April 2, 1991                      HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS           Vol. XLI  No. 20

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

On behalf of all Members I would like to welcome to the Speaker's Gallery today, John Slaney, that young man of hockey fame who made us all proud earlier this winter and we would like to extend to him a warm welcome.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FLIGHT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to inform the hon. Members of the House of Assembly that this morning at 11:30, I released the Agri-Foods Task Force report.

The Agri-Foods Task Force, Mr. Speaker, was established in October of 1989 under the direction of Dr. Bud Hulan, and was set up to review the current conditions and future direction of the Agri-Foods sector in Newfoundland and Labrador.

This report is the result of over a one year study on Agriculture and related food industries. The three task force members were chosen from outside of Government in order to bring an independent perspective to public policy.

Mr. Speaker, when you and other hon. Members of the House have an opportunity to review this document, you will see that all facets of the agriculture industry have been covered.

The report, Mr. Speaker, deals with nutrition, sustainable agriculture, land base, leases versus grants, environmental management, safety nets, agricultural financing, taxes and farm management, staff management training and many other topics.

The report also looked at the import substitution, comparative advantages, and regional development, food product development, crafts and diversification.

It supports all of these areas, Mr. Speaker, by addressing the basic components of adequate education, training and research, and other support programs which are essential for the development of today's Agri-Foods sector.

At present, officials of various Government Departments are in the process of assessing the report and its many recommendations.

Once again, Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank Dr. Hulan and the entire task force staff for their dedication in the preparation of this document.

Thank you.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker. I guess the hon. Minister, or the Government, could not hide the report away any longer. Bud Hulan finally convinced them that they should report it, unlike what the Premier had promised the Chairman of the Commission he would do. The Chairman of the Commission was supposed to release this report some time ago - another commitment from the Premier that had been broken.

I just want to make a few comments on the report and thank the Minister for providing me an advanced copy of his statement. I did attend the news conference this morning and I must say the news media who attended - several of them who talked to me - are extremely upset because we had a statement given by the Minister and by the Chairman which had absolutely no content in it. We had a 400 or 500 page report dropped on the media this morning without any advance notice and they had no opportunity of reviewing it so they could ask the pointed questions that are necessary with this report. There should have been a lock-up for the media so that they could have some advance knowledge. Mr. Speaker, my cursory report of the review of this report would suggest that within the next three to five years we will have no hog industry in this Province. It will be very doubtful if we will have a chicken industry in this Province, and we will probably not have a Newfoundland Farm Products in this Province. These are the first two or three implications that I see, Mr. Speaker. Any chairman of any committee on agriculture in this country who says that Newfoundland should start within the next three to five years to phase out subsidies when our main competitors, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec are increasing subsidies to their farmers, Mr. Speaker, the whole basis of the report is wrong from the first page on.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. R. AYLWARD: All throughout the world, Canada and other countries such as the United States, are trying to get subsidies taken away from the European countries.

MR. SPEAKER: Time is up.

Oral Questions

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

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask some questions of the Minister of Health. Yesterday, when I tried to get some answers from the Minister about this improved health care system he is implementing in the Province, and in particular some answers about the Placentia area health care system, the Minister accused me of being almost dishonest - `mischievousness', I think, was the word he used - that these rumours were unmitigated, that there was no basis in fact and nothing had been communicated to the Placentia Health Care Board.

Let me ask the Minister of Health today, Mr. Speaker, if he will confirm that the Placentia Area Health Care Board has been authorized to keep ten acute care beds open, even though these beds were closed as part of the budgetary process, and further, contrary to the statements the Minister made to the press yesterday, that additional funds of $35,000 per month have been made available until such time as Government makes its final decision as to whether or not they made a mistake about the Placentia area health care. Will the Minister confirm if additional funds have been made available, and, in effect, those ten beds which were slashed in the Budget are now reinstated?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member obviously does not understand the process. When the Budget was announced that Budget was to take effect as of April 1, the new Budget year. Hospital boards were given their budgets then and told, in general terms, what they were supposed to do. In the case of Placentia, we made the announcement that they would be keeping open four to six acute care beds or holding beds, Mr. Speaker.


MR. DECKER: Between four and six acute care beds.

Now hon. Members are aware that the Placentia people were very upset over that and they came back to Government and accused us of making a wrong decision. Being an open Government, who listen to all our people, no matter where they come from, we listened attentively to what the people in Placentia said to us. They made a presentation to us. Now, Mr. Speaker, that was very late in March, just before Good Friday, and we never had time to deal with that presentation in any depth at all. So we found that we were nearing April 1, the time when they were supposed to phase down. Now remember, they had not phased down, beds had not yet been phased down. So we said to Placentia - there were discussions back and forth between officials in the Department - we are reviewing the presentation you made.

As of April 1, we will not have an answer. It might take to the end of this week or the end of next week before we have an absolute yes or no. In the interim, we do not want that board to throw anyone out on the street. That is not the intention of Government, and there was some concern this might happen. So we said, Look, bring her down to ten until you have your answer. Your answer will be available next week. They then said, What about the money? We said, If there is an extra cost, we will fund it at the rate of $35,000 a month. But, Mr. Speaker, we will have the decision long before the month is up; hopefully we will have the decision before the end of the week.

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

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, it is becoming very obvious who was mischievous yesterday and who was evading the truth at all cost.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, in a supplementary. In effect the Minister has just confirmed that the budgetary decision to close the ten acute care beds and go really to zero acute care beds at Placentia has been changed, that at least they have bought some time in the interim, and this Opposition is delighted that we have been able to impress upon the Minister to make that change.

Could the Minister tell us in a truthful fashion if Port aux Basques and Old Perlican have also received certain comfort letters allowing them to spend monies which were not budgeted, and if they will be allowed to maintain their services until such time as their assessment of a mistake has been made by the Minister and by his colleagues?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I have to address yesterday because the hon. Member is leaving the wrong impression in this House.

Yesterday the hon. Member from Ferryland was up stating that this Government had changed our plan on Placentia, that we are going to allow them to keep the ten acute care beds. That is not the case, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SIMMS: You just said it was.

MR. DECKER: We have said to the hospital board of Placentia, we are studying your presentation. And not being a callous, unlistening Government, Mr. Speaker, for a few days more, while we are reflecting on their presentation, we gave them a few days' grace and I do not think that is wrong.

There is no decision made that we will be keeping ten beds open. And I believe it is wrong for the hon. Member to suggest that, because he is raising false hopes in the Placentia area. The plan we have for this Province, I believe there is a place in it for Placentia. But I believe it is unfair to try to raise false hopes in that area, because the plan was well thought out, well researched, and I would suggest it is very unlikely we will make any change.

The hon. Member in his question suggested that we had instructed Placentia to go down to zero acute beds. That is not the case. We are saying to Placentia, four to six acute beds. The reason we are saying four to six: four to six acute care beds can be operated in a community health care centre without necessitating hiring any extra staff other than the people who run the community health care centre. That is why four to six is the important figure.

Port aux Basques and Old Perlican people have met with the Department of Health as well, Mr. Speaker, and the Port aux Basques people were asked to make more substantial changes than the Placentia area is making. They asked us early - just after the Budget in March - if they could have a month or so to do their phasing down. And the money is built in for that. We do not expect Port aux Basques to one minute be offering a certain service and the next minute stop. Government recognizes that there has to be a phasing down period. We have granted to Port aux Basques a phasing down period, and during that phasing down period we are talking back and forth to see just where we are going.

I have met with Old Perlican as well, and they are meeting with us later on in the week for further discussions.

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

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, I hope the Minister reads Hansard sometime after today to see what he just said. Because he is so evasive; he tries to avoid the truth at all costs in a very serious situation with health care in this Province. What I asked the Minister was: was there additional funds allocated for Old Perlican and Port aux Basques? The Minister did not answer that question. There is additional funds allocated in a letter from the Assistant Deputy Minister of Health to the Placentia Health Care Board on March 28. It says $35,000 a month extra will be paid until such time as the decision is made.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the question is, and the Premier can answer it, or somebody on behalf of the Government who gives straight answers, we had one large protest of 1,000 people in this lobby; we now have a situation where Placentia gets extra money in the interim period. That is not the same as Port aux Basques is getting, it is not the same as Old Perlican is getting. Now is the Minister saying that really in this Province the health care system is based upon how big a protest you can get, and if you get 1,000 people to protest you get a month's delay, and if you get 500 you only get a week's postponement? What is it going to be, a health care system or a political system?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, since the hon. Member invited me to answer it, I will. I say to the hon. Member opposite he is indeed being mischievous, because the truth of the matter is very simple and very straightforward.

Mr. Speaker, the Government announced its proposal with respect to the Placentia hospital facility. The intention in the long-term is to eliminate that existing facility altogether and to build adjacent to the existing senior citizens home a facility that will accommodate up to ten acute care beds and fifteen, I believe it is, for chronic care. Now that is Government's long-term plan. With respect to the hospital it announced that it would immediately reduce it to - I don't know whether it was four or six or four to six acute care beds. The hospital in Placentia came to us and four aid, Look, this cannot be right. You are planning to build a new facility that will accommodate up to ten acute care, yet you are going to say go down to four or six immediately. What about in the meantime? What are you going to do, cut us down now to four and then go back up to ten when the new facility is built?' Now that struck a chord in my mind. I said, Is there an explanation to this? So I said, Okay, you seem to have raised a point that needs to be explored further, and we agreed we would explore it further. Now that is the simple, straightforward explanation of it.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: But there is no indication there is going to be a change. We may still at the end of the assessment make exactly the same decision, and operate on the basis of four to six acute care beds in Placentia. If there is any reason to alter it or to increase it to ten, we will. We will not fail to do it because of the shenanigans which are going on on that side of the House now, we will do whatever is right in the circumstance. And that is all Government is doing. Government is not sitting back and saying, No, we made our decision. We will not talk to anybody. If we were doing that, you would be criticizing us the other way. So we have taken entirely the right and sound decision.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, a final supplementary to the Premier.

Albeit what he says sounds wonderful and grandiose, but there is a different set of rules in place today. Placentia is being treated differently thank God, because it is getting what it deserves. Other places, like Baie Verte and Springdale, are not getting fair treatment because they cannot organize a protest to come to this Legislature.

Now all we ask is that Government treat everyone fairly. What is in place today in this Province is a different set of rules and I would ask the Premier to confirm on behalf of the Government, if the Minister may have made a mistake in his new health care plan, that everyone who has a concern can get fair treatment and will get those decisions postponed until such time as they can be re-assessed.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the Government made its decision to review this for the reasons that I have just given; it had nothing to do with demonstrations. And the Member can organize demonstrations until he is blue in the face, it will not make any difference, Mr. Speaker, and it will not make any difference to what the Government's ultimate decision is. I believe you heard the Minister say he looked at another hospital situation in Port aux Basques and Old Perlican. I do not recall there being an Old Perlican demonstration or a Port aux Basques demonstration.


PREMIER WELLS: Okay, not yet. It does not matter whether there is -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: It does not matter, Mr. Speaker, whether there is protest or there is not protest, the Government is going to operate its medical and hospital plan in this Province on the basis of a fair and proper presentation of its plan: fairness for everybody. And we intend to maintain that. And the mere fact that somebody organizes 1,000 people to come to St. John's will not alter the decision one whit. Nor, Mr. Speaker, will we fail to alter the decision if it is right that it be altered merely because Members Opposite are going through this political charade they are going through now.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister responsible for Municipal and Provincial Affairs. Since many municipalities in this Province have had great difficulty in finalizing their 1991 budgets and we are now more than three months into their fiscal year, can the Minister indicate how many municipalities have not yet finalized their budgets and how many submitted budgets that were returned because they presented deficit budgets?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, I cannot give the House an exact number of budgets that have been submitted to the Department. I can say as I said the other night, that I gave the councils extra time because of the phase in of the grants program. Normally they would submit their budgets by the end of the calendar year, but I said the end of March would be fine. Most of the budgets are in I would think, some 90-odd per cent of them. What was the second part? I think that was your question, in essence.

AN HON. MEMBER: How many deficit budgets?

MR. GULLAGE: One deficit budget was submitted and, as the hon. Member knows, that budget was sent back. It has since been balanced. I am not aware of any other budgets being submitted that were not balanced.

