March 4, 1991                    HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS            Vol. XLI  No. 2

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Before recognizing the hon. Government House Leader I would just like to welcome to the House the new Member for Trinity North.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is a bit premature to recognize me as the Government House Leader, but in due course, all in due course.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to have the indulgence of the House and ask the House to agree to send condolences to the family of a very prominent lawyer here in the city, Thomas Williams, known to all who knew him as, Tommy. He was a former commissioner of the Public Utilities Board. His passing, I understand, at least from those in the profession, is a big loss to the law profession. His passing is also, I think, a big loss to the sporting fraternity. He himself had been elected to the Newfoundland Sports Hall of Fame in 1982. Indeed his great passion was tennis and just a few nights before his passing, I think on the Monday night, I understand, he played a couple of sets and won two sets, six love, and then promptly phoned his boys to tell them what a great job he had done in tennis. But most of all, Mr. Speaker, to those who knew him he was a real gentleman. He has made a significant contribution to all facets of life in our Province and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him. I would like the House to send condolences to his family, his wife Terri, his daughter Nancy, and to his sons, Danny, Tommy, and Ed, and ask that our deepest sympathy be passed on to them.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I have somewhat of a personal reason for joining in the remarks by the hon. the Opposition House Leader. I have known Mr. Williams for some twenty-five years as a fellow member of the bar and have always enjoyed the many discussions that I have had with him over the years. I have found him to be a fine man and a very pleasant man to be with. I enjoyed the few occasions, and there were not all that many, when we encountered one another legally, but enjoyed more the occasions when we encountered one another on a personal basis. I join with the Opposition House Leader in extending sympathies, and the request that Your Honour extend the sympathy of all Members of this House to the family. I know his son Danny, who is also a fellow member of the bar, somewhat better than I knew Mr. Williams, and worked with him extensively over the years, particularly in a business venture that he and I were both involved in at one time.

I called Danny and expressed my personal sympathy and I am happy to join with the Opposition House Leader in supporting the request that Your Honour extend the formal sympathy of all Members of the House.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too would like to join in the motion by the hon. the Opposition House Leader and make the motion unanimous, if I may. I have been associated with Mr. Tommy Williams from my first day as an articled clerk, and, of course, as a friend of all members of the family and particularly, of course, in law practice with his son Danny Williams. Mr. Williams will be sadly missed by certainly his family, but also of course by the community at large. Mr. Williams was a great Newfoundlander, a very fine human being and well loved. I have to say personally that he was a good friend. I would like to join in the motion that the House send its condolences to the family signifying the very great sorrow we all share today.

Statements by Ministers

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture.

MR. FLIGHT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I wish to advise this hon. House that the hon. Premier and myself this morning attended a signing ceremony for the new Canada/Newfoundland Cooperation Agreement for forestry development in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FLIGHT: The signing ceremony was attended by the hon. John C. Crosbie, the hon. Elmer Mackay and the hon. Frank Oberle on behalf of the Federal Government and the hon. the Premier and myself on behalf of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The new agreement calls for a total expenditure of $64.3 million over a period of five years starting April 1, 1990 -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FLIGHT: - which means that expenditures incurred on cost-shareable programs in 1990-91 will also be eligible for claim under this agreement. The agreement is cost-shard between the Federal and Provincial Governments on a 70/30 basis.

Mr. Speaker, this agreement augurs well for forestry in this Province. We have one of the finest forest improvement programs in Canada. The thinning program for example is one of the largest in Canada and it has been the focus of attention across Canada. While we will be maintaining a significant reforestation program for the areas which do not regenerate naturally, we will continue to use the advantages of our abundant natural regeneration and then improving it for better growth through thinning programs.

Mr. Speaker, the new forestry development program funded in this agreement recognizes the need for integrated forest management and sustainable development. We will, therefore, be pursuing a number of new initiatives such as development of community forests, private woodlot management, integrated management planning concepts and new areas of research and technology transfers.

Mr. Speaker, Newfoundland has embarked on a new era of managing its natural renewable resources. With the passage of the new Forestry Act in the last session of the House, and now with the signing of this agreement, we are well on our way to managing the forests as forest ecosystems for production of all forest products and services from this ecosystem. We will not only be managing the forests for wood production, but also for enhancing other values such as wildlife habitat, water, soil and a green and healthy forest environment for the use of our people.

Mr. Speaker, this agreement will provide a basis for making our forest industry more viable and our forests more vigorous and healthy for the use of all the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the excellent spirit of co-operation between the two levels of Government. I would like to express appreciation to the three Federal Ministers - the Honourable John C. Crosbie, Honourable Elmer MacKay and the Honourable Frank Oberle for taking time to come to Newfoundland and making this worthwhile agreement possible. I would also like to acknowledge the fact that this Government and the Honourable the Premier, have been most supportive of enhancing the productivity of the forest resource of this Province.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

First of all I would like to thank the Minister for sending me a copy of his statement before coming to the House. From the outset I would like to say that this is something constructive and I would have to, I suppose, echo the comments of the Minister in saying that this is a good thing and a great thing for the Province. The only thing about it, I do not know how much was hung up last year pertaining to any silviculture programs or thinning projects in the Province; I hope none. If there were, I hope it can all be re-claimed from last year. Because, as stated in the statement, it is very important.

I suppose we have all come to realize how important forestry is to this Province, and how important, Mr. Speaker, it is now, especially now, to a company like Abitibi, or Kruger, Corner Brook Pulp and Paper. We have finally realized that we are coming to a time in this Province when we have no other choice but to act. If not, in eight or ten years - not fifteen or twenty, in eight or ten years - in this Province, or probably sooner if we do not act with regard to a good silviculture program and thinning program, we will be in a lot of trouble.

Especially mentioned was the thinning program. This is one of the largest in Canada, and I, for one, along with the companies, I am sure Corner Brook Pulp and Paper anyway, and I am sure Abitibi-Price, would rather see a lot more thinning than they would silviculture programs themselves. It is the fastest way to accommodate the cutting of trees. We have a good silviculture program. We need more I know, but then, again, it takes fifty to sixty years for a tree to mature to the point of harvesting. But a good thinning project, and good thinning with consultation between government and the forest product industries in the Province, will make sure that our product, our resource to keep those mills going over the next number of years will be available in a shorter time period than it is with the silviculture programs.

The Minister also mentioned private wood lot management and so on, integrated management planning. This has been going on in Europe for years very successfully, especially their private wood lot program. It is something which can be accommodated here as well. We have also seen that on the west coast of the Province in certain areas, especially in the Codroy Valley area in the last two or three years.

One of the things they do in Europe, Mr. Speaker, in Sweden and Norway especially, and I guess the Minister is quite aware of it, is cut and plant; you cut and you plant. Never mind this coming back a year or two or three or four later and going over something it is too late for, as far as I am concerned. We should have done it years ago in this Province, but now, today, I think we should take advantage of it.

Once again, Mr. Speaker, it is a positive thing for the Province and I look forward to seeing what happens with regard to the thinning and silviculture programs.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The Member for St. John's East is speaking to this Ministerial Statement?

MR. HARRIS: I rise to speak to this statement, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SIMMS: A point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, in anticipation of such an attempt being made by the Member for St. John's East, I think it would be appropriate to deal with this matter quickly and very early on in the Session.

It is clear, I think, that the right of reply to Ministerial Statements applies to official opposition parties, or parties recognized in the Legislature. The hon. Member of course is an individual Member, not unlike those others in the House who sit both in the back benches on the Government side and over on this side as well. I think the practice, or at least the intent of the rules of the Committee which had been tabled in this House late last Fall I guess it was, is pretty clear on what the intent of an official party would be in terms of recognition in the House. I rise on a point of order so that Your Honour will rule on this matter, and we will get the matter straightened away right at the beginning of this session rather than have it drag out for any great length of time.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To that point of order. The Opposition House Leader is correct when he says there is a Standing Orders Committee that introduced a report in this hon. House. Unfortunately, the session prorogued and presumably this motion will be reintroduced at some point in time shortly to allow for some limited debate in the House concerning the report of the Standing Orders Committee. Perhaps the matter will be dealt with more fully at that time, because that will be one of the points of discussion and perhaps some debate, and will require at that point in time a decision of the House.

MR. HARRIS: Speaking to the point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: I assumed the Member is speaking to the point of order.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I know the hon. the Opposition House Leader speaks of the official parties. Obviously, the Opposition House Leader is the House Leader of the official Opposition. On a point of order such as this I understand, Mr. Speaker, that your ruling will be based not only on the existing rules and procedure of the House but also upon precedent. It is my understanding that in previous Assemblies, when the hon. the Opposition House Leader was a Member of the Government, there was a practice of the Member for Menihek, sitting as a representative of the New Democratic Party in this House, speaking to Ministerial Statements. In view of that particular precedent that is before this House, I believe it would be appropriate that the Member for St. John's East, sitting as a representative of the New Democratic Party, be given an opportunity to speak.

As the hon. the Government House Leader has said, the Committee has reported. But that is a Committee of this House, and other than tabling a report in the House it has no official status at this point in time, it is merely the opinion of the Members of that Committee after deliberations and presentation of its recommendations to this House.

So I would ask, Mr. Speaker, that the existing precedents of the House be followed and that I as the representative of the New Democratic Party in this House be given opportunity to speak. I understand my colleague, the hon. Government House Leader, may well be concerned that this party have an opportunity to speak and respond to Ministerial Statements, but, nevertheless, the rules of the House precedent I think ought to be followed in these circumstances.

MR. SIMMS: To the point of order, one quick reference.

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

MR. SIMMS: Since the Member for St. John's East has raised this point of precedent I just want to draw to Your Honour's attention the appropriate references in Beauchesne which point out quite clearly that a precedent on one occasion does not necessarily imply that there is a precedent forever. I would ask Your Honour, if he intends to research the matter, that he research that point, because I think that is important.

MR. SPEAKER: To the point of order, clearly in this House in order for a Member to speak to Ministerial Statements it happens under one of two conditions: one, that the Member be a part of a parliamentary group, or two, of course, by consent of the House. Naturally, by consent of the House just about anything can happen.

With respect to the previous Member, to whom the Member referred, Mr. Fenwick, the decision was made when there were two members, and at that particular time the decision was not all that clear. But it seemed to be that the Speaker of the day recognized them for the purpose of the House as a parliamentary group. But nowhere in our Orders does one member constitute a parliamentary group. However, we have done some research to find out whether or not the previous Member, Mr. Fenwick, was allowed to comment on Ministerial Statements when he was a single Member, and there is not much in our research that we can find to that effect. I can only say I am quite certain that if he were permitted to speak when he was one member, that it was by consent of the House. But on several occasions Speakers have made rulings in this House that in order to respond to Ministerial Statements, a member must constitute a parliamentary group.

I will research it, and our staff will research it further, but until I come up with further evidence, further proof, I would have to say at this point that the hon. the Member for St. John's East is not permitted to comment on Ministerial Statements.

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

MR. HARRIS: I would then, Mr. Speaker, ask the unanimous consent of the House to speak in response to Ministerial Statements?

AN HON. MEMBER: Is this to a point of order, or a point of privilege or what?

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair has made a ruling that as far as the Chair is concerned, at this point the hon. the Member for St. John's East, pending further research by the Chair, is not permitted to speak on Ministerial Statements. I will have that decision tomorrow. I have indicated that all the research we have now does not show anything substantiating that one member can speak to Ministerial Statements. When I took my seat the hon. Member asked, under the circumstances might he have consent of the House to speak to the Ministerial Statement. All the Chair can do is ask whether the Member does have consent of the House.



The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, it is not exactly a Statement by a Minister, but the hon. the Member for St. John's East drew to my attention something which may have been erroneous in a statement I made on opening day, that a member in the Nova Scotia Legislature who wanted to cross the floor and join the Liberal Opposition there was a New Democrat. That may not have been totally accurate. He was indeed a New Democrat originally, and was elected to the House. I do not recall whether he was elected as a New Democrat or elected as an independent, but he was at the time he sought to cross the floor sitting independent from the New Democrats. I believe that is correct, so I do not want that incorrect statement to be on the record; he may even have been elected as an independent, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, as Minister with responsibility for sport, I think it is appropriate that the House of Assembly recognize and congratulate all the athletes who represented our Province at the Canada Winter Games. Our athletes and coaches, together with the officials and the many other behind-the-scenes people, represented our Province with distinction and we are indeed very proud of their performance in Prince Edward Island.

The Community Recreation, Sport and Fitness Division of my Department was very much involved with these Games and I do know that all our athletes worked long and hard in preparation for the Games, and participated diligently and untiringly in the various competitions. I had the privilege of witnessing many of the events and I can assure you that the Newfoundland contingent was comprised of a young, enthusiastic and energetic group of athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers. In all, they are a remarkable group of individuals.

It is my personal belief that the success of these Games is not fully measurable or visible in the number of medals which are won or, for that matter, in the overall standings. These games constitute a tremendous amount of athletic enjoyment, character formation, the chance to establish new and lasting friendships and, of course, the opportunity to compete with Canada's best.

