December 5, 1994           HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS            Vol. XLII  No. 75

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

On behalf of hon. members I would like to welcome to the House of Assembly fifty-five students from E.J. Pratt High School in Brownsdale and Holy Trinity High in Heart's Content, along with their teachers Richard Knapman, Jess Bown and Maureen Robinson.

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. AYLWARD: The purpose of my statement today, Mr. Speaker, is to outline government's new policy with respect to waste importation.

Responsible waste management goes far beyond simply placing garbage at the curbside and having it transported to a landfill or incinerator. Waste management involves finding the best possible solution to waste problems from both an environmental and economic perspective. Some of these problems are not easily solved due largely to the nature of the waste involved. Certain types of wastes require special handling and must be disposed of using the most environmentally friendly technology available.

Hazardous and special wastes are regularly exported from Newfoundland and Labrador to other provinces which have the capacity to dispose of the material in an environmentally appropriate manner. In some cases, the waste is recycled and in other cases, it is destroyed. The following materials are presently being exported from the Province: vehicle wrecks, PCB wastes, chemicals from laboratories, and so on.

Where local solutions to our hazardous waste disposal problems are not possible, the Province has committed to work cooperatively with the other Atlantic Provinces to explore regional solutions.

In 1991, the Province signed the Atlantic Environmental Accord which states that the four Atlantic Provinces "are committed to cooperative approaches of addressing environmental issues and have endorsed the development of operating protocols and interprovincial agreements". Schedule 11 of the Accord lists priorities for action among which is the development of a regional strategy for the management of hazardous waste.

At the present, this Province relies on other jurisdictions to ensure that some of the special and hazardous wastes that we produced are disposed of in an environmentally acceptable manner. It is the intention of this government to ensure that all of our wastes are managed in the most environmentally and cost effective manner.

The Province does not import large quantities of wastes from other jurisdictions. However, in most cases, waste coming into the Province is being reused or recycled. For example, waste paper is imported for recycling.

Government's new policy on waste importation is firmly based on principles of sound environmental stewardship and recognizes that we must work cooperatively with other provinces to find solutions to our waste problems.

Accordingly, the following will provide the basis for a waste importation policy for Newfoundland and Labrador.

A) Waste can be imported for purposes of reuse, recycling, reprocessing and recovery;

B) The importation of waste for final disposal is banned with the exception of waste imported under the following conditions and subject to the requirements of the environmental assessment legislation and government approval:

In accordance with the Atlantic Environmental Accord, waste originating from the other Atlantic Provinces can be imported for final disposal if it is most appropriate for this Province to manage the waste for the Atlantic Region.

Waste imported for final disposal from other provinces outside Atlantic Canada will only be accepted subject to limited reciprocal agreements which would have, as a condition, that these provinces accept specified Newfoundland wastes. These would be offset agreements and restricted to those products jointly agreed to as offsets. Any other projects involving waste importation for final disposal, including incineration, would be banned.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. AYLWARD: Local companies would be encouraged to develop the capability to deal with local special wastes that would otherwise be exported. Recognizing that this might not be possible for the near future, arrangements may be necessary with other provinces to allow for wastes to be exported and imported.

Government is currently pursuing a comprehensive waste management strategy for the Province. Because government believes that we must take responsibility for managing our own wastes, the issue of waste importation will be further addressed in this strategy. In this regard, waste importation will be examined in the full context of economic, social and environmental impacts on the Province.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that this new policy is an effective response to the widespread concerns of our fellow Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that this Province might become a `dumping ground' for foreign garbage. This new policy demonstrates clearly government's commitment to responsible waste management and protection of the environment.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. AYLWARD: I just want to add, Mr. Speaker, that I want to thank the government for responding. Government has responded, and it is very clear that it has done so today.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I just want to begin by saying to the minister: I don't think your government has gone far enough. It is good to see that the public pressure and the pressure from within the Liberal caucus has paid off small dividends, but certainly has not caused enough pressure to be put on the Premier and the rest of the Cabinet to fully address this matter.

Really what it is is window dressing. You really have to pull back the veil to see what is really behind it all, I say to the Minister of Environment, and we have some very big concerns about what the minister is proposing here.

First of all, in his first condition that waste can be imported for the purpose of reuse, recycling, reprocessing and recovery, I say to the minister that even that should be subjected to the environmental review process, that nothing should happen without going through the environmental review process which -


MR. W. MATTHEWS: I would appreciate the minister of frozen roads to be quiet, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, how will this be monitored? We still will not know from where it will originate. We are talking the Atlantic Provinces, it is a big coastline; we were concerned about the Eastern Seaboard before, we should still be concerned. Where will the waste originate? How will it be policed? There are still some very, very serious concerns that we have about the minister's statement and what really will happen here with waste coming into this Province and where will it come from.

We cannot properly police the importation of tobacco and liquor now; this is going to be another case where we won't be able to properly monitor and police and God knows what will be sent into this Province through this process, so these are some of the concerns that we have.

Mr. Speaker, what does this new policy do for the Long Harbour and Baie Verte proposals, I ask the minister? Perhaps he could comment on that for us when he gets a chance or when he addresses it publicly. These are some of the concerns we have, Mr. Speaker. I still don't think that it is going to alleviate the concerns of the public of Newfoundland and Labrador. You are bringing it down to the Atlantic Provinces but really, the big question is, Mr. Speaker, how will we monitor, how will we police and how will we really know where the garbage comes from?

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. Member for St. John's East, have leave to address the House.


MR. SPEAKER: No leave?

The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to inform hon. members that National Safe-Driving Week is currently underway.

This year's theme: "The Hidden Faces -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible) get you off the road then.

MR. EFFORD: Can you protect me, Mr. Speaker, from these horrible people?

MR. SPEAKER: I offer the minister the protection of the Chair.

MR. EFFORD: This year's theme, "The Hidden Faces Of Impaired Driving", focuses on the issues and concerns of repeat, impaired drivers; the major traffic offenders of the Criminal Code of Canada. Impaired driving in Canada continues to be a serious social problem and one of the most serious public health issues our population must face.

Mr. Speaker, although the incidence of impaired driving has reduced slightly in the past few years, we still have a long way to go. The current death toll of approximately 3,600 on Canadian roads could be reduced by almost 48 per cent if there were no alcohol-related fatalities occurring. These numbers alone should justify the reason why I have introduced new legislation under the Highway Traffic Act allowing for twenty-four hour license suspensions for drivers who register 50 milligrams of blood alcohol concentration.

In 1992, drinking and driving was a contributing factor in 1,800 motor vehicle deaths and 60,000 injuries. These statistics are accompanied by a cost to society of more than $20 billion in Canada.

Mr. Speaker, we all share in the responsibility of ensuring the safety of all Canadians. I encourage everyone to join in the fight to reduce injuries and fatalities due to impaired driving. Please, Don't Drink and Drive!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Placentia.

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I take pleasure today in rising to support the Ministerial Statement and National Safe Driving Week from December 1 - 7. For responsible drivers it covers the whole year, but this year, as the minister said, "The Hidden Faces of Impaired Driving" focuses and the concerns of repeat impaired drivers. They are the people, we have been saying over the last couple of weeks, who should be getting it in the neck. The minister talks about his new legislation for twenty-four hour licence suspensions; yes, probably it would catch more offenders, but what it is going to do, Sir - if you are saying, `Don't Drink and Drive', you should have reduced alcohol intake to zero but your new legislation, Sir, is only going - it is a money-grabbing deal to get more money out of poor Newfoundlanders.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to return to a favourite topic of mine dealing with the Trans City Holdings contracts. I have some questions for the Minister of Finance, to begin with, related to the appendix to Works, Services and Transportation paper 91-91. Now, we have been told by the minister that this paper was not sent to Cabinet. I thought he told me on Friday that it wasn't sent to the Executive Council but we will explore that. We know, however, that the minister and the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir have seen it. I would like to ask him, just for clarification, can we assume that the other three ministers on that committee with him, in other words, the Minister of Education and Training, now I think it is, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology and the Member for Humber West - did they see the Cabinet paper?

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

MR. BAKER: I'm not sure if the question he asked was -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Okay.

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, this is an event that happened some three years ago. Memory of specific dates and events and what happened to what is rather hazy, so I hesitate to make definitive statements. I indicated that this presentation was prepared for consideration by the committee. All I can say is that the committee considered these facts and I wrote a recommendation to Cabinet, which the hon. gentleman asked for yesterday and I said I would table today. I would like to table now the recommendation to Cabinet from that committee. But, yes, the factors were discussed. Now, as to whether pieces of paper are in existence, as far as I know they are not.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, this is very important now. The Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir saw the document; the minister saw it, because he dug it out of his files and brought it down to the courthouse suddenly a day before or a day or so ago, whenever it was. What I'm asking is, did the Member for Strait of Bell Isle, the Member for St. Barbe and the Member for Humber West also have access and see that draft - you are calling it a draft - appendix 91-91? We assume they did, because they are on the committee with the minister, but we would just like him to confirm it.

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, as far as I can recall, we discussed the contents of that particular memorandum and developed a different memorandum, which I ultimately presented to Cabinet.

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

MR. SIMMS: Would the minister - I don't know if the Speaker would allow me to ask; I certainly couldn't ask him. I don't know if I can ask the other two ministers because it is not within their jurisdiction. I would like to know if the other ministers saw this document. It is a pretty straightforward question.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Can do what?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Can find out and tell me? Is that what the Premier is saying? Okay. Would the minister do that then? Would he check with the other three members I am referring to?

On the specific point in that appendix that we have a seen a copy of now and has become public - on the specific point, and I quote: `It is quite clear that if we award to Trans City Holdings we would not be acting within the spirit of the Public Tender Act' - end of quote. He knows the quote.

We now know that he and the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir knew of this - I'm assuming the other three ministers did. In this House on Thursday or Friday the Premier told me that he was not aware of this. Can the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board tell me or tell the House why the Premier was not told of this fairly significant point?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman is again doing what he does well and is adding to the confusion. He is indicating that the Premier, in answer to a question about whether he had seen that particular draft memorandum, indicated that he had not seen it or could not recall seeing it. Since that time we've had a full Question Period on that point. I've indicated that as far as I'm prepared to go is to say that all relevant facts were discussed in Cabinet, and Cabinet made a decision, knowing full well that there were certain perception problems with this new process that we tried. I am not prepared to go further than that, so there is no conflict here. The member is simply using an answer given to one question to pose a totally different question.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, a supplementary.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, that is not accurate at all. I asked the Premier specifically, was he aware of that point that was contained in your Cabinet document, or this appendix of 91-91 when you said, and I quote: "It is quite clear that if we award to Trans City Holdings we would not be acting within the spirit of the Public Tender Act."

That was in the document that you signed. Now I asked the Premier on Thursday or Friday if he was aware of that point, and he said, no, he was not. The Premier remembers that, I presume.

Now I am asking the minister: Why did the minister not advise the Premier of that point? It is a pretty significant one.

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the document in question was prepared for me for discussion by the committee. When we considered the matters in that particular memorandum and developed a position for Cabinet, Cabinet fully discussed the concerns that this, perhaps, was a little different from the normal process and that there were perception problems.

The legal opinion that we were basing this on indicated that Cabinet does have the authority to award these contracts under section 8 of the act, even though it is not the lowest or preferred bidder; however, this will require tabling of the reasons for the contract award in the House of Assembly, and there were certain concerns in the legal opinion about the process and the difficulty of evaluating the process. So, Mr. Speaker, Cabinet was aware of all of this, was aware that this would fit within, and according to the legal opinion, section 8 of the act of the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: It says here under section 8 of the act, yes, so they were aware that it fit under section 8 of the act. The legal opinion was that this was okay according to the Public Tender Act, and that there were perception problems with it.

I don't know how I can be more full with the hon. gentleman than I have without actually getting into specific opinions expressed in Cabinet by specific ministers.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I am greatly disappointed in the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board. He knows what my question was. It had nothing to do with all this old gibberish that he was going on about. We have read the comments and the statement. My question was a very specific one. The Premier said he was not aware of this point that he had in his paper that if you awarded the contract to Trans City Holdings you would not be acting within the spirit of the Public Tender Act.

I am asking the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board: Why was the Premier not made aware of that? Can he answer that question directly and straightforwardly?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated to the hon. gentleman, these events happened three years ago. I cannot recall the specific details of every single discussion that happened in Cabinet, and I would suggest to the hon. gentleman if he stops to think about it he will realize that is an impossible task. All I can indicate to him is that Cabinet was aware of the general concerns and discussed them. I cannot recall specific comments by individuals. I cannot recall whether an individual in Cabinet was specifically aware of a particular wording in a document. I am sorry, but it's three years ago and it is rather difficult to recall these details. It would be difficult enough to recall something that happened a month ago as specifically as that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I could understand the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board trying to divert attention away from the question, but a point as significant as that, you were saying yourself in your appendix, in the paper that you drafted, that if you acted to award the contract to Trans City Holdings you would not be acting under the spirit of the Public Tender Act. Now that is not just some simple little comment that you can't recall. We have been talking about it for weeks.

Let me ask him this question, since he is obviously not going to answer my other question directly -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: No, I mean he is not going to answer it directly.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Why he didn't tell the Premier is what I asked him.

Mr. Speaker, let me ask him this. He knew, because he saw the paper. The Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir had the paper. We are assuming the other three ministers saw the paper and saw that specific point contained in the paper and were aware of it. Let me ask him directly: Did the rest of the Cabinet, the remaining eight or nine members of the Cabinet - for example, the Members for Twillingate, Windsor - Buchans, Bonavista North, Conception Bay South, St. John's Centre - did they all know about that specific point? That if you approved this contract to Trans City Holdings you would not be acting within the spirit of the public tendering act. Did they all know it?