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

MR. WINSOR: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker. I would suggest that the Minister check with the Town of Gambo to see what happened on their budget. Will the Minister then explain how the financial situations of Corner Brook and a couple of other municipalities were so radically different from the other municipalities in this Province that he had to intervene months ago and give them special considerations, while other municipalities in similar financial situations have not gotten special consideration?

MR. POWER: Fairness and Balance. Do not forget!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, all municipalities were advised that if there were special circumstances the Government should be aware of in submitting their budget, special circumstances that would lead us to give special consideration to a given municipality, they were to let the regional offices know about that when they were doing their budgets, and in preparation of their budgets, because there is an ongoing consultation back and forth between the regional manager and the town or city involved. Municipalities have been doing just that, Mr. Speaker, and if there is a circumstance in a given municipality where special treatment is required, certainly we would consider it, based on a recommendation received from the regional office.

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

MR. WINSOR: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Since the Minister was able to find some extra money for CBS who were experiencing financial problems because of an audit of their 1990 fiscal year, can the Minister tell us if this audit is complete for all municipalities in the Province, and how many more were like CBS and could find themselves in a favourable position at the end so you could give them extra grants?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, at the end of every fiscal year the audited statements of municipalities are received by the Department and those audited statements reflect adjustments in the grants and in other parts of their budget, but specifically your question, I believe, is to the grants. In the case of Conception Bay South the adjustment caused a favourable amount of dollars, I think it was $91,000 that was available to CBS as a result of the adjustment. This is not abnormal. Every year when the audited statements are received from all municipalities we make adjustments in the grants, either upwards or downwards, based on the actual figures reflecting the situation in the town or city up to the end of the fiscal year. In CBS's case, and I would suggest perhaps in others, there will be adjustments that are favourable and would cause them to be helped with balancing their budgets.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the Minister of Finance a statement pertaining to the now infamous payroll tax, or his Health and Education Tax, and he answered at the time that he thought I misunderstood. Let me now quote to the Minister from Page 12 of his Budget document of last year, 'This measure is expected to generate $15 million during 1990-91 and $25 million in 1991-92.' Mr. Speaker, would the Minister now tell us, since he actually generated $28.6 million last year, versus the $15 million he had estimated, and he is now predicting $42.5 million this year versus the $25 million he told us last year when he introduced the tax, would he now explain the variance in this tax and the reason he was not able to predict more accurately the impact of that tax?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I assume this is the difference between the Government's internal accounting as opposed to the net amount, but I will check into the facts of the case and get back to the Member.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, that has to be the weakest answer I ever heard in this House of Assembly. Clearly the Minister of Finance does not know what his tax is all about. If I were to tell the Minister that the amount estimated from corporate income tax this year in his Budget document is $54.6 million as compared to $42.5 million predicted from the payroll tax and that I told him that is a 78 per cent increase in taxes on corporations in one year by this Government, in view of this impact on business, Mr. Speaker, will the Minister now produce his health and education tax to a tax at a rate of 0.85 per cent which would have the effect of generating the same amount of revenue as he had asked for when he introduced that tax in the Budget last year.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The answer is no, Mr. Speaker, we will not be reducing taxes.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, if the Minister would not consider that, would the Minister not confirm that this tax which is a tax on payroll regardless of the efficiency of the business, regardless of whether or not that business is making any money - it has no impact on the profitability of that company, it is simply a penalty on that company for employing people - would the Minister consider replacing that tax with another tax? Perhaps an increase in the corporate income tax which would give him the same effect as a 46 per cent increase, which is what his $25 million he asked for would be? Would he replace one tax with one that is a tax on businesses that can afford to pay, not on those that are employing, whether they are making money or not?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. KITCHEN: The answer is no, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Fisheries Products International has announced that they will close the Trepassey fish plant on September 27 1991, throwing over 600 people out of work. Will the Premier tell the hon. House what plans Government has to offset this loss of employment?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, there are a number of initiatives under way. Whether any one, or several of them, may bear fruit, is not yet known. As hon. Members will remember, Mr. Speaker, this came about as a result of the way in which the Federal Government has mismanaged our fisheries that caused the reduction in the total allowable catch and forced the closure of several plants in the Province. One at Trepassey, one at Gaultois, one at Grand Bank, and one at St. John's.

Now everybody agrees that the primary responsibility to deal with the consequences of that decision rests with the Federal Government. But fortunately, Mr. Speaker, the Province has not simply sat back and done nothing. We have put in place a number of efforts, working with the community, working with the companies involved, and the ERC has been making substantial effort, and there are a number of initiatives under way that Government is dealing with at the moment. I do not know whether or not any of them will be realized.

Over the last year, Mr. Speaker, there were a number of proposals, some of which the community was not enthusiastic about. There was one proposal at least that had some resistance from the fish plant workers and from the people in the community, and that has not proceeded. But there are others under way at the moment.

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Premier in making the announcement about the extension of time to keep the plants alive, which we appreciated, mentioned that they needed time to put diversification plans in place. Will the Premier not admit that as far as Trepassey goes that his Government has failed miserably to put anything at all in place? Because the initiatives that have been taken so far are ones that have not been taken by the Government?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is totally wrong in his suggestion.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: I am answering the question of the hon. Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, and I do not really care very much about what the hon. Opposition House Leader is saying. I will deal with the question of the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, Mr. Speaker. And his question was: will the Government admit that it has failed miserably?

No, Mr. Speaker, the Government was immediately successful by putting up some $14 million to enable that fish plant and three other fish plants to continue to operate for at least two further seasons.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

PREMIER WELLS: Let me repeat, Mr. Speaker. The Government was very successful in its endeavour by putting up $14 million to ensure that the four fish plants affected could continue for a period of time that would allow time for the Federal Government primarily to discharge its responsibility for the consequences that it was causing, and for the Province to work jointly with the Federal Government to try and achieve alternate economic opportunities for the people affected.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, we have gotten very, very little cooperation from the Federal Government. They seem to want to make sure that whatever is done they get total credit for it. They want the Province to take financial responsibility but they want all of the credit, so they keep insisting on going their own way. Well, that is okay, we can't alter that. We will let the Federal Government do that in whatever way it can. But in the meantime, Mr. Speaker, the Provincial Government has carried out its own initiative through the Economic Recovery Commission and through working with the community and with the company, and we will continue to do so.

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I say to the Premier that he was the one who said they needed time to diversify, and they have not provided any alternatives. I ask him, is this not really the work the Economic Recovery Commission should do, providing alternatives for a place like Trepassey? And will he now admit that the Economic Recovery Commission, the ERC, instead of ERCing has really been jerking around the people of this Province?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member's childish comment is hardly worthy of response.


PREMIER WELLS: It really is hardly worthy of response. It is so lacking in intelligence, Mr. Speaker, it is hardly worthy of response.

Mr. Speaker, the Economic Recovery Commission has been working diligently to try and find solutions to the problems not alone of Trepassey, but to the economic mess that the former Government put the Province in, to the economic mess that we inherited because of their gross mismanagement and their planning to buy jobs for people simply on a make-work basis.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: We have had to work diligently, and the Economic Recovery Commission has been making a magnificent effort, Mr. Speaker. And I have great confidence that given time, the Economic Recovery Commission will make a significant contribution to the recovery of the economy of this Province from the dismal mess the former Government left it in.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs in his capacity as the Minister responsible for Culture. The Minister will know that the closure of Mun Extension also involved the closure of Mun Extension Arts which provided employment for those working artists whose incomes are abysmally low, and also a high standard teaching facility, a major contribution, Mr. Speaker, to the cultural identity of this Province. What plans does the Minister have to make up this loss to the artistic and cultural community?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, we do, of course, have a direct connection with Extension Services that were provided through Memorial University, with many of the facilities used by Extension Services being available through the Arts and Culture Centre. We will continue, of course, to co-operate with arts groups which have been affected and do what we can to help them with providing the services they had provided in the past. Other than that, Mr. Speaker, we do have a connection, but all we can do is just simply assist in any way we can in their services in the future and we will continue to do that.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's, on a supplementary.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Mun Art Galley, of course, which is operating as the Provincial Art Gallery has been cut back as a result of this and working artists who had space to work out of and also a meeting place - it is a place to work and it is a place to interact with members of the public - have lost the space as well. Will the Minister, either himself or through his colleague, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, try to find and provide space artists can work out of and perhaps provide some of the courses and work the Minister's Government's Budget has cut back on? Is there something he can do in that area?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, the new Director of Cultural Affairs, Elizabeth Batstone, is currently reviewing the space allocations in all the Arts and Cultural Centres throughout the Province. Within her mandate she has been asked to look at the space being allocated to various arts groups, and as much as possible we would like to see available space outside the main theatres available to arts groups per se. Anyway we can help and assist in the St. John's area and in other areas where we have Arts and Culture Centres and space available, we will certainly do all we can.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Minister of Environment and Lands, to the same Minister, the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. This Government has put a lot of emphasis on regionalization of public services and I understand a number of municipalities in the St. John's Avalon region have put forward a proposal for a study on some environmental matters, especially as they relate to the Robin Hood Bay dump site. However, I am told their proposal has been turned down. I am wondering if the Minister could explain why if the councils could come up with their 40 per cent, he and his colleague, the Minister of Environment, could not come up with their 60 per cent?

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

MR. GULLAGE: A timely question, Mr. Speaker. I had discussions with the Mayor of St. John's just a couple of days ago concerning several studies that were proposed to be undertaken in this upcoming year. Yes, it is quite true to say that those studies are not identified in the Budget per se, but we are awaiting discussions which are taking place between the Department of Environment and my own department concerning, specifically, Robin Hood Bay, which is the most serious problem area in the Northeast Avalon right now from an environmental standpoint, and the other five or six areas of concern environmentally. So we are having ongoing discussions, Municipal Affairs with the Department of Environment, and if further studies are necessary, we will certainly look at cost sharing with the municipalities as we normally do, on a regional basis.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On a supplementary I point out to the Minister of Municipal Affairs that environmental investigations got $2 million in this year's Budget, up 100 per cent. I would ask him to bring this to the attention of his colleague, the Minister of Environment, because I gather that Robin Hood Bay is so full up it may soon throw up.

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

MR. GULLAGE: I am not sure if that is a question or a statement, Mr. Speaker, but I can assure the hon. Member that the Minister of Environment and myself are having ongoing discussions concerning the problems with Robin Hood Bay. We understand the seriousness of it. The fact that it has been used by some 17 municipalities, of course, compounds the problem, and we will do all we can in working with the municipalities to resolve the problem on a long-term basis.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Before proceeding to the next item of business, on behalf of hon. Members I would like to welcome a delegation from the town council of Bell Island represented by their Mayor, His Worship Kevin McCarthy, Deputy Mayor Charlie Bown, Councillors Gary Gosine, Albert Ash and Ambrose Rose.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!


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

MS. VERGE: This is a petition I wanted to present yesterday, Your Honour. It is a petition of artists and arts administrators who are terribly upset about the loss of MUN Extension Arts. The prayer of the petition is as follows: `The petition of the undersigned, the friends of MUN Extension, states that whereas MUN Extension has provided and continues to provide an essential service to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador; and whereas no other agency is capable of providing that service, MUN Extension should be reinstated. Your petitioners respectfully request that the hon. House take such action as may be necessary to ensure that Memorial University reinstates its extension service, and that it be funded and equipped to provide the services it has traditionally provided.'

I support the petition, Mr. Speaker. MUN Extension sponsored several programs. The one I would like to focus on in presenting this petition is MUN Extension Arts, which operated in downtown St. John's and provided courses in the Arts, workshops for professional artists and served as a focal point for artists of all disciplines in the St. John's area.

Mr. Speaker, there is no apparent replacement or substitute for MUN Extension Arts. I would like to quote from a letter written to me by several visual artists. It says more eloquently than I can say just how profound is 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. It is not only a meeting place and a rehearsing area, it is a high-standard teaching facility.'

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the Member for St. John's East asked questions about the loss of MUN Extension Arts to the Minister of Culture today. I hope that the Minister of Culture is listening to my presentation of this petition. And I am expecting him to speak to it when I sit down. I would like the Minister of Culture to tell us his assessment of the loss of MUN Extension Arts. What is his understanding of the role served by MUN Extension Arts? And how can he, as the Minister responsible for culture, offer any hope to these artists?

The largest concentration of artists in the Province is in St. John's. MUN Extension Arts was their focal point. In western Newfoundland we have the Memorial University Grenfell College Fine Arts School offering degree programmes in visual and theatre arts. And at Western Community College in Stephenville there is a two year diploma programme in visual arts. We have that kind of nuclei in western Newfoundland.

