, and we are coping with this increased number, Mr. Speaker, and providing the services as well as they can be provided.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I know the minister never answered the question but let me ask him again, does he not consider these incidents every bit as serious as those on the weekend and is it not a fact, Mr. Speaker, that in Whitbourne during the past month property was damaged, staff were placed at high risk, situations actually where the staff were injured and some of them had to stay off work? Will the minister confirm that actually took place?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to look into any specific thing that the hon. member brings up to me. I hope it is a little more accurate than his statements of a couple of days ago when he pointed out to a decrease in funding since 1988 for the youth correction services. In actual fact in that particular instance there was a decrease in administration costs of about $900,000 in St. John's but the overall expenditure on youth correction services between 1988 and 1992, this year, has increased from $8,900,000 to $11,300,000, an increase of $2.4 million.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, because they are completing the boy's home in Whitbourne that I started. He is talking about capital funding but there was a decrease in the Budget, Mr. Speaker, let the minister be honest. I ask the minister this, will he now admit that these incidents that have taken place at these three facilities are a direct result of his government's cutbacks, and he said 900,000 in St. John's, not only that, leaving positions vacant, cutting the cost of overtime, eliminating training programs for staff, the elimination of recreation programs and many other activities which are vital to the maintaining of security and safety at such a facility? Mr. Speaker, is it not a fact that government cut all of these things and only recently, only recently when these crises happened, have they reinstated some of them? Let me ask the minister as well, will he not confirm that there have been more escapes in the boys' home in the past year than there have been in decades?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I cannot confirm any of that, but what I can confirm is that that member stood up in this House a few days ago and indicated there had been a cut of over $ 2 million in the operating expenditures for youth correctional services in this Province between 1988 and 1992, and in fact, there has been an increase of $2.3 million in the operating expenditures, which include all these things the member is talking about, which means we have increased, in all ways we have increased all of these services that the member talks about from the time when he was Minister of Social Services, so, Mr. Speaker, all I can do is tell this hon. House the truth.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is for the Premier.

The Minister of Social Services, in the estimates committee yesterday, confirmed the fact that single able-bodied persons receiving social assistance in this Province, receive a maximum amount of $129 per month for room and board and all the necessities of life. Now, Mr. Speaker, the minister was unable to justify why such a low amount was available for single, able-bodied persons, and I want to know whether the Premier thinks that that amount of $129 per month, total amount, is an acceptable amount for a single individual to survive on in this Province these days?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I do not have the detail before me and bearing in mind what the President of Treasury Board just had to deal with in terms of the Member for Burin - Placentia West, and his gross misstatement of the figures, I am hesitant to deal with it in speculative terms. Now the minister is in Prince Edward Island at a national ministers meeting, which is where he has been I think since yesterday, so when he comes back I will provide the answer.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, it was the minister who confirmed that the amount for single, able-bodied persons was $129 per month and hon. members who have dealt with individuals who are required to live on this can confirm that, all around the Premier. Now I want the Premier to tell the House - whether it is true or not - whether $129 per month is an acceptable level of subsistence for a single individual adult trying to live in our society, is that an acceptable amount?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: My recollection is that there is a fairly small amount paid to young adults who are living at home and have accommodation and that provided for them and do not have to pay rent and so on. I understand that to be the case. If that is what he is talking about, then it may be a different set of circumstances. If you are talking about an individual who has to pay rent on an apartment, provide food and clothing and so on, that is not enough, obviously it is not enough.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you. The Premier then agrees with me and I assume other members of the House that it is not enough for a single adult to live on in this Province and I ask the Premier whether he is prepared, his government is prepared - if the investigations with the Minister of Social Services bear out what I have been saying in this House, is his government prepared to review and increase that amount of social assistance for single, able-bodied persons?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I have told the hon. member and I will tell him again, as I do not want to have to repeat the answer four times instead of three, I told the hon. member I will have the concerns that he has raised assessed and if there is realism in what he says, if they are realistic concerns, then we will consider those concerns and the minister or I, will bring a position to this House. We will either justify what we are doing or, we will seek to change it. I cannot do any more than that, I do not know how many times he wants it said.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired

Before going on to our routine business, on behalf of hon. members I would like to welcome to the public galleries today a group of ladies representing WISE - Women Interested in Successful Employment. They are accompanied by Helen King, the Co-ordinator, and Sylvia Ash, Career Councillor.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Orders of the Day

Private Members' Day

MR. SPEAKER: This is Wednesday. We are into the Private Member's resolution by the Member for Humber Valley, I believe.

The hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I felt, especially over the last number of months, I was becoming more aware. This is my seventh year in provincial politics, and I spent ten years in municipal politics previous to that. So a total of some seventeen years in public life. I have never in that seventeen years, and more especially in the seven years I have spent as an MHA, witnessed the hurt, the agony and even the loss of dignity to people in my district and other districts around this Province.

Now I will say from the outset that I cannot point the finger today and say it is all the responsibility or the cause of this particular administration. It is a number of things and a number of factors - provincially, nationally, internationally and so on. But I will say this. When I ran in the election of 1985 and again in 1989 I was never one to make promises, never. I went into every community in my district and I made absolutely, categorically, none. Except for one promise, and that was to work hard on behalf of my constituents.

Now in the election of 1989 a lot of promises were made. Some of them can be debatable, I realise that too. But I have a campaign manual here from 1989. I may quote some of it as I go along. I have right on the first page of that campaign manual used by members opposite, in talking about jobs and about the hurt and the disparity of people and communities in this Province, and I just quote one: these things can only be achieved by a government that is sensitive to the needs of our people.

Sensitive. A very important word. When this administration was finally elected in 1989 it was incumbent on them to do something for the people of this Province who they were supposed to represent, after forming a government answerable to everybody in this Province, not only thirty-one or thirty-two districts. The whole fifty-two.

Granted, it was a little harder as they moved along. But whatever happens nationally or internationally, we have to come right back here to our own government and ask: what are you doing? What are you doing, even to show something positive? Even to show some optimism? Can members opposite answer that? No? I can quote from Throne Speeches of 1989, 1990 and 1991. Three Throne Speeches took three years and still did not identify we had a problem. All of a sudden, in May or June of last year we started to run into a recession. In the fall it finally came down to a real recession, and everybody both federally and provincially admitted there was a recession last fall - the fall of 1991. That was after three Throne Speeches - three.

So I ask the Premier and his ministers today to try. I saw a button the other day 'Buy Something'. How in the name of God can anybody in this Province buy anything? We are back to the barter system. Buying is out. There is nothing to buy with. I saw one yesterday 'Try Something'. It might be very fitting to members opposite to try something.

Now I do not intend to speak here this evening and just cast blame and aspersions and so on. I intend, at the end of the day, to try to make some recommendations; to try to give them an alternative. Granted, after I make those recommendations and alternatives there is going to be debate on what I have to say. I say to the government and the administration here today to listen. We were elected to represent everybody. We were elected to do good for all the people in this Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Take some of the ideas; not because they come from over here; not because they might come from someone that we meet out on the street, they are all good ideas - something that you can take and run with.

The Premier alluded to the report just submitted on the Strategic Economic Plan. He said that it would probably be out the week, the government's Strategic Economic Plan. What did they say in that? What did people say in that particular report? I do not know if members opposite read it, but I am telling you they said, first and foremost, for the government to do something, whether short-term or long-term. They agree with the Premier that we should work for the good on the long-term, but something should be put in place today to try to address the short-term problems that we have.

Whatever chance we had for capital projects, for private entrepreneurs and businessmen in this Province to try to stimulate the economy, we have nothing coming from the other side with regard to stimulation; with regard to optimism or something positive. I will tell you what we do have coming, and I will mention a few of them. In the last few years we have a government that has increased income tax some 6 percentage points. We have a government that has introduced a payroll tax, and put it up again this year. We have a government that has changed the MOG grant system for municipalities, and in doing that strangling municipalities in this Province; and also changed the repayment on capital debt, the ceiling on capital debt which is crucifying municipalities in this Province. Not only that, but it stops business people and municipalities from taking advantage of some of the monies that are allocated and thereby creating new jobs for people in the Province.

Instead of the Triple E Senate we talked about, I think we have a Triple D administration. We have today an administration which is downsizing, downgrading, and downloading on municipalities in this Province. Now how can we have a stimulated economy when we have policies such as this - payroll tax, income taxes, and changes in the grant system to municipalities that they cannot take advantage of? Another one that I will mention is compensation. Compensation that is putting a real stranglehold on business people in this Province. I will give you one example, and members opposite know exactly what I am talking about because they are confronted with it every day of the week. I will give an example of a construction company which did work, for instance, last year in this Province. Naturally there is always a 10 per cent holdback in case in the fall of the year the job is not finished and what have you.

I had an individual come to me the other day who went to get his money from the Department of Transportation. He couldn't get it. Why? Because it was held back by the Department of Finance for monies that would be incurred in 1992 - his payment on compensation. Now everybody knows that compensation is done in an estimate, your estimated payroll, then they charge you and you have to pay by April. He couldn't even get last years $7,000 until this years $10,000 estimate on compensation was paid. He didn't even have a contract. There wasn't even a tender in the paper. He hadn't even sharpened his pencil to apply for a contract this year, and he had to take $10,000 right out of his pocket and plank it on the table right away, that was to get the $7,000 he was owed from the previous year.

Now, Mr. Speaker, you talk about stimulation. You talk about companies hurting. That is strangulation, Mr. Speaker, and suffocation. It is the little things out there that are going to determine whether we let a private entrepreneur - that is what it is going to come down to. I agree that it is not going to be all government. It is going to be the private sector, Mr. Speaker, that is going to kick-start this economy with some stimulation from government and some support.

The example that I quoted here this evening, Mr. Speaker, is certainly not an example of stimulation. Those are the things that have to be addressed. What I am saying is not fabrication. Anywhere from 25 to 30 per cent unemployment in this Province is certainly not fabrication. Like I said from the outset, it is a combination of both the federal and provincial governments being intertwined in this.

If we took out the ACOA funding, Mr. Speaker, that has been put into this Province today and we took out the FAP funding that is put into this Province today under the Fisheries Alternative Program, I don't know if we would have a project going. We wouldn't because from the start there was no early tendering for municipal affairs capital works programs. There was no early tendering for the transportation sector for the capital works program.

I just got municipalities this week submitting to the minister letters requesting the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs to give them the right to call tenders. By the time they get that out it will be another three weeks or a month. By the time the tender is called there will be another three weeks or a month. We are up to the end of July or the first week in August before ever there is a tender let for municipalities in this Province. Now that is referring to the municipalities that can accept the capital funding.

Now we should be doing it. The Premier knows quite well what I'm talking about because he mentioned it at the First Ministers Conference which he attended this year on the Constitution. Early tendering is a must. Early tendering is becoming more important than ever it was, and I say to the ministers opposite who are responsible that they had better notice and make sure that they get those particular things out.

Mr. Speaker, I referred to the grants system. I just talked about compensation that could help the construction industry in this Province and help the small entrepreneur. Have a look at it. Even if they have to pay the same fee, but have it after in the fall of the year so that they will know exactly what their estimate is and know exactly what contracts they had and what payroll they had, not before. They need that operating. There is nothing in place to give them those few dollars. Enterprise Newfoundland can't give them operating. The banks today have absolutely no social conscience. The only chance they have is to go in with a contract in their pocket, and they may take that provided the cheques are made out to the contractor and the bank. They have absolutely no flexibility, I say to the Minister responsible for Municipal and Provincial Affairs. I know also, Mr. Speaker, that he agrees with me, I am sure, and his colleagues are after coming to him and trying to make recommendations to him to change that particular formula they have for repayment on capital debt. Even if they moved it up another couple of years, municipalities today will be able to take advantage of the monies that they have been allocated and they will be able to call contracts and get something stimulated with regard to the construction sector in this Province.

