March 26, 1991               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS             Vol. XLI  No. 16

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the hon. Members of this House and the residents of the Province of changes made to Motor Vehicle Registration Fees. The changes will take effect on March 28, 1991 and are as follows:

1. All passenger cars and small pickups will pay an annual registration fee of $65.000. This is an increase of $2.00 per vehicle.

2. The commercial vehicle fee table has been rewritten with 500 kilogram increments which will result in a more equitable fee structure based on the mass of the vehicle. Implementing a uniform "fee per kilometre" registered mass category will allow us to join other provinces as part of the national standard across Canada.

3. The commercial vehicle fees have also been increased by an average of 10 per cent.

4. Commercial vehicle trip permits will now be available for intra-provincial trips. This will allow Newfoundland truckers flexibility in special circumstances such as an unexpected breakdown or should they wish to test-drive a commercial vehicle prior to purchase.

The old Motor Carrier Fee structure has been replaced by the new regular fee schedule for all commercial vehicles. This new regular fee schedule will also provide for the administration of a province-wide highway safety program for commercial vehicles.

Mr. Speaker, these changes will result in a more equitable fee structure by distributing the increased costs of our highway safety programs to all highway users. Our Department will continue to make necessary changes where needed to provide the best possible service to the people of the Province.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to add that copies of the new regulations are available from the Queen's Printer and anyone with specific questions on fees should contact the nearest Motor Registration Office.

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

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

It is interesting to note that hon. Members opposite are not pounding their desks for this one, Mr. Speaker, another increase to the taxpayers of this Province and another tax grab by the Department of Works, Services and Transportation. They have frozen the wages this year of most public servants and they have increased the taxes and fees for all people in the Province, another step by this Government to drain the people of this Province of any extra cent they can get out of them. They have cut down the services by closing Motor Vehicle Registration offices in Clarenville and in Lab City, Mr. Speaker, and they have increased the cost, or reduced services by the Department of Transportation. It is interesting to note that the Minister has not given in his statement the total amount of tax grab this will take out of the pockets of Newfoundlanders and it is also interesting to note that a Private Member's Bill, which was to be discussed here tomorrow in this House, condemns the Federal Government for increasing freight rates to the Labrador Coast yet we have this Government - and it is going to be interesting to hear the debate tomorrow, we have this Government doing the exact same thing to the road network. I heard the Member for Eagle River last week on the radio suggesting that you should build a road in Labrador so that the people of Labrador can get their food and other things by road. I suggest that he should continue to depend on Marine Atlantic, Mr. Speaker, because his own Government is going to place the -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. R. AYLWARD: - place the cost of transportation by the highway system out of reach for most Newfoundlanders.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. TOBIN: By leave, by leave!


Oral Questions

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Minister of Finance perhaps I will direct this question to the President of Treasury Board.

Could the President of Treasury Board tell us the reasons for which the Newfoundland Liquor Licensing Board is being merged with the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation, and was this decision based on recommendations and consultation with both boards?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The decision was based on efficiency and streamlining the system, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I take it from that that the Minister is confirming that there was no consultation with either board. In fact I might advise the Minister, if he is not aware, that neither Board Chairmen knew of the decision until the Chairman of the Liquor Licensing Board was called into the Premier's office and unceremoniously fired, and the Chairman of the Liquor Corporation heard about it through public notice.

Would the Minister tell us now, Mr. Speaker: in view of the conflict of interest between the functions of the Liquor Corporation and the Liquor Licensing Board - one being a marketing agency, and the other being one to enforce compliance with the Liquor Control Act under the Act of 1973 - would the Minister tell us how he sees both roles being joined together under one board?

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

MR. BAKER: There is no conflict of interest, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, we will have evidence to indicate that there is indeed conflict, in due course. Mr. Speaker, I would ask the Minister, outside of the fact that both boards are very busy areas of responsibility requiring full time, in fact, The Liquor Control Act states the Chairman of the Board, and I am quoting, Mr. Speaker, The Liquor Control Act, 1973 with amendments, Section 5, Subsection (3), 'The Chairman of the Board shall devote his whole time and attention to the business of the Board, and shall not engage in any other occupation.' Now, Mr. Speaker, in view of that, and in view of the fact that as of the end of this month there is no Chairman and there is no Board, since all have been fired by this Government, how does the Minister propose that liquor licencing and enforcement of liquor regulations will be carried on in this Province during the coming weeks?

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

MR. BAKER: They will be carried on properly, Mr. Speaker. I should point out that we had an obligation in this process, to the people of this Province, to the taxpayers of this Province, our obligation was to not spend beyond our means, to not carry on the practices of the past, to make sure that the financial viability of this Province remained, and that we could continue to go to the bond markets to get money for much needed capital works. We had to be sure of that, and that was our obligation. To do so, Mr. Speaker, we have decided, in this particular instance, the functions can be carried out in a more streamlined manner. And in the interest of saving money in the way that had least possible affect on the people of this Province we felt that we could provide that service with a few less people, and that is precisely what we did, Mr. Speaker, and we make no apologizes for it.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl, a final supplementary.

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am sure the Minister makes no apologies. I would advise him that what he is doing is going back to the era of the Smallwood days when licences were issued from the Premier's Office.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: It was the former PC Administration which in 1973 amended the Act or brought in this Act and created it too. Would the Minister tell me, Mr. Speaker, if he is aware that there was a senior employee of the Liquor Licencing Board, who the Board recommended to the Minister that he be removed from the employment of the Board at least half a dozen times and that the Minister refused to take the advice of the Board? Will the Minister confirm that and tell us why Government refused to take the advice of the Liquor Licencing Board and in turn, fired the entire Board and its Chairman?

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

MR. BAKER: No, Mr. Speaker, the Member is up to his usual scaremongering tactics. There was an incident, I believe the one he refers to was investigated by an independent group, and a decision was handed down in that regard. One thing that I can tell the hon. Member, Mr. Speaker, is that whatever he believes we are going back to, one thing we are not going back to is the days of the Windsor Government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Will the Minister confirm that his so-called independent advice was a meeting between the Minister and the Board, the first time in history that a Minister of Finance asked the Board to come in to explain their recommendation?

AN HON. MEMBER: No answer.

MR. FUREY: They set up the Board.

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, this incident was handled in the best way possible; it was handled by an independent board that was set up under the previous Government and the conclusion was a satisfactory conclusion for everybody.

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

MR. POWER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as Members of the Opposition we are reluctant to bring this matter to the Minister of Health's attention, but we would like to ask him a question. In fact, I have notified the Minister of Health that I would be asking a question on the meningitis problem in Newfoundland today. I would ask the Minister of Health, because of the vast number of different signals coming from different persons in the medical community, the Department of Health, the different news stories, if he could give us a full and complete update on the meningitis problem in Newfoundland this winter: Is it normal? Is it out of control compared to other situations? And certainly to allay a lot of the fears of parents, particularly on the West Coast, who may be keeping their children out of school tomorrow because of this health scare, could the Minister at least bring the people of this House and of this Province up to date on the meningitis problem?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for his question. I am not sure this is the proper way to try to allay the fears of the people. I should say employees of the Public Health branch have met with the parents in the St. Georges area, where the most recent case of meningococcal disease has occurred, and I believe now that the parents have a fuller understanding of the disease, we can stop any panic. This issue has been dealt with in the media and there are a lot of concerns.

I should say for the benefit of the hon. Member and for the public, that the numbers of the meningococcal disease in this Province have been increasing over the past five years; this same pattern has been occurring right across Canada, right across the nation. In 1988, in this Province, there were seven cases but no deaths; in 1989 there were eleven cases, in 1990 there were thirteen cases. But in 1990, two people died with the disease. So far this year, 1991, there have been nine cases, and the hon. Member will know that the most recent case occurred yesterday with the unfortunate death of the child from St. George's.

Most of the cases in the Province have been scattered throughout the Island portion of the Province, and the thirteen cases in 1990 came from St. Alban's, Victoria, Bell Island, St. John's, Grand Falls, Ramea, Chamberlains, Corner Brook, Stephenville and Happy Valley. So it was on the mainland part of the Province, as well. The nine cases this year have come from Mount Pearl, Paradise, Kilbride, Corner Brook, Gander Bay, St. John's and St. Georges.

I should tell the hon. Member that this is a delicate matter to deal with, and I would encourage him and invite him to come over to the Department of Health and sit down with the professionals, the medical people in that department who would be quite willing to brief him or any members of his caucus who would like to discuss this issue. Any Member of the House for that matter, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, we thank the Minister for his answer. Obviously, anything which allays the concerns of parents and the sick people of the Province, we are more than happy to do whatever is necessary to get that message out. I guess one of the concerns we have in getting this message out to the people of Newfoundland is that we see different concerns; we see Dr. Randell at the Janeway hospital saying over the weekend that the widespread vaccination program in Mount Pearl may have been caused, I think in his words, "the Department is not totally void of politics influencing what is going on and public pressure." We want to know, and I think the public in Newfoundland has the right to know, that if the Department of Health is going to respond either to public or political pressures, then we obviously have some real concerns about how the health care system is to be done in this Province.

We just asked the Minister to confirm that the meningitis problem is being treated with all due concern for normal health practices that would be in place anywhere in North America. And certainly in our case, in Newfoundland, there is a concern expressed, at least by some parents involved, that maybe certain health practices will not be done in this Province because of our fiscal health care cutbacks. I want the Minister to confirm that this will not happen in Newfoundland, that meningitis and other serious health problems will be dealt with in a normal health care fashion, without any regard for our fiscal problems.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. Member that this particular situation is being handled as it would be handled anywhere in North America. All normal procedures to prevent the spread of this diseae have been followed. The disease I am told - and hon. Members will know I am not a medical person, but I have medical people to advise me on this daily - is normally spread among family members and other close contacts, so preventive treatment is therefore routinely given to all the household and other close members.

Now in the case of Mount Pearl, where there was a vaccine given, there was a cluster within, and it seemed that people who were attending certain schools also attended a teenage party and there was some evidence to believe that the disease might have been spread from one to the other. The result was that there were four people in a cluster, and the thing they had in common was that they attended a teenage party, and they all attended the same school.

The Department gave an antibiotic prophylaxis, which is the normal way this is treated, which actually kills off the organism in the throats of the people who are carrying it. This is the normal procedure which would be followed right across the nation. Then, to make absolutely certain, they gave the meningococcal vaccine, which is proven to be about 80 per cent effective in adults. It is not effective in children under two.

So I can assure the people of this province that everything is being done, and that the fiscal situation the Province finds itself in has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the way this is being treated, or any other diseases being treated.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A question for the President of Treasury Board. The Government, no doubt, in preparing the budgetary estimates for this year, would have prepared budgetary projections for the next fiscal year and for successive years. Could the Minister advise the House what the current projections are for the 1992-1993 fiscal year? And does he indeed expect to achieve a surplus account in next year on current account (Inaudible)?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, we always project ahead, and for the past year or so we have been doing some detailed projections looking ahead. We discovered, for instance, that if we had not acted this year to curb our $200 million projected deficit, and if it were possible to borrow the money - which it is not - to continue on the way we have been going, by the next fiscal year we would have reached over $400 million, and over $600 million the year beyond that. So we do do projections.

I will assure the hon. Member that projections are being done, and we are hoping that by the actions we have taken this year we will prevent a major problem from occuring next year.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the Minister has not answered the question. He said projections are being done. He has not told us what his projections are for next year. We do not know, therefore, if you are projecting a deficit or a surplus or a balanced budget for next year. Could the Minister assure public sector unions in this Province that we have seen the end of these drastic layoffs the Government has recently announced in the Public Service, and that there is, in fact, no requirement for a repeat performance next year? Of layoffs.

The Minister has not quite heard the question, Mr. Speaker, so I will repeat it for him. What I was asking, can you assure public sector unions that there will be no repeat performance of the massive layoffs we have seen this year, based on your projections for next year's Budget?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I suppose anybody who had a crystal ball could make all kinds of projections. I noticed Members opposite were talking about 8000 layoffs this year, and I notice the hon. Member for Mount Pearl is down to 35000 or 4000 now, when in actual fact we have announced the numbers. So, Mr. Speaker, I cannot give anybody any guarantees on anything a year down the road. I cannot give guarantees on anything. We are following the situation very closely; we are keeping up to date with the latest information, but I can give no guarantees on what may happen a year, two, three or four down the road. That would be a very dangerous thing to do, and it would be a very irresponsible thing to do.

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

I recognize the hon. Member for Mount Pearl if there are no other people. I thought he was following on from the Member for Ferryland on health, and I usually like to recognize someone else before I recognize a Member twice. So, if the Member for St. East would concede?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary by the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank my friend for St. John's East. I have one quick final supplementary to the Minister. Could the Minister assure public service unions that increases negotiated for the 1992-93 fiscal year will indeed be honoured and we will not see contract stripping, as we have seen this year?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, we do not yet know. The Legislation has not passed the House yet, and we do not know yet what the options will be that the unions will choose. As I repeated a moment ago, it would be totally irresponsible of me to give any kind of guarantee on anything that may happen one, two, three, or four years down the road. I am not in the business of taking irresponsible actions, Mr Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Mines and Energy, or the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. The workers of Baie Verte mines have been waiting for some time now for a decision on the some $500,000 they are owed by way of wages, benefits, payments under the Labour Standards Decisions, and other entitlements in lieu of wages and benefits which they are entitled to as a result of the closure of the Baie Verte mine. Can the Minister of Mines and Energy or the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations tell the people of Baie Verte when the Government will make a decision on this matter, and whether or not they are going to leave them hanging on their edge of seats, as it were, concerned about their economic future? For how long are they going to do that, or are they going to tell them what is going to happen to them?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, a decision has been made on that issue, and before we did make the final decision I know we discussed it with the union from Baie Verte mines in a meeting in Corner Brook some couple or three weeks ago. Frankly, I am a little bit surprised that the final decision has not been communicated to them. I assumed that it had been and I have not received any contact from the union at Baie Verte mines myself on this matter saying that they had not been informed. So I certainly welcome contact from them.

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

MR. HARRIS: Well I am delighted to hear, Mr. Speaker, that the decision has been made. The President of the Union, as of today, is not aware of the decision. Perhaps if the Minister could tell the House what the decision is then the people of Baie Verte can rest and at least know what the Government has done. And hopefully it is good news. And if it is good news perhaps you can tell the House.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, we have made a positive decision. I do not recall all of the details of that now and the exact amount. But certainly we can talk to the union about that, and I would like for him to give me a call.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. GIBBONS: Just a second now, Mr. Speaker, I can call on my colleague the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations who has the details in front of her.

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

MS. COWAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, I have a note here saying that the $391,845.00 was forwarded to the receiver on February 19, 1991. So if there are some problems there, as the Minister of Mines and Energy has suggested, certainly I will proceed to look into it right away this afternoon.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank both hon. Ministers for making that information available. Presumably there seems to be some communications breakdown and perhaps further clarification can be obtained directly from the Ministers, from the people involved. But it does give rise to a further supplementary, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations concerning payments generally to workers in cases of receiverships, bankruptcies and things of that nature. Can the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations tell the House when she plans to introduce changes in The Labour Standards Act to give some guarantee to workers that in the event of bankruptcies and receiverships workers wages get a priority?

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

MS. COWAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I might say to the Member for St. John's East that The Labour Standards Act is being looked at actively now. There are a number of very antiquated laws in The Labour Standards Act that I hope to correct. And that is one that we are particularly looking at. I cannot tell you at this stage where we are going to go with it. But it is one that we are looking at with a very concerned manner.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I anticipated that kind of general comment from the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations about the review of The Labour Standards Act. What I would like -

MR. SPEAKER: The Member is on a supplementary.

MR. HARRIS: - to know is when the workers of Newfoundland can expect protection from this Government in these hard economic times?

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

MS. COWAN: Certainly we will be moving on it as quickly as possible. I cannot give the hon. gentleman an exact date, because there are a number, as I said earlier, of antiquated laws all requiring immediate attention. So we are moving on it as quickly as possible. And I can only assure the hon. Member for St. John's East that it is something that is a priority with me.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINSOR: My question is to the Minister of Education. Yesterday in the House the Minister refused to confirm that Mun is considering capping enrollments. Will the Minister then confirm that Mun is presently considering raising its admission requirements for 1991-92? And that these proposed changes will effectively cap enrollment because it adds new restrictions to the number of students who can attend?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, Memorial over the past decade has increased its entrance requirements for various programs and courses, and I gather they are continuing to do that. But I have no knowledge of any major change in policy for the next year. I could check the information for the hon. Member. But I do not have any knowledge of that.

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

MR. WINSOR: The Minister adds 'no major changes.' We are asking the Minister is there any admission requirements into General Studies Program? And let me ask the Minister this: will the Minister confirm that presently there exists in this Province a difference in the average grades achieved by rural high school students as compared to their urban counterparts?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, it is very difficult to compare grades and results. It depends on programs. We have some of the best schools in the country in this Province. They are not all urban schools, they are rural schools. Generally, in the past though, Mr. Speaker, the standards achieved in basic subjects have been higher in the bigger schools, which happen to be in urban communities. We are doing everything possible, Mr. Speaker, to improve the situation in rural Newfoundland to enhance achievement and I do not think the major gap is there anymore, Mr. Speaker, that was there some years ago.

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

MR. WINSOR: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Since the Minister has already admitted that there is a gap, will the Minister not admit then that by increasing the admission requirements and raising the average from 60 to 65, or to 70, for MUN, that this restriction will disproportionately affect the students living in rural Newfoundland more than in urban Newfoundland and furthermore, since the Minister has indicated that he might publicly get involved, or he has publicly said that Government might get involved in the running of post-secondary institutions, will the Minister intervene here and assure us that rural Newfoundland will not be penalized by any new admission requirements at MUN?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member should listen to what I said. I said there are gaps between large schools and small schools. He should listen to what I said, also, Mr. Speaker, that no decisions, as far as I know, have been made to cap any enrollments at Memorial. I am delighted this year that in this very difficult period Memorial has not done anything to cap enrollments. Mr. Speaker, many other universities across Canada have, and Newfoundland is inheriting some of these students. The third thing, Mr. Speaker, is that there is a bit of a myth about who attends Memorial University. I am delighted to say that Memorial graduates thousands of students from all over this Province. Doctor Harris some years ago, and I wish the hon. Member knew what he was talking about, Dr. Harris documented the number of graduates from rural Newfoundland. Thousands upon thousands have gone to Memorial and will continue to go to Memorial, and this Government is committed to that, Mr. Speaker. We are going to provide more student aid and more scholarships for students so that all Newfoundlanders have access to post-secondary education.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. I refer the Minister to Budget, Page 193, subhead 4.l.08 - Adjustment Program for Fish Plant Workers, where we see a revised figure of $7.3 million spent last year on the Fish Plant Worker Adjustment Program. I was wondering if the Minister could inform the House how much of the $7.3 million was paid to Fishery Products International for their three plants and how much was paid to National Sea Products for St. John's?

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

MS. COWAN: I will have to get that information for him, Mr. Speaker, and I will do that with dispatch. I will have it tomorrow for him.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Grand Bank on a supplementary.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary for the Minister. I am wondering in the meantime, while the Minister is getting the breakdown per company, I wonder if the Minister would undertake to table invoices for money paid out to both FPI and NatSea with a detailed breakdown of expenditures per fish plant? Really what I am asking the Minister is: when she tables the invoices for Fishery Products International would she provide the information for what the payout was to Fishery Products International to operate the Grand Bank fish plant, the Gaultois fish plant, the Trepassey fish plant - not jumped in together but each one separately?

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

MS. COWAN: Mr. Speaker, I will certainly take that matter under advisement and if it is appropriate, which I expect it probably is, as long as I am not required to reveal anything about the company, I will again bring that to the House for tabling.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the Minister for agreeing to undertake that. Last year she tabled invoices for both companies but we did not get the breakdown per plant. What I am really interested in finding out is what Government actually paid to operate each of those plants. I think it was $11.5 to FPI and another $3 million to NatSea. I would like to see the cost per plant if I could.

Mr. Speaker, a supplementary to the Minister of Fisheries. I am wondering if the Minister of Fisheries has held discussions as of late with Fishery Products International, or has he received any indications from the company that there could possibly be further plant closures within the next twelve months, further plants belonging to Fishery Products International as a result of the total allowable catch being set at a reduction over the next three years? Has the Minister received any indication whatsoever from the company that there indeed may be further plant closures in the operation?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, the short answer, I guess, to the question is no. Fishery Products has not advised me that they contemplate any further plant closures, and I can only take their word for it. Of course, it will depend, I suppose, largely on the total allowable catches and the various allocations, but only time will tell to what extent the TAC might be reduced again next year. But certainly on the basis of information that we have at this point in time, I have not been informed of any intended plant closures, and I suspect that even FPI themselves would be unable to answer that question right now.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation as it relates to the statement he made today about the increase in fees for vehicles in this Province. Will the Minister confirm that the increase today as shown in the Budget of this year, the increase in the cost for vehicle licences this year is the $1.6 million that is shown in the Budget of this year under vehicle and drivers licence fees for 1991-92.

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

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that the Member for Kilbride asked a question about the statement I made today because when the Member for Mount Pearl got up and talked about the Budget and talked about it, he referred to the statement that I made today, to the figures in the Budget about revenue. He referred to it as a net loss of $34,000 that we had after he did his sums on it. Now we hear the Member for Kilbride get up and say that there was an increase -

AN HON. MEMBER: You obviously do not know what you are talking about.

MR. GILBERT: - there was a tax grab on the people of Newfoundland, so I ask him to get his questions straightened away now, and get their minds together over there.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Will the hon. Minister of Works, Services and Transportation explain to this House and the taxpayers of this Province where he expects to drain another $1.6 million out of the taxpayers of this Province for vehicle and drivers licences this year? Mr. Speaker, where is it coming from?

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

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Speaker, as I just explained to the Member, when the Member for Mount Pearl got up and talked about the increased revenues, he talked about a decrease that we were having of $34,000 - the man is talking about a tax grab, and actually the only increase from the figures that I talked about today; what we are doing is cancelling the public utilities fee and adding it into the licence fee that is going to be distributed over the whole process. So the net gain of revenue from the statement that I made today will be $90,000, not a $34,000 loss - the finance critic had his sums wrong. Actually there is a net gain in the statement I made today of $90,000, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Before moving away to the next point, I should point out what happened in Question Period, and I probably did not explain it when I recognized the Member for Mount Pearl.

Normally the Chair tries not to recognize a person twice, of course, unless there is nobody standing. But I thought that the Member was following on from the Member for Ferryland, who was talking about a rather important item - meningitis in Mount Pearl was mentioned. When the Member stood I thought he was on a supplementary. So I explain that to all hon. Members.

MR. WINDSOR: Not to question Your Honour's ruling at all, I appreciate why the hon. Mr. Speaker would have thought perhaps I wished to comment on that. And I did not comment on that because I have been totally in contact with my colleague, of course, and as health critic I am letting him deal with it.

But just on your point. I do not think there is anything in the rules that prohibits a Member from asking two, three or four questions. And I just want to be clear on that point, that we do have a right to stand any number of times.

MR. SPEAKER: Quite obviously.

MR. WINDSOR: And I appreciate Your Honour will try to be fair on that and try to give every Member an opportunity. And you know, I would hope that that is the only rule worth following, and that is that each Member be given an equal opportunity to ask questions in this House.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes. I am not going to debate that. Quite obviously, as I have said, when I have recognized a Member once then I try to recognize other Members who are standing. But if he is the only one standing quite obviously the Chair has to recognize him again and again. But there were other Members standing and that is why I apologized to the other Members who were standing.

Enough said.


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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to present a petition of approximately thirty citizens, most of whom are residents of St. John's and the immediate area. This petition was written and the signatures collected in just the past few hours. The prayer of the petition is: we the undersigned urge the Provincial Government to ask the University to rescind the recent cuts to the MUN Extension Rural Programmes, MUN Extension Arts, and the MUN Art Gallery.

I wholeheartedly support the prayer of the petition, Mr. Speaker.

The petitioners are extremely upset, as are thousands of people throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, at the news that Memorial University Extension Service is being terminated. Memorial University Extension Service has provided invaluable supports and aided in the development of rural and urban Newfoundland and Labrador.

The prayer of the petition mentions the rural programs in particular. These programs have been delivered over many years through field workers stationed regionally; these field workers have supported individuals and groups in rural communities in achieving their own goals; they have aided in informal as well as formal learning; they have provided the hand of Memorial University to most of Newfoundland and Labrador, since the University has bricks and mortar only in St. John's and Corner Brook.

The need for this kind of community development throughout rural Newfoundland and Labrador arguably has never been greater since the notorious days of the Smallwood re-settlement program. Today, the economy of rural Newfoundland and Labrador is in jeopardy because of the decline in the fishery and the decline in mining. It is also threatened because of the centralization policies of the Wells' Administration. The MUN Extension Arts program has been located in St. John's and has provided a nucleus for artists of different disciplines in the immediate St. John's area, as well as artists from other places when they are visiting St. John's.

I would like to quote from a letter I received just the other day from some of the visual artists involved in that program. They wrote me saying that they profoundly regret the loss of MUN Extension Arts. `We, as visual artists, are devastated by the Memorial University decision to close MUN Extension Arts. It is the only multi-disciplinary home for Arts in the Province. Without Extension Arts, the cultural identity of Newfoundland and Labrador will disintegrate.'

Mr. Speaker, after having met with two of the leading visual artists, Ilsa Hughes and Diana Dabinett, who signed this letter and signed the petition, I know that these words were carefully chosen.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, the petitioners call on the Government to rescind the cuts to the Memorial University Art Gallery. That is the only public gallery in the whole Province. The cuts amounted to about one quarter of the salary budget and have necessitated a drastic reduction in gallery public viewing hours. The gallery now is only going to be open nine months of the year, and during that time on a reduced basis - it will be open only two evenings a week - and real artists, who realize just how much work goes into a gallery exhibit, are now questioning whether all the work is worth it, since the public will have such little opportunity to view exhibits at the Province's only public gallery.

Mr. Speaker, at the same time as the Wells' administration and Dr. May at the University are eliminating MUN Extension Service and cutting the University art gallery, they are infusing millions of dollars of extra money into the Premier's Economic Recovery Commission and the Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, which is subordinated to the Recovery Commission. Collectively, this is Doug House's empire.-

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave! By leave!

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It gives me great pleasure to rise and support the petition presented by my colleague for Humber East on behalf of MUN Extension. Memorial University Extension has played a vital role in the development of rural Newfoundland, and the downgrading and elimination of it can only inflict more injury on rural Newfoundland by this Government.

One eminent Newfoundlander said of MUN Extension: the Extension Service needs to be strengthened and professors in the various disciplines encouraged to bring their expertise to bear upon local development problems. And then he went on to say: Memorial University's School of Continuing Studies and Extension should be reorganized and given a strong mandate to co-ordinate community and economic development contributions by the University to all regions of the Province.

Of course that was written by Dr. Doug House in his Report on Employment and Unemployment, recommending that MUN Extension be upgraded and improved as opposed to being eliminated, as this administration has seen fit to do. I have no doubt that the administration knew well in advance what Memorial University was intending to do in its budget, and they do have the authority to re-instate MUN Extension if they so decided.

It is interesting to note that the Minister of Education has said that the work of MUN Extension could easily be carried on by three groups, and the three groups he quoted specifically were development associations, Enterprise Newfoundland and the community colleges. I am sure that the Minister of Education, like most other Members, has received letters from development associations lauding the good work of the Extension Service, and asking the Minister to re-instate it because of the valuable service they provide.

