March 5, 1991                  HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLI  No. 3

The House met at 2.00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Before proceeding to the routine orders of the day I would like, on behalf of hon. Members, to extend a special welcome to a special guest in the Speaker's Galleries, the Consul General of Israel and Montreal, Mr. Itzhak Levanon.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Also, I would like to welcome to the visitors gallery thirty-seven students and members of the Buchans Public High School and the James Hornell Boys and Girls Club and chaperons, Gary Noftle, David King, Tracey Poole, Glenda Noftle and Josephine Head from the Central Newfoundland area and from the historic district of Windsor-Buchans.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Also, we have another delegation of students from the Leo Burke Academy School, Bishop's Falls, accompanied by their teacher, Mr. Reg Ploughman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I would like to offer, on a point of privilege, an apology to a Member of the House; it does go back some ways I admit, but it is the first real opportunity I have had to raise it and mention it to him.

Back in October, the 30th day of October, I believe it was in debate or speaking to a petition or something, in any event, I made a statement in the House that was not correct. I said, and I quote from Hansard of that day, that I had had a phone call in our office before we came up to the House from the Lewisporte Branch of the NTA and I said that the person who called said, `Please mention to the President of Treasury Board that the President of the Notre Dame Lewisporte Branch of the NTA called the Opposition Office today to express her extreme disappointment in their Member, Mr. Penney'.

Subsequent to that, it was brought to my attention, Mr. Speaker, by the NTA Branch President in Lewisporte that that was not accurate, that in fact the call to our office was more to express concern over the problem surrounding their negotiations with the Government and that more appropriately their disappointment was with the Government as opposed to being with the individual Member. So I may have taken liberties that day, and I apologize for that and I want to clarify the record.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Lewisporte.

MR. PENNEY: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for having corrected that misunderstanding. There was never any doubt in my mind of course, because there is nobody in the Lewisporte District who is at all disgruntled with the hon. Member representing them.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PENNEY: But I do accept the apology, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the hon. Member for correcting it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There was no point of privilege and I probably let it go on a little too long, but the hon. Member took advantage of an opportunity to clarify a statement, and that is under our rules permissible, with a little bit of flexibility.

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. FLIGHT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I wish to advise this House today that North West River, Labrador, will be the site of a new $1.2 million Forestry Protection Centre.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

A good job! A good job!

MR. FLIGHT: Funding for this facility is being provided under the Comprehensive Labrador Co-operation Agreement, with the expenditure begin cost-shared between the Federal and the Provincial Governments on a 30/70 basis. The hon. John Crosbie and I made a joint press release on this earlier today.

Mr. Speaker, the building will house fire fighting equipment, a repair facility, a state of the art lightning detection system and computer facilities. The facility will be the base of operations for twenty to thirty departmental seasonal forest protection staff and forest management personnel.

Mr. Speaker, this project is just the first phase of a plan to consolidate the Labrador operations of my Department in North West River. The consolidation will occur as funds become available.

Mr. Speaker, North West River in particular and the Lake Melville area in general will feel the positive impact of this construction project, and once in operation the centre will provide new employment opportunities in that community.

A consultant has been engaged in Goose Bay to supervise construction and tenders will be called as soon as possible.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the co-operation I have received from the Federal Government and my colleague, the hon. Jim Kelland, the Member for Naskaupi. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to, first of all, thank the Minister for giving me a copy of his statement previous to our coming into the House, and say from the outset that it is a very positive statement. It is much the same as the statement made yesterday concerning forestry in the Province, and I would echo the comments made by other Members.

Having said that, I would also like to draw attention, as I did with the agreement yesterday, to the fact that the Federal Government will be putting some 70 per cent of the monies into this new Forestry Protection Centre in Labrador, because I think it should be noted, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, it will house forest fire equipment, as the Minister has stated in his statement, and the repair facility and the state of the art lightning detection system, which is very important, Mr. Speaker, especially in Labrador, and something that has been lobbied for for years. And it is very important because of the fact, as far as I am concerned, that the Labrador area holds some of the wood supply, the products and the resource for the mills in the Province; if not for the mills, directly then for the sawmills, a good sawmill industry for the Province as a whole, and the twenty to thirty jobs. To consolidate the whole Labrador unit into one forest protection centre, I think, is a good thing. Overall, Mr. Speaker, I would just like to say it is a positive step for forestry in the Province. Thank you.

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 ask a series of questions of the Minister of Finance, flowing out of the Federal/Provincial Finance Ministers' meetings which took place in Montreal, I believe it was, on Sunday evening of the week just passed. At those meetings it has been reported by the Canadian press that a meeting will be held again in June to `negotiate wide-ranging changes in the financial ties that bind the country together.' It has been reported that another meeting will take place in June of Federal/Provincial Finance Ministers to begin negotiating new fiscal arrangements that bind Canada together. Now in the absence of the Minister of Finance perhaps I could ask his colleague, the President of Treasury Board, whether or not he can confirm for the House that a decision has been taken by Federal/Provincial Finance Ministers to meet again in June and to begin negotiating new Federal/Provincial fiscal relations?

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

MR. BAKER: No, Mr. Speaker, I cannot confirm that, but I will try to get further information to pass along to the hon. Member.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Maybe I could direct the supplementary to the Premier. Can the Premier confirm on behalf of the Government that Federal/Provincial Finance Ministers have made that decision, to meet again in June and to begin negotiating in June, again to quote the Canadian press story, `wide-ranging changes to financial ties that bind the country together.' To renegotiate the financial transfer payments and so on, I guess, is what it means. Is the Premier aware of that decision, or has that decision been made by the Ministers?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I am aware that the matter is under discussion and that most provinces, I would think, would want to work co-operatively with the Federal Government to try and put in place workable fiscal arrangements that are fair to all the provinces and are within the Federal Government's means. So, I would expect that they will have such meetings, if not in June, maybe July or August, but I cannot confirm absolutely that the meeting will take place in June, but I would expect that they will have further discussions.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is not really important whether it is June, July or August. I guess what is important is the subject matter here. So, I would like to ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker, this question. Can the Premier tell the House whether or not the Federal-Provincial Finance Ministers meeting in Montreal on Sunday identify specific items for discussion that will take place at that meeting. Whether the meeting is in June, July or August, is not important. Have specific items of negotiation, financial fiscal relations, been identified for the next round of meetings?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I do not know the detail, and the Minister of Finance is unavoidably away from the House. He will be back later this afternoon, and I am sure, with the permission of the House, he would probably provide the answers to these questions today. If it is not urgent he could certainly provide the answers tomorrow. I do know that the Minister of Finance has spoken to the Federal Minister of Finance about certain matters that are a particular concern to this Province, and I would hope that those matters will be addressed.

MR. RIDEOUT: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, with almost 50 per cent of this Province's Budget coming from transfer payments in one form or another, I cannot think of any subject that would be any more important to this Province than the gist of the questions that I am asking here today.

Now, let me ask the Premier this: given the importance of Federal-Provincial fiscal arrangements for this Province - for all provinces, but for this Province in particular - would the Government undertake to publish some kind of a discussion paper or a white paper - whatever the government wants to call it - early in the spring, so that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador can have some input into any changes that may be negotiated by this Government with the Federal Government and other provincial governments on fiscal transfers in Canada?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker. I will not undertake to publish any such document. We will probably be having continuing discussions along with all the other provinces. I have no doubt that we will provide for an adequate level of public discussion of anything that the Government proposes to do that will affect the Province's future revenue. I will not undertake to proceed by the particular route that the Leader of the Opposition wants, but we will do whatever is appropriate in the circumstances, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Education. I want to ask him about his rationalization plans within the post-secondary education system. In the Throne Speech the Government said it will support rationalization within the education system as one source of funds for undertaking long term education improvements. I want to ask the Minister about Government's rationalization plan in the post-secondary area. In particular, does the Minister believe that university students should pay more of the cost of their university education? Does he think that tuition fees in Newfoundland should be raised to the average of Atlantic Canada?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, there were two questions in the hon. Member's one question. He asked about the rationalization of the post-secondary system: that is ongoing in accordance with the White Paper. And further details concerning that will be announced in the budget process, Mr. Speaker.

On the question of fees, I think I can say that our fees have been relatively low. The Government is pleased that tuition fees in this Province have been low over the years, because we have a relatively low participation rate in post-secondary education. We have many students who can't find employment to raise additional monies themselves, so we are pleased that they are low. As far as what is going to happen in the future, Mr. Speaker, of course the University - Boards of Governors and the Boards of Regents themselves - decide on any increases in tuition fees, and we will have to await their decision in this regard.

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

MR. HEARN: Mr. Speaker, the Minister knows that they decide upon those based upon Government's commitment to them, and that the fees were kept low by a caring Government in the past. I ask the Minister: will Government's rationalization plan affect course offerings and programmes at the Cabot Institute, and other Provincial institutes and community colleges? And will students now registered in the first year of two- and three-year programmes be able to complete the remaining courses required for graduation at these institutions?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, any decisions about what will happen next year would have to await the Budget, the hon. Member is aware of that. I will say though, Mr. Speaker, that the Government is concerned about some of the statements that have been made in the past few weeks about cuts that would restrict students' ability to complete programmes. This Government is not going to treat students like that. We are going to see that students are treated fairly in the process of any downsizing or any cuts that will be made after the Budget.

MR. SIMMS: In what way?

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

MR. HEARN: Mr. Speaker, I ask the Minister: does the Government's rationalization plan for post-secondary include the closure of community college campuses in areas with low student enrolment?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I could say ditto to that. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member must be fully aware that any decisions about expenditures for next year, any major decisions, have to await the budgetary process. I mean the hon. Member must be aware of that - or where has he been? I found out where he has been, Mr. Speaker. I have some quotations of what the hon. Member said in the past about student fees and substitute teachers in rural Newfoundland. And one day I will quote them in the House.

But, Mr. Speaker, getting back to the question: certainly we have to await the Budget before any decisions are made with respect to closures of campuses or reductions in programmes or rationalizations in the administration of education. And one other thing, let me tell the hon. Member, he should talk with his friend, the former Minister of Career Development. The Government does not make these decisions. The Government makes the decisions in consultation with the Boards of Governors. The Boards of Governors make the decisions, Mr. Speaker, and we are going to do it right. We like to do things right on this side of the House, and we are going to do it right, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: My question is for the Premier. Since the failure of the Meech Lake Accord eight months ago, Canada has been in a period of constitutional uncertainty, and we may be on the brink of major change. Has the Premier reconsidered his refusal to strike a select committee of this House of Assembly or institute some other process to hear the views of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians about constitutional reform?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, I have not reconsidered it. I have explained in the public media a number of times the reason for the position the Government has taken, and there is no reason to alter that, Mr. Speaker.


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

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, are we to believe that father knows best, the Premier knows best?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Absolutely.

MS. VERGE: Why has the Premier changed his approach to a democratic process of Constitutional reform which he advocated when he was denouncing the Meech Lake Accord? Will the Premier explain that inconsistency in his stand?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: There are two questions. The first one was, are we to believe that father knows best? I can only assume the father was a reference either to the Government or to myself. If you assume it was to myself then I could only suggest that she look at the reports of the polls that support our respective positions on Meech Lake and then you would have to conclude, yes, that father knows best.


PREMIER WELLS: The quality of the head, I guess, makes the difference. In any event, Mr. Speaker, the second question, as I understood it, was why the Government was taking a position now that appeared to be at odds with its former position? It is not. It is completely and totally consistent with the position we took during the Meech Lake debate. The Government's position, in case the hon. Member has missed it - and it has been discussed a number of times in the last few months - is very simple. The people must have the ultimate say, and I see no value putting together a charade that would traipse around this Province hearing views expressed here and there and people taking hard line fixed positions - do not do this, do not agree to that, agree to something else, and nothing is achieved by doing that. If, as, and when, a proposal is put forward the people of this Province will have an opportunity to have a real say in a referendum. That is real democracy.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to the Premier that he is underestimating the intelligence -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member is on a supplementary and I want to hear the supplementary.

MS. VERGE: Does the Premier not think that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have the intelligence and the ability to contribute in a useful way to the choice of process and the choice of proposals upon which decisions will be made ultimately?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I have great confidence and faith in the sound judgement of the people of this Province, and good reason to have confidence and faith in their sound judgement.

Mr. Speaker, when you look at it, in this country, nothing is gained by having a commission in New Brunswick taking a rigid, hard and fast New Brunswick position, one in Alberta saying: this is going to be Alberta's rigid position, and one in Quebec taking a Quebec position. The proper forum is a national forum where the whole issue can be discussed in an national context, and there will be an opportunity for an exchange of ideas and a give and take, and alternate proposals and counter proposals, and adjustment of positions. Nothing is to be achieved in this country by having individual committees, or commissions, standing in each province shouting at the rest of the country their fixed rigid positions. Nothing will be gained by doing that. The proper thing to do - if she has any influence with her Federal counterparts - is to persuade them to put in place a national constitutional convention that could provide for full and proper debate, and the people of this Province, along with the people of every other province of Canada, could have full opportunity for complete input and exchange of views and ideas.