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

MR. BAKER: I don't know where the hon. gentleman is getting the assumption that this was a strongly held opinion in terms of the spirit of the Public Tender Act. As I indicated, this was a paper that was prepared for me for consideration by the committee. The committee considered it and submitted to Cabinet the document which I've just tabled a moment ago and which the hon. gentleman and everybody can get and read. The points were considered by Cabinet and a decision was made based on, as I've pointed out so many times, the fact that to do anything else would mean a delay of another year or so in the projects, would mean tremendously escalated costs, and would mean that the taxpayers of this Province would end up losing, and the people of the Province who needed these jobs would end up losing. Mr. Speaker, these were the bases on which Cabinet made the decision.

As I indicated, right when we started the process there was an awareness that we were doing something different, that there may be perception problems right from Day 1. But to ensure that we got the projects started, to ensure that we got the best financial deal possible for the Province, we were determined to go ahead with it. We did, and we got the best deal for the Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, it is like pulling teeth, I guess. Let me ask the Premier on a supplementary, if I may. Last Thursday the Premier said that he had never seen this legal opinion or the Cabinet paper.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Don't look surprised. That is what he said. He didn't say that? Could he clarify it then?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I said I didn't see the paper that the hon. member was waving around the House. He alternatively called it a Cabinet paper, an appendix to a Cabinet paper, and a legal opinion. I can't keep track of what he keeps calling it. I can only reaffirm the position is I had not until a day or two before seen the paper that the hon. member was waving around the House at that time.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Just so we are certain, Mr. Speaker, because it isn't always clear, I have to confess to the Premier, when he gives answers. He is saying that he didn't see that appendix. Do you know what we are talking about when we say the appendix to 91-91? The Premier knows what we are talking about. He said he didn't see that for at least a day or two before he gave me the answer in the House. Is that what he is saying?

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: It was pretty straightforward. It shouldn't be hard to answer.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I gather this two-sheet paper is the one the hon. member was waving around.

MR. SIMMS: What does it say on top?

PREMIER WELLS: It is called: Subject - Build/Lease proposal for health care facilities, appendix to WST 91-91.

I told him I hadn't seen that before. I've stated it five or six times. I hadn't seen that before until a couple of days before it was mentioned in the House.

MR. SIMMS: Can I ask the Premier then -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Supplementary. Can I ask the Premier; Was he aware of the paper even though he hadn't seen it? Was he aware of it prior to that point in time, or the contents in the paper?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: The member asked me before if I was aware of some of the points. All I can say to him is I don't remember the detail of everything that was discussed in Cabinet on every topic over the last five years. It would be impossible. Whether some of those items that were in that were discussed in Cabinet, I would say it may well be that they were. I can't say with absolute certainty that those individual items were discussed in any detail. I can't say. I was not aware of the paper itself until I told the member. Whether any of the items that are in it were mentioned in Cabinet at the time, which would give me an awareness, I don't remember the detail of it.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Can I ask the Premier was he aware of the legal opinion that John Cummings had drafted?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I don't know, I would have to see the legal opinion and take a look at it. I don't remember the specific details.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, as Your Honour will know, and as hon. members opposite know, if they want to admit so that people can judge issues fairly, hundreds of papers, some of them that thick or that thick come before Cabinet and I try to read most of it, I must confess I don't get to read every single word of it but I try to read most of what comes before Cabinet so that I can be reasonably well informed on the issues. I don't remember from day to day, I don't remember the detail of what I saw last week in Cabinet let alone one three years ago.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, a supplementary.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, this is not, I say to the Premier, just any old issue. This is an issue and a matter that has been pretty strongly covered by the press and the media; it has been in the House of Assembly for the last three weeks, court cases and everything else, so I don't think he can get away with just sloughing it off in that way, but if that is the way he chooses to defend his actions and his government's actions, then that is up to the people to judge as he says.

Let me ask him this supplementary question, Mr. Speaker: Is it true that the Premier was not in fact present at the Cabinet meeting held on October 22, '91, that asked for a further consideration by a committee of ministers, and sought and asked for this legal opinion?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, let me correct a misstatement by the hon. member.

To start with, there is nothing special about this, this was a routine matter that was coming before Cabinet. There was nothing special about it at the time; it happens to be special in the hon. member's mind now because he is trying to make something of it when nothing exists.


PREMIER WELLS: He is trying to create an issue so it is special, Mr. Speaker, in his context.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: You can tell how special it is by the gaggle that you hear there, now.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I cannot hear the hon. Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, the second question was: Was I present at a Cabinet meeting on October 22? I will enquire and find out.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, a supplementary.

MR. SIMMS: Are you trying to tell us you don't know if you were at that Cabinet meeting, which has been discussed for the last three weeks in this House?

PREMIER WELLS: At this moment, I don't know. I will look at the record and find out and let the hon. members know, there is nothing to hide. I was either present or I wasn't and the record is clear.

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

MR. SIMMS: To the hon, Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, a supplementary question then, Mr. Speaker?

Can he tell the House, who wrote this Cabinet appendix, Cabinet paper or whatever you want to call it, who wrote the appendix, I call it, that was supposed to be attached to 91 - 91?

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

MR. BAKER: I don't know, Mr. Speaker -


MR. BAKER: I don't know who specifically put it together. I can only assume that it is either someone in Treasury Board, one of the public servants of Treasury Board, or in Works, Services. The quote that the hon. gentleman keeps using about `the spirit of the Public Tender Act' and so on, is a quote from that particular document that was put in there by whoever wrote the document and is not in the final recommendation of the committee, it is not in the legal opinion obtained from the Department of Justice; it is simply an interpretation of the legal opinion that does not come from the legal opinion that I do not agree with, and, Mr. Speaker, to correct another misstatement by the hon. gentleman, in the Cabinet meeting to which he referred, the 22nd, when he asked the Premier about whether he was present or not, that is not the time at which the legal opinion was asked for. The legal opinion was asked for ahead of that meeting but was not available for the meeting.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, a supplementary.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, is the minister going to find out the answer to my question: Who wrote the Cabinet paper? Whose words were these -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Pardon?

The minister did sign the paper, so could he tell us who gave him the paper to sign? Maybe we can try it that way, who actually gave you the paper to sign?


AN HON. MEMBER: Tom Hickman?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, again, I don't know where that came from. I know that it exists, had I remembered that this existed it would have been turned over in the first instance to the courts, and was not turned over to the courts in the first instance because I had forgotten about it, it was simply a working paper that was done up for the consideration of the committee. I have many thousands of these things prepared and cannot remember them from time to time. I can remember my recommendations to Cabinet, I can remember that quite clearly, but I cannot remember working documents that various committees I serve on see from time to time and cannot remember who developed them.

Mr. Speaker, it is quite simple, these are things that you cannot expect to know at this point in time.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, it is not very simple, but I hope the minister will get me the answer: Who drafted the Cabinet paper, and how did the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir get the paper? I asked him that the other day, he is supposed to get me answers to that.

I would say, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Finance that what was contained in the paper, which he signed, was precisely what you and your colleagues on the Cabinet committee wanted to recommend to the Cabinet. There is no question about that, Mr. Speaker, all you have to do is read the document.

Let me ask the minister this: continues to say that the Premier and the other Cabinet ministers never saw this paper, this appendix, it was never sent to them. On Friday I asked him specifically if this paper, this Appendix 91-91, was sent to the Executive Council. Your response was very evasive at the time. I would like to ask him one more time; was this appendix, Works, Services and Transportation Appendix 91-91, sent to the Executive Council for distribution at all?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I don't recall having been asked that question before. The hon. gentleman claims I did but he should go back to Hansard and look, to ask questions and so on - and when you go back and check you will find out that that did not happen. So I cannot recall that question being asked or an answer given but the hon. gentleman can check Hansard.

Mr. Speaker, the copy of this opinion that I tabled in the House and sent to the court and so on, has an Executive Council stamp on it but that was not given to Executive Council for distribution. I don't know how the Executive Council stamp got on it but it was not given to Executive Council for distribution to Cabinet. The document that was distributed to Cabinet, in the Cabinet meeting, is the one that I tabled today. It is the one that is in the file of the Cabinet regarding this particular recommendation and it is self explanatory. I am sure the hon. gentleman has read it a couple of times.

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

MR. SIMMS: I am not sure what the minister said I asked him. He told me to check Hansard, I did. The question was right there from Friday's Question Period, it is not that long ago. It is the last sitting -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: No, it is Hansard. Mr. Simms: `Was it sent to the Executive Council, can he tell us that?' The Minister of Finance and Treasury Board: `As far as I know, Mr. Speaker, it was not distributed.' I mean a very evasive answer. `Well, was it sent to Executive Council?' He said, `No, it was not as I understand.' He is nodding. Is that correct?

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

MR. BAKER: My answer was, Mr. Speaker, that no, it was not sent to Executive Council for distribution. However, my copy does have an Executive Council stamp on it. How that stamp got there, I don't know.

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

MR. SIMMS: Now, Mr. Speaker, the plot thickens. He does not know how the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir got a copy of the paper, the Premier can't recollect this, can't recollect that, he doesn't know who wrote the paper for him, Mr. Speaker, and now he tells me - I was about to table this document, which I will table, because the one that he tabled didn't have the stamp on it. It didn't have the stamp of Executive Council on it but this one does. Received by Executive Council October 31, Mr. Speaker, the day after you signed the Cabinet paper or this appendix paper. Now, Mr. Speaker, he says he doesn't know why the Executive Council stamp was on it. Well I can tell the minister why the Executive Council stamp was on it, it is because it was sent to the Executive Council for distribution like every other Cabinet paper was.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Now, what I want to know from the minister, since the Executive Council had it, they had it, it's stamped `received, Executive Council, October 31, 1991', received, you cannot dispute that. Now the question is this, why then - because any paper that is sent up from any minster that goes to the Executive Council, the Cabinet secretary, is distributed to ministers - the question is: Why was this not submitted after it went to Executive Council? Who gave the instructions to stop it and what were those instructions?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the answer is the same, exactly the same, as I gave the hon. gentleman. There is no record that that was ever sent to Executive Council for distribution. If it had been, copies of that would have been attached to every single Cabinet paper, WST 91-91, would have been distributed to all the ministers, would have been in files of all of the minsters, would have been in the Executive Council file and so on. Now, the copies of that memo do not exist in ministers files, as far as I know, do not exist in the Executive Council files, yet that one copy has an Executive Council stamp on it. I do not know how it got on that one copy. How come it did not get on the other copy? There are some questions here that I have been trying to find the answers to, and all I can do is make assumptions because the people in the Executive Council cannot remember that document coming to the Executive Council. It was not distributed to the ministers otherwise there would have been copies in filing cabinets all around the building.

All I can assume is that there were at least the two copies, Mr. Gilbert's and mine, and one of them got stamped with an Executive Council stamp, but it was not in the normal process for distribution to Cabinet. All I can do is tell the truth. That is exactly what I find before me and I can find no other explanation.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

With all due respect to the Minister of Finance I do not know if he is being made out to be the scapegoat in this thing right now. Originally it was the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir who was being hung out and now it looks like the Minister of Finance is being hung out. His answer, Mr. Speaker, does not jive.

If you read the paper you can see clearly, in fact, that it was a recommendation by the Cabinet committee. It was your recommendation not to proceed, to recommend to the Cabinet to re-tender the project. That was your recommendation contained in that appendix. You signed the document, but now you tell us here today that you do not know who wrote it for you, who drafted it for you, who sent it to Executive Council, why it was stamped by Executive Council, why the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir had a copy, why he had a copy, why the Premier did not know anything about it. How can the minister expect us to believe anything he is saying any longer?

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

MR. BAKER: Because, Mr. Speaker, the answer to all these questions lie in the explanation I have given, the answers to all of these questions. Mr. Speaker, a paper was prepared for a committee to examine internally by someone else. It was examined by the Committee and the result was a paper that was obviously written by me which was a note to Cabinet and was attached to WST 91-91 in the Executive Council files. It was simply a recommendation and a discussion of the WST 91-91, the process, and the recommendation to Cabinet that we go ahead with it, so, Mr. Speaker, for all the reasons I have given before, this is the document that was the recommendation of the committee to Cabinet.

Now, the other matter is what happened to a working document within the Committee. I simply cannot recall. It is three years ago. If this happened last week I could probably give an answer. It happened three years ago. The paper I had forgotten even existed. I did not recognize its existence until finally it showed up. Mr. Speaker, this was an internal document that the Committee had and it was never intended to go any further. It was simply for the consideration of the Committee. The Committee did not agree that was the recommendation they should make.

MR. SIMMS: Why did you respond to it?

MR. BAKER: Well, maybe that is a mistake I made. We are not all perfect. However, the Committee decided to go with a different recommendation for the reasons I have outlined. If we were to re-tender it would mean a delay of a year, two years, however long, and it would result in a tremendous escalation of prices as we knew would happen. We felt that would not be in the best interest of the people of this Province, the taxpayers of this Province, so we went ahead with the deal that was the best financial deal that this Province could ever do.

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

MR. SIMMS: I guarantee you that is subject to debate, that last statement the minister made, Mr. Speaker. In any event, not to get off track on this because I am trying to pursue a specific line of questioning. He has already raised himself, all kinds of questions in his own mind, and he is going to get answers for me, he tells me. I hope he does soon.

Let me ask him this question. He just tabled a document. It was just brought to my attention. This is suppose to be the alternative or the next note to Cabinet.

AN HON. MEMBER: The one that went?

MR. SIMMS: Yes, the one that went. The Premier's recommendations, no doubt I say, contained in this one, the note to Cabinet. Let me ask him this, since he just tabled it. It is rather interesting. What was the date on this note? Who signed it, and where is the Executive Council stamp? Can he answer those three short questions related to this document?