I do want to assure our athletes that sport is and will continue to be a high priority with this administration. As a Government, we recognize that we have a duty and a responsibility to our athletes to improve and to expand upon the opportunities available to them to participate and compete effectively in sport at the provincial, national and international levels. It was for this reason that Government made a significant financial contribution to our athletes participating in these Games.

In conclusion, I want to express our congratulations not only to the athletes but to the coaches, officials and volunteers, the many people who gave so freely of their time, energy and talents for the benefit of our athletes. Each and every one of you has every reason to feel proud of your accomplishments and your performance at the 1991 Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island. To all of you, we extend our best wishes for continued success at all future events. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. First, let me thank the Minister for the advance copy of his Ministerial Statement. We on this side -

MR. SIMMS: The wrong mike is on, Mr. Speaker.

MR. RIDEOUT: Wrong mike, Jack.

MR. WINSOR: We on this side of the House also want to congratulate the athletes and coaches on their fine showing in the 1991 Winter Games. The athletes and coaches no doubt, as the Minister said, worked diligently and untiringly in their various competitions.

I would like to take strong exception though to the Minister's statement, `I want to assure athletes that sport is and will continue to be a high priority with this administration.' Recreation practitioners in this Province know that sport is not very important in the scheme of things with this Government.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!

MR. WINSOR: For athletes to develop you need facilities, and this Government has had no commitment to recreational facilities in this Province: it cancelled the capital works projects for facilities last year; it announced a recreational regional facilities policy that it was going to implement and it failed to live up to that. So how can athletes excel if this Government does not provide the necessary infrastructure for them to develop as athletes?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINSOR: The 1999 Winter Games, I understand, are committed to the town of Corner Brook and that area.


MR. WINSOR: City. Right! And if the Minister does not make a greater commitment to the construction of facilities and increase money for the coaching of these athletes, then I suspect our Winter Games will be in deep trouble as long as this administration is in power.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I had intended to pose my question to the Minister of Finance, but in his absence I will direct the question to the President of Treasury Board.

When the Minister of Finance brought down his Budget in this House in March of last year he predicted a current account surplus of $10 million. In September, Mr. Speaker, that figure was revised to a $120 million current account deficit. In the House, on Thursday, the Premier in his speech made reference to a $200 million deficit. Over the weekend the President of Treasury Board made public reference to a $215 million deficit on current account. Now the question I want to ask the President of Treasury Board is this, Mr. Speaker. Can he tell the House whether or not the last official estimate we heard in this House, of $120 million deficit on current account, is still the figure being projected by the Government or is there some other figure?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am very happy to have the opportunity to clear up the obvious misunderstanding the Leader of the Opposition has. There are a number of-

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Well, if the Member would listen, he would probably get straightened out quickly.

AN HON. MEMBER: No wonder they are mixed up.

MR. BAKER: We are talking about a number of different figures here. First of all, you have to distinguish between the fiscal years 1990-1991 and 1991-1992. That is the first thing you have to do.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Right, right.

MR. BAKER: In terms of the 1990-1991 fiscal year, sometime late September or early October we announced that we had serious financial difficulties, there was a decrease in our revenues from the Federal Government as well as our own provincial revenues, and there was some increase overrun in expenditures that would cause approximately a $120 million deficit on current account for the 1990-1991 fiscal year. That figure has vacillated slightly month by month, but I would re-affirm to the Opposition Leader that in fact that is still about what we are projecting, about $120 million deficit for this current year on current account.

The other figures, Mr. Speaker, come from an estimation of what would happen during 1991-1992 if we continued with our present practices and increased spending in Departments according to the normal increase in expenditures, and we talked in terms of a $200 million projected deficit for the next fiscal year, 1991-1992, which is a different fiscal year so it is a different number. That has also changed from time to time. At one point in time we announced publicly, as well, that the estimate of $200 million was probably $189 - $190 million, and there are monthly changes.

As a result of the Federal Budget there was an effect somewhere between $10 million and $15 million on the Province, so our original estimate of a possible $200 million deficit in current account next year because of the Federal Budget becomes $210 - $215 million, in that range. So the extent of the problem that we now have to deal with through our Budget, which is coming shortly, we would have to deal with about a $215 million problem on current account, had we continued the way we have been going for years in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: A good explanation (inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the President of Treasury Board for his answer. So still the official projected deficit for the present fiscal year, 1991, is $120 million approximately. Well, we can understand it can vary a little.

Mr. Speaker, let me ask the Minister this: In the 1990 Budget the Minister of Finance forecast that $1.394 billion would accrue to this Province in various federal sources. May I ask the President of Treasury Board what the most current projections of revenue is for the current fiscal year? I am not asking for the next fiscal year, but for the current fiscal year. Is that still a good solid figure as far as the Government is concerned?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the amount we end up getting from the Federal Government during this current fiscal year will be down from the amount that was projected in the Budget of last year; a year ago in March. So, it will be down. As to the exact figure, it fluctuates from time to time, and I will certainly get an up to date figure for the Opposition Leader and get it to him as quickly as possible, but it will be less than what was projected in the Budget a year ago.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, we are just two or three days away from a new budget and I am really surprised that the President of Treasury Board would not have that projection right at his finger tips, but -

MR. SIMMS: He has it.

MR. RIDEOUT: Oh, I am sure he does, and we will get it on Thursday I suspect. But anyway, I have another question for the Minister, Mr. Speaker. In the '90 Budget again, in the 1990 Budget, the Minister of Finance forecast $1.568 billion in total in Provincial revenues. Now, can I ask the Minister whether or not the current projections are still on target for that almost $1.6 billion in provincial revenues for the current fiscal year? I am not asking about the next one; for the current fiscal year, the Budget that is still before this Province.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Again, I do not have that figure right on the top of my tongue, however, the Provincial revenues during the year have deteriorated in one area in particular which has to do with the retail sales tax. So, there has been some deterioration in provincial revenue during the year, yes.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, I wonder had that figure really deteriorated with the piggybacking that the government has been onto over the last several months.

Now, let me ask the President of Treasury Board -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: The Minister of Finance announced a whole bunch of piggybacking I say to the Premier. Where has he been?

MR. SIMMS: Christmas Eve he announced it.

MR. RIDEOUT: Now, Mr. Speaker, let me ask the President of Treasury Board one more question along the same lines. I have asked him about federal revenue projections in the present Budget, whether or not they are still on target. I have asked him about provincial revenue projections in the current Budget, whether or not they are still on target. Now, let me ask the President of Treasury Board this: In the 1990 Budget, the government projected a current account expenditure of $2.952 billion, almost $3 billion in current account expenditure. Can I ask the President of Treasury Board to tell the House whether or not that figure is still current, or if it is not, what is the correct figure?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Two points: first of all, the reference to the piggybacking. For quite some time there has been, according to your definition, piggybacking in terms of taxation for many, many years. The RST was always enforced on top of the manufacturer's sales tax, and then when the GST replaced -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Well, do you want to listen or don't you.


MR. BAKER: You don't. Well, I will say it anyway.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are supposed to provide the answers.

MR. BAKER: I am trying to give an answer if hon. Members would listen. It is as simple as that.

Always, the RST was put on top of the manufacturer's sales tax. The manufacturer's sales tax was removed and the GST brought in, and in order not to suffer any serious deterioration in revenues we had to keep the situation the same as it was before and has been for years. So, there has been no sort of additional tax effort in terms of the piggybacking being a new measure. It is something that has been in place for quite some time.

Now then, in terms of the other part of the real question asked by the Opposition Leader which had to do with provincial expenditures, current account expenditures, and again I do not happen to have the exact figures to the decimal place on the tip of my tongue, however, there has been, and I believe we have announced a couple of times, an increase in current account expenditures.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Government House Leader as well, the President of Treasury Board. I might, just in a way of a preamble, say that the piggybacking that we were referring to and everybody else is referring to, of course, has to do with the piggybacking on cafeteria meals, on clothing and items of that nature. They do not have manufacturing taxes included in them. Those are the items that we are talking about. The government did do that and does get additional revenue from it. That is the point that the Leader of the Opposition was trying to make.

I want to ask the President of Treasury Board a totally different question. Can he confirm whether he or any other minister of the Government have in the very recent past met with senior public sector union heads or representatives to discuss the Provinces financial difficulties, and in particular, the plans that the Government has to downsize the public service?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, it is true that since October, as a matter of fact, last October, I have been having meetings. They have been held periodically with the leaders of the public service unions. I have discussed with them a variety of things including the Government's financial position, giving them details on our financial position, asked them for input they might have in terms of the exercise we are going through, which certainly would involve downsizing. I have asked them to go to their membership and so on, and the reason was obvious. We have gone to the institutions around the Province and asked for their input, we thought it would be proper to have input from the workers and the unions representing the workers before we actually made our decisions in terms of handling our $215 million problem in the coming fiscal year.

MR. SIMMS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I guess my question was perhaps not quite clear enough. I want to ask the President of Treasury Board a fairly straightforward question. Has he, or any Minister of the Crown, he or any Cabinet Minister or Premier of the Crown, met very recently with the heads of the public sector unions and have they in fact informed these unions of the effects the 1991-92 Budget will have on their membership? Has he done that very recently?

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

MR. BAKER: I understand the Opposition House Leader is talking about public sector unions and not private as he indicated. Absolutely. As a matter of fact, I guess the most recent meeting I had with the head of a public sector union was within the last three or four days. The answer to part of his question is, no, we have not given them any details in terms of the effect on their particular unions, no.

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

MR. SIMMS: A final supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

I wonder if the Minister would tell the House what he told the unions in the last three or four days? Could he tell the House?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I have already described in general terms what we are talking about. We are talking about handling the $215 million problem. I have been talking to them ever since very early last October. These are the discussions we have been having and I feel that even if I wanted to at this point in time at the spur of the moment I could not come up with the details that we talked about. We just discussed everything. That is all I can say to the hon. Member. The unions have not been told what the Government plans to do. They have not been told the extent that this will affect their unions and so on. If this is what he is getting at the answer is, no.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is to the Premier. The Premier and the Government were elected on a platform of fairness and balance, and specifically of promising to introduce and enforce pay equity legislation. Exhibit A is a Liberal campaign brochure bearing the Premier's photograph. On assuming office the Government adopted the policy of the previous PC administration of implementing pay equity for public employees by negotiating with public service unions. Can the Premier indicate whether the Government remains committed to implementing a pay equity program in 1991-92?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I can only say to the House, Mr. Speaker, that the Government commitment to pay equity remains as it was. We think there should be pay equity in the public service and we are quite prepared to work towards coming to an agreement as to when and at what rate it can be implemented. Now, to implement a pay equity program in one fell swoop is virtually impossible for the Government to cope with financially, so the probability is it will be implemented over a period of time. The Government's commitment to implementing pay equity will remain and if we work out the details and the basis for it, the agreement for it, in 1991-92, I would expect that the implementation of it will start in 1991-92. I do not expect, and would not expect, that we would reach absolute equity in one year. I would not contemplate that, but I suggest to the hon. Member that she and the other Members of the House might wait until Thursday's Budget to get the statements directly from the Minister of Finance as to what Government intends in terms of expenditures during the coming fiscal year.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A supplementary to the Premier. How does the Premier respond to the story that is circulating that the Premier recently discussed his thoughts of axing the public sector pay equity programme and in doing so, commented that: women have waited 400 years, so what does it matter if they have to wait a few more years?


MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Very simple, Mr. Speaker. Like I always respond. I do not respond to stories circulated by the hon. Member for Humber East or the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia or the hon. Member for anywhere. I do not respond to stories circulating.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I assure the Premier it is not a story that I originated. Others involved in the women's movement and the labour movement have told this story to me. My final supplementary to the Premier is: when is the Government going to introduce in this Chamber the promised pay equity legislation?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I am not quite sure what the hon. Member is talking about, the "promised pay equity legislation." They formed the Government -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: - and for an eighteen year period - it is a pretty good picture, too, as I -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: They formed the government for eighteen years!


AN HON. MEMBER: Eighteen years! Eighteen years!

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

PREMIER WELLS: They formed the Government, or constituted the Government of this Province, for a period of eighteen years, and in eighteen years they were never able to achieve pay equity. Now, Mr. Speaker, we have been in a little more than eighteen months. Just give us a little time, we will solve that problem fairly soon, as we are slowly and steadily and reliably solving all of the other problems, and as we will steadily and reliably meet every commitment we have ever made.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HEARN: Mr. Speaker, my question is - in the absence of the Minister of Education - to the President of Treasury Board. In the Sunday edition of The Evening Telegram the President of Memorial University, Dr. Arthur May, was quoted as saying: our tuition fees are two-thirds of the level of the Atlantic university average; that we are charging $1,350 a year compared to $2,000 per year in other universities; and that Memorial University might be perceived as an institution that people attend only because they can't afford to go anywhere else - a university of last resort.

Can the Minister tell the House whether he agrees with the strong implications by the President's comments, that Memorial university is, or is becoming, a university of last resort?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I do not know what the strong implications the hon. Member is talking about. First of all, I have not read the report purportedly made by Dr. May. Obviously this Government does not believe that Memorial University is a university of last resort, I think that is really obvious. If the hon. Member wants to get information about statements supposedly made by the President of Memorial University, I suggest he, after the session, go over and have a chat with Dr. May.