Perhaps the Minister is not aware that MUN Extension has given valuable training to development associations. The development associations do not stay forever the same; they are not static, they are forever changing, and as the members change there is a constant need to do retraining. That is a role MUN Extension has done and done quite well. Interestingly enough, Enterprise Newfoundland, the second group he alludes to, it is my understanding that right now, presently, workers for Enterprise Newfoundland are being trained by MUN Extension. So what we have here are the trainees replacing the trainers. Now that is an unusual situation. People who are experts in the field are going to be replaced by novices, people who have just started, and as a result, that second agency, Enterprise Newfoundland, is going to fail to act as the vehicle that MUN Extension was.

Thirdly, the community colleges were supposed to facilitate all the things that MUN Extension did. The budgets for the community colleges are reduced by $1 million. Furthermore, there are some strong indications that the community colleges in Baie Verte, Bell Island, and several other communities in this Province are going to be significantly downgraded, further reducing the expertise that would be out in rural Newfoundland to help.

What we have here, Mr. Speaker, by the elimination of MUN Extension, is another attack on rural Newfoundland. MUN Extension was instrumental last year in organizing a forum for fishermen throughout this Province. That one, I think, was called 'Empty Nets', when they went throughout the Province helping community groups organize, helping fisheries associations and so on to articulate positions that are vital for the saving of both the inshore and the offshore sector of our fishery. How does one of those community colleges, or Enterprise Newfoundland, or a development association replace that vehicle which provided so much service to Newfoundland? It cannot be done.

AN HON. MEMBER: Why? Tell us.

MR. WINSOR: Because there is no expertise in these places to do it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: Everyone says it. I do not have to say it. Dr. Doug House says it.


MR. WINSOR: Dr. Doug House says it needs to be strengthened. Dr. Doug House in his Report on Employment and Unemployment, he, too, recommended that Mun Extension be improved and monies increased to improve the delivery of service to Newfoundland, rural Newfoundland particularly, instead of downgrading it. In the magazine, Decks Awash -

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. Member's time is up.


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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I want to correct some misleading information the hon. Member just quoted. Number one, Mr. Speaker, I have spoken in this House about my involvement with Extension, and I paid tribute to the Extension Service and the arts program on many occasions, in the last few days. That is first of all, Mr. Speaker. Secondly, I did not say that the work of Extension could be taken over by others. I said the void could be filled somewhat by the community colleges, the Enterprise Newfoundland group, many other groups and many people we have prepared, the graduates of the University and others, who are involved in all kinds of ways in rural Newfoundland.

Getting to the petition itself, I am sure Dr. May has received this request; letters have gone to him about that. I, as Minister, hesitate to get involved in telling the University what to do, Mr. Speaker.


DR. WARREN: The hon. Member who just `awed' should remember when she was Minister. She should know how the University is run. The Government gives the University -

AN HON. MEMBER: She does know.

DR. WARREN: Oh, she does know. Okay,

Let us assume she knows.

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible) from Government.

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, we give the University a global budget. The University makes it decisions. And, Mr. Speaker, let me say one other thing.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. WARREN: The law requires it to be done as it is now done. And if we lose confidence in the University, Mr. Speaker, we will replace the Board of Regents and we will replace the President. But until that time, we have to leave it to that group to make decisions on how the University is run. It is a tradition in this country that you have autonomy at the University level.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: What a weak, weak, weak performance.

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


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! I have recognized the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition I would like to present on behalf of approximately 400 parents of the Marystown Central High School. The petition is part of approximately 2,000 or 3,000 I have presented so far in the House, and I think I have something like ten or twelve more petitions I will be presenting over the coming days.

This petition says, `We are concerned about the serious damage which will be done to the education of our children in the community if there are any cutbacks in education funding. We are especially opposed to funding cutbacks which will affect the Marystown Central High School by reducing staff, making it impossible to increase staffing if required, creating class sizes so large that students cannot learn, reducing or eliminating remedial guidance and library services, making it impossible for the school board to fund new programs and facilities. Decreased funding for education at this time would undo the real progress of recent years and seriously harm the future of individual persons of our Province. We now ask our Government not to impose funding cutbacks on the education of our children.'

Mr. Speaker, I see the Minister of Education looking somewhat bewildered by the prayer of the petition. I do not know why.

DR. WARREN: There are no cuts in elementary education.

MR. TOBIN: But the people are calling upon -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: The Minister of Education can say what he likes. The Minister of Education knows full well that Dr. Vokey and other people in the education system have stated quite categorically that if there was not at least -

MR. WALSH: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, would someone gag the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island. Tell him to get concerned about his ferry. You bring in petitions on behalf of your constituents, never mind hiding behind the Government front benches and letting down the people who elected you to represent them. No wonder you are a total failure in this Legislature and to the people whom you represent. No wonder, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to present this petition on behalf of the people who elected me to come to the House of Assembly and to speak on their behalf. That is what I want to do. I accept that as my responsibility. I do not accept it as my responsibility to be lying to someone who has been detrimental to the people who elected me. I do not see that as my responsibility, and that is why I present the petition, and I shall never, have never, and shall never refuse to do so for my constituents like some other Members.

Now, these petitions that are -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: These petitions are signed by the people from the Marystown Central High School, the people from the Marystown Elementary school system, the St. Patrick's school system, the Pearson school system, the Jamieson system and the Harford school system, and the Rushoon system and other schools in my district that are pleading with this Minister to put in place the necessary funding to do what needs to be done in the educational system. The Budget does not provide the funding necessary, and in the Minister's own admission, by the way, the Minister's own admission is that he needed at least 8 to 10 per cent of an increase in the Budget to maintain the status quo, to maintain what he had last year. He did not get it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, sure. I will be Tabling my petition. I will be tabling my petition at the appropriate time, and I can tell the Minister of Education that this is a petition submitted by the people of Burin - Placentia West. It is a petition that I will be Tabling when I take my place in this Assembly, of which I will be affixing my signature to because I support the petition, and I want the Members opposite to do the same. I want the Members opposite to do the same. There is no way that this Minister of Education can stand and say that if we lose confidence in certain people, if we lose confidence in the Board of Regents and the President of the university, he said we will get rid of them. Let me say to the Minister of Education that the confidence in the Minister of Education has been lost. There is nobody in this Province who has confidence in the Minister of Education any longer to continue to guide the educational system in this Province. He has been a dismal failure in that portfolio. He has not been responsible to the educational needs of this Province. It was only on Saturday I read a letter in a paper -

MR. SPEAKER: Order please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Fogo.

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to support the petition presented by my colleague for Burin - Placentia West. You know it was real interesting to watch the Minister of Education over there, real interesting when the heat came on asking my colleague -

MR. SPEAKER: Order please!

The page is supposed to present the petition to the Table. I am sorry.

MR. WINSOR: - when did he get the petition, and he seemed to be suggesting that the petition came in prior to the Budget being presented. What I find amusing about that is -

MR. SPEAKER: Order please! Order please!

The Page is supposed to have that petition - if people want it they can get it from the Table.

AN HON. MEMBER: They are taking over the House.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you very much.

The hon. the Member for Fogo.

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, he is just cutting into my time.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. gentleman on a point of order.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, when a petition is tabled, every Member has a right to ask the Table for a copy of that petition, which is precisely what I did.

AN HON. MEMBER: He didn't. He did not.

MR. SPEAKER: Order please!

The document was not tabled, the page was bringing it to the Table and presented it to the Minister on her way. It has to be tabled, brought to the Table.

The hon. the Member for Fogo.

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And so the Minister of Education was trying to suggest in some way that this petition was given prior to the Budget, and the Member failed to present it. Now what is real interesting in this, Mr. Speaker, is that the Minister of Education had a prepared press release done prior to the Budget being released, released it on the Friday following the Budget with so much erroneous information in it, but not one shred of evidence in it to suggest that he knew what he was talking about.

In that media briefing the Minister suggested that Memorial University had a $5.5 million increase in its operating budget. In Monday or Tuesday of the next week, the Minister tried to skate around it by saying: if we did not have a freeze then we would have had that money. Now, obviously the Minister had written his press release long before the Budget was presented, but I want to get back to what the Minister said about no cuts in primary and elementary and secondary education in this Province.

While it might not show up as cuts I do not know why school boards in this Province are, almost without exception, predicting that their operating grants will be, in the case of the board with which I am more familiar, some $200,000 less; the Avalon Consolidated Board has hundreds of thousands dollars less; the R.C. Board has thousands of dollars less. Now, Mr. Speaker, what the Minister fails to take into account in all of this, is that the increase to school boards have been somewhat in the range of 10 to 12 per cent and the Minister in his Budget only gave them nickels, nickels and dimes to solve thousand dollar problems and that is where the real cuts have come, Mr. Speaker.

Gasoline prices, added to by Dr. Kitchen's new tax have increased steadily causing more problems, more pressures on boards, as a result the program to elementary, secondary and primary education has been considerably reduced and the Minister goes on to say that there are no cutbacks; well, let me refer him to his own Budget Estimates. In program development, last year he budgeted, you see, and this is what the Minister is good at doing, he budgeted $330,000, he actually spent $580,000, this year he is going to spend $371,000. Now, Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).


SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: He is spending over what he has budgeted but that has no bearing, nothing to do with what actually happened. What has really happened there is, the Minister has reduced spending by some $200,000. Some $200,000 in program development; now, Mr. Speaker, if there is any area of our education system that needs spending it is in curriculum development.

AN HON. MEMBER: Curriculum development (inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: Curriculum development, I have notes made and I am going to in our Estimates on the Budget, I am going to have the Minister to explain how the most important part of the education system has been so neglected, that this Administration, in each of his Budgets, has spent proportionately less on curriculum development than it has anywhere else and that is what the priority petition is asking the Minister to do, to up its spending so that students can have computer programming, so that they can have increased facilities at the primary and secondary level and the Minister shirks off his duties and responsibilities by trying to suggest that the Member somehow-

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! The hon. Member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave, by leave.

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, as a very reasonable person, I will call this a petition. It was a letter to Premier Wells, it is not a petition, am I right? I will respond to it even if it is not a petition. It was a letter to Premier Wells dated December 13, 1990 -


AN HON. MEMBER: December 13?

DR. WARREN: - and why the hon. Member kept it for three months when decisions were being made, when decisions were being made in December and January and February, when he had a chance to influence the decisions, he held it. He kept it to himself, Mr. Speaker, and you talk about representing your people -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Shameful.

DR. WARREN: - Mr. Speaker, talk about credibility, talk about credibility. Mr. Speaker, now to the petition. I would like to respond to the petition.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) the House.

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond to the petition.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, this letter was written to Premier Wells on December 13, 1990 and it said: we are very concerned about the serious damage which will be done to the education of children in our community if there are any cuts in educational funding. I am especially opposed to cuts and reducing staff. Well, Mr. Speaker, the only staff reductions in teachers in this Province are those that result from declining enrollments: Creating class sizes so large that students cannot learn. Mr. Speaker, the class size is held at last year if it is not even a little lower. Because of declining enrolments we have one of the lowest pupil/teacher ratios in this country and I am delighted to say that: Reducing or eliminating remedial guidance and library services. No remedial, no guidance or no library services have been reduced as a result of the Budget. Maybe as a result of declining enrollments there may be some reductions.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, the school system does not have enough money. They are underfunded and I have said that over and over. This Government is going to try and improve the funding in the future. We had some freezes in some funds for elementary and secondary but this year the elementary and secondary system tell me - Mr. Speaker, I am told by the superintendents and the school boards that they will get by reasonably well this year and provide high quality education on a level comparable to last year.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition signed by 494 parents of students of Newtown Elementary School. It reads: we the parents of students in Newtown Elementary School would like to voice our objection to cutbacks to the education system and feel that if the Provincial Government is permitted to proceed with said cutbacks the quality of education given our children will be drastically affected. Then it goes on for a couple of more paragraphs but I will not read it all.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, if the hon. gentlemen want to deal with it then I will deal with it. The date on it is January 25 and that is the day that the petition was drafted and circulated to all students to bring home to their parents and signed, and that is what all of these are, individual signatures by parents, including my wife's because of the fact we have a daughter there. This was received by me a couple of weeks ago. The format may not be entirely in keeping with the format prescribed by the House of Assembly but it is a valid petition and it expresses the concerns of people, the parents of students of Newtown Elementary School, and that is the concern I am here to address, not whether or not the format is entirely in keeping with hon. Member's wishes. The important aspect here, Mr. Speaker, is the requirement for improved educational facilities. I have listened to the Minister of Education respond to a number of petitions over the past couple of weeks dealing with education, two or three this afternoon, and I say to the Minister that we in Mount Pearl are not experiencing a reduced number of students. We are in fact a growth area, probably in fact the greatest growth area in the Province, and I take this opportunity to say to the Minister and the hon. Member for Waterford - Kenmount who represents part of the City of Mount Pearl, about one quarter of the City of Mount Pearl is represented by my hon. colleague, and he has confirmed as well that we are desperately in need of additional school facilities, particularly the Catholic school. My friend for Mount Scio - Bell Island has children in the Catholic school system and I think will confirm that there is a move afoot now, in fact a meeting was tentatively scheduled for tonight but it has been cancelled now, to deal with the need for additional school facilities in Mount Pearl for the Catholic school system. We are getting very much to the point in the Avalon Consolidated system in Mount Pearl where we are going to need some expansion as well. It is a very, very high growth area with two of the finest schools in the province, I am proud to say, with the highest academic achievement and also probably one of the greatest extra-curricular programs in the Province. We are very, very proud indeed of the facilities we have.

Having said all that, Mr. Speaker, we do have probably the finest schools in the Province but nevertheless the growth will dictate that we do need some expansion there. The plans for the future, the projections for the future, indicate that that growth can be expected for the next fifteen to twenty years in that area. So, Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to present this request on behalf of the parents. I believe the Minister will take it in good spirit. And that these are very legitimate concerns on behalf of these people, for the thousands of people who we are representing in the great historic district of Mount Pearl.

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. Member. He did it right. I am pleased to receive his intervention, and I assure him that I have the same high regard for the schools in his community that he has. They have excellent programmes. It is one of the, I think perhaps two, Mr. Speaker, growing areas of the Province. Conception Bay South, I think, is a growth area, and the hon. Member's area I think is a growth area as well. In all other areas enrollments are declining. And certainly I will convey to the people who make the decisions concerning schools his concerns.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I take pleasure as well this afternoon to rise in this Assembly to support the petition so ably presented by my colleague, the Member for Mount Pearl.

Of course after listening to the Member for Mount Pearl, I guess there is very little left for one to say. He is very much abreast of the educational - not only the educational needs of his district but very much of the educational happenings in his district, and the success story that he has relayed to the Legislature which all of us I am sure are very much familiar. So I want to rise and speak in support of the petition and to support my colleague who has presented it so well.

In essence the prayer of the petition is the same as we have seen from any number of petitions over the last few weeks presented in the Legislature. It is calling upon the Government not to cut back any further with funding for education in the Province. Because even though we are talking about a very progressive school system in Mount Pearl, that if we see further restrictions on funding to the school boards then those school systems that we can sort of hold up for acclaim such as Mount Pearl, if that is very negatively affected because of further cutbacks in education, then it will not be too long before we will not even be able to refer to the Mount Pearl school system and their schools as being such success stories.

And I found it a bit amusing, I must say, when the Members for Burin - Placentia West and Mount Pearl got up to present their petitions. There were Members opposite asking about the dates on their petition.

MR. TOBIN: They already got a copy of it.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, well, no, but the letter was written to the Premier three months ago, and that did not have any affect on the educational funding in the budget, I say to the Minister of Education. Now if there is one person in the Province who you would think letters would have an impact upon it would be the Premier of the Province. But it certainly did not have any impact upon the Premier and the budget decisions, because we have seen such drastic cuts in educational funding for the Province.

Another one who laughed the loudest over there was the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. He laughed loudest about the date on the petitions.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Not true, not true!

MR. MATTHEWS: Oh, let me say, the Member for Eagle River was not even here when the Minister laughed, so I do not know how he can say it is not true.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: My point is, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister has been sitting on a petition from Burgeo since January. Sitting on a petition from Burgeo since January, Mr. Speaker.

MR. GILBERT: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, Big Bird is up.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation on a point of order.

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Speaker, I have not been sitting on a petition from Burgeo since January. I received a petition from 2,600 people from François to LaPoile early in January. In view of the fact that the House was not open I wrote the Minister of Health, passed the petition along and explained their concerns.

MR. TOBIN: Table it in the House.

MR. GILBERT: I advised the town council of Burgeo who had sent me the petition -

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

There is no point of order. The hon. gentleman is just taking advantage of an opportunity to explain a certain circumstance.

The hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. The Minister is trying to waste time again. The point is that not only did he have the petition, he went on the cable channel up in Burgeo and told them everything was alright, they had nothing to worry about. That is what happened to him. And they are up there now ready to lynch him once again, like they were over their fish plant. They are ready to lynch him now over the hospital issue.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. Member to stay to the allegation of this petition.

MR. MATTHEWS: Sorry, Mr. Speaker, the Minister incited me. And he is such a walking target that it is hard not to react. But having said that I want to finish by commending my colleague -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: - for presenting it, and to rise in this Legislature, to go on record as supporting it, and to call upon the Minister of Education that we know what has happened this year in the Budget, it is a fait accompli, that we have seen drastic cutbacks in education, but please do not cut us back any more in future years.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Government House Leader on a point of order.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to refer Your Honour to Standing Orders 90 to 97, page 31 of our Standing Orders. I have a concern, Mr. Speaker, that the Standing Orders are being seriously abused and I feel that I have a duty to point this out to Your Honour.

In terms of petitions, Standing Order 91 says specifically, 'A petition may either be printed or written and if more than three petitioners sign it, at least three signatures must appear on the page containing the prayer of the petition.'

Now, Mr. Speaker, a petition was presented here today and I suspect a number of petitions have been presented in the last number of days: that number one, contain no prayer and number two, do not contain three signatures.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who are you talking about?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I am specifically referring to the one today done by the hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West which simply was a letter to Premier Wells.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shame! Shame!

MR. BAKER: Now, Mr. Speaker, we have been in this House very lenient.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BAKER: Because we believe that if the intent of people is something to be presented to this House then we should live by the intent, and we have been very, very lenient.

However, Mr. Speaker, obviously the intent of this letter had nothing to do with a presentation in this hon. House. It was a letter to the Premier expressing some concern, because at the time we were in the process of examining what would happen with our Budget, expressing concern about reducing staff in the high school, okay, creating large class sizes and similar matters.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the implication by Members opposite was that this was not dealt with. It was absolutely dealt with because in our Budget considerations we neither reduced staff in the schools nor increased class sizes. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, we did the opposite, class sizes will actually reduce. The average class size in the Province will go down as a result of happenings in our society. So, Mr. Speaker, it does not even fit the intent of a petition.

Now, Mr. Speaker, going one step further, Standing Order 95 specifically states 'A petition, the granting of which involves an expenditure of public money, shall if received, be referred to the government department concerned.' And as the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation pointed out that is exactly what he did with the petition that he received because it involved the expenditure of money. And it was referred to the department that was concerned.

Now, Mr. Speaker, my concern is if we continue to allow -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BAKER: If we continue to allow any piece of paper or any copy of any piece of paper into the House as a petition then we are abusing the rules of the House. If this kind of thing is going to be done, Mr. Speaker, every single time a petition is introduced into the House then we are, on this side, going to have to immediately raise a point of order, and immediately see that the petition is checked out, and immediately see that everything is in order. And in other words, Mr. Speaker, we are going to have to insist on the absolute rules in the Standing Orders be applied and we do not want to do that, Mr. Speaker. We want to have flexibility.

But, Mr. Speaker, I think what we have seen here today and what we have been seeing for a few days is this represents an absolute abuse of our Standing Orders of this House.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would submit to Your Honour that all of the petitions presented by Members on this side of the House today have been important statements of concern by our constituents. Each of the Members who has risen to present a petition has done so conscientiously and followed the wishes of his or her constituents. Mr. Speaker, the Standing Order 95 cited by the Government House Leader says, "A petition, the granting of which involves an expenditure of public money, shall if received, be referred to the government department concerned." Well, most of the petitions presented in this House, by Members on both sides, by the Member for Trinity - Bay de Verde the other day as well as several of us on this side today, are calling on the Government to reinstate public funding for hospitals, health care services, the University, schools, educational programs - which are diverse in nature. Once a petition is presented in this House it is my understanding that the House of Assembly staff are to refer it to the Department concerned but there is certainly no prohibition in the Standing Orders to petitions calling for the expenditure of public funds being presented in this House. I want to reiterate that all the Members on this side who presented petitions today, and previously, are doing so at the expressed request of our constituents, the citizens of this Province who are paying taxes and whom we are suppose to be serving.

MR. SPEAKER: I have heard enough on the point of the order but since it is the hon. Member I will take one more submission.

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

I want to speak to the matter raised by the President of Treasury Board and the Government House Leader because he accused me, Mr. Speaker, of basically not representing the wishes of my constituents. What has happened is that I have been contacted, and I will explain the petition, Mr. Speaker. Maybe the prayer of the petition was not what the House deems, I am not sure, I do not know but I thought it was.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: I was asked by my constituents to present that to the House of Assembly. I just want to give some history to the Member. Myself and the delegation from Marystown met with the Minister of Education. At such times there were a certain amount of petitions presented to them and there was a follow-up in petitions that were later circulated and I was asked to do it in the Legislature. I have done that, Mr. Speaker, but probably the prayer of the petition was not what it should have been and probably I should have asked leave to do it. I knew this was about to come because when the Member for Trinity - Bay de Verde stood in this House yesterday and took strips off the Government with a petition I could see the colour in the face of the Government House Leader change and I knew he was going to stifle the presentation of petitions.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Again, I ask the hon. Member when speaking to a point of order to please speak to the point of order. There are rules in the House and I have made some points on petitions some time ago. There are rules in the House and they are made for a reason and once we start digressing we start asking for trouble. I can certainly advise hon. Members of that fact. Every proceeding of the House has different proceedings. Question Period is different from debate and Petitions are different from something else and once we start letting the rules relax we are going to get into trouble. The hon. the Government House Leader makes a valid point. I said last week that hon. Members, when presenting a petition that is not in the true form of the petition, should advise the Table and should advise the Chair. In the past some hon. Members have done that. They came to me to say that they were presenting a petition that is not in the form and this House has not always accepted that. We have been very strict on the form. Over the past little while there has been some flexibility but I do believe that hon. Members still have an obligation to keep the rules, and certainly if a petition is not in the form, advise the Chair beforehand, or the Table, so that hon. Members will know what is being presented. Otherwise I can assure hon. Members we will get into all kinds of problems with presenting petitions and nobody wants to do any injustice to constituents. If a constituent from Labrador, for instance, sends in a petition that is not in true form, I for one would want to see that petition presented. I have seen petitions being collected in St. John's in the last few days and not meeting the requirements and there is no excuse for that. We can meet the


Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Motion 3, Mr. Speaker.

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

Committee of the Whole

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman?

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the first thing I would like to know is if the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation knows what day of the year it is? Does he know what year it is first of all, if he could answer that question I will pass him a supplementary, what month is it and what day is it? I do not know where he is today, at all. It is amazing, amazing some of the comments the hon. Gentleman is making today.

AN HON. MEMBER: We will have to get answers tomorrow by the looks of it.

MR. WINDSOR: His colleagues are embarrassed over there boy.

Mr. Chairman, we were talking to them about jobs. The President of Treasury Board said, oh I am talking 8,000 jobs, talking 3,500 jobs, then he says -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I have been very clear, very clear, since day one, since Budget Day, my first assessment was 3,500 jobs in the public service. Now I have said greater than 3,000 jobs, much more than 3,000 jobs, nearly 4,000 jobs, and whenever I have used an accurate number I would say, 3,500 jobs is what I am predicting is going to be lost in the public service; and I also said that if you use a multiplier effect on that you are looking at well over 8,000 jobs in total in the public and private sector that are going to be lost, and if hon. Gentlemen opposite think that is not a serious fact, then they are only fooling themselves because there are jobs being lost every single day in the private sector because of the downturn of the economy, largely caused by this move of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

AN HON. MEMBER: What about up in Ontario?

MR. WINDSOR: I beg your pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: What about the jobs lost in Ontario (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, there are a few jobs lost in Ontario, no doubt, but that is because of the Government of Ontario, not because of - and they are going to lose a lot more in Ontario, if the present NDP Government in Ontario is allowed to carry on unchecked, I can tell you that; and that is one of the serious problems. The hon. Gentleman is jesting here, but he is identifying a real problem that we have, because as the economy of Ontario goes, so goes the economy of Canada and so goes transfer payments, so what the Government of Ontario was doing, was having a very serious, negative impact on the transfer payments that this Province can expect. So, we may make light of the fact that there are jobs being lost in Ontario, but it impacts directly on the revenues of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and it is a very serious situation.

But there are many, many jobs being lost right here in the Province. Every day I speak with people who are in the position of having to lay people off, and, Mr. Chairman, the impact of that is to make a bad situation worse; here is a Government that is laying people off, laying people off because for one reason, their revenues are down from what they had projected and that is true, that is true. Certain of their revenues are below what had been projected and so their answer to that, Mr. Chairman, is to eliminate $100 million of public service salaries.

$100 million dollars have been taken out of the economy. Now the spending power, the disposable income of public servants in this Province I would suggest to this hon. House, is probably higher than the average Newfoundlander; the average public servant enjoys a reasonable standard of living and has a reasonable measure of disposable income, and it is that disposable income that helps generate the wheels of the economy, and by taking $100 million out of that situation, we are in effect making a bad situation worse. And less money, $100 million less circulating through the economy, there is less business, less business opportunity and less jobs in the private sector, and less jobs in the private sector means less disposable income again, less retail sales tax paid, less personal income tax paid, less corporate tax paid, less payroll tax paid, our infamous payroll tax!

All of these things are negatively impacting because that $100 million is taken out of the economy, so the Government that is trying to resolve their problems here, and we recognize they have a current account problem largely due to their own making, I say in all honesty and all sincerity, very largely due to their mishandling of the economy in the past eighteen months or two years since they have been in office, so now they are paying the price of their actions, but their solution is to cut $100 million from the economy, because there was nothing in this Budget and nothing in the Throne Speech, Mr. Chairman, that deals with generating economic activity in this Province; there are no new programs announced. You know, at a time when the economy is weak, we do not need more unemployed. What we need are more job opportunities. And the only way to get those job opportunities -

MR. EFFORD: Grow cucumbers.

MR. WINDSOR: - is to create economic development. And it may well be cucumbers, I say to my silly friend from Port de Grave. It may well be cucumbers. And if it creates jobs then let's build more cucumber factories, or rubber factories, or lightbulb factories or anything else.

MR. EFFORD: You're not serious!?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: If it creates jobs, if it is a viable economic opportunity, if it is a good investment, let's build them. Let's build them out in Port de Grave, I do not care where we build them.

MR. EFFORD: Not on your life would they ever be put in Port de Grave. Where's the press?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: No wonder we got no money!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. WINDSOR: Let's build them!