Now, the Premier mentioned decentralization. Where is the decentralization the last three years from St. John's anywhere else in this Province? Where is it? Name something that is after taking place. Where is it gone? It is not only St. John's and Mount Pearl the Premier referred to earlier. It is not taking place anywhere else. People are hurting, they are hurting more than they ever hurt before, and I can tell you now that if we don't - and when I say 'we', I mean the administration opposite. We have to put something in place today, not in September, October, and November. We have to put something in place today.

We have another crisis facing us pretty soon. Out my way, in the White Bay area of the district - and I guess other members opposite - the ice is lying right along the coast. It might be a help in the next few days if we keep the southwest wind, that'll go off. But still, fishermen can't get out. Their time will soon be up for UI and where are they going then? They are heading for the lines of Social Services, and that is going to cost the government extra money.

You might as well face the facts, something is going to have to be done now, sooner rather than later, now moreso than ever. We used to always hear before, fishermen - all members have this problem in their districts. Fishermen in, I think, mid-May, automatically come off UI and they go fishing, then they go to UI in the fall of the year. But now I am hearing, more than ever, from construction workers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, teachers, loggers, it is coming from everybody: 'What about us?'

I didn't hear much of that before. Only every now and again I used to get it, and I can understand why, because there was work, plenty of work - if not plenty, say, six, eight, ten, twelve months, at least there were fifteen or twenty weeks. A lot of those people are used to working seasonally, twenty, twenty-five or thirty weeks. But now they are coming and asking: 'What about us?'

So we have a problem in the fishery. We can say: Well, that's the feds. The feds have a responsibility there, and rightly so. They should look after it and they should put money in there. But what do we do about everybody else? I know money is tight. I know that. But we have to do something to stimulate the economy. And there are all kinds of things we can do. There are all kinds of things the government can do, to try to stimulate the economy.

The Premier might be interested to note one of the comments made in that plan that was submitted to him the other day concerning payroll tax. Those people went around the Province and gathered some 1,300 or 1,400 submissions. One of the biggest concerns of small business in the Province was the payroll tax. That is right in there.

They even suggested combining it with another tax. Everybody knew cuts had to be made. But making cuts overnight and making everybody hurt so badly - if it were spread out a bit, like you did with the MOG and with the repayment of capital debt to Municipal Affairs. At least it was spread out three years. If you gave that an extra couple of years, another $20 million or $25 million worth of work could be done on the same funding you have allocated. I can guarantee you today, and I can guarantee the Premier, that come next March, you are going to be writing in your estimates that there will be $20 million or $25 million not spent, on the municipal capital works program alone. I venture to bet that's what is going to happen.

I think, if you check your records now, you will find $15 million or $20 million this year that is not spent. This is money that is allocated. I mean, it is not new money you would have to get, but money that municipalities cannot take advantage of because of that repayment - even if it were spread out, put ahead another year or something, to give them a chance to try to take advantage of the construction season. I know you have some in your district, as well, and if they had an extra year, or six months even, they could probably take advantage of a $500,000 contract or a $300,000 contract, do the job this year and create, probably, thirty-five or forty jobs on each one. That is not new money, it is money that's already there, and it will be coming back if we don't do something to help those municipalities.

The minister said the other day that he had some back from municipalities who couldn't take advantage of the capital program, but I submit that he is going to have a lot more over the next week to ten days.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: How much?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Back? Well that is funny. I know of three municipalities that combined comes to $800,000 or $850,000 alone.

AN HON. MEMBER: They have not notified us.

MR. WOODFORD: They have not notified you? Well -

One thing I say, whatever is back, whether it is $500,000 or $5 million, I say to the minister and the Premier that they should reallocate that funding to districts that cannot take advantage of it, and make sure that money is spent, especially in this construction season.

All the Premier has to do is look in the estimates and see what money - there was $42 million spent last year on capital funding through Municipal Affairs, and there was an allocation of $59 million. So there is $15 million or $16 million left over from last year that could have created hundreds of jobs in this Province and put people to work.

Out there today - I tell you, this is only the tip of the iceberg now. Members opposite are hearing it. The Member for St. George's is hearing it out his way. He is hearing it from Stephenville Crossing and other municipalities, as well as from his constituents and from other members. They are hurting, they are in need, and I think it is time for the Province to kick in some funding under those capital projects and make sure that there is something there for municipalities, for people in this Province, to give them at least fifteen or twenty weeks work for this year to try to get over the hump.

I realize my time is up, Mr. Speaker, and I will speak later on to close off the resolution.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I am rising to support the motion. Frankly, I think all members on this side of the House are ready to vote on it pretty well now. We don't need any further discussion, really. We could go ahead with the vote on it. There is nothing in the motion that needs any substantial elaboration.

I just need to take a few minutes to correct some of the misstatements made by the hon. member during his speech. He didn't correctly characterize certain situations, and I think it is necessary to correct that.

He started talking about recognizing the recession. The government, he said, didn't recognize the recession until this latest Throne Speech, didn't recognize it in the first three.

AN HON. MEMBER: 'Ninety-one.

PREMIER WELLS: In 'ninety-one we recognized it. Well, that is not quite correct. Now, it may be the first time it appeared in a Throne Speech, that is true, but don't forget, we recognized it long before that, and I made speeches in numerous places condemning the federal government for failing and refusing to recognize it. We were perhaps the first government in Canada to recognize it and call it for what it was.

I remember going about this country - not just the Province - making speeches about the failure of the federal government, or their fear of using the 'r' word. I remember making the speeches, and that was just about two years ago. It is not that we didn't recognize it. We started to deal with it from the beginning, and it was because we started to deal with it from the beginning that we were able to deal with it more effectively than most other provinces in the country.

In fact, the problems that we have do not arise solely from the recession. They arise from two or three other factors combining at the same time, one of which is the federal government finally coming to grips with its massive debt problem. Here I say again, I do not condemn the federal government. It is important that they do it, and people have heard me say this in the House before. It is important that they get their deficit under control or the whole country is going to be bankrupt, and that is not going to serve Newfoundland well.

So, quite apart from our concern as Canadian citizens, we have to be concerned about the ability of the federal government to address regional economic disparity in the future, and provide for equalization and other transfers. They have recognized this problem, and they started to cut back.

I have made speeches on a number of occasions, both outside and inside this House, drawing members' attention to the fact that federal transfers have, in fact, been cut, not just reduction in the growth, but reduction in actual dollars paid for operating expenses.

I draw members' attention to the Budget for 1992, tabled in this House, and to Exhibit 3 in the back of the Budget. The current revenues - and if members will look they will see that in 1989-1990, the federal government provided $1,359,626,000 by way of transfers for current expenditures to this Province. In 1990-1991, not only did they reduce the growth, not only did this not simply grow by a reduced amount, it didn't grow at all. It shrank by $40 million and was reduced to $1,318,997 - $40 million less than in 1989-1990. Now, Mr. Speaker, look again at 1991-1992, not only did it not grow, it was still less than it was in 1989-1990, it was $1,328,496. Now, Mr. Speaker, the 1990-1991 is not just our revised estimates, they were the audited figures, so there was a $40 million reduction in actual amount transferred on audited figures. Our revision for last year indicates that it will still be less than it was in 1989-1990. We hope it will increase this year. We have budgeted for an increase. We don't know yet, it may turn out to be less if they cut it back some more. Now, that is a factor, Mr. Speaker. I don't have the figures in front of me right now, but my recollection is that the total of the reductions - the hon. the Member for Menihek is looking for it and he will find it on Exhibit 3 in the back of the Budget Speech. You will find the operating expenditures, the capital revenues, and the total current and capital. If you look at the current expenditures you will find that on operating expenditures in those two years we were paid less than the previous years. You will find this on Page lX in the back of the book if you want to look at the figures.

Mr. Speaker, not only did we have to cope with that, which, if my memory serves me correctly - and here I caution hon. members, I am going from memory - resulted in an actual loss of about $500 million from what it would otherwise have been, from the rate of growth that was enjoyed in expenditures by the former government when they were there. Because of changes totally beyond our control, there was a reduction in that period of time of some $500 million. Now, I can tell hon. members that we could have done a lot with $500 million in terms of all the items that the hon. member mentioned, but where are we going to get the money? He has admitted our taxes are too high and I agree with him. Our taxes are too high. We want to reduce the taxes but we can't do it irresponsibly. We have to keep this Province solvent. We have tried to correct some of the unfairness that was in it over the screams, urgings, and against the urgings of the hon. members opposite. We corrected the unfairness of the school tax. They fought and struggled to try to keep that burden imposed on our people, but we resisted.

AN HON. MEMBER: They want it back.

PREMIER WELLS: They want it back. We have provided for fair and equal payment to all schools, the rural schools. We have demonstrated our commitment to rural Newfoundland. (Inaudible) they want us to protect urban Newfoundland.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, all of those problems had to be addressed in that time. We had to address, as well, the incredible debt situation of this Province, the God-awful mess that the former government left in terms of pension liability. We had to address the God-awful mess they left in terms of workers' compensation and caused it to be hidden by failing to disclose the unfunded liability. Mr. Speaker, we have had to deal with these problems. We have to put this Province back on the straight and narrow, and we are in the process of doing just that.

That, Mr. Speaker, then, was coupled with the impact of the reduction in the fishery resources that cost us probably somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 jobs in this Province during the last three or four years. Nothing that we had to do caused it. They were management decisions by the federal government, some of them mismanagement, some of them decisions too late, some of them good decisions but taken two, three, four or five years too late. All of these things had to be dealt with, Mr. Speaker. In the meantime, we have got to try and do our best to provide economic opportunity for our people, to find jobs. Contrary to what the hon. the Leader of the Opposition said today - and they just fabricate things, they pull them out of thin air. The Member for Humber East does the same thing. Many members opposite, with some exceptions, do the same thing.

Let me quote from a speech delivered to the Federation of Municipalities in October, 1989. It acknowledges that all Canadians are equal wherever they live in this country. It is a misfortune for Newfoundland that perhaps we don't have 5 million people spread around all the area that we have earning revenue and carrying on economic activity and having a burgeoning economy. But the simple fact is, we don't. Our people are spread around maintaining the sovereignty of this land for Canada. Don't forget that. The small communities of Pincent's Arm and Norman Bay on the Coast of Labrador, the community of Fogo on the Island, the community of Lawn on the Burin Peninsula, those small communities, without the public services that Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, St. John's and Corner Brook take for granted, are there carrying on economic activity, catching fish, cutting wood to harvest for our pulp mills or mining or whatever else, contributing to the economic well-being of Canada. If they weren't there, Canada would not be proclaiming to the world its sovereignty. Canada would have no basis for proclaiming that the fish in 200 miles of ocean around our shores is ours. It is because the people of Newfoundland are there and they fish as Canadians.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that is totally contrary to what the Leader of the Opposition said, and demonstrates clearly that they will say anything to promote their political ends. Reality and the real interests of the people of this Province, the good of the people of this Province, doesn't mean anything to them. It is of no consequence as long as they can try and find some means, they hope, of embarrassing the government or painting the government in a bad light without regard to what the real truth is.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we promoted advancing capital spending that would otherwise be spent and we are doing some of it ourselves in highways and municipal works. The federal government failed to participate with us.

MR. TOBIN: What a lie!

AN HON. MEMBER: Now, that is parliamentary language!

MR. SPEAKER: I ask the hon. member to withdraw the remark I just heard.

MR. TOBIN: I apologize. I withdraw it.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Anyway, Mr. Speaker, let's look at the unemployment statistics. It so happened they came out just in the last little while. Mr. Speaker, they are terrible! We shouldn't have unemployment figures like that. But, Mr. Speaker, this government is honest enough to acknowledge that we cannot shield the people of this Province from the consequences of unemployment that no other government in Canada can shield its people from, nor can the Government of Canada.