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

MR. HEARN: I think the Minister realizes only full well that the statements made by Dr. May are out of frustration with the lack of funding for the University. Does the Minister then agree with the further implication, that in order for the University not to be perceived as a university of last resort, that we should immediately jack up fees to $2,000, an increase of close to 50 per cent?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, as far as I am concerned these kinds of things are purely hypothetical because as I indicated earlier I do not know if the statements were made. I do not know the context in which the statements were made. I suggest again if the hon. Member wants to discuss the philosophy behind it, and find out exactly what Dr. May said, that he go and talk to Dr. May and find out. Mr. Speaker, I do not respond to questions based on hypothetical comments that have been made, and obviously the Government believes that Memorial University is a first class university and will continue to be so for years to come.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am glad to hear the Minister say that. Can he now tell us then or can he assure the House that the Government will provide the necessary support to the University so that the University will continue to be open to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, not just those who can afford to pay the higher entrance fees?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In a short time when the Budget is presented the hon. Members will know how much money this Government will provide to Memorial University.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question was going to be for the Minister of Education, but in his absence I will ask the President of Treasury Board. The faculty and students of Cabot, Fisher, Marine and the other community colleges have expressed great concern to this Administration about pending budgetary freezes for 1991-92. Can the Minister indicate if he has had some discussions with these administrations as to the programs for these institutions for 1991-92?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, we went through a process. When we discovered the situation we were in we went through a process whereby we contacted all institutions in the Province, in particular, health and education, but all aspects of Government, and asked them what would happen if they had a frozen budget in the coming fiscal year with the same amount of money they had in the previous years? We have received that input. In the process of doing so there have been a lot of statements made in public and comments undoubtedly fed by Members of the Opposition, making statements about things that were going to happen when in fact nobody knew whether they were going to happen or not.

So, Mr. Speaker, the students obviously have expressed concern about what they have been told are these huge cutbacks and so on. And the response seems to be what is going to happen is going to be devastating to various segments of our Province, the segments of the service in our Province and so on. I can understand that.

I regret very much that we had to go through this process, but we had to. And we will go through the same process again. It raised doubts, it raised fears in all segments of the public service in the Province, but it is a process that had to be gone through of necessity. We had to be straight, open, and honest with the public service in the Province and with the people in the Province as to the seriousness of our financial situation. We had to be open and honest and we had to receive the feedback. The institutions that make up the education sector at this point in time do not know how much money they are going to have next year. That will be revealed in the Budget. And I would suggest that the concerns about specific effects on any of the systems are better handled after everybody knows for sure that there are going to be effects and exactly what these effects are. At that point in time then we can have a much more useful dialogue about these effects. But right now it is all blind, so to speak, and the institutions do not really know what they have to operate on next year.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A supplementary. The Minister's answer on that question was just as vague as he has been since he announced his first Budget.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WINSOR: A freeze all year.

MR. SPEAKER: This is an appropriate time to remind hon. Members that there is no debate on the answers. In a supplementary the Member should proceed to the supplementary immediately.

The hon. Member for Fogo.

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Will the Minister confirm then that this Administration is committed to a full range of course offerings and programs at the various institutions, similar to the programs that are in place this year?

AN HON. MEMBER: No cutbacks.

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, we are operating in terms of amounts of money that we provide to the institutions at a certain point in time. On Budget day they will know how much money they will have to spend. At that point in time they will have to make decisions on how to cope within that amount of money.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier-

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: A point of order.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, clearly there is a practice in the House, although it is up to the Speaker - but most Members who ask questions generally get a couple of supplementaries, especially if the Speaker has advised them just at the previous supplementary, the first one, to get right to his question. I am not sure if Your Honour saw the Member for Fogo, but I believe he had one other-

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair did not see the hon. Member for Fogo.

The hon. the Member for Fogo, on a final supplementary.

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Can the Minister then, give an unequivocal commitment to the students presently enrolled in multi-year programs at Cabot and the other institutions like Secretarial Science Programs, that these programs will not be cut after the students have gone through one year, that students who are presently enrolled in two, three and multi-year courses will be able to complete these programs at the various institutions throughout the province, because there is a fear out there that these programs are now going to be axed?

MR. SIMMS: You have to repeat it, I do not think he heard.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

MR. BAKER: I was going to make the comment to the Opposition House Leader that quite often the question does not matter that (inaudible) -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) anyway.

MR. BAKER: The answer is that whatever has to be done, whatever the effects are, we will ensure that it is done with consideration, with humanity and bearing in mind the people who are affected.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the hon. the Premier and it relates to Bill C-69 in the Federal House. It was introduced in the Federal Legislature last May, Mr. Speaker, the-

MR. SIMMS: You are not in the Federal House now.

MR. HARRIS: - question has to do with the Government's response to that legislation and I want to ask the Premier, what action his Government has taken to ameliorate the effects-

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: - of the loss in established programs financing to this Province as a result of that Bill?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: With great respect, I am not sure that the hon. Member's question is a fair one.

We responded at the time and told them clearly that we disagreed with it; we thought it was wrong, we thought it put Medicare in jeopardy and I still think that. I still think it would put other programs in jeopardy and I disagree with the approach of the Federal Government in establishing these programs on a joint 50-50 basis, bringing them along so far and then saying: from here on in Province, you have to take total responsibility for it - when we do not have the financial resources to cope with it.

Now, that particular Bill will have the effect of shifting substantial additional financial burden to the Province and the Province has a very limited capability of coping with it. How we cope with these things will be disclosed when the Minister delivers his Budget on Thursday. We will then be responding in effect to the Federal budgetary decisions that were made in last year's Budget and the Budget of the year before.

The main effect of the Budgetary decisions this year will not be felt until next- the fiscal year after this coming one and for the next two or three after that - those impacts will take place then, including the effects of Bill 69. I believe that those cutbacks and restraints on Federal spending in the social fields will transfer to this Province a burden that we do not have the financial resources to cope with at this stage.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The hon. Premier in the Fall of this year indicated that he was not certain of the effects of this legislation, now I guess he is. Why does the Premier not take upon himself - this cause of deterioration of contribution to provincial assistance to Education and Health - as a cause across this country, like he has with other matters; why does he not do that, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I have the responsibility of being Premier of the Province in all of its aspects, that one included. I cannot divert my attention to one thing only and make it a national cause across this country.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

PREMIER WELLS: And all these years I thought I was not a funny, entertaining speaker. Obviously I am, and I have been underestimating myself, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SIMMS: You are not entertaining.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: The simple answer to the question, Mr. Speaker, is that I can have some impact, but the same kind of impact as other premiers can have in expressing their concerns, as they have about the impact of Bill C 69. I can do that. But I can't drop everything and make this a national cause and take it across the country. I have responsibilities other than that.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.


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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce the following resolution:

Whereas the economic performance of Newfoundland and Labrador has worsened substantially since the current Government assumed office almost two years ago; and

WHEREAS this worsening economic situation has severely affected the ability of the Government to maintain essential public services; and

WHEREAS three successive Speeches from the Throne have promised an economic plan for the Province and no such plan has yet been produced; and

WHEREAS the Government has shown a total lack both of economic leadership and of a clear positive vision of the future of Newfoundland and Labrador;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that this House condemn the Government for its failure to provide economic leadership and to promote economic development for Newfoundland and Labrador.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair is a little bit out of practice and we skipped over an item. Would hon. Members agree to going back to Item C and we will come back?

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

MR. GILBERT: At this time, Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the reports of the exceptions to the Public Tendering Act that have been presented to me since the last sitting of the House.


Notices of Motion

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I want to give notices of some motions on behalf of the hon. the Minister of Finance who is away on Government business today.

Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a Bill entitled," An Act To Revise And Amend The Law Respecting A Pension Plan For Employees Of The Government Of The Province And Others."

I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a Bill entitled, "An Act To Ratify, Confirm And Adopt An Agreement Between The Government Of Canada And The Government Of The Province Respecting Taxation Of These Governments And Their Agencies."

I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a Bill entitled, "An Act To Revise And Amend The Law Respecting Pensions For Members Of The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, The St. John's Fire Department, And The Staff Of Her Majesty's Penitentiary."

I give notice that I will tomorrow move that the House resolve itself into Committee of the Whole on Ways and Means to consider the raising of supply to be granted to Her Majesty.

I also give notice, Mr. Speaker, that I will tomorrow move that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole on Supply to consider certain resolutions for the granting of Interim Supply to Her Majesty.

I give notice that I will on tomorrow move that the House resolve itself into Committee of the Whole on Supply to consider certain resolutions for the granting of Supplementary Supply to Her Majesty.

MR. SPEAKER: Further Notices of Motion. The hon. the Minister of Health.

MR. DECKER: I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a Bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Hearing Aid Dealers Act," and I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a Bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Optometry Act, 1981."

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. The Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a Bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The City Of Corner Brook Act, 1985, The City of Mount Pearl Act," and, "The Municipalities Act, Bill No. 11."

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, on tomorrow I will ask leave to introduce the following resolution:

WHEREAS the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador is critically dependent on the ongoing performance of the fishing industry, and

WHEREAS the performance of the industry and the economic well-being of hundreds of communities throughout the Province are affected by fisheries management decisions of the Federal Government, and

WHEREAS (audio trouble) in waters adjacent to Newfoundland and Labrador, and

WHEREAS criteria of the 1990s under the utilized groundfish program gave priority to fisheries related companies, or vessels adjacent to the resource, and

WHEREAS the 1990 program criteria also gave special priority to the needs of those fish plants that would otherwise close, and

WHEREAS these priorities have been totally removed in the 1991 groundfish development program,

BE IT RESOLVED this hon. House to call upon the Federal Government to reinstate in the 1991 groundfish development program those special provisions of the 1990 underutilized groundfish program that gave priority to adjacency considerations as well as to the needs of those plants that would otherwise close;

AND BE IT RESOLVED that this hon. House call upon the Federal Government to attach greater priority to the onshore processing of underutilized species, and that Greenland halibut, turbot, in waters immediately adjacent or adjacent to the Province in areas 2J and 3KL be excluded from the 1991 groundfish development program, given that its inclusion will adversely affect the interest of traditional local user groups, particularly the inshore fixed gear sector.

MR. SPEAKER: Further notices of motion?

The hon. the Minister of Justice.

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a Bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Newfoundland Law Reform Commission Act."

I give further notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a Bill entitled, "An Act To Revise The Law Respecting The Provincial Court."

I give further notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a Bill entitled, "An Act To Revise And Consolidate The Law Respecting Juries."

I give further notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a Bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Evidence Act."

And finally, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a Bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Law Society Act."

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I wish to rise today to present a petition on behalf of some 400 teachers, all members of the Waterford Valley branch of the Newfoundland Teachers' Association.

Mr. Speaker, the prayer of the petition reads: As parents and educators, we, the members of the Waterford Valley branch of the Newfoundland Teachers' Association, wish to convey our extreme displeasure with this Government's policies and attitude toward education and teachers.

The severe Budget restrictions, with their resulting cutbacks and freezing of further spending in 1991, and the lack of government willingness to bargain professionally and in good faith with the teachers of this Province, can only impact negatively on the education of our young people. On behalf of our children, our students and ourselves, we protest. Young Newfoundlanders, like their counterparts throughout Canada, need to be poised to meet the demands of the twenty-first century, not mired in the midst of the twentieth century.

Mr. Speaker, there are some very strong words in this, some of the strongest words I have heard in petitions presented to this House of Assembly. The Waterford Valley branch, at least, of the Newfoundland Teachers' Association, can see the problems this government is going to create. They have created some, but they are about to create many more problems in the education of the young people of this Province, Mr. Speaker. I guess the point that strikes home with me, Mr. Speaker, in this petition to the government, is that we all know that in national exams, when our students are compared with students of the same grade and age throughout Canada, our Newfoundland students come up short of the national standard, Mr. Speaker.

So the answer to increasing our children's possibility of being competitive in this nation of ours, Mr. Speaker, especially in getting a good education, would be to help them get a better education. But this government's answer, Mr. Speaker, to the children of this Province is to cut back on education, to double up classrooms. I am sorry the Minister of Education is not here today. To double up classrooms, as he said, could mean $30 million cutbacks, or it could be as much as $30 million taken out of the education budget, Mr. Speaker, which cannot possibly do anything to help our students in this Province get up to the national average of comparable students throughout Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I hope the two former presidents of the NTA, who sit across from me in this House, will take up the cause on behalf of their former colleagues. They were out on the steps of Confederation Building not too many years ago asking for similar benefits, Mr. Speaker. I know in one case when they tried to get a strike going they were months and months trying to contrive an issue, and the substitute teacher issue, I guess, was the one they grabbed on to. Well, Mr. Speaker, (inaudible) issue at all. At that time, did they deserve a strike, Mr. Speaker, as we have now with cutbacks and doubling up of classrooms and having our young people get less education than others? I would also recommend that the St. John's Members in this House of Assembly have a look at this petition to see the names on it. I know at least 30 per cent of them worked on Liberal campaigns last time. But there is one name that is conspicuous by its absence, the name of a member of the Waterford Valley branch of the NTA, who now happens to be the President of the Liberal Association.