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

MR. POWER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question could have been for the Minister of Finance but as he is not in the House today I will ask my question of the Minister of Health. One of the rigid positions taken on a very serious issue in the election campaign which people in this Province had a chance to voice their opinion on in 1989, was health care. The rigid position of the Liberal Party in 1989 on a major issue of concern to a lot of residents in Newfoundland was outlined in this statement, 'Liberal health policy dictates that as long as the demand exists hospital beds must be kept open. Institutions must not be understaffed and compassion must always take precedence over business administration. If we cannot adequately care for the sick, the disabled, and the aged among us, we have failed as a society and we can take cold comfort in cutting costs and improving balance sheets. I would like the Minister of Health to now confirm that this is no longer the policy of the Liberal Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and that in effect this Government in little less than two years has failed in their commitment to society?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, this Government stands behind the position we had when we were in Opposition, and it is still our position. Health is one of the main areas we are concerned with. It is too bad the hon. Member did not continue to read from our policy manual because farther down the same page it said that we believe the health care system can be - and I am not quoting verbatim, but this is the gist of it - we believe the health care system in this Province can be carried out in a more efficient manner and we need not have as much money going into the system necessarily as there was going into it. Mr. Speaker, when we took over this job in l989 I was amazed at the lack of organization that the previous administration had allowed to develop in the health care system. I began immediately to restructure the health care system. The first evidence was on the Burin Peninsula where we actually improved the health care system by restructuring. We opened seventy-five beds that had never been opened before in the history of this Province. Over the next number of years, Mr. Speaker, be it five, ten or fifty, however long we are here we will continue to restructure the health care system so that we have a system which is the best possible that we, as a Province, can afford. That is not very easy because we are not getting much co-operation from the hon. Member's colleagues in Ottawa, but within our own means we are trying to restructure this system so that we can get the best possible health care, Mr. Speaker, and that is the commitment we made to our people in '89 and that is the commitment we stand by today, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary to the Minister. In the Throne Speech he talks about rationalizing the health care system based on - not on demand as it was in his 1989 policy statement, but in the current demographic and technological developments. Can he expand on what he meant by rationalize, and can he confirm that what the government really means by rationalize is to close hospital beds to reduce services to senior citizens and to, in effect, penalize the rural areas of Newfoundland and Labrador?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I thought I had explained that in the first answer to the question. Restructuring means, Mr. Speaker, that we deliver the best health care system that we, as a people, can afford, that we do away with duplication wherever it is necessary, but that we maintain the system, Mr. Speaker. We started that in 1989; we are continuing that and we will continue it over the next number of years that we are in power.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Ferryland on a final supplementary.

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

Can the Minister provide assurances to the people, and in particular the health care workers, in the rural areas of this Province, in such areas as Baie Verte, in Brookfield, in Springdale and Old Perlican that they will not lose their jobs, that there will not be closures - and in Come-By-Chance - and that these people of Newfoundland will continue to be served, not in simply a restructure, but in this new rationalized way, they will continue to receive the same level of services based on the demand and the needs of the citizens in those areas?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I cannot go into any details which may or may not be in the Budget. The hon. Member should know that. I can, however, assure the people of this Province that over the next number of years while there is a Liberal Administration in place that we will deliver a health care system which is far, far superior than the one which we inherited in 1989, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister responsible for Forestry and Agriculture. Back in late Spring or early Summer of 1989 the Minister instituted the Task Force on Agrifoods. The report at that time was supposed to be released at the end of September or the early part of October, if I am not mistaken, and after that when it was not released the latest date was February 14. Those were the times given and the dates given by the Minister and the Chairman of the Task Force. February 14, or better known as Valentine's Day, I guess, Mr. Speaker, came and went and still no report from the Task Force. Could the Minister now confirm to the House that he has received a copy of the Task Force from the Chairman, and if he did why it is not released to the public.

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

MR. FLIGHT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Most of the information provided in the hon. Member's question is factual, some of it is not, but most of it is. I have had now the Task Force report approximately - I cannot be specific - I think about two weeks. The industry is aware that I have received the Task Force report. Right now the Cabinet, myself and a group of officials are analyzing the report, and hopefully as quickly as possible they will brief me anyway and Cabinet on the report, and when this happens we will make the report public, Mr. Speaker. I have made that commitment to the various sectors in the industry, the Federation of Agriculture, and I intend to keep my commitment to them and release the report publicly as soon as possible, sooner rather than later. But I might add, Mr. Speaker, one of the things in discussing the release of the report by the various commodity boards in the industry was that always the plea was: "Mr. Minister, please don't do what the other previous administration done and sit on that report and let it gather dust.

That report is for the industry, and, Mr. Speaker, I intend to make sure that the report will not gather dust, will not be treated the way other reports were treated, and I make a commitment to the industry that in a very short while they will have the report.

Thank you.


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

MR. WOODFORD: Now, Mr. Speaker, a supplementary. In view of the fact, Mr. Speaker, that this task force has spent the last eighteen months studying a long term plan for agrifood and agriculture in the Province, would the Minister confirm to the House that he has established a so-called Cabinet Review Committee to study the task force before it is released and the reasons for doing that?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member should be aware that the industry, the Federation of Agriculture, the various sectors of agriculture are very pleased with the speed with which the report was done. He says eighteen months. It was little over a year at the cost of the task force and what they perceived to be a thorough job being done by the Chairman, and they are very supportive and very pleased and they are very understanding of the fact that I intend to have the report released as fast as possible.

Now his reference to Cabinet Committee. Mr. Speaker, each Member of Cabinet, that is the way the process works, I took the report as soon as I was ready to Cabinet. Cabinet now has the report. Officials are reviewing the report with directions to report as quickly as possible, brief the Minister so we can deal with the report in public when it is made public.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

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

MR. WOODFORD: A final supplementary, Mr. Speaker. In view of the fact that the report obviously now will not be released until after Thursday's Budget, and in view of the fact that this will be the third year, the third Budget with no extra monies put into the agricultural industry in the Province, could the Minister now tell the House if he will be allocating any funding in Thursday's Budget to implement some of the recommendations of the task force?

AN HON. MEMBER: A good question.

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, you talk about a contradictory statement. I just announced that this Government spent $700,000 in agriculture. That is new dollars in looking at agriculture and having a task force to advise the Government as to the approach we should be taking in developing that particular industry. That is $700,000 that was not spent by previous administrations, directly assisting agriculture.

And, Mr. Speaker, in as far, Mr. Speaker, as expenditures or anything relevant to the Budget for the Department of Agriculture, the hon. Member will have to wait with the rest to see exactly what is said in the Budget with reference to agriculture. And I might remind him he has only got to wait until Thursday and he will get his answer.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. Mr. Speaker, I wonder would the Minister explain to this House the provisions of Section 10 of The Public Tendering Act, 1984, relating to the tabling of Public Tender Act exemptions?

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

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Speaker, I know that I am responsible to report the exemptions to The Public Tendering Act within thirty days after the House is opened. I explained to the Member, and the Member asked me a question about The Public Tendering Act back in the last day the House was open. He wrote me and asked why we did not have the exemptions to The Public Tendering Act for September published before the House was closed. I wrote him back and told him. And yesterday, Mr. Speaker, I tabled the exemptions to The Public Tendering Act so I would like to table the letter I wrote to the hon. Member on January 17, now, and outline exactly what happened so that everybody is aware of it.

I told the Member and he has it in a letter, so I will table the letter.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

MR. GILBERT: Would you like for me to read the letter!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

We do not want any reading of letters in the Question Period. I ask the hon. Minister to take his place, please. I would remind hon. Members there will be no reading of documents during Question Period - letters, newspaper extracts - even though hon. Members might make the request. It is not permissible.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I will tell you briefly what was in the letter. It was an oversight, is what he said, Mr. Speaker. An oversight on the Ossokmanuan Bridge which cost us $1.3 million.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. R. AYLWARD: We have another oversight, Mr. Speaker, in tabling documents -

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

The hon. Member is up on a supplementary and he is not supposed to suggest that he knows what is in the letter. He can make no suggestions other than by a question.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, does the hon. Minister agree that his answer to me one time in this House before, was that there was an oversight in a contract in a Labrador bridge which cost $1.3 million? And does he agree that in his letter he suggested to me that there is an oversight in tabling documents as required by law in this Province last September and October? And does the Minister agree that he has broken the law of this Province?

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

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Speaker, when the House opened in October last year I tabled the exemptions to the Public Tendering Act that were completed at the time, and that was around the end of October I tabled the exemptions to the Public Tendering Act up until August. As I explained to the hon. gentleman on January 17 there was an oversight by an employee in my Department and the September statement which should have been tabled by the end of November was not presented to me for tabling. It was not. But the first opportunity that I had when the House opened yesterday, I tabled the one for September, October, November, December and January. So the one that should have been tabled at the end of November for September was not tabled due to an administrative error on the part of an employee in my Department.

I find it extremely difficult and strange to hear the man who was the Minister of the Department that spent $22 million on Sprung to stand up and talk about someone being less than diligent in (Inaudible).


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

I ask hon. Ministers when they are responding to questions to please try - I know sometimes it is difficult - to stay specifically to the point but to try and refrain from getting into areas of debate.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride, final question.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I say to the hon. Minister, there is a judicial enquiry into what happened in Sprung, Mr. Speaker -

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

I again remind the hon. Member that the Chair is cognizant of the fact that Members would like to respond but I am afraid that they can't respond on supplementaries, they have to get directly into the supplementary.

I have to tell the hon. Member that Question Period has expired as well.


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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HEARN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. My petition is to the House of Assembly, Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. We, the undersigned, request that the Provincial Government reconsider their proposals to impose any financial constraints on the operating budget of Cabot Institute, and we could add Gander Community College, Carbonear Community College, Bell Island Community College as well as the Cabot Institute.

I have petitions here from all these post-secondary institutions asking that Government handle their upcoming deliberations in relation to educational funding in a sensitive manner. The students, mainly because of remarks by ministers in the Government, including the Minister of Education, feel that when the Budget is brought down on Thursday, one area that will be hindered severely - rationalized is the operable word - will be the education system of this Province.

The students suggest that cutbacks, restraints, for want of a word - the Minister might say there is not a cutback. If the same amount of money is provided as last year, he says that is not a cutback.

MR. WINDSOR: It certainly is.

MR. HEARN: Yet when Ottawa provides the same amount of money as they did last year, it is a cutback. What it means is that in light of escalating costs, post-secondary institutions will have fewer dollars to operate next year than they have presently; that means the same amount of services cannot be provided and, consequently, the students are the big losers.

The students feel that the resulting decisions will mean the loss of courses presently offered, reduced staff levels that will certainly affect the quantity and quality of course offerings, increased tuition fees and user fees. We already see hints that these things are being considered, and perhaps have already been put in as part of the Budget.

The Minister today in answering questions, and it is unfortunate that some of the students who are here now were not here a little earlier, during Question Period, when the Minister skirted around the question, Did the Government plan to encourage an increase in fees? The Minister, of course, instead of giving a direct answer tried to slough it off on the universities or the post-secondary institutions boards saying, well, we are not the ones to increase fees, the boards and the President of the University and so on make these decisions. And perhaps that is technically right, but these institutions and the boards which govern them have to make a decision to increase fees if the money is not forthcoming from Government.

If Government takes away, somebody has to fill the vacuum to make sure that the courses are offered and that the instructors are available, that your services, cafeteria, libraries and everything else stay in place. And if they do not get the money from Government, then they have to collect it from the taxpayers. Quite often they have to collect it directly from students, because that is their only real means of getting any extra dollars. So the Minister in his answers today made it quite clear that there are decisions being made that will greatly affect the outcome of decision-making at the post-secondary levels, as it relates to the provision of services dependent upon the amount of money made available to the institutions.

So, Mr. Speaker, over the last x number of days and weeks the students, not willing to sit by and let Government make a decision without input, and then they can always say, oh well, you know, nobody complained, the students have made quite clear to Government the effect of these decisions. Now we know that the Minister and Government, these people do not listen to the people in the field who are affected, they do not even listen to the people who are concerned with education within their Departments. They will listen to the people who control the finances, the people who look at black and white or red and white. And, of course, you cannot make decisions as they affect education strictly on a dollar and cent basis, you make them based upon what is right for the students.