In St. John's, which has the largest concentration of artists, the focal point has now been lost. I would hope that the Minister of Culture is working with the Minister of Education, responsible for the University and the University cut of MUN Extension Arts, as well as his other Cabinet colleagues to try to bring back MUN Extension Arts. Or if not, to marshall other resources to allow the fine, creative programmes of MUN Extension Arts to continue in some other form.

Mr. Speaker, the Government has in the past year received two excellent reports on the significance of the arts to our Province: the O'Flaherty committee report on Provincial arts policy, which was given to the Minister of Culture a year ago; and recently the Economic Recovery Commission commissioned report by Jay Barry. Both of those documents illustrate the significant contribution of artists to our Province in terms of spiritual enrichment as well as creation of wealth. Artists are important contributors to our economy.

What is the Minister of Development going to do to assist in the replacement of MUN Extension Arts? How can the Ministers opposite expect our wonderful, professional artists in the St. John's area to continue to live here and create and make their art, if they do not have the support of MUN Extension Arts?

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Before recognizing the hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, I wonder if he would mind if I just took time out to welcome the council of the town of Grand Falls-Windsor. The delegation is comprised of the following people: the Deputy Mayor, Stirling Thomas; Councillors Walter Clarke and Pat Melvin; and the Town Manager, Mike Pinsent.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I stand in support of the petition so ably presented by my colleague, the Member for Humber East.

The Memorial University Extension Service provides a service well above and beyond what they probably have been mandated to do. Now I think this is perhaps where Government has fallen down in relation to the full understanding of the impact of Memorial University's services, especially on rural Newfoundland.

If we look at the Budget that we are now discussing in the hon. House we see that the areas of the Province that have been hit hardest are the rural areas of the Province. And that shows a complete lack of knowledge and appreciation for rural Newfoundland by the present Government. The elimination of MUN Extension Service - I know they will blame it on the University, but the lack of funding basically dictated what the University had to do - the (inaudible) of this service and the lack of Government's intent to try to convince or provide funding to reinstate the service shows a lack of commitment to the rural parts of our Province.

The Minister of Development should be one who would be concerned here, not only the Minister of Provincial and Municipal Affairs who was directly involved in relation to the arts and artists and what have you, but the Minister of Development and Tourism, because of the positive effects the MUN Extension Service was having on the promotion of our culture and heritage around the Province - and let me say to the Minister that in several parts of the Province, a number of the festivals that have been held, a number of the revivals that have occurred in relation to reviving the culture and the heritage of people in different areas, and I am thinking about the French on the west coast and the Irish in our own area, MUN Extension has been front and foremost in promoting this. Might I say to the Minister even that a song that he enjoys playing recently would not have been recorded except for MUN Extension; it was because of the recording of a folk festival that certain song writers have come into prominence and their works have been recorded and distributed and now enjoyed by people like the Minister of Development.

So, MUN Extension has gone into the rural areas of Newfoundland with ideas, not just promotion on the arts side. The incubator mall concept in Pasadena I understand, was part of the work of MUN Extension, they were heavily involved in that.

We have community channels that had been set up to promote local knowledge of what is going on, to give people a chance to get involved to look at themselves to discuss their own problems, it is a forum for the people of local areas who have no direct contact with Governments, Federal/Provincial Governments, to bring forth problems in their areas, but more importantly, Mr. Speaker, it is a forum for the people who are directly involved to bring forth solutions and anybody who has watched some of the forums, The Empty Nets along with a number of other local forums set up by MUN Extension, in many cases broadcasted over large areas through connections with the various cable stations, we have seen local people identify problems, but then they have gone on to offer solutions, something which governments grope for, trying to find solutions in areas where they have no idea what solutions will work and we always say that if governments listened more to the people who are directly involved, then many of the problems would be solved.

We see a typical example of this here today with the Placentia situation where, if Government had listened to the Member for the area three weeks ago, they would have come up with the same solution they came up with now, but governments do not listen, Mr. Speaker, and services such as MUN Extension Service does provide an opportunity for people to have their voices heard and positive things result, so certainly, Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to support the petition, I hope Government will look at the positive side of having a service provided to rural Newfoundland and, to urban Newfoundland, because St. John's certainly benefitted, as the presenter said from having MUN Extension; the technical service they provided to the various groups has been invaluable, the expertise that they have has been invaluable and overall the Province has benefitted because we had Memorial University Extension Services.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, the presenter of the petition mentioned the O'Flaherty Report and the report commissioned by the Economic Recovery Commission, O'Flaherty of course dealing with a review of the Arts in the Province and the ERC commission report dealing with cultural industries in identifying the importance of arts and culture as an industry per se in the economic potential of focusing our efforts on our culture and on our history and on our arts. I think there is no question that both reports have pointed out that we can in fact do a lot more than we have in the past; we have enormous potential for development per se and of course the Department of Development and Tourism was mentioned in that light and I think we will be pursuing - I do not think, I know we will be pursuing many of the initiatives identified in both reports.

As a matter of fact we have already started as far as the O'Flaherty report is concerned with initiating many of the suggestions in that report. This year, of course, in the Budget, we increased the Arts Council funding by some $100,000. That I think is a start in the right direction because they were deficient in funding, finding it difficult to operate and fulfill a difficult mandate which was given to them.

As I mentioned earlier, Mr. Speaker, I have asked our Director of Cultural Affairs to recommend a better use of our space in various buildings throughout the Province. I guess specifically the Arts and Culture Centres, but we have other buildings as well. But certainly in the Arts and Cultural Centres we do have space outside of the main theatre area, office space and other storage space and so on that can be made available to community groups. We as a Government would like as much as possible that these Arts and Cultural Centres focus entirely on arts and culture as opposed to other uses. We have from time to time seen other uses prevalent in these buildings, and we are not sure that is - as a matter of fact we are sure - she said, we are not sure - we are sure that is not the right way for these centres to operate. And with the pressure that we have been receiving, concerns expressed by the arts community, and I guess, confirmed by the O'Flaherty and the Cultural Industries Report that we do have to make the space we have available in arts facilities, more available to arts and cultural groups. We will certainly do that wherever we can, and that relates directly to the petition, of course, in that if we can help in any way to ease the burden of the change, and the shift in priorities, the difficult budget decision that the university had to make, if we can ease that burden in any way, by way of assisting with space, if that space is identified, we will certainly do that. And we have had some preliminary discussions with some of the staff and people who have been impacted. And if there is any way my Department, and I am sure I speak as well for other departments which could be of assistance such as Development, we will do all we can, Mr. Speaker, to assist in these difficult times and facilitate the adjustment that has to be made by these groups in trying to carry on with their programs given the change in their mandate.

Thank you.

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

MR. POWER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to present a petition today on behalf of twenty-seven or twenty-eight constituents of the District of Ferryland who are attending the Cabot Institute who are very concerned about the cutbacks in educational funding. In presenting this petition, Mr. Speaker, I want to say that I fully support the petition and have signed it. I like everyone else is very concerned in this Province at the educational cutbacks that are happening in the post-secondary level which could have very drastic and serious affects on many of the young residents of this Province.

Of course, this petition is asking to protest what might happen in the event of cutbacks at Cabot. That is one of the interesting things which has happened here since the Budget was announced on March 7, I have not seen exactly what effect the cutbacks are going to have on Cabot. I am very surprised that the Board of Directors at the Cabot Institute have not called a public press conference to announce what their response will be to the reduce funding amounts that they have at Cabot. I know we did have 500 or so students here and teachers protesting one afternoon to say that they did not want any substantial cutbacks at the Cabot Institute and that what they were doing was very meaningful and very significant.

But somehow or other since the Budget they have not announced, and I think it is time for the Institute themselves, the Board of Directors over there, to announce their reaction to the educational cutbacks. And I just wonder what it means for some of the community colleges or the Avalon Community College itself what interaction there is going to be there and what kind of programs are going to be cut. I wonder what is going to happen at the old Vocational School Community College Campus at Bell Island, if that is going to continue to stay open, if it is going to get any increased funding or if it is going to be significantly reduced at a point that next year - and what I fear for some of those old vocational school campuses which we spent a lot of time trying to make into community colleges, and trying to do the provincial institute system, that has very quickly got off the rails with this new Government. They really did not have a chance to grow. The community colleges never did really have a chance to prove their worth in a rural Province. The provincial institutes, Cabot being one, the Marine Institute being the other in St. John's, and, of course, the Fisher Institute in Corner Brook were meant to be significantly different than a community college, were meant to be able to deliver programs of a two and three year duration, very high tech courses which will be fairly intensive in the equipment and the teacher requirements for those kind of courses, and I wonder what is really happening at the Cabot Institute? And it has not been announced yet. And there is a lot of concern amongst a lot of the teaching staff there, amongst a lot of the students and parents of students as to whether they are going to be able to continue on to their two and three year diploma programs or whether they will be stopped in midstream sort of and not be able to complete. I do not suspect they would be stupid enough to do that, that they would allow some mechanism to make sure that any student could complete their course. What really concerns me about this Government is the fact that they seem to have attacked the post-secondary side of education in a very significant way. The reductions in funding to community colleges and provincial institutes is going to have a very drastic and dire effect on many of the future job opportunities for many of our young students. Mr. Speaker, I can understand that the Province does not have all the money it would like to have and if there is a vocational school campus that has a very low occupancy rate I can see reducing courses there, and I can see terminating some of the staff there, but not when you have a place like the Cabot Institute where some of my constituents have to fight and be on a waiting list for two or three years. Sometimes some of my constituents have asked me for three or four years in a row to write a letter to Cabot and to talk to the officers there to see if they can get in but it is just not possible to do. The Cabot Institute is an integral part of the vocational system of this Province, the same as Memorial University is to those kind of students. Any significant reductions at Cabot will have a significant impact on many residents in many parts of rural Newfoundland, particularly the district of Ferryland, and I just want to say, Mr. Speaker, in tabling this petition, that I am very, very supportive of both the Cabot Institute and our post-secondary system. I wish it was a priority for this Government, and somewhere along the way I am sure they will have to make it a priority if they are ever going to attain the economic diversity that they keep talking about, that educational opportunity is one of the first steps in economic development. I just hope that the Cabot Institute is not severely hurt in this recent wave of educational cutbacks.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to rise in support of the petition so ably presented by the Member for Ferryland. I, too, have had similar petitions from my constituents from Cabot, and I have to say that since my election I have not had correspondence and representation from any group of people more so than the students of Cabot who are quite rightly concerned, Mr. Speaker, as to what is going to happen to the Cabot Institute as a result of Government measures. We are dealing here with an institution, and Government cannot use any of the excuses it comes up with, about under-utilization, giving people the wrong courses, or nobody going to these courses. It was my understanding that there is no course at the Cabot Institute that is under-subscribed. Every single course has a waiting list for people to get in and in some cases, in fact, I understand for the nursing assistants program there is a waiting list of five years to get into the program. This is a vital institution for the post-secondary education of our students. Many of the students who were concerned wrote me, Mr. Speaker, and asked me to speak on their behalf. They were very concerned about the consequences that might befall Cabot, particularly with respect to the business education programs. This is an area where we have seen, not only this Government but the previous Government, allow the public provision of post-secondary education, particularly in this sector, fall away to the private education system with, in some cases, disastrous results to students and particularly to students who have had courses that never did finish and courses where they were inadequately prepared, and courses which left them with huge expenses in student aid and student loans that they are responsible for despite the fact that they have not gotten the quality education. Mr. Speaker, the only way we can guarantee quality education to students of this Province is if Government takes its responsibility seriously and ensures that we have high standards and high quality institutes such as the Cabot to be able to continue to provide the programs and provide the level of service that our students need. Mr. Speaker, I am quite concerned that it has taken some time for the Cabot Institute to react to the Budget. I am concerned that the cause of that time is quite obvious, that they are having a very, very difficult time trying to figure out how to cope with this Government's apparently insensitive action with respect to the Budget. We are seeing examples of this ever since the Budget Speech has come down, Mr. Speaker.