MR. EFFORD: "Scuttlebutt" on Sunday!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. WINDSOR: Let's stimulate the economy. Is my time up, Mr. Chairman?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

No, I am just trying to get some order.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Whatever we have to do at this serious time in our history let's do it. When hon. gentlemen stood up yesterday and they talked about - I have some notes hidden away here somewhere - they talked about the Provincial debt. The hon. Member, I believe, from Lewisporte, talked about the build-up of the Provincial debt.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: (Inaudible) pick on him again. As pleasant as it is, as tempting as it is, no, I am not going to pick on him. But I believe it was the hon. Member for Lewisporte or was it somebody else who talked about the Provincial debt over the years, and listed them all down? And he pointed out that from 1982 to 1985 the Provincial debt increased by $1 billion. And this is true. Over a four year period. During the worst recession the nation has seen in a hundred years, we increased the Provincial debt by $1 billion. Only $1 billion, I say, not that $1 billion is not a lot of money. But when you consider that this Government in the last two years has borrowed $1.1 billion, over the last two years - one billion dollars over four years of the worst recession in history -$1.1 billion borrowed in the last two years, the last two Budgets. Over $600 million last year, $574 million is it, this year. Almost $1.2 billion borrowed this year.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well, if we can borrow $1.2 billion, why did we not borrow another 50 to balance our Budget or another 100 so that we did not have to lay off 3,500 public servants? Why did we not borrow another $200 million, so that we could keep 3,500 public servants and have $100 million to create some jobs in this Province?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Not one programme, Mr. Chairman, in this Budget or in the Throne Speech. Lip service to such things as the Economic Recovery Commission that has not created a job other than their own. Not one.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not true.

MR. WINDSOR: Absolutely true. Not one incremental job that would not have been created under the existing structure of Newfoundland and Labrador Development Corporation, or the Department of Rural Development. Not one additional job created by Economic Recovery Commission or Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador. Not a single one.

So, Mr. Chairman, if we really wanted to deal with the financial situation of the Province let us first deal with the unemployment situation in this Province. Let us create jobs in this Province so Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are actively employed, gainfully employed, and contributing to the economy of this Province.

MR. HEWLETT: Clyde said: let there be jobs.

MR. WINDSOR: Let there be jobs so every man's son and daughter can come home.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Just the sons. He does not want the daughters. That is a sexist remark if I ever heard one.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: How could you let that one get by you?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order please! Order please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. GILBERT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is interesting, we have been here now about two weeks debating this Supply Bill and -

AN HON. MEMBER: Can you tell me what day it is?

MR. GILBERT: - as I pointed out - Well, yes I can because I have listened to the Member for two weeks now -

MR. EFFORD: Cucumber day.

MR. GILBERT: - and, you know, lo and behold after two weeks, I heard him a couple of days ago, he got up and he mentioned something in this Supply Bill that referred to money that was going to be asked for, and you know right now we have $993 million and out of it 22 per cent of it applies to my department. But when the hon. Member for Mount Pearl got up sometime back he talked about some fees that this department was collecting and the net result of it as far as he was concerned was that we had lost $34,000. Now today I made a statement in the House which outlined how those fees were going to affect the revenue and why we were bringing them in, and what it basically is, you know, in baby talk, is that -

AN HON. MEMBER: Is the Budget outdated now?

MR. GILBERT: - the Public Utilities Board, the fee that was charged to commercial truckers has been done away with and it is increased in the licence fee, and that is basically what it was. Now the only thing about it is, unlike the tax grab that your colleague was talking about: that we had A $2 million tax grab as a result of this, actually what it was, instead of losing the $34,000 we are recovering $90,000. So you did not have your sums right.

MR. WINDSOR: You are recovering what?

MR. GILBERT: $90,000.

MR. WINDSOR: $90,000?

MR. GILBERT: Yes, instead of losing the $34,000 that you said -

MR. WINDSOR: You are gaining $90,000?


MR. WINDSOR: So the Budget is not accurate?


MR. WINDSOR: But the Budget still says that you are losing $34,000. So do we need an amendment -

MR. GILBERT: From the fees that you have mentioned that is the revenue that we are deriving from it. Your colleague down there said that we were raising $2 million. So anyhow, I will give it to him in the detail that he wants -

MR. WINDSOR: I would be delighted. The Minister of Finance might tell me tomorrow because we might need amendments to the Budget.

That was the question my colleague had.

MR. GILBERT: There were no amendments to the Budget.

MR. WINDSOR: The question is whether or not the amount that you made today is reflected in the Budget (inaudible) -

MR. GILBERT: Certainly it is reflected in the Budget, but not $2 million. What you talked about - he asked the same question that you asked.


MR. GILBERT: Yes he did, exactly the same question. Yours was how much are those fees going to net the Government. You said you were going to lose $34 million. He got up and said that this statement today was going to be a tax grab and we were going to make $2 million out of it. I am saying no, you are wrong.

MR. WINDSOR: I did not say you were going to lose $34,000.

MR. GILBERT: Yes you did.

MR. WINDSOR: No your Budget did.

MR. GILBERT: No, you did.

MR. WINDSOR: Look at your budget document -

MR. GILBERT: So anyhow, that is just to answer that. In all the time I have heard the Member for Mount Pearl talking that is the only time that he referred to the Interim Supply that was in for this department and he talked about the revenue. But I did hear him -

MR. WINDSOR: I refer the Minister to page B-4 of the Budget where it shows $34,000 less (inaudible).

MR. GILBERT: You can talk to me about it again when you get up. I will talk now.

MR. WINDSOR: The Minister should go read the Budget for himself.

MR. GILBERT: Now what he did get up and talk about was a trip to Bay D'Espoir when he was down with his friend who was at one time going to run against me and did not have the guts when they did the poll. So he was down to Bay D'Espoir with him and he went and he visited the Hilltop Tourist Cabins. I will tell him that the gentleman who owns that is a good constituent of mine, one who I have worked with for two years and I have helped him. As a matter of fact I got a letter here from him thanking me for the work I did for him.

Now, you know, it is an interesting thing that for the four and a half years that I was here as a Member of the Opposition I was trying to get the Ministers from over there to come down to Bay D'Espoir and see the potential that was there. I could not get them to come down there. When they set up the House Commission, and the Royal Commission for Employment and Unemployment in 1985 it was going to solve our problems then - and he was the good Dr. House then.

MR. WINDSOR: (Inaudible) but I never saw the Minister down there.

MR. GILBERT: I presented a brief to the House Commission and if the Member would like to have it, it tells a little bit about Bay D'Espoir. As a matter of fact, the good Dr. House, when I presented this, said it was an excellent one and the best one that he had received. So, you know, it is surprising that here I was for four and a half years trying to get Members opposite -

MR. WINDSOR: Can you send me a copy of it?

MR. GILBERT: Yes. Would you like to take that over to the hon. gentleman? It is an excellent report and I recommend it. It tells a lot about Bay d'Espoir.

AN HON. MEMBER: What about recommendations about hydro?

MR. GILBERT: Yes, there are many recommendations about hydro there. Dr. House thought it was a great report. But the interesting thing is, in those days I could not get a minister of the government to go down there. In those days, Mr. Chairman, ministers of the government were going to places like Hong Kong and Australia and Norway, trying to create tourism. You know, it was very easy for them to make all those trips while they had their hand in the public purse. Right now, though, when they have their hand in their own pocket, they go to Bay d'Espoir and they recognize the tourism industry that is down there.

It is nice to see that they are now recognizing the situations we do have in this Province for a tourism industry. And we hear my colleague, the Minister of Development, when he is talking about the new way in tourism, with the adventure tourism, and he ties in the Mr. Kellys and the venture that he has been trying to put together now for the last two years.

MR. WINDSOR: If I am not mistaken, when I was Minister of Tourism I gave funding to your development association down there to do a study on tourism potential.

MR. GILBERT: You never went down there. You might have given it, but you were not down there.

MR. WINDSOR: I was down there (Inaudible).

MR. GILBERT: I will tell the Member for Mount Pearl, if he really would like to get interested in it and really see a tourism opportunity, what he should do his next trip, instead of going to Milltown, is take his colleague who was thinking of running against me one time up to Ramea and stay at the Four Winds. That is a bed-and-breakfast. It used to be the Lake house and the Penney house. That is really a tourism opportunity he should avail himself of.

AN HON. MEMBER: I was there.

MR. GILBERT: No, they would not let you in there. But most people they would. But it is an excellent place, and it is one of the places where we can see that there is great -

MR. EFFORD: Is that right? They won't let him in there?

MR. GILBERT: No, no.

MR. EFFORD: I can understand why.

MR. GILBERT: No, no. They have some quality there. With him there would not be any of that.

In this Province, you can see the potential is there for tourism. Those Members over there were here for seventeen years and they were developing tourism. But the thing about it is they were going to Norway and Hong Kong and Australia to develop tourism. And there was no trouble at all when they had their hand in the public service pocket. There was no trouble at all to go and develop tourism there. Now we find they are here and they are looking around Newfoundland. They are paying for it themselves, so now they go to places like Milltown and they say: what a great place Milltown is. What a great place Ramea is. So that is the sort of thing we are trying to do over here, develop tourism within the Province.

I am sorry my friend for Grand Bank is not here, because he referred to the petition I received from the people of the south coast concerning the dreaded cutbacks the Opposition had talked about that we were going to have in the health care system. The petition came in, but it came in when the House was closed. Now I could have sat on the petition and presented it in two months time, when the House opened, but I thought the concerns of those constituents - some of them were not in my district, they were in adjoining districts, but I felt the right thing to do was to take the petition, forward it to the Minister of Health, send a copy of the letter that I received -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. GILBERT: By leave?



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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I have difficulty with what the hon. Member is saying. Basically he is trying to say that Members from the Opposition should not go down to Milltown. That is what he saying.

MR. GILBERT: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I would say it is time for the Member to go to Milltown. He has not been there since Jean Chretien took him around by the hand in the last Provincial election. That is the last time he was down in his district. He has not been around since he got -

MS. VERGE: That was when he was promising to abolish the school tax.

MR. TOBIN: That was when he went around promising to abolish the school tax. His advertising on the radio was: `when I am elected, the people of Ramea, Milltown and Bay d'Espoir will no longer have to pay school taxes.' Well, what happened to the Minister and his commitments to the people? No wonder he does not go back to Milltown or Ramea or François or any place else down there. Mr. Chairman, I can tell the Minister that I am familiar with that part of the Province as well.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, Mr. Chairman, I have more friends in François than the hon. Minister has, a small isolated community on the southwest coast. I have more friends in François than you have, and I probably get more calls than you do. For the Minister of Transportation to stand up here and get on with that foolishness. He does not even go to his district, like most Members opposite; like some of the Members who are afraid to go home in the coming weeks because of this Provincial Budget. That is what we have here in this Province. I do not what is happening. There is something taking place in this Province that is somewhat frightening. It is scary when you realize that there are Members on the Government side who are scared to go back to their districts because of the Budget.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Quorum call.

MR. TOBIN: When you realize -

MR. R. AYLWARD: Quorum call. No Whip over there. No Whip.

MR. TOBIN: One, two, three. four. five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve. Yes, let's go, boys. Get another quorum, will we? Will we take them on a quorum, Mr. Chairman? I am tempted to. Because the Government does not have a quorum in the House. The Government does not have a quorum. There are not fourteen Members present in the House, and I am tempted to ask my colleagues to walk with me.


MR. TOBIN: Oh, wait a minute now. We can walk out. That is what is happening.


MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, if there is no -

MR. DICKS: A point of order, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. DICKS: There are sufficient Members in the House (inaudible).

MR. HEWLETT: One and a half just came in.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes, there is no point of order, really. There has not been a quorum call, but the Standing Orders state that fourteen Members constitute a quorum.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: That is right, Mr. Chairman, fourteen Members constitute a quorum. And we can call a quorum and every one of us can stand from our seats so there are not fourteen members there, just in case the Minister of Justice does not know. And it is up to the Government. The Government has to have fourteen Members in their benches at all times. If they do not, then we can stand and walk from our chairs.

So the Minister of Justice should learn the rules of the House - who is responsible for having a quorum here - instead of standing up wasting my time in this debate. Which he is trying to do again. The Minister of Justice is trying to defer debate until he gets his group in.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: Let us call a quorum. Let us call a quorum!

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Minister of Justice.

MR. DICKS: (Inaudible) the hon. Member (inaudible) most hon. Members (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Now they have a quorum.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Is the hon. Minister of Justice on a point of order?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Oh! No point of order.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Order, please!

I would like all hon. Members to follow the rules and the procedures in place for the order and operation of the House and the Committee. If an hon. Member wishes to speak he can stand on a point of order only and interrupt another hon. Member. Otherwise, he has to wait, of course, until he is recognized by the Chair.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is time now the Minister of Justice learned the rules of the House. He should learn the rules of the House and never mind standing trying to defer until the Member for Stephenville goes out and brings in his quorum. Because there were twelve Members on the Government side when I said I was tempted to call a quorum. I was tempted to call a quorum, but I thought the time of the House was too valuable.

As a matter of fact, when I talk about the ten Members who were opposite, I am including in that the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island. When I am talking about ten people being opposite I am even including the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island. So, now, were there really twelve when you include him? That is the question which has to be answered.

MR. R. AYLWARD: He's only half there anyway.

MR. TOBIN: He is only half there anyway, Mr. Chairman. I would say the Minister of Justice would be well-served by taking part in the debate rather than trying to interrupt me to buy time for the Whip to bring in his troops. This happened before when the Premier was off. It is no trouble to know when the Premier is not here. All you have to do is look around and you will see during Question Period the Minister of Education strolling back and forth, and other people not listening to petitions.

Well, it is time for the Premier to fire some of his Ministers and give the Members for Bonavista South and Stephenville, among others, a chance. It is time for those people to be given a chance in Cabinet, particularly the Member for Stephenville.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Did I ever make it to Cabinet?

MR. R. AYLWARD: If the Member for Stephenville was in Cabinet they would not have gutted Youth Services, would they?

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, was I ever in Cabinet? I would suspect the Minister of Education probably does not realize who was ever in Cabinet. It is hard for him to realize I was in Cabinet, when he does not know he is in Cabinet himself.

So, Mr. Chairman, what is happening in this Province today is sad. You have the Minister of Education who had a petition presented to him by my constituents several weeks ago, at which I was present, and today he did not realize that these petitions were presented. Did he read the petitions? Did he look at them before? I mean, what is taking place in this Province, when he had a petition two or three weeks ago and when he sees it sometime later, he does not realize what it is?

I am delighted the Minister for Works, Services and Transportation is back. The last year we were in Government, I believe the Provincial Budget for Transportation was somewhere in the area of $40-odd million. This year, it is slashed to less than $25 million. That is the progress we are seeing with this Minister of Transportation.

We have seen delayed by a year the Roads for Rails deal that was brought in by our Administration. We have seen this Government go from one end of the Province to the other making all kinds of promises, then breaking them faster than they were making them, Mr. Chairman. And I have my Liberal propaganda sheet here somewhere that I like to remind hon. Members of. As a matter of fact, I believe I lent it to one of my colleagues. What we have is a Government which has no commitment to rural Newfoundland in particular, nor to all Newfoundland in general. But rural Newfoundland has been stripped from the map as far they are concerned. All you have to do is look at the savage attack they have unleased on the residents of Placentia, the residents of Old Perlican, the residents of Port aux Basques, the residents of Bonavista and the residents of Bell lsland. They have seen nothing but a savage attack.

And, Mr. Chairman, to the credit of some Members, they have stood in their places and condemned Government for it. There are others, like the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island, who lack the courage to stand in the House and support his constituents. We have some others like him, as well. But they will be dealt with at the ballot box, don't ever worry about that. There is no one who can turn their backs on their constituents and expect to come back into this Assembly. The Member for Mount Scio - Bell should learn that is the case. Anyone can get elected once, Mr. Chairman, but when you get elected three and four and five times, as some of us have been, with increased majorities every time, then the message is there that they are the people who have spoken for their districts. Anyone can get elected once. So it is time now for the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island to stand and support his constituents. And he has not done it, Mr. Chairman. They have basically closed the hospital, $380,000-odd and eight or ten jobs, and not a whimper from the Member.

What is going to happen to the vocational school on Bell Island? We all know what is going to happen, and the hon. Member should know too, but not a whimper, Mr. Chairman. They have cut the ferry service. Your colleague, the Minister of Transportation, who got up in this House a few minutes ago and did not know what he was talking about, he has denied the people of Bell Island the Beaumont Hamel. And in addition to that, he has cut the present ferry service by six months. Where is the Member? Did anyone see or hear the Member standing and taking a position?

MR. WALSH: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman.

MR. TOBIN: Now we got him up. Now we got him up.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island.

MR. WALSH: Mr. Chairman, the record will show, both in the media and other areas, that I have spoken out on behalf of my constituents on all three issues the hon. Member is referring to. I have also arranged meetings for delegations on all three subjects with the various Ministers involved. Also, Mr. Chairman, -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. WALSH: - when I receive my petition I will present it the day I get it, not three months later.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

There is no point of order. The hon. Member is just taking the opportunity to give an explanation to the House on some comments made by the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Order, please!

The Chair has not recognized the hon. Member yet.

The hon. Member's time is up.

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

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Chairman, thank you again. When you hear what we have just been subjected to by the Member for Burin - Placentia West, when you hear the attacks he is making on the Members on this side, on the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island who has worked so diligently for his constituents. He has been working day and night as a matter of fact, and losing sleep over the fact that the ice has been in and the ferry has not been working. He has spent time on Bell Island arranging meetings with his constituents and doing an excellent job. I would say to the Member for Burin - Placentia West that if he were to look after his constituents in the same way the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island does he would be a lot better off, instead of doing the stuff he does here in the house, trying to present petitions that have been sent in three months behind, and things that are not actually petitions. He was not elected to look after his constituents in that way, I can tell you.

Now we hear the Member for Grand Bank get up and squirt his bit of poison every once in a while. He reads the paper, he listens to Open Line, and his listens to his Tory friends, the few who are in Burgeo. There are not many - 87 per cent of them voted for me the last time. There are 13 per cent of them there and you can never -you know, there are some kids who just do not like ice cream.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) their hospital.

MR. GILBERT: Now, that is an interesting thing. I am going to talk about their hospital. How did you guess that? That is the interesting thing we are going to talk about right now. For about four years I was going through the process. When the previous Government was there they were going to close the hospital. We fought them, and the people from Burgeo fought them, and finally we won. Immediately after we were elected and took over the Government, in October 1989 I took the Minister of Health down to Burgeo with me. He immediately recognized what I had been saying for the four years and he engaged a study. They went down and had a look at it, and in January 1990 the Minister came to me and said, look, we recognize what you have been saying. This hospital in Burgeo is over sixty years old. It is inadequate. It cannot provide the service that is needed in that part of the coast right now, so we are going to build a new one in Burgeo.

Last year, Mr. Chairman, consultants were hired and I am pleased to report that on Monday and Tuesday of this week the consultants are going to be down in Burgeo picking out the site for the new Health Centre. There is $5.3 million in the Budget this year for the building of the hospital. The contract will be called for the Burgeo hospital within the next few months, as soon as the consultants report back. And, I tell the Member for Grand Bank, he can come down with me and we will turn the sod for the first part of it. I will let him come down and do that. The interesting thing about this whole situation in Burgeo is, when we look at what has happened and look at the layoffs in Burgeo, there has not been a medical layoff. The nurses are still there, the three doctors are still there, there are ten nursing assistants there and five of them have received temporary layoffs. But when I talk to the people at Western Memorial Hospital in Corner Brook they say that none of these people will be laid off, that because of the holidays, etc., that are coming, they will be retained there.

What is going to happen, Mr. Chairman, and the Members over there cannot realize what my colleague, the Minister of Health, was saying, but in the next year and a half we are going to have a much better health service in Newfoundland than we had before we started. Burgeo is an example. We had a hospital there which could not be converted into a chronic care unit. We had to build a new unit, and this is what we are doing.

The people who are being laid off now are the people who were there as cooks, laundry people, cleaners. But the same service that is available at Burgeo right now is going to be available next week when those people are laid off, exactly the same service. The Burgeo hospital has been a referral unit for the past ten years, Mr. Chairman. There has not been an operation performed in the Burgeo hospital since I have been the Member for there. Obstetrics are not practised there anymore unless there is an emergency. And if there was one, yes, they have the facility there now to handle it. If you broke your arm in Burgeo last week you would be taken into the referral centre, have your arm x-rayed and you would then be sent to Corner Brook to have it set. So there is no cutback whatsoever in medical services in Burgeo. The unfortunate thing about it is that nobody likes to see anybody laid off. There are a few people there who are going to be laid off for a short time, until the new hospital is completed. When the new hospital is completed, not only will those people be hired back but, I would submit, by virtue of the fact that there are going to be sixteen chronic care beds there which will be filled, there will be more people hired back in the hospital. Now that is another interesting point I would like to point out to the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. MATTHEWS: How many beds?

MR. GILBERT: There are going to be twenty-two, I believe.

MR. MATTHEWS: Beds in Burgeo?


MR. MATTHEWS: That is fifteen chronic care and seven acute care?

MR. GILBERT: Yes. Fifteen or sixteen, something like that. The interesting thing about this is while all this is going on, and there are going to be a few people who say it is unfortunate that some people were laid off, but we are going to be building this $5 million centre in Burgeo over the next couple of years and that is going to mean there are going to be a lot of people working in Burgeo who are not working right now. So actually the net loss of jobs is going to be minimal in this situation.

MR. HEWLETT: (Inaudible) hammer.

MR. GILBERT: Now when the man talks about the hammer, it is unfortunate for the people in Burgeo who are being laid off that they do not have the same severance package the Member for Green Bay had. I would like to be able to have that for them. That would be an interesting thing to have.

AN HON. MEMBER: That would be ten jobs.

MR. GILBERT: That would be ten jobs. If we only had that sort of severance package for those people who are being laid off. But we do not, Mr. Chairman. They are going to be hired back again. And that is more than I can say for the Member for Green Bay, because he is not going to come back next time. You do not have to worry about that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) severance for lighting cigars.

MR. GILBERT: He is pretty good at lighting cigars. When I heard the Member for Grand Bank get up and talk about my colleagues and my friends in Burgeo, I thought it was only fair that I should get up and tell them exactly what the situation is in Burgeo and how happy the people in Burgeo are with the situation they now find themselves in. They are going to have a new hospital, and their medical care has not been cut back one bit with the changes we being made at this particular time. I am sure my colleague, the Minister of Health, can confirm the fact that the medical people are still there. There are three doctors there, all the nurses are there. It is the same thing. It is a referral centre. I hear the fearmongers talking about what is going to happen when this Burgeo hospital is closed down. The hospital is not closed down. The chronic care unit is there, as it always will be. If there is need for more chronic care, it will be put there. There is no doubt about it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First of all, I would like to thank the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation for -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, I am so envious that the Member is getting this great facility and I am only getting two. I am very envious. Fairness and balance is coming out of their ears. The generosity is overwhelming.

AN HON. MEMBER: (inaudible) personal care.

MR. MATTHEWS: Personal care. Well, there is one of them going down there, too, I think. I will take one of them myself, I think. I will soon need a bit of care. My back is starting to give out on me.

AN HON. MEMBER: You would be in conflict.

MR. MATTHEWS: I do not know if I would be in conflict. Anyway, I want to say to the Minister, thanks for clarifying the Burgeo situation. But from what we saw on the news during this past week or so, coming out of Burgeo, there seemed to be a fair degree of concern. They had a demonstration up there when they were changing shifts at the plant and the people were very, very concerned.

MR. GILBERT: They have not had any since, though, have they?

MR. MATTHEWS: No, they have not had any since.

MR. WINSOR: What do you want, them on every day?

MR. MATTHEWS: I do not want them ranting and roaring every day, and calling for the Member's resignation. That would be unfair.

MR. GILBERT: (Inaudible) fearmongering by his words.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, it is not fearmongering. All I can say to the Minister is that I had a couple of calls from Burgeo -

MR. GILBERT: That is right, there are only two Tories there.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, they were not from Tories. And, I say to the Minister, I had calls when the fish plant was in jeopardy and none of them were from Tories. They told me, we used to be Liberals. But they could not figure out, they said, `how come you know more about what is going on with the Burgeo plant than our Member, Mr. Gilbert, who is in the Cabinet.' That is what they said to me. I said, `I cannot answer that. You will have to ask Mr. Gilbert that. I do not know why he does not know, but I know.' Consequently, all through the bit and piece of the Seafreeze deal they used to call me. They called me quite regularly. And, of course, last week at home, here in town, I get calls again from Burgeo asking me about the hospital situation.

MR. GILBERT: The same two, eh?

MR. MATTHEWS: No very different people. But what I cannot understand, Mr. Chairman, is there are only going to be three beds left in Burgeo now out of twelve or thirteen, and the Member stands up and says everything is going to be the same. He just admitted that there were going to be some temporary layoffs.



MR. GILBERT: Not medical. No medical layoffs.

MR. MATTHEWS: Medical layoffs? People working in the hospital are being laid off. I consider that to be medical layoffs.

MR. HEWLETT: They are only ordinary Newfoundlanders.

MR. MATTHEWS: That does not matter.

MR. HEWLETT: A charperson.

MR. MATTHEWS: It does not matter about those people being laid off. Because the people who can least afford to be laid off are the ones who are getting the axe - the ones who can least afford it. Let me say again to the Member that I can understand why he could not understand that, and why he does not feel for those types of people.

MR. HEWLETT: They are the same crowd who do not read books.

MR. GILBERT: (Inaudible) they will be hired back.

MR. MATTHEWS: But when is that going to be?

AN HON. MEMBER: In a few short months.

MR. MATTHEWS: A few short months. Oh, yes, they are going to build a new hospital in Burgeo in a few short months.

MR. HEWLETT: (Inaudible) that is what they are going to do with them.

MR. MATTHEWS: In the meantime, those people will be laid off and the people of Burgeo will have to travel regularly to Corner Brook.

MR. GILBERT: That is what they are doing right now.

MR. MATTHEWS: That is not what they are doing right now, let me say to the Minister. And as I said a few days ago in this Legislature, what this Government has done is incurring a lot of transportation costs and accommodation costs on people from those regions.

MS. VERGE: What about when the road is closed in the winter?

MR. MATTHEWS: Well, the Burgeo road doesn't be closed any more in the winter. Don't you know that? The Minister promised that. There were two things he promised them up there.

MR. HEWLETT: No snow on the Burgeo road.

MR. MATTHEWS: The Burgeo road, he failed on that. He has failed on that. That is another thing I have had calls from Burgeo about, the Burgeo Road.

MR. HEWLETT: That is reason there are no plows on the TCH.

MR. MATTHEWS: Less plows on the Burgeo road the last two winters, since their Member became Minister responsible for Transportation, than ever before.

MR. GILBERT: The road is not closed.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank God for his (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: The Federal Minister of Environment was very kind to the Provincial Minister of Transportation, he gave us a mild winter.

AN HON. MEMBER: Right on!

MR. MATTHEWS: That is the only reason. Less equipment than ever before on the Burgeo road with their own MHA, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. Now that is what the people of Burgeo are saying about the Member and the Minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: Thirteen per cent.

MR. MATTHEWS: Never mind 13 per cent. There is a lot more than 13 per cent. As I say, only time will tell about those kinds of things. Only time will tell. But with the fish plant fallout, and with the hospital fallout -

MR. GILBERT: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: No, never mind hope. I know - with the hydro station fallout - he promised in the last election that he was going to keep it up in Bay d'Espoir, then a few short months after, away it goes to St. John's.

MS. VERGE: Then there was the school tax promise.

MR. MATTHEWS: The school tax promise. The VOCM station in Marystown, he was on every two minutes.

MR. GILBERT: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Who is Oxford? What is he talking about, Oxford?

MS. VERGE: He does not like to be reminded.

MR. MATTHEWS: Did he go to Oxford? Is that what he is saying, he went to Oxford? What is he talking about?

MS. VERGE: I do not think he went to Oxford.

MR. MATTHEWS: I do not know anything about Oxford.