So the students have gathered up petitions and they have gathered up cards which they have sent in to us to table, Mr. Speaker, and we will. Thousands of students are expressing an interest in their future and we ask the Minister and Government, when they make the final decisions on the Budget, to consider the future of the young people of our Province, because the future of this Province lies in the hands of these young people.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to table petitions from Cabot, from the Gander Community College, Carbonear Community College, Bell Island Community College and cards from thousands of students throughout the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to have the opportunity to stand today and say a few further words in support of this petition presented by my colleague, our education critic and Member for St. Mary's - The Capes. I do hope, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister of Education intends to rise and say a few words on this petition, as well. It would be the normal situation in a petition in this House, that a Member would present it and the Minister of the department to which it relates, were he or she in his or her seat, or the Government House Leader, somebody on their behalf, would respond to the petition. But what we have seen develop in this House, Mr. Speaker, over the last several months, as we have been talking about education cuts or health care cuts, is that Ministers have been staying glued to their seats; they have not been rising to respond to petitions. Or if they do in fact rise at all, it will be after the two Members who are permitted to speak from this side of the House have spoken, and then they will get up and they will go into a tirade and a gyrate of everything except as it relates to the prayer of the petition that was presented.

Mr. Speaker, we have here today a petition presented on behalf of students in a number of post-secondary institutions in this Province: the Cabot Institute, just up the street from this building, the Marine Institute, the Carbonear campus, I believe, of the community college, the Bell Island campus, the Gander campus. A number of students in post-secondary institutions in this Province are concerned, Mr. Speaker. Now, Mr. Speaker, why are they concerned? Are they concerned because of something that somebody on this side of the House may have said about proposed government cutbacks pending over the last several months, or are they concerned for some other reason? They are concerned, Mr. Speaker, because of the people who run the system. We saw just a couple of weeks ago the President of the Cabot Institute in the media of this Province saying that she had had the truthfulness and the forthrightfulness to tell her faculty and to tell her students that if the government imposes a freeze, this is what it means. It did not come from a some fearmongering politician on this side of the House, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SIMMS: Or that side.

MR. RIDEOUT: Or that side. It came from a responsible leader of an institution in this Province. That is normally what the government says, by the way, when those things come up: it is the Oppositions fearmongering, or somebody on the Opposition side fearmongering. But those statements, Mr. Speaker, came from a responsible leader of an institution, one of the major institutions in this Province. Some of them told their students that in case of multi-year courses, even though you might be into year one or year two, if the government proceeds with this cutback that they are talking about, it is quite possible that at this particular institution you will not be able to complete year two or year three. That was told to students in this Province, Mr. Speaker, so why wouldn't they be concerned? Why wouldn't they present themselves, to have their voice heard by their government at the people's House the day that it opened? And not one person, Mr. Speaker, least of all the Leader of the Government, had the audacity and the strength and the courage of the government's convictions to go meet those citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador.

There were more people that day -

MR. SIMMS: You offered to meet them privately, two or three (inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: Yes, two or three.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. RIDEOUT: Sorry, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order please!

I just want to remind people in the gallery that they are not supposed to respond to speeches in anyway by applauding. I just wanted to remind the people in the gallery of that very important rule.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, there were more people that day, when those citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador where here to present their cause, scurrying around looking for stairwells, going up the back ways to offices, finding their way into this Chamber by going up back stairways and everything else, and that is not good enough, Mr. Speaker. That is not good enough! If the people of this Province have something to say to the elected government, then the government should have the courage and the fortitude to stand up to them and to listen to them and to respond to them, Mr. Speaker. That is what democracy is all about.

Well, Mr. Speaker, we went out and we grabbed the megaphone and spoke to them. The Member for St. John's East did the same thing, and Mr. Speaker, if there was courage on the government benches, the government would do the same thing. Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Education -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shame! Shame!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: You snuck out at the last minute and they would not let you speak.

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is too much commotion on both sides of the House. The Leader of the Opposition, as a matter of fact, his time is just about up. I will allow him to continue for a few more seconds.

MR. RIDEOUT: In thirty seconds, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Education has the opportunity to stand. He did not have the fortitude to do it when he should have done it, but if he wants to stand now, he can stand, the floor is his, Mr. Speaker.

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I feel an obligation to put the record straight on this. I want to tell it as it was. Before I came into the House I went up and offered to speak to the students. `I want Phil. I want Phil.' Phil went up to speak, but what a letdown he got. I went up and took the mike but what did they say? `We want Clyde.' Now that was quite a personal letdown for me, I must admit. But, Mr. Speaker, being serious, I did go out and offer to speak to the students but they preferred to have the Premier speak to them. I offered to meet them in a delegation and I did meet a delegation. The press reported that I did not meet later in the afternoon, but I spent two excellent hours with about eight or ten students. And I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that I have met delegation after delegation, I have met delegations of parents and students, and I appreciate their concerns. I understand where they are coming from. This Government, by doing it the way we did, going out and opening up debate, we did give people a chance to be heard. And, in addition, they made some very positive suggestions. One of these days I will indicate to my colleagues, and to the House perhaps, some of the suggestions we got during the discussion period about how we might improve education in the Province. We got quite a number of suggestions, Mr. Speaker.

I have met with delegations, I have heard them, and I do appreciate their concerns. And I will continue to meet with people anywhere in this Province. I have been in more schools in eighteen months than some Ministers were in ten years, and I can document that, Mr. Speaker.

Anyhow, on a serious note again, I want to pick up on something the hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes said. He made a very important point about federal cutbacks. The Federal Government through its extended freeze announced in the Federal Budget is withdrawing its support. It is a strong signal. Let me put it this way: that decision in the Federal Budget is a strong signal that the Federal Government is going to withdraw its support for post-secondary education in this country. That initiative in the Federal Budget threatens Canadian unity, it threatens this country's ability to compete with the world. It is very bad timing for the Federal Government to do that. The Federal Government in its Budget, I think, forfeited its opportunity to give leadership in the area of post-secondary education. We cannot have a world-class economy without a world-class educational system; we cannot have a world-class education system without the funds that are needed throughout this country from the Federal Government. We have to have a federal commitment to post-secondary education and I would urge the Member, in addition to taking his position to the Federal Government, to ensure that they do not continue on the road to destroying post-secondary education in this Province.

MR. RIDEOUT: This House has a provincial responsibility.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Opposition House Leader. A further petition?

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to present a petition on behalf of some 450 people in the Grand Falls - Windsor area, a petition circulated by the PTA, the Parent Teachers Association of Notre Dame Academy in that area. They sent the original petition to the Minister, and I have discussed this with him privately, but the covering letter clearly indicates they would appreciate it if "you would bring our petition to the floor of the House of Assembly as well."

In addition to that, Mr. Speaker, I want to make reference to another petition which was sent directly to the Minister, a copy of which was sent to me, containing another 180 names from parents and teachers in Windsor, again in the district of Windsor - Buchans, represented by the Minister of Forestry, and sent to me by the principals of Windsor Academy and Windsor Collegiate, as well as the PTAs for both those institutions.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I need not, I suppose, go into great detail about the complaints contained in the petitions. Surely anybody who is astute at all would have heard over the last five or six months the concerns expressed by parents, teachers and students, such as the concerns we just heard expressed by the students of some of the post-secondary institutions in our Province. It was rather interesting to hear the Minister's response and defense of his actions a few days ago, when there was a large, large group of students who, by the way, did a fantastic job I think of organizing that particular demonstration. They had a tremendous turnout and did a very good job of it. It was interesting to hear the Minister defend his actions on that particular day. He said just before the House opened at 2:00 p.m. he went out to offer to speak to them.

Well, as I recall, I believe they were out there for quite some time prior to 2:00 p.m.

MS. VERGE: Quite a long time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: About two hours.

MR. SIMMS: Well, certainly, I think an hour, 1:00 p.m. or so. So I think that is a very weak defense.

And the other thing that this Minister and other Ministers in this Government are very prone to do is blame all of their woes and problems on somebody else. In this case, the Federal Government again has taken all the heat and flak for it. Well, Mr. Speaker, I want to remind the Minister of Education - or let me ask him the question: I always understood that education was a Provincial responsibility.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Completely and absolutely.

MR. SIMMS: If that is accurate, and correct me if I am wrong, but if that is correct, then perhaps the Minister could tell me what responsibilities he is going to exercise as the Minister of the Department responsible for providing all those services which are desperately needed by the students in our Province. Maybe he can comment on that. I would like to hear him comment for once on what he is going to do, and what his Government is going to do, rather than blaming all their woes on other people.

Now, Mr. Speaker, with respect to the petition, specifically from Windsor Collegiate and Windsor Academy and the parents and teachers in those areas, I want to make two or three points which they have raised themselves, and maybe the Minister can respond to it.

First of all they understand, I guess, from talking to their superintendent, that they may lose twenty-six teachers in that particular district. That is if the 2 per cent factor is removed, about which we have all heard lots of talk. It may be all rumour. I do not know. But most likely they feel that that might result in school closures, multi-grade classrooms, reduced services, and so on.

Secondly, the loss of operational funds could mean as much as $200,000 to that particular board, and that would seriously affect, in their minds, the quality of education. And I think in everybody else's minds, probably. The increase in the length of the school day which has been much talked about, they think that would cause a number of problems, not the least of which is it would severely limit the time that students might have to obtain part-time positions, part-time jobs, therefore adding more expense to parents and all the rest of those kinds of things.

And finally, Mr. Speaker, the introduction of bus fees, text book fees, increased school fund raising and so on will be an additional financial burden on the people and parents and children and so on, the students.

These are the concerns. He is aware of them, because the letter went directly to the Minister. I did not get a copy of the response, but maybe in response to this petition, 450 names, 180 names, another 700 - what is that? - 580, six hundred and-some-odd. Yesterday another petition, nearly 500 hundred names. So they are coming fast and furious.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in support of the petition concerning education in this Province. Of course we know that this Government has indicated that it supports education, and that is a great motherhood issue, everybody is in favour of education. What we have failed to see, Mr. Speaker, is action by this Government to prevent the deterioration of this Government's ability to fund education in this Province. And we have seen the failure of this Government, and not only this Government but both sides of this House, to protect the established programme financing of the Federal Government.

(Inaudible) Mr. Speaker, introduced into the Federal House a Bill, Bill C-69, which this Government ignored. And not only did this Government ignore it, but this side of the House ignored it. They finally discovered it in October, Mr. Speaker, and then they had a Private Member's Motion by someone on the Government side to condemn the bill while it was before the Senate.

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

MR. SPEAKER: A point of order, the hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I know the Member feels he is a bit of a veteran, having spent a year or a few months up in Ottawa, but I want to suggest to him that the rules up there are not quite the same as here. The rules here are very specific, that when a Member speaks to a petition he must stick to the prayer of the petition and the numbers of names contained on the petition, not talk about Bill C-69 and all these other little things he wants to talk about. So the hon. Member is purely out of order, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: To the point of order, Mr. Speaker. From listening to the speeches

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

MR. SIMMS: Are you speaking to the point of order?

MR. HARRIS: I am speaking to the point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Thank you.

To the point of order, Mr. Speaker. I have heard many speeches made in the last couple of days on the petitions which have been presented to the House, and I have heard very wide-ranging comments from the people presenting the petitions, as well as from those responding to them, and I feel that that is consistent. My comments concerning education in this Province are consistent with all those comments.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Opposition House Leader did raise a valid point of order, and I referred hon. Members to it again yesterday. Sometimes it is difficult for the Chair to be following all the points Members are raising, but our rules are clear that a Member must speak to the material allegations of the petition and refrain as much as possible from bringing in extraneous matters. I would ask the hon. the Member for St. John's East to continue, bearing the ruling in mind.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The concern, of course, of the petitioners is a concern that we all share, concerning the plans of this Government and the concerns expressed therein that there will be less money available to support the programs of education in this Province. That, of course, is a function of the financial ability of this Government, which is a concern that we share as Newfoundlanders because of the tax base we have in this Province and because of our needs for support from the Federal programs which we know have been cut back and that this Government has not responded to. I think, Mr. Speaker, that we expect more from this Government than we have seen, and we expect more leadership from them in making sure that they are able to respond to the petitioners and to all Newfoundlanders who deserve a first rate system of education, not one that is continuously deteriorating.

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I do appreciate the hon. the Member for Grand Falls' letter to me some weeks ago about a meeting that was held in Grand Falls. I could not attend. I promised to go to a future meeting, wherever possible. But he did write a letter to me outlining the concerns of parents, and I appreciate that.

Secondly, as far as education being a provincial responsibility, I am sure the hon. Member is aware that education is a provincial responsibility but it is a national obligation, it is a national concern. And EPF, as the Member for St. John's East has indicated, the Established Program Funding, has been vital to the development of post-secondary education throughout this country.