This Government has made cuts based on their economic projections and based on their financial decisions, and they are now leaving the people of this Province to try and pick up the pieces. We have seen it in MUN extension arts where the artists now have no place to work or to operate out of, and the Minister of Culture says, 'Well we will do what we can.' Well that is not good enough, Mr. Speaker. It is time for this Government to take its responsibility to the people seriously and to do something to ensure that institutions, particularly the culture and education institutions that this Government does not seem to care about, are not left to wither in the wind by the Government policies that don't take into account what is needed for these people, but only take into account the budgetary implications for the choices that it made based on its interpretation of what the New York bond markets might or might not do, Mr. Speaker. The Government has a responsibility to the people of this Province and the students of this Province to make sure that these programs are continued, and I support this petition wholeheartedly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I want to agree with my hon. friends that Cabot and many of the other institutions do outstanding work, not only in helping individuals develop as human beings, scientists, and technologists, but in terms of the development of the Province. They play a very important role in the development of this Province and will continue to do so. Unfortunately this year for a variety of reasons they have a difficult financial situation. As my hon. friend from St. John's East knows the Federal Government has cut - he hates to hear this, but it is a fact of life - the Federal Government has cut dramatically the transfer payments and has made it difficult for us to provide all the funding necessary.

So we have asked Cabot to look at all the options, and other colleges. I am pleased to announce that many of the other colleges have announced their decisions. They did it this week and they did it after a great deal of consideration of all the options. Cabot is taking a little longer. It is my hope that they will make their announcement shortly. We do know that Cabot is looking at management, supervisory personnel first. As a set of guidelines we asked all the colleges, before they cut programs that impacted negatively on individual students, that they looked at management, supervisory positions, and they are doing that. We asked them to look at any duplication of programs, and if a program was offered in an adjacent campus we would eliminate these programs and not others which are not available. We asked them to look at low enrollment courses where small numbers of students were available. There are not many courses at Cabot which have low enrollments because as the Member for Ferryland indicated, Cabot has had a long list of applicants for various programs. But our hope is that in any reductions that Cabot makes, as the other institutions have, they will protect as far as possible individual students and student programs. Certainly the Government does not expect an institution to cut programs when students are halfway through without providing an opportunity for students to complete their program - certainly we would reject that as a Government. I might say that the people at Cabot are genuinely concerned about student welfare, they are looking at all the options, and we hope that they will announce their decision shortly. I understand the concerns of students, I understand the concerns of faculty at this difficult time, but we ask them to bear with us for a short time longer.

I would add one additional thing, Mr. Speaker. We are delighted that this Government has announced that we are going ahead with a centre for engineering technology. This will help this Province focus on technology to prepare our people for the 21st century. We are delighted. We announced that this year, and we are going to go ahead with that very shortly, and this will expand the opportunities available for students so they can serve this Province and so that this Province can develop as a real partner in the Canadian Confederation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to have the opportunity to present this petition on behalf of constituents of mine who are presently attending a post-secondary institution here on the island portion of the Province.

The prayer of the petition is that: as a voter and one of the many citizens who believes that Cabot Institute is vital to Newfoundland and Labrador, I strongly oppose any move by Government to reduce programmes or cut funding to the Cabot Institute. Thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians need Cabot Institute to ensure the economic future of Newfoundland and Labrador. We want quality education and we deserve no less.

The prayer of that petition really says it all. I represent a district, as I have often said in this House - and to some people on the other side, it does not seem to have sunk in yet - that is the richest in this Province. While it may also have the highest per capita income it also produces the highest revenue of any electoral district to the coffers of this Province, and one of the reasons, I suppose, it is one of the richest, is not just the resource that is mined from the ground but the resource of the people.

The people in western Labrador, I would think, probably have the highest level of education per capita in this whole Province, in secondary and post-secondary education. Of course, what that does is give the two mining companies operating in western Labrador a very well trained and educated work force which makes them one of the most efficient mines in the whole world. They understand the global economy, they participate in the global economy, and they win in the global economy. Even with the high burden of local taxes - and when I refer to local I mean local Provincial taxes, such as the infamous payroll tax, even with these drawbacks and handicaps that are placed upon them they are able to be very productive. And again, it is largely due to the efficiency of the miners, the people working in the mines, and that efficiency is brought about because of the training they have received.

Now, a lot of these people working in the mines have students out here, their children are out here going to a post-secondary institution, and they are afraid, as the Minister suggested earlier - I could not quite get it, whether or not the Minister suggested that he was going to ensure - and I hope the Minister of Education is listening to me - that he will guarantee that none of the programmes that are presently in place that is either a two or a three year programme is going to be cut in the middle, so that a person who is doing a two year programme will not have the opportunity to attend a second year, to complete that second year of that programme. There is a fear of a lot of the students who are taking these programmes, on a two or three year programme, and they are afraid that they may not have the opportunity to go ahead and complete that programme in the second or the third year. And I hope that the Minister hears that and will respond to it so that it can allay the fears of these constituents, of these students.

Now it costs an individual from western Labrador approximately $8,000 to attend a post-secondary institution here on the island portion of the Province. Now that is a lot of money, because it costs a lot more to send a student from western Labrador to a post-secondary institution here on the island portion of the Province. A lot of it is due of course to the high travel costs that they have to incur to get here. They also like to be able to get home, get back to their families at Christmas or the March break. That is part of it. The other one of course is the added burden of being so far away from home and extra phone calls. These are all part of the attempt to get an education for a child if you are living in western Labrador.

That is why I am pleased to have the opportunity to urge this Government - we do not know yet what the cuts will be - I hope that it is not going to be too drastic, I hope that it not going to be as great as the cuts in the hospital that we had to take. Because in order for this Province to have any future we have to invest. And I repeat, invest, in the future. And that investment into the future is an investment in the children's education. And I would urge the Government to consider and put health and education on their priority.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to support the petition presented by my colleague from Menihek in which he asks this Government to take a second look at the possibility of cutbacks to programmes at Cabot. Like my colleague from Menihek I also share the same concerns because several students have come to me on several occasions quite concerned about their programmes, particularly in the areas of Secretarial Science or Accounting or in first or second year of the programme, and there is a real fear out there in the community that this Administration, because of its cutbacks to Cabot, will not allow Cabot to fulfil its obligation to students who had started programmes.

This is fundamentally wrong because, when these students enrolled in that programme, it was their belief that the Cabot Institute would be able to allow them to graduate from that programme. Now, because of budgetary cutbacks, there are some implications that they might not be able to complete them. Mr. Speaker, this sudden, I suppose de-emphasis on the value of education, is an about face for this Administration where in 1990 in his Budget Speech the Minister said that: this Budget was committed to improvements in three areas, Health, Education and the Economy.

In 1991, what we find happening is: To Health there was certainly no commitment. They slashed Education and they did not do anything in 1990 or 1991 for the Economy. Perhaps one of the areas they could help the Economy most is by educating its people and that is where, as a Province we failed quite considerably, in not having Education put on the plateau where it should be.

Dr. Warren, in one of his famous themes at Memorial, always said money spent on education is not money spent but money invested. Now, I wonder why as a Minister of the Crown, he does not believe the same thing; he does not believe this any more, he does not believe that money spent on education is money invested; he now sees that education spending has to be slashed, has to be drastically cut, and while the role of community colleges and other post-secondary institutions in this Province continuously change and evolve into something else, what we cannot afford to do is to curtail or cut the programmes that these institutions have offered.

As society becomes increasingly more technological and everything else, then it is increasingly important that these institutions continue to fulfill the role they had in the past and indeed, instead of being reduced in the level of courses they offer, it should be increased, so that young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will be able to avail of the opportunities. We are going to, if we continue on the road that this administration has started, we are going to find that not only is there a brain drain from the Province because of a lack of opportunities here, but because you failed to stimulate the economy we are going to find that the students are going to go on to other schools elsewhere in the country, and the level of our schooling will deteriorate.

Already, we cannot compete. Our best athletes go to universities on the mainland because of scholarships. Our best people are leaving the Province, many of them never to return. The programme this Administration has embarked upon will only make the situation worse, so I call on the Minister to take a second look at the programmes that he has in place and assure the students of Cabot and the instructors that the present level of programming will remain in place so students can continue and improve upon the courses that they are presently taking.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Cabot Institute is an institution which has been in existence for a long time in this Province and it is located in the district that I represent, St. John's Centre, so we look forward to having visit our district, people from all over the Province, to participate in the valued programmes that we offer in St. John's Centre through the Cabot Institute.

I too, have received letters from constituents concerning the Cabot Institute, letters from students and others who are sometimes concerned about what may or may not happen.

This is a concern that is genuine, and some of it, I think, has been sponsored by fearmongering which people have been engendering. The very many constituents, young students and other people consult as to whether they should go to Cabot or Memorial or whatever, so there is a fair amount of advice going on by Members in the city, certainly, and perhaps Members outside as well, as to Cabot Institute and other things.

There is no doubt that we have to look at our budgetary questions. We have to look very carefully in this Province at how we spend money, and it is not just sufficient for people to get up and say: we should spend money on this and money on that and particularly, I might point out, the rather strange points that are being made across the way. When people say to me: why do you not reduce the health and post-secondary education tax, which was mentioned earlier, and at the same time they want us to spend more money on health and post-secondary education - there is something incongruous.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

DR. KITCHEN: I do not want to get into a debate on this, Mr. Speaker, because it is not the right forum. But I will point out that this year's Budget contains an increase over last year's Budget for education, an increase of 2.8 per cent. And included in that is several million dollars more in the area of student aid.

The future of the Cabot Institute is going to be a very glorious one, and some of the plans that have been revealed here by the Minister of Education with respect to the future, with respect to the College of Fisheries and the College of Trades and Memorial University, all this makes for a tremendous, exciting era of post-secondary education in the Province.

The future for Cabot Institute and for the College of Marine Technology and for Memorial University - these are great futures. What we have to do now in the short term, is to look carefully at the way we manage these institutions so that they are done very efficiently and that the solution is not perceived as one where we just throw money at the problem, and hope that by throwing money at the problem you will cure it. Because, Mr. Speaker, the money just is not there to throw at the problem. We have to spend our money in a smart fashion in education rather than just spend more money.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to be able to present a petition of residents of the town of Pasadena in the district I represent.

The prayer of the petition is as follows: the petition of the undersigned, the friends of MUN Extension, states that whereas MUN Extension has provided and continues to provide an essential service to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and whereas no other agency is capable of providing that service, MUN Extension should be reinstated. Your petitioners respectfully request that the hon. House take such action as may be necessary to ensure that Memorial University reinstates its Extension Service and that it be funded and equipped to provide the services it has traditionally provided.

I support the petition and I have signed it, Mr. Speaker.

These petitioners for the most part are involved in economic development in the Humber Valley area. And they have appreciated, and they know their area has benefited from, the involvement in Humber Valley economic development of Memorial University Extension Service. MUN Extension has had a field worker based in Deer Lake serving the western region of the Province for the past several years. Tom O'Keefe held that position for several years, and since Mr. O'Keefe moved with MUN Extension to the Clarenville or Placentia area, Brian White held the position, until of course the service was extinguished and he lost his job.

The MUN Extension field worker at Deer Lake has been involved quite effectively with municipalities, the Humber Valley Development Association, the Pasadena Economic Development Committee, the Pasadena Venture Centre, as well as business people and other citizens, in developing businesses in the area, in particular, the agriculture and tourism industries.

Both agriculture and tourism have only been partly developed in the Humber Valley area. There is tremendous untapped potential. The MUN Extension field worker at Deer Lake was actively involved with the Humber Valley Development Association in sponsoring the annual Strawberry Festival, an event that capitalizes on both the farming activity and the tourist potential of the Humber Valley region. The Strawberry Festival has been held each Summer for the past several years and each year it gets better. For the past two years in the Winter there has been a fairly intensive process of evaluating previous festivals and developing a long-term strategy. Recently, I attended a full day Saturday workshop on the Strawberry Festival and at that day-long meeting Mr. Brian White for MUN Extension took a leadership role. Mr. Speaker, the Pasadena Venture Centre was established with Federal funding a few years ago and it has been operated with provincial subsidies and it has been a novel approach to enticing business starts in our area. The MUN Extension field worker in Deer Lake has worked hand in hand with the staff of the Venture Centre and the town of Pasadena, in promoting the use of the Venture Centre. One of their most creative projects has been their television production beamed by satellite through most of North America. The second television broadcast included a link with the United Kingdom.