AN HON. MEMBER: I am telling you right now (inaudible) more than you got.


MR. MATTHEWS: What is the oh, oh, oh, Saw Sharpener saying back there now?

MR. MURPHY: He said anybody who (inaudible) hospital would not have anything to do with you fellows.

MR. MATTHEWS: Well I can understand that. We would probably make too much sense for them. Because you have a few over in your benches who came out of the Newfoundland Oxford and have not made too much sense since they went into your benches - two of them.

MS. VERGE: From the Ivory Tower.

MR. MATTHEWS: From the Ivory Tower; locked in the closet for twenty-plus years, came out, and what have they done? Since they let them out of the closets at the university, what have they done?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Oh yes, they will certainly be remembered. But not as great Ministers. No way! Now I was saying to the Member for Burgeo that there is so much -

MR. GILBERT: Burgeo - Bay d' Espoir.

MR. MATTHEWS: Burgeo -Bay d'Espoir, yes. The only strong point you had in the district was Burgeo, and now that support is diluting very quickly, it is rubbing off. I would suggest to the Member that he is in deep political trouble. Because if he loses the Liberal grip on Burgeo, which is happening, he has had the cookies. He does not spend much time up around there now, but he will spend a lot less, I would suggest to him. Mr. Chairman, is it is great if Burgeo does get a new hospital for chronic care - it is great - but what happens in the interim? That is the question. What happens in the interim? You cannot close down, for all intents and purposes, the Burgeo Hospital as it now exists and offer the same services to the people without - you are going to provide great inconvenience to them, force it on them. Travel, accommodations in Corner Brook, those are additional costs to this Member's constituents and to all our constituents, and that is a very serious concern. It is going to be two or three years before you have a new facility in Burgeo.

He said the consultants are going down next week. It is going to be a long time between the visit of the consultants - the consultants are going down next week to try and console the people. Oh, the consultants showed up. Oh, boy, we are going to get the new facility. The consultants came down.

MR. GILBERT: So you are saying they are naive enought to think that, are you?

MR. MATTHEWS: No, but that is what you think. You think they are, and that is the problem. You think they are and you have passed the message on to the people of Burgeo and said: you will see. Next week the consultants will be down. The consultants will be down. How much money are you going to spend in Burgeo in this fiscal year? I ask the Minister.

MR. GILBERT: About a million and a half bucks.

MR. MATTHEWS: How much?

MR. HEWLETT: $1.5 million.

MR. MATTHEWS: $1.5 million this year, a $5 million facility, how many years is that going to take?


MR. MATTHEWS: Under the Members' mathematics it would take two. Under mine it would take at least three.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: At least three, and that is if the project comes in under cost.

MR. MURPHY: About two years into the second term.

MR. MATTHEWS: Two years into the second term. Now in the meantime, the more important question of all this is what happens to the people of Burgeo who need health care services in the interim? It is not much good for the poor person who becomes ill next week to say the consultants are here; I am feeling all right now the consultants are here. And it will not be much good next year for him to say I am feeling a lot better now they have the foundation poured up over there for the new place; I am feeling great now, thanks to Mr. Decker and thanks to Mr. Gilbert.

AN HON. MEMBER: How are you doing (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: How am I doing? What do you mean, how am I doing?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) the consultants.

MR. MATTHEWS: Well, the consultants have been down to Grand Bank I would suggest a number of times. They have been down so many times I am sick and tired of them coming down.

AN HON. MEMBER: The equipment will be down soonow.

MR. MATTHEWS: The equipment will be down soon. That is another story, too, Grand Bank and St. Lawrence. That is another story. The Government would like us to believe that in a couple of months that is going to be done, as well. But that is another story.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for Fortune - Hermitage.

MR. LANGDON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

MR. HEWLETT: Friends, Romans, Country men!

MR. LANGDON: Et tu Brute?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANGDON: For some time in the House, probably for the last couple of weeks, we have been talking about representations and how you represent your district, and whether the district is represented or not. There are a number of ways you can do it. You can do it here in debate in the House, you can do it through phone calls, you can do it through letters, and you can do it through personal contact. I think yesterday - I am not sure, but Hansard might reveal - the Member for Burin - Placentia West said that since Christmas they have not seen me in the district. I want to assure him -

AN HON. MEMBER: Did he say that?

MR. LANGDON: I am not sure. - that since Christmas I have not spent one weekend other than in the district, and there are twenty communities -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. LANGDON: That is right. By the way, I want to tell the Member for Humber East that I do represent both genders. I represent all my people. Also, I have had to turn down requests because I could not be in two places at one time.

Talking about representation, as I said, I learned this week through very reliable sources that one of the roads in my district had been allocated funds from the Road for Rails Agreement, and had been told specifically by Ottawa that the money had to be used for that particular road, much needed, and when it came here to the Province, the provincial Cabinet changed it and the point was made something to the effect, Roger Simmons represents that district and no way is the money going to go there.


MR. LANGDON: And that particular money was used on another road in another district of this Province.


MR. LANGDON: Mr. Speaker, all the roads in my district, apart from the Harbour Breton Highway and going down into St. Bernard's, have gravel roads. In fact, I have had numerous phone calls from the people about road conditions in the spring, and obviously these particular roads need to be upgraded. I want to thank the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation for the last two years, giving me about 13 kilometres of upgraded road on the Grand Le Pierre - English Harbour road. And I am hoping that this year we will get enough money to complete it, to go into English Harbour. I am hoping to do that. However, I am hoping that within the next year or so, when the $235 million for the new roads agreement is completed, we will find additional money to finish the other gravel roads which need to be done, in particular the one from the Harbour Breton access to Hermitage; you have two fish plants in the area, you have tractor trailers travelling on it every day loaded with fish and the road is atrocious. It is a main trunk road and it should have been done. And that was the road indicated in what I said earlier, it was supposed to have been done but the money was taken and put elsewhere. That is not right. It is a shame to have done that. That is terrible.

I am also talking about communities which are in my district. I go to the western community of Seal Cove, Fortune Bay - no water and sewer. I go to Hermitage - about half done. Gaultois - nothing touched. Harbour Breton still has to be finished. Then you go down around St. Jacques and Coombs Cove, there are nine communities with nothing, English Harbour East, Little Bay, Bay L'Argent, Jacques Fontaine practically with none.

AN HON. MEMBER: They never asked for any.

MR. LANGDON: Yes, they did ask. And over the last two years let me give you some indication of how I have been able to represent these people. Harbour Breton, $800,000; Bay L'Argent, $400,000; Hermitage, $800,000; Belleoram, $250,000. This is some of the money that came into the District in the last two years and it has only been a drop in the bucket of what is needed.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANGDON: Let me talk about fire protection. In the last two years I have been able to get a fire truck for Seal Cove in Fortune Bay.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANGDON: A fire truck for English Harbour East. A fire package for Grand Le Pierre, a fire package for Jacques Fontaine just in two years. And to suggest that there is no representation in the area -


MR. LANGDON: I want to assure the hon. Member that there is representation there.


MR. LANGDON: Now, Mr. Chairman, we are talking about the Harbour Breton area in particular and that side of the Bay. We talk about the community of Gaultois. The community of Gaultois today is really concerned, and yesterday in talking with the Minister of Fisheries and his officials, we found that there was 50,000 metric tons of fish available in the Gulf area and 40,000 of them is presently allocated. That means that there are 17,000 metric tons out there to be allocated. We are looking for 3,500 for Gaultois. And there is no way. The Minister will not adhere to the wishes of the people of Gaultois. They went home yesterday frustrated. No commitment. He could easily have done that for these people.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. LANGDON: He probably is.

When you think about the inshore fishermen in the area and Hermitage, the plant there is doing really well, and Harbour Breton the same thing. So, Mr. Chairman, the area has been well represented and it will continue to be well represented and I will speak on behalf of these people in that District.

In education: talk about the great number of layoffs. In our District which is, because of the small number of schools, the sparse population - up to now the School Tax Authority under our jurisdiction has not been able to give the number of dollars necessary, to give it equal funding of that of Exploits Valley or to St. John's or to some of the larger areas. However, I am hopeful that by the end of the year, some time early in the following year that there will be a process in place that will ensure the people from the small rural areas that they do indeed have the same chance as the people do in the urban areas for a good quality education.

AN HON. MEMBER: They will be resettled to the urban areas.


MR. LANGDON: I want to suggest to the Member for Fogo that there will be no areas in my community resettled. These communities are vibrant.

MR. WINSOR: You better tell Clyde that.

MR. LANGDON: I speak for my own District. I know it well. Now there are problems. Sure there are problems. But they are not problems that we cannot overcome and work together to achieve success.

I tell you what happened last year in the Hermitage, Harbour Breton area. They had a good summer fishery and do you know why? The summer before that there was lots of hake and pollock in the area and they were paid six cents a pound in order to go and catch it. And the boys said: we are not going to bother with that. They had a meeting with the Premier and he said I will guarantee at least eighteen cents a pound to you people next year to go and catch it. That was last summer, and they did. And they made one of the best summers on record.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who did they sell it to?

MR. LANGDON: You know the thing about it is that this winter fishery now has not been great, but it has been good. And the people up there -

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. Member's time is up.


SOME HON. MEMBERS: No, by leave!

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the member for Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to have a few words pertaining to the - I do not want to get off the health and education part of it, not because of the importance of it, that is for certain, but seeing the Member for Fortune - Hermitage up it reminds me, and looking at some other Members across the House today, it reminds me of the municipalities in the Province and where they stand. They seem to have been forgotten over the last couple of weeks, and my information over just the last few days is that a lot of their concerns have come to light again. I go back, Mr. Chairman, to the announcement on amalgamation, the great grandiose scheme, I think, of 140 odd municipalities that are going to be all amalgamated and brought down to forty or fifty municipalities in the Province. Now, I do not have to remind anybody in the House of what happened after that. What should have came first then had to be done, like feasibility studies, consultants reports and talking to the municipalities, that came after. In some cases there have been amalgamations throughout the Province, and in some cases, I must admit, where the people were approached and feasibility studies were done I would say it would probably work. I was one of the first ones to say it probably would, provided it was approached in the proper manner, but there were a lot of other places that were not. Now, in that process, Mr. Chairman, there was a lot of uncertainty in the municipalities in this Province and there is more today because of the next step. I would just like to talk about the inconsistencies. First amalgamation and X number of communities brought down into a smaller amount which are going to be a great thing for the Province and a great thing for the municipalities, and fiscally responsible. Then we came with the new grant system. Members opposite who had served on councils for years, including the Member for Fortune - Hermitage who just finished speaking, representing municipalities, mostly rural municipalities in the Province as well, should have, and if they did not then should today, stand up and tell the Cabinet Ministers involved, including the Minister of Municipal Affairs, and he knows deep down, he knows today, that the municipalities in this Province today are not going to survive. There is no way for them to survive. I have case after case, after case. In my district I have calls after calls, after calls, from outside the district and there is no way for them to survive, and I will tell you why. The new grant system, and I do not have to tell Members opposite because they know all about it, is supposed to help and be fair to smaller municipalities in the Province. If one person on the other side can stand up and tell me where the fairness and balance is to smaller municipalities in this Province I would like for them to do so, and at the same time come with me and I am prepared to debate it with the so-called Federation of Municipalities, because as far as I am concerned they did not stand up for the municipalities in this Province when they came out in favour of what the Minister said. And, I would not be one bit shy about saying it. I know where I am coming from when I am talking about municipalities in this Province and Members opposite who I see there now know as well. For example, to get away with the three components, the per capita component, the social assistance component, and really the road component because that is cut this year, again next, and again the third year, and that is only if there are any monies there will there be any allocated to small municipalities. Can you imagine what is going to happen with the unemployment rate? I will give you one example. With the unemployment rate in this Province today, into a recession, and there are just no jobs in the municipalities. There is nothing for them to work at. Where do they go when their unemployment runs out? They go to social services. If there is no social service component how is the municipality going to collect the money? They cannot collect it. They cannot take blood from a turnip because there is none there to get. I have a municipality today, I just got off the phone before I came into this House, where they are paying 7.5 mils in property tax, a $200 poll tax, and where is the infrastructure? They do not have any infrastructure, absolutely nothing. How in the hell can people pay that amount of tax? It is alright for the Minister to say, and his Cabinet colleagues to say, that the average mil rate in rural Newfoundland is 9 mils. It is easy to say it, but am I the only one who can say that in rural Newfoundland? You can go to Stephenville, you can go to Corner Brook where they pay one of the highest mil rates in the Province, and when you look at the surrounding areas in the Bay of Islands down where the Premier represents, and down in the district of the hon. Member for St. Barbe, he has them down there, too, we are all aware and it hurts. They could not pay the taxes at the best of times, when we had poll tax down at $50 and $75 and $100 they just could not pay it, and how in the name of God are they going to pay it today? The new grant system in municipalities today, based on the number of households: how can the community of Jackson's Arm, how can they, if they have an average household worth $25,000 - can the Minister - maybe he will stand after and tell me how an average house in Jackson's Arm that is worth $25,000 - and what they did was they took an average from all around the Province excluding the cities and came up with a provincial average of $48,000. Now, how can a house in Jackson's Arm that is worth $25,000 - they pay them a difference between that $25,000 and the $48,000, that is what there difference is, it is a ratio and an amount they are paying. How can you bring it up? They cannot do it. There is no way to bring it up. In a city like St. John's, the city of Mount Pearl and other areas around the province you can probably get the value that will put up your mil rate on property tax and it is automatic, everybody pays extra. But in a small municipality when you put up the mil rate, because the value of the house is so low, you have just the top bracket of people paying taxes again. You hit the top, and there is a certain portion of people in the municipality who just do not pay and are not going to. How can they, because as far as I am concerned there is no equity in the system. I can name 22 or 23 municipalities right off that over the next three years, especially in the second year, that I would predict that at least 10 or 12 of them are going to be bankrupt, and that is not being an alarmist, that is not fearmongering. When you have the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs sending back budgets for the fifth time - I have a community where it has been sent back to them for the fifth time and it is still not right.

Mr. Chairman, I think there is something radically wrong when you have municipalities in this Province that kick up a racket and all of a sudden there is some monies found for them, all of sudden somewhere along the system their tax incentive ran for last year, there was something wrong with it and we came up with $93,000 for the community of Conception Bay South, then I think there is something radically wrong. And the smaller municipalities that have not got the means: they have no town managers, they have no clerks, they are all volunteers who are in trying to do a job and run the municipalities really on behalf of Government and for Government. But, Mr. Chairman, I can tell you this evening that there is coming a day, and it is not too far down the road, that the Government of this Province is going to have to appoint people like you do in local service districts to run the municipalities in this Province, because they are not taking the responsibility. They just cannot take it any longer.

Now, under the other three components that were there, the per capita component and the social assistance component and the road component that were there, a lot of municipalities were making ends meet, but today they cannot do it, they just cannot do it. How anybody can stand and expect a small municipality in this Province that has no infrastructure to pay the same rates as they are doing in the city of Corner Brook -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order please! Order please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Tell me I am wrong now.

MR. GULLAGE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I welcome the opportunity to make some points on questions raised by the hon. Member. Talking about the new grants program in particular, the fact that we introduced a program, of course, is an accomplishment in itself, it is badly needed. There are communities crying out for changes in the inequality, the unfairness of the grants program that had not been changed in - I do not think had been changed really in about ten years now in any substantive way. And finally we have a Government with the courage to make changes, and to make good changes. I can tell you, Mr. Chairman, that we probably have the best grants program in Canada.

MR. WINSOR: Why isn't anyone saying it besides you? Why aren't municipalities saying it?

MR. GULLAGE: Municipalities are saying it. You are listening to the minority, not the majority.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is right.

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Chairman, to say that any change is going to be easy, of course, would be ludicrous because any time you take a grants program that is such a major factor in the financing of municipalities, and change it dramatically as we did, causing a shift in dollars from the urban areas, I find it amusing to hear the Member talk about the rural communities being affected. They are being affected in a very positive way. The shift in dollars in the grants program is clearly away from the urban areas that have good tax basis, to the rural areas. That is clear. I think where the Member is a little confused is that if you combined the grants program with the debt assistance program you sometimes see a negative impact because we have rural communities that for years and years and decades have been paying almost nothing, and nothing in many cases, on their water and sewer and roads debt whereas they may have had a positive impact in the shift in dollars on the grants program, the impact of asking them to pay something on their debt may have changed that figure and of course that is entirely fair because we have communities throughout the Island, side by side, one community complaining about its neighbour accessing water and sewer work, year after year for nothing, because they had reached 20 per cent of their fixed revenues in debt and that was clearly unfair and had to be changed. Now, Mr. Chairman, we only asked the communities to pay a very small portion of the existing debt, a very small portion to help somewhat with the incredible burden that the Province has right now in the Financing Corporation to address the water and sewer and roads debt that are on the books. The figure is $411 million.

$411 million dollars currently exist on the books of the Municipal Financing Corporation, so Mr. Chairman, I was faced with a problem as a Minister to leave that alone and not address it and continue to come to Government looking for water and sewer and roads money, as I did the last couple of years, record amounts of dollars as you all know; last year, $63 million counting the Labrador Agreements, the highest by far; I think almost doubled as a matter of fact the year prior to our taking Government and, Mr. Chairman, to carry on with a capital works program into the future including this year, would have been almost impractical without addressing the debt that is on the books. So, we had to make a decision, and I had to make one as the Minister and I did; a decision that we would ask the municipalities - I would ask Government to accept a policy of asking the municipalities to pay - to change first of all the formula, where 20 per cent of fixed revenues was all you were expected to pay against the debt that was incurred, and we changed that formula and we are asking, basically asking for very little.

I think it is fair to say the net gain of dollars coming from the municipalities on water and sewer this year is $1.8 million, $1.8 million dollars that were not paid previously by the municipalities, but were paid by the Province. Now as you can appreciate, 1.8 million is not a lot of money, when you have $411 million on the books, but at least, it is showing the Government that municipalities that were previously paying little or nothing towards the amount of water and sewer we are putting in the ground, were willing to be a little more fiscally responsible and they have accepted that in the main.

We have some exceptions, but where they were not expected to pay anything before, and we are saying we want you to pay a little now, in many cases sure, they said: look we got away with nothing before and now you are asking us to pay something, we do not like that. Well, I did not really expect them to like it to be quite frank, but the vast majority have accepted the fact that we have brought in, first of all, a very fair grants program, with equalization as the first component. Equalization whereby we recognize that a lot of our communities do not have a business base, they do not have an industrial base; maybe all they have going for them is a small residential base, maybe a couple of corner stores and that is about it. So we recognized we had to shift some dollars away from the communities like St. John's and Mount Pearl and Grand Falls and Lab City and so on, shift some of those dollars over to the smaller rural communities that only had a very narrow residential tax base going for them and no hope, by the way.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GULLAGE: They had no hope of gaining any more tax base. So that was the first component, the equalization component. And by the way, we worked with a consulting firm on this, our finance people, for over a year. This was not something that we just did on a weekend, or in a couple of weeks. We took a lot of time. We worked with municipalities. The consultants went out and sat down with municipalities, with councils and with town clerks. They worked with the Federation of Municipalities. And at the end of the day I think we came up with - as a matter of fact, I have been told by other Ministers in other provinces, we have the best grants programme in Canada. Bar none. The best.

And we are not saying it is perfect. But we are saying that we have made a marvellous start and we have changed a programme that was in place that was grossly unfair. Totally unfair. And we now have in place an excellent programme.

The Member spoke about jobs, and I do not know if he was referring to jobs that are created by capital works or whatever, but let me say this. We have had a study done just recently on capital works, looking at water and sewer and roads and whatever, and the result is that the impact - maybe we knew it before, but we wanted to confirm it - of water and sewer and roads work in this Province is dramatic. A multiplier effect of something like four. For every dollar you spend on water and sewer the multiplier effect is something like four, three and a half to four, I think, to be exact. And that means an awful lot throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

The employment it creates, the materials that are purchased, the activity generated generally throughout the Province is terrific. And I do not think anybody will deny that. So, as a result of making a lot of the changes, encouraging communities to be a little more fiscally responsible, we have now put them in a position - and they are not arguing with me - most of them are saying, and there are exceptions: we recognized for years we had to be more responsible. Nobody ever told us before that you could not continue on with mil rates of two and three on assessments as you mentioned, very low. Which just proves the point, if you have a low assessment you need double the mil rate just to be equal, compared to the urban areas. And that is just common sense.

But nobody ever said to them before: $100 or $200 a year in taxes is not going to buy you very much in services. Sure, you may be able to collect your garbage, do a little maintenance on your water system, whatever, and run your town generally speaking, just regular basic services. But you will never be able to afford any municipal infrastructure on $100, $200, $300 a year, unless the Province was willing to pay for all of it, as it was in the past.

But, Mr. Chairman, as I have said, you know, it reached the point where it just became totally impracticable to expect that the Province, looking at a $2.5 billion problem yet unresolved in water and sewer, $2.5 billion -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. GULLAGE: What is that, $2,500 million? A dramatic problem to solve, but I think we have started on the way towards solving it, Mr. Chairman.

AN HON. MEMBER: You're doing an excellent job.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The first thing the Minister said in his rebuttal to what I was saying, the first word he mentioned was courage. Nobody had the courage to do it, but they did have compassion. But they did have compassion, I say to the Minister. When you wield power there is no trouble to have courage because that comes with it, I suppose. If you have courage, especially when you go in and you are dealing with the bigger municipalities in the Province you are not, you know it is not all that hard. When you are talking about people who are paying ll, 12 and 13 per cent like Corner Brook and St. John's, I admit they pay their fair share of taxes, I am not saying that, but what I am saying, and I said it before and I will say it again, and municipalities are saying it, I do not know but I cannot understand why I stand here, am I the only one, I cannot be the only Member in this House getting complaints from municipalities about budgets. Am I the only one?


MR. WOODFORD: Probably. Well, that is going to be interesting, because I can assure you, I know of other Members who have got complaints, on both sides of the House. When we discussed the Regional Services Board Bill last year Members opposite spoke about it, they expressed their concerns, legitimate concerns as far as I am aware, and I say today they are still getting complaints. Now, if the Minister and his Department have to go to municipalities - and maybe the Minister can answer this as well, if municipalities were to get the road component, the road component is still in and it is done on a degrading scale, it comes down on a scale of, I think it is 1954 this year per kilometre, if I am not mistaken, or 1947, something like that. Now, there is an allocation of funding in there, I think, something like $32 million. I could be out a little bit one way or the other, but the understanding the municipalities have is that once the allocation for the road component is gone, once it reaches that $30 or $32 million, that is it. Now, is it first come, first served, or what is it? Next year it is only natural, because of the funding, that it is going to be down and the third year it is going to be down again. Now, how can municipalities budget? How can municipalities go in? For instance I know of one municipality that has 29 kilometres of road in one small municipality in my area. Now how can they keep it up? There is no infrastructure because it is such a small community. How can they keep it up? They are doing it now under the road component, I must say. They were doing it under the social assistance component, and they were doing it under the per capita component, but they cannot do it under this one. There is just no way to do it. With regards to municipalities not paying their fair share: they were paying 20 per cent on capital debt which is what they were supposed to pay and which was fair. They were doing it, but for someone to come in, after a municipality incurring millions of dollars of debt, up-front, asked for it, got it, received it, and paid their 20 per cent, how can you come in two months after they signed the agreement? I do not know. I would say if some municipalities in this Province challenged it I do not know but they would probably win a court case on it. How can you come in after you signed an agreement and say: you do not pay 20 per cent any longer, you are going to pay a lot more. You move the rate up and your percentage on capital debt from now on is going to be done according to this formula.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is easy to do.

MR. WOODFORD: Now I would say -

AN HON. MEMBER: Break your agreement.

MR. WOODFORD: - break your agreement. But then again that is consistent. Meech Lake was torn up. The union agreements were torn up. Now the agreements with municipalities are torn up. So it is consistent.

AN HON. MEMBER: Tear up your shirt.

MR. WOODFORD: But I can tell you, Mr. Chairman, that the municipalities are concerned. And I will tell you this much, there is going to be further concern because the Minister mentioned about one of the new grants, one of the first ones is the household grant, $85 per household. Sure in the rural areas of this Province, I know I have one municipality in my area, give them another two years on the slippery slope with regards to unemployment and there is going to be nobody left in the community. No one. They are gone to the Fort McMurrays of the world and the Calgarys looking for work. So I mean they have no choice but get out. If they cannot pay, get out.

MR. WINSOR: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: I got them there, every day of the week they are just leaving, and the municipality is getting hit harder and harder all the time.

Now another thing that is not mentioned, it did not come out in the grant system, hidden again like some of the taxes pertaining to licences and vehicles here today, is that the Department of Municipal Affairs have a rating sheet, there is a so-called rating sheet out for approval for capital projects. Now what is in that rating sheet? You have to reach seventy points in that rating sheet, and every municipality in the Province has to reach seventy points or he is not even eligible.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, that depends on the amount of money (inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: That is right. Oh, yes. I am getting to that. He is not even eligible until he reaches seventy points to get on the priority list. That is when there was $50 million or $60 million there, he had a poor chance of getting on it, now I say he is not going to get on it. Because in under the finance part of your rating sheet you have the amount of taxes you pay in the municipality and that is what kills a lot of municipalities. I mean they can put it up to five mils, they can put it up to nine mils, they can put it up to ten, put it up to what they like, but if they cannot collect it, there is no good in putting it up.

The rating sheets are there. I have copies of the rating sheets. I know they are out there and I am pretty well certain - the Minister can correct me if I am wrong - that this year, under this capital works project, the municipalities in this Province will have to abide by the rating sheets and meet the criteria in those rating sheets. If not, they will not get access to funding under municipal capital grants. Now, I would love to hear they do not, but it is there.

To address the funding part of it, the amount of capital funding is not out yet. But to continue on with what I am talking about with regards to the rating sheets, the capital funding this year, to my understanding, is going to be way down. I would say it is probably going to be 50 per cent of what it was last year. The Minister touched on a very important point, and I agree with him. If it is cut out altogether, I would say you are going to lose 4,000 to 6,000 jobs this year, jobs that would have been gotten because of the capital works programme. There will be 4,000 to 6,000 jobs lost.

Now if he cuts it 50 per cent there is no trouble to do the mathematics, and that will be half those jobs. And, I would say to the Minister, if there is anything they can do, and it is money well spent, that is a budget that should not be cut. But then again, if it is cut, even if it is left at the $50 million or $60 million it was last year, I say that not 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the municipalities that would probably get money under the new system will be able to take it - they cannot take it.

You can walk up to them with $1 million this evening and I would say that the municipalities cannot take it. And do you know why, Mr. Chairman? They cannot afford it. They have to meet the criteria on the rating sheets. And if they do not meet the criteria on the rating sheets, they do not get anything anyway. And if they do meet it, the Government will not guarantee any funds for municipalities today like they did in the past. And it is my understanding now - I had some calls from municipalities - the Department of Municipal Affairs will not give them permission to borrow any more. So if that is the case, I am wondering what is going to happen when the NSF cheques start coming back. I am wondering if the municipalities with five, seven and (inaudible) -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Chairman, the hon. Member is talking about the criteria that is going to be in place for the new capital works program - this years capital works. In fact, it will be changed from the previous rating sheets as were in existence. The reasoning for that is because when we worked with the consultants on the new grants program, the first component we decided to put in place was the equalization component. In our research and discussions with the municipalities, we discovered a great unfairness, and I talked about this earlier, in the sense that we have communities with great fiscal capacity, with all tax sources available to them, more opportunities to have good revenue to meet their expenses, and others on the other extreme which really had very little going for them, a lot of them very remote, distant from one another, and we had to address that unfairness.