Thirdly, the Member for Grand Falls asked if I would comment on what we have done in post-secondary education? I would like to list all the things we have done in the last year, but the one, perhaps, that is most appreciated by students is the reform of student aid and the scholarships - outstanding support for that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. WARREN: We have received overwhelming support, Mr. Speaker. And whereas there may have been 300 or 400 students here the other day, there were not 4,000 like turned out in 1983, when the Member over here, from Humber East, was the Minister of Education.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. WARREN: Four thousand, Mr. Speaker, turned out to protest the cut in student aid in 1983, if I recall.

MR. MURPHY: Tell the truth now, Phil. They are getting mad.

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, the students in this Province appreciate what this Government has done to provide more student aid and more scholarships so that more of our people can get an opportunity to do post-secondary education.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to present a petition on behalf of approximately 170 concerned parents of the community of Jackson's Arm and area. The prayer of the petition, I am sure it will be accepted. If not, you can make a judgement on it. Anyway, this petition is a response objecting to the recent announcements regarding possible educational cutbacks. Giving our children a good education should be top priority. They are our future leaders and we ask that you, the Government, look elsewhere for your cutbacks. There is a covering letter with that which you can refer to when you get the copy of the petition.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I want to again remind hon. Members about petitions. We do have a specific format. Again we allow the House to make a judgement on it, but I do believe that it is incumbent upon us to get reasonably strict about the format. But I want to remind hon Members that we do have a specific format and we ought to follow it. The hon. Member alludes to the fact that it is not, and I can only ask the House again whether he has permission to present this petition?

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It has always been our position that if the intent is to present a petition to the House of Assembly, then we have always agreed that it is acceptable. I have not seen the format, so I find it difficult to make judgement on it. If indeed its intent is that it be brought before the House, then we agree it should be brought before the House.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a few short comments on the petition. I would like to refer to last year's announcements by the Department of Education, specifically with regard to the cutback in substitute teaching days and a few other decisions that were made at that time. This one in particular, Mr. Speaker, was very significant, especially with regard to the Deer Lake Integrated School Board which the Jackson's Arm School Board comes under in that area. For instance, I have to refer back to the cut in professional development days. That was very significant to the people down in Jackson's Arm. Because they are so far down in the bottom of the bay, with no substitute days available, if a teacher had to leave and a substitute provided, it would have to be taken out of operating. Now, Mr. Speaker, that, to me, is wrong. Operating today, just in the integrated system in Deer Lake alone, last year lost 125 students because of declining enrolment. That is a significant number of students when you look at the total amount of money that is allocated per student per year for each school board. To have to take any money at all out of operating is very hard. Each school board finds it very, very hard to operate as it is, and in this particular case the Deer Lake Integrated system, under which Jackson's Arm comes, found it very hard to operate since October or November of last year, 1990.

To add to that, Mr. Speaker, as to the distances travelled the costs are the same. That is one thing I am sure the Minister is aware of, the costs are the same; the school busing is the same, the lighting is the same. In fact, it was more last year because of the very heavy increases passed onto the school boards by Newfoundland Hydro. They have no way to recuperate that. Absolutely none! The school tax is set, the amount of operating per student for a school year is set, and they have no way to recuperate that funding. I would like to caution the Minister, and more particularly the Cabinet, before the announcement on Thursday's Budget, not to cut the allocation for capital funding for schools in the Province.

I am fairly sure and certain that the community of Jackson's Arm, down in White Bay, is fairly high on the priority list for a new school. It is much needed. The building they have there now is a dilapidated building, and I think if the capital funding for school boards in the Province is not cut, they will probably get their school this year, or at the latest, next year. I would like caution the Minister and his colleagues who are listening to make sure when it does come up that that particular area is not cut, it is an area for which funding is much needed. And if you add to that the possible cuts in operating funding and so on, it would be detrimental to an area such as Jackson's Arm. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. VERGE: I wish to support the petition so well presented by the Member for Humber Valley, my colleague and my neighbour on the west coast. I join with the people of Jackson's Arm in calling on the Government not to cut funding for primary, elementary and high school education. These people took up the petition after suffering the brunt of cutbacks in education funding already imposed by the Government. The Member for Humber Valley talked about the reduction in funding for substitute teachers and the detrimental effect on teachers professional development, an effect that was worst of all in isolated rural communities, communities some distance away from school board central offices.

The people who signed that petition have been contributing to the cost of education in Jackson's Arm; they have been paying school tax, and they have been involved as members of home and school associations and as parents in fund raising activities and in giving their children money to go to school and buy consumable materials and other materials needed for today's school programming.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it is ironic that this Minister of Education, who has been in office for two years now, was one of the authors of a report on education financing appointed by the previous Government, and in that capacity, wearing that other hat, pointed out the need for significant increases in funding for kindergarten through grade twelve education. Instead, now that he has the power of the office of Minister of Education, he is talking about proposals for cutbacks, for freezing budgets, for taking up to $30 million out of funding for primary, elementary and high school education this year.

Yesterday when I spoke I talked about the attitude problem of this Government. Last year, when the Minister and his colleagues were expecting to have a current account surplus, they slashed funding for substitute teachers and put in jeopardy teachers' professional development programs. God help us this year when they do have a money problem that has been triggered by the national recession. With the kind of attitude that lead to a reduction in funding for teachers when there was a current account surplus, what are they going to do this year? What are they going to do this year?

So really all the people of Jackson's Arm are asking is that this Minister be consistent and carry out the objectives and the ideas that he advocated just two years ago, before he was elected. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, last year, we did many things to improve education in this Province. We did cut substitute teachers, in fact, I got the idea from the hon. Member for St. Mary's - The Capes. I found the article Christmas time when I was cleaning out some of my files at home and going through the records of the task force on school funding and all that. I found an article in which the hon. Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, said this on the topic of substitute teachers, and I thought I would bring it in, and I am glad we raised it today because I think it is important: he said he was very concerned over the burgeoning cost of substitute teachers; we spend $11 million a year. Now this is the hon. Member, the former Minister of Education saying this-

AN HON. MEMBER: No, no (inaudible).

DR. WARREN: - he said millions-

AN HON. MEMBER: No it cannot be.

DR. WARREN: - just on substitute teachers: I think that with some co-ordination we can save dollars there without hurting the system. Now, listen to what he said; he went on to say, why is it so high?... someone asked him, and he said: well, that is a good question. I wonder if we are getting any real benefit, he said-


DR. WARREN: - and then he went on to say, perhaps we could save $2 million; perhaps we could save $2 million in substitute teachers.

Mr. Speaker, this is the hon. Member, this is the former Minister of Education-

AN HON. MEMBER: No, no. It cannot be.

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, last year we did try to save a few dollars on substitute teachers; it caused great concern throughout the Province. We feel however, that teachers have had in-service programs- you know, Mr. Speaker, yesterday as I arrived in the House on a digression - the President of Treasury Board was saying we had the best qualified teaching force in Canada; now I do not know if we have got the best, but we are one of the best.

You know, twenty-five years ago only 15 per cent of our teachers had a degree or more, today, 98 per cent of the teachers in this Province have a degree or the equivalent and they have done an outstanding job in the past year. Maybe there was a cutback in substitute teachers in some areas but our teachers are among the best qualified and the most creative in this country and they have carried on this year, even with some slight reductions, not as much as the hon. Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, would like, not as much of a reduction as he but a slight reduction.

Mr. Speaker, I pray attention to the petition. Certainly the Government considers all these petitions and any decisions will be announced in the budgetary process.

AN HON. MEMBER: You do not know even where the (inaudible).

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Motion 16, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 16. The hon. The Minister of Fisheries.

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, the resolution that we are about to debate has been made necessary by virtue of some changes that have been announced in the Federal Government's Underutilized Ground Fish Management Plan, changes that in our view, and a view that is shared by most people in the fishing industry, will have very serious impact on the Newfoundland Fishing Industry.

Mr. Speaker, the -

MR. SPEAKER: I wonder if the hon. Minister of Fisheries would just permit an interruption. I understand this is a special debate that we talked of yesterday where it was agreed that the time limits would be fifteen minutes, is that correct? Okay, I just want to make sure honourable Members understand that.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. BAKER: For a second, Mr. Speaker, it is a special debate in the sense that we have agreed to fifteen minutes, it is not special in terms of the order, it is a Government order that was called.

MR. SPEAKER: The Minister of Fisheries.

MR. CARTER: I take it we have a fifteen minute time period in which we, four members I believe, two from each side will be able to take part in the debate.

Mr. Speaker, the Underutilized Fish Management Plan was an important part of the new Atlantic Fish Adjustment Program that was announced by the Federal Government on May 7, I believe it was, 1990, as part of their response to the crises that was upon us in the fishing industry, and a part of that program of course entailed many new initiatives, not the least of which was the need to diversify the fishing industry.

In the 1990 Groundfish Management Plan, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans was very careful to provide access to that so-called underutilized fish pool to companies and vessels who were operating in waters adjacent to the resource, operating and landing their catches in communities where fish plants were about to close. That the Province welcomed, as we were then just getting involved in what has since become a very serious problem in terms of plant closures. We looked upon this programme as a means of extending to some extent, maybe, the life of some of these plants, and for that reason we welcomed the criteria that the Federal Minister had established, and we in fact congratulated him for it.

But lo and behold, earlier this year, at a meeting that was held in Halifax, I believe it was, on January 16, a meeting of the Groundfish Advisory Committee - a special meeting, I should add, that was convened for the purpose of discussing - I believe my hon. friend and Member for Grand Bank attended that meeting, but upon learning that the draft guidelines, which were tabled at the January 16 Atlantic Groundfish Advisory Committee meeting in Halifax, would seriously compromise Newfoundland's access to fish stocks in waters adjacent to our shores, I immediately wrote the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the hon. Bernard Valcourt, and objected to the changes that were proposed in the 1991 guidelines.

I subsequently arranged to meet with the Minister in Ottawa with him and his officials on January 30 at which time I again objected to the proposed programme. Mr. Speaker, I would be quite willing, in fact, anxious, to table the letter that I wrote the Minister and to which I just referred, dated January 21, in which I in fact objected very strenuously to the new guidelines that were being proposed for the disposition or the allocation of the underutilized fish.

I was assured by the Minister at the time that - maybe I should not say I was assured by him - but certainly given to understand, I guess, by the Minister, that it was a bit of a mistake what had happened, and that given time he would correct the problem, correct the mistake, and that the fears that I went there to address would be looked after.

I was quite surprised when the Minister released his programme some time later, in which no changes were made. In fact, the terms and conditions that were contained in the draft document to which I objected earlier, and discussed with him in his office in January, were still the same. Now, Mr. Speaker, that being the case, then I believe that it is up to us as a Province, and I have talked to members of the industry, and I can say that rarely will you see it where all sectors of the fishing industry will speak with one voice. Usually we have people going off in tangents, each going his or her own way, supporting one proposition or the other, but in this case I am very happy to tell the House that there does not appear to be any dissenting voices at all within the industry with respect to how they feel about this new 1991 underutilized groundfish management programme.

In fact, my Deputy Minister this morning had a lengthy conversation with Mr. Victor Young, as we all know, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fishery Products International, who spent an hour last night on the telephone talking to the Federal Minister, Mr. Valcourt, hoping to extract from him some kind of an undertaking that maybe the criteria that was stated in his announcements would be changed and that all would be well. But I have been told that no such commitment could be extracted from the Federal Minister, and consequently now we are back to square one.

But, Mr. Speaker, the principles of adjacency, the principles of community dependency and economic efficiency and historic usage, are the principles which Canada used to convince the other fishing nations of the world the need for the coastal state to extend its jurisdiction over the living resources on its respective continental shelf. These of course are the principles as well that are embodied in the management plans of the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. But for whatever reasons they appear now to be willing to set aside those principles and to ignore the fact that communities that are situated adjacent to the waters in which this fish is being caught, and communities that, by virtue of plant closures have a greater need for having access to that fish than any other community, these principles now appear to be set aside and the result of course will be - catastrophic, I suppose, is not too strong a word to use in certain cases.

I can think of Gaultois, for example, where we have a fish plant up there that has been used for the processing of redfish now almost since it was first established. It is a redfish plant. We all know that plant now is about to close. And I am told that there are companies out there that are willing and anxious to take over that plant and to operate it. However, the plant at Gaultois which is a redfish processing plant on the South Coast: that plant is due to close soon because of the shortage of fish. There are at least two companies that I know of that are anxious to take over that plant and operate it, and I have every confidence in the two companies to know that they can in fact operate it as a successful operation were it not for the fact that they can't get access to the required so many - I think it is 8,000 or 10,000 tons of redfish that it will take to make the plant a viable operation.

But I have had several meetings with the Minister on this, and we have had an exchange of letters and telephone calls pleading with him to make some redfish available to that plant. Of course, the end result will be that if that fish were made available then of course the community of Gaultois will be saved and hopefully will remain there for a long time as a viable Newfoundland community. But under these new guidelines it certainly makes it difficult now for the two companies concerned to be able to access the necessary redfish to keep that plant operating.