If you look at the labour force flash sheet, the most recent one, our numbers are unacceptably high. They are 19 per cent in April. This says they went down from 20.3 per cent in March. These are samples, and I don't rely on that. I don't think that there was any major improvement in that month, but perhaps it wasn't as bad as 20.3 per cent in March anyway. I don't know what the figures are. I just remind hon. members that you can't look at any single month and come to absolute conclusions. So I don't do great handstands and say, `Oh, great, we improved it by 1.3 per cent.' On paper it shows but I don't think that, in fact, occurred. So I ask people to look at it on a broader basis and look at the situation, say, over the last year. According to this, if it is right, Newfoundland is the only province in Canada having a lower unemployment rate in April 1992 than we had in April 1991. The only province in Canada in that situation. Now, Mr. Speaker, that is nothing to do handstands about because our labour force has also reduced in numbers. The people looking for work have been reduced. But those are the figures. When members speak about the issue, don't think that Newfoundland exists in isolation from the other nine provinces and two territories of this country. We are part of this country and affected by it as all other parts are.

In Canada the unemployment rate in April 1992 was 11 per cent. There were only three provinces in Canada on the adjusted figures that weren't double digit. Great Ontario with double digit unemployment numbers - unheard of - because of the impact of the recession. But who in their right mind would believe that the economically weak and financially weak government of Newfoundland can shield this Province and its economy from the effects of a national and world wide economic recession, when Ontario can't do it, and BC can't do it? Nova Scotia and New Brunswick can't do it. Quebec can't do it. Who would be so dishonest as to suggest to the people of this Province that the government here can somehow by some sort of magic do it, that if it isn't achieved that it is somehow a failure of the government. That is why I am so pleased to endorse immediately and prepared to vote on right away the hon. member's resolution. We must do all within our power to deal with this very difficult and unacceptable situation. But the limitation is - within our power. We cannot guarantee an absolute correction. The difference is, Mr. Speaker, we have the political honesty to tell the people what the situation is.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me just wind up by saying you deal with these problems on a longer term basis and also on a short-term. You meet the short-term needs. You have to have special responses to try and deal with short-term situations. In that respect I agree with the hon. member, but you still must do it within the limits of your financial capability. We can't bankrupt the Province or put it in an unacceptable financial situation, and in the process of trying to save it, destroy it. We can't do that. We have to find the right balance. But the real objective has to be to solve the problem on a longer term basis so that we won't be caught in this way in the future. Yes, we will be affected ten, twenty, or thirty years from now by a recession, as inevitably one will come at that time. Yes, we will be affected in a manner similar to which we are affected today, but hopefully not to that extent, because we will have worked toward rebuilding the economy in the meantime. That is why we are bringing out the Strategic Economic Plan, the objective of it to be to provide for long-term balanced economic development throughout the Province. That is the objective of the government, Mr. Speaker. I have spelled it out numerous times. To ensure that we provide an acceptable level of economic activity in all regions of the Province. We say to the people of this Province, no government can commit to you that they will provide economic opportunity in every single one of 700 or 800 communities in this Province. It is just not possible to do it. But let's try and make sure that we provide it. Let's just try to make sure that we provide it within reasonable distance of every community in the Province so that people can continue to live in those communities if that is what they want to do. Let's not try to pressure or induce people to leave the communities that they grew up in and that they enjoy, if that is what they want to do. We have an obligation to try and make sure that we have economic opportunities as reasonably available as we can, but we also have an obligation, Mr. Speaker, to be honest, to be politically honest, and to put the interest of the people of the Province ahead of our own narrow-minded political interest.

We have the obligation to work together, to try and find the right solutions, it is difficult enough to run this Province as it is without having, in the process of trying to bring us into the 21st century, without having to drag a screaming, resisting opposition on our backs along with it. It is difficult enough to achieve as it is and for heaven's sake, if you could not solve the problem and you cannot contribute anything to us resolving it, then do not put impediments in our way. Do not try and drag the government down and prevent it from achieving this.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: I know the opposition has to oppose in a proper way, but there is a proper way to do it, and there is a time to put the economic and social interests of the people of this Province ahead of narrow political interest, and such a time is now, and I plead with the opposition. Sure, tear a little bit of hell out of the government, tear a few strips off us every day, that is what you are there for, I understand that, but do not do anything to impede our objective of trying to improve the economic situation in this Province. Join with us and help us and we will give you credit for it and the first credit we will give you is by agreeing to vote now without any further debate on this resolution. We are quite happy to endorse it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have listened to the Premier and to the Member for Humber Valley talk about this resolution and the importance of it to our people, and no one could agree more that it is a resolution that all of us should readily agree to pass right away without debate, if we had the confidence that this government was prepared to take action that would result in a change to the basic way in which we in this Province are forced to have to rely on incidental, come what may, willy-nilly responses that we have now, emergency responses for the fisheries, ACOA funding, political patronage as often as not under the guise of economic development, and the kind of criticisms that we hear in this House by the Liberal Government upon the previous government, by the previous PC Government on the current government about mismanagement.

Mr. Speaker, we do not have a crisis of management, sure some money can be saved by more efficient management. Maybe the government that is in store now is slightly more efficient than the last one, they do not seem to be able to point it very much other than to make much hay about Sprung and while we all agree Sprung was a total failure, an absolute waste of money, it was not Sprung that caused the economic problems that the Province faces right now-

AN HON. MEMBER: What is it?

MR. HARRIS: - $26 million was wasted but that is not a true measure of the economic problems that this Province faces, and I do not have the kind of resources that the government has or the government caucus even has or the opposition caucus has in terms of research, to come parading a bunch of statistics before this House as to what is going on. I accept what the Premier said in Question Period today, that if we double our rate of growth over the next twenty years, we will still be in a position of trying to catch up with the rest of Canada as far as economic development indicators go.

I suspect he may be engaging in a little bit of hyperbole which he tends to do from time to time to exaggerate the position that he is in. What I see, Mr. Speaker, is a failure, though not of management, because I don't think any government is efficient. The nature of government is not to be efficient, and I think that it is proper to be so. There have been certain governments which tried to be efficient, and in fact that is the only thing you hear about them. Everyone has heard it said, even the Member for St. John's South, in praise of Mussolini, that he managed to get the trains to run on time. He ran an efficient government. The same has been said of Hitler. That he ran an efficient government.

That is not what government is all about. Government is not all about necessarily being efficient and doing things in the most efficient way. What governments are about, in my view and the view of my Party, is that it responds to and meets the real needs of people, based on a model of democracy that should be giving people control over their own destiny, over their own lives, whether in a personal capacity by having the very means with which to live, or having control over their community's destiny through being able to exercise control over the economy of their town, their community, their region, and their Province.

What has happened as a result of the approach to economics and economic development that we have seen predominate in Canada, and in this Province, particularly over the last number of years, leads to the very result from which we are suffering. That is, being on the periphery of the economic engine, the manufacturing sector of the country. Being on the edge of the population density that you see in central Canada in larger cities. Economic development is not going to be spread evenly across this country under a capitalist, free enterprise system without control over development, and without democratic decision making throughout this country and indeed throughout this Province.

We do not see the kind of fundamental rethinking, the whole nature of our economy that is called for, that cries out from the bare and cold statistics that we see in the labour force flash sheets that the Premier referred to and which all hon. members have received. What we see is a Canadian unemployment rate, a national unemployment rate, of 11 per cent, and in Newfoundland nearly 22 per cent. Double the national average. You don't need these flash sheets every month to tell you that. I can tell you that if you go back over the last five, ten years you will see you do not even need to do an unemployment rate in Newfoundland most of the time, all you have to do is take the Canadian unemployment rate and multiply by two.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Eleven point five per cent. Perhaps the hon. minister would like to get up and read out the exact figures. Eleven point five per cent for Canada and 21.8 per cent for Newfoundland, approximately double, 11.5 times 2 is 23, 21.8 is almost double, Mr. Speaker, the difference is not worth fighting over. If the minister wants to quibble then he can quibble about that and the Premier can quibble about whether or not the single able-bodied person get $129 or $127, but nevertheless we have a situation in this Province that must be recognized as being totally unacceptable.

As long as members of this House and as long as members of the Government of Canada and the Government of this Province are prepared to be complaisant enough to try and place their faith in an economic system, in the free market system to resolve these problems, the kind of policies that the Premier espouses, free trade, market forces, let the market decide how these things are going to operate, as long as that is the basic tenet of this government's economic approach I have no faith, Mr. Speaker, that government will respond to this resolution. I will vote in favour of it and like fools we will all get up and vote in favour of it and the government will carry on doing exactly what they are doing, ignoring the fact -

AN HON. MEMBER: Doing the best job that can be done.

MR. HARRIS: See what I mean, Mr. Speaker: doing the best job that can be done. Complacency in the face of adversity, complacency in the face of desperation, complacency about the economic circumstances of this Province. Mr. Speaker, if that is their best, the report card that will come in the next time around when they go to the polls, is: your best is not good enough. Until there comes a time when real co-operation, real economic planning, and real co-ordination in terms of decision making about expenditure, about economic development, and allocation of resources takes place, we will continue to suffer as the forgotten edges of an North American economy.

Some of the things the government proposes I can accept. We need to have a strategic economic plan. We need to have co-operation between various sectors of the economy but above and beyond that we need to have, not only in this Province but across this country, an acceptance of the fact that things are not going to change in this Province until, and unless, we have a commitment from the Government of Canada that our own economy must advance to the level of Canadian national standards, not just in health care, which I think we all agree on, not just in education, which I think we all agree on, but we must advance to the Canadian national standards in terms of economic indicators with respect to income per capita, with respect to gross provincial product, with respect to the distribution of economic opportunities, and if that requires a massive capital infusion for the period of time that is required then that should be done. But it should be done on the basis of a plan.

If you look at all of the funds and money that is being spent through various agencies, ACOA is a very good example. All kinds of money is being spent, coming in, dependent upon the vagaries of their application forms, the level of lobbying support that the individuals or corporations might have with the Minister of Fisheries in Ottawa, the Conservative government, the Conservative lobbying efforts. That plays a role, but we do not see the community economic development corporations playing a role. We do not see dependence being placed looking to them for answers for their communities. We do not see them having control, or even a strong measure of say in how these kind of development resources are allocated within their own communities.

There has to be a totally different approach, based first of all upon the recognition, not only the recognition of the needs of this Province, but an indefatigable fight by all members of this House of Assembly and by all Newfoundlanders to insist on the national level that there must be a reorganization of our economy based on a national economic plan that must include, as part of it, a guarantee that areas such as Newfoundland, such as Northern Ontario, Northern Quebec, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and other provinces in areas which suffer from the nature of the economy that we have, are in fact given an opportunity with the resources that this great nation has, to participate fully in the economic prospects and opportunities that this wealthy nation provides to us. When that happens there will be no need for a resolution such as this. We can all support it now, but will it make any difference while the government goes on complacently telling the people that it is doing the best it can? No, it will not make any difference.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: I would like to participate in this debate this evening on the resolution that was introduced into the House of Assembly by my colleague, the Member for Humber Valley. It was a very significant resolution. The 'WHEREAS' I thoroughly agree with, and the 'BE IT RESOLVED' I think says it all. It says: 'BE IT RESOLVED THAT the provincial government take immediate action to help the thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who are finding themselves caught in the worst financial and social crisis to hit them in recent memory.' Now that says it all. BE IT RESOLVED THAT this government do something for the people who are affected by the worst financial and social crisis to hit them in recent memory.

My colleague from Humber Valley pointed out that it has never been so bad before in our history. I, like him, have been around for seventeen years as well, and the reverse, seven years municipally and ten years on the provincial scene. In all of my days I have never seen it so bad.