MR. R. AYLWARD: Already, Mr. Speaker, he has deserted the people who worked for him during the last election. He would not put his name on this petition because he is concerned about the Premier's new policy for the Liberal executive: were he to put his name on this petition, he would not be allowed to run for the Liberals next time. That is one of the reasons why he did not put it on there, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Yes, 63 per cent today. What about in a week's time? We'll see.

AN HON. MEMBER: Wait until your Budget comes down.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I know of several on this who, up until a few months ago, were members of the Liberal Association of Kilbride. It has never been very active but it is now dead, because these were the only four members in it. And one of them, a former vice-president, presented this to me and gave me this petition to present.

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

The hon. Member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave! By leave!

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I stand in support of the petition so ably presented by my colleague, the Member for Kilbride. I say to the President of Treasury Board that the games he and his colleagues are playing with the teachers are having an extremely serious effect on the education system of the Province. Not that we do not negotiate, and that in a negotiating process there is give and take, there are good times, there are bad times. But what is happening now that the charades being played by Government have caused a tremendous amount of uncertainty within the educational system of the Province, a number of teachers are upset, number one, that the whole thing, the whole process has taken so long and that the achievements are so few, but mainly the uncertainty and discontent that exists carries over to the students. And that is the sorrowful thing about it, because they are the end beneficiaries of anything we do in the educational system in this Province.

I remind the Minister that it is now over six months, more than six months since the collective agreement ran out with the Newfoundland Teachers' Association and still we see `talks now have broken off'. So instead of making progress and getting close to signing an agreement, it seems that the opposite is happening. I would also remind the Minister perhaps that if he researched he would find that the last agreement, signed when the Opposition House Leader was then President of Treasury Board, was signed before the old collective agreement ran out. Not within days or weeks or a few months, but even before the old one ran out, the first time it ever happened in history. So maybe the President of Treasury Board should talk to the former President of Treasury Board and get some hints on how to negotiate a proper collective agreement.

But I would suggest to the Minister that he stop playing games with the Newfoundland Teachers' Association, that he sit down and address the issues properly so that the children in the schools will not be affected by the uncertainty that presently exists, and hopefully we will see a quick collective agreement. Because if not, if we get into a situation whereby teachers go on strike and so on, at this time of the year in particular, the people who will suffer most are the students, and those are the ones with whom we should all be concerned. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition I wish to present on behalf of 450 people in the District of Windsor-Buchans, represented by my friend, the Minister of Forestry.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well, that is not exactly what this petition says.

Mr. Speaker, my friend for Windsor-Buchans will remember the occasion when this petition was presented to me because I believe, in fact, he had another petition presented to him at the same time, if I remember correctly.


MR. SIMMS: Oh, yes. It is a separate petition. I expect him to be presenting it in the House any day, if not today. Perhaps he is doing it today. Nevertheless, it is a petition which was presented to me, Mr. Speaker, at a public forum held on January 14 at St. Francis Xavier School, in the Windsor portion of the new Town of Grand Falls-Windsor. At that meeting there were, I think, somewhere in excess of 600 teachers, students, parents and citizens of the surrounding communities in that particular region, over 600. It was one of the largest public meetings, I think, held out in the area, with the possible exception of the public meeting that was held when I was nominated for office - that was a bit larger. But, Mr. Speaker, at that meeting the Member for Windsor-Buchans and the Member for Exploits, the former president of the NTA, one of the two former presidents who sit in the Liberal caucus, and I were invited to sit on stage. I was delighted to do so, of course. I am not quite so sure if my two friends were as delighted as I was, but certainly they did appear. And I do not want to be disparaging at all towards either of their performances, but just let me say that the background of the former President of the NTA did show through and he was able to deal with some of the questions, although I think he had a rough time, but not nearly as rough as the Minister who was representing the Government at that public meeting, my friend from Windsor-Buchans.

Now, Mr. Speaker, what did these 450 people say? and that is just one petition? Well, the prayer of their petition is pretty straightforward and I will read it: `We are very concerned about the proposed and/or planned cutbacks to the primary, elementary and secondary education programs in this Province. Our Province has the lowest literacy rate in Canada already. More dollars, not less, are needed to ensure that the graduates of the future in this Province are brought up to the national standards. More dollars, not less, are needed in rural Newfoundland to ensure that there is equality of educational opportunities in this Province...' And they, of course, petition the Government to respond to this petition.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I only have a couple of moments so I want to get right straight to some of the comments that were made at that public meeting. Now as the Members will know, I believe, I sent a letter to the Minister of Education giving him my views on what occurred at the meeting, and I did it fairly clearly. I think I took a note of just about every comment that was made from the floor to the best of my ability, unless I missed one or two, because we were all asked to give a report to the Minister of Education. Here are some of the comments made at that public meeting, Mr. Speaker, just to give you some idea. Government representatives at the meeting were indeed accused of sidestepping the questions they were being asked that night. Well, I think that was to be expected. But certainly they were accused of that, sidestepping questions. There was a comment from a parent about the lack of leadership in the Province these days, the Government moving in the wrong way and making the wrong decisions. Another comment: teacher morale is at an all-time low and this is terrible for education, but even more terrible for the kids. Where is Dr. Warren? Where is Premier Wells? That was a question that was put throughout the evening. Where is Premier Wells? We heard a lot from him on Meech Lake, but nothing on this.

A question to Mr. Grimes put that night, Mr. Speaker, a very important question I thought.


MR. SIMMS: You have an ethical responsibility, I think was the way it was put, to ensure the students get a good education. Don't you have difficulty sleeping at night? or words to that effect, I think was the question put to him.


MR. SIMMS: Now the Member for Exploits handled that question as best he could, considering the way the question was put.


MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, the bottom line is this. At that meeting those six hundred or so parents and students and teachers expressed a considerable amount of frustration and anger at what has been going on in the Province now for the last six or seven months, at that time for three or four months. And, Mr. Speaker, whether there are cutbacks or no cutbacks come next Thursday, the fact of the matter is these people and hundreds and thousands of others like them throughout the Province have gone through an awful time of anxiety.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. SIMMS: So I hope the Government will respond positively to this particular petition.

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

MR. POWER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to take a few moments and support the petition so ably presented by the Member for Grand Falls and to say that on today, the beginning of Education Week, it is fitting that we have several petitions in this House relating to the educational system in this province. Mr. Speaker, what is happening in this Province, what the Member for Grand Falls has just said, is that there has been irreparable harm done to the education system already this year by a Government that seems to delight in psychological warfare against its public servants in one regard -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. POWER: - and against its teachers in another. All of these threats of cutbacks sometimes have the same effect, in that they can make sure that the students who are in classes in Newfoundland this year are getting a demeaned education because teachers are concerned about their own security. Last fall we saw how difficult it was to (inaudible) in the Student Aid programme, to get those student aids, to make sure they had jobs, to make sure they were not all going to be laid off, to make sure that some of the most disadvantaged children in our school system were going to have special treatment this year.

This morning I attended an Education Week proclamation.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: You broke the law. Be quiet.

MR. POWER: An Education Week, Mr. Speaker, where, for the first time since I have been in this Legislature, fifteen or sixteen years, the Government has not got up at the beginning of Education Week, either the Premier or the Minister of Education, and officially declared Education Week as open, as being proclaimed, as being an important week in the lives of Newfoundlanders, all those people involved in the educational process. Today, in this new Legislative Assembly, there was not one mention by one Member of the Government of the beginning of Education Week. The hundred years of - the legacy of growth. Why didn't they mention it? Do you know why, Mr. Speaker, they didn't mention Education Week? Because they are ashamed, ashamed of what they have already done for the educational system in their two years of Government. And they are also equally ashamed - and probably do not have the full support of all their caucus - for what they are about to do to the education system on Thursday. That is why there was no mention of Education Week.

The education system in this Province is, I suspect, worse today than it was two years ago. In this wonderful brochure the Member for Humber East mentioned earlier on when she was questioning the Premier - this is the Premier's brochure, albeit with a lovely picture and lots of nice -

AN HON. MEMBER: You can have one like that (inaudible).

MR. POWER: - nice decorations. Maybe I will have one. But when I put something on my brochure it will be the truth! It will not be lies, and it will not be gobbledygook!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. POWER: Now either the Premier was lying or he was telling the truth when he put in his brochure - when he said he wanted to be Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador he said: a Liberal Government will provide students with equal educational opportunities regardless of where they live in this Province. The second platform was, they will reform the school tax system to make it more efficient and equitable. Have those things been done? Do all our kids in Newfoundland, on the coast of Labrador and in Ferryland, have the same opportunity that children have in St. John's? The answer is no. No, we do not have equal educational opportunities in Newfoundland.

And this Government, which said that education was to be one of their priorities, has now put it on the back burner, has now said that what really matters in Newfoundland and Labrador in tough times is to make sure that Standards and Poor and Moody, and the credit rating agencies in New York, do not downgrade our credit rating because we do not want to borrow any money. So everything that is in the social sector - health, education and welfare - are being put on the back burner so we can balance an account to make sure that the Premier and the Minister of Finance are treated with some kind of fiscal respect when they go to New York.

Mr. Speaker, I say in this week of education it is time for this Government to start moving education forward rather than putting it backwards, as they have been doing for the last couple of years.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order please!

I ask Members on my left to please restrain themselves.

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I do appreciate the enthusiastic reception I got from the Member for Carbonear and other Members opposite.

I wish to present a petition of 284 residents of Pasadena. The petition was taken up by the Pasadena Home and School Association. Your Honour has seen the petition. I went to Your Honour's office just before the House sat to show Your Honour the Petition. It is not in exactly the correct form although the intent is clear. It says: We the undersigned respectfully request your department not proceed with recently announced cutbacks to the education budget.

Similar petitions have been ruled in order by Your Honour and presented earlier in the Sessions of this Assembly. But before I proceed further, I would like to have the permission of Your Honour to present the petition.

MR. SPEAKER: I thank the Member. The Member did show me the petition, and again, in these situations I generally put it to the House. The prayer is not exactly - as the Member said - according to the requirements of our House, but I ask hon. Members for their consent.

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Your Honour.

As I said before, this is a petition of 284 citizens of the town of Pasadena. Pasadena has a population of 3,500, so it is quite a high percentage of the citizens of that town.

The petition was spear-headed by the Pasadena Home and School Association, and the president of the PTA asked me to present the petition in this Assembly and refer it to the Minister of Education. It was taken up in the late fall and arrived at my office in December just after the House recessed for Christmas. So, this is the first opportunity I have had to present it in the Assembly, and it is fitting that this is the first day of Education Week.

The prayer of the petition is as follows: We, the undersigned respectfully request your department not proceed with recently announced cutbacks to the education budget. Such measures can only restrain opportunities for progress in our education system and down-grade the quality of education in our Province.

Our school boards are trying to provide programs for our children which will prepare them for the future. This is being done with limited resources. We ask that these resources not be eroded any further.

Mr. Speaker, Pasadena is a progressive town. It is prosperous. Most people there are employed. It has vitality. The business community is healthy. There is a Venture Centre which is an innovation in the Province in terms of assisting new business starts. One measure of the progressive attitude of Pasadena is that for the past ten years there has been one jointly operated high school. Pasadena Academy serves all the senior high school students in the Pasadena area, young people of all denominations go to the one high school. It is jointly operated by the Deer Lake integrated board and the Humber - St. Barbe Roman Catholic board.

So, despite that consolidated high school operation and the economies that are associated with it, people in Pasadena are aware that schooling is being operated on a shoe string and that over the past year there has been erosion in education funding and in the quality of education. When they wrote this petition they were thinking particularly of the cut in funding for substitute teachers this year. That has had the result of disrupting professional development and in- service programming for teachers and that has caused school to be closed on school days for teachers to have some kind of professional development program.

Mr. Speaker, the people of Pasadena who are petitioning our Assembly and the Minister of Education, realize that education is the key to successful living. Education in today's economy, which is information based, is more important that it was in the past. The parents who signed this petition, for the most part, are well educated themselves and they want their children to have -

MR. SPEAKER: Order please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MS. VERGE: With leave, Mr. Speaker, I will just round out the presentation of the petition.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave. The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

MS VERGE: No leave, Mr. Speaker?


MS. VERGE: Okay, thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It gives me great pleasure to rise in support of this petition presented by the Member for Humber East on behalf of parents of Pasadena. But I think really the parents of Pasadena are speaking for the parents of the Province. Because this Administration has embarked upon a programme that is virtually destroying the educational system in this Province, as well as the morale of its teaching force. Make no mistake about that, the morale of the teaching force in this Province is at an all-time low and it can only have an affect on the quality of education delivered to our students, that, coupled with an Administration that is going to drastically reduce the services offered to our schools by imposing budgetary freezes.

Now the Premier likes to say there are no cutbacks. But the fact of the matter is the cost to the educational system has risen by some seven or eight per cent, maybe ten. On a $700 million budget it means that there is $70 million needed for the system next year which this Minister has not found.