I was looking at several other plants as well, Mr. Speaker, in the hon. Member's own district of Grand Bank, although there are some prospects on the horizon now, where maybe that plant will be a little bit more fortunate, and hopefully it will in time have a scallop and (Inaudible) clam operation in the plant, employing many hundreds of people, I suppose. But I am afraid that the plants in Trepassey and Gaultois are not so fortunate, and that is the reason why these new guidelines, we feel, must be changed.

Mr. Speaker, we have many objections to the management plan. Another objection, of course, is the fact that the Federal Government has seen fit to designate turbot as an under-utilized species. Now, I do not think any Newfoundland fish plant owner or any fishing vessel owner in Newfoundland will tell you that turbot is a surplus stock. In fact, many say that what we have now is a paper quota. Which means that we have a quota on paper but the fish are not there, and consequently it can't be caught. Now add to that of course the fact of the news that came out recently where it was found that a foreign company, foreign ships, were responsible for harvesting 35,000 metric tons of turbot on the edge of the Canadian continental shelf, a stock that is certainly not surplus. In fact, probably at this point in time, over-utilized. For the Federal Government to include that as part of an underutilized pool, is absolutely ridiculous, and it makes one wonder just how much thinking goes into the formulation of some of these plans and how much scientific advice they get.

Mr. Speaker, I had a longer speech prepared, but I am now running out of time by virtue of the fifteen minute time limit on our speeches.

I can only say to you, Mr. Speaker, that I think this is one time when Newfoundlanders must speak with one voice, and let Ottawa know that we are not happy with the way things are going, that we are not prepared to allow this fish that is being harvested literally on our doorsteps, in waters that are adjacent to our Province, near communities that are desperately in need of that fish, where plants are closing and those that are not closing are very much underutilized. For example, we talk about the turbot. In the underutilized groundfish pool, Mr. Speaker, there are 57,000 tons of fish, of that 29,000 tons consist of turbot, redfish, and cod; the remaining 28,000 tons consist of silver hake.

Let me say to the House, just to tell you how important this is to this Province and the impact it could have on the economy of the fishery - if that 64 million pounds of turbot, redfish and cod were harvested and processed in Atlantic Canada, it would result in 525 person years of full-time employment in the processing sector alone, not to mention the jobs that would be provided on the vessels that would be catching that fish. If it were available to both inshore and offshore plants in Newfoundland for processing, given the fact that a lot of the inshore plants operate on a seasonal basis, we are looking at 870 direct processing jobs in this Province. Now we all know what that would mean in a Province like Newfoundland where unemployment is so high.

Mr. Speaker, before I take my seat I should as well inform the House of news that recently came out of Ottawa to the effect that foreign overfishing on the Nose and Tail of our Grand Banks is getting much, much worse. In fact, it is far worse than we thought it was. In fact, the scientists are now telling us that foreign vessels fishing on the Nose and Tail, fishing illegally, nothing less than high seas piracy are responsible for harvesting in excess of 100,000 metric tons of fish. In fact, an amount that is five times higher than what their own quota is. Now again, I suppose it can be said that that fish should not be caught, because the biologists will tell us and the scientists that the fish should not be caught. But the fact of the matter is that it was caught. And one can only imagine how many jobs that would provide on the South Coast of our Province, -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. CARTER: - if that fish were caught and landed for example in plants like Grand Bank and Trepassey and Gaultois.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I take pleasure today to rise to take part in debate pertaining to the resolution put forward by the hon. the Minister of Fisheries, and I will try to deal with the resolution as written. I would like to say to the Minister that he was correct and I did attend the meeting in Halifax of the Atlantic Groundfish Advisory Council, and particularly I attended on the day where the underutilized pool or the development program for underutilized species was discussed with the major players in the fishing industry in Atlantic Canada.

I want to say to the Minister at the start that there is no way you can argue about the importance of maintaining adjacency for fish stocks off our shores and the rights of our people to access fish stocks off our shores.

I just want to say to him that I am a little bit confused after looking at his resolution yesterday where he talks about the Federal Government's recently announced criteria for the '91 groundfish development program that would seriously compromise this Province's access to fish stocks in waters adjacent to Newfoundland and Labrador. And why I am a little bit confused about that is because I look at the Backgrounder information sent out by federal fisheries on the issue and I look at the news release, and in both those it is pointed out very clearly that - and I would like to just go on record as saying that in the Backgrounder it says: allocation of fishery resources will be on the basis of equity, taking into account adjacency to the resource, the relative dependence of coastal communities and the various fleet sectors upon a given resource, and economic efficiency and fleet mobility. So, that is the same as it was in 1990, in the Backgrounder. I am sure the Member for Carbonear who I have seen waving something is probably there.

When I look upon the basic principals for the '91 groundfish management plan: the first principal is conservation and restoration of the fisheries resources, which no one can argue against. But basic principal number two, again, is the same I just read: that allocation of fishery resources will be on the basis of equity taking into account adjacency to the resource. So, I am a little bit confused in the Minister's resolution why he somehow has incorporated into his resolution the concerns about adjacency. I want to go on record, Mr. Speaker, as saying that while it is all important, we can never overemphasize the importance of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador having access to their fish resources off our coast; that is of vital importance. I just wanted to say that based upon the information that I have read on the '91 groundfish development pool plan is that principal of adjacency is still there. It is still in the '91 plan as it was in the 1990.

Now, in the second 'whereas' of the Minister's resolution he talks about the criteria of the '90 underutilized groundfish program, giving priority to fisheries related companies or vessels for adjacency - that is fair enough. But the third 'whereas' is very important, and I think really this is the basis for the Minister bringing forward the resolution, and why there are some concerns out and about the Province particularly in those communities, the three communities that last year had their fish plants slated for closure, concurrence by both the Provincial and Federal Governments to close their fish plants. Then it says: whereas the 1990 program criteria also gave special priority to the needs of those fish plants that would otherwise close. And I think that the Minister here is very right and very proper in bringing this to the attention of the Members of this legislature, because at the meeting of January 16 that the Minister eluded to, Mr. Les Dean, one of the Assistant Deputy Ministers in the Minister of Fisheries Department represented the Province, and I must say, I want to go on record again today as complementing Mr. Dean for doing a very, very good job. He picked up very strongly on some of these points and he made it clear to the DFO officials there that he was not satisfied and that the Province would not agree with some of those points, and I want to go on record to complement him, and I am sure the Minister, as we found when we were in Government and particularly some former Ministers of Fisheries here found, that Mr. Dean is indeed a very diligent person and very capable of speaking on behalf of this Province at such meetings. And that raises a big concern from the Bellevue district. I am sure that is why he is so capable and competent, I say to the Member.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, well whatever.

When the Federal Minister of Fisheries came to the Province and announced the fisheries adjustment program of some $584 million a very important part of that package in addition to the $584 million was some - at the time, I believe, the Minister can recall, I think there was a pool established of approximately 100,000 tonnes, I believe, of underutilized fish as they referred to it. A lot of it was red fish, and the Minister already read the other fish and the zones that the fish are located in. But this has been a sore point for those communities particularly, and all three communities, Grand Bank, Gaultois and Trepassey were represented at the meetings in Halifax, and they were very, very concerned when they saw this thing happening, that the priority for their particular community, because their plants were slated for closure, that this was being taken off the priority list by the Department of Federal Fisheries, and some of the communities made it know at the meeting as well. As I already said Mr. Dean did on behalf of the Province, and rightfully so, because this was a part and parcel of - these communities saw a potential for their future, of being able to stay in their community working in some way in the fishery, even though it might be different from what they had always been used to. Of course there is some potential there. The Minister has again alluded to the Gaultois situation where there is some fish available to Gaultois but the problem for Gaultois is there is not enough fish available and even though they have operators interested, the amount of fish they can access to process in Gaultois does not make the venture viable. For the Trepassey situation, which the Minister has alluded to, and in Grand Bank which the Minister has also alluded to, there is some hope, and hopefully before too long that package will come together and we will see Clearwater Fine Foods processing scallops and surf clams, and hopefully, in Grand Bank, some other species, which will employ hopefully over 200 people. For the most part the concentration of the 57,396 tonnes that the Minister refers is mainly red fish and turbot and there is a big concern about the turbot situation, which the Minister referred to again. A lot of people do not figure it is an underutilized species. They do not figure there is anything underutilized about turbot. As a matter of fact most people in the industry think that it is just the opposite and they are concerned about the turbot stocks. Again, there is confusion, I say to the Minister, because if you look at the information memo that is sent out by DFO on Greenland halibut in the Northwest Atlantic there is again some conflicting scientific evidence. Of course we all know the record and the concerns we have had with scientific evidence, scientific data, and research on the fishery and our stocks off our shores. Really, this is another one that causes great concern, but really what DFO is saying, and the scientific people are saying, the scientists, is that even though they are taking about 35,000 metric tons out in the 3L area in some depths of 1500 meters, they are saying that that additional 35,000 tons still only raises the total catch to the FO.1 level advised for the biomass in depths of around 1000 meters.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Do you agree with that?

MR. MATTHEWS: I am not saying I agree with it. What I am saying is, I would say to the Member for Eagle River, is that again we have scientists who are saying that - and the Minister has raised a legitimate concern, it is a concern raised by fishermen throughout the Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I want to draw to the attention of all hon. Members that if they need to meet with visitors in the gallery then the meeting must be convened outside the House, outside the Chamber, so I draw that point to the attention of hon. members.

The hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What I am saying is that scientists are telling us this is acceptable. There are so many arguments in the industry that the species is in trouble but here we have the scientific arm of the DFO saying that it still only brings it up to the acceptable level of FO.1. Now, I want to say before I run out of time, and fifteen minutes, even though we agreed, is not much time to talk on an issue as important and significant as this. When I sat in the Halifax meeting with all the industry reps here, the major fish companies, and some not as major from around this region, talking about the underutilized pool, the development plan for the underutilized pool, there was one thing that very quickly struck me, and that is that the same companies, the very same fish companies that did not have any future for Grand Bank, did not have any future for Gaultois, did not have any future for Trepassey, did not have any future for Canso, did not have any future for Burgeo, these very same companies that in essence have an monopoly on the groundfish stocks off our coasts, I suddenly realized as I sat there that these very same companies were suddenly very, very interested in monopolizing the underutilized pool - the very same people. So the communities that saw some hope for the future in the developmental program of underutilized species, it suddenly struck them in the pit of their stomachs and they got half sick like myself, then the future may not be there even in the underutilized species, because those same companies that do not want anything to do with us now want to get the underutilized pool and they are not going to process it in Gaultois, Grand Bank, Trepassey, Canso, or Burgeo.

MR. CARTER: (Inaudible)

MR. MATTHEWS: Well, all I want to say to the Minister, having said that, is that except for his official and some from some other Atlantic province's governments, that for the most part the people who carried the weight in the meetings were the industry people, they were the people who were setting the tone for the meeting and giving advice to DFO and some top heavy people as we all know. We know who I am talking about, from all throughout Atlantic Canada, and if there is protection that needs to be built into this program, it is for those communities and those people and others like them, and there may be more of them by the way in the next twelve to twenty-four months in this Province. All is not well in the deep sea industry and there just may be other communities such as the ones that we have named who will fall victim and would need some underutilized species if they are going to have a future in the fishery.

So in recapping, Mr. Speaker, I want to say the adjacency issue we totally support, you cannot support it enough, but having said that, I think from what I have read it is there. For the communities which thought this might be the saviour, I agree, it should be re-instated and pretty high on the priority list because that is what it is all about.

With the Turbot: again, there are mixed messages on the Turbot; it depends on what company you talk to, it depends on what company you talk to. Some will tell you it is underutilized, some will tell you it is not; fishermen throughout the Province believe it is underutilized and that there are real serious problems with it, and like everything else, I say, the people who are most involved in any aspect of the industry I tend to listen to moreso, than I do those who do some type of scientific research a few times a year.