The Premier got up and made reference today in the Budget to the decreases in the amount of money that is coming from Ottawa. I submit that the Premier, and I do not suggest that he intentionally misled the House, but the Premier of this Province misled the House today, because as the Budget document 1992 clearly points out, revenue from the federal government in the 1992-93 estimates is $1,413,957,000. Last year from the federal government they received $1,328,496,000. That clearly demonstrates that this government received more funding and the President of Treasury Board, the Government House Leader and the Premier can get up in this House and condemn the federal government all they like, Mr. Speaker, but the fact remains that there is more money coming into this Province this year from the federal government than in previous years.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier, in his address and in his few comments, read from a speech that he made to the Federation of Municipalities where he talked about Lawn on the Burin Peninsula and he talked about parts of Labrador. He talked about the contribution that this Province is making to the national perspective, and he is right, Mr. Speaker, we do. The Premier talked about it in terms of the mining industry. I ask the Premier: What mining industry? Which mining industry is the Premier talking about, Mr. Speaker? Since this government came to power every single mine on the Island portion of the Province has been closed. The only mine, Mr. Speaker, that is operating right now is Hope Brook gold mine and that is operating because Mr. Crosbie and the federal government put an additional $6 million into the Hope Brook gold mine. That is in addition to the $14 million that they had already put up. Do you know what this government put up to reopen the Hope Brook gold mine? A clinic. That was their contribution to the Hope Brook gold mine, a clinic. It is the federal government that caused that to be opened and it is the only mine in the Province.

He talked about the fishery, Mr. Speaker, the contribution the fishery is making. Since this government came to power, Mr. Speaker, there has been absolutely nothing done in the fishing industry. He talked, Mr. Speaker, about the cutting of wood. Yesterday we saw the cutting of wood when people had to come in from central Newfoundland and demonstrate, Mr. Speaker.

He talked about the unemployment statistics. The fact of the matter is that there were 7,000 less people working in this Province last month than were working this time last year. Those are the statistics, Mr. Speaker. The caseload in the Department of Social Services was 19,000 when they came to power. Today, Mr. Speaker, that caseload is over 28,000. That is the economic stimulation they are creating for this Province.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to say today that this government has done absolutely nothing for our resources. They haven't done a thing, Mr. Speaker, for our resources. Nothing! Absolutely nothing!

I just said what has happened to the mining industry. The forestry industry, Mr. Speaker: We saw people demonstrating here yesterday. They had to come in from central Newfoundland to demonstrate against the inaction of this government in promoting our forestry, indeed laying off people, Mr. Speaker, who are helping our forestry industry.

Agriculture is basically forgotten about by this government. This minister has basically forgotten about agriculture. I have a community that is involved in agriculture in my own district and I know exactly how they have been forgotten about. I know how Winterland, Mr. Speaker, is very seldom mentioned in terms of an agricultural community in this Province.

Tourism, Mr. Speaker: Support for the tourism industry in this Province is about as scarce as the Minister of Tourism in this House. That is the contribution they are making to tourism.

The shipbuilding industry, Mr. Speaker, in particular in my own district, is dead.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, may I suggest that if the Minister of Transportation and the Member for Carbonear want to have an argument that they go outside and have it.

MR. REID: You won't get $3.5 million (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: We will get $4.5 million.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I would suspect that the Member for Carbonear won't be in a position to decide on who gets what. He will be still over in the backbenches. There may be new Cabinet ministers but they could be brought in off the street and you will be still in the backbenches.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I was talking about the shipbuilding industry in this Province, and there is no shipbuilding industry left. This government has all but closed their yard. The owners of the Marystown Shipyard have all but closed their yard, Mr. Speaker. There are less than seventy unionized people working in the Marystown Shipyard today. They have used Kaeverner, and very successfully, as a diversionary tactic, to take the responsibility and move it some place else. That is what they have done, Mr. Speaker. They have not accepted responsibility. They have caused people to be moved from this Province to the mainland, particularly to New Brunswick, from the Marystown area. There is another group now in Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker, but it is all because this government has not supported and does not believe in supporting the Marystown Shipyard.

I want to mention, Mr. Speaker, the fishing industry in this Province. The most important industry in this Province, Mr. Speaker, I want to touch on today. On how this government has forgotten about it. How this government has not supported the fishing industry. I say that, Mr. Speaker, with all the sincerity I can muster. This Premier has turned his back on rural Newfoundland, and he has turned his back on the fishing industry.

I am extremely concerned about the comments the Premier made last week in this Legislature as it relates to the deep sea fishery. As he talked about the deep sea fishery and the inshore fishery, he says, and I quote: 'That is as it should be, to protect the inshore fishery which must, I believe, be the priority, because the offshore, Canadian and otherwise, is a relatively recent innovation. Now we have to protect that, and if that means putting a moratorium on the directed deep sea fishery for a year, two years, three years, five years, whatever is necessary to rebuild its stocks, then we must do that because we must protect our basic fishery in this Province.'

Now, Mr. Speaker, after what the Premier said last night on that documentary I have every reason not only to be concerned about my constituents in rural Newfoundland, I have reason, Mr. Speaker, to cringe at the thought of what is going to happen if this Premier has his way with the deep sea fishing industry.

Mr. Speaker, that statement has caused me to be extremely concerned. What will happen if the Premier of this Province is successful in having a moratorium placed on the deep sea fishery? Mr. Speaker, I am concerned about what will happen if he is successful. I am concerned about what will happen in Newfoundland.

I see my colleague from Grand Bank, Mr. Speaker. Well I can say to this House that over the last few days the member and I have sat down and basically agonized over what is going to happen to the men and women in our constituency who make a living from the deep sea fishery. What will happen? We saw pictures last night when the Premier was talking about resettlement, of houses, Mr. Speaker, being floated across Placentia Bay back to what happened when the Premier and Mr. Roberts were in government before. But I am concerned, Mr. Speaker, as to what is going to happen to my constituents in particular, and to the constituents who depend on deep sea plants in general.

Mr. Speaker, what will happen to the men and women who depend on the deep sea fishery in Burgeo, in Ramea? What has the Member for Burgeo - Bay D'Espoir said to the Premier as regards the Premier's statement to close down the deep sea fishery for up to five years. Mr. Speaker, the men and women who work in the fish plants in Harbour Breton, I ask what has the member for that area said to the Premier regarding his statement of closing down the deep sea fishery for up to five years? What is going to happen to Fortune?

Grand Bank has just been saved, no thanks to this government, but Grand Bank has been saved thanks to the federal government, to the member for the area, my colleague for Grand Bank, and to Clearwater, Mr. Speaker. That is what has happened to Grand Bank. But we are concerned about Fortune, Mr. Speaker, and the member is extremely concerned about Fortune and has stated it publicly as to what will happen to the men and women who depend on that area.

In my own District of Burin - Placentia West, the Town of Burin has gone through this already once before. If there is no deep sea fishery, there will be no secondary processing, there will be no refit centre because the trawlers will be tied up. The men and women, Mr. Speaker, who depend on that plant, what will happen to them if the Premier gets his way causes me concern.

The Member for Bellevue, Mr. Speaker, what advice has he given to the Premier as it relates to his statement to close down the deep-sea fishery in this Province? Arnold's Cove has depended on the deep-sea fishery and it is time that the members stand and tell the Premier how they feel. We can look today, at the thousand men and women who have been thrown on the unemployment roll for some months now in the Catalina fish plant - in the Port Union fish plant, probably I should say. Where has the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation been? Where has the Member for Trinity North been? They were elected by their constituents, who gave them a vote of confidence to do what was in the best interest for them, and the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation and the Member for Trinity North, whose constituents depend on that fish plant, that deep-sea plant for employment, have not heard one sound from either member with respect to keeping their fish plant open.

The people of these communities that I have just listed have sent all of us here with a vote of confidence to do what is right, to stand up and defend their interests, and when the Premier of this Province calls for a moratorium for one to five years on the deep-sea fishery, it is going to affect rural Newfoundland, Mr. Speaker, it is going to affect the men and women who work in the deep-sea fishing industry.

What plans do they have for the people of Marystown, Burin, Fortune and Burgeo, Ramea and Harbour Breton, Catalina and Arnold's Cove? What plans do this government have for these people in view of the Premier's attitude towards the deep-sea fishery? What plans do they have and what will they put in place to assist the people?

I suspect and I regret, Mr. Speaker, if it happens, but I am very suspicious that the Premier is trying to downsize this Province and if he gets his way in closing down the deep-sea fishery, men and women from all over Newfoundland will have to face the stark reality of boarding up their homes, of nailing up their windows, of turning off their lights and saying goodbye to their homes, saying goodbye to the communities where they were born and raised, saying goodbye to the work and the pride that they have put into the developing what is theirs, their homes. This Premier has not, I suspect, publicly, I don't know whether or not privately - that any of these members who represent communities affected by the deep-sea fishery, have gone to the Premier and said: Mr. Premier, I disagree with you, it is wrong. You, Sir, should not be out promoting the shutdown of the deep-sea fishery in this Province for one to five years; you, Mr. Premier, are basically attacking the men and women who sent me to this Legislature to represent them; you, Mr. Premier, have a responsibility to ensure that they have a right to work in their own Province; you, Mr. Premier, have no business getting up publicly and saying that this is how it should be, because the offshore Canadian and otherwise is a relatively recent innovation. That is not true, Mr. Speaker. For hundred of years, the fishermen from the Burin Peninsula have tolled the Grand Banks. Whether it be in deep-sea trawlers or in banking schooners, they were there, and this Premier has no right to stand up and deny them their right to continue to be there.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) deep-sea trawlers but that (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, we have been at it longer than that. There were deep-sea trawlers in Burin in the 1940s. Mr. Speaker, I am concerned, I am nervous, I am frightened and I am very upset, and, as I said, my colleague from Grand Bank and I have agonized, spent hours, Mr. Speaker, in the past week, frightened, to see what could happen to our constituents if the doors are nailed in Marystown, Burin and Fortune.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not one of them got up.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, not one member, including the Member for St. John's South, who has the NatSea plant has stood in this Legislature and said: Mr. Premier, it is not an innovation, it has been around for decades, and our men and women in the fish plants and on the trawlers have a right to continue to fish and work. Not one member has stood and defended the inshore fishery and their constituents against the attack on their livelihood by the Premier of this Province.

MR. MURPHY: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order, please!

The hon. the Member for St. John's South, on a point of order.

MR. MURPHY: Mr. Speaker, at some later date I will bring Hansard to the House to prove the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West is totally incorrect.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: He gets up without any reservation and tells stories that are not fact, Mr. Speaker, not fact.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order, please!

I ask the hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to withdraw that remark.

MR. GRIMES: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker. Certainly, if I said anything that was out of line, I withdraw. But, certainly, I find it difficult under the rules of this House when you are convinced that someone is telling something other than what is true, what else can you say about them?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: I withdraw, Mr. Speaker.

MR. TOBIN: Withdraw! Withdraw! (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order, please!

The Chair would like to rule on a point of order raised by the hon. the Member for St. John's South. Certainly, there was no point of order. It was a point of clarification, if anything. But I ask the hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to withdraw his remark without qualification.

MR. GRIMES: I withdraw.

MR. HARRIS: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible), Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East, on a point of order.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, when speaking in the House a moment ago, was not speaking in his place in the House. Now, I understand that when he made the unparliamentary remark he was not sitting in his place either. But when he spoke to make his half-hearted withdrawal, and then later make his proper withdrawal, he was recognised by the Chair standing in some other hon. member's place and speaking. I wonder if the Chair could rule whether or not speaking in such a manner is out of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Hon. members are all aware, of course, that an hon. member cannot speak in the House, except from his seat. He made the comment that the Chair considered unparliamentary from that position and the Chair had asked him to withdraw. But it certainly is not acceptable to speak from another's seat.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, thank you very much. I want to say to the Member for St. John's South that yes, I have heard him speak in the House defending them, but he has always been attacking the federal government. The point I was making is that they have not stood in this Legislature - probably he will - and taken on the Premier for asking to close down, the moratorium, for one to five years. Now he is going to speak later this afternoon and I hope that he will muster the courage to do it.