The Minister has also embarked on a programme of sending a task force throughout this Province to find out what parents, educators and other people see wrong with our system. This report is going to be due I understand some time in the fall. Maybe they have requested an extension. But even before the report comes the Minister of Education has virtually been coerced by the President of Treasury Board to already gut the system that is in place, which can only diminish the education that our students receive.

The Minister of Education has on numerous occasions said that money spent on education is not spent, it is invested. And that is what the parents of this Province are saying, that it is now incumbent on this Administration to set aside what they have already said, backtrack on their words, and reinvest the money that should be put in education. Because it is not money spent. It is money invested. If this Province is to survive economically then the first step is to invest it in education. And until this Administration addresses that problem then we will experience difficult times.

The parents of Pasadena come from a school where joint services are already in effect, and the Minister of Education constantly refers to the need for joint services. If that is already in place, as it is in many schools in this Province, then the Minister cannot justify his cuts, certainly to these areas where cost-efficiency is already in place.

I too want to join with my colleagues on this side of the House in congratulating teachers as they begin Education Week. And then we have to make note of the fact that the Government for some reason has chosen to ignore completely the tremendous contribution that educators have made to the life of this Province. And on this side of the House we certainly want to extend congratulations to teachers and parents and educators in the Province as they begin this Education Week.

Thank you.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to very briefly respond to a few of the points that were brought up. I have been waiting until enough of them had come along.

First of all, there seems to be some confusion. Some of the petitions were presented as a response to the announced cuts and so on. There have been no announced cuts, and Members will have to wait until the Budget on Thursday to see for sure if indeed there are cuts to the educational system. So I would like to point out that, first of all, it is not correct to say that cuts have been announced. No cuts have been announced. Therefore, the comments in that sense are meaningless.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) freezes.

MR. BAKER: Secondly there have been no freezes announced either. Nothing has been announced. That will be handled in the Budget process. I do not know how many times I have to say it. But we have gone out to the system and asked them what would happen if they had to survive on a budget the same as last year? That is all. There have been no freezes, no announced cuts. Any announcements to be done will be done on Thursday in the Budget. So the comments from that point of view are meaningless, because nobody knows what cuts they are talking about, to be honest with you.

The second point I would like to comment on is that there seems to be an indication that our education system is not good. There were a couple of comments made about the level of literacy, and our students do not make out compared to other provinces, and so on. I would simply like to make the comment, that in spite of the fact that we have on paper the lowest pupil-teacher ratio in Canada, on paper we have the most highly-qualified teachers in Canada. Then it must be something about the system. Members opposite were in control for seventeen long, long years. And to have allowed that situation to develop is absolutely scandalous. Obviously there is something wrong with the system that has to be corrected. We are now trying to get at what is wrong with the system and correct it.

Thank heavens there is a Government in power now which is attempting to deal with the problem and not simply throw money at the problem the way Members opposite tended to do. So I say thank heavens we did take over.

There were a number of other points raised but I would simply like to say that the negotiations have been long, certainly they have been long. But the mess that was left there was so great that it takes a lot of negotiating to straighten it out. You people left over $1 billion unfunded liability in the pension fund, going merrily on your way, everything is great, allowing the pension fund to go bankrupt, teachers' pensions to disappear.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shame, shame!

MR. BAKER: You sat there for seventeen years and allowed that to happen! Make no wonder it takes us a few years to try to straighten things out.

AN. HON. MEMBER: We were the first (Inaudible) to ever (Inaudible) money into a pension plan in this Province!

MR. NOEL: So why didn't you put in enough?

AN HON. MEMBER: The first (inaudible).

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

This again might be an appropriate time to remind hon. Members the direction in which discussion should take place. During a petition - and I read to hon. Members our Standing Order, number 92, which says: "Every Member offering a petition to the House shall confine himself to the statement of the parties from whom it comes, the number of signatures attached to it and the material allegations it contains." And it is not meant to get into serious debate, or certainly, extraneous matters, but to stay to the allegations contained in the petition. I remind hon. Members of that and ask for cooperation.

Further petitions?

Before moving to the Orders of the Day, I would like to clarify the position which I ruled on a little earlier with respect to the Member for St. John's East being afforded the right and the opportunity to speak to Ministerial statements. As I suggested in the ruling, my recollection, after many many years sitting in this House is that no single Member was given permission to comment on Ministerial statements other than by consent of the House, and of course we know by consent of the House Members can do anything, because the House then suspends its rules and allows a Member to speak by consent. And the ruling has been made on several occasions.

But with respect to the former Member of the NDP, Mr. Fenwick, we have two occasions on which he spoke to a Ministerial statement and I want to bring these to hon. Members' attention. The first was on May 8 1985, when there was a Ministerial statement given with respect to developments at Wabush. Mr. Fenwick rose in his place to speak to the issue and after a couple of sentences, Mr. Barry, who then, I believe, was the Leader of the Opposition, rose in his place and said: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker recognized him, and Mr. Barry proceeded to say: So as not to rest on our prerogatives, by leave Members on this side would acknowledge that the Member for Menihek should have an opportunity to reply, but I do not think it would be appropriate to establish the precedent that we have a number of replies to a Ministerial statement.

The Premier of the day, Premier Peckford in turn spoke to the point of order saying: We agree with the Leader of the Opposition, that there are rules and we have to stick to them, but it concerns the hon. Member's district and by leave, I think he should be able to respond to the Minister's statement; but it is by leave and the Speaker then forthwith asked the House whether or not the hon. Member had leave and he was granted leave.

On the second occasion, it was a similar matter referring to Developments in Labrador City and the Member for Menihek, Mr. Fenwick, got up to speak to the statement saying: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, I know it is by leave that I get permission to speak at this time, and, Mr. Speaker, intervened to say: Order please! Is this by leave? And hon. Members said: yes, by leave. So, there were only two occasions and leave was granted on each occasion, so the ruling that I have made is the ruling that is appropriate for this House. One member does not constitute a party and it is only by leave that that member could respond to Ministerial Statements.

Orders of the Day

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. BAKER: Order 1, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 1, Address in Reply. The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I will take some short time today just to make a few comments on the Throne Speech presented to this House one day last week. But before I get into commenting on the Throne Speech, I do want to congratulate the mover, the Member for Pleasantville, on his presentation. I do not disagree with a lot of his content but I am very surprised that he would be allowed to say that on that side of the House, because it certainly appeared to me that there was a lot of anti-confederate sentiment in that speech. Knowing the hon. Member as I do - I worked with him on a committee for the last year or so - I am sure that was not his intention; but it certainly did leave the impression that the Member for Pleasantville, the present Member for Pleasantville, could very easily be persuaded to lean towards anti-confederate sentiments. I am sure when he reviews his speech he will try to get rid of those sentiments because I am sure he is very supportive of the Canadian system, the Canadian Federal System that we have, but like all of us, we would like to see more power taken from the federal hands and distributed to the provincial legislatures.

I would imagine that was the message he was trying to portray. In the twelve years that I have been in this House of Assembly, I would have liked to see more powers given to this House of Assembly that are now controlled by the Federal Government, particularly in the field of the fishing industry.

Mr. Speaker, I think had there been more say, more control in this Legislature over the years, we could have made different decisions about the fisheries and hopefully we would not have had the crisis that we do have today in our diminishing stocks of fish. So I would imagine that is what the hon. Member for Pleasantville was trying to say. But, his Premier, during the Meech Lake debate, and his Premier's philosophy which he does not hide away from, is to try to centralize power, centralize federal powers in Ottawa and centralize provincial powers here in St. John's in this Legislature.

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the seconder, the hon. Member for Bonavista South, who made a very passionate speech on the fisheries and certainly did a good job.

Of course, the most important ones to thank when a person gets up to speak on a Throne Speech, the most important and the ones who have a say in whether you will be here for another Throne Speech or a few Throne Speeches are the constituents in my district, Mr. Speaker; constituents, who have become somewhat more irritated, I suppose, or probably more irritated on the lack of services that this Government is providing them since they took over in June of 1989. In the twelve years I have represented the District of Kilbride in this House of Assembly, I have never had so many calls about employment matters, this year in particular - the last of last year and the start of this year - desperate calls from people who find it totally impossible to find adequate employment in an area surrounding St. John's. Usually one would think if there were going to be opportunities for employment, certainly in a District like Kilbride the people would have more opportunity than in a lot of other places in the Province. Many of my constituents have had to leave this Province, including a sister of mine, who is a well-qualified teacher. When she went to work with a school board in Southern Ontario - she is a special education teacher. I think that is what it is called - the school board there said to her, why would they let such a qualified person leave Newfoundland? That says something about what is happening in this Province, Mr. Speaker, when our highly qualified people, and not because it happens to be a relative of mine, but many of my friends who have taken the time to educate themselves and who have worked very hard at it are in the same situation, they have had to leave this Province to find employment in other areas.

I had never had as many calls about social services as since this Government took over in the last two years, particularly over the last six or eight months, concerning things an MHA probably should not have to deal with, or a Minister should not have to deal with, such as whether a person has the right to get a taxi to a doctor, and things like that. People are being refused transportation to doctors. What is happening a lot in the St. John's area is a person has a medical problem and they were seeing a doctor who might have been very close to where they lived, but because of different prices in rental units and the different areas where we have some subsidized rental units, these people are moved around and if a person who lived in the east end at one time happens to move to Kilbride yet the medical doctor they saw still happens to be in the east end, they cannot get to see their doctor, Mr. Speaker.

I have never had so many calls in the twelve years on housing problems. We certainly need in this area of our Province, Mr. Speaker, more emphasis on the social housing needs of the people in this area. Both Newfoundland and Labrador housing and the City of St. John's non-profit housing should be increased to try to accommodate people who are suffering desperate hardship in trying to find housing. That, Mr. Speaker, is not going to improve over the next few years unless employment comes along with it. If there is going to be a greater demand on housing because of our developments offshore, Mr. Speaker, certainly the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation - I know they were planning for the increase but since this Government took over, I do not think there are any plans. I do not think any of them are doing any planning. Today in this House, the first time in the twelve years since I have been elected, I have had to present a petition on behalf of 400 teachers who are generally concerned. I do not hide away from the fact that there was a strike in that twelve years. Teachers were on strike but they tell me today that what happened over the past seventeen years in education, whether they agreed with it or not, is nothing to what is happening to the education system in this Province now, Mr. Speaker. Teachers are generally concerned, not only because their negotiations are not going well, but they are generally concerned about the education of our young people in this Province.

Before I continue, Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate, on behalf of the constituents of the District of Kilbride and myself, the new Member for St. John's East and the new Member for Trinity North. I would like to welcome them to this House and I will certainly be looking forward to and, I am sure, enjoying the debate and whatever they have to offer to this House, Mr. Speaker.

We have had a very rough couple of months from a Canadian perspective and from a world perspective, Mr. Speaker, over in the Middle East, and I wish to congratulate publicly the armed forces of this country who went over to a very troubled area of the world and did what they had to do. And I am sure none of us like the idea of there being a war in this day and age, in the twentieth century, but, Mr. Speaker, when our armed forces were called upon to do their job - unfortunately, in some instances, I heard some snickers when the Canadian Government announced that they were going to send our armed forces to the Middle East. There were people snickering, saying that the equipment would never get them there, that the ships would sink before they got there. I heard those comments. Well, Mr. Speaker, we have a very professional armed forces in this country. Certainly I am sure all of them would agree that they would be more inclined to be operating as a peace keeping group rather than what they had to do over the last couple of months, but, Mr. Speaker, they certainly made me proud of the armed forces of this country.

It is not easy for me to say that, Mr. Speaker. I was a very nervous person during that time, because my twenty year old son happens to be a member of the Royal Newfoundland Militia and I expected at any time that he might, had this thing gotten any worse, have been called. I certainly would not like to see that happen, but it is one of the things that could have happened.


MR. SPEAKER: (Mr. L. Snow): Order, please!

I want to draw to the attention of hon. Members on my left that there are a number of meetings going on over here, and it is very difficult for the Chair to hear the hon. the Member for Kilbride. I ask hon. Members to my left if it is necessary to convene a meeting, that they do so in the appropriate place.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate that.

Mr. Speaker, just a couple of comments. I think the Member for Bonavista South, or maybe the Member for Pleasantville, said when they made their speech that they were very proud to be the first elected people to speak in this new House of Assembly. Well, actually they were not the first elected people to speak in this new House, neither of them. The Speaker, the hon. the Member for Bonavista North, was the first elected person to speak in this House, when we prorogued a few days before. So they would be second and third I have no doubt, and I am sure they will be pleased with that, too, Mr. Speaker.

Just to comment on an article that was in the media the weekend. I always read Pat Doyle's commentary, because it certainly has to do with our House of Assembly. I want to make it clear to him that he has found one Member in this House of Assembly who is pleased and tickled pink that we have a new House of Assembly, and I think it is certainly a deserving House of Assembly; I do not see the faults he says other people see in it. It is certainly a good place to be, and it is where we should be, where the first House of Assembly should have been built, Mr. Speaker. One of the reasons I say that is because when we were up on the 9th and 10th floors, Mr. Speaker, people would come into this building and demonstrate and we would be up in our own world, separated from them. All of them could never get up there. And when most of them did come up there it was dangerous, because they could not get out. But now, Mr. Speaker, the Government of this Province, the elected people of this Province have only to listen, as we listened to the students last week, and we will know every day when demonstrations are coming, and I am prepared to see many, many demonstrations over the next six or eight months, I am sure.