So having said that, Mr. Speaker, I commend the Minister on bringing forward the resolution, I think it is a good resolution-

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: - it is a good resolution, there are things that need to be brought out but I do not think the resolution- all the WHEREASES in the resolution are justified, I have to say that. There are some things in the plan that were there in 1990 and are still there in 1991 to which the Minister has alluded, are not there in 1991. But there are some things which need to be brought forward on this issue and I commend him for bringing forward that, and I want to say that for the most part of his resolution I certainly commend him for it, but just before concluding I want to say one thing, the Minister put out a press release a few days ago on this issue and he made reference to the Sea Freeze deal and he highlighted Canso, Nova Scotia. I just want to say to the Minister in all fairness, that it should not have been only Canso, Nova Scotia that was highlighted, it should also have been Burgeo, Newfoundland that was highlighted-

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: - because without the Sea Freeze deal, let no one be mistaken in this Chamber, that without the Sea Freeze deal and all the misgivings that a lot of us had about it, there would not have been a future for Burgeo. No one had anything else to offer to Burgeo outside the Sea Freeze deal, and National Sea Products today would have had to shut down. That was that underutilized species as we know it and some arrangement have enabled the people of Burgeo to be working today and I might say, having talked to a number of them as I do because they call me, because I showed some interest in them during this process that they are relatively pleased-

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. MATTHEWS: - with the situation, but I say to the Minister- in concluding, Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence - keep up the work. These communities-

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MATTHEWS: - should certainly be placed back on the priority list, because in my opinion, having been at the press conference with Mr. Valcourt and others, that is what it is all about.

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

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Send the Minister of Social Services down, Mr. Speaker, he will not have to put so many on social services to get the fish.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member for Carbonear.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: I tend to agree with my hon. colleague from Grand Bank on a couple of points and I think we probably do over here, but I am remiss to understand his reasoning when he looks at the 1990 proposal as compared to the 1991 proposal as it relates to the development program.

In the 1991, it specifically spells out three individual - in bold letters - criteria. Then down on the bottom it makes reference to what you suggested as being last year's criteria, 1990's criteria, as it relates to equality and the adjacency of the resource. In the 1990 release all those things concerning adjacency and priorities as it relates to communities and plant closures and so on, are spelled out the same as in 1991. So there is something wrong here. I think that maybe we are agreeing here that the priorities that are stated in the 1991s should have been a footnote, and the 1990 priorities should have stayed where they were and they should have been changed around. Maybe that is what you are saying. If that is the case I agree with you. But I certainly cannot see your reasoning in thinking or believing that there is not something going on here, because why would they bring in three new proposals in this year's plan when last year's plan was created and adopted and there was absolutely no problems.

The Minister mentioned a few minutes ago about piracy out on the Grand Banks, and the amount of fish that is being taken by foreign overfishing. I am beginning to wonder if Mr. Valcourt is not spending a lot of his time out there with those people because we had Siddon, and you over on the other side had Siddon, I believe, as Minister of Fisheries for a while, now we have Valcourt, and I am going to tell you Siddon looks like an angel compared to Valcourt, because where he is coming from I am lost. To think that he is not listening to my hon. colleague or friend from Grand Bank or my hon. friend from Baie Verte. I do not know who he is listening to. Because whatever he is doing, whatever he is trying to do in Newfoundland I am lost to think what he is up to. And I am sure some of you over there are scratching your head and asking yourself the same thing.


MR. REID: Somebody was laughed at a few days ago for calling somebody the mother of something. Well Mr. Valcourt, to my mind is the mother of all Fisheries Ministers that this country has had since 1867. He has to be. I have a feeling that the man is out on a course to destroy the Newfoundland fishery. I am hearing it every day from fishermen, that Government is out to destroy us, and I am starting to believe it, because every day it seems like he is doing more and more all the time, the Federal Government doing more and more to torment us and to make our lives that much harder.

I have a little story to tell you about something that happened last week, most of you are familiar with it. I am sure my hon. friend for Grand Bank is familiar with it. Last week there was 1,200,000 pounds of fish landed in Harbour Grace.

AN HON. MEMBER: How much?

MR. REID: One million, two hundred thousand pounds of fish landed in Harbour Grace.


MR. REID: The fish was part of an allocation that was given to a Nova Scotian firm and it happened to be landed in Harbour Grace, and if I remember correctly, and I am sure some of you remember, the owner of the company asked our Minister of Fisheries would he release the fish, because for some reason or another our Minister of Fisheries thought that fish could not be released out of Newfoundland under this processing law that we have here, and it should not be sent out of the Province. Well anyway what happened as far as I know, and I have gotten a lot of my information from The Fisheries Broadcast yesterday afternoon, or not from the broadcast, but from Jim Wellman at CBC, he told me all about it and with the fisheries help and so on.

Apparently what happened is that they asked our Minister, to release the fish so that it could be taken to New Brunswick for processing. Now I do not know if some of my hon. friends realize what 1,200,000 pounds of fish means. Well it was landed in Joey Georges plant in Harbour Grace and it would have meant three weeks of work for at least 250 people or more.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. REID: I think it was the M.V Osprey company asked the Minister here to let them shift the fish to New Brunswick for processing. So in the situation that we are in regarding Canadian rules, and some of the rules that we have to abide by with the laws I suppose as it relates to the Fishery Department, apparently our Minister felt that well, Newfoundland is not greedy to that extent, if they are going to bring it up to Nova Scotia or New Brunswick and process it, why not?... Canso, Nova Scotia is in as much trouble as we are in an awful lot of cases, so he released it on the condition that it would be processed. I watched eighteen tractor trailers leave Harbour Grace last week, eighteen tractor trailers leave Harbour Grace, drive across the Island and go into Nova Scotia. I did not watch this, but I was told it and I can believe it, went into Nova Scotia pulled off on a wharf in Nova Scotia -

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

MR. REID: - loaded that -

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

I ask the hon. Member to withdraw that remark.

MR. REID: I withdraw. I am sorry. I did not realize I could not say abuse - I am sorry.

Loaded that fish, loaded that fish, Mr. Speaker, put it aboard a freighter and shipped it off to Greenland. Loaded it aboard a boat in Nova Scotia and shipped it off to Greenland to be sold unprocessed. And I do not disagree with letting fish go out of Newfoundland that is part of a quota that belongs to Nova Scotia to go back to Nova Scotia. I have no problem with that. I do not think we should, really. I suppose if there is a quota the Federal Government will give a plant in Nova Scotia a quota, then sure, good, so they take the fish back to Nova Scotia and they process it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. REID: No, sir, that was cod; the biggest kind of cod.

AN HON. MEMBER: Steak cod.

MR. REID: I have no problems with that. The problem I have is with the fact that we were hoodwinked, I suppose, to a certain extent, and it left Newfoundland and it went over to Greenland, and I suppose they picked up about $1 a pound for it or $1.50 a pound, whatever it is.

The point I am trying to make is that I really do not think there is a need to do that sort of thing. As far as I am concerned, the new development program we have set for 1991 is only going to encourage doing that sort of thing, because one of the criteria mentioned in the 1991 list is that if there is 30 per cent or in excess of 30 per cent aboard one of these boats which are fishing off the Grand Banks or fishing off Newfoundland, if the crew is 30 per cent Canadian, then they do not even have to land that fish, they can take it and go directly to wherever they want to go with it, to Europe, Iceland or Greenland, wherever.

Our hon. friend in Ottawa, the Minister of Fisheries, has in recent years, I guess last year, done away with the resource short plant. He is going to do away with the Saltfish Corporation, and I have no doubt in my mind that the reason he is doing away with the Saltfish Corporation is so that Nat. Sea, in Nova Scotia, can move up along the Labrador coast to avail of the salt fish industry.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, that is the purpose.

MR. REID: He did away with the mid-distance fleet. We are talking about the seal hunt again in Newfoundland, and we all know that the feds are not going to let us do anything with seals in Newfoundland. The latest problem with it, of course, they cannot find anyone to even insure our boats to go out and catch a few seals.

Then, of course, there is the problem we have in Gaultois, in Grand Bank, Trepassey and (inaudible). I wonder what is going to happen to my hon. colleague from Grand Bank when, next summer, in the middle of the summer, there is not a fish going into the Gaultois plant, and there is not a fish going into the Gaultois plant because of the under-utilized species program that we have? And the chance Gaultois had to probably develop an industry that handles under-utilized species is gone, because the fish that would normally go in there, because of rules and regulations set down by the Federal Minister that were in place last year are not in place this year. So, now, instead of sending it into Gaultois it is going, in the case of a 30 per cent Canadian crew, to Iceland, Greenland or Europe, or it is going back to Nova Scotian firms, like the M/V Osprey. And I believe I am right on this. Because I am sure there are a couple of companies in Nova Scotia which I have heard about lately that do not even have a fish plant or a boat and have quotas in Nova Scotia, which can come down here and take what fish they want, I suppose within their quota, ship it back to Nova Scotia and not have it processed either in Newfoundland or Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, I really

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) blame your own government.

MR. REID: Look, when it comes to the fishing industry in Newfoundland, if I have to blame my own Government I will blame my own Government. I have no problems with that.

I really and truly do not believe that our hon. friend in - if he is honourable or not, I do not know - Ottawa, Mr. Valcourt, has any conscience whatsoever when it comes to the Newfoundland fishery. And I cannot see how any of you on the other side or anyone in this House can actually say that Mr. Valcourt is concerned about what happens in Newfoundland. Because he is not and that is a proven fact.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is more worried about tuning up his motorcycle.

MR. REID: By the way, if you look at who is qualified to apply under these three new headings, there are only three companies in Newfoundland which are qualified to apply. Am I right?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, and they are.

MR. REID: And my friend from Grand Bank, I think he mentioned that a few minutes ago. It is ironic, isn't it? There are only three companies in this Province that will qualify under groundfish licence holders utilizing Canadian vessels, licence holders in Atlantic species other than groundfish, and those are: FPI, NatSea, and Harbour Grace Fishing Company. And if I am not mistaken, FPI is trying to get out of Gaultois right now, aren't they?


MR. REID: Yes, trying to get out. So we only have two companies left that are able to qualify. How many companies do we have in Nova Scotia that are able to qualify? And New Brunswick? Ten? Twenty? What is going to happen, Mr. Speaker, and ladies and gentlemen, to our under-utilized species that the Government last year encouraged us - they came down here and they encouraged us, they said, look, our stocks are depleting. Our groundfish stock is depleting, cod is depleting. Let's go into secondary processing, and let's go into under-utilized species and let's try to change the industry. They came down and they tried to spend millions of dollars in ACOA money and they encouraged us to do it. And they went down and they told people in Grand Bank and they told people in Gaultois that this is what you have to do: apply for a licence so that you can process under-utilized species.

And what is he doing to us now? He is taking the right away from us to be able to do it! Because what is out there is going to be caught by foreign companies, and by people and processors or licence holders in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and Newfoundland is going to be left out again.

I am afraid, my friend from Grand Bank, that we are not going to have any fish to go into Gaultois, because it is going to end up somewhere in Nova Scotia. And ultimately, because of what happened the other day, I suppose it could end up in Greenland. The fish that is off our coast - our fish! my fish! It's mine! The Law of the Sea conference in 1972 stated (inaudible) principles when we accepted the 200 mile limit, and the first one was adjacency. The Law of the Sea Conference. That was our Government went through that. Economic dependence on coastal communities, economic efficiency, fleet mobility - all basic principles, the reasons why Canada got its 200 mile limit. They went to the nations of the world with that and argued and won, and now our own Federal Minister and own Federal Government -

AN HON. MEMBER: Guts it.

MR. REID: - are taking it and saying, to hell with that! It is not fair.

AN HON. MEMBER: Trudeau.

MR. REID: Be it Trudeau, be it Mulroney, I do not care who it is. It has nothing to do with it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Nineteen seventy-two, boy!

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to make these few comments. The reason I made the comments and the reason I submitted the resolution yesterday, prior to the Minister submitting it, was the fact that I watched all that fish, 1,200,000 pounds of fish, and I am out there now in Harbour Grace and Carbonear and down the north shore of my district and people are starting to bawl already about not having enough stamps and not being able to get enough stamps to get unemployment insurance. And I am telling you, we are going to be in for a rough year this year in Newfoundland if something is not changed in the fishery.

AN HON. MEMBER: And in Labrador.

MR. REID: And in Labrador as well, I agree. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, the agreement yesterday was that two people from each group would take part in this debate. Now the Minister and the Member for Carbonear and the official critic for the Opposition have already spoken, so I want to take the opportunity to say a few words on the resolution before we are finished with it.

I want to say first of all, Mr. Speaker, that despite some concerns still unexplained by both gentlemen who have spoken from the other side, we will support the resolution. Why, Mr. Speaker, even though there may be concerns? We will support it in the off chance, if there is any slight possibility of a chance that everything the Government said is right, despite the fact that we have been told that some of it is not. If I am going to err, I will err on the side of Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RIDEOUT: So the politics are out of it, the Parties are out of it, the personalities are out of it, it is a question of Newfoundland and Labrador, and if I am going to make a mistake and err, then I will err on the side of what I think is right for this Province.

It has been suggested in this resolution that the principle of adjacency as far as under-utilized species goes has been abandoned. Well, I can only say from the documentation that we have, provided publicly by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, not from any clandestine source or inside source, but publicly provided, that is available to all Members, to me does not suggest that. It states clearly, that the principles of the 1991 groundfish management plan, that allocations will be based on equity, taking into account adjacency to the resource. Now the Member for Carbonear made some reference about the difference between 1990 and 1991, and then seemed to conclude that there was no difference at all except that perhaps there should have been interchange with a footnote.