Mr. Speaker, these petitioners have been involved in all this business development activity and they feel keenly the loss of MUN Extension. Now, these people and I, Mr. Speaker, strongly object to the Government pumping all kinds of additional money, and new money, into Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador and the Economic Recovery Commission at the same time as they have eliminated completely MUN Extension. There does not seem to be any logic in the approach of the Government. People are, in increasing numbers, discovering that this Government lacks a plan. The Premier does not have a vision.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wish to support the petition presented by the Member for Humber East. The petitioners have, along with many other people across this Province, expressed their concern that the Government has seen fit to remove budgetary funding that would make MUN Extension possible. The Member has given a number of examples of how MUN Extension has been successful in working with groups and organizations in the area of Pasadena, and these examples are repeated all over the Province, Mr. Speaker. All over the Province MUN Extension, through its particular skills and abilities in helping people work together, have been able to generate economic activity, cultural activity, activity which has important developmental value for this Province, as it has in the rural area provided a vital development and a vital area of contribution. In places like St. John's MUN Extension Arts have added to the cultural identity of this Province. We have had petitions presented today, and questions today, to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs and what he says in response is: we will do what we can. Mr. Speaker that is not good enough. If Government is serious about what kinds of efforts, decisions, conclusions, and accomplishments that have been made by MUN Extension, culturally through MUN Extension Arts, developmentally through the Extension Services, all across this Province, if they are serious about that they will not just say, well, we will do what we can. Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador might pick this up. We might find a bit of space in our Arts and Culture Centres to have a few works shown. That is not good enough, Mr. Speaker. When are they going to take seriously, for example, the contributions of artists alone in this Province? When are they going to start seriously. They should not have to come to this Government as supplicants, `please let us exist as artists. Please let us exist' - they should be recognized by this Government for the contribution they are making not only to the culture, but to the economy? How many of these artists who have signed these letters and petitions are contributing to the economy of this Province? How many paintings, how many wall hangings, how many of these things are sold in Toronto and the rest of this country and to people from around the world who come to Newfoundland and buy these things bringing dollars to this Province? When are they going to take it seriously?

To suggest, Mr. Speaker, that putting $100,000 into the Arts Council, which is so badly underfunded, yes that is fine, that was part of their plan and it was badly needed. But when you do that on the one hand and take the guts out of an institution that has provided the basis to encourage not only artists themselves to continue to work and to share their knowledge with others through education, to train new people, to train students how to be artists and how to act as artists and to learn about it, all of those things are being ripped out of the cultural community, ripped out of the culture of this Province that has been part of for the last thirty years, MUN Extension. It cannot be replaced by a business consultant from Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador. We are talking here about a culture which involves people like Tom O'Keefe and other extension workers who have contacts in the community, who can work together, who know how and have the experience to bring people together to work together to create new things and to bring new ideas to fruition. That is what is being lost with MUN extension, Mr. Speaker, and this Government fails to recognize it. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Order 15, Mr. Speaker.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act Respecting Restraint Of Compensation In The Public Sector Of The Province". (Bill No. 16).

MR. SPEAKER: The debate was adjourned by the hon. the Member for Humber Valley, I believe.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I want to have a few words on this Bill 16, or as we are debating now, actually, the six month hoist. Mr. Speaker, I believe if this Government was a prudent Government they would agree to delay the implementation of this Bill for six months, as recommended or moved by the Member or Grand Falls, the Opposition House Leader. Mr. Speaker, there is just one small reason why they should defer it. The title of this Bill, An Act Respecting Restraint Of Compensation In The Public Sector Of The Province. Mr. Speaker, if there was ever a misnamed Bill, if there was ever a bill with a name which did not completely represent what was inside its cover, this bill is it. It would be more appropriate if this bill was named a bill with respect to rolling back wages for public servants of this Province. It would be a more correct name. If this bill was named a bill to take away monetary gains by public sector employees, Mr. Speaker, it would be more appropriately named. If this bill was named a bill to take away pay equity from women who work in the public service of this Province, Mr. Speaker, it would be more appropriately named. But it has not been named that way; this bill has been named to give the impression that it will not have an effect on the public servants of this Province.

Mr. Speaker, if this was not such a serious situation it would be almost comical. This Government, especially the Premier of this Province, the first piece of major labour legislation they have brouht before this House of Assembly is Bill 59 all over again, and even worse. We were castigated by the trade unions in this Province for many, many years because we brought in Bill 59. What a draconian piece of legislation Bill 59 was. In hindsight we probably should have done some things differently, although at the time I was extremely supportive of Bill 59. I am not sure yet that it was completely wrong.

But, Mr. Speaker, this Government was going to change it all; this Government was going to improve labour relations in the Province - set an example of improved labour relations I believe was what they said, and the first piece of labour legislation this Government brings before this House of Assembly is a bill to take away benefits from the public servants of this Province.

I would like to read a couple of comments here which were given to me some time ago. It says, `In recent years economic development in Newfoundland and Labrador has been impeded by unsettled labour climate' - I wonder who said that? - `which has been a result largely of the failure of the Tory Government to recognize the essential role of unions in our society.' So we know now it was not a Tory who said it. It must have been someone else. `The record of the Tory Government in dealing with labour has been dismal. The adversarial approach has created some of the worst moments in this Province's trade union history.' I wonder who said that. I wonder which group or which party in this Province were touting only two years ago this type of political rhetoric and tripe. `Here is what the Liberal Government will be determined to create, an atmosphere of realistic co-operation' - that has to be the good one - `in developing labour legislation and in dealing with the public service unions.' Now that is what this Government was going to do when they were looking for votes a few years ago.

When they were looking for votes they were going to create an atmosphere of realistic co-operation. When they got the votes, when they got the support of the Fraser March's of this world, when they fooled the Fraser March's and the Leo Puddister's of this world and got their public support during the last election, what do they do? They bring in Bill 16.

AN HON. MEMBER: Grow cucumbers!

MR. R. AYLWARD: Certainly they would be much better and the unions would be much happier if they did grow cucumbers and threw Bill 16 in the garbage, where it should be thrown. `The Liberal Party policy of fairness and balance will be the basis of negotiations.' That has to be a statement that will go down in history from this Government. The Liberal policy of fairness and balance will be the basis of negotiations. And after negotiations are finished, we will throw whatever was negotiated in the garbage, we will flush it down the toilet. That is what the Liberal Government is saying.

`Mutual respect and genuine concern for the welfare and interest of all sectors of society, employees, employers, and the public at large, that is the Liberal policy on labour.' And this is the Liberal action on labour, Bill 16. I cannot see the relationship here. I do not see how they jibe.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: No. There is certainly no balance here, one hand is much heavier... one is weighted a lot more for votes than the other. That is what I would say. And the timing of this one here, which is weighted on the side of the votes -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Yes. Good? Another Liberal Government in Canada announced a wage freeze, and we have a Member across here who is supporting a wage freeze in this Province. Now was the New Brunswick announcement similar to the Quebec announcement, I wonder? The Quebec announcement honours negotiated agreements, as you said you would do during the last agreement. The Quebec agreement does not tear up what was negotiated through their collective bargaining system. The Quebec agreement does not abolish the collective bargaining system, jump in the middle of it and throw it in the garbage. I wonder, is the New Brunswick wage freeze - we are not saying anything about your wage freeze. I am not saying a word about your wage freeze, because I was in support of bringing in a wage freeze. I supported the wage freeze the Tory government brought in, yes. The two year wage freeze plus two and two or two and three, I supported that wholeheartedly. But we did not tear up any contracts when we did it. We did not break faith with the unions. We put it to them up front that this was what was going to happen, and when their contracts ran out, when all the benefits they negotiated and got ran out, what did we do? We froze wages.

AN HON. MEMBER: We did not lay them off!

MR. R. AYLWARD: We did not throw 3,000 of them out on the street. We did not do that.

AN HON. MEMBER: No, you carried them all off and put them in jail.

MR. R. AYLWARD: No, Mr. Speaker, I do not think we carried them all off and put them in jail either. I do not think we did. I think there were a couple who went to jail. Union leaders mostly went for a while. I do not think any of them spent too much time in jail. As far as I know, the ones who did spend time in jail were getting paid negotiating pay, at time and a half or double time. I would probably spend a few days in there myself if I were getting that kind of money.

But when the Government put out this policy here, progressive and fair legislation must be to deal with the issues of double-breasting. Is that dealt with in this first major piece of legislation? I do not think so. Industrial standards. I do not think there are any industrial standards in this here except very low industrial standards, if you want. Progressive and fair legislation will help to develop the minimum wage. Congratulations to the Minister of Labour who yesterday, after two years, increased the minimum wage by fifty cents an hour, twenty-five cents an hour, or something.

AN HON. MEMBER: Fifty cents.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Fifty cents and hour. Good! You did it.

The first thing in your labour policy you have done since you have been elected, in two years - the very first thing. I have found one thing on this page, where you increased the minimum wage from $4.25 to $4.75, or is it from $4.00 to $4.50?

MS. COWAN: And changed the two tier system (inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: And changed the two tier system. Congratulations! I give you credit for that. I congratulate you for it. That is a good move. That is one of the things you said on page 20 of the Liberal policy manifesto that was touted around this Province as the real change in 1989. You have accomplished one very small part of what you promised to do, and congratulations to the Minister for doing it. It is not a major reform. It is not something that is going to change labour relations in this Province, as you said.

Here is what you said: `Progressive and fair legislation must be developed to deal with such issues as pay equity.' Have you done that? Have you dealt with pay equity fairly and developed fair and progressive legislation to do that? Have you, to date, announced a fair, progressive way to deal with pay equity in this Province, or have you delayed it? Or have you recognized a legitimate, honest discrimination in this Province of ours? Have you recognized that and then decided to ignore it? Is that what you have done? Or have you brought in fair, honest legislation as you promised, as the Party you supported promised in 1989 to fool the people into voting for you, to fool the people in Conception Bay South to get you elected? Have you done that? Have the people in Carbonear received fair and progressive legislation dealing with pay equity to date? No, they have not. This is what you promised. The people in the hospitals in Carbonear voted for fair -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: No, I do not say they did, Mr. Speaker. Because they were confident we had it all put in place and you could not change it. I believe that is what happened with pay equity. But they certainly found out different than that. But this piece of paper here was put out with deliberately misleading statements on it to fool the people into voting for you.

MS. COWAN: Double-breasting?

MR. R. AYLWARD: To fool the people - yes, have you brought legislation in here for double-breasting?

MS. COWAN: It is on the way.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Oh, I see. It is on its way, yes. But have you brought it into this House?


MR. R. AYLWARD: Has it passed this House of Assembly yet?

MS. COWAN: Not yet, but it will.

MR. R. AYLWARD: So we do not even know what the legislation is. We do not know if it is good or bad legislation. How can you tell -?

MS. COWAN: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: I know what I recommended. Did you accept my recommendation?

MS. COWAN: I have not seen it yet.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Oh, I see. Well, you do not have it before the House, we do not see the legislation, I do not know if you accepted the recommendations we made, so how can I say you lived up to your promise? I do not know. That legislation might be totally different than what we recommended. Actually, our most important recommendation was to set up a task force or a royal commission to study the labour legislation changes we need in this Province. Now I do not know if you have done that with your legislation. If you did that, you would not be bringing in legislation. That is what the unions which came before us asked for; that is what employers who came before us asked for; that is what some of the union lawyers who came before us asked for.

Now if that is what you are going to do, congratulations again. You have actually completed two of your ten or fifteen promises you started in -

MS. COWAN: A good Minister.

MR. R. AYLWARD: A good Minister if she did it. But she did not do it. If she was a good Minister, if she was a Minister to stand up especially for the women in her area, some of whom I know voted for her - they were Tories, they were people who supported our party for a long time who voted for that woman because she was one of the people if the Wells Government was ever elected who was going to stand up for women's rights and women's issues. That is why they voted for her. They were pleased. They thought she would do this job better than the Conservative candidate, John Butt, who was a good friend of mine. That is why, they told me, they voted for this person, this Liberal candidate, because she would stand up for women's issues in this Province moreso than the other two candidates would, Mr. Speaker, and she has let them down badly.

And she has let them down badly. Because I have spoken to them since, Mr. Speaker, and they are disappointed in the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations who has on occasion after occasion had opportunities in Cabinet to stand up for issues that concern the women of this Province but has let her male counterparts in Cabinet override her and ignore the issues which are important to women.