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

MR. BAKER: This note was brought into Cabinet. It was distributed in Cabinet. It was done up by me, distributed in Cabinet, and I think the people in the Executive Council, written, attach to Works, Services and Transportation 91-91 at the time, and it was attached to WST 91-91 and was in the files of Executive Council. So this was a note to Cabinet that I brought in as an individual and presented to Cabinet. It did not go through the distribution process. That is the reason there wasn't a stamp on it.

MR. SPEAKER: The time for Oral Questions has elapsed.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burgeo - Bay d' Espoir on a point of order.

MR. GILBERT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In Question Period today, the Leader of the Opposition asked questions as to how I became aware of the appendage to Works, Services and Transportation 91-91, subject: Build/lease proposals for the health care facilities.

I would like to clarify for the House how I became aware of it. When this case which is now before the court came up, the Justice department decided to release the paper 91-91 to which certain appendages were attached. As I was preparing for a witness, eventually I was given the paper 91-91. On November 19, I took the paper that had been released by the Justice department and Executive Council and compared it to the one that - the members over there will realize as a Cabinet minister that I had access to the papers that went through my department while I was there. This one had started to go through and wasn't quite completed. Anyhow, it was sent home with my papers.

When I checked the one that had been released with the attachments on it, I found, the one that was sent home to me had three more attachments: one, a note to Cabinet from a committee meeting that we had on October 15 recommending paper 91-91; two, a legal opinion by Mr. Cummings; and three, this appendage right here. When I discovered they were there and hadn't been released to the court and the Justice department had made a decision that they were going to release all the papers, I then contacted my lawyer. We came and saw Mr. Baker on Tuesday, November 22, advised him of these documents, and then released them to the court.

Now, that is how I became involved. I was not involved in it. I was out of Cabinet when this thing happened; it was attached to my Cabinet paper in error, I would expect, but I'm glad that they were.


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

The point raised by the hon. member is not a point of order. He is just taking the opportunity, I guess, to give an explanation as to what has transpired during Question Period. There is really no point of order.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I am presenting the report of the financial statements of the Newfoundland Legal Aid Commission for the year ended March 31 1993. I also want to present the annual report of the Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities on the operations carried out under the automobile insurance act.

Notices of Motion

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Workers' Compensation Act (No. 3)". (Bill No. 59) Thank you.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Recording Of Evidence Act". (Bill No. 60)

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act Respecting Reductions Of Pension Contributions By Employees In The Public Sector." (Bill No. 58)

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Hospital Insurance Agreement Act, The Insurance Companies Act, And The Medical Care Insurance Act". (Bill No. 61)


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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It gives me pleasure today to rise to present a petition from the district. The gist of the petition is that it asks for the House of Assembly to accept the following prayer:

`We, the undersigned, do hereby request the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to immediately provide emergency funding to generate desperately needed employment in our communities. As in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.'

For the last thirteen working days of this House it has been echoed back and forth - because we've heard it a couple of times echoed on the other side of the House - the need for an emergency job creation project. Today, we have fifty-eight names from the small community of Fair Haven, a community with people who work in construction, who don't have any income, some fishermen, fisherwomen, plant workers, some who will be turfed off TAGS program by the end of December, others who are caught up - and not through their fault - in a UIC investigation that is covering some 1,400 people, a large net that is going on since last year, but the innocent people are caught up in a net as well. These people are working people, like so many other people in so many other districts throughout this Province.

I told you before about the Placentia district, one end to the other, 70 per cent unemployment in the Placentia area alone, and Southern Harbour, Fair Haven, Little Harbour, Mount Arlington Heights and Long Harbour are not much better off. There are other places in this Province facing the same issues. Work is good for your pocketbook, we all know, but it is also good for your soul, and good for your mind.

We are told that the hon. minister has laboriously tried to get Ottawa to side with him on such an emergency response, but I have gotten up here before and said that this Province should take the initiative to look after its own, and what Ottawa comes in with after the fact is gravy. What is needed is not for next month - it would be nice next month, or the month after - but it is desperately needed now. How can you tell a person who is hungry that you have to wait?

Abraham Maslow's theory on the hierarchy of needs, the first one, is a full stomach. There is some disagreement on Maslow's theory, that they also say that shelter is number one; but, let me tell you, regardless of whose theory, a full stomach and shelter are very important for us poor human beings, and it gives me pleasure today to rise and not only support the people in Fair Haven, who have a talent for work, and who want work, not only for the district of Placentia, but for every other district in this Province.

Thank you.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise in support of the petition by the Member for Placentia. It is the first time, I must say, that I heard Maslow's theory of hierarchy of needs discussed in the House of Assembly. While I am impressed with the member for his knowledge of it, mine goes back to the 1960s and early 1970s when I studied psychology. I think in discussing the hierarchy of needs, obviously, the need for food and shelter is very important, but the top need in Maslow's theory of needs is for self-actualization.

What they talk about these days is very similar to that. It is called empowerment, having some control over your destiny, and that is what the people of Placentia want. They want to have a job so that they can look after their own families, so that they can provide the food and shelter and sustenance, and the kinds of things that their children need, and that is as important today as food and shelter is to the people of this Province, because we are, for many people, in a survival mode.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I did, indeed.

We are in a survival mode in this Province. So many of our people are not given and don't have an opportunity to fully participate in the society around us, the society that we joined in 1949 so that we might become part of a great nation that was capable of sharing the wealth and generating sufficient employment and employment opportunities for people. This government seems to be ignoring its own role in that field.

I see the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations shaking his head. Well, he might. The people of this Province are shaking their heads at the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, and wonder what he has been doing since he has been minister back in August. Well, he might, shake his head. We are all shaking our heads over here and wondering when the minister is going to come forth with his government's proposals to deal with the very serious unemployment problem in this Province.

I conclude, Mr. Speaker, by saying I fully support the petition presented by the Member for Placentia and I look forward to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations getting on his feet and telling us when we can expect to have some response.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, just a few words on the petition. Of course, I spoke to many of the other petitions on the same subject. I did have meetings with federal counterparts, both the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of Human Resource Development, Mr. Axworthy and I am very hopeful that we will have some kind of answer from our federal counterparts before the week has ended. I understand the need better than does the Member for St. John's East. I had twenty-one calls this weekend from all across the Province and Labrador.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: No, they were at Tors Cove, I say to the hon. member, and they were collect, I might add. However, I responded to them and talked to the people of the Province, the development associations and other people who took the time to call.

I understand the need, I understand the concern and you can be sure that this government and this minister will continue to work on behalf of the people of the Province.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to present a petition from 296 concerned individuals from fifteen communities in the district of Bonavista South. The prayer of the petition reads:

`We, the undersigned, as residents of the communities from Sweet Bay to Knights Cove in the electoral district of Bonavista South, petition the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to come forward with funding to create much needed employment for people who are not clients of the Atlantic Groundfish Strategy Program, also known as TAGS, and have no recourse for work and a decent income.'

Mr. Speaker, here is another example of fifteen communities recognizing the need to bring forward emergency funding so they may go forward and have some form of gainful employment to provide food and shelter for their families this coming winter.

Mr. Speaker, the year before last there was $12 million brought forward in a make-work program emergency funding and last year there was $6 million to try to address the need. Mr. Speaker, those were dollars brought forward by the Provincial Government. This year, for some unknown reason, for people out there, we seem to be shirking our responsibility and saying that it must rest with Ottawa. Mr. Speaker, that is not good enough. The government of the day was elected to represent Newfoundlanders and represent Newfoundland needs, and if we can convince Ottawa to come forward with extra funding, then so much the better, because I am certain we will never address the needs of 100 per cent of the people out there today who are unemployed. Mr. Speaker, we are all aware of the intentions of Ottawa and this government, and that is to do away with unemployment insurance, to do away with some of the social programs. But let me tell you, Mr. Minister, before we can arrange to do that and before we are allowed to do it, we have to create some jobs, an atmosphere to create employment, have jobs out there so that people then will have a choice. Until we give people choices we can't take away their only hope and their only source of income which, for many people up until now, has been make-work projects, emergency response to get them through the winter months, in order to support their families.

Mr. Speaker, if Ottawa is not willing to share its wealth with Eastern Canada, then it must be willing to share its jobs. And I can assure you that for many, many people in rural Newfoundland today it is not an option for them, Mr. Speaker, to pack up the car or load up the truck and take off to Ontario somewhere or take off to the West Coast. Work is no more plentiful in Toronto today than it probably is in many areas of our own island province here. Mr. Speaker, when you talk with people who are fifty-five and sixty years old, many people would find that a real dilemma, Mr. Speaker, it would be a real fear to even have to consider moving to another province to find employment, notwithstanding how they would ever find the $2,000 or $3,000 to provide funding for them to even get there in the first place.

So, Mr. Speaker, I call on the government of the day, I call on the minister of the day to go forward, and if it means convincing Ottawa or convincing his own Cabinet to bring emergency funding forward so that those needs might be addressed, I ask him to do it immediately, so those people can go forward, find a job - there are all kinds of things that need to be done out there, Mr. Speaker, it isn't hard to find work that needs to be done, and meaningful work, along with that - so they would be able to support and feed their families in a decent way. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Baie-Verte - White Bay.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to rise and support another in a long list of petitions that have been presented for, I think the fourteenth straight day in this House. Recently, we stood to support petitions, Mr. Speaker - and I can tell you, there wasn't a lot of comfort from the minister when he stood today to respond again to this cry that started out just over two weeks ago. Mr. Speaker, I say to the minister, that I commend him, as does everybody in this hon. House, for his efforts in travelling back and forth to Ottawa trying to come up with the appropriate message for the people, that `We are going to respond to your needs.' I commend the minister for doing that, as I have done since day one, but, Mr. Speaker, that is not good enough, I say to the minister.

I am sorry, but you know, it is not something - and when he says wait - Mr. Speaker, I would like to know, I would like to have a statistic, if we could only come up with it, of how many people have gone to Social Services for the first time, since fourteen days ago, when we first asked the question in the House: Is there going to be an emergency response program? I wonder how many have gone there, Mr. Speaker. Every time I go back to my district on weekends, I find very quickly that I have another person coming to me to say: `I'm sorry, but I had to go to Social Services for the first time. That is another person added to the list, Mr. Speaker.

The whole point of all this, I say to the minister, is that, time is crucial and it is just not good enough to hear him say, `We hopefully will get an answer by the end of the week.'

Mr. Speaker, I say, and I am sure all hon. members who get the calls on this particular issue, say the same things to their constituents, I hope and pray that soon we will be able to have an announcement. I hope the minister is going to stand today and say: Yes, there is an emergency response program coming.

Mr. Speaker, I mean, time after time we say to the people who ask us these questions - they say to us, `We know this is not the answer to our problems.' We know that the social reform debate will be going on and on, it has started already - Soundings, the other night on television - I mean, the debate is going on and on and will be going on for a long time. And, hopefully, we can all pull on the same oar to get some good answers to those questions of social reform; but I say to the minister, that while that is ongoing, this is called an emergency response program. It is now December, we are heading into the last two weeks before Christmas, and people don't have an answer. and as of this morning again - I know the minister has had them again today, I had them again this morning. They ask: `Mr. Shelley, when is there going to be an answer to this? We need to know now.' I say: `Well, hopefully, there is going to be something this week,' as the minister just said to me.

Now, I wonder how much comfort that is to those people. Because I know, Mr. Speaker, from being in my district again the weekend and bumping into those same people - they say: Listen, we can't wait for you to say - you said last week it is going to be another week, and then you say it is going to be ten days. This is December, we need a response to that.' Now, the minister said here today that it is going to be within the week - is that right minister?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: You should hopefully know by the end of the week, that's what the minister is saying. Now, if I have to say that to all the constituents I am getting calls from - and by the way, I want to do something else here today, and that is, commend the Members for Twillingate and Windsor - Buchans, for getting up and supporting me at one time when I presented these petitions. At the same time, I would like to note to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, that if there is one time you are dead wrong, it is when you say that we stand up to make political points on petitions.

There is no media here, there are no people in the galleries, and when I stand to present a petition on emergency response programs, political stripe doesn't cross my mind. I was glad to see the two members stand up and support me, and in my own district, and whenever I spoke to the media, I said they did. If it were the Hydro debate, and we presented petitions, and you said we were using political propaganda, well, maybe I could agree with the minister on that, but I will never agree with him on this one.

When we stand to present on these petitions, if the minister had a bit of gall and gumption, he would stand up, especially a former Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, who understands this situation probably better than the new minister. You understand it because I remember seeing your picture next to the $13.5 million announced for 1991. I am proud to say that we understand the immediate situation. The minister did a good job. He stood up and said, `Yes, we understand the situation, $13.5 million this year,' and I applauded him. Now, he stands to say we are going for political points on these petitions. I say to you, Minister, if you believe that - this is one time you can say it about Hydro petitions or anything else, but you can't make it on this petition.

I speak for every Newfoundlander who finds himself looking into a Social Services office for the first time with their hands out. I have had calls from very emotional people, very upset and very distraught. I had one particular case where the wife called because the man was too embarrassed to talk to me and ask for an emergency project. For the first time, a forty-four-year-old man with four kids had eight unemployment stamps and for the first time he was going to the welfare office.

Mr. Speaker, that is not an exaggeration or a fabrication. That is reality and I wish the former Minister of Labour would sometime in the House, stand up and support those petitions, as he should.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

Orders of the Day

MR. ROBERTS: Mr Speaker, could we begin, please, by calling Motions 3 through 7. Those are all bills which we are asking leave to introduce, Sir.