As it relates to the Minister of Employment, there is nobody concerned about his arrogance towards the deep-sea fishery in this Province. He does not know it, he does not understand it, it means nothing to him. He has just demonstrated. But I want to say that it does concern me -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, thank you very much. In conclusion, just let me say simply, I beg, I sincerely beg, all hon. members in this Legislature to plead with the Premier to change his mind and not place the moratorium on the deep-sea fishery.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to rise today and speak in this debate. I was sitting here just taking in what was happening and what the Opposition had proposed today. A number of things came to mind and forced me to get up today and to make known what the record is and what the ideas are that are coming from the members opposite.

I can't help but notice the glaring absence on the hon. member's resolution, of: "BE IT RESOLVED that the Provincial Government take immediate action to help the thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who are finding themselves caught in the worst financial and social crisis to hit them in recent memory."

Now, as the Premier of this Province got up and said earlier today, and as other members on this side of the House got up and said today, we have no problem accepting our responsibility in this Province, and we said we'd stood up every day. And we call the question now, if you want to get up and tell us that we are doing our job, we accept our responsibility. But the kind of hypocrisy that is coming across from that side of the House, where is the federal government? Why are they keeping John Crosbie in the closet? Why are they hiding the Tories behind the curtains? Why are they singing that song down here in Newfoundland and Labrador?

I couldn't help saying, when the Member for Burin - Placentia West said he was agonizing with his colleague, the Member for Grand Bank, on where the thousands of Newfoundlanders will go, particularly with the deep-sea fishery, Mr. Speaker, 'Where will they go? Well, I can say, I would like to end your agony.


MR. DUMARESQUE: Go up to your hon. colleague, the hon. John Crosbie and say to him: What are you going to do with the 47,298 metric tons of fish that are directly adjacent to our shores that he is giving to Nova Scotia companies -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DUMARESQUE: - and closing down Newfoundland and Labrador plants, Mr. Speaker. That is the kind of hypocrisy I am talking about.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should not be prepared to -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! The Chair hasn't recognized the hon. member yet.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: A point of order, Mr. Speaker. The hon. member is totally misquoting what I said. That is not allowed in this legislature. What I said - Mr. Speaker, his Premier should be concerned about adjacency. What I said in this -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I was blatantly -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Can I speak on a point of order? I said it was this Premier that called for a moratorium for up to five years, not Mr. Crosbie, and you should do something about it. That is what I said, Mr. Speaker. He misquoted me. I will read again what I said. The Premier said that because the offshore, Canadian and otherwise, is a relatively recent innovation we have to protect that, and if that means put a moratorium on the direct deep-sea cod fishery for a year, two years, three years, or five years, whatever is necessary to rebuild the stocks, then we must do it. Mr. Speaker, that is not Mr. Crosbie. That is what I said.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) Mr. Crosbie.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order. The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Mr. Speaker, obviously there is no point of order. What we have here again, Mr. Speaker, is the Opposition who are agonizing because once again they have been told the truth for a change about what is happening in this Province, and they have been exposed again today for what they have been practising since 1984, that is, to be down here singing the song, being the front for the federal Tories, Mr. Speaker, down here because they know they have an abysmal record. As I said, Where are the ideas? Where are the ideas that are coming forward from that member opposite, Mr. Speaker, when we have National Sea Products of this country, when we have Seafreez of this country. National Sea said they are going to close down and make Arnold's Cove a seasonal operation. You know, the same time they are saying to us that they are going to take Arnold's Cove and make it a seasonal operation, and Seafreez is taking it from Burgeo, that is 10,000 tons, 20 million pounds of red fish from 2J, 3Kl in the northern waters of our shores right back to Nova Scotia and into the United States and all these jobs in Nova Scotia! And you are standing up and asking: 'What can we do?' I can tell you that is what you can do!

AN HON. MEMBER: That's what you can do. That's what you can do!

MR. DUMARESQUE: That's what you can do.

AN HON. MEMBER: Come clean!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: It is about time that the Opposition over there stood up for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is about time they got up there behind the back of John Crosbie and started pushing him to stand up for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. One hundred million pounds, Mr. Speaker, one hundred million pounds of Newfoundland and Labrador fish is being taken out of our waters every day. Five thousand jobs are being taken from this Province, Mr. Speaker, by a federal minister who is making the allocations on a political basis, not on a fisheries management basis to the Seafreez's of the world, to the mercies of Sea Foods of the world, to the Clearwater's of the world, the MV Osprey of the world. Mr. Speaker, they are what's happening in this Province today. I can only appreciate how much they are agonizing, of course, Mr. Speaker. What agony it must be to see this Province in the financial shape it is in, to take the leadership it is taking, to put the money it is putting into the fishery, when it was known two years ago where we had the fishery problems with the deep-sea plants, Mr. Speaker, when we had the problems with the Southside, and the hon Member for St. John's South was standing up and asking Mr. Crosbie to put some money where his mouth was. He was there on the front line.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible), that is where the money came from.

MR. DUMARESQUE: He was there on the front line, Mr. Speaker, and where did the money come from? Where was the initiative? Where was the conscience? Where was the responsibility? It was with us, $15 million of our money.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader on a point of order.

MR. MATTHEWS: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. member cannot be allowed to go on as he is going. He must tell the truth in this House, Mr. Speaker. We all know what happened to the Southside NatSea plant and who agreed to close it down, and who would not help it until after the Grand Bank people came in the gallery. The other thing the member should point out, Mr. Speaker, is that the Member for St. John's South was in the air on his way from St. John's to Halifax while the President of NatSea was announcing -

AN HON. MEMBER: Plans had changed.

MR. MATTHEWS: Plans had changed. How can anyone take credit for that?


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to take his seat.

There is no point of order, just a difference of opinion between two hon. members.

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: I guess the message will go out loud and clear again today that as the heat gets on the hon. members, as their blue tartan gets tarnished, as their political flag gets scorched, Mr. Speaker, they stand up and try to defend the indefensible. That is what is happening here today and this is what we see from those hon. members. They talk about where we are going to put our responsibilities and they talk about the fishery. Two years ago when they said the fishery was going to be in the crisis it is in today they looked to the people in this Province with leadership roles for exactly what the ideas were and what the commitments would be. They appointed the Stein Task Force on which our deputy minister served as a member from this Province. That task force did tremendous work. It did tremendous research. It put together a comprehensive package of income support and fishery support, and this government was prepared to put $100 million of scarce resources into that kind of package, Mr. Speaker. If that is not commitment I do not know what is, when we are dealing with a resource that is under total federal jurisdiction.

When it was the potato farmers in PEI or the wheat farmers in the West, Mr. Speaker, they were not told you have to put up 50 per cent, they were not told you have to put up 30 per cent, they were given 100 per cent by the federal government. I can understand how it must be agonizing over there to know you are going to have to go into the next election and have to carry that torch of Mr. Crosbie's and stand side by side with him and say: I was proud to be there with you Mr. Crosbie when you dealt blow after blow to the Newfoundland and Labrador economy, when you refused to have Seafreeze give the people of Burgeo their rightful allocation of fish.

Now they are playing politics again with the people on the south coast when they are talking about opening up Trepassey - underutilized species, Mr. Speaker, when we have 50 million pounds of underutilized species passing directly across our door every other month going to Nova Scotia. That is where the jobs are and it is not to be lost on the record that the person who is doing that, that the person who is crossing those t's and dotting those i's is none other than the great Newfoundlander himself, the hon. John Crosbie who these hon. gentlemen are over there propping up every day in every which way possible. Mr. Speaker, that record has got to be made clear.

When it came to responding again to areas of the unemployed in this Province last year. Last year there was a fisheries response program and many people in this Province said quite legitimately that there are more people than the fisherpersons in this Province without work. They said there were people around who would not quality for these projects and they said they must be helped. Did this government say no we are not going to help them because we do not have the jurisdiction? Did we say no we are not going to give them one cent of money even though we are virtually bankrupt by the situation the hon. members left us in? No, we put $15 million, again of scarce resources, into employment projects to be able to assist people who were outside the fishery, people that could not get employment from the service industry or from any other part of the economy that they ordinarily would have expected. We saw some very meaningful recreation projects done. We saw some very meaningful environmental things done to clean up our environment, and that was done with scarce, very scarce, provincial dollars.

But it seems that the hon. crowd opposite are convinced. They are on a premeditated course to see that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador have to pay through the nose, have to go bankrupt trying to service an area of complete federal jurisdiction, and that is the thousands of people involved in the fishing industry. I cannot believe it. The more and more I see of it I am shocked that the responsible members of this House would stand up here and say that is the way it has to be done. That is the most blatant example that I have ever seen of an opposition that is doing nothing more than playing politics. They are not paying any attention to the affairs of the day and acting responsibly to try to help this government to be able to meet the financial needs of the Province without driving the people into bankruptcy.

AN HON. MEMBER: Are they with us on joint management?

MR. DUMARESQUE: When it comes to joint management of the fishery, where are they? Where are they on joint management of the fishery?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) for a couple of days, remember?

MR. DUMARESQUE: They had to make a call, and he was not in. He was probably in Mexico or Paraguay, or over in Cuba, down with the big Cuban cigars. He was probably down having a dialogue with Fidel, so they could not get him. They were about three days before they could make up their mind. Are we for joint management or not? No, well we will have to check.

After a series of phone calls and faxes that were delivered to the hon. members opposite, they finally came out and said weakly: well we are not in agreement with this particular policy, and I hope there is no microphone around because if it is John is going to hear it and the wrath is going to come down on us again, as he did in the previous twelve months when they made some complaints about some other federal programs.

I know that it is not easy living over there with the wrath of John Crosbie. I have had to live with a little bit of that myself, but never to be brought down to the point where I would be humiliating myself; never brought down to the point where I would be selling out exactly for the reason why I am here; never to be brought down to the point where I would be blatantly, parochially, following a party line to see that my political buddies were propped up at the behest, at the hurt, at the detriment of the people who are out there now, the fish plant workers and the fishermen! There are thousands of people in this Province who need that help from the federal treasury that they are obligated by the constitution of this country to deliver to them!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Never will I have to go back and say that I served my time in here trying to prop up another political buddy, forsaking the people I was sent here to represent. That is what I guess would rile me most today, to see this kind of a display in this hon. House.

If you want to come in here and tell us that we are not doing our job, fair game. Our leader today and our Premier today stood up and said: we accept that. We accept constructive criticism. We accept the fact that we do not do everything right. We accept the fact that you have different ideas. We accept the fact that if you were over here you would do things differently. We have been responsible in accepting that criticism and saying, yes, we are willing to endorse that we are not getting the action. We are not getting the kind of impact on the economy that we would like. We are willing to do that.

Our Premier stood up today and was willing to pass this resolution 'tout de suite', no problem. Give us our constructive criticism, and we duly take note of that particular concern. But what was so blatantly absent from the resolution today was a total avoidance of the public treasury in Ottawa that can assist us. Are we forgetting that Ottawa is delivering 44 or 45 per cent of the revenue for this Province to operate under? Are we forgetting that the people of this Province depend upon that? Why would you just ignore that half of our Budget, the other partner in all of this? Why would you ignore, not even giving them a flick on the wrist, not an honourable mention? Not one iota of constructive criticism, let alone the damning criticism that they deserve - not even a request for assistance. The fishery crisis is on us now. Where is the call from the Leader of the Opposition? I was up in Ottawa when the Leader of the Opposition and the Government House Leader met with the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Forestry on April 2. I was there and listened to them for forty-five minutes and throughout the 375 odd words in his presentation, and throughout the other hour and a half of the words that the two hon. members had to say to that committee, not one mention was made of income support for fishermen and asking the federal government to open up the treasury, to fulfil their rightful constitutional obligation, and help out the fishermen of this Province. Not one word.