MR. R. AYLWARD: The comment on the forestry agreement certainly shows the good ministers on that side. The Minister of Forestry did sign a good deal, and I congratulate him for it. He did a good deal on The Forestry Act. He did a good job on that in the last session. He did a good job on The Forestry Act, now let us see him spend the money prudently; do not let his leader tell him how to spend it, take control of it yourself so that it can be spent wisely. I am sure he will do that.

Mr. Speaker, I do want to have a few comments on the Throne Speech. You know, it is almost a waste of time to comment on it. I mean, it is just a pile of words, ten or twelve or twenty pages of words, I guess.

AN HON. MEMBER: Nine pages.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Nine pages is all they could write up after a full year. The whole plan for the next fiscal year, the next year in this House of Assembly, the future of Newfoundland over the next twelve months has to rely on nine pages of words, Mr. Speaker.


MR. R. AYLWARD: There is no direction whatsoever that I can see in it. I am probably missing something, Mr. Speaker, but I have read it over several times now and I see no direction. And most of the problems we are having in this Province today, in my opinion, are caused - well, probably for a couple of reasons, but one of the main reasons, I would suggest, is that when the last election was called, the last group in this Province who expected to be elected as the Government of this Province were the people sitting opposite now. They never expected in a hundred years to form the government, so they went out and promised everything under the sun. It was like an NDP campaign. They could promise anything, because they thought they were not going to get in.

AN HON. MEMBER: And now they are acting like Tories.

MR. R. AYLWARD: And now they are the worst Tories ever invented, I agree with that. They are more conservative government now than the one we have in Ottawa, and that is saying something. They are more conservative than Michael Wilson.

Mr. Speaker, that is the reason why I think we are in so much trouble. We have no plan. They promised the sky when they were running, which a lot of people do it when you get into your campaign. They had a fair realization of what money was around. They did promise to eliminate the school tax, and that was a vote-getter, I must say. It was very popular. It was a good vote-getter, especially outside the urban areas, that promise to eliminate school taxes alone. What have we seen in the last month or so? I do not know about all school districts, but I know in my own situation I have had two increases since they came in, but certainly one this year. I am not complaining about paying it. I agree with school tax personally, but I would not go around trying to deceive the people in an election. It is not very popular to be in favour of a tax during an election campaign, but when people would say to me Clyde Wells is going to abolish the school tax, I said, rubbish, and I said I would not abolish the school tax if I were elected. Probably that is why I lost a lot of votes the last time, but I had to be honest with them. The Government knew that. The Liberal Party knew when they were going around knocking on doors that they could not get rid of the school tax. That is a most important funding source to the school boards, because it gives them a bit of flexibility. What they get from the Provincial Government goes for teachers' salaries or some capital work, although not very much capital work lately, so they have some flexibility in directing some of their monies directly to their needs.

I know one member opposite in this House who did not knock on doors and say he would eliminate the school tax. I am sure he did not do it, although I did not follow him around. I am sure the Member for St. John's North would never go around and say that he was going to eliminate the school tax, because that Member knows the value of the school tax to the education system of this Province.

MS. VERGE: He was President of the Provincial Association of School Tax Authorities.

MR. R. AYLWARD: I know his history. I had him into my district several times for meetings with parents, and he did a good job at the time. I am surprised he is still over there, because he knew the blatant - I cannot say lies, but I would like to. The policies were just not right. He could not agree with them. I was surprised he lasted the whole campaign. Every time I would hear about the school tax being abolished, I would think of the Member for St John's North out campaigning. I did not think he was going to win at the time, but I am sure he disavowed himself from that. But he still had to stay over on that side. He can stay there next time, too, when we move over, because he is probably one of the better Members in here.

Mr. Speaker, to get back to the Throne Speech, it mentions in here one of the reforms this Government has brought into this House, the Legislative Review Committees. I do want to say - I do not want to be all negative - that that is definitely a good reform, but it will only work in this House of Assembly if, when the Committees make their representations, they are taken seriously by the different Cabinet Ministers opposite. Mr. Speaker, if the Cabinet Ministers and the Cabinet itself will not heed any of the recommendations, certainly the committee system of this Legislature will not work. We have an example on that side of one Minister who was very supportive of the Legislative Review Committees. The Minister of Forestry, when he got his Committee's review, went over it very thoroughly with his staff and implemented all the major recommendations - very prudent. I must say I want to congratulate him again. He is going to become paranoid in a minute, if I keep doing this.

And, Mr. Speaker, we have another example across the way of the exact opposite of what the Minister of Forestry did, and that is the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. When we did the Regional Services Bill, we put a lot of effort into that and we heard from a lot of people across the Province. And it was not only the Opposition people who were trying to give these recommended changes, there were people who came before our Committee and suggested every one of the changes. Even in the minority report the Opposition presented, every one of the recommendations that were in that report plus the regular report were recommendations that came to our Committee from people who were interested. Most of them came from the Federation of Mayors and Municipalities, Mr. Speaker. So as far as the Legislative Review Committees go, they are only going to operate if the Ministers of the departments concerned are interested in hearing what the Committees are saying.

The Committee I serve on, the Government Services Committee, is now doing probably one of the most important bits of legislation. They have done one and they are reviewing another, and that is our review of the labour laws of this Province, Mr. Speaker. One recommendation we have heard several times from a couple of people is to set up a Task Force or have a royal commission and do a complete review, not do band-aid touch ups. And I am pleased to see that most of the Committee Members agreed with that approach. We may have to do something immediately to try to prevent the problem of double breasting, but there should be a major review of all labour legislation in this Province, especially the labour standards legislation.

Mr. Speaker, the Throne Speech itself, when you read it over you get the feeling - when the Lieutenant Governor was reading it the other day, I got the feeling of complete doom and gloom, like the Premier has given up, he has washed his hands of it all and is going to hope and pray that the Prime Minister of Canada will bring back the constitutional issue, and it seems he probably will, so that the Premier can wash his hands of the nitty gritty of running this Province, which is difficult at any time, and move out of here again and go across Canada and deal with the constitution, which he seems to get a lot of great press from. There was a question asked here in the House today about another issue that he could probably do the same thing with, but he refused to do it because it is not glitzy enough I suppose, there is not enough attention paid to it right now.

Mr. Speaker, in the Throne Speech there is mention made of the hydro talks that are on or off or off or on. I believe personally from what I can hear, which is certainly not from government sources but from people who are fairly close to what is happening and know something, that most of the talk about the hydro talks is smoke and mirrors, Mr. Speaker. I do not think there is a hope in... Labrador of pulling that off.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: I know. Yes, I saw that in the paper today. I follow every news release that comes out, and I hope it is successful. But I believe it is smoke and mirrors, and I do not believe for a minute that you are going to do it.

Mr. Speaker, we have the Hibernia project mentioned again in yet another Throne Speech and that is certainly a project that we all hold out a lot of hope for. But we are off to a bad start, Mr. Speaker. Because one of the contracts related indirectly to Hibernia will be the Cow Head contract, and I understand that there was a local bid and an out-of-province bid in on that for something like a five or six percent difference in cost; $300,000, I think, is the dollar value, and we have given all of our jobs to New Brunswick. Now, that is not a great start for the Hibernia project.

If you are going to rely on the companies involved with Hibernia to implement the local preference policies or to implement the local content in that contract you might just as well whistle dixie, because they are looking for the best prices. And I do not blame them for that. That is what they have to do; they have to answer to their shareholders. But we have to answer to the people of this Province, Mr. Speaker, and when we answer to the people of this Province we have to be able to say to them yes, the Atlantic Accord has been lived up to and the Hibernia agreement has been lived up to, and all the local content that can be afforded this Province has been looked after, and it has been looked after by the government. Because it is not going to be looked after by anyone else, Mr. Speaker.

No, you can get up, you have lots of time to get up on this one. Mr. Speaker, I only have a couple of minutes so I cannot be sidetracked; I cannot be sidetracked by rabbits, I am hunting elephants here.

Mr. Speaker, yes, we have a section here when they get around to it. It seems like that is what this Government does; when they get around to it they mention fisheries every now and then, so they got around to it on their fifth or sixth item in the Throne Speech and they criticized the Federal Government on their fisheries policies again; Old hat, it has been going on in this Province for forty years, since, whenever we joined Confederation, but they do criticize and what I find ironic about it is, they criticize the Federal Government for their fisheries policies and the Premier of this Province pretty well agrees with everything the Federal Government has done, his fisheries policy is almost the same as the federal fisheries policies.

Every now and then we get a little glitch in it, but if you are going to down-size, yes, that is the best thing to do according to our Premier; if you are going to professionalize, yes, sure, go right ahead, says our Premier and no thought of the people. I mean the fishermen in Petty Harbour - what does that mean, professionalize the fishing industry, what does that mean to him? He wants to go our and catch his fish and come in and have a place to sell it, that is what he wants to do. He wants it managed so that he and his family can make a living out of it, Mr. Speaker, yet, we have again in this Throne Speech, our Government criticizing the Federal Government's fisheries policy and yet, behind closed doors they agree with everything that the Feds are doing with it and in particular closing down fish plants.

AN HON. MEMBER: Which party is that?

MR. R. AYLWARD: That is that Liberal Party over there and the Tories in Ottawa. They are in cahoots on that one. Mr. Speaker, again in the Throne Speech, it says that: My Government has, in recent months, embarked upon the preparation of a comprehensive policy framework which would guide the industry into the foreseeable future. Mr. Speaker, it is about time they did, as far as I am concerned. They have been floundering around for two years. They are going into their third year now and only recently they said they are going to have a look at some kind of a policy paper or comprehensive policies dealing with the fishery.

I mean, if you are an elected person or you hope to be a political person in this Province, the first basic thing you have to realize is that the fishery is the bottom line in this Province, I mean that is it. Not very many people in Kilbride work directly in the fisheries, but quite a few of them rely indirectly on the fisheries. If the fishery is bad, construction is bad, and housing is bad, and everything else that people in my area work at is bad. And Mr. Speaker there is no money for social programs. A lot of public servants live in my area, Mr. Speaker. I think it is about time the Government did get down to work; they should have done it two years ago, they should have had a plan when they were making all the promises during the election in 1989. Mr. Speaker, had they had those policies and plans in place, maybe they would have been able to react to them now or react to some of the problems that are happening in this Province.

When the Throne Speech was read out, the Government said it is worried about the Province's financial situation and they are very concerned about the financial markets of this world, Mr. Speaker. I agree that they are very concerned about the financial markets of this world in New York or Tokyo or wherever they are, but, Mr. Speaker, they put more emphasis and more concern into the financial markets of this world than they have on the education of our school children, and public servants who work for this Province. They have not given them very much concern, Mr. Speaker. And they are not giving the sick of this Province too much concern. They are totally worried about how the markets will be affected by the next Budget. They should be concerning themselves with the public services within this Province, Mr. Speaker. The Member for St. John's South can wave his hands all he likes over there but he is going to sit there and listen.

I have some good news, Mr. Speaker, I thought I had only twenty or thirty minutes but now I know I have an hour, so I can continue as long as I wish. If you were the most talkative person in the world, which I am not, you could not make up enough stuff about this Throne Speech to say in an hour, because there is nothing in it. It is a dead, useless, pile of words, a jumble of words. I want to make another comment here on one line in the Throne Speech that says, "My Government recognizes that the traditional resource sectors of the provincial economy do not offer the best immediate prospects for new job creation." I do not believe that statement is in there. I mean that is a serious, serious statement. If you want to look at the fisheries alone, there might not be a great raw resource in the fisheries, maybe there is not an over abundance of fish to catch, but what we should be trying to do is utilize everything that comes out of the water, for one thing. Mr. Speaker, we should be secondary processing the fish, much, much more of it, but when the Government makes a statement that the traditional resource sectors will not provide the best prospects for new job creation, I find that shocking, and I am sure the Member for Carbonear must find it shocking, the Member who represents a fishing area, and anyone in this House of Assembly who represents a fishing area. Where is this economic resource crowd, Dr. Howse's bunch? Where do they sit in a statement like this? Are they putting any emphasis on under utilized species in this Province? That seems to be a natural. The Member for Carbonear put a resolution before this House today, as I understand it, and I am sure I heard him refer to the under utilized groundfish program. He is interested in this, yet the Government of this Province recognizes that the traditional resource sectors of the Province do not offer the best immediate prospects for new jobs. That is a serious, serious, statement, and probably the most serious thing that is in this document to date because it shows that the Premier and the Government of this Province have washed their hands of trying to deal with the employment problems that we have in this Province. They are not interested. They also established, last year, I believe it was, an agrifoods task force, a task force on agrifoods. That certainly is an natural resource of this Province. They have written that off. Whatever that report says now, with one statement in this Throne Speech, they have written it off because that is not going to offer the best immediate prospects for new job creation. The quickest way to create jobs in this Province is to put a bit of emphasis on agriculture. It is probably the most under utilized resource that we have in this Province, yet one line in a Throne Speech is going to throw it away. It is going to wash it out. So, whenever Dr. Hulan comes in with his report, if he ever gets it in, I do not know that he is planning to get it in in the next while, or if it has gone off to committees of Cabinet, or what happened to it, or if it is lost, but if Dr. Hulan ever gets his report to this House it is just as well to throw it in the garbage dump because the Government has said that the traditional resource sectors are not going to create new jobs. They are not going to put an emphasis on it. The Government is not going to. One of the reasons why the report has not been tabled to date from my suspicious mind, is that they did not want it in before the Budget because they would be forced to put money into it then. They would be forced to try and do some of it but now they will bring in their Budget and they will close down Farm Products, mess around with some other thing, then the report will come in and they will try to rectify it all again.