So we decided the first component in the grants program would be an equalization component and address the fiscal capacity of the communities and try to equalize, first of all, before the other components kicked, communities as best we could. As long as you only have a given amount of dollars, obviously that would cause a shift in dollars from the more affluent communities, with good tax bases and good revenue, and good capacity to raise revenue. It would obviously cause a shift in dollars away from those communities to those that were without the fiscal capacity. It was not really discovered, because we knew there was an unfairness in the previous grants program and system anyway. Having identified it, though, very firmly by way of research, we decided that in the future with capital works we had to make sure that fiscal capacity was addressed as well in the application for capital works and the subsequent priority rankings and ratings, if you like, one community verses another.

So if you have $50 million, for example, in a program the request might be like last year, $160 million. We could only approve, I think it was 53 on the island portion, and some 13 in Labrador. But obviously if you have if you have $160 million of requests and you can only approve $50 million, it has to be done on some priority basis. So this year, Mr. Chairman, added to the previous criteria, it will be a little bit more sophisticated in that there will be more detail in this election procedure.

We have added the component of fiscal capacity. Now that will mean that in some cases, and I will use St. John's as an example, a very affluent community if you like, verses the rest of the island, they probably will not score too many points on the lack of fiscal capacity; they will score very high on fiscal capacity and that will not help them much in terms of getting assistance from the Province. But we have communities on the other extreme which have very low fiscal capacity and will rank very high. Now if you have a community that has a health problem, an environment problem and low fiscal capacity, an inability to raise sufficient revenues, and that could be for lots of reasons, not just lack of a tax base, it could be because they are paying the most they can afford on their existing debt, their existing debt that is in the Financing Corporation right now, the assessment we will do will identify health, environment, and fiscal capacity. I would suggest that fiscal capacity is going to become one of the more important components as time goes on.

We may, in some cases, say to a given community you have a health problem, an environment problem with your water and sewer needs, you also do not have any ability to raise taxes because you have a low fiscal capacity, and perhaps, as well, you have gone as far as you can with paying dollars on your existing debt, you know you cannot pay any more dollars on that debt because you have reached the point where you are taxing your people to the limit and so on. They would score very high, and perhaps the Province would pay all their capital works for them, or 90 per cent or 80 per cent, because of the condition they are in. I think that is fair. So I think we have made a good change, Mr. Chairman, and you will see that the capital works program this year will be decided with fairness and balance, if you like.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GULLAGE: And fiscal capacity will be important. I think fiscal capacity was a component that needed to be added to the selection process. It is a criteria to the rankings, if you like, and I think that will clearly see communities with low fiscal capacity being approved for capital works in a fair way, much fairer than in the past. I think that was a very worthwhile addition.

Mr. Chairman, I could go on for hours, I guess, if you wanted me to.

AN HON. MEMBER: Move the rising of the Committee.

MR. GULLAGE: At this time I would like to move that the Committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again.

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

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

MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Speaker, the Committee on Supply have considered the matters to them referred and have directed me to report some progress and ask leave to sit again.

On motion, report received and adopted, Committee ordered to sit again on tomorrow.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House adjourn.

MR. SPEAKER: It has been moved and seconded that this House do now adjourn. All those in favour of the motion, Aye?


MR. SPEAKER: Those against, Nay?


MR. SPEAKER: I declare the motion defeated, and I ask hon. Members to join me here at 7:00 p.m.


March 26, 1991 (Night)       HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS     Vol. XLI  No. 16A

The House resumed sitting 7:00 p.m.

MR. BAKER: Motion 3, Mr. Speaker.

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

Committee of the Whole

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

The last time I was acting Opposition House Leader you may recall we sat in the old Chamber on a Friday afternoon, which probably was unprecedented and some people are wondering what I am going to do this time. Well, tonight is my only chance because my friend the Member for Grand Falls will be back with us tomorrow. I hope you brought your sleeping bags because we could be here beyond ten o'clock.

I am on my feet now to address the Interim Supply Bill for $1 billion, which represents a significant portion of the Budget the Well's Administration has put before us for the new fiscal year. It is a budget with which I and my colleagues on this side of the House take strenuous exception because of its harsh and regressive measures. We have estimated that the Budget is going to necessitate the elimination of about 3,500 public service jobs. My colleague for Mount Pearl, our finance critic, can itemize job losses making up that 3,500 total. We heard on the news this evening the Minister of Development saying that now the Government is going to turn its sights on crown corporations.

Well, are we to believe that the Government targeted first health care, hospitals, nursing homes and schools and only now is getting around to looking at Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador and the Economic Recovery Commission? These pet projects of the Premier which are headed by Dr. Doug House have been growing by leaps and bounds, at the same time as the Administration has been eliminating jobs and laying off people in the health care and education sectors and throughout Government departments. Dr. House, operating in secrecy and answering to the Premier, has been building a bureaucracy. Dr. House, when he offered the Report of the Royal Commission on Employment and Unemployment, recommended that the Government expand its support of Memorial University Extension Service. My Colleague for Fogo quoted from that report, Building on our Strengths, this afternoon.

What happened to Dr. House? - evidentially now he acquiesces in the elimination of MUN Extension Service while he enjoys a multi-million dollar increase in his budget so that he can build a bureaucracy and perhaps attempt to duplicate the service that MUN Extension was providing.

Since, MUN Extension has a proven record of service, why take that away? Why deprive the people of the Province of MUN Extension now. Now more than ever rural Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, as they face the cutbacks in the fishery and the mining and the centralization program of the Government, need the support of the community development workers with MUN Extension.

Chairperson, the elimination of public sector jobs is going to inevitably result in a downsizing of the private service sector. We estimate that for every public sector job lost, there will be one and half private sector jobs lost as well, and that is how we come up with our estimate of a total job loss in the Province approximating 9,000. That is before the Minister of Development turns his attention to Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador and the Economic Recovery Commission.

Now the approach of the Government, consistent with the way they have operated for the past two years, is to blame somebody else. Usually they begin by blaming the Federal Government, although their commentary on the Federal Government has varied. Sometimes when it suits them they fault the Federal Government for underfunding the Province and failing to understand the Province. However, the Premier has consistently preached constitutional reform which will give the Federal Government more power at the expense of the provinces. Until recently the Premier rejected out of hand the idea of the Province having constitutional responsibility over the fishery. Now finally, after a year and a half, two years, and after getting the report of the Aidan Maloney task force, he has conceded that perhaps we in the Province and the Provincial Government could have joint management over the fishery. Perhaps we could manage that much, he concedes.

Then when it comes to transfer payments we have mixed signals. We have some of the Liberals opposite saying that EPF is being eliminated altogether, that Federal support for health and post-secondary education is being phased out and will be gone soon after the turn of the century. The Premier on the other hand disagrees with that projection and says according to the current pattern EPF will continue, albeit with more coming through the transfer of tax points and less in cash, but nevertheless EPF will continue - another inconsistency.

When the Federal Government Budget came down towards the end of February it contained the news that the Federal Government is going to extend its freeze on EPF. So what do we hear from our Provincial Premier and President of Treasury Board? - applause, agreement with the Federal Budget. The Premier indicated that the Federal Government has a worse debt problem, has amassed way more debt per capita, than the Provincial debt per capita. So the Premier applauded Michael Wilson's Budget.

The Provincial Budget brought down on March 7, in addition to massive layoffs, called for massive centralization of services, closure of small town hospitals, of acute care beds in rural hospitals, and closure of acute care beds in the urban central hospitals, for that matter. And tonight the Minister of Health was on television saying that the Federal fiscal policy is just one of the reasons for the Provincial health decisions. And of course in this House he has been bragging that the Provincial health decisions will actually result in improvement.

Now I have already compared that claim, the Minister of Health's glib assurance that we will do more for health care with less money, with Patrick Watson's claim at the CRTC hearing in Hull last week that the CBC will be doing more and better service for the people of the country without the local and regional programming which was cut in early December.

So it seems we have people running both the Provincial Government here and the Federal Government in Ottawa who believe that bigger is better, that power should be consolidated and centralized.

Now, I mentioned the Premier and administration have consistently blamed other people for their shortcomings, and for their neglect and their failures. They have consistently blamed the Federal Government, although the scenarios have changed, but they frequently point a finger at Ottawa. Another one of their refrains though is, the previous administration, seventeen years of Tory administration. They have talked about the debt that was accumulated from 1972 to 1989. Have they reflected on what they were saying and advocating during those same seventeen years? They and their predecessors in the provincial Liberal Party, over those years, were consistently calling for more spending. The millions and billions of dollars spend during those years went to construct schools, university buildings, college buildings, institute buildings, hospitals, the Health Sciences Complex here, and hospitals in place like Port aux Basques and in Forteau.

AN HON. MEMBER: They probably said you were not doing enough.

MS. VERGE: They did say we were not doing enough. That is what they consistently said over the years.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Minister's time has elapsed.

MS. VERGE: Too bad, Chairperson, because I was just getting warmed up.

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

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

I just want to have a couple of words here tonight. I had a discussion with the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, over the recess, about the statement he made today. As I have done in the past with the point system, announcing for the Minister, I wish to do it now because he did not realize what he did with his statement today, I wish to announce to all half ton pick-up owners in this Province that we have reduced their registration from $84 to $65. I don't know why the Minister did not announce that because it is a bit of good news, but I will do it on his behalf and I am sure he will appreciate it. We just had a little discussion on it. I am congratulating the Minister because it is something positive that he did, but that is not the be-all and end-all from that statement. He was not aware of it. Is that a half ton you have, or one of the small ones?

AN HON. MEMBER: No, it is a small one.

MR. R. AYLWARD: I think you have an S10 and that is up $2.00. You will get an increase of $2.00. Where is Tom Murphy gone? He will get a saving, and I did, so it is probably a bit of a conflict for me announcing this tonight on behalf of the Minister. I am sure he does not mind.

MR. GILBERT: It is better than the tax grab you were telling me about.

MR. R. AYLWARD: I wish you had announced it so I could have been kinder to you when I made my response to your statement today. I would have been much kinder to you today had I known that. But in doing a little bit of research that is the first thing I came up with. I have some more research to do to see who pays the shot because if somebody is losing somebody is paying the shot because there is a $90,000 grab here somewhere along the way. If you look in this year's Budget for registration of vehicles and licenses, I think that is the heading it is under, there is a $1.6 million grab somewhere throughout the system for this year. It was not in that statement but there is a sizeable increase in the amount of money that transportation will take this year out of the pockets of the drivers of this Province, besides the ad valoren tax which is going to be much higher than necessary. I expect the Minister of Mines and Energy will look after that if he can have a good talk to the Minister of Finance one of these days. Besides the ad valoren tax the Motor Vehicle Registration for licenses and registration, I believe, is the heading it is under is $1.6 million, another 1.6 over what we got last year. So that is quite a sizeable jump also. There is also quite a sizeable jump in the fines, which the Minister announced some time ago. I think he will get another $2.1 million out of that for this year, which again, Mr. Chairman, is a sizeable grab from the taxpayers of this Province. But I cannot argue so much against fines because if a person is getting a fine he did something wrong so you cannot - I pay my share of that stuff anyway - so I will not say much more about that.

Mr. Chairman, I do want to have a few words to say to the Minister. I am sure he will remember last fall I asked a question in this House of Assembly about a division of the Department of Education moving to the Remax Building, Curriculum Development, I believe, because a problem came up and they got booted out of the office they had at Atlantic Place and they moved to the Remax Building on the corner of Newfoundland Drive and Portugal Cove Road. I wrote the Minister last year on this, on January 2, it was this year actually. I asked the Minister some questions about this move and why it was done without call for tender. The Minister explained to me in a letter that: for the record I wish to confirm that the previous lease at Atlantic Place for the Curriculum Division expired on January 31, 1990, and was extended under the same conditions until July 31, 1990 pending a detailed review by the Department of Education.

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

MR. HARRIS: I am trying to listen to what the hon. Member has to say but there appear to be at least four or five meetings going on on the other side of the House and the general hubbub is such that it is impossible to hear the most interesting comments, even though I am close I cannot seem to hear very well what the hon. Member is saying. I am sure the Members over there would be very interested if they would take the time to listen.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. R. AYLWARD: Did you rule on the point of order, Mr. Chairman, I am not sure?

MR. CHAIRMAN: I am just waiting for it to be quiet, apologies to the hon. Member.

The hon. Member for St. John's East has a valid point of order. There are a tremendous number of private conversations taking place in the Chamber and I would ask hon. Members to refrain. If they want to carry on conversations and meetings I would suggest they go outside the Chamber.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

As I was saying, the Curriculum Division had to move out of Atlantic Place and in the letter of explanation the Minister said the previous lease managed to be extended up until September 30, 1990. Then they went looking for space for the Curriculum Division and firm quotations were sought and revised from three landlords and a conditional award was subject to satisfactory lease entered into and was made to the lowest bidder, the Remax Building. This was in September of 1990 and there were no tenders called. The price for 12,600 sq. feet was $207,270.00 for a period of three years commencing October 1, 1990.

Now, Mr. Chairman, we have issued -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

I hate to interrupt the hon. Member but I ruled on a point of order for the hon. Member for St. John's East and immediately after I ruled on the point of order, hon. Members still continued their private conversations. So, I ask hon. Members to refrain from carrying on such loud private conversations in the House.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you once again, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, what we have now is a lease and, as of the Minister's letter, a lease commencing on October 1, 1990 for over $200,000, and there was no tender called for this lease.

We have a Public Tendering Act in this Province and Section 10 of the Public Tendering Act - if I could find it fairly quickly here, if not I will go over it from memory - requires that any expenditures that this Government makes, or a government in this Province makes without tender, has to be tabled in this House within fifteen days of the House opening, if it was before the House was opened. And within thirty days - if the House is open the next month they usually bring in - now this was October 1 that this was signed. This House was open in November and we did not get it in the October report. Actually we did not get the October report until February. So the Minister broke the law by not giving the October report anyway.

We did not get it in November. The House was open on December 7, I know, because I asked a question about it (Inaudible) December 7. So we did not get it on December 7. We closed and opened this House again in February, I believe it was, some time in February, I cannot remember the date. And there were reports tabled in February of that. And the reports for September, October, November and December I believe were tabled in February. I do not think February was. But January I think was, at the time.

But last week again we had some more - this was in March now - we have some more of this, what is called Public Tendering Act exemptions tabled. So this is the February report. Now we spent $207,000, or we committed to spend $207,000, October 1 1990. On September 4 we finally got, on page 15, a report that somebody rented a building called the Remax Building and at the time when I asked the question I questioned the ownership, who owned it, but that is not so important who owned it. The important thing is that the Public Tendering Act has been broken on several occasions by the Minister. But what I find strange, is that on page 15 in this February report we have Public Works and Services leased from contractor/supplier/leaser, R and M Holdings Limited, 570 Newfoundland drive, $207,270.

MR. TOBIN: Without public tender?

MR. R. AYLWARD: Which - contract price, which was stated in the letter earlier. Lease of 12,600 square feet. I think it was 12,700 in the letter but that is not important. For a space for St. John's Department of Education. Award date.

Now in the letter the Minister inferred that he did not have to table these things until the contract was signed. And that is not the interpretation or the reading -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

MR. R. AYLWARD: By leave?

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

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Chairman, I must thank the Member for Kilbride for pointing out the good news that I was trying to make in the statement today. In the first part of the statement I talked about the registration fee for small pickups and what I said in the statement actually is that there was a levelling out period and we took it and changed the charge to kilograms. And there were inequities in the thing when the previous government was there. We are now adjusting it so everybody gets to benefit.

And what it is, just so that the Member will know, right now the fee is: from zero to 1,815 kilos it is $63; from 1,816 to 2,269 it is $84; and from 2,270 to 2,723 it is $120. Now when it is changed, we have a levelling out of the process so that everybody will reap the benefit. From zero to 2500 kilos it is going to be $65.00 now, and that is where the Member for Kilbride picked up his windfall, as did all the rest of the good people in Newfoundland. Now, you go from 2501 to 3000 and it is $85.00, and then it is going up so that money that is going to be recouped on the deal will make up for the change in this fee to the Public Utilities Board. The only trucks that were charged this fee through the Public Utilities Board before, were ones that were for hire, commercial trucks for hire, so it meant that trucks that were hauling goods in Newfoundland and were owned by mainland companies did not pay the Public Utility Board - Simpsons, Irvings, or firms like that, so now we are going to level it out and everybody will pay. So it will be fairer to the whole trucking industry. It is good news. Now, the total increase in fees is $1.6 million, according to the Budget figures there. What I will do for the hon. gentleman for Kilbride, is tomorrow I will table in the House exactly how we are going to achieve this $1.6 million and that will give him a little bit of satisfaction so that he does not have to bother about that anymore.

MR. R. AYLWARD: (Inaudible)

MR. GILBERT: No, I will give it to you tomorrow and then you will be able to have some questions for the Estimates Committee. I am amazed that he is talking about the Public Tendering Act and the exceptions to the Public Tendering Act. This is an interesting one, you know, because I can remember my days when I was the critic for Public Works. In the last couple of months before that Government went out of power there was showing up, as exceptions to the Public Tendering Act, Minister's cars, and it was classed as a pressing emergency, so I went and asked. They had taken the Public Tendering Act, Section 2 (b), I guess, where the estimated cost of the work is equal or less than $30,000 and it appears to be the head of the Government funded body, and in view of the nature of work in that position it is not advisable to invite tenders. Now, Mr. Chairman, I went to the Minister after I asked the question in the House, and I found it strange that they were buying cars under this as an exception to the Public Tendering Act. The Minister at the time, I must say was a gentleman, he admitted this, and that he would talk to his colleague about it. Unfortunately, there was an election called by them before we got around to it. If you look in the exceptions to the Public Tendering Act, for the last four or five months that Government was in office that is how they bought their ministerial cars, by exemptions to the Public Tending Act.


MR. GILBERT: Oh, yes. If you wanted to play loose and fast with the Public Tendering Act under Section 2(b) of the Act on Page 36 that is the clause they were using. Now, when I hear the Member for Kilbride stand up and ask questions about a lease that was gone into which met all the requirements, and the Department of Education were the tenant that needed the space, the concern was expressed and was answered in a letter on January 16 or 17, and I explained to the Member why the exemptions for September were not tabled; it was because of the number of changes in staff. This Department happens to be one of the departments really affected by the changes because we were bringing two departments together, getting the employees together and getting everything in shape. If there was an error, it was not passed along for tabling.

I explained to the hon. gentleman in January and immediately the first opportunity I had I tabled the exemptions to The Public Tendering Act, which was the day the House opened. I find it most difficult when here we are doing everything that is required under The Public Tendering Act, reporting the exemptions as they occur, and they are legitimate cases. I wonder, is it because of the fact those gentlemen played loose and fast with The Public Tendering Act that they feel everybody else is dishonest and they are trying to hoodwink the people of Newfoundland because that was an outright attempt to break the Act, which they readily did. If some of the new Members over there would like to go back I can get the ones - I think it started in November of 1988, it might have been in September of 1988, when they started buying cars. I know the executive assistant now to the Leader of the Opposition was made the Minister of Housing and that was one of the first cars that I picked up that they bought that way as exemptions to The Public Tendering Act. Now, what better way to reward your friends, of course, than to buy your cars as exemption to The Public Tendering Act?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. GILBERT: Oh, yes, I will get that.

Now to get back to the tender that he is talking about. I gave him the answer in January. If he is not satisfied with it give me the question and I will get the answer again, exactly what he wants. It is a legitimate exemption to The Public Tendering Act and it was reported, as I understand it, and would appear in the exemptions after the lease had been formally signed, and this is when it shows up as an exemption to the Public Tendering Act, at least Mr. Chairman, that is the way it was described to me. If the gentleman is not satisfied with that, let him get up now and squirt a bit of poison again and then I will get him the explanation again tomorrow. But the explanation that was given to me by the people who interpret the Act in my Department is that the exemption is reported after the lease is formally signed.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

Now, Mr. Chairman, the Minister can squirm and squirm all he wishes but that is not good enough. That will not wash, Mr. Chairman. First of all, I think he was talking about when we were in office about some exemptions to The Public Tendering Act, Ministers bought their cars, maybe they did. I do not think I did, but I really do not know. But, Mr. Chairman, I do know the day I left the Department the $18,000 car that I used while I was Minister of Municipal Affairs stayed with the Department. The day you leave your Department you take your car with you, Mr. Chairman, so that is a big difference. You will have a $24,000 benefit the day you walk out that office, and every other Member, if you last three years. You have a couple of years in now. If you last another one you will get your $24,000 benefit. I used the car and I admit it and I thought it was a good benefit for Ministers. But I left it there when I left the Department and whatever happened to it I am not sure. Maybe the Premier is being chauffeured around in it or you sold it. Hopefully, probably, you sold them. But if you did sell them the taxpayers got back whatever was left on that car. I did not put it in my pocket, Mr. Chairman, the Minister did not send me a cheque for whatever that car was worth. But when you leave your office, and when every Minister over there now leaves office, they will have a car paid for by the public taxpayers in this Province, which I think is completely wrong.

And I wonder - you were spending taxpayers' dollars when they were buying these cars - I wonder did they go on public tender when they were buying them. You were buying them out of taxpayers' dollars. Certainly they did not appear in the exemptions to public tendering, so I assume that they were all bought by public tendering and I assume that the best deal for public tendering now is a garage in central Newfoundland.

The final question I have on this exemptions to public tender is not - the Minister gave me his interpretation of when it should appear in these books. Now that is his interpretation. But if his interpretation is right that Minister can go to the Remax Building tomorrow and rent the whole building and agree on a price for a couple of million dollars if he wishes, and he does not have to sign the contract for the next five years and nobody will know how much he is paying for the rental of that building or any other building in the Province. If the landlord is willing to give him the rent - and he can double the landlord's rent if nobody knows about it. He does not have to dicker a price with him. All he has to do is not sign the lease as long as the landlord is a buddy of his and agrees with it.

I think the Minister's interpretation - or whoever in his Department interpreted Section 10 of the Public Tendering Act - is completely and utterly wrong. The award date - and this is the interpretation from his Department - they have in here not the date that you sign it. They have not got in this exemption for Public Tendering Act for February that this was signed on February 1 or the last of January of 1991. They said the award date, the tender was awarded, on 1990, the tenth month and the first day. So that is the first day of October in 1990.

So for the full month of October the Minister knew this lease was in place. For the full month of November while the House was open the Minister knew this lease was in place. For the full month of December while the House was open for part of it the Minister knew this lease was in place, and the full month of January. And when we opened in February he did not table it then, he tabled it early in March. And the book for February came out in March. So for at least four months the Minister knew that he had - now that is not the only thing - he ignored the Act for four months. These books happen to be getting thicker. Every time one comes out they are getting thicker, so there are more exemptions, which I am sure hon. Members on the back benches would like to know. And the next time they come out they will probably take a bit more notice of it.

But the last set of books that came out, these are supposed to be the Government Departments, agencies, and boards or whatever - any money they spend without public tender is supposed to be reported within thirty days. Supposed to come into this House within thirty to sixty days at the most. The last book that came out for November of last year - I think it was November's book, or it might have been January's - there were exemptions to tenders in that book from 1989. That is three years ago. They were not reported for three years in some of the agencies. But the most interesting part of this here, apart from the fact that the Minister broke the Public Tendering Act in not reporting it, and apart from the fact that the owner of the building, who I am not sure was the Premier's friend or not, but I know he is part owner of it, but every department gives a reason in this book of why they did not go the public tendering route, that is part of the Public Tendering Act. Now, what is the reason they give for moving the curriculum development from Atlantic Place into the Remax Building without public tendering? Number two, says, lease renewal extension. Now, that is the first line. That is in mostly all of these from Public Works. Here is what they say is the reason for them going in there. This is a renewal of an existing lease. Now, Mr. Chairman, did the Minister have the curriculum development division of education moved into a vacant building? Did the Minister have this lease before October 1, the building empty and vacant, he only renewed the lease after October 1 when he found one of the Government departments to go into it? Ordinarily the reason would be a pressing emergency, a department had nowhere to go, or for whatever reason, or the curriculum division got kicked out of their own space. Again, the Minister's department did not have the foresight when they were down to Atlantic Place to sign a long-term lease. They kept going month by month, by month, and you know you are going to get the boot eventually. A landlord is not going to put up with that very long, especially if there is any space. Mr. Chairman, the reason for not going to the Public Tendering Act is because this is a renewal of an existing lease in accordance with Minute of Council 1878-90. Now, will the Minister table this Minute of Council in the House so that we can see what he is doing, and what authority Cabinet has given him to fool around with the Public Tendering Act and give out rental space in this Province to his buddy?

If this was a new lease that was signed in October it should have been tabled here in November. If this was a new lease that was signed in November it should have been tabled here in December. If this was a new lease that was signed in December or January it should have been tabled here sometime during January or February when we opened. It was tabled in March, Mr. Chairman, so he left his signature intentionally for month after month, after month, hoping I would forget it I would imagine, since last October, so they could hide it away. If this is a renewal of an existing lease, what was in this space before? What was moved out of this space when curriculum development moved in? Or was this vacant space being rented from some company just to keep them from going bankrupt because the building was empty? As far as I know from my investigation there was nobody in the space. The curriculum development division got kicked out of Atlantic Place, because the Minister and his Department did not have the foresight to sign a regular lease and when they got caught short and had nowhere to go they put the curriculum development division, they had to scramble around town to look for suitable space, and they found space, that I understand, was vacant space with a new lease on it. But the reason in this here, Mr. Chairman, says this is a renewal of an existing lease, and that, I find passing strange, seeing there was no Government department on that floor, or in that space before the curriculum development division moved in. I would be very interested in knowing what Minute in Council 1978-90 means, Mr. Chairman, and what leeway the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation has been given by his colleagues.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Minister's time is up.

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

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Chairman, again it is nice to hear the Member for Kilbride get up with his usual garbage and gutter talk. I have gone through the explanation with the hon. Member about the lease but I will touch on a couple of things. He talked about the Minister's cars now and the Minister's cars then. At least, Mr. Chairman, what we have done since we came to power is we have decided to cut back on the fleet that was there that we inherited where everybody had cars. With the Ministers' cars now there is an allowance which Ministers have to pay a tax on, so we are saving the taxpayers a lot of money in the way we are doing it now compared to the way the previous Government was doing it when they were buying them as exemptions to The Public Tendering Act. It is interesting that the Member for Kilbride gets up once in a while and he talks about what he did when he was in the Department. So I thought the time would come when we would talk about some of the things he did when he was in the Department.

So, I had the people go back and I understand that he was the Minister of Rural Development for three years, or three and a half, well I have the figures for three years so lets say three years. What I did, Mr. Chairman, I just heard the Member talk about the Ministers' cars and the waste in this Government, and I said well maybe some day I should have this information at hand because you never can tell when the long-necked geese of this world are forever going to hiss his praise, so the time will come when I think I will have to sort of talk a little bit about it.

The three years he was Minister of the Department of Rural Development his travel and entertainment account for the three years was $288,000. So, if you take that for a year that works out to about $96,000 a year that this gentleman was spending while he was the Minister of Rural Development. This is it. Now that works out to about $8,000 per month. If you go a little bit further that works out to about $2,000 a week. That is what he was spending in travel and entertainment, $400 per day, while he was the Minister of that Rural Development Department. Here is the situation where we have this man who has the gall to get up and talk about the fact that we are getting an allowance to go towards our cars, here is a man that in the three years that he was a Minister in that Department cost the taxpayers of Newfoundland $400 per day. Now, Mr. Chairman, I wonder how many jobs he created in that time?