You know, that was tried in our Cabinet when I was there. I am not telling any secrets outside of Cabinet, I say. That was often discussed in Cabinet meetings and Committee meetings and caucus meetings. And there was one person in our caucus, definitely always one person, sometimes she had support from male counterparts too, but there was always one person whom you could never get ahead of when it came to women's issues in our caucus, in our Cabinet, you just could not do it, and that is the Member for Humber East. She would not let you away with it. She would kick up such a ruckus, and eventually through logic and good arguments win over the other nineteen or twenty of us who might have been against what she wanted to do in the first place. She would not allow -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I did not understand. Yes, I was against many issues I did not relate to, being women's issues in this Province, because I did not understand them. I was against them and I do not mind admitting it. The same as the fourteen Members in your Cabinet now who might be against them. But I always could depend on at least one of my Cabinet colleagues, one of my caucus colleagues bringing me back to reality and explaining and fighting for the issue that person believed in. And I might say more often than not that Cabinet person would win me over; that person who was speaking for these issues would win me over because of her good arguments.

Mr. Speaker, that is not being done in this Cabinet. The Member for Conception Bay South, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, has let the women of her District and the women of this Province down badly. She had the support of the teachers, and the Government did, too, when they made these promises and some other promises where they broke their word. They had the support of NAPE. They had the support of Fraser March, getting his picture taken with a candidate in Mount Pearl, Judge Seabright. They had the support of Leo Puddister -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: On the Southern Shore I would say, Leo Puddister. He probably campaigned for the Liberals, but he is kicking himself now.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Yes, Mr. Speaker, they did have the support of the labour unions because of what they said, that they were going to bring in progressive and fair legislation on pay equity. That has to be the real joke.

MS. COWAN: Tell us what you did to the NTA (inaudible) before you brought in (inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: We discussed it with them. We let their contract run out. All the contracts they had there, all the agreements, all the benefits the NTA had, we let them have them. We did not take them away from them. We did not roll back their wages, and we did not fire 200 or 300 of them. That is what I did. What are you doing? You are doing nothing but taking away from them. That is what you are doing. Here is what you promised to do, but this here is what you are doing.


MR. R. AYLWARD: Whatever he has is contagious, Mr. Speaker. These are some other things you promised to do. These are your promises to get votes. This is the heavy one here, to get votes. You promised the sky to get your votes, Mr. Speaker, and this is the fairness and balance. This is the balance here, and it weighs on the side of getting votes. But this one here is going to get a lot heavier before the next one comes around, Mr. Speaker, because there are going to be more votes in this one for somebody else. I do not know if we will get them, but it will not be you. Maybe they will get them there, I am not sure. Mr. Speaker, there will be more votes in this Bill 16 here than there will be in this 1989 Liberal manifesto.

Here is another thing you promised: `While the rights of all workers must be protected, it should not be at the expense of the trade union movement and its members.' I do not know who suffered in the last hospital strike. I suppose the trade union movement must have suffered, because there was a $600,000 fine somewhere, with two union leaders on the verge of going to jail and they expected they would be in jail.

`A Liberal Government will also seek to enhance harmonious relations between employers and employees.' Mr. Speaker, as an employer in this Province they have certainly enhanced their relations with their employees. They have done everything under the sun to enhance their relationship with their employees. Actually, the ones they could not enhance, the 3000, they fired. Maybe the other thirty-odd thousand they have left are enhanced now, I am not sure.

I would say that one of the reasons the Government took the approach they did, we will layoff 2000 or 3000, they sat down one night - because there was no planning to this. It was admitted it was done only a day or two before, so the Premier and the President of Treasury Board sat down and said, Well, we have 35,000 employees. Now the biggest problem in this Province is jobs, employment. That is the biggest problem. It always is the biggest problem. So what will we do to solve that biggest problem? We have to save money, because we cannot afford to do what we want to do. They did not sit down logically and say we have to protect the jobs so that is not an option, we cannot lay off people because there is a big problem in this Province where a lot of people are not working, so what we will do, the logical thing I would say we will do, is save the jobs; rather than lay off 5 per cent of the employees, we will roll everyone's wage back 5 per cent. That is an option, a very controversial one. You would certainly suffer for it. But, they said, no, that would protect jobs, it is fairly logical, but it will really upset too many people. We cannot have 35,000 public servants in this Province upset with us, so what is the other step? We will take our 35,000 employees and we will lay off 3000 of them. We then have 32,000 left who are breathing a sigh of relief and saying, at least I did not lose my job. So you do not have so many people upset with you. You have 3000 people out on the street, you have again exaggerated the biggest problem we have in this Province, which is unemployment, yet `we do not have 35,000 people upset with us in the Province', you thought.

Well, Mr. Speaker, it did not work. Because when you did your health cutbacks you forgot the implications of the Placentia's of this world, you forgot the implications of the people who are served by the hospitals in places like Placentia, you forgot they would organize, and you did not expect that they would come in and beat the doors down in this place if things were not changed. Now, Mr. Speaker, the people from Placentia have been here once and they had an effect; they have an extra couple of weeks of service down there. But do not think that is the end of it, from what I know, and I am sure the Member for Placentia will say the same. If you cut what you said you were going to cut in Placentia, I do not want to be here the next time they come in. Because I think there is going to be trouble. They are upset people, and it would be wise for Government to review what has happened. You made a mistake. Not because of political reasons or anything else, you made a mistake! You cannot put terminally sick people in an ambulance in Placentia and try to get them over the Argentia access road in the middle of the winter. You cannot do it. They are not going to get here. They are going to die on the way.

You have closed hospitals in rural areas, in remote areas and you have cut your Air Ambulance budget. It does not make sense to me at all. I mean, it is completely opposite. You put money into road transportation, but you cannot travel by road when the roads are blocked. The Minister of Transportation has made sure that the roads will be in poor shape and blocked as much as he can, because he has changed the overtime policy of staff, he has cut back on maintenance money, he has cut back on snow clearing and ice control money. So you cannot get them to hospital in the ambulance, because your own Minister has cut his budget to pieces so that the roads are not going to be in good enough shape. The minimum you could have done was to have kept money in for the Air Ambulance Service. But you took, I think, a half million dollars out of that, too, so there is no plan, there is no logic to what you are doing.

The promises you made during the last election, the great vote-getting promises you made to fool the Fraser March's of the world and to fool the Leo Puddister's of this world into standing up before a camera and looking like an idiot now - I am sure Fraser March must feel very uncomfortable when he is sitting down at a meeting with 100 of his people looking him in the eyes and saying, Mr. March, did you not help to put those fellows in there? I am sure he is very uncomfortable every time a bunch of women look at him and say, but, Mr. March, did not the Tories have pay equity in place? It was only a matter of working out the details. Mr. March, did you not help put these people in there who took it away from us?

I would say Mr. March is very uncomfortable and hopefully - do you know what you are forgetting? I mean, the polls are good, the polls are running fairly high since Meech Lake. I would say they are probably in the fifty-five, fifty-six range. That would be my guess right now, two points lower than we were when we went into the last election. Just remember that. Just remember that. I do not mind anything less than 60 per cent. Because you give me twenty-one days, Mr. Speaker, and we will work on that 60 per cent. I will give you a twenty points advantage in Kilbride and you give me a twenty-one days, and see if I would not turn it around in Kilbride.

Mr. Speaker, with all the euphoria of the polls and everyone tapping you on the back and a lot of people saying what a great job, what you are forgetting is that you got in here under false pretences, you got in here by the lies in your manifesto. That was one reason why you got in here; you got in here by rigging a poll, which was admitted by one of your workers. You rigged the poll the last week of the election -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: No, I do not. It was reported in the paper. Mr. Speaker, I do not think I am telling any secrets there. The support you do have, without Meech Lake I would say it would probably be fifty/fifty again. Or it is probably thirty/thirty/thirty now. Maybe that crowd there might have more support too. Mr. Speaker, only for Meech Lake, I would say support would be a lot different. And I congratulate the Premier on fooling a lot of people on Meech Lake. Yes, he did a great job. The Spin Doctor spun out a lot of propaganda on that. He fell into an anti-French feeling. He admits some of it, but he will not admit it all. But you cannot get away with this stuff twice; you cannot lie to the people twice like this, you cannot get away with it on a second occasion. Unfortunately, I only have three minutes left. But I will have another chance to speak in this debate.

Mr. Speaker, `Liberal Government would also seek to enhance relations between employees and, at the same time, enable employees to increase the rewards of their labour.' Yes, you are going to increase the rewards with - where did it go? - this Bill 16. They should gain a lot of rewards for their labour with Bill 16, Mr. Speaker. They should be able to - what does it say? `At the same time enable employees to increase the rewards of their labour by promoting a profit sharing and stock participation arrangements.' Now I do not know how public servants are supposed to avail of this profit sharing and stock participation arrangements. I mean, that does not make sense to me at all. They are your employees, they are the ones you are supposed to be looking after, but you are doing a very poor job of it with the first piece of major legislation you have introduced after all these promises.

I see another one. It is too bad the Member for St. John's South is not - I cannot say he is not here. He is out on business, Government business no doubt. They stuck a paragraph in the back of it, `Occupational health and safety must be a high priority. There is no priority. The Member for St. John's South must have gotten them to stick that in there.

Mr. Speaker, some of the things I read out here were the Liberal promises in 1989, only a couple of years ago, to fool people and to deceive people. The leader of this Province is the master of deception, the king of deception in this democratic country of Canada. The leader of this Government, Mr. Speaker, Premier Wells, is the master of deception, when he can stand before the people of this Province when he knowingly lied to them during that campaign. And there was a reason for it. There was a reason for fixing the poll, and there was a reason for lying with all these promises. Because he knew the real polls, and they were so far behind in the real polls that he had an NDP campaign. That is what he did. `Promise the sky. I am not going to get elected anyway.'

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. R. AYLWARD: `I am getting out of here, and I am going back to the law practice to make a pile of money.'

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.


MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. Member have leave?


MR. SIMMS: Is nobody going to defend this draconian measure?

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I hesitated before standing, because I thought a Member of the Government might stand to defend Bill 16, this ruthless rollback legislation.

MR. SIMMS: It is ridiculous. Not one of them over there has spoken except the President of Treasury Board. That is all. This is shocking.

MS. VERGE: Only the President of Treasury Board has spoken in this House on the proposed legislation so far. The other members of the Cabinet and the Government back bench Members sit silently looking sheepish. Of course, some of them in acquiescing to this rollback legislation are betraying their stated principles. The Premier and some of the others over there hold themselves out as people of high moral standards; the Premier particularly is big on ethics. Well where are their ethics now? Here they are after having negotiated several public service collective agreements, after having accepted arbitration awards, after putting disputed matters out to arbitration, now using their majority in the House of Assembly to renege on those contractual obligations, to wipe out salary and benefits increases in this fiscal year, and worst of all, to retroactively cancel pay equity which was supposed to be negotiated over a five year period from 1988, and take effect retroactively from April 1st, 1988.

Mr. Speaker, this legislation amounts to a betrayal of public employees, a betrayal of public service unions, and the worst betrayal of all is to women public employees. The only provision of this bill with retroactive effect is the cancellation of pay equity. The Government mouths support for the concept of pay equity, saying that they will implement it at some unspecified time in the future. Well, Mr. Speaker, what they are doing with this legislation is wiping out more than three year's worth of pay equity. Three years have passed since April 1, 1988, and women public employees who have worked from then until now doing work the Government admits is of equal value to their male counterparts, have been paid less than their male colleagues. Women in that situation who have retired already or who will be retiring in the next little while will never receive fair remuneration for their efforts. The pay equity adjustment that was promised and committed to them with effect from April 1, 1988 will never materialize.

Mr. Speaker, in speaking now I am supporting the motion made by my colleague, the Opposition House Leader, to delay for six months our consideration of this ruthless, regressive rollback legislation. In allowing for six months delay, we would hope that the Government would -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Order, Mr. Speaker! Look. He is yakking there all the while and he is not even in his seat.

MS. VERGE: - do in that period of time what it should have been doing over the last two years, certainly over the months that led up to the March 7th Budget and to the proposal of this legislation: Number one, checking the legality of their proposals. Number two, discussing with the public service unions, with public employees and with other citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador more palatable alternatives to the ruthless rollback.

I will discuss the first point, Mr. Speaker. On March 15, a day after Bill 16, this rollback bill was distributed in the House of Assembly, and after I had had a chance to read and consider it, I wrote a letter to the Premier, the Premier who holds himself out to all of Canada as a constitutional legal authority. What I said in my letter to the Premier is that he should refer this proposed legislation to the Newfoundland Supreme Court of Appeal for a ruling on the constitutional validity of the bill.