MR. SPEAKER: Motions 3 to 7.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act," carried. (Bill No. 56)

Motion, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Pippy Park Commission Act (No 2)," carried. (Bill No. 54)

Motion, the Minister of Finance to introduce the following bills, "An Act To Amend The Teachers' Pension Act," "An Act To Amend The Public Service Pension Act 1991," "An Act To Amend The Newfoundland And Labrador Computer Services Limited Amendment Act". (Bills Nos. 45, 44, and 55)

On motion Bills Nos. 56, 54, 45, 44, and 55 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour, we will ask the House to begin today by picking up at second reading, the adjourned debate on Bill 47, which is Order 22. I believe my friend, the Member for Ferryland adjourned debate Friday morning when the House last sat. If we get through that, as we hope we shall, we will then ask the House to deal with Order 23, which is the Liquor Control Act. That is a companion piece, really, to the Tobacco Tax Act, and we will then go on to Order 25, `An Act To Amend The Wilderness And Ecological Reserves Act'. Should we get through that one, then by that time my friend, the Member for Grand Bank and I should have put our heads together and come up with the next order of business. Could we begin, Sir, with Order 22, Bill 47.

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 47, the adjourned debate.

The hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Overall this government has endeavoured to use the control of cigarettes and tobacco in general as a means of revenue for the Province. They have taken in large amounts of money in terms of revenue. With reference to controlling, I guess, the number of people smoking in the Province, restricting it in the workplace has been probably effective in reducing the number of cigarettes smoked by people in this Province.

Now, I had an opportunity to just glance through - I didn't get into any depth there, but the minister provided it to me and I thank him for that, a survey on smoking in Canada, cycle one and cycle two. It is a four cycle thing that is now in progress there. In this Province we have seen some improvement overall, but a few points to keep in mind, I think, when you interpret results, are very important.

For example, Prince Edward Island had the highest percentage at 33 per cent, 31 per cent in Quebec, which had the higher percentage of smokers, but on the average, those provinces which have the highest percentage of smokers, smoke fewer cigarettes than the Canadian average.

So I know there are things to keep in mind. It is not just the number of smokers a province would have, of course, but the amount of cigarettes a person would smoke as having an effect upon - the overall effect on that individual.

Newfoundland hasn't done too badly at all compared to some other provinces recently, but we have reached a point now where extra dollars that we are getting in in taxation would have to be used to get a real result and to effect a greater change. For example, in the 1970s up to the 1980s, 1986 to be exact, we saw a substantial decrease in the amount of smoking in Canada overall. Between 1986 and 1992, over the next six, seven years, we saw very little change over the last several years in decrease in the number of smokers in this country. Over the past year there were very significant changes - one per cent overall over the period, I think 1992 up into 1993. We didn't see much improvement because we are not using sufficient resources.

When you accomplish a certain amount of progress you need to have to spend more resources proportionately to get a result that you want. That is something we have to do. Our tax dollars are increasing. We collected $65 million last year in tobacco tax revenue in this Province. We project that we are going to collect $62 million this year, and I think it is up. The minister said taxes are up overall and I would assume retail sales tax, and overall taxes - I think in his statement he said our revenues are up. We are going to exceed $65 million again this year, quite possibly, and maybe go higher.

I say to the minister, too, that we need to use funds, resources that are obtained, to be able to get an increased result or effect. We are probably at the point of diminishing returns now on our investment dollars into advertising. Legislation, I think, in the workplace, yes, reduces the amount of cigarettes that we smoke during the working day. Because Newfoundlanders in the survey showed that they have more restrictions in the workplace in terms of smoking than many other provinces. I say that is positive and that is good.

We need to not just have a reduction during the working day in smoking. We need to be concerned about the remaining sixteen or fifteen hours of a day, or seventeen hours, whatever is left from the working day, to be able to try to get a result in these areas.

Smoking is having a tremendous impact on our health care system today. Most people associate smoking with cancer. That is only one effect, that is only the small portion. Respiratory and associated diseases are the greatest cause of disease resulting from smoking. I think we need to focus in on those specific areas here.

We need to be concerned more with a result in improved health care rather than with an increased method of taxation. We need to focus our attention on the real problem, not the housewife who goes to Fermont and gets two packs of cigarettes and $300 worth of groceries, and then who is crucified by rules made by this Province, which is attacking the common person who is not the real abuser or the real culprit.

Mr. Speaker, overall, we have seen some progress here. Newfoundland has made some progress, but we must put forth a much greater effort if the progress is going to continue. We are now at a stalemate almost, and at a point of diminishing returns. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to take a few minutes to speak on Bill 47, `An Act To Amend The Tobacco Tax Act'. It is an issue that has been discussed quite a bit in my district. Tobacco tax is a subject that is talked about in practically every house in my district. I'm sure my friend, the Member for Eagle River can verify that down in his district, in the neighbouring communities and the border situation, it is pertinent to them. I'm surprised he hasn't been up to speak on it. Maybe he has previously, and he will be up after me, I'm sure.

It is an issue, when you live in a border situation, that the adjacent taxes of products has a direct influence on what the people in the other area, the neighbouring community, so to speak, will have to pay for products. We all know, of course, during the first days of the imposition of the GST, what occurred in the border situations between Canada and the U.S. with regard to what we commonly refer to now as cross-border shopping. There was a tremendous drain on the Canadian economy initially from the consumers in that, in the border areas of the country, they were going across and saving the 7 per cent GST. The GST, once it became imposed, added a 7 per cent tax to the consumer, whereas prior to the imposition of the GST we had a manufacturer's tax of 13 per cent but it was hidden. And people immediately saw that they could go across the border into the U.S. and not have to pay this 7 per cent plus the 8 per cent sales tax in Ontario, and 6.5 per cent in Quebec, or whatever the case may be.

In these highly densely populated areas, the consumers seeing that they could save money, or get a product at a cheaper price by avoiding taxation, went across the border and bought it, and that created a tremendous problem for the government of this country at that particular time.

Similarly, we have, in provincial jurisdictions in this country, a difference in taxes on different products. We have different levels of sales tax, different levels of gasoline tax, different levels of liquor tax. And, of course, by different provinces having different levels of taxation, this has created cross-border shopping within the country.

I live in a district that is adjacent to the Province of Quebec, and they saw fit to convince the Federal Government of the day, last year, to lower the level of the tobacco tax in the country, or the federal sales excise tax. When the Federal Government did lower it, they matched it, and we see a tremendous difference between the prices in neighbouring Quebec and the prices down in my district, which has a graduated tax, in a sense, because we have the people who sell tobacco products in Western Labrador getting a tax rebate from the Provincial Government. But that rebate was comparable. That created a level playing field.

Prior to the lowering of the federal excise tax and Quebec matching the tobacco tax lowering, last February, this government had in place a policy of a provincial tobacco tax rebate to businesses selling tobacco products, so that presented a more level playing field for businesses to operate in Western Labrador.

Then, when Quebec convinced the Federal Government to again lower it, and they matched it, and I think even exceeded the matching value, we saw that the price of a carton of cigarettes in Quebec was around $23 whereas it was $54 in Newfoundland, so with that tremendous difference in the sale of a carton of cigarettes we can see what could happen with regard to people going cross-border shopping.

What did this government do? On one hand, they agreed with the principle of creating a level playing field for businesses prior to the lowering of the Federal Government excise tax on tobacco products. They agreed with the principle, they said, yet they wouldn't lower it, when the Federal Government lowered it even further, to allow businesses in Western Labrador to compete. So what did they do? They beefed up the policing of the border. They had these trained police officers with all the necessary tools - helicopters, planes, skidoos, trucks, cars and all those things, putting people under surveillance who were up buying groceries, and they would be searching through the grocery bags, catching housewives with a couple of packages of cigarettes.

Now, this is not something that the average policeman who goes to university for three or four years, Mr. Speaker, and then goes off to police training. This is not what he is accustomed to doing, this is not what he wants to be doing.

Now, Mr. Speaker, while the government suggests that they want to allow businesses to develop, prosper and create employment and wealth here in this Province, they would not continue with the idea that businesses in Newfoundland should have the same opportunity to do business as they do in the Province of Quebec, they would not. While they agreed with the principle of lowering the taxes in border situations prior to February, they did not agree with it after, Mr. Speaker. Now, I recognize, and we all recognize that the government needs money to operate. Everybody knows that the government needs money to operate.

Now, Mr. Speaker, what we have to do is tax fairly and it is not fair to attempt to make criminals out of housewives because they happen to be up there buying groceries and if they have two packages of cigarettes they are going to get locked up over it. That is crazy.

MR. EFFORD: That's exaggerating, that's silly.

MR. A. SNOW: It is silly. I agree with the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, that it is silly for this government to instruct police officers to be up there doing that type of thing.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it is cross-border shopping that is the problem in Western Labrador. What is occurring, Mr. Speaker, because of the lower taxes in that province, people are going over and buying groceries. There was a lineup in the grocery store in Fermont last Sunday, Mr. Speaker, in excess of 100 people for sure.

MR. TOBIN: How long were you trying to get served?

MR. A. SNOW: I wasn't there but I was told there were several hundred people lined up to purchase sale products. It wasn't tobacco products, it was soft drink products.

Now, Mr. Speaker, people are going up to Fermont and spending thousands and thousands of dollars and that's dollars that are lost out of our economy. They are lost from our economy. It is creating more wealth and more jobs in the Province of Quebec than in our Province. People are going up to purchase these sale products because there is a tremendous difference in the sales tax too, as the Minister of Finance knows, because he's had representation from the Chamber of Commerce. This is not just me saying this, Mr. Speaker, the Chamber of Commerce has sent letter after letter requesting meetings to the Minister of Finance and they have offered solutions.

One of the solutions, Mr. Speaker, that has been offered is that the government says what we are apprehensive about is that if we do lower the tobacco tax at the border situation, that the tobacco products will then come to other parts of the Province. What they are apprehensive about is that people will purchase their tobacco products in Western Labrador or Southern Labrador and then ship them off to other parts of the Province because they would be allowed to have them there so they should be allowed to have them over here.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the Chamber of Commerce has suggested a method - and it is used in other parts of the country is my understanding - we all know now that tobacco products have a tag on them, a coloured tag, in this Province it is orange, in the Province of Quebec I believe it is grey. The Province of Prince Edward Island and the Northwest Territories uses a black tag. Now, Mr. Speaker, in a border situation all that is necessary to do is to use the black tag cigarettes, that's all. There is only one distributor who distributors the cigarettes in there. So they could carry the black tag cigarettes and then, by regulation, this government could say you are allowed to have the black tag cigarettes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: In a border situation, only in a border situation - then that allows the business person in Western Labrador to compete fairly, because of taxes, with the one in Quebec. Then the cigarettes cannot leave there because if you get caught with black tag cigarettes in St. John's, as an example, then that person could be charged with possessing illegal cigarettes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: No. Well, they could do that now, I suppose, if they wanted to. Black tag cigarettes, or black tag - you understand what I'm talking about, the ribbon on the package of cigarettes, the seal. Mr. Speaker, that is a method of doing it and it is used in other jurisdictions. The method of changing taxes in border situations goes on throughout this country. It is already in this Province. It is in the Province of Quebec, used in gasoline, it is used in liquor, it is used in tobacco. There is nothing wrong with doing it.

I only wish that more people would listen. Because a lot of people suggest that it is being held up for sheer political reasons over on the other side. That would be tremendously unfair. I'm hoping that the Minister of Finance is going to recognize that it is costing the business people in Western Labrador business. It is also costing this Province a loss in revenue. The Province itself, I will submit, loses money, loses taxes, loses employment opportunity for people, loses income tax that would be generated because of the increased employment levels that would be generated, because if people stayed and bought their products at home that would create more wealth right here in this Province.

You would not see the line-ups in the grocery store to purchase products. You wouldn't see people lined up in the stores up there. We should also be lowering the stores selling clothing articles, and also the depenneur up there selling other products. We should lower our gasoline tax. This government agrees with it in principle but they don't lower it enough. They have a different rate in border situations in this Province. You agree with it in principle, but when it comes down to doing it in fact you won't do it.

That is the hallmark of this Administration, to say one thing and do another. Just do enough to make people think you are doing something. It is perception, that is all. They don't want to do anything that is going to actually do something, that is going to improve the opportunity of businesses doing more business and creating more wealth and creating more opportunities for employment. They don't want to do that, they just want to appear to be doing something. That is unfortunate because that is what really hurts.

They talk about that they are going to pass the EDGE bill. They are going to ask us to be passing the EDGE bill here in this House. Here is something that they could do to promote more business opportunities in this Province without having a new bill or a new piece of legislation. It wouldn't be necessary if they were to do what they say they believe in. In other words, lower the tobacco taxes. They should also look at the liquor taxes and the sales tax in the border areas.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) increase the other taxes that are lower here than in Quebec? What does the member say to that?

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, I imagine what the former Minister of Justice -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) income tax.

MR. A. SNOW: Income tax is higher in this Province.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) higher in Quebec.

MR. A. SNOW: What is the payroll tax in Quebec?

MR. ROBERTS: Double what is in Newfoundland and Labrador.

MR. SULLIVAN: The payroll tax is? What is it?

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the sales tax in this Province is double what it is in Quebec.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) both sides of the border. All taxes, not just the ones where we are higher.

MR. A. SNOW: What I'm saying we should be doing is if we agree in principle with the concept of a graduated tax - that is what we agree with now. The former Minister of Justice agrees with a graduated tax. He agreed with it because they agreed with it last year. As soon as it became a little larger they would not agree. That is what is wrong, Mr. Speaker. It is fundamentally wrong to say: We will pay two cents, but if it becomes five cents we don't agree with it. Out the window goes our principle. That is what happened.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, some people suggest that because of the representation in Eastern Labrador that is the reason why we don't have it. Because they don't want -

MR. ROBERTS: You are just being unfair to Danny and William.

MR. A. SNOW: Eastern Labrador, Central Labrador.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: That is what some people are suggesting. Because there is a suggestion that the people are apprehensive about the tobacco products going over to Central Labrador. That is why some people are saying that is why it is not being done. Now we have offered a solution. The people of Western Labrador have offered a solution.