Now, the only thing I can remember him being the Minister of with any significance while he was there was as the Minister responsible for Sprung. When you add that to the fact that he was costing the taxpayers $400 a day in travel and entertainment and then we take the fact that he was the Minister responsible for Sprung, so I mean what did he really do in the time that he was there as Minister. I hate to be involved in this sort of argument back and forth across the House, Mr. Chairman, because I feel there is a higher plain that we should be on. But, unfortunately, the man brings out the worst in me. He really gets me down into the gutter with him. I do not like to be down there but by God there are times when you have to be.

I mean you see those gentlemen and lady over there stand up and talk about the days when they were in Government compared to what we are doing.

Mr. Chairman, what we are trying to do is clean up the mess that we found this Province in. When you imagine here is the situation that was in one little ministry, the Department of Rural Development. Right now you are talking about a situation where we have fourteen Ministers, there were twenty-three of them in those days and this is just one, and that was not really a big ministry. It is the sort of a situation where we wonder, and I wonder when I hear those people over there talking about what we are doing. What we are doing, Mr. Chairman, is trying to clean up the mess in a department, now can you imagine what condition the Province is in?

My colleague the Minister of Development got up last night and he talked about what the debt was in 1972, less than $1 billion. What was it when we took over? - it was over $5 billion. It went from just less than $1 billion to $5 billion. So we are faced with a situation right now, a world-wide depression, a made-in-Canada depression and a depression that was brought on us by the mis-government of seventeen years of Tory rule in Newfoundland. This is a classic example of what happened. You take one Minister who operated his Department that way and spent $400 a day on travel and entertainment. So you can imagine what they did with the rest of the money that they spent and how they spent it. It was like the Member for Mount Pearl, he could not get down to Bay d'Espoir when he was in Government. Because his hand was in the taxpayer's pocket he could go to Australia, but now that he is paying for it himself, he can go down -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl on a point of order.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member can stand in this House and make all kinds of disparaging remarks, but it is totally unparliamentary to suggest that any Member had his hand in the till of Government. That is an allocation of serious wrong doing that the hon. gentleman has to either substantiate or withdraw. There are certain limits as to what one can say about an hon. Member in this hon. House and that is not one of the things he can do. For his information, I have never been to Australia.

MR. GILBERT: Maybe Hong Kong, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

Is the hon. Member to the point of order?

MR. GILBERT: To the point of order, Mr. Chairman. If the Member never had his hand in the pocket of the public purse, his expenses when he travelled to Hong Kong were certainly paid for by the Government. It is no trouble for him to go to Australia or Hong Kong, now you can go to Bay d'Espoir.

MR. WINDSOR: I have been to Bay d'Espoir many times. Probably more times than the hon. gentleman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

Do I understand that the hon. Minister is withdrawing the remark that he made?

MR. GILBERT: I did not withdraw it. I just changed it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: There is really no point of order. I would ask all hon. Members when they are making comments in the House to make sure the language and expression used do not in any way reflect on any Member of the House.

MR. GILBERT: I certainly would not want to do that, Mr. Chairman, but when you lie down with dogs you are going to get fleas. That is the thing I see about it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Is the hon. member suggesting he has fleas, then?

MR. GILBERT: No, you have.

Mr. Chairman, this is what it comes down to, the level of debate that is sparked in this House when you hear the hon. members over there getting up and criticizing this Government for taking the action that we had to take, to bring in a Budget like we had to bring in, to clean up the mess that was left there after seventeen of misrule, Mr. Chairman. That is the point I find to be most disconcerting. I find it really objectionable, when I hear the Member for Kilbride get up and cast his aspersions, when really what we are trying to do is clean up a mess that was left by those people.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: Thank God!

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

MR. TOBIN: He is a dirt bag, that is what he is, getting up and accusing the man of being in Australia, (inaudible). Do not tell me about him.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

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

Mr. Chairman, I do not know what the hon. Minister was trying to say, but the only time, since I have been in this House, that I know of any member having any problem with fleas or mice was the Minister of Social Services, and I wonder where does he sit in this House right now?

AN HON. MEMBER: Next to the dogs.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Chairman, I do want to point out that the Minister did not answer one of the questions that I put to him, about why he is breaking The Public Tendering Act continuously. He did read out some figures of travel and communications, I believe it was, of my three-and-a-half years in the Department of Rural Development, but I want to point out that the money that is allotted to the Minister's Office in this year's Budget is $215,000 for one year. I think he was talking about three years for me, Mr. Chairman. It is $215,000 or so for one year in this Budget.

Mr. Chairman, no matter what he says, it does not upset me, because the Minister will know, the expenses that I incurred while I was in Rural Development and in Forestry, at the time, were published in The Sunday Express every three months and totally accounted for. So, Mr. Chairman, I am not sure where he got his figures, but I would like to be able to confirm them, because I know I never spent $400 a day, or whatever he said. I do know, Mr. Chairman, that when I became a minister of the Crown for this Province in January, 1985 - I think it was January 18 when I was put in Cabinet - in the Department of Rural, Agricultural and Northern Development, the first thing, I said, I have to do, is get out and see the people who are involved with the Department of Rural, Agricultural and Northern Development. I did not hide away in my office, Mr. Chairman, I did not ignore what people were saying to me. And for that first year, Mr. Chairman, forty-two out of fifty-two weekends I was on the road trying to meet with the people who were involved in Rural, Agricultural and Northern Development activities in this Province, and I am proud of it, I am delighted.

I was down in the Minister's district several times, mostly to do with the salmon hatchery, Mr. Chairman. I was down several times and I opened the salmon hatchery in his district, which we had a couple of million dollars put into, Mr. Chairman, which was a good project. I went down there another time and I nearly got skinned alive because I tried to bring National Sea in to market it for them. I do not mind admitting that, Mr. Chairman. I was down several times and I opened the salmon hatchery in his district that we have a couple of million dollars in, which is a good project. And I went down another time and I nearly got skinned alive because I tried to bring National Sea in to market it for him. I do not mind admitting that, but I travelled around the Province and I was in the Minister's district more often than he was. And he was saying today that he was after Ministers in our government to go to his district when he was the Member. Not one single occasion did he ever ask the Minister of Rural, Agricultural and Northern Development for the three years that I was there to go to his district. Not once did he ask me to go to his district.

But I went anyway. I went many times without him asking me because I knew he did not have a good enough interest in his district and I knew there was great potential in that district for forest activities, salmon farming or fish farming activities, and I tried my best to develop what we could of them. And we have them started and now all he has to do is sit back in his office and look up expenses three or four years old.

Well I would advise him to get out of his office on the weekends and go down and see the people around this Province who are riding around highways now that are not being cleared, that are not being maintained, that do not have proper salt and sand in slippery conditions. Go and see the roads that are full of potholes. I am sure the Minister of Health would like to take him across the Country Road, now, I believe it is called. I think they have had problems up there since I was there.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Yes, Mr. Chairman, maybe it was ignored for twenty-five years but it is in worse shape today, it has been in worse shape last week, than it has been according to his own constituents than it has been in the last ten years. And that is for one reason only, because the Minister of Transportation is not giving any attention to maintenance. I know they want it paved and upgraded and it is hard to come by money to do that. But you have to maintain the roads or you cannot get over them at all. You cannot have any economic activity in any area of this Province unless you have a reasonable transportation system. And to have a reasonable transportation system in this Province you need a reasonable Transportation Minister. And we are lacking both in this Province at this present time.

Well, I finished with the R and M Holdings, $207,000. Now let's move on to Chapter II, because that is not an isolated instance of what this Minister is doing with rental space in this area. There was a tender awarded April 1, 1990. Now that is not far off one year. Not far off a year from the date that this was put out. That tender was worth almost $5,000 from the Department of Works, Services and Transportation and it was a lease of 309 [?] square feet of space for the Department of Health in Corner Brook. So we have Westport Enterprises, 19 Westport Road, renting space from the Department of Works, Services and Transportation for eleven months. We know there were no tenders called because it would not be in this book if there were tenders called. But we have eleven months now gone by when a space was rented out of taxpayers' money by the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, and only now in February of 1991 do we know that they paid almost $5,000 for 390 square feet of space in Corner Brook.

That might be a good price. I do not know the price per square foot in Corner Brook. I am not arguing that point. I am arguing the point that it could have been a million dollars and the Minister might never have signed the lease and it could be a friend of his or a friend of the Premier's or it could be a friend of any of his Cabinet Ministers. And nobody in this Province would know if the Minister was paying fair rent for that piece of space or not.

Now I do not know why the Minister refuses - again, he was permitted to do this because of Minute of Council 1815-90. Now I would like to see what power Minute of Council 1815-90 gives to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, a power given to him by his colleagues in Cabinet to go and circumvent the Public Tendering Act. Now, I asked the Minister to table Minute of Council 1878-90 which had to do with the Remax Building, and now I ask him to table Minute of Council 1815-90 to see what powers that Minister has been given to fleece the taxpayers of this Province, maybe, not necessarily. This could be a good price for the space. The point is not if it is a good price or a bad price, the point is the Minister did not have to sign this at all. He could be paying three times the value of the property and nobody would know the difference because his interpretation, or his staff's interpretation, which is different than a legal interpretation that I had on the matter, by the way. By putting the date of April 1, 1990 in this book it would seem to me that your staff also interprets that the tender award date is the pertinent date and not necessarily the date it is signed. The date that is agreed upon for the price, and to fill the space, is a more pertinent date. We have two examples in this book alone of rental space that was given out to people. I wonder who owns Westport Enterprises? Does anyone in this House know who owns Westport Enterprises?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

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

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Chairman, when I hear of the scud missile I would say that the hon. Member for Kilbride is the Tories answer to the scud missile. We will talk about some of the stuff he mentioned there. He was talking about exceptions to the Public Tendering Act. I would imagine in most leases there is a provision to extend them. Another thing we found when we came to office was that the previous Government had wanted to get away with taking out the provision for extending them and just go on forever without going to tender. In most leases that you sign there is a provision there that you can extend the lease for an extra two or three years at the same rate that is there. This is the normal thing. The previous Government wanted to do away with that and just go on extending without having to go to tender, and that was one of the things I discovered when I came to Government. It is interesting that the Member should talk about the fact that the roads are not in very good condition this Winter. I happen to have here a letter that came from the Bonavista Peninsula Health Care Centre and it is dated February 18. It was written to one of the employees in my Department and it says: on behalf of the Bonavista Peninsula Health Care Complex I would like to offer you and your unit a sincere thanks for your co-operation and assistance during the very stormy conditions of Wednesday, February 13. We realize that in adverse weather conditions it is difficult to respond to such an immediate request for assistance and we appreciate your prompt attention in providing our ambulance with an open road to Elliston. We would not have responded to this health care need without your involvement and offer you a sincere thank you.

Now, Mr. Speaker, when I heard the mudrakers and scaremongers on the other side when we had the first storm on October 22, or October 26, of this year, they got up and preached doom and gloom about the roads not being ploughed and that with the foremen changed there would be no work done this year. Now, we find we are into the winddown of the winter maintenance season and find that the service that was provided was every bit as good as had ever been provided before. We have many more letters, like the one I just read, pointing out the excellent service the people who work in my Department provided in road maintenance this winter. I do not think the Members over there want to realize what we are involved in in road maintenance. What it really is, is grading and snow ploughing - that is the first thing in the winter time. We have to provide a reasonable degree of safety and convenience, that is one thing, and we have to provide it over 8,400 kilometres of road, Mr. Chairman. Just for an aside, when they are starting to ask questions about it again, the maintenance for the roads costs about 36 per cent of the Department's budget. Last year we spent over $74 million on maintenance.

The difference between winter maintenance and summer maintenance is that with summer maintenance you can schedule and carry on and do it on a day-to-day basis, but winter maintenance is dictated by weather conditions. It is impossible to schedule work in the same way as the summer maintenance. First of all you have the snow ploughing, and that is the first thing we have to do, of course, then you have the ice control, where you have to apply the sand and salt. So, from December 1 to March 31 we are into that sort of a situation and our people are working from 4:30 in the morning to 1:30 in the day and then some more from 5:30 p.m. to 2:00 o'clock. But when I hear Members over there get up and talk about the roads being in rough condition and stuff like that, I tell you right now, every indication I have is that the roads in this Province this year are just as good as they ever were.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not in snow clearing.

MR. GILBERT: That is an interesting thing.

AN HON. MEMBER: One lane (inaudible).

MR. GILBERT: You are wrong.

MR. WINDSOR: You can stick your head in the sand if you want to but you cannot change the facts.

AN HON. MEMBER: You have to stay off the road in Round Pond.

MR. GILBERT: We do not plough Salmonier Line any more or Deer Park, like the Department used to do when you were there. We do not put calcium chloride on that road any more either.

AN HON. MEMBER: Why not?

MR. GILBERT: Because there are much more valuable places to put calcium chloride.

When I was in Opposition I used to ask you about calcium chloride for the Burgeo Road, you could not put it there, but you damn well could put it on the road to Deer Park where the rich of St. John's had their summer cabins. So don't tell me what was done with road maintenance. I know what was done with road maintenance when I was in Opposition.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. GILBERT: Listen, you are the fellows who started the gutter stuff, you wanted it started, so we will have it. There is no problem about it at all. You are the fellows who started it.

AN HON. MEMBER: You get up and make a leadership speech now, Charlie.

MR. GILBERT: Charlie will give a leadership speech, yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: The only thing about Charlies, is (inaudible) to write back home.

MR. GILBERT: What I am at now, I would be at any time I am in this House, because the situation is, you fellows started this attack on me and the Department. So, if we are going to talk about it, I am trying to say that we have a situation where we have brought in a Budget, which was brought in because we had no choice but to do that.

AN HON. MEMBER: You accused the man of going to Australia.

MR. GILBERT: No, Hong Kong.

MR. TOBIN: Stop lying!

MR. GILBERT: Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the Member for Burin - Placentia West is after waking up. It is nice to have him up, because I am sure he will slide out from under his rock in a minute and get up and make one of those brilliant speeches, as he normally does in this House. He is good at that.

To get back to cleaning the roads, and the maintenance on our roads, again, and the one-lane and four-lane highways. What happens where there are about two to three centimeters of snow? The sand trucks will leave - let us take these four lanes between here and Holyrood - they will leave and go out and put the salt and sand down. Then the snowplow will come behind them, as the snow increases, and clean it off. The reason that is done is to keep the snow from freezing as the traffic goes over it. Then they turn and come back and do one lane coming back, and then they do the other lane. So you eventually have the four lanes cleaned up.

AN HON. MEMBER: They go the whole weekend, and they are not done.

MR. GILBERT: That is not right.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is right.

MR. GILBERT: But you are not going to listen.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. GILBERT: I am shocked that you do not believe me, because this is true, you see, what I am saying. You would not admit that we were doing a good job, but all the indications that we have had is that roads have been ploughed this year, maintenance, snow clearing, sanding, and so on. It has been the best year we ever had.

MR. TOBIN: The highway has not been safe to drive on, because of the Minister.

MR. GILBERT: This Government, since we came into power - we heard the former Premier say, one of the reasons he quit was because he wanted to bring in the demerit point system, but he could not get his Cabinet to agree with it. Now, Mr. Chairman, we introduced that in June of this year.

MR. R. AYLWARD: We announced it, you just did not know about it.

MR. GILBERT: I wonder why you announced it? Now, I wonder did that have anything to do with - I heard the Member for Kilbride get up and say how he had some good friends in security. I wonder did that have anything to do with it, he slid under a door somewhere and got that? I wonder is that when he made the announcement. He said he had some good friends in security. Is that why he made the announcement? I sort of wondered about that, you know, but you are the fellow who said you announced it, and I heard the Member for Kilbride say he had good friends in security. Maybe that is why he got it.

MR. TOBIN: Are you the one who fired all the security?

MR. GILBERT: No, Mr. Chairman, I did not fire the security, the security were fired before we came into office. It was a decision that was made by the previous Government, to automate the security systems in all the Government buildings. We just followed on with it. We think it is a good idea, and we followed on with it. We do not want to fire anyone. We would love to be able to keep everybody on. There is nobody on this side of the House who wants to fire anybody. The only thing is, we found the Government had been mismanaged for seventeen years. We had a situation were the public purse was mismanaged. There was an increase in government employees, and right now we are in a situation where we just do not have the money to pay anymore. So we have to adjust the programmes that we have and we have to find the most effective and efficient way to -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave!

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: They are so anxious to get up, Mr. Chairman. I was in on the telephone just then listening to the Minister of Transportation tell about what a great job they are doing with the roads this year. And I believe he had a letter from the Bonavista South Health Committee. I will tell you what the road conditions are in this Province from an editorial which appeared in The Southern Gazette on February 5 1991. The Minister does not read that because that is too close to his district, he is trying to ignore the southern part of the Province because he is not going back there to run again.

But this is what the editorial says about your snow clearing. Now this is not the Opposition. We are not saying this this time. Not the Opposition. It says: there has been a deliberate attempt to stay away from editorializing on snow clearing difficulties in the Burin Peninsula, because highway crews are once again stretched to their limits to keep the roads open.

Now this paper tried to do their best to stay away from editorializing on snow clearing as they have stated in the first part of their editorial. Because they feel for the highways' crews in this Province who are given no equipment, no money, to do the maintenance that they want. But there comes a time when something must be said. Complaints about driving conditions are regularly being heard. I do not know if the Minister is hearing any of these. Maybe they are just phoning The Southern Gazette and they are not phoning the Department. But from the information that I have they phoned the Department first and they phoned the local people and they get the reasons why they cannot do the job that is required. Then they phone the Minister's Department and they get no answers back from the Minister, so then they have to phone the media to get some attention.

'The Burin Peninsula Highway is now described as experiencing the worst year in many years for adequate snow clearing.' Now that is not the Opposition saying this, this is an independent group, The Southern Gazette. I do not even know who - I suppose - is it one of Robinson Blackmore's papers? This is Harry Steele's paper, now, this is owned by one of the bagmen who were supplying money to the Premier for a while while he was in Opposition. 'The Burin Peninsula Highway is now described as experiencing the worst year in many years for adequate snow clearing.' That is a clear statement, that certainly does not say that the Department of Transportation is doing a great job. And they are not speaking for one person or one complaint, they are speaking for residents in the general area where The Southern Gazette is printed.

`It is not the fault of the snow plow operators.' And I say the same thing, it is not the fault of the snow plow operators. And it is not the fault of the staff who are being fired, who are being blamed for this, who are being fired and thrown out of their jobs. It is the fault of a Government who does not give them the equipment to do the job that they know needs to be done. They are getting less money now. They have older equipment. They have more breakdowns. They have less money for maintenance than they have ever had in the past ten years.

Provincial Transportation announced in December the Department of Highways' foremen would not be paid overtime. Now there is a direct relation to a policy brought in by this Minister. And The Southern Gazette tends to relate the poor road conditions this winter with the policy of this Government and of this Minister. I hate to say, I told you so, I do not usually like saying that, but the Government was warned well in advance when they announced their policy on overtime, what would probably happen to the highways in this Province when they brought in such a policy. Now, we have checked the services on the northern Peninsula and teachers had more trouble, because there are a lot of teachers travel back and forth the northern Peninsula Highway. The Minister of Development would be quite familiar with this because they drive from his district up to the Minister of Health's district every day to do their teaching in the schools. They have reported to me that there have been more accidents this year than any time they can remember since they have been travelling on the road. There have been some minor accidents, because they are careful drivers, and a lot of accidents have not been reported because it is senseless to report them, particularly to the Department of Highways.

AN HON. MEMBER: A scientific study.

MR. R. AYLWARD: No, it is not a scientific study. I do not admit at all that it is a scientific study. What I admit to, and one of the reasons why I spent so much money when I was in Rural Development, is that I listened to people and I travelled around these areas while I was Minister so I could see first hand. I did not hide away in the ivory towers here in Confederation Building like most Ministers in this Government are doing. I understand that the Premier will not allow them to travel. It is not the Minister's fault, but the fault of a Premier who does not want to hear what is going on out in the Province. It is the fault of a Premier who will not allow his Minister of Education to go out in the schools, only once every now and then. It is a problem of a Premier who only allows the Minister of Health to go home to his district once or twice a month, if he is lucky. The only way that a Government in this Province can find out what is going on in this Province is if the Ministers and the backbenchers of this Government travel the Province and listen to what people are saying. That is only the first step, then you have to listen, as the Minister of Health said the other day, he listened to so many people, but it is only one step to listen to them. The other step is to try to implement some of the recommendations these people are giving. The Premier of this Province has no affinity and no relation to the working people of this Province. I suppose he could be considered one of those people who are very affluent in the Province. He could be considered one of these people who has not had it so hard. He certainly has never had to receive welfare in his life. He certainly has never had to be on the unemployment rolls in this Province, Mr. Speaker, although he has just put another 3000 people in the Province on those unemployment rolls, so he cannot be expected to know. Some of his Ministers, and some of his backbenchers, have to get the gumption to stand up to him and tell him that his policies are hurting Newfoundlanders throughout this Province. His policy of wiping out all monies for the Youth Advisory Committee is hurting the development of good, sound policies to help the youth of this Province. Now, I am sure the Member for Stephenville does not agree with this. I am sure the Member for Stephenville, when the time comes, will vote against this Budget just for that reason alone, because he was the White Knight in the Opposition who kept questioning Members on the Government side at the time, particularly, the Member for Grand Bank when he was Minister of Culture, Recreation and Youth, on supplying more activities for youth and more money for youth. I am sure he will vote against this Budget, as will many other people opposite vote against this Budget for different reasons. The Member for LaPoile certainly has to vote against it. The Member for Placentia definitely has to vote against it. He had 1000 people come in here on the steps when they thought he was supporting them, and they found out he was not supporting them. He votes for a Budget that is going to gut their health care system.

The Member for Bellevue certainly has to vote against this Budget. He has no choice. The Ministers cannot do it. I understand the Ministers cannot do it. They made these decisions, they knew of these decisions since last October, so they cannot vote against it, but the backbenchers can, if they wish, vote against this Government. When we did the Meech Lake debate, Mr. Chairman, we almost had some Government Members with courage, it came very close, several of them were willing to stand up for what they believed in.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: On that side, I agree with you, yes, there was a free vote over there.

AN HON. MEMBER: John Crosbie (inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Did we vote? There was no vote anywhere. We did not have a vote. We did not get a choice to vote. Your Premier said we could not vote - that is your free vote. He said nobody could vote.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Member for Stephenville.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

It is a pleasure to have a few moments to reflect on the Interim Supply Bill and reflect on some of the discussions we have heard on both sides of the House. In some cases, Mr. Chairman, these discussions have been beneficial but in most cases they have not. Some of the criticisms are credible and some are not. I suppose we try to do our best, being the Government. I find, Mr. Chairman, when it comes to providing new ideas and some different ways of doing things, which is what the Opposition is supposed to be doing, the Government finds the ideas are limited. Maybe it is, I suppose, after fifteen or sixteen years of trying to do something that energy gets expended and it is hard to draft those new ideas, so I can understand that. But I am sure over the next year or two we are going to see some nice new ideas coming from the Opposition and they are going to assist us in governing the Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: Oh, I am sure of it. There are some very competent people over there in the Opposition and some of these ideas will come forward, and unlike the previous Government we may consider them and put them into our policy. We are like that, we like to be consultative and so on and get around and see people and that is one thing this Government has done. It is a tough Budget there is no doubt about that. These are tough times, tough years, and the other provinces are going to be coming down with their budgets very shortly and when they do, this one is going to look like it is probably one of the best in Canada, after we see some of the other places and how they are going to handle their own problems.

Ontario has a $3 billion deficit on their current account and the NDP have formed the Government and they do not know what they are going to do, they are up there trying to figure it out, scratching their heads, saying how are we going to meet all the commitments we made. Already Bob Rae is up there saying that we are going to have to put this on hold, that on hold, and that on hold. The reason for this is, of course, it was out of his control when he took over. He took over a situation that was going downhill so fast he still does not have a hold of it yet, it has taken off on him and if he does not do something soon it is going to get worse. That is Ontario.

British Columbia has not had a current deficit in ten years and the first time in ten years they have a current account deficit is now. They do not know what to do. They have never faced that kind of a problem before. They are going to be going to the market borrowing money on their current account for the first time.

This is not a Newfoundland and Labrador problem. It is a problem for everybody, all over Canada. If you read any of the financial papers at all you will know that and you will understand it. We have made commitments and we are going to try to keep them, but you cannot do it without the money. We are trying to find ways to generate the revenue without harming the taxpayer, very difficult to do. We are trying to it in a way and streamline the system somewhat at least temporarily until we can get back to an even keel and try to carry out some of the good things we want to do, some of the things we have already done and want to expand on. You cannot do that without having the dollars to do it, it is impossible to do and both we and the Opposition know it.

So it is a wonderful thing to get up and tell us: you should not have done this and you should not have done that. And maybe we have made some errors. Even the Premier has said that himself. We do not know. When you take a path you do not know if you are doing it the right way. So we are going to keep reviewing that on an ongoing basis and the Opposition's role is to tell us where we are going wrong, and we will review it and see what decision comes out of it.

But these are not normal times and I think everybody in this Province is starting to understand that, and I think everybody in Canada is starting to understand it. I am not going to agree with Michael Wilson in Ottawa. I saw a clock behind him the other day in a press conference and he was talking about the debt, how it was ticking away. Well, I do not ever want to see us do that because I think it would be very scary to see how that debt is climbing so quickly within this Province of 550,000 people. The hon. Member for Bonavista South and the Minister of Development both pointed out the other day about how bad the debt situation is getting.

It is to the point where you could have ignored it ten or five years ago but you cannot ignore it now. It has just come to the point where you just cannot ignore it any more. You cannot go to the banks any more and say: look folks, we need this much this year and we might need this much next year. Because they are looking at you, saying: folks, if you are going to want that money you had better go back and look at your own purse strings and look how you are spending your money. And if you do not take some measures we may lower your rating and it may cost you a lot more money to come and get a few bucks to keep your system going.

So that is a difficult process. We have only been here a little less than two years. A very difficult process to go and have to do that and inflict pain. There is pain on people when they have to get a layoff or a temporary layoff or freeze your wages. It is pain. And nobody is going to disagree with that and nobody has. But it is a problem. And you have to deal with it the best way you can. But we would like to have credible suggestions from the Opposition. I think that is fair - as we used to do in Opposition, or attempt to do. Most Members anyway used to try to do that.

I remember I used to get up - I think I was a pretty good questioner in opposition, by the way, I thought I was pretty good. I used to get up and do my homework and ask questions to the Member for Kilbride a scattered time and a few other Members. You know, try to do your homework, right? And I must say I am going to give a report card next week on how you are doing over there individually, I must say. I am going to send that over I think. Because some are doing pretty good but some have to improve, and some have to do some more homework. But I mean the thing is, that is your role, you have to keep doing it. And our role is to try to govern the Province in the best way we can.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: This is a tough situation for everybody, for the young and old, for people who are in education and business - persons in all walks of life in this Province are now having a difficult time. But the spending of the 'eighties - and everybody spent, I spent, everybody spent, and so did businesses and government. The 'eighties were the years of not worrying about it and just giving her that. And going to the malls and going to the banks and saying: whatever we want we are going to go now and get the money.

The 'nineties are going to be years of reality, and there is no choice. And if we do not look at it now it is going to get to the point of extreme circumstances having to be taken. And everybody knows that in this House of Assembly, we all have to face that. It is okay to get up and say: you can not do this or you should not do that. But the days are numbered as to you being able to go to the banks and saying: we need this to survive the way we are surviving now. We have to find ways to be more inventive with the expenditures, we have to find ways to be more, I suppose, accountable for the expenditures that are occurring. And that is what the Government is trying to do. Now we are just starting to do that so they are going to have some problems and there may have to be corrections. But you have to attempt to do that and try to put the thing in the proper perspective.