I have been reading the task force report. Only two paragraphs ahead of that they said it is no good. I mean, the Premier said in the Throne Speech, that this is not going to provide the new jobs. So whatever is in that Throne Speech, whatever is in that task force report, will not create the jobs. It is certainly not going to get an emphasis from a Premier who has already said in his Throne Speech that fisheries is not going to get the emphasis. And the Member for Carbonear's motion that he put to the House, it is just as well to throw that away. Because the Premier has said there are no new jobs in this fishery stuff.

Under-utilized species, he did not even think of them, I would imagine, if he made that statement. He did not think of the under-utilized species. Secondary processing. There are more jobs in fisheries that we are losing to Boston and wherever else - and we did it. If there is a real change over there, do stuff that we did not do. Increase, get more - do not write it off and say good-bye to the resource sector. Do not say there are no new jobs in that stuff, we will just keep that status quo and let it float along and we will try to find something else. Because there is nothing else.

What else are you going to bring into this Province? Mr. Speaker, one other thing here that I want to just make a comment on, is that this Government wants to make an attractive investment climate for businesses, to create businesses. I just read another silly statement in this Throne Speech, Mr. Speaker. We want to make an attractive climate for business to set up here. And what did the Minister of Finance do last year but impose a payroll tax which is complete disincentive for anyone in a medium size business to hire any more than fifteen people, because if they go over fifteen people then they kick into the payroll tax. So you might create five or six jobs but you are not creating - the fifteen jobs to the fifty jobs are the industries that we need in this Province. And if you have items like payroll taxes you are not going to do it. If you are going to put your retail sales tax on top of GST you are going to put Newfoundland businesses out of our Province, such as Brookfield Ice Cream, which might in the near future close its doors because of a change in taxation from the Minister of Finance.

And I hope that does not happen, but it is cheaper now today for Brookfield Ice Cream to go to Ontario and buy their ice cream and bring it down here and sell it then it is to produce it here in Newfoundland. Another sixty jobs out the door in the next three or four months.

Mr. Speaker, I suppose you could go on, and pick holes in everything. I have another dozen notes. I have just one more. I will finish on this one because I did not expect to have so much time here. This statement in the Throne Speech: the Government recognizes the current economic downturn will result in worker dislocation. One of those buzzwords that - you are throwing people to the dogs. You are putting them out on the street. That is the way people I know talk about it. Worker dislocation means nothing. You are chucking them out the door, is what you are doing. You are firing them. That is what I understand and that is what the people in my district understand.

But I will tell you what worker dislocation means now. There is this neighbour of mine who has been a nurse for sixteen years. She worked hard and obviously showed some initiative or ambition and she got a junior management position two years ago. She was floor supervisor or whatever. For showing that initiative she got, last month, a pink slip to say: you are out the door on March 30. After sixteen years of very hard work in the health system in this Province, worker dislocation means to her that she is out on the street as of March 31. No union to look after her because she took the middle management job. No one to speak up for her. No one to bump. No way to stay back in the system. She is out the door after sixteen years of good service. That is what worker dislocation will mean to every one of your constituents who are fired or kicked out the door or given their pink slips or whatever else you want to call it.

Mr. Speaker, if it is necessary to do some financial tightening up, do it fair. Don't be unfair to the people you are considering firing. That issue, that item or that example that I just gave you is totally, blatantly unfair. There is no fairness and balance to that woman. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. Member for LaPoile.

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, first before addressing the matter at hand on the address in reply I want to congratulate the mover and the seconder on their performance here on opening day. It was something that I had to do last year in moving the address in reply, and I remember the preparation and the time that I spent in preparing for that and, of course, the matter was well dealt with by both the hon. Member for Pleasantville and the hon. Member for Bonavista South.

Now, I wanted to, in speaking about the government (inaudible), I wanted to deal with the way that government is adapting. Now, as we well understand, government and, of course, business must adapt to the changing economy, and how is our government, the Government of the Province here, adapting to the changing economic circumstances that we now find ourselves in? I wanted to get into it along the lines of something I have prepared and it focuses on some material that I have had that is really more of a business oriented thing, but I have adapted it, of course, to how the government must now respond to the changing economic situation as we now see it.

Leaders in the closing decade of the twentieth century in general have to be comfortable with the idea and, of course, the reality of the rapid change that is going to take us along with it, and we can choose to go along for the ride or we could choose to be a part of the decision making process that shapes the future.

Now, we have to be willing to adapt and deal with this economic change rather than be a casualty of circumstances, which did happen, I might add, when the previous government was in power. I think it was more that the economy moved the government as opposed to the government moving the economy. Now, that is an observation and, of course, the jury is out, and I suppose the recent polls will certainly point to the direction that people think, certainly that we are more in control of the economic circumstance than possibly the previous government was.

How do we address this? I think we have to develop new strategies to deal with it, and in extreme cases, to cope with the situation as we now find it. The emerging economic order as it unfolds before us, to be a part of that we can be in the driver seat as opposed to just a passenger at the back of the bus. Now, closer to home here in the Province it is going to take a more consultative process between our government and the federal government in dealing with the economics that are part of the situation that we find ourselves in, and also between the provincial government and the municipal government. They cannot slough it off on us and expect us to deal with it, because essentially and ultimately the federal government as the leader of the nation will have to deal with it. Likewise on a provincial base, we, as the provincial government, cannot simply slough off the financial consequence of the economic situation on the municipal governments and expect them to deal with it without creating and developing a more consultative process where the federation of municipalities is a part of the process, where the municipal leaders are brought in and consulted on matters that concern their municipalities because ultimately, the master of the lot of us in politics and government are the taxpayer, and they, being the ones who make the final decision, we would possibly see a way of dealing with it being turfed out if the taxpayer was dissatisfied.

How do we go about developing this strategy? Well, I think we have to deal with the change as Liberals, a Liberal Government here, a Liberal- minded people regardless of the philosophy of the government in power, and we have to assume that the changes that are going to take place in the workplace, the effect on the people in the workplace as was just mentioned by someone, not only of what we talk of as worker dislocation, but also technological change that happens, that changes the work environment of people. Even something as simple as the no smoking legislation that we brought in for government is going to affect the way some of our workers work in the workplace.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) not legislation.

MR. RAMSAY: Well, the regulations then according policy.

But the matter that we look at is how do we benefit the worker as a whole from a Liberal standpoint, from a Liberal point of view? Now numerous studies throughout the last decade, throughout the 1980s, have pointed out that people are the most important aspect of any organization. The machines, the capital employed by large organizations are nothing when you take the people of an organization away. Now we have to do what we can to try and refine an organization structure, to attempt to improve the efficiency of an organization, but we also must be attentive to the people moreso than the machines. Because it is through these people and their situation, the way they work and the way they feel ultimately, that will decide the success of any decision to try change something, and also ultimately decide the success of the organization within its respective community. Whether a government which is out there seeking business input and business from all over the world is a player in the global community, I would say then we have to make sure that our people are comfortable within that.

We have to build on our strengths, something that became used, I suppose, as the Royal Commission on Employment and Unemployment brought in their report. Well, the strengths of our people have to be built on and this Government is certainly making efforts to make sure that that is part and parcel of our policy into the future.

We have also spoken of strategic planning. And the strategic planning must certainly take precedence over what one of our members here referred to prior to the House opening as Tory ad hocery. Now the ad hocery of the past, where year to year would be, I suppose, Government under fire or, you know, management of something by virtue of a crisis, we have to take note of everything that is happening and plan for the future. We have to do a long term plan and this Government has chosen to do it that way. It is not the kind of thing that is going to get you immediate political points with the electorate. They are going to look at it and say, gee whiz, you know, this is terrible! But in the overall, people never forget. They say on average the individual will see an explosive type thing at the beginning and maybe that is the situation that might result. But in the long term do not underestimate the electorate of this Province and the electorate's understanding of -

MR. SIMMS: The Saddam Hussein philosophy.

MR. RAMSAY: Do not underestimate the electorate's ability to understand and know what we are doing and whether it is for the best interest of the Province.

Now I feel comfortable in this. Granted we all have to go out there and handle some of the political consequence. The Budget situation is a year-to-year thing, but we cannot look at it as that. It has been looked at as a year-to-year thing too often and too long. We have to look at it more from a standpoint of dealing with a long-term plan and handling the consequence of implementing that. Granted if you look at the Economic Recovery Commission it is not the kind of thing that is going to, like the Tory ad hoc policies, where you give out a bunch of jobs that are short-term make-work-type jobs, it is more of a long-term approach you have to identify, and then accommodate the future.

Now collectively, all of us here in the Chamber as MHAs really are the leaders I suppose of the Province, regardless of the party for which we stand, and also regardless of the side of the House on which we sit. And we have to bring our collective considerations in here which, and I am being somewhat redundant in stating that, leads into something else. If we want the Province to be a winner on the domestic stage, then we have to strive to prosper now. And how is this going to happen? Well, is going to happen by all of us bringing forth information from our districts and making sure that we are setting a good example, a strategic example as a Government. Now the Government must set a good example (inaudible) of the other governments who look up on it. You will note now the Federal Government is interested in what happens with its fiscal transfers down here or its transfer of payments, EPF and what not, and they want to know now what it is being spent on. It is about time they took some interest in that; it is about time the Federal Government was concerned about what happens with the transfer payments as opposed to going off on their own economic development ways and means and developing policy, yet putting strangleholds on the Provincial Government in dealing with this.

Now, with an eye on the future and also to the furtherance of this business/government relationship, how do we go about it? What tasks do we have at hand that we have to abide by in order to further this? Well, we have got to improve the existing governmental structure. It has to be changed and improved to make sure that it accommodates what the electorate, what the people of the Province deserve.

Now, if we look at Education, it was mentioned earlier that we have over all, as an average, the better student/teacher ratio, and, as well, per capita expenditures are somewhat high when it comes to education, yet we receive lower results on national testing of our students. Well, that is an example of a problem on which we should concentrate and look at the structure and decide how we can best address this - how can we improve this situation?

Now, we have to increase the efficiency of our system of Government where possible. We cannot govern the Province with a total deference to the political consequence as has been done in the past, as is done now in Ottawa, with total political deference to the Quebec situation, the Quebec-Ontario Central Canadian situation; almost everything is done with an eye to keeping the electorate of Ontario and Quebec appeased, or deal with them so that they do not get up in arms over it all. And that is wrong. To an extent, I suppose, it provides, somewhat, a stable government, because you are going to allow a government that will not be fractured, and we have a minority situation here in the country that will wreak on our ability to deal with the international community, but yet, as for our overall system, where the Federal Government is one that is operating from political consequence only, I feel that is a problem. And, of course, when we see everything dealt with with respect to Quebec, having Quebec placed on a pedestal and everything else flow around that, that is a problem and that has to be dealt with. And our Government here in this Province cannot bring itself down to that level of activity. It is something that we have to strive to go beyond. In trying to do the right thing, I feel certain that the electorate of the Province will look at us all and say, well, we know now, because of all the information, the way that this Government is being so forthright with the people and so sincere in offering the opinions that we have, based on the information we have provided, not hiding it away and trying to make it seem like something that it is not, we are being very forthright with them and we are going to make sure that they realize that the hard decisions are being made because we have no choice.

MR. SIMMS: They are easy decisions.

MR. RAMSAY: Now if we look at another thing as far as this goes, we have to create a stimulation in the economy. Now to stimulate the economy in a time of recession is difficult enough, because governments are taxed of course on their ability - taxed is probably not a good word to use - to come up with the capital to stimulate the economy. But you have to be able to foster entrepreneurship, and the Economic Recovery Commission is the kind of organization which would enable us to do this.

Now the strengths we have here are well known. We have fishermen, a history of people who are used to a very hardy environment, a history of people who have done what they can to survive, to exist within this, and they have come here to this island over the years, over the centuries, to seek a better life. Now, granted Newfoundland and Labrador, as you have mentioned. To the Province, not just to the Island. I speak from whence I know, I speak from where I come. The people whom I represent in my district came to this island. I went back through some of the archives and found some information on my family who came from Rencontre West, down on the south coast, which is a place that sees the sun very little because of its geography. I look back on that and I wonder what brought them here. Was it because of a promise of wealth here in this area? I do not think that was the case. I think it was a living, it was a case where people could come here and do okay and survive. But ultimately they were not masters of their own destiny because, of course, the aspirations they may have had to succeed were certainly - they became part of a system, the system being one of British imperialism, colonialism more so, I suppose, with the conquering of the fishermen as the low end of the totem pole, as the person who was at the bottom of the proverbial pecking order, and he became part of a system. And he therefore had to be a player within that system.