AN HON. MEMBER: Shame, shame!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Those are the facts. So I find it very hard to sit here and take this kind of blatant political grandstanding on the part of the members opposite. I think that it is going to come back to haunt them. I think as they go about the next campaign in two months or so or six months, whenever our leader gives us the direction to go out there, Mr. Speaker, I think it is going to come back to haunt them.

Because I look forward to campaigning in Labrador and having the hon. John Crosbie stand side by side with the Members for Menihek and Torngat Mountains and say: I am glad I extended the unemployment insurance benefits for you this year, I am glad that I delivered on the northern cod access for Labrador, I am glad that I changed the Saltfish Corporation for you, the people of Labrador, I am glad, he says, that I have really been sensitive to the people of Labrador.

I am looking forward to campaigning in the next election and having them account for how they have propped up Mr. Crosbie and their Tory buddies for the sake of that cheap political partisan grandstanding. I believe the people of this Province, as they have said poll after poll, open line show after open line show, letter after letter, call after call, the people of this Province, from Newfoundland and Labrador, from one end to the other, have recognised that when they elected this government in 1989 they elected a government of real change. They elected a government that was committed to fiscal responsibility, and social and economic equality for all of our citizens.

They realise now, through all of those means of trying to ascertain public opinion, that we have lived up to their expectations. We have done it in spades, given the financial situation that we have had handed to us by our friends in Ottawa. I am confident that as we go to the next election campaign, as we go out there and say to the people: give us four more years to try and do what has to be done, they will look to us and say: yes, you have handled yourselves in a very constructive, credible fashion. You have been responsible in managing our fiscal policy. You have not driven us out of the door through the taxation policies of the previous government. They will say: yes, thanks for a job well done, and keep it going.

I am sure that all hon. members will find that feeling as we campaign the next time around. I would hope, while they have a few months left over there, that they will change their course. That they will change this course so that they can go out of this hon. House and hold their heads high and say: I came here and I delivered on the basic undertaking that you do make to your constituents when you get elected. That is, that you will come here and work hard, honestly, diligently and constructively to see that their problems are dealt with in that manner and fashion.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Mr. Speaker, thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is too bad that the hon. Member for Eagle River did not stay in the House and listen to the Premier speak when he spoke on this resolution. Because undoubtedly -

MR. DUMARESQUE: I was here.

MR. A. SNOW: Oh! He undoubtedly could not have heard what the Premier talked about. How the Premier suggested that he is aware of the fiscal restraint that is placed on the federal government and the dilemma that this federal government has. What the Premier said was the dilemma that this federal government has with its debt problem, Mr. Speaker.

He continued to outline what he perceived the problem was and how he felt we should be debating this, and he was ready to accept the resolution as it was put forward, and spoke in favour of it, that it was not even necessary to have any debate. And then we find the hon. the Member for Eagle River standing in his place, and I guess it is because he didn't hear the Premier speaking, that is why he proposed rather than speak to the resolution to offer solutions, he proposed to attack another level of government, who, by the way, I believe, doesn't go without blame for the economic woes this Province is facing today.

They are as much to blame, I suspect, as this group. They have a larger problem in the sense of a larger government, a larger deficit than this government has but, Mr. Speaker, it still does not absolve them of any responsibility, and the people on the other side of the House - this government feels that they are absolved of any responsibility for what has occurred. When my hon. friend for - where is Rick from?

MR. WINSOR: Humber Valley.

MR. A. SNOW: When my hon. friend from Humber Valley introduced the resolution, he did it with the idea of attempting to be constructive, to offer to this government solutions that could help the people of this Province get rid of this age of despair that has come upon them over the last several months, and to try and paint the responsibility of what this government has to the people of this Province, which they don't recognize.

The people on the government side of this House do not recognize the responsibility that they have to the people of this Province. They don't know that a government's key responsibility is to promote the kind of economic growth that our society and our people need, to foster a healthier economy and to be able to supply services to our people, and that means, Mr. Speaker, having fewer taxes, less borrowing than what we presently have in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: Less borrowing?

MR. A. SNOW: Yes, less.

AN HON. MEMBER: But your buddies are saying more.

MR. A. SNOW: What you have to do is provide an infrastructure to provide more economic activity. You have a bookkeeping mentality of operating a government and that is where you are making a mistake, you are making the mistake of simple bookkeeping mentality. When you lay off a policeman or you lay off a nurse at the Janeway, you don't just necessarily save $40,000 worth of 'so-called expenditures, that is very simple to look at, that you have saved $80,000 for the sake of two earners making $40,000 each.

Those two people, apart from providing the extremely important public service that they do provide in our social network, if you will, in our community, they also provide a very important factor in our economy. They do not take that money and spend it down in New York, that money goes around in the economy here in St. John's or in Labrador City or in Port aux Basques, wherever it happens to be, but yet the hon. the President of the Treasury Board suggests that everybody knows that and yet, when this government laid off 2,500 to 3,000 people in 1981, they said -

MR. WINSOR: 1991.

MR. A. SNOW: - or in 1991, he didn't know it then but he knows now, because he knows he made a mistake, that is why, he knows he made a mistake. Economists are saying the same thing today. The economist from Memorial University suggested it back then, our leader suggested then that it was wrong. I suggested it was wrong, the hon. Member for St. John's East suggested it was wrong.

AN HON. MEMBER: Funny money (inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Well, you may think it is funny -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: - but, Mr. Speaker,

MR. WINSOR: The President of Treasury Board is becoming sensitive.

MR. A. SNOW: - when the President of Treasury Board says he understands how the economy works and he understands that nurses and policemen who are laid off cannot spend as much money when they are laid off. Now he understands it, but he didn't last year, when he laid off 2,500 of them. You did not understand it then but now you understand it so you should correct it, because there is a responsibility for government to not only provide services but to provide an economic framework so the economy can flourish and develop.

You also don't do it by increasing taxes, which has been the hallmark of this government: cut services, and increase taxes. The Premier talked today about how they had a tremendous reform and he talked about the school tax.

Mr. Speaker, in my area, the average person working in the mines in Labrador City is going to be paying $300 more in school tax - $300 more! For years, when I was on a town council, I argued without my council and suggested to my council that we should be doing things in our town to encourage senior citizens to stay in Labrador City. One of the things I always felt proud of was the fact that I was able to convince council - I was the one who proposed the idea that we would give a 90 per cent property tax rebate to senior citizens who stayed and lived in Labrador City.

It wasn't just to help them financially, now. I have to admit that I brought it in because I felt that the senior citizens added a lot to a community, not just the financial contribution that they make. Because of the age of our community, we didn't have any older people, and I think that in order to have a well-rounded community, we should encourage those people to stay in our community, because they can provide a lot of the thing called experience, Mr. Speaker, knowledge.

Our council adopted that. They would get a 90 per cent tax rebate, and people did stay. More people are staying to retire in Labrador City. This government would not believe in that philosophy. What did they do? They come in and say we are going to tax senior citizens in Labrador City. You are going to put on a school tax. They are going to have to pay $200 in taxes now, school taxes, after contributing so much over the last fifty or sixty years of working.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we know that you can't increase the wealth by increasing taxes. You might increase for a short period of time. You may increase some revenues to the government for a short period, but you stifle the economy. When you put 2.5 per cent income tax on the end of it you stifle the economy. That is exactly why this government argued against a Northern tax benefits package when the federal government proposed it back in 1989. That is why, because they wanted that money from the people in Labrador. They didn't want to allow the Labrador economy to have more of what is commonly referred to as discretionary spending, Mr. Speaker.

There is a way, if you cut taxes, you can improve the framework, the infrastructure, to allow more economic growth because it can stimulate the economy. The hon. Minister responsible for Treasury Board should know. I am surprised that he is agreeing with the Minister responsible for Mines and Energy that all you should be doing is taxing people, taxing people. You have to give the people and businesses the opportunity to be able to invest so you can create more wealth, more opportunities for employment, not stifle the opportunity for development.

Mr. Speaker, they should be proposing legislation in this House that could give the opportunity for people such as what is going with the Lundrigan group of companies today so that those employees can have the opportunity of getting into what is known as employee ownership. That is what they should be doing, Mr. Speaker. That is the type of thing this government should be doing. They shouldn't just be increasing corporate taxes, they shouldn't be just increasing school taxes, they shouldn't be increasing personal income taxes. You increased it, Mr. Speaker. The average miner in Labrador City is paying $300 more per year and that is an increase.

Mr. Speaker, the other thing that a government should do, both levels of government, all the levels of government: municipal, provincial and the federal, they should increase capital works. They don't do it with smoke and mirrors the way this government did it this year saying there is going to be $59 million worth of work in municipal capital works this year. You don't do it like that and then wait until April or May before they can call tenders. There is only $20 million approved out of the $60 million that is going to be spent.

AN HON. MEMBER: Two tenders called.

MR. A. SNOW: Two tenders. Can you imagine? Two tenders out of $60 million. Can you imagine how many jobs that is? But it is all smoke and mirrors, and that is what this government is all about, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. the Member for Eagle River gets up and castigates the federal government about their lack of responsibility in accepting what they should be doing in the fishing industry. What he fails to say - now, I do not have a lot of knowledge. I haven't worked in the fishing industry. I live in a community that is a mining community in Western Labrador, in the interior of Labrador. We don't have much of a fishing industry in there. It's inland, and we don't have any fish plants. But I have a lot of constituents who are from rural Newfoundland and have their families employed in the fishing industry, and a lot of my colleagues on this side of the House are in the fishing industry.

I am always amazed, and I continue to learn, how everybody on that side of the House blames the federal government. It is all their responsibility. Yet, when you come down to who has a responsibility for the processing, I am told that it is a provincial government responsibility on how that processing is to be done. Every time we ever hear of anything that is wrong with the fishery, everybody says it is the federal government's fault. How many jobs could we have in this Province if there was some program available to encourage more marketing, more research into further processing -


MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, we will always be the drawers of water and the hewers of wood. We will always be shipping out raw ore, raw timber and cod block, with the mentality that these people have, of not encouraging more methods -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Yes. And they reaped the harvest from the seeds that they sowed and they got thrown out of office. And you people will get thrown out of office, too, because you are doing absolutely nothing except trying to manage like a bunch of bookkeepers, that is exactly what you are doing.

MR. WINSOR: Mismanage!

MR. A. SNOW: Well, no, they are managing -

AN HON. MEMBER: Get it right, then!

MR. A. SNOW: No, they are managing like a bunch of simple bookkeepers who are just keeping track of the pennies coming in and the pennies going out. There is absolutely nothing there to create more wealth.

Now, Mr. Speaker, they could do things to promote more employment. The more value added products in the fishing industry: What has this government done to do that? - to improve the employment levels in adding more...ingredients, if you will, more value added to the product of fish? Rather than cod block. Nothing. I hear people talking about in the fishing industry the process that we are talking about today, about attempting to improve the employment levels and harvest more seals. What is this government doing about attempting to create more employment out of the harvesting of seals?

The research to have - this product here, I understand, comes from a seal, the covering.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) caribou (Inaudible) Labrador?

MR. A. SNOW: Yes, I will get to that. Mr. Speaker, what do we do? All the tanning, all the marketing of all that stuff, where is it done? In Toronto, Bay Street or Young Street. It is not on Water Street in Harbour Grace, or Water Street in St. John's, either. It is all done in Toronto. And we wonder why we have problems. The people on the other side are not even aware it is occurring.