I just want to relate a few issues that have been brought up thus far. I heard the Member for Mount Pearl last night talking about Hibernia and also the campsites out at the Bull Arm site. Now that contract for housing, he said, was gone but I would just like to let him know it is not gone. The 400 units which were announced and given to Kent Homes were the 400 unit homes, the 400 unit section. That is just the initial section. There will be an announcement on the big section of 2600 within the next two weeks, I expect. At Stephenville the package put together by Atlantic Design Homes and Lundrigans is a very good package, and I am optimistic that they may yet get that contract. If they do it will certainly mean major benefits to the West Coast, in Corner Brook and Stephenville. I have had a number of discussions with their management group on the project and it will certainly be a very long-term project. They are also looking at another market besides Hibernia if they get the Hibernia contract, so it will be long-term employment and benefits on the west Coast and it will come directly related to Hibernia. I am keeping my fingers crossed and doing all I can to assist, and I suggest that other Members on the west Coast do the same, because if the contract does arrive it will certainly be a major benefit to the west Coast and to Stephenville which is a growing regional centre in the Province. That is information I just want to put to you. Many people think that project is gone but it is not. That major 2600 unit project is worth about $23 million and it will be a very fine investment in western Newfoundland if it does arrive. I am sure the Member for Humber East will welcome it with open arms, if it does. We are keeping our fingers crossed. We have a good bit put forward so let us hope it is competitive and they will have a nice announcement within the next two weeks on the west Coast.

There are a number of other things that have been brought up. Like I said earlier this is a difficult process, and you have to use your dollars wisely. In education there is a little bit more money but we have heard a lot of comments about less teacher units and the impact on education.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Member for Terra Nova.

MR. GREENING: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak in this hon. House. The events of the past twenty-two months, and the past several weeks, in particular, would drive even the most silent individual Member in this Province to start yelling. In fact I am equally surprised that the Member for Stephenville was not yelling, yelling at the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Education for the announcement which was made today. I refer to the cuts and the layoff of fifteen instructors, ten and a half support staff, three management staff, and a shortfall of $1 million to the Western Community College the headquarters of which is situated in Stephenville. What we have in Newfoundland today is a Cabinet of fourteen men and one woman who, I would not disagree, have a wonderful vision of a prosperous and diversified Newfoundland and Labrador, but who lack the foresight or the ideas to bring that vision into reality. We are a Province adrift without a plan. That is a sad fact. Some of the greatest opportunities the people of this Province have ever had are now before us. Even the most inept Government could not help but reap benefits from the new opportunities in petroleum resource development, tourism, and new patterns in global trade. Even a Government without any plan whatever could not help but profit from these golden opportunities. Now that these opportunities have finally come to us how great would be the loss if we are not prepared to bleed these opportunities to every last drop.

Off our coast lies one of the world's most precious resources, more precious these days than diamonds or gold. We have all heard stories of the Rolls Royces, of Saudi Arabian sheiks who used to travel across the desert, and the unimaginable wealth that suddenly occurred over the past several decades. It was the same resource which built the office towers of Calgary and Edmonton, and, of course, the same resource was at the root of the war in The Gulf in the opening weeks of 1991. Petroleum and petroleum products have become virtually indispensible in the Western World.

What should we discover several years ago, but that this very same resource, the one that makes the Twentieth Century go around, is right here off the Coast of Newfoundland. Newfoundlanders are leery about fish stories. They do not trust those who talk about huge reserves and vast resources. So, they were quite quick to remind themselves that our petroleum reserves do not compare with the rich resources of Kuwait or Iraq or Saudi Arabia. The United States will not come beating down our doors, as they did with Saudi Arabia. They do not really expect to see a sudden influx of Roll Royces on the streets of Clarenville or Port Blandford or Mount Pearl. But, let us not be so quick to undervalue things or forget what a tremendous opportunity this new resource is.

The people on the Mainland are not stupid, at least not so stupid as many Newfoundlanders would like them to believe. The Federal Government pumped $2.7 billion Canadian dollars into this project. In a day when mega projects are a thing of the past, the Federal Government committed $5.2 billion to ensure Hibernia comes ashore.

So why, I ask, did the Wells Administration in 1989, disband the committee of senior public servants whose responsibility it was to keep on top of the Hibernia project, as it unfolds, to ensure that this Province was prepared to take full advantage of every opportunity? Why did the Wells Administration shut down that committee for eighteen months, while Hibernia negotiations were proceeding?

AN HON. MEMBER: To save money.

MR. GREENING: To save money? Be real. Do not expect the people of Newfoundland to believe it was to save money. To be different? That is the real answer. The committee was shut down because it was a good P.C. idea, and the Government wanted to do things differently. This Government wanted a real change. After all, that is what they promised in the 1985 election.

MR. WALSH: A point of order, Mr. Chairman.

AN HON. MEMBER: Ah, boy! Come on, Jim, sit down!

AN HON. MEMBER: You big sook, sit down out of it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island, on a point of order.

MR. WALSH: Mr. Chairman, I am wondering if we are using copious notes here, or a written speech. I remember a member on this side of the House, one day, having to read his speech, and being brought to task by hon. members on the other side. I am wondering, is this a written speech or is it the copious notes referred to by members on the opposite side on a previous day in this Legislature?

MS. VERGE: Chairperson.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber East, on the point of order.

MS. VERGE: The Member for Terra Nova is making a very good speech, addressing serious subjects. He is talking about development and business opportunities in the Province. The Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island is irresponsibly interrupting him, trying to throw him off his train of thought. The member is simply referring to notes that he prepared in advance, because he had important things he wanted to say in the ten minutes allotted to him.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

There is no point of order. The hon. member is allowed to use copious notes.

The hon. the Member for Terra Nova.

MR. GREENING: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Speaker, I think it would be more appropriate if the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island took care of the people on Bell Island, especially the ferry problems they have over there. Maybe if he spoke to his Minister, the Minister of Transportation, he would get some help, a lot more help than I got when I tried to get the ferry for St. Brendans, and they went twelve days without any food or fuel being delivered to the Island.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GREENING: Furthermore, Mr. Chairman, in the past twenty-two months, the district of Terra Nova did get a fair amount of money for road building and road construction. The District of Terra Nova had a new road constructed from the Trans Canada Highway to Bunyan's Cove, and a new highway from the Trans Canada Highway to Discovery Trail, which not only would benefit the district of Terra Nova but would also benefit the District of Trinity North and Bonavista South at a cost of approximately $14 million. But, Mr. Chairman, no thanks to the Liberal Government, thanks to Mr. Crosbie and the Federal PC Government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. GREENING: Now, Mr. Chairman, the District of Terra Nova is mainly a tourist related district. The last two years in a row I received a letter from the Minister of Transportation requesting my priorities. I sent him ten priorities in 1989 and the same ten in 1989 and what did I receive? Zero. Now the Minister of Development, as far as I am concerned, who supposedly is responsible for the Department of Tourism -

AN HON. MEMBER: You or Doug Howse, we are not sure.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. GREENING: The Minister of Development, I thought, would realize the importance of the road link not only from Terra Nova but also from Bonavista South and Trinity North, instead of that the Minister decided to build a bridge which actually was not needed and will not be needed for another five or six years. That bridge is still not completed neither is the highway that I had requested as number one priority through Brooklyn and through Winter Brook.

Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for Stephenville.

MR. K. AYLWARD: The Western Community College was able to have - there were twenty-six positions throughout the whole west Coast and all but six are able to be accommodated through transfers or retirements through nice decent pensions. So there are six positions, and I have been talking to one of the people at the College today and they may be able to be accommodated later down the road. So, despite the money they have been able to save they have done a good job in trying to deal with that and kept almost every course that has a market for it in a sense of identifying training and so on, being able to do that. Even in the tough times I commend the Board of Governors because it is tough times you know.

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: Western Community College to her may be a third rate institution, as you have said publicly four or five times, the programmes may be no good as you explained already, and that the students graduating there are not qualified to do God knows what.

AN HON. MEMBER: No. She never said that.

MR. K. AYLWARD: She has been downgrading our college out there for the last six months because, guess what this Government did, put Fisher with Western Community College to help save money and make the system better. I have been waiting with bated breath to see one day when she might say a nice thing about Western Community College which has been in existence for about fifteen to twenty years. I am sick and tired of hearing -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: Yes, yes. And when they were in government they took away the mandate from the college, slapped it down to one year and were trying to get programmes switched out of it. So I do not need to hear any of that from you over there, from the hon. Member. I have been six months hearing this and I am saying: no, she is going to make a nice comment one of these days about the college out there. But I have not heard it yet and I never will probably. Because the great Fisher Institute - which is a very good institute by the way, I have never said anything bad about it or anything else - but this was a Government decision based on education, not based on pure politics, and it was about time it was done.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. K. AYLWARD: There are other areas on the west coast besides Corner Brook. Stephenville is a growing centre. It has to build on the things it has. It has a great educational institution and I am glad that this Government has given the mandate back and has allowed it to expand and to develop. And for the first time in three or four years the people up there are feeling a bit better and are able to develop. So we are getting there in that sense, but when it comes to those types of comments they are not welcome, and in Stephenville they are certainly not welcome. And the staff over there have been getting those shots for the last six months, and I think it just time to stop it, that is all.

Now getting on to our Budget, I am going to read a few notes here. This comes from a document and I want - this is a little game now for about a minute. I am going to read the document and I want you to guess which one it is and where it came from.

'Ladies and gentlemen, in the last several weeks the Government has been reviewing the economic and financial performance of the Province with a view to preparing the Budget for' - I do not know what year. 'In doing this we must also look ahead to see what we can best expect to happen in the next year or so. We have been striving in this environment to develop a financial plan, a financial plan which will carry us through the recession and set us on the road to recovery'- recovery. 'The Budget will be presented in March and will provide the full details of this financial plan. We have recently come to a decision regarding Government's wage policy and we feel that it is appropriate to advise our employees. Newfoundland and Labrador is not yet blessed with a well-determined broad economic base. Much of our employment' - and I will table the document - 'and production which determines our standard of living are based on the small number of resource industries, fishing, forestry and mining. 'Unfortunately, these industries are not recovering as quickly as expected from the recent prolonged deep recession and are only now beginning to come back. It will take some time before this slow recovery will provide jobs.'

AN HON. MEMBER: Do you want us to guess now, or...?

MR. K. AYLWARD: No, not yet, no, no. `Financially Government must act in a way similar to individuals. If income drops expenses must be cut. This wage restraint programme, announced in' - I will leave the year out - `allowed collective bargaining to continue but set limits on wage settlements. We now see that we have to take further measures to deal for the next two years. With these lower than expected revenues we did not limit our efforts to restraining wages. We reduced programmes in Government as well. Here are some of the cuts in expenditures that we made.

`Number one, reductions in hiring. Reductions in operating expenses, number two. Closure of health institutions (Inaudible). Programme reductions, elimination of student allowances, and introduction of tuition fees in vocational schools. Reduction in financial assistance to municipalities and school boards.'

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: No. `Road and building maintenance cutbacks. The health institutions that were closed were Northwest River and Markland. Funding limitations in hospitals.' And it goes on. (Inaudible) 'all these measures together have been helpful and indeed necessary but they have not been sufficient to restore balance to our financial situation. Yes, that is right. After all these measures, including wage restraints and many Government programmes cut and taxation increases, we still have not reached that balance.' Take a guess.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: The following address was issued tonight by the Hon. A. Brian Peckford, PC MHA, Premier of Newfoundland, in February 1984.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).


MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. K. AYLWARD: Oh yes, oh yes. I am tired - I have been hearing this tiring `you do this, you cannot do that, you are doing this, you are going to damage that.' And you have been over there, you have done it for years. I mean, the wage increases

from 1982 to 1985 -

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: Yes, on yourself that is a different story.

In 1982 it was 3.2 and 0 and 0 in the public service, less than a 1 per cent increase over the wages in four years and you are giving us the gears about a wage increase for one year, and an average of 5 per cent over four years. I cannot believe you. When you get up, I just cannot believe it, and you are the ones who put us in this situation.

The Federal crowd in Ottawa, they care a lot about us and they have really helped us out!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: Interest rate policy for where?

AN HON. MEMBER: Central Canada.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Yes, free trade for who, I wonder?

AN HON. MEMBER: For the U.S.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Well not for anybody else because Ontario is moving down there now. Read any of the business magazines or McClean's and there is nothing but businesses leaving Canada left, right and center going south. Buffalo is a favourite place they have, it is a great place. You sit here and say, this is incredible criticism. I am not so sure any more, I am getting a little tired of it to tell you the truth. Maybe it is because you are expecting to hear something that will say to us: Yes, you can do this and you do not have to do that. I have not heard a thing yet.

The gentleman who spoke a moment ago got up and said: Well what about this? The question I have for him is: Well, what about it? You tell us what we can do and I will go to the Premier today. But nobody has said, go do this because when you were there you did it worse and if you had the situation that we have now I do not know what you would do. You had a wage freeze two years in a row and a deficit of $68 million. Really, here I was the first ten minutes I was expected to say, well, this is a tough situation here folks, you know over there because you were in it. But, do not go telling me over here, you cannot do this, you cannot do that, when you did it and you did it worse than we did it. If you had the situation that we have today where you cannot even move, I do not know what you would do. As a matter of fact, I am glad you are not over here because I do not know if anybody could live through it anyway.

The Minister of Development said it last week, the first time in Newfoundland's history that UI claimants hit 100,000 was when they were the Government, not us, them. One hundred thousand out of a workforce of over 220,000 almost 50 per cent of the population was on UI when you were in Government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. K. AYLWARD: The first time that there are 200,000 employed in this Province is when we are the Government in less than two years. So, you might want to say that we had nothing to do with it but that is not a bad stand I will take it home any day of the week, no problem at all. So, if you are going to get up criticize us right, tell us how to do it and give us a decent suggestion for God's sake.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: My apologies to the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West. I did not realize he was trying to get up.

The recital from the hon. gentleman opposite had one person's name at the bottom of the list. It was the Premier of the day who did not mind going on province-wide TV and saying to the people in their living rooms, what the problem was. The Premier did not delegate it to some Minister who does not have any power apart from being able to blink. The Premier took it on the chin himself at that time. But today, Dr. Kitchen is out in Grand Falls facing the crowds who do not like what is going on, it is not the Premier and if it was not laryngitis it would be another reason. When we were in Government we took it on the chin. The Premier of the day, took it on the chin. He did not delegate it to his ministers to carry the can, he took it on the chin himself and herein lies the great difference.

Mr. Chairman, a lot of my colleagues here have quoted from a policy document put out by the Liberal Party during the last election. Let me quote from page 29, and I have often said that with regard to this Government's actions that Government, especially in rural Newfoundland, is essential to the economy. This document says: as the biggest business in Newfoundland and Labrador the Provincial Government itself should be decentralized so that as Government activities expand, and develop in the future, all regions of the Province will share in the benefits of Government expenditures. You people openly boast about the fact that you are shrinking Government yet your policy manual said that you are going to expand Government throughout this Province. You people are a total contradiction as to what you told the people you would be. You cannot be trusted at all. With all due respect to my colleague for Humber East there was a publication some time ago when feminism became popular. It was anti-feminist in a light kind of way. One book came out and said, 'real men do not eat quiche.'


MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. HEWLETT: There was another publication that came out that said, `real men do not pump gas.' Well, I tell you real energy critics do pump gas. If you watched the news tonight I think a lot of people in Newfoundland saw that not only is this energy critic pumping gas but that he is putting out the word that you have your hands in the pockets of consumers in this Province. It was a percentage when the price was rising, and as soon as you got it at a certain peak it was no longer a percentage on the way down, you fixed it. People said they did not realize they were getting ripped off to the tune of $10 or $15 extra million. You pretended that you were doing everybody a favour. You were being devious. You pretended you were doing everybody a favour. The next thing you will know, come January, is that you will expand and harmonize with the federal GST, drop it a point or two, and pretend you are giving everybody a tax break. The song `The Great Pretender' is really made for this hon. crowd opposite, Mr. Chairman.

Page 1 of the Liberal Party document; The Liberal Party believe that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador have the right to good paying and productive jobs without having to leave the Province. They are leaving in droves. Equal access to education for children no matter where they live in this Province. They are ruining rural Newfoundland. A standard of health care equivalent to the rest of Canada. Some laugh! Good municipal social and other public services. Everything is being cut to the bone. You people are supposed to be Liberals. The recession we dealt with was fifty times worse than the one you are dealing with now, you got on over there and said, do not cut back, do not restrain, spend, spend, spend, stimulate, stimulate, stimulate. That is what you said, and now in office you are the biggest ultra right wing Conservative crowd that anybody has seen in North American short of Ronald Reagan. There is hardly any chance of the economy overheating with this crowd, Mr. Chairman. At least we had worries of it.

An opportunity for our children to grow up and to be educated, to work and enjoy a full healthy and happy life right here at home. You are going to bring home every mother's son without hardship and the suffering of unemployment, poverty, poor health and educational facilities. You have made a lie of everything in your manifesto in less than two years, a complete lie of everything you promised the people of this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is not true.

MR. HEWLETT: That is true.

A Liberal Government will give our people that quality of life with the program and policies presented in this manifesto. We have a multi-page manifesto and everything in it is almost exactly opposite to the behaviour of the Government. I think a lot of the hon. Members opposite thought they were running for a Liberal Party. Well, once they achieved office they realized they were being led by an ultra-right wing conservative. I remember when I worked in the Premier's Office and whenever we got a round of applause from the Board of Trade we would look at each other and say, what did we do wrong. That is what we would ask every time we got a round of applause from the Board of Trade. Already the Board of Trade loves this crowd. That tells me something about what is happening outside the overpass in my District, Mr. Chairman.

Any Government in Newfoundland that takes into account the people of Newfoundland has to have a degree of socialism in it, otherwise this entire place will collapse like a deck of cards. You cannot play macro-economics in this micro-economy and expect it to survive. Unfortunately, you have Michael Wilson up there playing macro-economics in an economy of 26 million people and maybe macro-economics may work at that scale but down here you are destroying the place. It is like chemotherapy almost, it is worst than the disease at times, the medicine is killing the patient.

There are some wonderful quotes: a Liberal Government will either abolish school taxes or directly fund school boards from the generation of Government revenue. Post-secondary facilities will be expanded to allow for more students in rural areas.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HEWLETT: The Minister from Gander got his university. He got a courthouse, that was his consolation prize in this Budget. A half dozen communities in central Newfoundland went through great time and expense to put together a presentation for this Government for a central Newfoundland university and the outcome of it was a courthouse for the hon. Member for Gander, a consolidation prize, Mr. Chairman.

A Liberal Government would recognize the Department of Fisheries as the key industrial division of Government, I mean they wrote this, with increased budgetary resources we would expand, research, and develop a consolidated marketing program. I do not think there is a fisherman in the world who would believe that, Mr. Chairman.

Hospital beds remain closed while patients wait for months, sometimes in pain and anguish; doctors, nurses and support staff are overworked and in many cases underpaid. This critical situation must be alleviated immediately.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Member for LaPoile.

MR. RAMSAY: Mr. Speaker, when you talk of macro versus micro without the economics we might arrive at something like the former Government would entertain insofar as Hibernia goes. We remember the first announcement of Hibernia, not the second or third announcement but the pre-election announcement of Hibernia. We remember back then when the first time it was being counted prior to the discussions that led up to the Atlantic Accord. Now, prior to that, Mr. Chairman, the hon. Member, if we remember correctly, I think he was in the Premier's Office prior to the discussions that led up to the Atlantic Accord.

Now prior to that, Mr. Chairman, the hon. Member if we remember correctly, I think was in the Premier's office of the day. And back at that time there was a gentleman, I think the hon. Minister of Energy of the day was Mr. Marshall, if my mind serves me correctly. And in negotiations at that time with one the hon. Jean Chretien then, they had come to a deal, I understand. They came to an agreement. They had an agreement and they shook hands on it also. They had the agreement and if you recall later on the next day there was no agreement. It was a terrible thing. Ottawa had done it again was the term.

And apparently the reason was - I talk about this as a micro-economic aspect. Now, micro-economic not in the regular sense of what the word means. Micro meaning they were willing to settle for less for political gain. They could not have an agreement with Liberal Ottawa. They decided in their infinite wisdom to say: well, we do not want to overheat the Newfoundland economy, was the term that was used. Now if anyone would think that this deal that was proposed at that time was improper, well let's look at what did that deal have in it from what the rumour mill will let us gather -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) the rumour mill (Inaudible)!

MR. RAMSAY: The rumour mill, there are documents to back this up but they are confidential documents as I understand. But from what I understand there was no such thing as a transfer payment cut. There was none of this 98 cents on the dollar in transfers. There was to be a cap. Well, right now -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) rich!

MR. RAMSAY: Oh, you know so much about it! Ninety-eight cents on the dollar. I think I have hit a raw nerve. The Chretien deal at the time would have allowed the payoff of all - as I understand it all of the capital cost would have to be paid off first before there were any deductions on the transfer payments. Now that is quite a bit different from 98 cents on the dollar cut for every dollar of royalties coming in on the oil fields. Now, I may stand to be corrected and history may prove me correct, but that is a micro versus a macro.

Now they did not want to overheat the economy. They did not want to have a macro economy, in a totally different version of the word. But if you want to look at macro as a closed view of how Newfoundland could grow and that at the time, and micro as being small, microscopic, they preferred the micro, the microscopic, to the much better view of Newfoundland as an overall economy.

Now another thing I wanted to get at was insofar as the oil went at that time there were other things happening. And this concerns my district and I thank the hon. Member for Stephenville for bringing this up. The Western Community College, the Port aux Basques campus at that time, which was then known as the District Vocational School, people in our community were very concerned about that facility. And they took efforts through the community based groups to look at what would assist that institution in surviving into the future. Because they knew at that time the enrollment was very low and the number of instructors to provide that enrollment was quite high on a basis of students per instructor.

So what they figured at that time was they would take the institution and evaluate it, and see how they could change the course offerings. Along with some help at that time I think when certain courses were deleted from the curriculum of that campus, the hon. Member for Humber East mentioned. And those courses were taken out at that time because they were no longer of use to the work force that would be trained. So they changed. They brought in a programme of improving the welding skills of existing welders and training new welders. They also brought in a programme where the Provincial government of the day along with the Federal Government, paid to have the welders flown to Norway and trained in the offshore in the steel fabrication of a module. This was very, very excellent foresight, I would have to say, on the part of the local people, in making sure that these people were trained then, for now. Even though a lot of the sceptics thought that Hibernia would not happen, there were those of us who were working behind the scenes to make sure that we could target the Hibernia educational needs right now. This is being realized with the fact that the Western Community College Campus in Port aux Basques, possibly, will be the least affected of any educational institution in the whole Province, with the fiscal restraint situation we are now in.

The situation is that the NDT Programme was developed there, in training non-destructive testing personnel to work on the offshore, in testing the steel fabrication and other things that had to be done, as far as tests that had to be made, because of the high quality assurance programme that offshore standards make sure you need for the offshore. The NDT Programme was there, and that, along with a new plate fitting programme, where plates of steel have to be fitted together, is now a part of the training programme there.

As I notice, the overall campus will lose one instructor, I understand, in total. The other ones: We are developing a new literacy training programme for the whole of the Southwest Coast.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who are we?.

MR. RAMSAY: Well, the Provincial Government has some involvement in it, and the Community Futures Committee, with assistance from the IAS Committee - the Federal Government is supplying funding for that - and also some funding coming from Community Futures, and Enterprise Newfoundland is involved as well.

Now, all of these groups - and I say we, because I am involved at the community level - are assisting the people in the area who need literacy training, people who need to be trained with some useful job skills, through the gateway of Status of Women Council in Port aux Basques, who have developed some courses that are offered there in a variety of new areas. This is the kind of thing that other institutions throughout the Province will have to adapt to, as the courses that they are offering become redundant. Now, I say become redundant, because if you are offering a course that genuinely cannot train someone to be able to then take the skills they have learned, at a given institution, and go into the work force and be a useful employee in the work force, then you are just not doing what the money of the Governments, Federal and Provincial, should allow for. So this is the kind of thing, Mr. Chairman, that, certainly, we should all strive to do within our respective communities.

Now, I also wanted to note that, if we talk about this group here being ultra conservative, I think this is a very liberal minded Government. Now, our conservative response to a situation like this is very prudent. It is a very prudent thing to make sure that we do not run the debt up to a point where our borrowings get to be very tedious, and to the point where we would not be able to borrow $150 million a pop and would end up, possibly, only being able to borrow $20 million at a time. Then, the borrowing effort would be that much more, and the interest rates would be that much higher.

MS. VERGE: It is prudent to the people of Port aux Basques who have go to the Corner Brook Hospital.

MR. RAMSAY: What is that?

MS. VERGE: It is prudent to many of the people in Port aux Basques and Rose Blanche to go to Corner Brook for a hospital.

MR. RAMSAY: I do not say it is prudent to do that, but the thing is, it is prudent to spend what money you have and worry about the overall problem of the finances that you have. You do not want to bankrupt the Province either.

So, if we are going to offer good health care in my area, the area where I live, then we have got to make some adjustments to be sure. I do not fully agree with the overall picture for Port aux Basques, but I certainly feel -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I feel things will work out for the better in the long run, when we get things rearranged. Thank you.

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

MR. HARRIS: Since the debate is deteriorating a bit this evening I thought I would join in and perhaps tell hon. Members opposite some of the things they have been wanting to hear. They have been saying all along as part of their jeers and part of the arrogance, particularly from the backbenchers, what would you do? What would you do? What would you do? This seems to be the call of the backbenchers. Well, I tell you one thing we would do if we were the Government, Mr. Chairman, the New Democratic Party would do, we would be fair to the people of Newfoundland and we would not pick out public servants to bear the brunt of the economic downturn we suffer as a result of man-made inflation, man-made depression, made in Canada depression. They all talk about that. This is a Government policy of depression we are suffering now, the Canadian Government and now the Newfoundland Government. We would be fair and if there was a burden to be borne it would be shared by all the people and not just the people who happen to work for the Government or the people who depend on Government for their bread and butter, and meat and potatoes, if they can get them, and not their wine and roses that the Member for St. John's South talks about. We would work to eliminate special privileges, special tax concessions for corporations, special tax loopholes for the rich, special tax considerations for capital gains, all of those things that are unfair to people of this Province, and unfair to the poor, and unfair to the working people of Newfoundland, and all of Canada.

The second thing we would do, Mr. Chairman, is we would not discriminate against women. We would not single out women, in particular, for special treatment and discrimination. We would not do that. What this Government has done is singled out, over and above the treatment they are giving all public servants, they have singled out women who they have agreed, the Government of Newfoundland has agreed in writing that they discriminated against back in 1988. They are prepared to countenance that discrimination for a three year period for financial reasons that should not be countenanced. I do not believe, Mr. Chairman, that when this actually gets to the courts, who have some control over these people, I do not think that will be able to stand up, so we would not have to fight that battle because we would be out there making sure there was no discrimination against women.