And right now we see a difference in the way the fisherman is treated. A fisherman now is an entrepreneur, which brings me back to getting to the entrepreneurial spirit that we have to foster. The fisherman today, he is reliant on Government I suppose, in some sense, for loan guarantees; he is reliant on Government for some assistance with representations on his or her behalf to other governments who are in control of the fishery; and also he is reliant on the corporations that in turn work within the market system that we have to market the product that the fishermen harvests from the sea.

Now, this fisherman is not always seen as an entrepreneur. We see fishermen as something different in general in society here in the Province. We see them as the backbone of the economy, but they are not given the professional designation of professional fishermen. It is usually seen as the person who is the backbone, as I mentioned, of the economy but not given its proper place on the pecking order that is evident here in the Province.

Now if you look at the average fisherman who is fishing out our way, in my district, you are talking anywhere from half a million dollars to a $1 million vessel. You are talking about substantial investment in other employees who work with the fishermen there. You are also talking about people who have a lot of creditors they owe money to on, you know, gearing up for the season and whatnot. So ultimately no different from any other business person in the Province, and possibly, in a lot of cases, doing a lot more business than the small corner store operator who is operating in a small community with a small corner store, no different whatsoever, other than the fact that they have a high risk job, I suppose, fishing on the oceans which show no mercy at times.

Now the kind of co-operation the fishermen need in order to survive is something that we as a Government have to continue to improve and this will, in turn, improve the Province. And getting back to what I said earlier, we have to make sure that this is offered as a Government. Not offered to the point of loan guarantee upon loan guarantee upon loan guarantee, that are constantly being written off because of bad decisions that were made in the past. We have to be very solid in our deliberations on all of these applications that are brought forth, and also have to make sure that we are doing the thing that is right in the overall approach as far as our participation in both the global economy and locally in the business/government relationship goes.

Now this Government's record is something that I wanted to deal with also in conclusion. And the record of dealing with politically difficult things, things that do not go out and get you any Brownie points, as the hon. Opposition House Leader might mention. But they are the kinds of things that people see as a certain strength of character, and they see a willingness to deal with the situation that has been there, sometimes in the past, but certainly not there over a long period of time.

We have the NDP who now have a representative in the Chamber, albeit unofficial, and the article written in the most recent weekend paper, the Western Star, and I think it is also published in the Evening Telegram, where he says the NDP feeling is that he would not have the guts, Peter Fenwick mentioned in his column, to deal with the situation, he would find some other way. Well, the fact of the matter is there may be no other way to deal with the situation than the way with which this Government, who I am sure have deliberated endlessly, hours and hours trying to deal with the consequences to people, the consequences of some of the decisions we will make to people, and ultimately, I think, the primary focus in all of their minds was that we have to do what is going to be the best for the people of the Province, and I sincerely feel that this Speech from the Throne is the first part of that. Of course Thursday will set forth an agenda, and not just a one year patch work quilt to try to cover someone up for awhile and make them feel comfortable for a year, but a long-term plan, and a long-term plan that will certainly bring the Province to realize that the situation is serious and that it will be dealt with in the best interests of the people of the Province insofar as we are able. If someone else might have had the fortitude and the steadfastness to stand up to the electorate in the past, we, maybe, would not be in the position we are. This is the kind of thing we offer and I know this Throne Speech is something that is pretty basic. The details will come on Thursday and this plan will move us not only into the 1990s but also into the next century. I am looking forward to Budget day and I am looking forward to working in earnest to defend the Government if defence is necessary, and espousing and being euphoric where euphoria is necessary. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: One reporter called this Speech from the Throne a no news document and it is true. It was disappointingly lacking in content. It might equally be called a no hope speech, for it did not provide any source of confidence or inspiration. I was born in Corner Brook forty years ago and I can honestly say that I have never felt the pessimism that surrounds me until the past couple of months. The Wells administration has failed in providing leadership to the people of our Province. Perhaps the most striking example of the failure is the Premier's approach to the Constitution. And I say Premier because he runs a one-man show. There is nobody over on that side of the House who has any influence in the Premier's thinking or actions. The Premier has waged a one-man show on the Constitution. Now thanks to the Premier's cancelling the supposedly free vote in this Assembly last June against the objections of the Minister of Transportation, the nation has been plunged into a period of political instability. While commissions and task forces in other parts of the country are at work considering options for other provinces, other regions, other interest groups and for the nation as a whole, there is a void at home, in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Our Premier who faulted so bitterly the Meech Lake Accord because of the process by which it was arrived at, and who held himself out as a champion of democracy last year when he crusaded against it, saying there should be public consultation, there really should be a referendum, there should be a free vote of Members of the House, has never to this day allowed for any real public consultation in this Province. He has not initiated any form of legislative consideration of options for Newfoundland and Labrador in terms of our future relationship with other Provinces or with the Canadian Confederation. Instead, he has been saying, and he repeats in his Throne Speech, that there should be a national convention. That may very well be a good idea. But isn't that putting the cart before the horse? A national convention is a forum for representatives of different parts of the nation as it now exists - for representatives of Newfoundland and Labrador to express the feelings of their constituents. Well, what would be presented at a national convention on behalf of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians? Clyde Wells' view of the future of Canada? He was elected to be Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. There is a serious deficiency in his approach to governing this Province. It seems he has lost sight of his primary obligation to represent Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

In terms of the fishery, our most important industry, the Premier has said all along that there is no use asking for jurisdiction for Newfoundland and Labrador because if we had it we would not be able to handle it. Lately, after being Premier for more than a year, he had Aiden Maloney do a one man Task Force, and in response to Mr. Maloney's recommendations he has now modified his tune and he is saying there really should be a shared management negotiated between the Provincial and Federal governments. He is talking about an administrative accommodation. He is evidently abandoning any notion of getting legal control over our most important industry.

The Throne Speech and the Premier's performance to date have created a climate of pessimism, have eroded confidence and spirit, have caused people to worry and fear like they have never done in my lifetime, and intimidated people, inhibited individuals and leaders of organizations from freely expressing their views about what Clyde Wells is doing to this Province.

Now the Member for LaPoile referred to the Administration as being Liberal. There is nothing liberal, with a small "l" at any rate, about the Premier or the Administration he is running. It is an ultra conservative, with a small "c" regressive Administration.


MS. VERGE: My friend from Green Bay once said that the Members opposite are the regressive conservatives while we on this side are the progressive conservatives. Last year when the Premier was predicting a current account budgetary surplus of $10 million he eliminated the Ombudsman's Office. A few months later when he was still projecting a surplus on current account he and his Minister of Social Services slashed social assistance to single mothers receiving maintenance, and defended it in the name of fairness and balance. That is when they were projecting a current account surplus. No money problem but an attitude problem, a bad attitude problem.


MS. VERGE: Similarly the Department of Justice failed to bring in a program of assistance for victims of family violence and sexual assault, a program that had been planned and developed and set to go in the spring of 1989. Since August of 1989 the Department of Justice has been receiving revenue from the Criminal Code of Canada, fine surcharge, according to the Minister of Justice some $40,000 has accumulated from that new revenue source. Legally it is required to be spent on new programs of assistance for victims of crime, instead, presumably, this Administration, this ultra conservative administration is putting the revenue into general revenue, and I suggest that is against the law, and I will bring that up later.

Now, with the country suffering from a recession, there is a money problem, so we have the underlying attitude problem coupled with now a money problem, and this is reason for grave, grave concern, because in accommodating itself with financial restraints there is a serious danger that this Government is going to adopt measures which will be regressive and have an unduly harsh effect on low income people, on people in rural communities, on people on the West Coast of Newfoundland, on the Northern Peninsula and in Labrador. In other words, if the Government's previous inclinations hold true, the Premier and the Government will adopt choices for the next year or so that will exaggerate or make worse the income gap between the haves and have nots within our own Province.

This Premier and this administration have proven themselves incompetent at managing. They have disastrously mismanaged the economy. There is no talk anymore, as the Premier so brazenly said when he was campaigning for election two short years ago, about bringing mothers sons home from the mainland for work. No hint of that in the Throne Speech. Instead, the speech spoke of rationalizing health care and education, and of sponsoring programs of assistance for dislocated workers and hard hit communities.

So, here we are in March of 1991 with national political instability, a national recession, a provincial Administration which seems incapable of making a plan, let alone carrying it out, and with an all time low morale among our people, that is quite a record for two years in office - that is the real change - not the change that the voters believed when they cast their ballots on April 20 1989, however.

The Throne Speech was a week late being delivered. It was supposed to be done at a House opening on February 21, two days before, suddenly, it was delayed for a week. Now that is indicative of this Government's botching of implementing the few schemes that they have devised, and I am thinking of the Economic Recovery Commission, Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, municipal amalgamation, the White Paper on post-secondary education, a Provincial arts policy, and most recently, municipal grants.

Many of those were good initiatives with some good ideas but have been totally botched in implementation. In many instances the actual programmes did not live up to the advance billing, and in all cases there were delays in implementation, and confusion, and sometimes opposite results from what was intended.

I cite the municipal grants system: a programme that was supposed to close the disparity among municipalities, rewarding those with reasonable tax rates and that have been fiscally responsible, while pressuring municipalities that have been charging unreasonably low rates to raise them to a more reasonable level. The grants programme announced just before Christmas, when the House of Assembly was closed, a week or two before volunteer councillors were supposed to bring down their budgets, does not do any such thing. What it does is slash funding for virtually all the municipalities in the Province. When it became obvious that some municipalities simply could not live with the reduced level of funding, what happened? This Government that piously proclaims itself as standing for fairness and balance worked out a few side deals. Extra money here, extra money there. So what was the point of a Provincial formula? A formula is no sooner announced then it is departed from for a few favoured municipalities.

I come back again to the campaign of fear and intimidation that has been waged by this Government. In trying to establish their hold on Government, the Premier and his Ministers have been quite ruthless in firing PC supporters in key Government positions, setting up Liberal campaign managers, former candidates, and various fund raisers and hangers-on in positions. The Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador was staffed by circumventing of the Public Service Commission, and I suppose that is all shored up just before the axe falls on Thursday. The Government has been very selective in firing and in hiring, and the consequence is that a lot of people in our Province who are extremely worried, unhappy and dispirited, no longer have the nerve to voice dissension. It is a very dangerous situation, Mr. Speaker, and it is a time when the role of Opposition is of paramount importance. We over here will not be muzzled. We will not be intimidated. We will speak up. We will expose the hypocrisy. We will expose the inconsistency. We will tell people about the reversals. We will point out the lack of social conscience, the absence of compassion for ordinary people, the abandoning of hope, the inclination to work for Clyde Wells' personal vision of a Canada ruled from Ottawa, which will place Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in an even more subservient position in the nation.

Mr. Speaker, this administration does not seem to have a coherent plan. They have lurched from one extreme to the other. I have talked about inconsistencies and reversals. Less than a year ago, the Government seemed to rush into high wage and benefit settlements with the nurses and other public employee groups. The Government delivered a financial report which was rosy. They forecast a current account surplus, and then just a few months later, in October, they started proposing massive cutbacks and layoffs. Technically decisions have not been made, but the Minister of Health and his staff wrote and met with hospital and nursing home administrators telling them they would have to live on approximately the same amount of money in the 1991-92 budget year as they had in the 1990-91 budget year. Given the commitments and inflation, that means effectively a cut of $70 million. The Minister of Education and his officials told school boards and teachers that there was going to have to be a significant cut to education funding but today we see the President of Treasury Board saying no decisions have been made. Well, perhaps this has all been an elaborate PR campaign designed to scare the living daylights out of people so that on Thursday when cuts are announced they will pale in comparison to what people have been lead to fear, and people will breath sighs of relief and not take out their feelings and frustrations and disappointment on the party in power.

With those comments, Mr. Speaker, I wish to adjourn the debate.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is customary today to give notice of the Private Member's motion, so I suppose the Opposition House Leader could confirm that the motion for Wednesday would be the motion put forward by the Member for Mount Pearl?

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Alright. In connection with that, Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask for unanimous consent to change the name of the proposer of the resolution put forward by the Member for Carbonear. I would like to change that with consent to the hon. the Minister of Fisheries, the Member for Twillingate.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Do you want to confirm about the Private Member's resolution?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Okay, thank you.

Mr. Speaker, I move that the House at its rising do adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow, and that the House do now adjourn.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Just to add to it so that everybody knows, we have also reached an agreement on the speaking order for tomorrow, because I understand the Government intends to call motion of the Minister of Fisheries, and we have an agreement, I think, to have two speakers from each side at fifteen minutes each just to make sure it is understood.

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

MR. BAKER: Everybody understands why. This resolution we have discovered, since it was made in the House, there is a particular importance to be dealt with before the end of this week because of a meeting on Friday, and we felt in talking, that this is, perhaps, the easiest way to go about doing it, so that is the reason.

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

MR. SIMMS: Of course, but what I am talking about is an agreement that we have reached as the official Opposition - just bearing that in mind.

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