I heard the Minister of Mines last week talk about how there is a new mining operation, a coring operation, going to open up in northern Labrador. Where is all the value added going to be to that big chunk of stone that is going to be shipped out of Labrador? Where it is going to be? Italy, he said, Italy. Can you imagine? In 1991, we are shipping out tons of stone, raw, and we are going to export those jobs to Italy. He was proud of that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Yes, but, yes, same mentality, same mind-set that got us in this mess that we are in today. What should be done, is there should be more -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Oh, they created some of the mess. I would suspect that it was some of their problems, and some of the problems that some of the people who did not get enough votes to be able to sit in here, too. So they did it, too. But I am also warning the people on the other side that they are contributing even more to the problem of not doing anything, of merely throwing up their hands, as the Premier does, and saying it is a federal government responsibility. It is not mine. It is the federal government's responsibility.

Mr. Speaker, the problem is not necessarily going to be solved by throwing money at it. We have to be a little bit more creative than just tossing money and creating make-work programs to tide somebody over for two or three weeks or get a few extra stamps. That type of thing, Mr. Speaker. I believe we have to take moves that are going to create more long term employment.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the Premier talked about how we are going to have a Strategic Economic Plan. After over three years in office you are finally going to have some type of an economic plan. After dillydallying with the Triple E for two years and now blaming the fishery problem on the federal government for another year we are finally going to sit down and say: what are we going to do, boys? .... nothing that I have tried so far works. Now that seems to be what the game plan is. So now we have some people who are going to draw up an economic plan. I would suspect that they are going to come in with some sort of a plan that will take about twenty-five years to solve the economic woes of this Province. I would suggest that they are going to be coming in with things that will take at least two elections.

MR. MATTHEWS: By that time there will be nobody left here, in twenty-five years.

MR. A. SNOW: There will be very few people left here.


MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the fact that the President of Treasury Board has admitted that he didn't understand how the economy worked by the fact of what damage they were going to do by laying off a nurse, a policeman, a fire fighter, and somebody working in the woods. He didn't understand that those 3,000 layoffs were going to affect the economy. The fact that they didn't do their capital works last year, he didn't realize how much damage that was going to do. He didn't realize that the 2,500 jobs that he did away with was going to damage the economy. He didn't realize that by not doing any capital work last year there wasn't going to be any money in there to prime the pump to get the economy going last year, so we got further and further behind. We are supposed to be growing this year because of Hibernia. We shrunk again -

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: So he is admitting that they didn't attempt to prime the pump.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Well why did you announce it if you weren't going to spend it, Mr. Speaker? The President of Treasury Board says we couldn't spend the money because we didn't have it. Well I say to him that they should not have announced this $59 million or $60 million if they weren't going to spend it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!

MR. A. SNOW: That is the smoke and mirrors, Mr. Speaker. That is the smoke and mirrors. That is what is wrong, they don't understand that you have to prime the pump to get the economy moving. You have to lower taxes so you can allow entrepreneurs and investors to invest more money in enterprises. You have to create a framework so that these entrepreneurs can create more opportunities for employment. You have to create the opportunity and framework and give the incentive to business to have some more research and development and programs to assist these entrepreneurs who are going to be going into new businesses with assistance programs for employment, Mr. Speaker, to hire people who are coming out of our university.

AN HON. MEMBER: Wonderful stuff.

MR. A. SNOW: It is wonderful stuff. And we have to lower the corporate tax. We don't increase it, we should be lowering it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Well we should be lowering the personal income tax instead of increasing it, and the high school tax, Mr. Speaker, that they came in with, they should not have done it.


MR. A. SNOW: Now, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health is over there now wanting to know how many more hospitals I want to close. I don't want to see him close any hospitals.

AN HON. MEMBER: We don't either.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, I am suggesting that if they were to do some of the things that I did suggest that we would not have to close down hospital beds or close down a physiotherapy department in the Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital.


MR. A. SNOW: They would create more wealth. Sure you would have to borrow less money if you do things to stimulate the economy and not restrict the economy, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you, very much.

MR. SPEAKER: It being 4:40 I call on the hon. Member for Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: To start, Mr. Speaker, I have to make a few comments in response to some of the comments made by the Member for Eagle River. One of the comments he made was that members opposite are grandstanding, always grandstanding. There were only two members opposite at that particular time, the Member for Menihek and the Member for Humber Valley. Well, I say to the member opposite, and to all members opposite, that I never did, I will not today, and never will stand in the House and let people think I am grandstanding. I do not need it. If any of us are in here, after going through elections, or coming in here just to grandstand - nobody in my district, not a soul in my district today, except probably my wife and daughter, knows I am in here.

AN HON. MEMBER: Sometimes I wonder about that.

MR. WOODFORD: I do wonder about it. Nine chances out of ten there will not be a thing carried, not a word. It puts me in mind of the time I went to Pollards Point. I have to tell my story again because I do not know if I related it to members opposite. I went down there about two years after I got elected. I was going back and forth to Pollards Point and Sop's Arm and this old gentleman there said to me, Rick, where have you been for the last two weeks? Well, I said I have been in the House now for the last couple of weeks. He looks up and me and said, what were you sick? Do you have the flu or what? I am serious, dead serious. The man said it in earnest. He did not know but the House of Assembly was fit to eat and that is a fact of life.

AN HON. MEMBER: They do not even know the House is open.

MR. WOODFORD: They do not know it is open. I went out to my district last weekend and how many people asked, Rick, where were you last week? Is the House open?

AN HON. MEMBER: What do you tell them, Rick?

MR. WOODFORD: I tell them the truth, for what is being done it is just as well for me to be out here. I am not saying that in a political way. It is true but then again when you do something, Mr. Speaker, we are here. What I am trying to get at is we are suppose to be here for the good of the people. With reference to what the member said about grandstanding, when I bring up something about my district, today it is not about my district, it is about this whole Province. I never got up and just talked about the fishery, I never got up and just talked about carpenters, I never got up and just talked about nurses, I never got up and just talked about councils, I talked about every industry in the Province. Every industry is hurting and not just the fishery.

The hon. member spoke for twenty minutes on John Crosbie. Now, I have as much love for the feds as probably the hon. member but what is the good of me getting up and talking about the feds, Mr. Speaker? I made reference as to where the feds should help and I will make more. Mr. Speaker, I was elected on a provincial basis to come here and represent the people of my district in the provincial Legislature, right now in the Opposition, and to be Opposition to a provincial administration which is answerable to the people in the Province and as far as I am concerned should act and not react.

I said when I started off speaking about the resolution this evening that I would make some comments with regard to what could be done. Now, members opposite - there are very few Cabinet ministers there now this evening - were elected to do something for the people of the Province. Regardless of the feds. Forget the feds. Never mind blaming the feds. You can only use blame as a crutch for so long, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: Then you have to start acting. You have to put something in place. You have to not only put something in place, but something tangible. Today more than ever people are hurting. People today are losing their homes, the very basic necessity of life. People who had them for some fifteen to twenty years have homes gone. Just in the last two weeks I had four calls. People who are used to working six or eight months of the year and getting very good unemployment if they did get laid off, got their homes gone, and as of today four homes gone in the last two weeks, that I know about in my district.

And they have nowhere to turn, where do they turn? It is no good to go to Social Services. You can only go there after you lose your home. After you lose your home they will give you all kinds of money and keep you in a hotel, keep your family, feed them perfectly. But if you want two or three months help on your mortgage to try to save your home and get you over that hump, you can't get it.

It is ludicrous, crazy. Those are not people ten weeks, through no fault of their own. Those are people who are used to working six, eight, ten months of the year, and now find themselves in a very uncomfortable position. Not only that, after they do lose it, and after they do get down to the point where they do have to go to Social Services - I had a call just yesterday from a gentleman who has no choice. His UI ran out. He has to go. I said: there is no other alternative other than go to Social Services. He asked: will they come to see me? No, no, they can't. I have to go to the office. I will guarantee you - I don't know if he went or not. I have a funny feeling he didn't. But sooner or later I suppose he has no choice. He just could not dig down deep enough and could not lose that last little bit of dignity that he had to go to the Social Services' office.

Now we have certain projects in the Province today. I mentioned some of them earlier, the capital program through the Department of Municipal Affairs. I am glad the minister is here. Because if he acts and brings it back to his colleague, according to what the Premier said today, up front, he said: I will pass the resolution, and if members opposite have some ideas, give them to us and we will run with them. That is what was said. You have $60 million in that program now for capital funding. The Premier said it today, $60 million. Last year if you look at the Budget highlights, there was some $16 million or $17 not spent. I say to the minister this evening, and to the President of Treasury Board, because I know he is a reasonable individual and if he gets a half decent idea he might take it and run with it, and he has a lot of clout around the Cabinet table. That is for sure. Make sure that within the next two months that the full $60 million that you have allocated for municipal work is out there. Get it out. Get it in the papers.

The Minister of Transportation, the $25 million he got for roads, get it out, and get it out within two months. Do not say you cannot. You are the government. You can walk down to the administrator and director tomorrow in transportation and say: That project, I want it in the paper tomorrow and that is it. Period. Get it in there. Not September, October and November. Get it out; $80 million worth of capital projects that could be done this year. The minister agrees; do not have it left over.

I say to members opposite, and especially the ministers again, along the Trans Canada Highway if this Province, and every trunk road in the Province, especially the Northern Peninsula, Baie Verte Peninsula - the Member for Baie Vert is here, and other areas - we have a real, real problem with regards to brush and moose and all as it is. That is what is causing a lot of accidents where you just cannot see it.

Any area that is cut back - I notice between Deer Lake now and the Howley intersection, very few accidents if any. The year before last when the transportation -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: I want to make a suggestion there. The contract was called to do the road under the federal-provincial agreement, but in the process of doing those contracts, naturally now the brush has to be cut with the contract. What I am saying to members opposite, why can't we - not so much now, because the fire season is pretty well over, but come at least late September, or October, November and December when you can burn. The fire season is off. The danger period is off. We could put a thousand people to work on the Trans Canada, on trunk roads, especially now, at least a thousand people to work; cut it all back; cut down on traffic accidents; cut down on the cost to health care systems around this Province, and provide people with meaningful employment for at least a three-month period the fall. It has got to be done. If the contract is called next year or the year after, this particular bit of work has to be done anyway, and it can be done under Capital.

Now, Mr. Speaker, another area where the government can act today -the Minister of Mines and Energy is here now, and I have said before in the House, and I supported him when he brought in the amendment to the act for mini-hydo sites, increased it to ten megawatts, that there are a number of companies in the Province today that are waiting and willing to start hydro sites in the Province immediately, absolutely immediately. They have their pocketbooks ready, they have their cheques ready to sign, and not one cent, not one penny of government money required. After putting that through the House in record time, I thought, I really did think, that when Hydro called the proposals for those mini-hydro sites, that it would be done on an immediate basis and we would get out there and get to work.

If someone can explain to me - I didn't want to get into it too much the other night in the Estimates - why should we have to wait until August before there is even a proposal in. Then we have to wait another eight months before it is even accepted. So, we are talking about at least two years before we have a project to go at all. They say they don't need it until 1996, but, by saying they need it in 1996, Mr. Speaker, they are saying that they need it.

If we have companies out there that don't want to do it for a couple of years, well and good.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: No, no! This particular company has the environmental process waived. It is waived. They want to spend $13 million and they will start tomorrow morning. They are not against the August deadline proposal. That is not so bad. But once that proposal is finished in August, they would like to be able to start come September and October. Thirteen million dollars of their own money, ready to go tomorrow, environmental process waived and they can't go to work.

AN HON. MEMBER: That might be worked out.

MR. WOODFORD: Well, I hope so. I will take the minister at his word. I brought it up the other night. I hope so, because there are a number of those. There are number of those that can be accepted. The surveying work is done. A lot of the initial work is done, and they are ready to go to work and not a penny out of the treasury -- not one cent out of the treasury. Now that is the kind of stuff that they want.