AN HON. MEMBER: What is it?

MR. A. SNOW: With regard to taxation that the former Minister of Justice has just spoken about, this Province has twice the level of sales tax, 6.5 per cent sales tax in Quebec, and we have a 12 per cent sales tax.

MR. SULLIVAN: 12.84 per cent; 13 per cent with the piggyback.

MR. A. SNOW: So it almost more than twice -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, I am hoping that the government will have a look at this. The Minister of Finance and Treasury Board has suggested to me, and suggested to the members of the Chamber of Commerce, the residents of Western Labrador, that they are going to be looking at it, that they will consider increasing the tobacco tax rebate because this will allow businesses in Western Labrador to compete on a level playing field. It will allow the residents to stay at home and shop and support their local businesses without being penalized, because that is exactly what is happening, and if this government doesn't get off its high horse and do that, they are being tremendously unfair to the residents of Western Labrador.

Thank you.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I opened debate on the bill, so if I am heard now... I don't know if any other member wishes to...

MR. SPEAKER: If the hon. the minister speaks now, he closes the debate.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, what I would say is simply to thank members for their contributions, which will be dealt with in accordance with the merits of those contributions.

I will make one other remark, and that is to say to my friend from Menihek that the matter is still open insofar as we are concerned. We have undertaken to look at it. My friend, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, was in Western Labrador two or three months ago, if memory serves me correctly, and met with the Chamber of Commerce. I was there at the first part of last month, at the Iron Ore Conference, and met with the executive of the Chamber. The issue came up, and I repeated the undertaking. We have since then received a brief from the Chamber, from Dr. Malek - I think it was signed by him, or the covering letter was signed by him - and that is now being looked at by the officials, so we shall see what we can do.

With that said, Sir, I move that the bill be read a second time.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The Tobacco Tax Act," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill No. 47)

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, my friend, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board will be with us in a minute or two. He is doing a scrum, I think it is called, outside. Perhaps, in the interest of not having me move another of his bills, we might call Order 25. That is the Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act, which is a fairly minor matter. The gentleman from St. Mary's - The Capes may want to speak on it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I understand from my friend from Ferryland that the gentleman from St. Mary's - The Capes is within the precincts of the House, so he can come along. If that is agreed, then let's ask Your Honour if you would be good enough to call Order 25. I understand my friend, the minister, has a two hour speech by way of introduction given that the bill is, I think, two lines long.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Amend The Wilderness And Ecological Reserves Act." (Bill No. 50)

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I just wanted to make these few comments. It is the same explanation that I provided to the Opposition critic, the hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, when this bill appeared in the Legislature last week. He had a particular interest in it because he, of course, monitors all of the activities of the department, but also because there was a reference in this particular bill to the reserve at St. Mary's.

Basically, by way of explanation and to allow for time for the hon. member to return to the Legislature and make his comments, I just point out, as I did last week, that currently there are five seabird ecological reserves proclaimed and listed as part of the Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act, and all of these reserves were initially proclaimed in this way in 1983, when this Act came into being. Because at the time when the act was established all the seabird reserves, all five of them were formerly protected as wildlife areas, and it was decided at that time to bring the five seabird reserves under the act at that time so that they could in fact get the reserve status they required and the protection they needed, rather than putting them through the rigorous and time consuming public consultation process on an individual basis that was deemed at the time to be the most appropriate way to ensure the protection that was necessary in all five areas.

Presently, Mr. Speaker, some ten years later, two of these reserves, namely Cape St. Mary's and Witless Bay, have now evolved to the point where they have complete management plans and regulations on a stand-alone basis but the other three have still not moved along to that level yet, and still require protection under the Act. Considering that the boundaries of both these reserves changed earlier in 1994, they no longer need to be protected this way in the Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act and therefore Bill 50 suggests that they can be deleted from the appendix and therefore stand alone because they have now moved along in development to this stage.

The two reserves, Cape St. Mary's and Witless Bay will then be administered like the other reserves that have reached that status in the Province, the other wildlife reserves such as Bay du Nord and others, with their own separate regulations and their own management plans. This does not make either of the reserves less secure but in fact they are more secure by virtue of the fact that they have their own regulations and plans.

When the management plans are finalized for the remaining three it is then intended that they, too, should be deleted from the Act, but only when they have separate management plans that have gone through the rigorous and time consuming public consolidation process and are decided upon at that time. Therefore, what Bill 50 does is deletes Cape St. Mary's and Witless Bay from a schedule attached to the Act because they are now in a position to be able to stand alone on their own basis with their own management plans. The other three stay attached to the Act in that particular appendix to give them the protection they need while the plans are further developed.

With those comments, Mr. Speaker, I introduce the bill for second reading.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to support the position to remove these from the schedule of the Wilderness and Ecological Reserve Act. Witless Bay Seabird Sanctuary is a world renowned sanctuary, and to have a management plan to address the concerns there, and to ensure that it will continue to be a seabird sanctuary for many years to come, is very important, not only for the preservation of this type of wildlife itself but also as an important tourism attraction for the area.

In my district there are now three different companies involved in boat tours that take people out, whale watching, and out to Witless Bay to the Bird Islands, we call them, and there has been a tremendous amount of interest shown over the past number of years in the number of tourists who are utilizing those boat tours and who find them very fascinating. They are becoming very professional and doing a tremendous job of promoting them right around the world.

People are coming back on an ongoing basis. They have some very professional and well run services there with a professional staff and an historic approach to those boat tours explaining the nature and the different species that are there. I was out on a trip last year, in fact. We had a tour of these islands and an explanation of what is happening there. In fact it was the day the cod jigging season opened on a recreational basis and we managed to jig a few codfish on the way. It adds a little bit to the culture and the importance it has in rural Newfoundland.

The very first day they announced it this year in August, the recreation fishing, was the first time since the moratorium I stepped into a fishing boat. We went out and in about a half hour we jugged, myself and my son, about fifteen. He jugged ten and I got five as part of a tour boat. There were tourists there from different parts of the United States and from Ontario, and they were very intrigued with the opportunity to jig a cod fish on those tour boats.

It is really a shame though that on those tour boats, for somebody just to jig one cod fish over the side of a tour boat, that it had to be banned because, you know, people did not take the responsibility of a moratorium seriously and they had to bring in enforcement methods that denied everybody the opportunity. It is unfortunate that for the sake of a small number of the population, we deny others the benefit but the Witless Bay -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Food for the seals?


MR. SULLIVAN: That's right because seals are more important than humans, right?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes. Do you know one of the biggest contributors to the Liberal party of Canada, that contributes $42,500? International Fund for Animal Welfare, $42,500.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, that is what they contributed, one of the largest contributors, to enable them to bring in favourable legislation I guess. Gun control is one example now that they lobbied for; $42,500 helps, really helps the cause but anyway -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Helping the Liberal party? Yes, I am strongly opposed to that, but gun control? I don't need gun control, I don't own a gun, I don't use a gun.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I didn't say - I said I favour gun control.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Very much so. I don't use one, don't own one, don't intend to own one, hope I never have to use one, and hon. member, hopefully I won't be provoked to that extent by the hon. minister and it is not necessary, to be able to survive, to have a gun.

Now we are back to a tremendous tourism attraction, a tremendous area for the breeding and a home to many sea birds in the Witless Bay area. I think it is a tremendous asset and I am very proud to have it in my district and to see such interest by people in preserving the integrity of that seabird sanctuary in our area. So I think it is important now that Witless Bay - they have developed a management plan to be able to set that out uniquely there rather than come under the general framework of the Act under which it was currently listed. I think I made reference here to The Wilderness And Ecological Reserves Act I think that generally applied to it; now we have some specific plans to apply and have this in a stand-alone area here, so I support that cause, Mr. Speaker, and especially the efforts of the people who have been concerned to bring this about.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to stand today and say a few words on Bill 50, "An Act To Amend The Wilderness And Ecological Reserves Act". It is an opportunity I guess to say a few words on not only the management of these ecological reserves, but indeed the need for some tighter control if we are to reap the benefits that these reserves can bring to our Province.

Mr. Speaker, part of this amendment concerns the Cape St. Mary's Seabird Sanctuary which happens to be in my district and I have to go back to some of the comments that were passed on in the explanatory notes and concerning the amendment to the Act, and basically, what the amendment brings is the two reserves, Cape St. Mary's and Witless Bay have management plans now in place, and regulations as a result of public consultations.

I think I will start my comments, Mr. Speaker, with some words on the public consultation aspect of this plan, because, Mr. Speaker, a fair number of people in my area were concerned about the management plans for Cape St. Mary's, in relation to the effect it would have on other industries, as at the time fisheries, and also in relation to the agriculture industry which is pretty heavy in my area.

The management plans were put forward by the department in a public consultation process but there was some concern about the processes, Mr. Speaker, and how it was brought on to the people. What it really was, a plan was put in place first and then it was brought out and given to the people saying: this is our plan, this is what we are going to do. There was not as much consultation as the government would have us believe in relation to the consultation process, Mr. Speaker. More or less a plan was put in place and then the people were told what the plan was.

There really was not a hell of a lot they could do in order to change the plan and to have input into it. I hope that in the next three sea bird ecological reserves that are now in the Province, that when the department goes out to these communities to put these plans in place that they consult more with the local people than they did in the case of Cape St. Mary's and that the local people will have more say into it.

Mr. Speaker, Cape St. Mary's has a history, for a number of years now, as being one of the major attractions for tourism in our area and indeed for the whole Province but I will touch on the tourism aspect of it after. I would like to touch on a couple of other things first, Mr. Speaker, but the area around Cape St. Mary's has indeed been one of the richest fishing grounds in Newfoundland for a number of years, not over the past couple of years since the moratorium came into place but indeed for many, many years previous to that. There were several families in my area, Mr. Speaker, that made a very good living from the waters off Cape St. Mary's.

There was a fair amount of concern, when the management plan was being put in place, as to what effect the management plans would have on the fishing industry in the area. These plans came forward and there were many concerns brought forward by the local fishermen in the area. Some were addressed, Mr. Speaker, some were not addressed but some of those were addressed through the consultation process. There are still some concerns - even today, Mr. Speaker, as we have a new interpretation centre being constructed at Cape St. Mary's - from the local people in relation to what they will be allowed to partake in at Cape St. Mary's or in the waters around Cape St. Mary's as it relates to fishermen and indeed in the many, many areas of fields that are around in relation to the agriculture industry, Mr. Speaker.

So I hope, as government goes on to put in place management plans for the other three ecological reserves in the Province, that they will certainly take the consultation process much more seriously, Mr. Speaker, than they did in our area because I believe the people did not have the opportunity to have input into the management plans until the plans were put in place by a group of bureaucrats here within the department, Mr. Speaker, and I believe that to be wrong.

Cape St. Mary's has been a beacon of hope, Mr. Speaker, for fishermen and definitely safety was a major concern. The lighthouse at Cape St. Mary's has provided that necessary beacon throughout the years in relation to the many, many ships and many, many smaller boats that travel the area around Cape St. Mary's. It has been a grave concern for a number of years in relation to exactly what will happen now that there are several discussions ongoing concerning automation of the Cape St. Mary's lighthouse and the fact that there will be no personnel on hand to keep an eye on things. Apart from the loss of jobs, Mr. Speaker, I think that there is something to be said for the historical part of that.

Many people visited Cape St. Mary's through the years and have very fond memories of dealing with the lighthouse keepers there and the personnel who take care of the buildings at the cape. Apart from, like I say, the job aspect of it, I think that it is very important as a part of our culture, that the lighthouse keepers should be allowed to stay, at least to keep some of these places open for our tourism and development, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to touch on, for a minute - the tourism development at Cape St. Mary's over the past number of years. As far as I am concerned it has not reached one-quarter of its potential yet. For a number of years, since 1983, when the management plan was put in place, some type of management plan for Cape St. Mary's in tourism - what could be offered for the tourism industry in the Province. Cape St. Mary's has been hailed as one of the Meccas of tourism here in Newfoundland and Labrador and indeed, you can see over the past number of years, many, many visitors, and an increase in visitors, Mr. Speaker, who have been brought to Cape St. Mary's over the past number of years.

Thanks to our cousins in Ottawa, we see a few dollars coming through in the last tourism agreement that see funds provided for the upgrading and the paving of the road down to Cape St. Mary's, which was a major obstacle in our way of future development, Mr. Speaker. That was done last summer. The road was completely paved down to the bird sanctuary. I must say after talking to several visitors who had visited Cape St. Mary's during the summer of 1994 that they were very pleased to see the road paved. Thanks to our cousins in Ottawa that the money came forward under the last tourism agreement. I sure hope that the present minister can work towards a new tourism agreement to see some other tourism infrastructure put in place in the Province over the next couple of years.

Also, part of that agreement that came forward there a few years ago in relation to the tourism development provided dollars and very much needed funding for the construction of an interpretation centre at Cape St. Mary's. Last year the plans were put in place for the design work and the implementation of this building, and as we speak here today the construction is ongoing. I visited the site as a matter of fact yesterday morning. I happened to be at Cape St. Mary's and visited the site of the new interpretation centre and am very pleased with the construction so far. The building is almost completed outside and they've begun work inside the building. The hope is to have the building completely finished early in the new year, apart from some work that is outside.

This will give us the opportunity at Cape St. Mary's to have a class A facility to offer to the people. Not only to offer to the tourists, but indeed something that the area can be proud of. It would also hopefully offer a few extra much needed jobs. In just talking today to the minister, he is going to get me some information on that in relation to what employment opportunities are going to be available at the new centre. I look forward to as many local people finding employment at the centre that we can put there at the time.