I reminded the Premier that when he was in private law practice there was a precedent for this type of Government reference to the court, and that was the Peckford Administration's reference of The Water Rights Reversion Act, an attempt to open up the inequitable Upper Churchill power contract which of course he, in his former life as the MHA for Humber East from 1966 to 1971, had voted for in the House of Assembly.

The Premier also had reason to recall that reference to the Court of Appeal because he, as a private lawyer, acted for one of the bondholders and in doing so opposed the Government's attempt to open up the Upper Churchill power contract and to change it for the benefit of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Of course, Mr. Speaker, that was not the first time the Premier acted against the interest of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in the courts. He acted for Prime Minister Trudeau and the Federal Liberal Government during the 1980s in trying to block our assertion of ownership of the Continental Shelf and the minerals under the Continental Shelf.

The Premier argued with all his might that the Federal Government owns our Continental Shelf. In my letter to the Premier on March 15, I continued by stating my own view, as a lawyer, that the proposed roll back legislation is unconstitutional because it violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In particular, I said, in rolling back pay equity agreements the Bill permits discrimination against women public employees on the basis of sex and therefore offends the Charter guarantee, the Section 15 Charter guarantee of equality rights without discrimination, including without discrimination on the basis of sex. To digress, Mr. Speaker, this rollback of pay equity essentially acquiesces in continuing discrimination against women public employees on the basis of sex. The pay equity agreement reached by the previous PC administration with public service unions in June 1988 provided for the implementation of pay equity over a five year period through a process of negotiations retroactive to April 1, 1988. I said to the Premier that his Government and its agencies have admitted paying less salary and benefits to women public employees than the Government is paying men for doing work of equal value. The Government has admitted to discriminating against women public employees and the Government embraced, or at least pretended to adopt the 1988 agreement to end that discrimination. Actually, when they were campaigning for election two years ago the Liberals did more than that, they promised in writing to introduce and enforce pay equity legislation. Now, over the past two years periodically I have asked the Minister responsible for the Status of Women, who may have forgotten that part of his responsibility here lately - I have also asked the Premier - when they are going to get around to introducing the promised pay equity legislation. Well, perhaps Bill 16 is it. Maybe this is what they had in mind when they promised pay equity legislation. Of course the rest of us, when we read Clyde Well's glossy full colour election pamphlet and saw that he was going to introduce and enforce pay equity legislation, thought he was going to legislate equal pay for work of equal value, the same for women as for men doing work of equal value. That is what we thought, but perhaps in his crafty, cunning, technical legal way, what he had in his mind was legislating to wipe out the agreement that had been reached between the PC administration and the pubic service unions. Perhaps that is what he meant. He has been caught in more than one lie already. He has been caught in more than one trick already. Mr. Speaker, the First Ministers of Canada were the beneficiary of another reneging act on the part of the Premier of this Province last June. He undertook to put to the Legislature the question of the Meech Lake Accord. He signed his signature to a commitment to have either a referendum or a free vote in the House of Assembly on the Meech Lake Accord. He told the people of the Province there was not enough time to have a referendum when, I am told, the Chief Electorial Officer advised him that there really was enough time. He then claimed to chose his fallback position which was a free vote in the House of Assembly. He negotiated special rules with the Opposition. We mutually agreed to suspend the usual rules. We commenced the debate, fifty of us spoke, and then at the last minute he called off the vote.

So the treatment the Premier gave the First Ministers of Canada and the people of Canada, he is now giving the public service unions and the public employees.

Mr. Speaker, I went on in my letter to point out to the Premier that the only provision of Bill 16 with retroactive effect is the cancellation of pay equity commitments. The Bill reneges on the negotiated, the signed contractual commitments for increases in pay and benefits in the 1991-92 fiscal year. The Bill tears up the written contractual provisions for salary and benefit increases for the twelve month period from April 1, 1991 to March 31, 1992. What it does to pay equity is much worse than that. It cancels the pay equity undertaking retroactively. It wipes out three years plus worth of pay equity commitments. What is that worth, Mr. Speaker? What is that worth?

The President of Treasury Board and Dave Curtis, the President of the Provincial Federation of Labour, who was active with NAPE in negotiating pay equity because of his particular responsibility for the health care sector, which is made up mostly of women public employees, estimate the cost of the loss of the previously negotiated pay equity to women in the health care sector alone at $25 million to $27 million. Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the Minister of Labour is troubled by any of this?

AN HON. MEMBER: Troubled?

MS. VERGE: I wonder if the Minister of Social Services is upset by any of this?

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MS. VERGE: I wonder what they meant when they campaigned two years ago? What did they mean when they had their pictures on the election brochure which made a Liberal commitment for real change and a promise to introduce and enforce pay equity legislation? What did they mean? Did they mean to trick women public employees? Did they deliberately fool people? Did they deliberately and in a calculated way lure people to vote for them, knowing all along that once they formed the Government and once they occupied their comfortable positions, drawing $90,000 plus a year and getting an $8,000 a year car allowance, that they would wipe out their campaign promises and wipe out, through their majority in this House of Assembly, signed contractual commitments to give their employees pay and benefits increases and to provide for pay equity retroactive to three years ago, to April 1, 1988? What did they intend?

Now, Mr. Speaker, the Members opposite, particularly the Minister of Development, gleefully from time to time quotes statistics about the debt of the Province. They have never attempted to relate the debt to the wealth of the Province, the gross provincial product, the gross domestic product or to earned income. And, of course, as the Member for Pleasantville mentioned the last time that I tried to put things into perspective and to compare the debt in 1989 and the debt in 1971, when the Liberals last left office -

MR. EFFORD: What was it (inaudible.)

-relating it to a common base and showing that the debt load in 1971 was tremendously worse than it was in 1989, pointing out that there had been enormous improvement in the debt load during the PC years. Unfortunately my time ran out, but the Member for Pleasantville did ask me if I knew about inflation; well, Mr. Speaker, that was the whole point of my comparison. We have to factor in inflation and when we quote a statistic for 1970 or 1971, we have to then adjust for inflation, we have to relate to the gross domestic product at that time and earned income at that time, as well as relating the debt now to our wealth production and earned income now.

Mr. Speaker, the other question that I would have to ask is: did not the Liberals research the financial position of the Province when they mounted their election campaign two years ago, did they read the published Budget documents that were distributed in this Assembly year after year after year, including the salary details? Mr. Speaker, we are still waiting for the Government salary details for the 1991-1992 Budget year, for the current Budget year.

Mr. Speaker, the reason I am asking whether the Liberals researched the financial position of the Province when they mounted their election campaign two years ago, is that, during that campaign they made extravagant promises, the most flagrant example of course was the Premier's promise to build new universities in each region of the Province. He was going to start with a new university in central Newfoundland but he was not going to stop there, he was going to construct new universities in northern Newfoundland and in Labrador as well.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier scoffed at the standing of the previous PC Administration on health care, he said that he would spend way more, that an Administration headed by him would open many additional hospital beds, that was a major plank of his election platform and, of course, the other major promise when he was campaigning was to improve the economy, create more jobs, employ everyone here at home and then reach out to the mothers' sons on the mainland and have all them come back home; and there was a Liberal woman on the northern Peninsula, perhaps a constituent of the Minister of Development, who was going to kiss the Premier's feet because she was so moved and so grateful that Clyde Wells was going to bring her children home from the mainland and put them to work here at home.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Development and many other Liberals winced when the Premier made that comment, it was made at an impassioned election rally speech at the Rec-plex in Corner Brook and I am sure CBC has a tape, I hope they will remind us of it soon. So, Mr. Speaker, the performance of the Premier and the Liberals opposite have been riddled with inconsistency, with blatant hypocrisy and now, with betrayal. This ruthless roll back legislation amounts to a colossal betrayal, betrayal of the public service unions, the public employees and as I said before, the most grievous betrayal of all is to the women public employees.

Mr. Speaker, unlike the Members opposite, we have a team, comprising people of varied talents, people who are not afraid to assert themselves and express their opinions. On our side, all of us share in debate. Now on the other side, we have seen only one speaker trying, trying to defend the indefensible in speaking to Bill 16; the others, the former President of the NTA just makes pot shots from his seat. I wonder how he sleeps at night. He got elected from years of active involvement in a public service union. He crusaded in his former life calling for major increases in Government spending on education, and now he acquiesces in major reductions in funding for education, in devastation of health care, and betrayal of his brothers and sisters in the labour movement. I can say the same about the Minister of Labour. In her case it is even worse. She prematurely left her position as President of the NTA to get elected for the Liberals, and within two years she has turned her back on her former stated principles.

Mr. Speaker, we have to ask what happened along the way. Why are all these Liberals opposite willing to abandon their election promises? Why are they willing to betray public employees? Why are they willing to violate agreements and contracts that were negotiated and signed in good faith?

Mr. Speaker, there are alternatives. In delaying the debating of this Bill for six months the Government might use the time, as it should have over the past several months, to explore the alternative, to conduct frank and honest discussions with public service unions and public employees about options for reducing costs, options that public service unions and public employees might be able to suggest, options that they might prefer.

Contrary to what the President of Treasury Board has tried to claim there were never, over the past few months, serious attempts at discussing with the public service unions the true financial position of the Province or the serious consideration of rolling back wages and benefits, and rolling backwards for retro-active effect the pay equity commitment. Unions, effectively, were kept in the dark. Now the President of Treasury Board and the Premier have claimed that they actually decided to roll back wages and benefits and lay off anywhere from 2,000 to 3,500 public employees only days before the Budget was brought down on March 7. They are trying to claim that those decisions were hastily made.

Mr. Speaker, that stretches my imagination. If it is true, it means that the Premier and his Cabinet are amazingly inept and incompetent. There are only two possibilities here. Either the Government is a colossal disaster in managing the Budget and the public affairs of the Province, and therefore left, until days before the Budget was brought down, major decisions involving hundreds of millions of dollars, or they hoodwinked the people. There is a common pattern, there is a whole trend of the Premier slickly and cunningly plotting and planning inconsistencies, reversals, shuffling shells, playing a shell game with the lives of people of this Province. They have been very, very clever at doing it. They have successfully fooled a great number of people until now, but I am afraid the game will soon be off because more and more groups and individuals in this Province are gaining personal experience in dealing with the Government. The Premier and the President of Treasury Board who appear on television to be so sincere, who speak so eloquently, who smile - the President of Treasury Board smiles. The Premier does not smile - who look so intently into the camera, seem - seem - on the television screen in the living room to be honest and sincere. It is until groups and individuals have personal experience dealing with them that they begin to realize that they are actually treacherous. But are they ever slick at hiding it. Now the explanation for that may lie in the fact that at the same time as the Government is slashing spending on health and education, is reneging on contractual obligations to increase the pay and benefits of public employees, they are pumping all kinds of additional money into public relations; they are increasing the budget of Newfoundland Public Information Services four or five fold since they assumed office two years ago and, Mr. Speaker, for what? Basically, as my colleague for Kilbride said, to have better spin doctors at the same time as they take away medical doctors.

They are not so much concerned with serving the people of Newfoundland and Labrador as fooling the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. I tell you, Mr. Speaker, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are a whole lot smarter than the Liberals opposite give them credit for, and I trust they will find out through the next election. The Members opposite are tampering with many of our sacred institutions through this unprecedented legislation. They are taking away contractual obligations to their public employees. Last year they wiped out the Ombudsman's office. But one institution they cannot take away is democratic elections. They have three years maximum left to go, Mr. Speaker. There are many alternatives to this ruthless rollback legislation. There is the phasing in of restraint -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

MS. VERGE: With leave, Mr. Speaker, I will continue to develop some ideas for alternatives.


MR. SPEAKER: There is no leave.

MS. VERGE: Too bad. I guess the Member for Exploits was not serious in asking for alternatives.

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

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak on Bill 16.

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible)

MR. A. SNOW: It is nice to hear the economist from Water Street, with his shoes on, accusing me of being pro-labour. What a lovely thing to be attacked by. Imagine being attacked by this.

AN HON. MEMBER: We know where the anti-labour is, though.