That may be. I do not care. And that is why we are going to support the resolution, Mr. Speaker, because I do not want there to be the slightest possibility that any Federal Government or any Federal Minister or any Federal official could see that there is any difference of opinion in this House, because the issue is too important. So we are going to support it, even though we think from everything we can see that the principle of adjacency is covered in 1991 just the same as it was covered in 1990.

But that is immaterial. That is not important. What are we going to quibble over that for, Mr. Speaker? If there is a possibility that it is not covered, then let us unite - let us unite as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, representing the people of this Province, and demand that if it is not covered accurately enough or adequately enough, that it be covered.

The one area where I think the Government is right, Mr. Speaker, is the lack of mention in the 1991 under-utilized pool guidelines, the three communities that were specifically mentioned last year. That was Gaultois as I recall, Grand Bank and Trepassey. I think the Government is absolutely right, having gone through the guidelines and the news releases issued by DFO, that those communities are not specifically referenced in the set of guidelines that were issued this year. And that can give rise and should give rise to concern by people in those communities as to their priority: their priority of assessing what might be or what is available, 58,000 tons or whatever it is, under the under-utilized pool.

Now that is a legitimate concern and a legitimate point and the Government is right and doing their jobs as a Government, and the Minister and his officials are doing their jobs, in bringing that to the attention of the people of this Province, the people of those communities, and I think it is incumbent on us, Mr. Speaker, to support that and we shall support it.

The other argument on adjacency, I really do not know if the Government has a point or not. But just in case they do - just in case they do - I am prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt and make the support for the resolution unanimous. There is nothing else in the resolution, Mr. Speaker, with one more exception, that we have any disagreement on. All of the recitals about Newfoundland's dependency on the fishery and all of that, we are 100 per cent completely in agreement with.

The matter of 2J+3KL turbot, again, Mr. Speaker, I have to fall on the side of those who say, and have said for years in many cases, without anybody listening to them, that 2J+3KL turbot has for some time been nothing more or nothing less than paper fish. I believe that is so. The turbot which was in the bays, Mr. Speaker, along the northeast coast and most of Labrador, is gone. They have chased it offshore with some limited success. There are those in the industry who argue that it is in deeper water and we do not have the technology to catch it. I do not know that is true. I am prepared to fall on the side of those who say that turbot is no longer an under-utilized species, that the quota the scientific community tells us is there is not necessarily there. So, therefore, I am prepared to support the material allegation part of this resolution dealing with turbot as far as it relates to 2J+3KL.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that, in essence, would conclude my remarks on this particular resolution - that in essence would. Because that is all the resolution is asking us to do, to support the Government, to speak as one voice in this House in sending a message that we think there is something wrong with the 1991 plan vis--vis the 1990 plan, point out what that something is and unite together and ask the Government of Canada to change it. I would normally, having said that, take my seat and sit down.

But I do have a few minutes left, Mr. Speaker, and in this debate today there have been some curious statements made by the Member for Carbonear in particular, but they could have equally been made by his colleague, the Minister of Fisheries. The Member for Carbonear stands up and wails eloquently about fish going out of Newfoundland and Labrador to be processed somewhere else, either in Canada or somewhere else in the world. Now, Mr. Speaker, let me make the situation absolutely and abundantly clear. There has been much discussion in this Province over the years, when we were the government and now since this hon. crowd became the Government, about Newfoundland jurisdiction in the fishery, that we do not have enough jurisdiction. The Premier likes to call it more of an administrative management structure instead of using the word `jurisdiction', because that has other connotations, he says.

But be that as it may, the one thing, Mr. Speaker, there has never been any disagreement on in terms of the jurisdiction this Province has, is that once the nose of the fish is placed on a wharf or a plant in Newfoundland and Labrador, it is under the jurisdiction of the Province!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RIDEOUT: There has never been any question about that! As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, when I was Minister of Fisheries we took people to court who tried to transfer fish out of Newfoundland through Port aux Basques to Nova Scotia for processing, and, Mr. Speaker, the courts sided with us.

MR. SIMMS: Right on.

MR. RIDEOUT: There is legal precedent that the court sided with us in confiscating the fish, in putting the money, when we sold it to Newfoundland processors, in trust accounts, and paying off the processor when the court decision was made. Now where this Minister went wrong on the fish my friend from Carbonear talks about is that when it went into the fish plant, when it came on the wharf in Harbour Grace, he should have told whoever it was to take a flying kite, that he had no intention of letting that fish go out of Newfoundland and Labrador!

AN HON. MEMBER: Shame, shame!

MR. RIDEOUT: Now that is not Bernard Valcourt's responsibility or Brian Mulroney's responsibility; that is Walter Carter's responsibility, Mr. Speaker, the Member's colleague!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RIDEOUT: And what did his colleague the Minister do? Wrote or faxed or picked up the phone or something and phoned the Minister in Ottawa and said, what am I going to do with this 1.7 million pounds of fish that is out in Harbour Grace?

MR. SIMMS: That is what was said. That is what was said in the press.

MR. RIDEOUT: I would not call the Minister in Ottawa. The buck stopped on that Minister's desk, Mr. Speaker, and the jurisdiction has been upheld by legal precedent in this Province. In fact, I suspect that the Minister's actions have eroded the legal responsibility of this Province to ensure when, where and how processing takes place. Mr. Speaker, what about the seven million pounds of fish that went out of Southern Labrador this year to be processed in plants in Quebec, and I understand New Brunswick? For the first time in the history of Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Speaker, it went out under authority of a buying permit issued by the Minister. It went out before, Mr. Speaker, but it was snuck out, it was bootlegged out. It never went out with the legal blessing of a Minister of Fisheries of Newfoundland and Labrador before, like it did this time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: That is not right.

MR. RIDEOUT: It is right. The Minister admitted last Fall in the House. If the Member wants to get up and debate let him get up when his chance comes, Mr. Speaker, but the fact of the matter is that the Minister admitted in the other Chamber upstairs last year that he issued those permits. He did it, he said, because he wanted to control the fishery. He wanted to control it, Mr. Speaker. Now, the Member for Carbonear talked about Nova Scotia companies, New Brunswick companies, who have an allocation of fish in waters adjacent to Newfoundland and Labrador and do not even own a vessel or do not even own a plant. Mr. Speaker, unfortunately the Member is right. And, do you know how come they got them? It is not that it matters anymore but we cannot forget all history, I suppose. They got them because one Romeo LeBlanc, when shrimp licenses were handed out back in the middle 70s to his lawyer buddies and doctor buddies in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, he gave them groundfish allocations. That is how they got them. Should they or could they be taken back? I do not know. I wish they could. That is how come. But the fact of the matter still remains this: that if one of those companies, for whatever reason, because of ice conditions, mechanical failure, or whatever, have to put into a Newfoundland port and for whatever reason have to allow that fish to be transferred from the vessel to the plant then every legal authority that this Legislature can provide dictates that the Minister of Fisheries of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador can demand that that fish be processed in Newfoundland and Labrador. Now, that is the bottom line.

MR. SIMMS: He shakes his head, no.

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, it was done before in this Province. The courts in this Province upheld the right of the Province to do it. Why not try it again, Mr. Speaker? Why not be bold and innovative and say it is going to stay here, like the Member for Carbonear wanted it to? I was going to say why be wimpish about it? Why not put our foot down and say there is not a tail going out? If it is landed here it has to stay here. I do not care how it got landed here but it here and I have the jurisdiction over that now because it is here. That is what should have been done, Mr. Speaker. There is no good crying about that now. It is gone. The 1.7 million pounds is gone. The three weeks work that the Member talked about is gone. The seven million pounds that went out of Labrador to Quebec and New Brunswick firms this year is gone. Imagine what that would have done had it been transported along the Coast of Labrador to plants the Member talks about, and ought to continue to talk about. Mr. Speaker, that is the reality. That does not take away anything from the validity of this resolution. It does not take away a thing from it and they are a couple of things that would not have entered into the debate except that they were brought up by Members on the other side. Those questions deserve to be addressed and everybody to a person, Mr. Speaker, despite the fact that there might be one or two recycles in this resolution that may not be 100 per cent correct, that is immaterial, but the fact that there is a possibility that they are correct, we should stand together for the fishermen and the fishing community and the fishing industry of Newfoundland and Labrador. Politics aside, everything else aside, let us support the resolution and call upon with one voice the Federal Government to do what should be done for the fishing industry in terms of utilizing the so-called underutilized pool, because, Mr. Speaker, my bones tell me that the underutilized pool probably does not even exist anymore.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I rise to join with the speakers from both sides of the House in supporting the motion of the hon. the Minister of Fisheries. But in reading the motion and reading the background documentation and the news release of the Federal Minister of Fisheries, I am inclined to say, is that it? Is that all the Minister wants?


MR. HARRIS: Is that all the Official Opposition wants? Why are we spending the time of this House to ask for: what the hon. Member for Carbonear refers to as a few changes in words around here and there. A few footnotes to be replaced with a few other things. Is this what this House is spending its time debating this afternoon?

We are talking here, in the speeches from the hon. Leader of the Opposition, about the constitutional difficulties. We are talking about the principles of adjacency as in the Law of the Sea Conference, and all these other grand concepts. But what we have before us is a simple resolution which asks for the Government to do what it says it is doing, the Federal Government to do what it says it is doing in its background information to the release, to allocate fishery resources on the basis of equity, taking into account adjacency to the resource.

Well I know, Mr. Speaker, that we have had a very serious problem with fisheries in this Province. In fact, Mr. Speaker, one of the fundamental failures of Confederation for Newfoundland has been what has happened to the fisheries of this Province. If we take the principle of adjacency as a primary principle, that is the very foundation of our existence, as first a nation, and now a Province of Canada, our economic dependency on the fishery that is near to us, and that fishery has been, from the very moment of Confederation, badly managed and badly handled by the Government of Canada.

Mr. Speaker, there is a very interesting study that I would commend to Members on both sides of the House, and in particular to the Minister of Fisheries who is busy at the moment doing something else, but I would like to commend to the Minister of Fisheries a very interesting economic study on the salt cod fishery of Newfoundland.


MR. HARRIS: It is written by a distinguished economic historian who unfortunately died a number of years ago, at a rather young age, David Alexander. But several years before his death he wrote a book called The Decay Of Trade. A very short book so it will not take very much of the hon. Member's time to read it. It is well worth reading and understanding, not only for what it tells you about the particular history of the decline of the salt cod trade after 1949, but because in that book it describes the relationship between Canada and Newfoundland, and the kind of requirements from Canada that would have been necessary in order for the salt cod trade, the salt fish trade, to succeed. It would not have been very much, Mr. Speaker, in the great country of Canada to pay some consideration to the needs of the salt cod trade in Newfoundland, to have certain trade deals going with countries which were traditional buyers of our cod: with Spain, with Greece, Portugal, with a number of other countries who are dependent upon salt cod as part of their diet, and instead, Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada ignored the requests from Newfoundland to enter into these agreements and negotiations, and as a result the salt cod fishery declined in a very dramatic way in a very few short years. Other countries like Norway and Iceland, who paid attention to these international requirements, requirements which were being done, Mr. Speaker, even by the Commission of Government - the people we like to decry these days for being undemocratic - but the Commission of Government and the salt cod industry in Newfoundland made certain that the international trade for this country was protected.

Since Confederation, Mr. Speaker, the Federal Government has had the responsibility for fisheries in this Province. I am not saying this because I am speaking in support of what the Premier has said and what the Minister of Fisheries has said in terms of the jurisdiction of this Province.