I must say, back last year when the Minister of ITT, who happened to be the acting Minister of Tourism and Culture at the time - he was definitely an acting minister - I brought forward some concerns to him in relation to the employment of students there at Cape St. Mary's during the summertime. I must say that he acted quickly on my concerns and we see for the first time in many years a couple of students finding some employment at Cape St. Mary's during the past summer. I must say, it was not only pleasing to me but indeed pleasing to many people in the area that our local people finally found a niche at finding some work there at Cape St. Mary's. I talked to the couple of the students who had found employment. As a matter of fact, I talked to one late last night, one of the students who had worked at Cape St. Mary's over the past summer. He was very pleased with the opportunity to work. He said it was one of the most fulfilling jobs that he had the opportunity to partake in.

I also talked to the other student from the area several weeks ago concerning her employment at Cape St. Mary's this summer. She told me she found it one of the most interesting jobs she has held, and I'm sure because of the fact that she met people from all over the world, and had an opportunity to experience something that many of our students indeed don't get the opportunity to experience.

I have to say that when I brought those concerns to the Minister of ITT, who happened to be the acting minister at that time, he acted on those concerns. I'm sure that the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation today will see that as many local people in the area as possible will find work at the new interpretation centre that we hopefully will open up next spring some time, ready for the 1995 tourism season.

I would like to get back for a minute to the management part of it. The minister wasn't listening when I started off my comments so I will do like some people opposite do, I will repeat. Part of the explanatory notes that were passed on to me talked about the result of public consultation. I partook in some of the public consultation that was in place for Cape St. Mary's and I have to say it was definitely an opportunity for people to have their say. My only concern at the time was that the management plan was pretty well put in place by the time it came out to our area in relation to people having public consultation. Most people agreed with what was in the plan. But there were some concerns, and I think it would be advisable, when you go to talk to other parts of the Province in relation to putting together their plans, that the input be put into the consultation process early on. Local people will then have their concerns voiced early, and it will be part of the management plan that will be put in place - not something that will come in afterwards, but definitely part of the plan itself.

Mr. Speaker, the impact that Cape St. Mary's has had on our general area, the Cape Shore area, indeed, the whole of the southern Avalon, has definitely been positive over the years. I believe, over 10,000 visitors visited Cape St. Mary's this past summer, and in the years ahead, with the road paved now, and the construction of the interpretation centre, we will see much more growth in the visitors to the area.

AN HON. MEMBER: Growth in the visitors, or growth in the number of visitors?

MR. MANNING: We will see much increased growth in the number of visitors to Cape St. Mary's over the next number of years, and I believe that it is because of proper management of the ecological reserve - and not only proper management, but most important of all, it has to go back to proper planning.

I certainly congratulate some of the people who work in the parks division. I would certainly throw a bouquet, if I could, to the hon. the Minister of Social Services.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) bouquet.

MR. MANNING: No, indeed.

I give credit where credit is due. I would throw a bouquet to some people in the parks division of the Department of Tourism and Culture who have worked over the past number of years in the development and planning of Cape St. Mary's. While I didn't agree with all their plans, I have to agree with the fact that they did try their best and certainly came forward and talked to the people in the area.

There were several concerns brought forward in relation to the construction of the interpretation centre, and I believe it resulted in some minor changes being made, indeed, it resulted in the people having a chance to have their say, and while everybody may not be pleased with the construction of the centre, I am sure that most people are.

Over the past number of years, Cape St. Mary's has been, as far as I am concerned, in its infant stages of development and its infant stages of attracting tourists. Over the past summer, as I said earlier, there were over 10,000 visitors to Cape St. Mary's, but just a few miles away, down at the Salmonier Nature Park, there were over 40,000 visitors. If we could add one-quarter of those who attend the Salmonier Nature Park, you would see a major increase in the tourism industry at Cape St. Mary's.

Also, the interpretation centre - we are used to having a two - or a maximum of three - months tourism season because of the weather and because there are really no facilities at Cape St. Mary's. From my discussions earlier with the acting minister at the time, now the present Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, he hopes that through the construction of the interpretation centre, we will be able to expand our tourism season from early on in the Spring to maybe late in the Fall, and hopefully bring in school groups, and indeed, bring in more local people, because there are many people right in the area of the Cape Shore who have not visited Cape St. Mary's that often, and I think the interpretation centre will add to the importance of it.

I think I would be remiss if I didn't touch on some concerns that have been brought before me over the years, even before I became an MHA, but indeed, some of the concerns that have been brought forth when I worked with the development association as co-ordinator. Some of these concerns relate to the agriculture industry in the area, Mr. Speaker.

Out around Cape St. Mary's, for a number of years, people have had animals such as sheep, cows, etcetera, that have been as much a part of Cape St. Mary's as the birds, I would say. Many of the local farmers are concerned about the grounds around Cape St. Mary's, very fertile grounds for a number of years, that they may not have the opportunity in the future to use this land as part of the feeding for their animals, Mr. Speaker, because of a management plan being put in place, and the fact that we are making this an ecological reserve with a three-kilometre boundary. Many tourists I have talked to down through the years, have enjoyed the sheep that roam in the area.

The concern of the farmers in the area is a serious concern because of the fact that they have used the grounds around Cape St. Mary's for a number of years in their farming activities. I think that over the years there really has been no law and order out at Cape St. Mary's and everything has worked out fairly well in relation to industry growth. The population of the birds at Cape St. Mary's has increased considerably over the past number of years, and it has worked side-by-side with the farming industry in the area. There have been no real problems.

When somebody comes in from government, with a book titled `Management Plan,' people start having concerns. I think it is realistic that people have concerns, because they have been returning to the land in our area now over the past number of years and trying to make a living from the land as they did many years ago. The fact that they used Cape St. Mary's for the past century - I would allow it certainly didn't have any drastic effect on the Cape St. Mary's seabird sanctuary itself. As far as I'm concerned, it only enhanced it.

I hope that the minister in his wisdom with his officials in his department make sure that all industries can work side-by-side together, such as the agriculture industry, the fishing industry and indeed the tourism industry. I believe that these industries can work together if we all put our minds to it, everybody trying to work together.

I would like to touch on, if I could, the fact that over the next couple of months there is going to be a process in place that will see the automation of lighthouses. One of, I guess, the longest-told stories of interest would be in relation to the lighthouse keepers at Cape St. Mary's over the past number of years. It goes back to - as a matter of fact, my great-great-grandfather was one of the lighthouse keepers at Cape St. Mary's back in the late 1800s. There have been many stories told about it, and about the families raised at Cape St. Mary's.

Over the next couple of years, the government is putting in place a process of talking to people - a consultation process, they call it - in relation to automation of the lighthouses. And, Mr. Speaker, when we see `Consultation' written on the cover of the book, there are a couple of concerns that come up. One is that the government has a plan, as far as I am concerned, to automate those lighthouses, and indeed, automate the one at Cape St. Mary's. The number one concern is for the safety of the area. It has been a known fact in a lot of cases that the automation has worked well. But I'm very concerned about the inshore fishermen when they are working in their industry. Many of the boats now with the revitalization of Come-By-Chance down at the bottom of Placentia Bay, and indeed, much work into our - hopefully, some work will be provided to Argentia because of the Hibernia offshore. There is a possibility there are several hundred boats that participate in shipping activities in the Placentia Bay area.

I had some information here on the shipping activity in the area, and I am very concerned about the automation of the lighthouses and indeed for the safety of... I received this information from the Marine Traffic Centre. There are 180 tanker trips that go in and out Placentia Bay every year, and it is a concern that all those boats, with Cape St. Mary's - there is a safety concern not only for the safety of the crews that are on those boats, but indeed for the safety of Cape St. Mary's itself. Indeed, if there is an unfortunate incident that a boat would end up on the rocks, so to speak, we would see not only the destruction of what is left of the fishing industry in our area, but indeed the destruction of a major tourism opportunity in relation to Cape St. Mary's.

I believe that the Provincial Government should bring their concerns forward in relation to the automation of lighthouses, not only from the employment aspect but as well, from the safety aspect. Along with that, there is an historical connection to lighthouse keepers. I watched a TV show last week where a CBC weatherman was interviewing a lighthouse keeper up around the Gander area somewhere - I am not sure - around one of the bays up there. There is a lot of history with the lighthouse keepers, and I find that the people I talked to who visited our Province who had the opportunity to talk to lighthouse keepers are enthralled by the history of those men and women who have lived at those sites for the past number of years. I think there is an opportunity there for the Provincial Government to say to the Federal Government: Just hold off for a minute now; let's reconsider this decision of automating all those lighthouses. Because Placentia Bay is not only an area set for the tourist industry in the Province, but indeed for the marine safety and the safety of those people who are on those ships and on those small boats.

I would also like to touch on, in relation to the reserve itself, that over the past number of years we have had some concerns that a lot of people who visit the area do not have the opportunity to see the bird rock, or the Bird Island, as it is locally referred to. A lot of people in our area don't have the opportunity to see it due to the fact that they could be somewhat disadvantaged, especially wheelchair people and the elderly.

I am very pleased that this new interpretation centre will have in it a room where the elderly, or anybody who doesn't want to take the fifteen-minute walk out to Bird Island, will be able to sit, with some type of spy glass or whatever, and view Cape St. Mary's from the new building. I believe that is a major step forward on behalf of the people who put the plans in place.

I also think there should be some consideration given, even though you will meet opposition, to the fact - and we have discussed it over several years - the possibility of some type of boardwalk at Cape St. Mary's, similar to the boardwalk up at Gros Morne and those places, the four-foot boardwalks. Those boardwalks, I believe, would provide a great opportunity for other people to partake in the wonder of Cape St. Mary's.

I discussed with both the provincial Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation and indeed the Federal Government back a number of years ago, the possibility of having some type of boardwalk at Cape St. Mary's, and put forward the concern that many visitors wouldn't be able to see Cape St. Mary's due to the fact that they couldn't get out to the Cape. I believe government should think about putting some type of boardwalk in place out there so that people can really enjoy the true splendour that is known as Cape St. Mary's.

I encourage the minister, when he is talking about the future development of Cape St. Mary's to look at putting in place some type of boardwalk there. Not only will it create much needed employment in the area, Mr. Speaker, but it would indeed address the safety concerns of many people who have expressed that concern. Also, it would give the people the opportunity to see Cape St. Mary's up close where now they don't have the opportunity, due to the disadvantage of being in a wheelchair or being handicapped in some way.

I believe the government should look at putting a boardwalk in place. I hope that the present minister takes that into consideration when he goes out to cut the ribbon next spring for the new interpretation centre. That he will take a walk out to Cape St. Mary's and indeed see the necessary - now, don't go too close to the edge of the cliff, I say to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, because I'm sure there could be a few people in the area who might want to give you a nudge. I will be there to save you, I would say to the minister, and keep you from falling over.

I say to the minister, I hope that he finds time when he goes out to Cape St. Mary's next spring, to go out and open up his eyes to the concerns of some type of boardwalk to be put in place. I'm sure he will agree with me after he has seen it first-hand himself that there is something needed. The former acting minister of tourism and culture, the hon. the Minister of ITT now, has visited Cape St. Mary's on several occasions, many times, and he was struck by the wonder of it, I say. He was looking for the birds. Indeed, that he -

AN HON. MEMBER: He is not for the birds.

MR. MANNING: He is not for the birds, he was looking for the birds I say, Mr. Speaker. He agreed with some of the concerns in relation to local people finding employment at the site, and he addressed that concern when I brought it to him last year. I have to give credit. I hope that the present Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation will find it necessary that local people find employment there with the new interpretation centre. I should get a commitment from him before he goes out to visit the rock, and then we will see who gets pushed if he doesn't give me a commitment on some local people finding some work.

Indeed, this is an opportunity, not only for the people in the Cape Shore area and the southern Avalon area, but I believe that the management and the plans that have been put in place and the new interpretation centre will be beneficial only if we all work together on it. That includes the local people as well as both levels of government. I think it is an opportunity for not only our immediate area but indeed the whole Province to gain something from Cape St. Mary's. I hope that the management plan that is put in place now will be part of the future plans that come. Indeed I stress, as I touched on earlier, that next time when they go having consultation processes throughout the Province in relation to other seabird ecological reserves, that they bring the people, the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: What was that?

AN HON. MEMBER: What is the estimated population?

MR. MANNING: It is around 50,000 to 60,000 pairs of birds.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: No, that is just the gannet. There are ten or twelve different types of birds, Mr. Speaker. I hope that the -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, I can't handle questions, see, at the one time.

MR. SIMMS: Any other large birds with large numbers besides gannets?

MR. MANNING: There are turrs, they are called murres, and all that. I will have to explain that to you after now, Mr. Speaker. There are not very many puffins at Cape St. Mary's.

My main thing here in closing off my remarks, I say to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, and I repeat, that this new interpretation centre that is going out at Cape St. Mary's is an opportunity for: one, for the government to bring in many tourists into not only the area but indeed to the Province, but it is also an opportunity to find some much needed employment for the local people in the area. I hope he addresses that when he is closing off debate on the bill in relation to what he can do for the local area. I would like to know before he goes out there what he is going to do so then if we can get him to give - not a commitment - I know it is very hard to give a commitment. But I hope that he at least looks at the concerns that local people have in relation to finding employment at Cape St. Mary's. Because it is only by working together, government working together with the local people, that we will see the benefits of Cape St. Mary's for years to come.

Mr. Speaker, I close off my comments now with that. I was pleased to have the opportunity to say a few things about Cape St. Mary's and -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) piece of legislation? You are pleased to bring in this piece of legislation.

MR. MANNING: I'm pleased to partake in bringing in this piece of legislation. I believe that the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation will say a few words. I hope that he touches on a few of the concerns I raised, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much.