Number three, what would we do? We would carry on a battle in this country to preserve the things that Newfoundlanders want and need from Government, and it would be a battle against that attitude, not only expressed in the Federal Tory Party, not just the Federal Tories, but also the Liberals in New Brunswick, the Liberals in Quebec, the Tories in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The one that says, and that we have heard the Minister of Health talking about in this House, about Medicare dying. We would carry on a battle against that. We would be carrying on a battle against the Federal Government's attitude towards established programs financing. We would not be saying, well, we have other things to do, as I think the Premier said in response to my questions about carrying on a battle to save Medicare: well, I cannot be doing everything. I am trying to save the country after all to the Constitution. I cannot take on every battle. Well, Mr. Chairman, that is the battle that we would carry on.

Another thing we would do, I suppose it is something that we would not do, we would not take away vision care. What does the Minister of Health think? Does he think that people say: Oh, I think I will go out now and get my eyes tested to waste a bit of Government money. Maybe I will check myself into a hospital to get some oral surgery done or some teeth jerked out just to waste some Government money. We are cutting out wastage in the health care system. Is this what the Minister of Health has to offer by way of brilliant ideas to save money in the health care system? We will cut out vision care. Who is not going to get vision care? Somebody who goes out there to get an eye test for a laugh just to have an appointment with an optometrist? Is that what we are doing? Who is not going to go? The person who is not going to go, Mr. Chairman, is the person who does not have the money in his or her pocket to put that child out to an optometrist to get a test, who needs to have that test done, that is the person who is not going to be able to go, and that is the person that this Government wants to have pay.

Do they really think people are abusing the system, going in and getting a doctor or a dentist to do an operation in a hospital on their teeth on their mouth because they want to waste the public purse, is this the attitude this Government has? It is ridiculous, Mr. Chairman.

We have in the back benches over there and in the front benches too, but I am concerned with the back benches. The Government has a job to do, they made their decisions, they are going to have to live by them. In the back benches we have a bunch of people who are joining in the complacency and the arrogance that we see in the front benches joining in it when they should be acting as independent Members of the House of Assembly. I am going to read to them a brief quote from an article written by one of their co-party members in the Ontario House of Assembly.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: No. Jim Henderson, he is a Member of the Provincial Parliament for the District of Etobicoke Humber representing the Liberal Party and he talks about the 1990 Ontario elections, lessons for Canadians. Well, Mr. Chairman, he says in this article, "In my opinion the vast majority of Canadians oppose the convention of party discipline which needs to be relaxed to allow elected Members to more accurately represent the views of their constituents. Forced to choose between personal conscience, duty to constituents, and allegiance to party platform Canadian legislatures overwhelmingly choose party. Well, that is what is happening over there, Mr. Chairman. He says, "It does not need to be that way. Experience has shown that Governments do not fall and Legislatures do not become unworkable when elected Members balance their responsibilities to parties and party whips with their responsibilities to constituents and to personal consciences."

Well, I say to those Members let your personal consciences be your guide. Do what you believe, not what somebody up in the front benches is telling you. They have you turned into a flea circus back there, hopping, flipping, and jumping up and down and making maw-mouth comments from the back benches over every little thing that somebody raises instead of standing up for your constituents and speaking out.

I am looking forward to hearing the speech from the hon. the Member for Trinity North. He has not been here very long but I know he went around in Trinity North in the weeks leading up to the election, where he was elected, telling people how he was going to come to the House and he was going to make sure that education and health care were not going to be cut back, and government services were not going to be cut back. Let him stand up here and now, never mind reading from the briefing notes like he was doing during the election campaign. Let him speak with his own voice, you are free now. You now have a seat. You have a right to represent the people of Trinity North. Stand up in this House, give us a speech, tell us what you are going to do, fight for those people here in the House. You have a lot of ideas you are a smart young man. Get up here and give us your ideas. Do not listen to this crowd up here. Do not follow the lead of the Member for Bell Island or the Member for St. John's South, speak your own mind. Do not try and leap into the front benches there. Stand up, make a speech, tell us what you believe in. Tell us what you are going to fight for. I know you are interested in Trinity brick, we are all interested in Trinity brick, my own office building that we shared for years is built with brick from Trinity brick for a specific reason, because it is Newfoundland brick. Fight for it, fight to change this Government, speak up, speak out loud, make a speech in the House, tell us about what you are going to do for your people. And do not follow the dictates of Party discipline and act like the baboons in the back. Do not act like the baboons in the back over there. Speak your own mind and tell us what you are going to do for your constituents, and fight against the attitude and arrogance and complacency you have in the front benches of your Government.

That is what I suggest to you, the hon. Member for Trinity North, and for all the backbenchers over there. Stand up and be counted and do not all automatically say that because it comes from the front benches, because it comes from the Premier or the Minister of Education or the Minister of Health, they are just doing the bidding of the Premier. Do not go along with it. Stand up and be counted and perhaps we will not have the same kind of arrogance that we have from the front benches and they will listen to the people of Newfoundland, change this approach, and stand up for the people and give up on this Budget. Change the whole entire approach and be responsible to the people who elected you and not turn your backs on them and not turn against them.

MS. VERGE: There you go. That's a challenge for the Member for St. John's South.

MR. HARRIS: Those, Mr. Chairman, are my comments at this point in time and I invite the Members in the back to get up and speak.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for St. John's South.

MR. MURPHY: I have no idea, Mr. Chairman, what a rock in a vacuum sounds like but I feel I have a hunch. The hon. Member for St. John's East stands up and criticizes this Government's position without one once of structure, without one once of constructive criticism, totally empty. He has just finished a hand-in-hand jaunt with Svend, taking Svend around, having Svend speak here and speak there and bring down the NDP policy at certain groups -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hand-in-hand?

MR. MURPHY: Yes, hand-in-hand with Svend.

Let me talk a little bit, Mr. Chairman, about some of the other provinces who have had to endure the Government of the party which our friend so adamantly decided sometime ago to get involved with, the NDP.

In 1987, Mr. Chairman, the Manitoba NDP brought in the largest tax increase in the Province's history. Included in this provincial surtax that had no credits available for the poor, had no surtax available to the poor, NDP philosophy, therefore, the poor paid the same percentage of taxes as did the rich. So, at least they had a stand. The NDP in 1987 in Manitoba put the poor on the same threshold with the rich. But, since 1987 they have had a great deal of difficulty finding any kind of a platform. They do not know if they believe in offshore oil and gas. They do not know if they believe in the seal harvest off the coast in the Province. They do not know if they are friends of Greenpeace or animal rights, they are not sure of their stand on so many other gender issues that our friend -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Don't you worry, when the time comes you will know my stand. The hon. Member for Humber East will know my position when the time comes. I am not running around Water Street getting twenty names for every foolish little petition I can get my hands on, none of that hogwash, enough of that. You had your opportunity for eighteen years to manage this Province and you mismanaged it. And the people of this Province got wise to you. Now, you are looking at a responsible Government and you cannot handle it, so sit and stew for another seventeen years.

In this same year, the hon. Member for St. John's East should know, the NDP increased the provincial owner car insurance, look after the poor, look after the people, rates by over 20 per cent.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Oh, yes. Now these two measures were the downfall, thank God, of the NDP in Manitoba and things changed. Now, this Province has a terrible confrontation with a deficit associated with the Workers' Compensation Commission. My hon. colleague from Placentia and I know only too well what has happened. But our friends in the NDP - the Workers' Compensation Board had a deficit of over $200 million under their rule.

Try this one on, after all the rhetoric the NDP is the only provincial government to permanently close hospital beds.

AN HON. MEMBER: She is gone boy, she is gone. Unbelievable.

MR. MURPHY: Then they show you they were not totally beyond themselves. They were a little bit entrepreneurship, the provincial telephone company corporation lost over $20 million in a venture in Saudi Arabia. Now, scudded out of existence.

AN HON. MEMBER: Another NDP government gone out of existence.

MR. MURPHY: Now, let us talk about the latest socialists who were elected to office in this great Dominion of Canada. Their theme was good, agenda for the people.

Now, Mr. Chairman, let me tell you that very soon after they got into office what their Treasury Board, not like the hon. gentleman in our front row, or their Minister of Finance or whatever, I am trying to find his name, he said: It would really be misleading to say we intended to implement the agenda for the people in this term of office. Then he went on to say: Our critics will have a field day, but it is quite right that many of the items in the agenda for the people are too expensive to implement. NDP philosophy. He said that it is very painful to have to admit, despite what you said when you were going to do, what you cannot do in the first term of office, NDP, no politician likes to live with broken promises.

AN HON. MEMBER: NDP philosophy down the tubes.

MR. MURPHY: Tuition fees, tuition fleas, this article has lead a selection of NDP flip-flops.

AN HON. MEMBER: The fleas that raised tuition.

MR. MURPHY: Before the election the hon. Robert Rae, who also walked hand-in-hand with Svend, to establish a post-secondary education system where admissions are based on merit.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Well, you may think I am disgusting but I do not think I am disgusting and the people I represent do not think I am disgusting. If you do not like it you can drink your water. As a matter of fact you can drink a barrel full of it, and as a matter of fact you can get in it.

To establish a post-secondary education system where admissions are based on merit rather than the affordable and eliminates tuition fees -

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

MS. VERGE: The other Chair of this Committee made a ruling earlier

exhorting Members not to make disparaging remarks about other Members. I assume that ruling would apply to a prohibition against disparaging remarks about people outside the House including Members of Parliament.

What we just heard the Member for St. John's South say was disgusting. I would ask the Chair to call on the Member to apologize for what he said.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for St. John's South.

MR. MURPHY: On that point of order, Mr. Chairman, I was happy to walk hand-in-hand with Clyde Wells upon Shea Heights and in St. John's South, I had no problem with that whatsoever. I made no disparaging remark that I should retract from this House and I do not mind saying it. I walked hand-in-hand with lots of my colleagues and I have no reason to retract that statement, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: There is no point of order. I do not know what the hon. Members are referring to in terms of walking hand-in-hand.

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

MR. MURPHY: Now, Mr. Rae to establish a post-secondary education system where the admissions are based on merit rather than affordability and to eliminate tuition fees, okay.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: After, the same gentleman, after an 8 per cent increase in tuition fees, no free lunch. There has never been a free lunch and there certainly is not a free lunch right now, Mr. Rae, the same NDP gentleman.

So, it is very easy for the hon. Member for St. John's East to stand in his place and criticise because he has nothing to show for his effort either in Ottawa or in this House to date. He has not offered one single solidarity constructive, objective, recommendation to this Government to change all the things that he does not like. So, I would suggest to the hon. Member if he is going to stand in his place and beckon new Members and old Member and whatever to stand up and speak out against government policy then he should have some policy himself that he is ready to support.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to say, I do not know why the Member for St. John's South decided to stand in this Legislature and to basically personally attack the Member for St. John's East. I do not know what he fears about the Member for St. John's East. I would suspect his greatest fear is the former candidate for the NDP, Linda Hyde, and in order -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, anyone who came in here with a one vote majority has every right to get up and lecture and preach in this House.

MR. MURPHY: Mr. Chairman, point of order.

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

MR. MURPHY: Two votes.

MR. CHAIRMAN: No point of order.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Well, Mr. Chairman, he just doubled his majority, we will give him credit for that. But one thing I will say, but while I disagree with the way the Member got on, attacking the Member for St. John's East, one could not believe that he was talking about anyone else other than the Premier of this Province. Because there has been no politician in the history of this country who has broken more promises in two years than this present Premier. And if this is what the Member for St. John's South says; that he is proud to hold the Premier's hand, well then he can continue to hold the Premier's hand. Because there are not too many people in St. John's South who want to hold the hand of the hon. Member.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Alright, but one thing, I will give the hon. Member credit for having the courage to stand up and say what he believes. I disagree with the way he did it. He stood up and said what he did.

Tonight in this Legislature I have seen one of the smallest, meanest minds at work that I have ever seen. When I see the Minister of Health, and to some extent the Minister of Development, encouraging the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island to stand on a point of privilege and distract a Member who was trying to read from -

MR. WALSH: A point of order, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

I have not recognized the hon. Member.

The hon. the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island.

MR. WALSH: Mr. Chairman, as far as I am concerned that is a statement that should be withdrawn. I did nothing more in this House tonight than the hon. Members did to people on this side on two occasions. One, the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture was using a piece of paper one day and was called on copious notes. And my hon. friend for Harbour Grace, the exact same thing happened. Two, Mr. Chairman, occasions from that side. I have been waiting for six months to get even. I have got even on behalf of the two Members on this side. Nothing more than was done from over there.

And the statements that he made about being mean and everything else should be withdrawn. I took my lead from the hon. Members on the other side. Being a new Member to the House of Assembly and learning from people who have been over there for eight to ten years. I am doing the best I can to learn from them.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island does not have to stand for two hon. gentlemen when it comes to speaking in this House. Because if the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island had to stand and say two sentences without a piece of paper the roof would cave in.

MR. WALSH: A point of order, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman , I have spoken with -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

I have not recognized the hon. Member.

The hon. the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island.

MR. WALSH: Mr. Chairman, I have been on this floor as many times as other speakers on this side and the other side, and I have stood three or four times tonight looking for an opportunity to speak, and I have been bypassed at the Chair's discretion and other Member's have been selected. I may use notes the same as any Member over there. I may do it the same as other Members over there. But if they are willing to attack Members from this side for using notes then it is only right that this side have the same opportunity to deal with them.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, as I have said earlier, if there is any Member in this House who should not poke fun at anybody else using notes it is the hon. Member.

MR. WALSH: A point of privilege, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island.

MR. WALSH: Mr. Chairman, I may be wrong but I look at that as nothing more than a -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

We are in Committee and you cannot raise a point of privilege in Committee.

MR. WALSH: Then, on a point of order, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. The hon. Member on a point of order.

MR. WALSH: I came here to represent my constituents just as well as any other Member in this House of Assembly, and for someone to make a reference to me for either not standing in this Chamber, or not speaking in this Chamber, is absolutely wrong and should be retracted. I was sent here on behalf of the people for Mount Scio - Bell Island to represent them and I will do it my way, which is just as effective as anybody on that side does.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

MR. HARRIS: To that point of order.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. Member for St. John's East to the point of order.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Chairman, I think the Member is abusing his privileges by standing up and making points of order when he knows they are not points of order.

MR. CHAIRMAN: It is difficult for the Chair to determine, until a Member expresses a view, whether it is a point of order or not. The Chair has the responsibility to hear every hon. Member in the House.

The Member for Burin - Placentia West

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I can say that my hon. colleague for Harbour Grace is one person who stands in this House from time to time and uses notes. He does not speak directly, he uses notes. When that gentleman stands in this House to speak on behalf of his constituents he speaks with a lot of sincerity and if he wants to use notes to do that he should have the right to do it, and no one on this side of the House, or that side of the House, should interrupt the hon. Member when doing so. I take exception to that, Mr. Chairman. That Member over there, the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island is the most incompetent Member ever to walk into this Legislature. You are making a fool of yourself, that is what you are doing, trying to interrupt other people. There is no place for it, Mr. Chairman, there is no place for it. We want to get on to more important issues.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island on a point of order.

MR. WALSH: Mr. Chairman, if he continues with that attitude in this Chamber I intend to continue to stand for my rights. The word `incompetence' brings into question my ability to serve my constituents, and the word `incompetence' should be withdrawn, Mr. Chairman. It is unparliamentary and it should be withdrawn.

MR. CHAIRMAN: There is no point of order.

The hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, there is no point of order and he continues to do this in the Legislature. I ask the Government House Leader to restrain his Member from interrupting someone else when they are speaking. If the House Leader is going to show leadership then restrain that Member over there from interrupting people, and continuing to make a fool of himself. He does not know how to conduct himself in this Legislature. Stand up and make a speech, boy. Get on your feet for ten minutes without notes.

Mr. Chairman, there are other issues I want to talk about. Tonight we talked about the Public Tendering Act, we talked about the transportation needs of this Province, we talked about the health care cutbacks, and the educational cutbacks, and now we see the Minister of Development on this evening saying he is going to continue to cut. We saw the Member for Stephenville tonight stand here and defend Government cutting back positions in the Western Community College. I have to say that I have a lot of respect for that hon. Member, and I do not mind saying it, but I think it is regrettable that happens. It is unfortunate that Members be placed in that position by this Government. I think it is time for the Minister of Education to start listening to all other Members around and to do something about the Western Community College system where people are losing their jobs. I do not think that is something that any Government should be proud of. I do not think that is anything that any Member should be proud of and to have to go back to their district with job losses.

Today we heard the Minister of Transportation talk about the increase in the cost for various (Inaudible), up to the tune of $90,000. (Inaudible) that with the closure of the registration office in Wabush and one in Clarenville. That used to serve the Burin Peninsula. Not in a very good stead, Mr. Chairman, because when one comes off the Burin Peninsula it is almost as well to go on to St. John's as go to Clarenville. But in any case it was there.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I was talking about the motor registration office in Clarenville and I was saying, when someone comes off the Burin Peninsula it is almost as well to go on to St. John's because you probably have other things to do as go to Clarenville. But in some cases it did serve the people of the Burin Peninsula who did not have to go to St. John's. And this Government has cancelled that. And that is a negative on the people of this Province, there is no doubt about that. Particularly the Burin Peninsula. I would suspect that there are many people from the Fortune Bay area, particularly the Terrenceville and the Grand Le Pierre area, who travel to Clarenville to do shopping, I would imagine. And probably the Member for Fortune - Hermitage can tell me that, but I would suspect that there are many of them who go to Clarenville to do their shopping.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island.

MR. WALSH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Even though there has been a certain amount of bantering back and forth between myself and I guess my colleague in the House tonight, I will agree to one item and one statement he made tonight and that was in the last three minutes of his speech, and that was very simple. That was the part where he said: it is difficult for a Member of the Government or any Member of this House and this Chamber to go back into their districts and have to deal with layoffs and people who are out of work.

And there is no question that I face that in my district as well as other people in this Chamber. I have lost nine people at the hospital and that is a hard, bitter pill to swallow. I understand today that we had some layoffs in the vocational school. I also find that a bitter pill to swallow. It is hard and it is difficult. But I will say that when I look at what happened in my district for the five years that the hon. Leo Barry served the district, I say thank God that this Government got elected. Because in five years, in the entire district of Mount Scio - Bell Island, that hon. crowd spent a total of $1.5 million over five years. They made the district suffer, they buried it at the Cabinet table and they buried it in the Chamber, simply because of who the leader was at that point in time.

Now it is time that we deal with the affairs of this Province in a responsible and rational way. When I look at how the previous government used their chequebook to put this Province further and further in the hole, it reminds me of an old saying that I have heard many times. Just because they thought there were cheques in the chequebook they thought there was money in the bank. And so they kept writing them. Billion dollars after a billion dollars after a billion dollars. And they just about buried this Province. They brought us to the brink of 1932 all over again. And it took me two years to understand what Brian Peckford was saying in his closing remarks when he announced that he was stepping down. That he did not have the ruthlessness to do what had to be done.

They continued to bury this Province year after year, slowly putting us into oblivion, and unfortunately decisions had to be made and they are now being made. Reality has finally come home to roost. There might be cheques in the chequebook but there is no money in the bank account. And it took seventeen years for that to catch up with that crowd over there.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WALSH: Well, stand up and challenge if you wish. If I am wrong I will apologize.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. WALSH: I will apologize if I am wrong.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. WALSH: Mr. Chairman, what we have to realize is that tough times call for tough decisions, whether it is in government or whether it is in private business. If we want we could carry on with the same spending spree that the previous government established for us. We could carry on for maybe another year. And then when our credit rating slipped from BBA- we would have fallen into a BBB. And the hon. Member for Mount Pearl knows what that would have cost us.

Now there may have been imaginative ways that hindsight - Monday morning quarterbacks can say: maybe we should have looked at this, maybe we should have chased that. The Government brought forward the policy that they felt was best suited to meet the needs at this point in time. No trouble to be a Monday morning quarterback. We can all second guess whether or not they should have pulled the goaltender at the end of the third period or whether or not they should have made the long pass or the short pass. That is what happens, and that is the advantage of hindsight and twenty-twenty vision.

But we are doing the absolute best that we can in the economic times that we live. And I make no bones about it. There are some bitter pills that have to be swallowed. But when it comes for me to represent my constituents I do not necessarily have to stand in the Chamber, yell and scream and ballyhoo, as the Members on the other side do. I can do as I have done. Establish meetings for the committees concerned with the Ministers involved. Meet with them one on one so we can hopefully address the problem and solve the problem. And that is exactly what we are doing this Tuesday with Works, Services and Transportation and the Department of Health. Dealing with it, and my constituents are willing to deal with it in a constructive manner.

As opposed to creating petitions that are three and four months old and bringing them in here as if they were generated this afternoon. Although there have been some that were generated this afternoon. When four people were in the gallery a petition with twenty names automatically appeared and was presented. A rightful petition, whether it has five names or twenty, and we accept it here. But we can create them in five minutes or it can take in some cases three months to have them delivered.

So, Mr. Chairman, tough times call for tough decisions. And it is much better that maybe we should not be dwelling on the negative aspects of the people who lost their jobs. Maybe we should be looking at also the number of people who have been able to maintain their employment and maintain their jobs because of the decisions that this Government had to make. Thank you.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. What a feeble excuse for a Member to get up and try to defend what has happened in his constituency. Hospital cutbacks. And this same Member stood in his place the other day and voted against a resolution asking for the deferment of the impending cutbacks. And now to get up and plead that he is concerned about them. The same Member to get up today and express a measure of concern about vocational school cutbacks on Bell Island, the same Member who has watched the Minister of Transportation cut out one ferry completely, the new one that was promised, that the Member stood in his place so many times. He used to say: oh I long for you to get your ferry for Fogo Island so that we can get the Beaumont Hamel. And now we do not hear one word about it.

And then the upshot of all is that he is trying to get in Cabinet. He must be trying to get in Cabinet, because perhaps for the first time we have heard someone suggest that maybe we have gone wrong. An admission of guilt I heard here tonight, that referring to Monday morning quarterbacks and how there might be another solution. Perhaps he thinks that the Premier is going to pick up this and all this acrimony that is out there in the Province toward this Administration will suddenly come to an end because the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island was going to come up with the solution. It was not in Cabinet, there was no one there who could come up with the solution.

AN HON. MEMBER: A new Finance Minister?

MR. WINSOR: A new Finance Minister maybe. Mr. Chairman, when my colleague from Burin - Placentia West was speaking the member for Mount Scio - Bell Island spent most of his time up on silly points of order, wasting the time and abusing the privileges of this House, getting on with nonsense. But, I have to talk a little bit about the Member for St. John's South who did a splendid critique of the Clyde Wells Government. I could not believe it, I said he cannot be talking about NDP Governments elsewhere, he must be referring to his own Government. He first talked of mismanagement.

Now, Mr. Speaker, what Government is mismanaging the economy more that this Liberal Administration has in the past three years? If you can find it, I would like for someone to point it out to me. He said that the NDP laid it on the poor and the needy, he said they taxed them. Mr. Chairman, the first time that social service recipients did not get a cost of living increase was in this Budget. Was the Minister satisfied at that? No, Sir, he was not satisfied at that. What did he do last week? He also announced in the Budget that people who were on short-term social service assistance will now not have their taxes paid by social assistance they are going to have to take more dollars out of their pockets. Now, Mr. Chairman, that is the Administration that is concerned about the poor and the needy of this Province.

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: Last October they cut out the single parent family and used their maintenance income as income. Now, Mr. Chairman, that is helping the poor and the needy of this Province.

Then he went on to say that they closed hospital beds. Now, Mr. Chairman, if my memory serves me right, I think the figure is 438. Four hundred and thirty-eight beds that this Administration closed down and he talks about another government closing hospital beds. What kind of nerve does the Member have to get up and say that somebody else closed off hospital beds? Never before has anyone done it. This Administration perhaps per capita the most beds that has ever been closed anywhere in the world. They did not close as many in Quebec.

In three Budgets I seem to recall three tuition increases, a 10, a 10, and possibly a 15 for next year. Now, Mr. Chairman, that was not an NDP Government that did that, that was a Liberal Government, this Liberal Government that is playing havoc with the lives of the people of Newfoundland, a 35 per cent increase. Since the Minister responsible for Employment and Labour Relations is in the Chamber I want to address a few remarks because I was unfortunate enough to have occasion during the last two years to be on Government Services, the Committee that examined in detail the Estimates of her Department. Mr. Chairman, my colleague for Harbour Main got lambasted by the Minister for daring to suggest that the Employment Generation Program was perhaps not up to scratch, a total flop. The Minister went on to talk about how she was going to have a new program, a good program, one that was going to replace the private sector program that had $7 million in it before because it was only a place for Tory Hacks, I think she might have used, patronage, and this new program was going to be the panacea, the cure for all the ills in the employment sector in this Province. Now, Mr. Chairman, what do we find? We find that last year in the Employment Generation Program there was $2.9 million allocated of which the Minister spent $2.2 million.

MS. VERGE: And there was political favouritism.

MR. WINSOR: Now, how can it be that this new program that was going to be so good, that was going to solve all the problems of the Province at a time when the unemployment rate in this Province was 17 or 18 per cent, and in certain areas as high as 25 or 26 per cent, and the Minister could not find enough people to work on the program so she had to let $700,000 go. She did not spend it. It is going to slip. I would assume that not enough people applied to take advantage of the funds, so much in fact that this year she has only budgeted $1.5 million, down $1.4 from what she budgeted last year at a time when we are into a great recession. There were 2500 laid off.


MR. WINSOR: I have lots of time yet. In fact we can stay here until 11:00 or 12:00 if we want to. I have one minute. Is that all?

The Minister is only called the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations in Government circles. Out there the pundits all call her the Minister responsible for unemployment, because while she has been there that is what she has been presiding over. Perhaps the highest unemployment rate that this Province will ever experience will be during the reign of that Minister.

I move that the Committee rise and report progress.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Trinity - Bay de Verde.

MR. L. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole on Supply has considered the matters to it referred and has directed me to report some progress and ask leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: The Committee of the Whole reports it has considered the matters to it referred and has directed him to report progress and ask leave to sit again..

On motion, report received, and Committee ordered to sit again on tomorrow.

The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have been desperately trying during the course of the day to come up with some method whereby the acting Opposition House Leader and myself could make some (inaudible) and perhaps end up sitting here all night but I have not been successful in that, I regret to say.

Mr. Speaker, it is my intent tomorrow, if we can get the leave of the House, to forego Private Member's Day. The reason is very simple, we are into Interim Supply. We must have Interim Supply by the end of the month otherwise the Government has no money and cannot pay its bills and the consequences that go along with that, we are all very familiar with that situation.

Sometimes governments have left it until the last minute to bring in Interim Supply knowing it is a relatively routine matter. In other instances governments have allowed debate of weeks and weeks on Interim Supply. In our case, we, I believe, have been debating for three or four days and I want to make sure there is enough time available in the remainder of the week to have adequate debate on the Interim Supply Bill that must be passed by the end of the week. So, I would ask leave of the House to forego Private Member's Day tomorrow so that we can continue the debate on Interim Supply.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, we in the Official Opposition agree with the proposition made by the hon. Government House Leader of foregoing Private Members' Day tomorrow and continuing with Motion 3, the examination of the Interim Supply Bill. We would like some indication from him at the same time though of his plans for tomorrow evening and Thursday, Holy Thursday.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Government House Leader. We agreed to stop the clock at ten.

MR. BAKER: First of all, there is another Member in the House who is not a Member of the Official Opposition and it would require his leave as well. So I would like to make that point.

My intentions are simply to debate Interim Supply tomorrow and if necessary on Thursday. We have gone a number of days and hopefully that will be enough time on Interim Supply.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It would be my wish also to continue the debate on Interim Supply and I am prepared to accede to the request of the Government House Leader that Private Members' Day be foregone tomorrow and continue this debate.

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