We all should expect and demand that Canada act in the best interest of this Province when it is acting. So I am not talking about constitutional changes here. Those are things that are going to take place in a different form over a long period of time. What I am talking about is the Government of Canada, when it acts in the area of fisheries, in particular the fisheries and the fish stocks and fish resource off the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador, that it has a responsibility - moral, legal, and political - to act in the best interest of the people of this Province when allocating that resource; when managing those stocks; and when taking its constitutional responsibility - that it now has - seriously. And what we have seen, Mr. Speaker, instead of that, through a succession of Ministers of Fisheries, and working our way back, ignoring those principals that we believe in - the principals that the Minister of Fisheries now puts forth, as it aught to be a priority, that of adjacency, ignores those principals and, in fact, acted to support the various interest groups in Nova Scotia, in the province of Quebec and the province of New Brunswick who have, Mr. Speaker, the capital resources to invest, and demand it of the Federal Ministers of Fisheries that this resource be treated like any other resource in this country, if they have the bucks, if they have the cash and they want to utilize this resource, they aught to be given it. But, Mr. Speaker, that is not acceptable for the fishery of Newfoundland. What it has resulted in, Mr. Speaker, is a situation where perhaps of all industries in this country the most discretion that any Government Minister in the Government of Canada has is over fisheries, the granting of licences, the issuing of permits, the granting of exemptions, to the allowing of certain vessels to catch and not meet all the requirements for a period of time, the waiving of requirements, special allocations, special tests of quotas. All kinds of measures, of subterfuges, methods of rewarding their friends and punishing their enemies in a political way, Mr. Speaker, that this country aught to be grossly ashamed of. The result of it is, Mr. Speaker, when we see year after year the Federal Government coming up with a shake- up of the rules, re-dealing the House of the deck of cards, changing the criteria, changing the rules, so that one year experimental fishery is the priority, the next year it is adjacency, the year after that it is historical use. Historical use, Mr. Speaker, is a joke to this Government, the Government of Canada. Historical use, in some cases, means three years, and historical use off the coast of Labrador - and I see the Member for Eagle River is very interested in this - the historical use off the coast of Labrador, Mr. Speaker, has been found to be by companies in the Province of Quebec who have used the resource for two or three years, and Newfoundlanders who may not have used it for those two or three years, but have used it for the last 150 are not considered to be historical users of the resource. That is the kind of change- up in the rules that the Federal Government undertakes to the detriment of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador who have depended for centuries on this resource. And that is the kind of skulduggery that has gone on and continues to go on in the criteria that are announced from time to time by the Federal Minister of Fisheries. If we look at the program itself we can say, isn't it wonderful. They are taking into account equity. What a wonderful principal - equity. And next - adjacency, and the relevant dependency of coastal communities. Well, Mr. Speaker, that is just a pile of words. That is just a pile of words. They do not take that into account at all, they are calling for applications and whoever has the most money to spend and whoever already meets some of the existing criteria, not the needs of the people of this Province or the needs of the people on the Coast of Labrador, but whoever has got the most money to spend right now, whoever is in the best position right now to take advantage of the criteria that they just invented, they are the ones who are going to get the licences. Well that is all manipulated, Mr. Speaker, not for the interest of the people of this Province but for the interest of whoever it is that the Federal Government and the Federal Minister of Fishery, in his untrammeled discretion, to basically give away a licence to take this resource and to take it and do with it as the Minister sees fit and that, Mr. Speaker, has worked always to the detriment of this Province.

The hon. Leader of the Opposition has alluded to the shrimp licences that were given to people who had never seen a shrimp boat before in their lives, to doctors, I believe he said, and lawyers, and people who had no interest whatsoever in the fishery, except as a means of trying to make money by taking advantage of a licence that was given to them outright by the Government of Canada. So, Mr. Speaker, that is what we are suffering from now; we are saying, look, let us look at the criteria, anybody with an existing groundfish licence are eligible and these are the ones who are going to be rushing in to take advantage of these programs because these programs have been designed for them, they are not designed for the people of this Province, they are not designed for the people on Coastal Labrador who have great hardships because they have not got enough groundfish to keep plants going for more than a few weeks of the year; they are not designed for companies that have been catching fish for the last number of years under some of these shrimp licences without any groundfish allocations, not designed for them, they are not designed to take advantage of the needs of the people at all.

Mr. Speaker, I can't sit down-

AN HON. MEMBER: Why not?

MR. HARRIS: - although I support this motion, I cannot sit down without reminding both sides of this House that a very short while ago there was a vehicle, there was a vehicle owned by the people of Canada and the people of this Province that could take advantage of these programs; could take advantage of the programs even as they are written right here, and be given direction by the shareholders of that organization between the Government of Canada and the Government of this Province, and that was FPI. When it was owned by the people of Canada, Mr. Speaker, it was a vehicle for Government policy, for the development of the fisheries, for the operation of taking advantage of underutilized species to bring them ashore on the Coast of Labrador, in places like Gaultois, in places like Burgeo that need those fish, but no, Mr. Speaker, the Government on this side of the House, the Opposition who was then the Government, along with their Federal counterparts sold it off, got rid of it, and now, Mr. Speaker, it is no longer an instrument of Government policy but is rather one of the people whom we have to worry about whether they are going to do what we hope they will do, it is another private company, Mr. Speaker, that does not respond to the needs of the people but rather to the needs of its now shareholders and that is for dividends for profits and for increase in capital.

Mr. Speaker, I support the motion but I say to the hon. Minister of Fisheries that I hope it has some effect. It seems to me to be a very weak measure for a problem that needs very strong medicine indeed.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question? Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion? Those in favour of the motion, please say 'aye'.


MR. SPEAKER: Those against the motion, please say 'nay'.

In my opinion the ayes have it.

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

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Motion?

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: I am sorry, the Chair did not hear the hon. the Government House leader.

MR. BAKER: Motions 8 to 15, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Motions 8 to 15. The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, in view of the time remaining, not much time left, and we have a speaker who is still speaking on the Throne Speech, could we reach some agreement, rather than go through the process for each individual motion?

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: All of them together?

AN HON. MEMBER: Eight to 15.

MR. SIMMS: Okay.

MR. SPEAKER: Okay. It is moved and seconded that the Ministers concerned shall have leave to introduce Bills from 8 inclusive to 15, was that correct?

A Bill, "An Act To Amend The Hearing Aid Dealers Act." (Bill No. 10).

A Bill, "An Act To Amend The Optometry Act, 1981." (Bill No. 9).

A Bill, "An Act To Amend The City Of Corner Brook Act, 1985, The City Of Mount Pearl Act And The Municipalities Act." (Bill No. 11).

A Bill, "An Act To Amend The Newfoundland Law Reform Commission Act, 1971." (Bill No. 13).

A Bill, "An Act To Revise The Law Respecting The Provincial Court." (Bill No. 2).

A Bill, "An Act To Revise And Consolidate The Law Respecting Juries." (Bill No. 3).

A Bill, "An Act To Amend The Evidence Act." (Bill No. 4).

A Bill, "An Act To Amend The Law Society Act, 1977." (Bill No. 5).

On motion, Bill Nos. 10, 9, 11, 13, 2, 3, 4, and 5 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, now can we do Motions 1 to 3 in the same way?

MR. SPEAKER: Motions 1 to 3 in the same way.

A Bill, "An Act To Revise And Amend The Law Respecting A Pension Plan For Employees Of The Government Of The Province And Others." (Bill No. 6).

A Bill, "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." (Bill No. 8).

A Bill, "An Act To Revise And Amend The Law Respecting Pensions For The Members Of The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary And The St. John's Fire Department And The Staff Of Her Majesty's Penitentiary." (Bill No. 7).

On motion, Bill Nos. 6, 8 and 7 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. BAKER: Order 1, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 1, the Address in Reply, and the Member for Humber East adjourned the debate.

The Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, when I spoke yesterday on the contents of the Speech from the Throne, I made the point that the document has little in the way of substance and it offers nothing in the way of hope or inspiration to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. I made the point that this Premier and this Administration have failed the people of the Province. After two years in office, they have not yet produced their long-promised economic plan. They have proposed some policy changes containing some good ideas, but failed to translate those concepts into actions and botched and bungled the implementation of most of their schemes - I cite municipal amalgamation and the municipal financing formula change as two examples. I pointed out that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are demoralized, worried and intimidated in a way that I have never seen before in my lifetime.

AN HON. MEMBER: In the late 1960s.

MS. VERGE: In the late 1960s, when I was a university student, there was a Liberal Administration headed by Smallwood in office which wielded power in an absolute and ruthless way, which intimidated people, which gave or withheld contracts based on partisan considerations, which hired and fired subjectively and in a patronage way.


MS. VERGE: There was intimidation, but at the same time there was hope, people were rising up against that dictatorial and corrupt administration.


MS. VERGE: But today there seems to be a malaise in the Province. I have never in my lifetime experienced this climate of bleakness and hopelessness.


MS. VERGE: This Premier had a major role in precipitating a national constitutional crisis, since he dealt a fatal blow to the Meech Lake Accord last June.


MS. VERGE: He bitterly faulted the Meech Lake Accord, partly because of the process by which it was arrived at. He advocated a new and democratic approach to constitutional development; he made speeches from Atlantic to Pacific condemning the old fashioned elitist approach to constitutional deal making and called for the people to be brought into the process. He promised a referendum or a plebiscite in our Province. Then, in the final days of the process, he told people that there was not time to have a referendum.

I am advised that the chief electoral officer told the Premier that there was, in fact, time for a referendum. The Premier reverted to plan B, which was a free vote of the Members of the House of Assembly. We agreed to waive the usual rules of procedure of the House, to recess the House so Members could consult their constituents. We returned and 50 of us made speeches. Two of the Members of the Government spoke in favour of the Meech Lake Accord: the Minister of Transportation and the Member for Eagle River. Other Members of the Government whispered outside the Chamber to Members of the Opposition that if we could deliver all the Members on our side to support the Meech Lake Accord, that they would deliver enough to see it passed. At almost exactly that point on that fateful Friday Morning, we saw huddles on the other side of the House: the Premier spoke earnestly to some of his wayward Members, the Minister of Justice was twisting arms, and suddenly there was no free, and we found out at the end of the afternoon there was no vote. So the Meech Lake Accord failed.

In the eight months since, other jurisdictions, other provinces and the Federal Government have instituted task forces, commissions, select committees of legislatures to consult their constituents about their wishes for constitutional reform. What do we see from the ultimate democrat, our Premier? Nothing. He says ultimately there should be a national convention; ultimately there should be a national referendum, but he is not prepared to give Newfoundlanders and Labradorians any say in the process or any influence over the multiple choice questions. He presumes to know what is best for all of us.

Again today he rejected out of hand the suggestion that we have a select committee of this Legislature to lead discussion within our Province. Make no mistake, what is at stake for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians is critically important. There is virtual certainty that constitutional change will happen and that involves risk. It also involves opportunity. We may have a chance to improve on the Terms of Union with Canada. It may be an altered Canada for the better, or, indeed, it could change for the worse. But the Premier is not leading any process of discussion, thinking, probing, identifying of options among his constituents, he is presuming to do that for them. He thinks he knows best.

New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta have taken a different approach. The governments of those provinces have set up commissions to seek and hear the views and ideas of the residents of those provinces. So is the Premier not putting the cart before the horse in calling for a national convention? That may be a good idea, but it is a forum where representatives of the residents of each of the provinces, where representatives of citizens of regions, where representatives of interest groups will present their views on constitutional reform. Well, what views are going to be presented for Newfoundland and Labrador? And who is going to present those views? Surely there has to be some kind of consultative process leading to that kind of national forum.

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, the Leader of the Opposition, that all the words after `that' be deleted in the motion before the House and that the following words be substituted therefore. `This House deplores the Government's failure to deal adequately with the real problems facing our people and its failure to provide competent management to our Province.'

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, the real problems of our Province have to do with the inequities inherent in our relationship with the Canadian Confederation; the real problems have to do with poverty, poverty being suffered by children, by single mothers, by senior citizens, by men and women throughout our Province, in the urban areas and the rural areas; the real problems have to do with the economic recession, with the overfishing and mismanagement of our fish stocks solely within the legal control of the Federal Government.

This is a grave situation in our Province, and there is a void in leadership. The approach of this Premier and this Government is, on the one hand, to blame somebody else, and on the other hand to delegate authority to un-elected, appointed commissions.

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

I just want to make sure that we are doing things according to the rules. The hon. the Member has moved an amendment. I should have a copy of it so I can rule on the amendment. I have not seen a copy. But I will have a copy if the Page will pick it up, and I will rule on the amendment.

MS. VERGE: This is a motion of non-confidence in the Government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Pass unanimously.

MR. SPEAKER: I rule that the amendment is in order.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you for your ruling that this motion of non-confidence in the Government is in order. I trust that Members on both sides of the House will reflect on the reasons why we should conclude that there is no reason to have confidence in this administration, given the gravity of the problems that face us, given the regression in our economy and our social programs, and in the spirit of our people since this administration assumed office just two years ago.

This Government was elected with 47 per cent of the popular vote, with a campaign commitment to bring in real change, with a campaign promise of being fair and balanced, and of stressing health, education and development. What they have done is just the opposite. They have jettisoned their campaign platform, and they are now grasping at straws in trying to defend their miserable reversals.


MS. VERGE: But I give them credit for one aspect of their operation, Mr. Speaker, and that is public relations. Make no mistake, this Administration has a slick public relations machine. The Premier has as his Chief to Staff a public relations expert, he has a Director of Communications, there are new PR officers in Executive Council, and they are running a very efficient propaganda machine.

MR. MATTHEWS: Adjourn debate, Lynn.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, since it is just about five o'clock, I adjourn the debate.

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

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

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that this House - I ask hon. Members to sit while the Speaker is speaking, please!

It is moved and seconded that this House do now adjourn. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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