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am not going to echo all the sentiments of my colleague for St. Mary's - The Capes but I would like to get in a few words on Bill 50, particularly as it associates with Cape St. Mary's. That is only a couple of miles from where I was born. When my ancestors came over that is where they settled. Cape St. Mary's is a world renowned very natural reserve. There are stories in Newfoundland about foggy places. There are stories going around about LaPoile being foggy, about Argentia being foggy, or Lamaline, but there is an old story out the Shore about it getting so foggy out there that sometimes you have to bring the youngsters into Whitbourne to find out whether they are girls or boys after they are born.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. CAREEN: The vertically challenged little fellow from up in Labrador is speaking again, the cross-boarder shopper into Blanc-Sablon.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. CAREEN: Your Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation is sending in ahead of you, a yen for Japan. Well, I tell you there are a good many members over here who do not have a yen for the man for Eagle River.

We all know Cape St. Mary's is very important, and so is any other natural artifacts we have here on this Island and in Labrador.

AN HON. MEMBER: Have you been down to Branch lately?

MR. CAREEN: You will not get there again because you do not have the password. We see thousands of people coming into Newfoundland every year just to visit these natural resources we have. People come from Australia and from New Zealand just to see Cape St. Mary's. They come, and that interpretation centre, I must say, is only to improve the lot of it. The places next to the Cape could be hazardous but this new interpretation centre is only going to improve it.

People who come in on the Marine Atlantic through Argentia, or fly into St. John's, wind their way up the Southern Shore and wind their way out the Cape Shore. The other day I was up on a petition to pave the road from southeast Placentia out to North Harbour which would make a shorter loop for Newfoundlanders, or people from outside the Province who want to travel around.

There is an old saying in Newfoundland that says Cape St. Mary's pays for all. The Bird Island area, properly done and not too commercialized, because you have to leave it in a sort of natural situation, could do well for us all.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. CAREEN: I will take care of the boundary issue when it comes.

There is a line in the song, Let Me Fish Off Cape St. Mary's `and let me be a man and take it,' and I showed you that last year, but you have not proved anything to me yet, I say.

I got up, not to waste any time, but to get a couple of plugs in for an area we all know, for the Southern Shore and Witless Bay, which is also important to all the people who inhabit this Province.

MR. SPEAKER: If the hon. minister speaks now he closes the debate.

The hon. the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I certainly appreciate the support of the three hon. members opposite with respect to these significant amendments. I think after the blistering attack, particularly from the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, I can make one commitment, I will not be bringing in any more legislation in my name during this sitting of the House. Because I don't think the rest of us can stand another half-hour of a blistering attack like we just had to sit through a little while ago.

As a matter of fact, it was getting so bad when he started talking about the sheep and other problems that I was tempted to get up and withdraw the bill, Mr. Speaker, but I think we will press on and try to get it through if we can manage somehow, but I am certainly very pleased to be associated with this and appreciate the expressions of support, and I can assure the hon. members Opposite that the legitimate concerns expressed about the future and proper development of not only Cape St. Mary's and Witless Bay but the other reserves as well, certainly will be looked at and I certainly appreciate the comments and look forward to the passage of the bill and with that, Mr. Speaker, move second reading.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The Wilderness And Ecological Reserves Act", read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill No. 50).

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, Order No. 20, Bill 42.

MR. SPEAKER: Which minister is introducing this bill?

Are we doing Order No. 20, Bill 42?

AN HON. MEMBER: Bill 46 (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 46?

The hon. the Minister of Natural Resources.

DR. GIBBONS: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

I am sorry if there is confusion. I knew I was on some time this afternoon, I didn't know whether it was after liquor or before liquor.

MR. SPEAKER: Well, before I recognize the hon. minister, has the government decided which bill it is going to deal with at this point?

DR. GIBBONS: Forty-two.

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 42. Very good.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Ratify, Confirm And Adopt An Agreement Entered Into Between The Government Of The Province And Corner Brook Pulp And Paper Limited". (Bill No. 42).

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

DR. GIBBONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, when I gave my statement a week ago, on the 28th, introducing this and tabling the documents, I said most of what needed to be said. This is a very short bill and the purpose of the bill is basically given to us in the title of the bill. It is, "An Act To Ratify, Confirm And Adopt An Agreement Entered Into Between The Government Of The Province And Corner Brook Pulp And Paper Limited", and it is related to the purchase of lands by the Province from the company, and in my statement a week ago, I mentioned the areas and the quantities that are going to be freehold and the timber rights et cetera, I can repeat some of these numbers right now.

What we are doing is purchasing lands that Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited has been holding in freehold for immediate possession of surface and timber rights and this totals 272,000 hectares; secondly, for immediate possession of the surface rights, the Crown land rights and possession of the timber rights in 2037, another 376,000 hectares in two blocks of freehold land of 648,000 hectares. Also, as part of the package, Mr. Speaker, a third parcel of land in the Bonavista North region, an immediate return of the timber licenses for an area totalling about 100,000 hectares and on the Great Northern Peninsula, in the Roddickton region, an extension of an agreement exchanging licenses to the Crown in that area on the Northern Peninsula for a further twenty years, to expire in 2019 for another 106,000 hectares so a substantial area of land.

This deal is a lump sum deal and a per hectare price cannot be placed on it accurately because of the varying dates and the varying nature of the possession on timber rights. On an aggregate basis, however, it works out to be approximately $25 per hectare, which is an excellent price for us.

The only comparative sale of this scale, in the history of Newfoundland, was the purchase by the Moores Government in 1974 of 213,000 hectares of Reid Lots at a price of $4.15 million which in 1974 prices worked out to be approximately twenty dollars per hectare at that time in 1974 comparing to the present price of twenty-five dollars per hectare today, in 1994 dollars. So in 1994 dollars the 1974 purchase would now work out to about sixty dollars per hectare so this present arrangement is at a much better price for the government and the people of the Province.

For example, for comparison purposes, it should be noted that recently Bowater in Nova Scotia sold 64,000 hectares of freehold forest land to J.D. Irving Limited for $34 million. That deal, in Nova Scotia, just a few weeks ago, averaged $531 per hectare compared to our twenty-five dollars per hectare. The purchase of land by the Moores Government and the current purchase between them, have acquired a total of 861,000 hectares of freehold land brought back to the Crown. With the exception of Reid Lots sold to private individuals and smaller groups, the only large remaining area of freehold lands left, is about 111,000 hectares that is held by Abitibi Price in Central Newfoundland.

A bit of historical information on where this all started and why we are here today; it should be noted that the Reid Lots were acquired by the Reid family from the Government of Newfoundland during the period 1896-1912 through a contract for building the Newfoundland Railway. This original contract, signed in 1893, gave 5,000 acres of fee simple land to Mr. Albert Reid for every mile of railway built by the company. By 1901, 3,993 square miles had been acquired by the Reid family. Eventually, a total of 3,997 square miles or 1.09 million hectares spread over 150 different fee simple lots were acquired by the Reid family interest as a result of construction of the railway in that period of 1896-1912. So as of this agreement, we have now purchased back 861,000 hectares of this freehold land. As I said earlier, a few moments ago, Mr. Speaker, the price for this plus the price of $4.15 million in the 1974 purchase, we believe these have both been excellent purchases in the interest of the people.

There is nothing further that I need to say right now. The bill is primarily a bill to ratify the purchase and I would move second reading. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am glad to stand today, Mr. Speaker, and respond to the ministers bill that he just introduced here.

Mr. Speaker, first of all I thank the minister for the briefing this morning that me and my colleagues had to look over some of the specifics in the mapping of the bill. We thought that we should make a few comments, Mr. Speaker, in recognition of this and I took the map out for a reason. We will go through that and maybe the minister will expound on a few questions that we will bring up during our debate instead of us talking back and forth on the questions.

Mr. Speaker, first of all in general we say that we support it. It is something that needs to be done at this time. Very simply, Mr. Speaker, it runs number one and two, first of all number one is that we secure the wood lots for the future of the companies as any government should do with a company such as Kruger or Abitibi. So that is a positive thing, no doubt about that, Mr. Speaker. The second thing I would like to make a comment on, Mr. Speaker, in the general term is that $15 million - $7.5 million for the next two years, to basically hand it over to the Kruger Company, basically, Mr. Speaker, what this does is afford the opportunity for the government to pass on this money to a company who is looking for capital to continue. What it has done is give that opportunity to Kruger and the government to work out something legitimately so that government could pass on $15 million into the coffers of Kruger.

Mr. Speaker, in the specifics of the bill the security of the wood supply we mentioned, and which we also spoke about in our briefing this morning, obviously is something that we all applaud and we all support, we want the wood supply for Kruger or for Abitibi.

I am going to just mention three or four sections specifically in the bill and hope that the minister will make note of them and expound on them again when he closes debate. On Page 5, Section 1 (e) something we discussed in the briefing this morning, this is something I will just make points on and maybe the minister can make some comments on it to end it off. We asked a few questions this morning. On Page 5, Section 1 (e) it says: all rights conveyed by the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper and transaction completed before 17 December, 1993, which was subject of agreements with third parties which represent legal obligations as of 17 December where the transaction has been completed, all of which is more particularly described in Appendix 2.

This basically states that the previous deals that Kruger had of selling land, and also the deals that were not finished with people who had cabin lots, etc., when will they be finished? Will they be finished under the new deal? I know that we have gone through a long list. As a matter of fact in the briefing we had this morning there is quite the history there over the years of Kruger and the lands they sold to cabin owners and so on.

There are calls coming in already, we understand, to the minister's office and to the department asking what will happen with the deals that have never been completed. That is one question, to find out how expedient these situations with people who are still in deals with Kruger, how quickly they will be cleared up. I would like for the minister to respond to that.

Also on the same page, (f), (g), and (h), talks about water rights and basic power rights as it pertains to Glenwood, the Adey stream and also the Humber canal and the main dam. I assume that is to retain the power rights and the power necessary to run the mill itself, and the operations of Kruger. Those are a couple of things on that particular section, Mr. Speaker.

There are just two more I will mention and then I will go on to expound a little further on some other specifics. On Page 11, 8 (d). This is one I will leave for a little bit later as my other colleague will want to give some comments on that particular part of it, but I will just say for the purpose of the minister as to the situation that now arises with the town of Pasadena and the highway route that is being proposed by the government now, and how that effects the situation that now exists with this new piece of legislation. I am sure the minister will expound on that and I am sure the Member for Humber East will have a chance to ask some questions when she continues.

The third one is 8 (e) and that is the situation with arbitration, Kruger would have the first option if a private operator goes into that particular section. 2-11 of the sections are on the map. That is what shows on the map 2-ll sections. That will go to arbitration if Kruger decides on the first option not to use that particular pulp wood that is coming from that area. Will it go through arbitration so that Kruger does not have the only say on that and if somebody has a problem with that they will have another route instead of going directly to the company.

Mr. Speaker, those are just three that I pointed out to the minister and I hope he will have some further response to them. In general there are two things that I felt should be mentioned. First of all we support it. It is a positive thing and something that needs to be done at this particular time. First of all it is incumbent upon the government and upon the Department of Forestry to make sure there is a secure wood supply for either of the major companies here in this Province and that is Kruger or Abitibi, and any government has the responsibility to make sure that helped us, Mr. Speaker.

The second point I wanted to make was we have to realize here that a situation has arisen where Kruger has the opportunity given to it by the government of the day to afford them the opportunity to have $15 million put into their capital funding, into the coffers of Kruger and it was a route taken so that this government would give them the opportunity to do that, Mr. Speaker, and let's be up front about it, let's say that instead of walking around behind it. Let's say that's exactly what happened.

Now, Mr. Speaker, what I wanted to do was just expand on a couple of things, since we are talking about wood supply in the forestry sector and we talk about not just Kruger but Abitibi. We are also talking about private sawmills, we are talking about the whole forestry sector in this Province. Mr. Speaker, there is a big concern - I know there is and I have used it before, Mr. Speaker, the analogy of the fishery to the forestry in this Province. I think that a lot of members - I know a lot of loggers, that I have discussed it with, support me on the idea - when I talk about the forestry sector and compare it to the fishery and what happened.

Maybe it is a very clear message, Mr. Speaker, that we can take from that. The clear message is this, that we have to listen, not just to the big companies but to those small private sawmills - it's the same as we didn't listen to the inshore fishermen - listen to the logger who comes out of the woods and tells you: listen, if we don't do something about this section of forest, in a few short years from now we are going to find ourselves in the same bloody crisis that we find ourselves in in the fishery. You ask any logger anytime, the grass roots logger - can you use that in the forestry term?... the person who goes into the woods, the private saw-miller, the man who works in the woods day after day and he will tell you time after time after time just like the small inshore fisherman would tell you, that unless we increase silviculture, unless we have some better systems for regeneration of forest growth in this Province, then we may be indeed, facing a crisis in this Province in the very near future.

Mr. Speaker, even comments made by the ministers own officials, I would say that the comments made by them is that there is potential for a very serious problem in our forest industry in the very near future, in wood supply if we are not very, very careful. Anybody who does not realize that or has not been listening to the people in this industry -

MR. SIMMS: There was a study done not long ago. Maybe the minister could tell you a bit about that.

MR. SHELLEY: Well maybe the minister will talk about that in his closing statement but the latest study done by the loggers of this Province, about their concerns, about what they think the future of this forest industry is in this Province - I think that as a responsible minister and as a responsible government of the day, that has to be his upmost concern, that we don't have to stand in this hon. House in two, three or five years from now and say we have a moratorium in the forestry. Then we will go right down the line with the same analogy I used in the fishery.

I always remember the black and white television clip - just before the Confederation vote in 1949, when Remember the Days, NTV would play?


MR. SHELLEY: Here were four elderly gentlemen sitting around the kitchen table, just before the Confederation vote and three of the gentlemen were for Confederation but one, the eldest probably of the group, was against Confederation. He was talking to these other three guys, they all agreed with Confederation and the old skipper said: I am willing to bet that if we join Confederation and if we keep going with the fishery the way it is going, that we are going to see a day when you can't go out and jig a fish to eat, let alone sell, and of course the other three gentlemen laughed at him. You know I always wonder about that clip now and I wonder how much did that skipper know that we didn't know. How much weren't we listening to that person? How much are we listening now? That is why I think that is a very fair analogy when we use the two largest industries in this Province, forestry and fishery, to compare.