This particular company - I will give you an example, Mr. Speaker. They will start surveying work, road construction, site clearing and so on, and in the likely event that Hydro's demand forecast changed before 1996 we would then be in a position to move with our project quickly. All they are asking for is the go ahead, to go in and start, and they are willing to wait. If they don't need the power until 1996 they are even willing to wait. They have made every kind of a compromise in the world, and the question I have to ask is why should a company such as this have to go in and beg to spend money. That is what they are doing. They are two years now at it. You know, meaningful employment, a few long term jobs after, but thirty or forty jobs up front for eighteen or twenty months. All this kind of stuff counts.

And I say to the Minister today responsible for Mines and Energy to take that back to his colleagues because we all know - I have said it before and I will say it again here today - that Newfoundland Hydro, ladies and gentlemen, have their own little kingdom over there too, and they have to try to protect it. They want 150 megawatts by 1996. They are calling for fifty now for August. They could have just as easily called for 100, but at least they called for fifty. All they have to do to set their price - that is no problem. It is in a proposal. They have taken into account the avoided cost and everything like that. It is all set down, so all they have to do is accept the proposals and put those things to work.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that is at least four ideas.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) share their office with Ed Roberts.

MR. WOODFORD: I can go on with regards to silviculture programs. I can go on with regards to tourism programs, even under the federal-provincial agreements. But I would submit to the ministers: ask the federal government. The Member for Eagle River talked about the federal government. It takes an effort and an initiative by the Province to go to the feds and say: we have a five year agreement, let's move it up a year. Instead of doing $30 million worth of work this year let's do $60 million. Come on, let's try to stimulate the economy, because there is money out there. There are savings out there, but people are so uncertain and so afraid that they are putting it in the banks. They are putting it in their safety deposit boxes. They are collecting a few measly percentage points when it comes to interest rates today, and they are afraid. They just won't spend. But if we can show some stimulus, the government stimulate, get her going; show that you are going to show some confidence in the economy; if the government can show that they have confidence in what is going on and in the economy then the private sector automatically will kick in, and then, automatically, the consumer is going to start spending. Until we do that, then as far as I am concerned, we are not going to have anything. We are going to be in a recession for a long, long time.

One other point I have to try to make, and that is on the subject of the able-bodied, which I brought up earlier. We have to address that problem. We have young people out there today, twenty-five years and younger who, through no fault of their own are out of a job, the same as a family man or anybody else. They just cannot find work. But with social services, if you are living with somebody, you will get eighty-five or eighty-nine dollars a month. If you are outside the family home you will probably get $129. Now, can any member opposite today - there is no other case, I suppose, but discrimination - just because he is single?

AN HON. MEMBER: Go back and talk about how much money they made (inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: It is not the first time. Yes, I will talk about it. I brought that up before to my colleagues and it wasn't changed. I am not making excuses, but the only difference with it was that the unemployment rate for those particular people (inaudible) very few. I used to get three or four calls a year, to be honest with you.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: That is right, but now I am getting all kinds, and it is pure discrimination - no other word to use. Just because he is a man; just because he is single; and the fellow right next door to him is married, probably has no kids, with a wife, or probably has one or two, and no problem; walk in and we will look after you. The other fellow is out on the street.

There is a lot you could say on it. I ask the members opposite, especially the ministers responsible for some of the departments that I mentioned, to take some of those suggestions to heart. I tried to be constructive. As far as I am concerned, there is no time to be otherwise. We can take off our political stripes and so on, but I guarantee you, if there was ever a time in this Province that we needed to do something for our people, it is now. They are hungry, they are in despair and, Mr. Speaker, the problems they have today in the homes around this Province with regard to the youth and so on, as far as I am concerned, are going to get worse until we address some of those problems. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: All those in favour, please say 'aye'.


MR. SPEAKER: Those against, 'nay'.

I declare the motion carried.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I want to inform hon. members that tomorrow we will be continuing with the saga of Bill 17, and I would also like to point out an event that I am sure the members and the Opposition are looking forward to, that the estimates committee - there is no meeting tonight, but tomorrow evening, in the House, that extraordinary Minister of Finance is going to be explaining his estimates to the Estimates Committee. So, the only meeting scheduled right now, Mr. Speaker, is the Finance Estimates, tomorrow evening, in the House.

MS. VERGE: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber East, on a point of order.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I am Vice-Chair of the Social Services Estimates Committee and I was informed by the Clerk, as recently as an hour ago, that the Social Services Estimates Committee was scheduled to meet at seven o'clock tonight, here in the House, to resume our consideration of the Health Estimates, and nobody told me anything about a change.

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

MR. BAKER: You should not have been told an hour ago, but the Estimates, Mr. Speaker - originally, through the committee process there was a schedule done, and I notified the Table earlier this afternoon that that particular meeting could not be held tonight. There was a problem come up, so we will try to reschedule for next week.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: I wasn't notified first, as recently as an hour ago, but I checked an hour or so ago and was told that Health was on tonight at seven o'clock. I have been a member of the House for thirteen years, and this year, there has been more trouble with Estimates Committee meetings than any year I have been involved in the past, and the committee system was only set up thirteen years ago. This year we have had great difficulty scheduling our meetings, we have had short notice; the news media have hardly covered any of our sessions, most of our Estimates Committees have met without any media coverage and the process has been most unsatisfactory. This latest upset with Health being rescheduled without even Committee members being made aware of it is just one in a whole series of disappointments with the Estimates Committee process this year.

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, we should stop the clock.

MR. SPEAKER: We have agreed to that back some time ago.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, it is also a disappointment to me that there are problems that are arising. One disappointment to me was when members opposite refused to give unanimous consent to the House to allow the Minister of Justice to appear before the Committee. That was a disappointment, as well, so there are things going on on both sides.

The Department of Health has already been with the Estimates Committee for three hours, so it is no great disaster that you are not getting your second shot at it right now. We still have a full week, so there is no great disaster here. But I will admit that there are some unfortunate things that have happened, including the incident I mentioned, that are making things a little more difficult this year.

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

I am just going to entertain this for a short while, because this is not the place to be doing it.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, with respect to the point of order, it is not a fact of the matter of whether or not the Social Services Committee has had one or two meetings with the Department of Health. I was only informed by the lack of comment by the minister, as to a meeting tonight, that the meeting that was scheduled, I was informed of as a member of the Committee, was not going ahead. When the Vice-Chair of the Committee is not aware of the scheduling, my understanding is that the Committee meetings are scheduled by the Chair of the Committee in consultation with the Vice-Chair and the members. They were notified of a meeting. How the minister can get up and say that the meeting has been cancelled without the consultation of the Vice-Chair, or the Chair, for that matter -, I don't know whether the Chair has indicated that this is a problem. Who is running these Committees, Mr. Speaker, the Committees or the minister? Is he telling the Committees when they meet and when they don't, or are the Committees deciding this?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, it is customary at the end of each day for the Government House Leader to get up and announce the Committee meetings and what is happening for the next day or two. That has been custom for, well, the years that I have been sitting in the House. If the Member for St. John's East didn't hear me when I announced a moment ago that that particular committee meeting had to be cancelled, it is too bad, but I did make reference to it a few moments ago.

A problem has arisen with regard to that committee meeting, and I have now notified the House that the problem does exist, and therefore that particular meeting, Social Services Committee, will be rescheduled sometime later, Mr. Speaker. If members do not want notification, then fine.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think really what we are down to here is that - I mean, members expect to be extended the courtesy of knowing at least a decent time in advance that the committee is sitting or not sitting.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)!

MR. MATTHEWS: Never mind in court. Mr. Speaker, the problem here as far as I am concerned is that we have members here who are on committees who are giving no priority to it.

MS. VERGE: That's right. Even the Chair (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: That is the problem. Who have not been to committee meetings, and are in here now showing total disrespect for other members. That is what is happening. It is unfair.

We are all busy people, and we want at least advance notice of some length of time to be able to come - People probably cancelled other commitments because they were supposed to be here in the estimates committee doing Health tonight. I do not think we are asking too much. People are not unreasonable. But there has been a problem this year, as the Member for Humber East has explained. There has been a problem. There are problems most years but this year there seems to be a bigger problem. I do not know what it is or what is causing it.

But I am sure that as reasonable people it is not too much to ask that advance notice be given to members that meetings are scheduled, and if meetings that have previously been scheduled are postponed, that they be given advance notice. Is that asking too much? I do not think so, Mr. Speaker. If we could get that out of the way then things would get back to normal and we would not be standing here after 5:00 p.m. getting on with this.

Well, let's straighten it out once and for all and see if we can't give members some advance notice whether the meeting is scheduled, postponed, or cancelled. I think that is only asking (Inaudible).

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: I wonder if the Government House Leader would let the Member for Humber East comment, and then he could take care of both?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber East. I would hope the Member for Humber East has a new point.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. One of the problems with the Social Services Estimates Committee this year is that the Chair, who was only appointed by the government a short time ago, the Member for Pleasantville, is out of the Province for at least one week out of the short three weeks that the Committee has to function. Now, there are three members of that Committee on this side of the House: the Member for St. John's East, who spoke a few minutes ago; the Member for Torngat Mountains; and I am the third member, and I happen to be Vice-Chair of the Committee.

None of us knew until a few minutes ago that a meeting that had been planned and scheduled for tonight was cancelled. Now I have not been given an explanation for the reason for the cancellation. I do not know who decided to cancel it. Was it the Committee? Where is the Chair of the Committee? Who is speaking for the Committee? The Minister opposite is not on the committee.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is right.

MS. VERGE: Well, perhaps the Government House Leader under orders from the Premier is presuming to run House Committees and take the whole House on his back.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. VERGE: I would like an explanation for the cancellation, who made the decision, and when will the Social Services Estimates Committee be meeting to complete our examination of the health estimates, and when will we be meeting to do the Justice Estimates?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It really amazes me that all of a sudden these people opposite are getting up and talking about co-operation. Number one, a committee chairman wanted to have a meeting on a Friday afternoon but it had to be cancelled. I will announce that right now. On Friday the Works, Services and Transportation Estimates have been cancelled and rescheduled until next Thursday in the p.m. in the House. Talk about co-operation. With regards to Justice: Members opposite here refused to give consent of the House for the Minister of Justice to even appear before the committee to examine the Justice Estimates. Talk about co-operation. The member makes a big deal about how all of a sudden there are problems and it has nothing to do with these people opposite at all but somehow there is something nefarious going on over here. What about meetings on Monday mornings? What about meetings on Friday afternoons? What about all those thing? It is a two-way street here, it is not all one-sided. The meeting could not go ahead tonight. I found out a couple of hours ago and I notified the table at that point in time that it was not going ahead and we were rescheduling.

By the way the Chairman being absent had nothing to do with it - there were two meetings on Tuesday of the Social Services Committee and there was no Chairman there then so that is not a problem. Mr. Speaker, on Thursday in the p.m., Finance in the House, and then next Tuesday in the a.m., Justice is scheduled in the House. Well, Tuesday in the a.m. Municipal Affairs and Justice and there may be some changes there in terms of the location but members will be notified. On Tuesday in the p.m. in the House, the Department of Development. There has been nothing at this point in time scheduled for Wednesday, and on Thursday in the p.m. in the House there is Works, Services and Transportation. There are two more slots to be filled in during that week and as soon as they are filled in members will be notified. Now, I hope all that is taken note of by members opposite but I would like to remind them that co-operation is a two-way street, not a one-way street.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I just want again to remind hon. members that the Chair has been rather generous and flexible in this matter. I refer hon. members again to 232, Beauchesne, paragraph 822, which says: Procedural difficulties which arise in committees ought to be settled in the committee and not in the House.

This House stands adjourned until tomorrow, Thursday, at 2:00 p.m.