Although an answer I got from the former Minister of Forestry was that all he knows is that trees don't swim. I mean that wasn't good enough. That was a wonderful answer from our minister. I hope that this minister does not use the same type of answers because it was a serious question, Mr. Speaker. One of the questions brought up during that debate was the use of harvesters in this Province and the minister would keep coming back with the answer: it's the same allowable cut.

Let's take a little comparison that was just given me a few days ago by somebody who said that the use of ATVs in the woods and the damage it does to the surface and what grows back when these ATVs are used. Well, Mr. Speaker, isn't it about time that we asked the same question of the harvesters and the porters, these big machines that sculpt the forest and dig out these big trenches, what grows back after those go in there? Now for any hon. members who have gone in through the woods and who hunt or just go for walks in the forest, you have seen it, I have seen it. I spend a lot of time in the woods, as much time as I can, winter and summer and I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, what you see after a harvester or a porter has been in an area is terrifying. The environmentalists will tell you and the Minister of Environment should be very aware of this, that the damage caused by this type of machinery is something that has to be questioned and something that has to be addressed and addressed soon. It is a problem that we sort of shy and turn our heads away and pretend it is not happening, but, Mr. Speaker, time after time, as we talk about this bill, the question of security of wood supply is the utmost in everybody's mind.

Well, Mr. Speaker, if that is true, that that is our biggest concern, then the new Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture, that should be his concern. Well we have to address the problems that sometimes may not want to be raised but they have to be raised, they are the tough, tough questions, and just talking about the analogy of the fishery again, just think about the harvesters, while in the fishery you think about the draggers and we come right down to that same problem of trying to address it now before it is too late; waiting until the damage is done and then talking about it after and see how we are going to correct the situation. It should have been corrected before and that is a long-term problem of all governments today, both provincial and federal. I mean, you look at the situation in B.C. with the clear cutting and how scary that is.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it's a concern, and when we talk about the security of wood supply, it should be addressed. The point made earlier that I would really like to drive home to the minister is that when we address these problems we should talk not just to bigger companies, to Kruger Inc and Abitibi Price. I know that they are the mainstay of the Province and the forest industry but we also have that small, local logger who is out there, who made a living from it for thirty and forty years and made a good living from it and still have employed, in my district for example, the District of Baie Verte - White Bay, many loggers from all over that peninsula worked on that peninsula.

They have for many years, Mr. Speaker, but when you sit down and meet with them locally - I am sure the minister has done it, sat down with these smaller groups, the small men, ask them what their opinions are, ask them what they think would be an answer to the problem; and, Mr. Speaker, they would very quickly tell you that you have to listen to the man who walks through the woods day after day to realize what damage is being caused in the forest industry. They can tell you very quickly the same as the man who rode his dory in to the shore in the fishery for thirty years can tell you; that we have to address the problem and address it now.

I asked the former minister at one point, how many harvesters operated in the Province? The minister couldn't tell me. I asked him: How many men does one harvester replace? The minister couldn't tell me. That's a little bit of advice, if I can be allowed to do that, to give advice to the minister. I am sure he takes all kinds of advice. The Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture in this Province should be able to tell me, or anyone else who is concerned about the forest industry, how many harvesters are working; what technology is being used now in the forest industry; how many men that technology and those machines replace. It is a legitimate question, Mr. Speaker. It is the same question that was asked in the fishery about the draggers off on our 200-mile limit. How many fishermen does that replace when one of those draggers is in operation? The same question should be asked. Look how quickly we learned from that mistake. Then we can finally say: If we had only listened to those fishermen years and years ago.

Mr. Speaker, this minister and this government have the opportunity, have the golden opportunity now, while we are still surviving and the forestry still has a bright outlook - especially with the latest returns of Abitibi and Kruger over this last year, the outlook is better; the minister knows that. It looks better right now. We have solidified on the markets. The lumber stocks have gone up; the pulp industry has rebounded, they are showing signs of a profit in many, many years. So the message to the minister is that we are holding our own. We are still safe right now, but the tough decisions and the things that need to be done to make sure that we have forestry growth in this Province has to be made now, not two years from now, not three years from now.

For example, Prince Edward Island just gave a report that said that 45 per cent of its regrowth depends on Silviculture, and 55 per cent depends on natural regrowth. Now, we know, and the minister knows now in his Department of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture, the regrowth in Newfoundland is very good. With our soil textures, with the climate we have, the natural regrowth of forests is very good in this Province. We don't have to depend so much as in P.E.I., on the soil difference and also even the climate. Our climate, as harsh as it is, and with the soil textures in this Province, regrowth to this Province is very good, as a matter of fact, not so much in the planting but in the thinning. Many loggers will tell you, and I am sure the minister knows through studies, that thinning is a major problem in this Province; increasing the thinning process in the Province is one of the crucial things. Many studies will tell you that more thinning would help tremendously in the regrowth of the forests in this Province.

Here we are, although we have good regrowth, we depend 15 per cent on silviculture. That is the latest report, as far as I know. Maybe the minister has some new evidence on that now, but the last I heard, this summer, was that we depend 15 per cent on regrowth through silviculture. We depend 85 per cent, Mr. Speaker, on natural regrowth. The question is: Are we depending too much on natural regrowth in this Province to carry us so that we will have a sustainable forest in the near future and in future years? While Prince Edward Island depends 45 per cent on silviculture for regrowth, we depend 15 per cent on silviculture for our forests. So - 85 per cent.

Besides the actual thinning that goes on - and the minister knows we have to increase that particular aspect of forestry regrowth - we also have to increase the amount of seedlings planted in this Province. It was just this past summer that I was driving through New Brunswick. I don't know if the minister, himself, has seen it recently in the last two summers - but I hear last summer it was the same thing - but there was a tremendous amount of regrowth through seedling planting throughout New Brunswick. When you drive through New Brunswick you can see it, it is in front of you. You can see the actual planting of the trees. If you ever go to Scotland, anybody who has been to Scotland after the war, the foresters who went over there - you can see as you drive the countryside of Scotland, trees planted perfectly in a row. The reforestation program that was over there.

There is something we can learn from them, and we can learn from the Province of New Brunswick. In the latest reports that I've read through, the national report on forestry talked about New Brunswick and the amount of regrowth through seedlings and also through thinning. Mr. Speaker, not only can we learn from other provinces, especially those that have been successful, but we can also improve ourselves and lead the way for other provinces, especially in Atlantic Canada.

When we look at the history of pulp and paper companies in this Province, we have seen some up and down times as far as Kruger and Abitibi are concerned. The point I want to make when you bring in this piece of legislation is that the Department of Natural Resources, the minister's department, has to realize that unless we address the situation with the forestry - sustainable forest in the Province - we may indeed face a crisis in the very near future, a lot sooner than we think. So while we applaud the announcement of the actual bill in securing wood lots, you can't shy away and say everything is great, everything is fine, and we haven't any worries.

Comments from the minister's own officials as early as this morning said: `We have a concern for the long-time life of the forest industry in this Province and the wood supply in this Province.' Now, that was a comment from your own officials. So, if the concerns are there, let's bring out what the concerns are, let's have them up front. Let's not do what the fishery did - every time somebody brought up a concern, turn our head to one side and pretend we didn't hear it. There is a problem.

We have so many trees on the Island, we have so many trees in Labrador. Trees are not like fish, they don't swim around, so we can very easily, I say to the minister, tell exactly how many trees we have. They don't change every day. They grow and they stand in one place. Let's go count how many trees we have, how much damage harvesters and all this technology is doing to our forest floor. Is there a problem with that and the regrowth and regeneration of trees? If there is, let's address that problem. Is more thinning needed in this Province, which many people in the minister's department will tell you is a major problem? So let's address the thinning problem. Is there a need for more planting and seedlings in this Province? There certainly is.

When we talk about projects - let's relate that to projects. If there is one project in this Province where I always support - and I know, we all have the criticism of these programs; I worked on one, piling rocks from one pile to another. When I was a student I worked on a beach where we cleaned up the beach, and an hour later it was all up on the beach again. We've seen those projects.

I say now to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations by way of advice - I don't know whether you will take the advice or not; I think it is reasonable, I think it makes a little bit of sense. If there is one project that makes sense it is to send people into the forest sector and replant and thin the forest sector. What a great idea, I say to the minister! And let's give those displaced loggers the first priority, the people who work in the forestry sector and now can't find the ensurable weeks this year to qualify for UI. There aren't enough men we can send into the forests of Newfoundland to plant and thin these forests that will ever come up to what we need - never.

On top of that, we will turn to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation and the forestry sector - another bit of advice for that minister. If there is another bit of advice I would like to give the minister: when the projects come - we hope they will come this week - here is a good project for you, one that will suit any part of this Province. Send people that you are going to put to work - I'm talking about projects that will be beneficial to everyone, that make sense to everybody and will benefit somebody. Send out fifty men on the Baie Verte highway and cut brush back before somebody is killed, for example. We have brush on a main highway for twenty-one communities side-by-side - we had an official from the minister's department this summer. The moose were on the road before you had a chance to blink. The brush is next to the highway.

You talk about another project that is related to the forestry sector - there it is. Send 100 men up - and I'm sure there are many members of this House who will say the same thing. Do you want a good project for my district? Cut the brush away from the highway so that somebody is not killed, another great idea for the forestry sector and for employment.

MR. MURPHY: All we need is the money.

MR. SHELLEY: I will leave that to the minister, to come up with the money. Now, we are not going to send you on many more flights, Mr. Speaker. I say to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, we can't send him on many more flights if you come back with nothing in your hand. You are going to have to come back with something in your hand.

Mr. Speaker, the point I am making is that when you do come back with something in your hand, let us do projects that are beneficial to everyone, that make sense. We, in this House of Assembly, are all tired of seeing project after project where they pile rocks from one pile to another, so let us do something beneficial. I think the minister, in all fairness, will agree it does makes sense, cutting brush away from the highway and sending people into the forests to reseed and thin - silviculture, Mr. Speaker.

The Minister Employment and Labour Relations is even agreeing with me, nodding his head. He doesn't even need to say that I gave him the advice. He can say he thought it would be a good idea, that we send men into the forest to seed, we send men into the forest to thin, and one that would really make sense to me, especially in my district, and people will tell you in any of the twenty-one communities, for heavens sake before someone is killed, send fifty men up on that highway and let them cut brush away from the side of the road. If you give them work you might save somebody's life at the same time; that makes an awful lot of sense to me, Mr. Speaker.

So many times governments and politicians are criticized for using a lot of policies and bureaucrats and everything else and not using common sense. Well, here is a chance, Mr. Speaker, before these projects are announced, before this week is out, for the minister to get up and say, 40 or 50 per cent of the funding will go towards silviculture and brush-cutting along highways. Why not, I ask the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs?

MR. REID: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Silviculture, Mr. Speaker, is good for this Province and it is a real shame to hear a minister say it isn't good.

MR. REID: It isn't relevant to the bill.

MR. SHELLEY: It is relevant to the bill, I say to the minister. We are talking about the forestry sector in this Province, Kruger, and the security of the wood supply. The whole gist of this bill is the wood supply, the security of the wood supply, and that is exactly what I am talking about.

Mr. Speaker, whether the minister likes it or not, my district has a history in the forestry industry in this Province. I just talked - if the minister were listening - obviously he wasn't listening - he would have heard me talk about the regrowth and the forest industry on the Baie Verte Peninsula, and how important it was.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) mining industry?

MR. SHELLEY: We are speaking about a forestry bill.

Mr. Speaker, you see how important it is that - and it is very related, Mr. Speaker, I say to the minister - when the emergency response projects are announced this week that we look at the forestry industry and talk about silviculture. I'm sure that many members in this hon. House will use their common sense noggins to stand up and say: You are right.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: I agree, too. As a matter of fact, I've heard comments from other members in this House who say the same thing. What a great idea, Mr. Speaker!

MR. ROBERTS: If the hon. gentleman doesn't shut up we will be here all night.

MR. SHELLEY: What did he say?

AN HON. MEMBER: He said: If the hon. gentleman doesn't shut up we will be here all night. (Inaudible) adjourn debate.

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, I tell you, the point is that for security of wood supply that we should continue to look at the forestry sector, and when we relate it to emergency response projects that we consider the forestry sector for a large portion of that emergency response money. So that you can compliment your Minister of Natural Resources. I hope as a new minister he will do a good job.

AN HON. MEMBER: Adjourn the debate, `Paul', and get up again tomorrow.

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, some very important points, and I can't wait to speak on it again - I adjourn debate for today.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the good news is that the hon. gentleman's time is nearly as exhausted as are those of us who have to listen to him.

Your Honour, tomorrow we shall be calling the EDGE bill, which is Bill No. 51, for debate. Wednesday, I would remind hon. members, the House does not sit.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: The 500th Anniversary - my friend, the Member for Grand Bank goes away for a day and the whole thing collapses. He told me earlier he was in Ottawa and that is why the Prime Minister's popularity has gone to 75 per cent, up. The Prime Minister will be here on Wednesday and the 500th Anniversary committee has asked, I believe, every MHA to come to a reception at 2:30 and the - in the afternoon, I say, for the benefit of my friend, the Member for Ferryland. The feeling was that we would be better advised not to meet on the Wednesday.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I can say to my hon. friend, the Member for Grand Bank, not only would that improve the efficiency of the House, it would improve the quality of debate as well, given what we've heard today.

MR. FUREY: What an insult to your (inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: We didn't need you to stand (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour, before I get shot by my own colleagues, I move the House do now adjourn.

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Tuesday, at 2:00 p.m.