MR. A. SNOW: We certainly do. I do not mind being referred to as someone speaking in support of labour, having spent my working life in a mining community, in Labrador City, for twenty-five years. I was paid a lot of good money. I worked hard and I made some money. I probably did not make as much as the hon. Minister of Social Services, but I did work and I did earn some money. I will not be investing in any of the Minister's stock because I understand it is going down quickly, as with other Members of his Government.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to this bill which is an act of restraint of compensation in the public sector of the Province. It was interesting to note that when the President of Treasury Board spoke in the introduction to this bill he talked about the reason for doing it. His reason, and he laid it out, was the fact that we are in dire financial straits. He talked about the fact, and I quote, `that we could not play fast and loose with the financial health of the Province because we realized that a $200 million problem if not handled properly would become a $400 million problem and possibly a $600 million problem.' Now what he is suggesting, of course, is that he does not have faith in the economy of this Province. That is exactly what he has been telling the people of this Province for the last year, that he has no faith, no confidence in the economy of this Province.

The President of Treasury Board has suggested this since last year, and I would suggest that the lack of confidence in the economy this Administration has permeated out to the people of this Province has created a mess in this Province. That is one of the largest contributors to the fact that we do have some financial problems now.


MR. A. SNOW: One of reasons is the lack of confidence the people have not just in this regime, but the lack of confidence they have in the total economy. Now here we are, ladies and gentlemen, on the brink of the development of North America's largest construction project. Fifty or sixty miles from here, North America's largest construction project going on today is being developed and this regime is going out and about this Province preaching doom and gloom. So what has happened is that people have stopped spending. They are afraid to spend.

MR. EFFORD: They have nothing to spend.

MR. A. SNOW: I will agree with the Minister of Social Services. There are a lot of people out there he should be delivering help to who do not have any money to spend, and he is making sure they are going to have even less this year and next year.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the President of Treasury Board throws up his hands and says, I have no choice. Well I am going to tell him there will come a time for a choice, the people's choice, and they will have a choice and he will realize then that he made the wrong choice.


MR. A. SNOW: The NDP may indeed be representing Menihek in the next election. But I will guarantee you one thing, there will not be a Liberal representing Menihek.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. A. SNOW: Now, Mr. Speaker, we have seen this Government set about to do this roll back of wages. They have attempted to paint the picture that is similar to what was done before in this Province, in 1984. But that is not true, Mr. Speaker. There is no similarity to what this regime is setting out to do and what was done in 1984. What is regime is setting out to do is what Vander Zalm did in British Columbia. He attacked the unions, he declared war on the unions, he rolled back the wages and made it retroactive. He did that. He did not sit down and consult with the unions.


MR. A. SNOW: Vander Zalm.

MR. EFFORD: What does Vander Zalm have to do with Newfoundland?

MR. A. SNOW: We all know that is the role model of this regime, this right wing lunatic economics. That is what it is.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. A. SNOW: Now that is the Government they are following. The previous recession, that is what Vander Zalm did: he attacked unions and laid off thousands and thousands of public sector employees.

Of course, we all know the fantasyland this Premier is living in. Another Government that got involved - as far as I know there were only two Governments previously who rolled back wages. Vander Zalm did it, and the Pequiste did it in Quebec; the Pequiste did it after they got elected by allying themselves with labour in their second election.

MR. HEWLETT: That rings a bell, too.

MR. A. SNOW: That rings a bell of another Government that allied themselves with labour. And what did they do after they got elected, after they were in bed for the period of the election? They jumped out of bed immediately following.

MR. HEWLETT: They double-crossed them.

MR. A. SNOW: I do not know what you did in bed. I do not know what you were doing in bed with the labour leaders.


MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, we know this Government is following in the footsteps of what Vander Zalm did in western Canada and what the Pequiste did in Quebec, when they both attacked labour. And in the case of Quebec we saw the result in the following election, when the people showed their disfavour with that government. And I believe you are going to see a similar result with this right wing attitude in British Columbia. And I would suspect, as I suggested, that the choice the voters will have when the election is called here, they will make a choice between somebody who is articulating a policy of yes, fiscal responsibility, but also having a caring attitude for the people of this Province, who are not just concerned with bottom line financing. We have to have a concern.

The other thing this bill is doing is pitting a public employee, i.e., unionized public employee member, against a private sector employee unionized member. And that is tremendously unfair and dangerous in a society, especially in a society such as we have in this Province, which is very heavily unionized. As I suggested earlier, I am not afraid of being accused of being pro-labour. I have spent ten years as a steelworker, and I am as proud to say I was a steelworker and still am a steel worker, as I am as a Member of the House of Assembly or I was as a town councillor.


MR. A. SNOW: And yes, I still agree with a lot of the philosophy of the NDP, a lot of it. Some of it I think is a bit too far left, but a lot of it I do believe in. What really bothers me too with this bill is that what we have done here now in rolling back these wages, we have (inaudible) an emotion that is going to be difficult to replace, and that is trust, the trust the union members had when they elected from their membership leaders to go to the table and bargain collectively. They were putting their faith in the leadership of their unions to go and bargain in good faith with the leadership of this Government, with their employer, with the person that was going out selling the products of this Government, if you will. No different than what a private employee does. He works for an employer and maybe sells or manufactures a product that that employer markets.

That is what the public employees of this Province have been doing for years, marketing, distributing a product that this Government should be putting out to the people, that service that people are expecting in this Province. These employees now do not have any faith in this regime. You have lost the faith of your employees. And that is a very important factor in any co-operation that you would expect. Because how would you expect trust from a union member who negotiates and signs a collective agreement, is praised to the hilt by Cabinet Ministers about how well they are going to be paid, about how much work they do, how hard they work, the amount of service they provide to the people. Such as the hon. the President of Treasury Board did with the nurses.

Now that trust has been broken. Because what this Government has done is said yes, we will sign a deal. Now that we have you all signed up we will roll it back, because we have the God Almighty power to go ahead and do it.

In the private sector, you see, when an employee negotiates a contract collectively through his union with his employer, that employer feels that he may indeed have made a mistake in awarding a larger wage increase than he can indeed afford. Now if he attempts to roll back those wages, the employer is forced by the courts to stop doing it, to live up to the agreement, live up to that contract, for as this Government has used their all almighty power, usurped democratic rights, broken the trust of the unions and said we are going to roll it back. We are going to roll back that increase that you deserve, not only are we going to roll it back, we are also going to lay you off; we are going to throw you out the door. This trust has been broken, Mr. Speaker, and that is terrible because that is something that is going to be very difficult, it is impossible for this bunch to regain, it will be impossible for you to regain that trust -

MR. EFFORD: What did he say?

MR. HEWLETT: It will be impossible to regain the trust.

MR. A. SNOW: - but hopefully, there will be another party sitting on Government's side after the people make their next choice, and these people will gain back the trust of public employees because it is very, very important for the people working for the Government or any employer to have the trust that goes hand in hand between employee and employer.

Now, did this Government have any alternative, did they have any alternative to do something other than they have done? I believe that they did have an alternative, I do not think that what they have done is correct. I believe that they should have done things differently. I do not think, I do not think that the mass of public layoffs that we are going to see or are seeing in this Province is going to help the economy and I will tell you why I do not think it is going to work.

I live in a closed economy in western Labrador -

DR. KITCHEN: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well, get up and tell us.

MR. A. SNOW: - well let me just finish now and then the hon. Minister of Finance will be able to get up and respond later and what I will tell him now, I am talking about our closed local economy.

MR. SIMMS: For the man who announced this, get up and participate in the debate, boy.

MR. A. SNOW: Now every three years - now let him listen and let him listen so that - do not get confused; turn over the paper there Wins, so that you will not get him too confused doing two things at the same time. Do not talk to him, do not disturb him.

Now what I am talking about is, every three years when the unions go out and negotiate jointly on the Quebec-Northshore in Labrador, negotiate a contract, there is a lack of confidence in the economy, and what occurs is that people are nervous, very apprehensive in Labrador that there may be a strike, a lock-out or a layoff, and this occurs every three years right after Christmas. New Year's rolls around and the people in Western Labrador do not spend any money in their local economy, very little.

They spend it on essentials, groceries, heat and light, gasoline for the car, that type of thing. There are very few major purchases such as new homes, furnishings, new clothing, and that is exactly what is going to be occurring with these massive layoffs that are going to occur. You have created a lack of confidence. Not only that, these layoffs in my area - or layoffs when they do occur - this is an industry that is very dominant, the mining industry is very dominant in western Labrador. The public sector layoffs, well they have an effect, the nurses or public employees that get laid off or the few teachers who get laid off, yes, those people are devastated. Those houses, those homes, those families are hurt financially, but the total economy of western Labrador is more controlled by the wage earnings of the mining industry.

Now in the Provincial economy it is very much driven and controlled by the public spending, by public employees because there are so many public employees. There are 40,000 public employees out there. Now you are laying off 2500 of them. Twenty-five hundred public employees and possibly even more will be laid off. We have not seen the end of it. So it is not going to work. This massive layoff in the public sector is going to have a devastating effect -

MR. SIMMS: How about the spin-off (Inaudible). That was not included in the overall number was it?

MR. A. SNOW: I am not sure if it was included or not. The 25 or 22 layoffs were, if they were included in the public sector layoffs announced by the President of Treasury Board and the Minister of Finance in his Budget -

There is no doubt going to be a multiplier effect in the number of layoffs that this regime seem fit to institute on the people of this Province. There is going to be probably 25 per cent more or 30 per cent more.

AN HON. MEMBER: It could be 100 per cent more.

MR. A. SNOW: It may even go as high as 100 per cent, as some Member in the Opposition has suggested, it may indeed double and we may end up with 5,000 people out the door. We could have that.

So, Mr. Speaker, while I have suggested that what the Government has done is wrong, I think it is also fair that there should be an alternative. I think first of all the number one alternative is, this regime should have sat down and negotiated.

This regime did have an alternative and they should have done something differently. Some of the things they are spending money on they could have saved, they should not be spending the money on that possibly, and probably not laying off a nurse.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Like what?

MR. A. SNOW: Now, the hon. Member for Eagle River says, like what? Why should they keep a nurse working down at the Janeway? I understand there are thirty or forty being laid off. Why should there be a nurse working at the Janeway rather than a spin doctor out here with NIS? Now, which really does more for the economy of this Province? Which really does more for the service to the people of this Province, a nurse at Janeway or a spin doctor with NIS?

AN HON. MEMBER: A nurse at the Janeway, boy.

MR. A. SNOW: Now, there is one alternative.

MR. SIMMS: They do not know what spin doctors are.

MR. A. SNOW: Oh, they know what spin doctors are. They are having more consultation with spin doctors than they are, I tell you, with medical doctors. I think by the time they get out of office they will be spending more on spin doctors than they will on MCP, the cost will be even higher. Mr. Speaker, that is one alternative. Now, what is another alternative? Should we cut back health care in western Labrador? There is $800,000 cut out of health care in western Labrador. Should we shut down a hospital in Argentia or Placentia, or Old Perlican? Should we shut down them or should we wine and dine with royalty? Now, what is more fitting, have a hospital in Placentia or wine and dine with royalty?

We also see the Economic Recovery Commission, and the Administration quite often talks about their successes. I have not seen, as a lot of people in this Province have not seen, a lot of successes from the Economic Recovery Commission.

Now the hon. the Member for Pleasantville would like to see more money spent. He has suggested we spend more money on Government House and hire more people in the Economic Recovery Commission. Now the hon. Member for Pleasantville may think that, but I am telling you that I think we should keep more public employees employed!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. A. SNOW: I think that is money better spent. Hire more. Do not lay them off. Do not fire the people who are living in Pleasantville and working with this Government. Do not fire them out the door. Do not lay off fifty people at the Janeway. Do not listen to the Member for Pleasantville when he tells you, Minister of Health, to lay them off and spend more down at Government House. Do not listen to him!


MR. A. SNOW: Now we have had a lot of editorial comment about what is occurring in this Province, about what is going on. This is an editorial from one of the weekly newspapers.

AN HON. MEMBER: Which one?

MR. HEWLETT: The Nor'Wester.

MR. A. SNOW: That has been awfully kind to the Minister of Social Services at times. It says, `Welcome to Clyde's Wheel of Despair. Congratulations. You just lost your job and will be heading for the mainland at your own expense. Those of you remaining will receive several deplorable consolation prizes, such as downgraded health care, education cutbacks, business closure and a possibility of resorting to social assistance. So come on down. You are the next contestant in the wheel of despair. Come on down!

MR. HEWLETT: Come on down!

MR. A. SNOW: It sounds like a game show. It is really a game show nightmare but it is actually taking place. `Your popular host Clyde Wells and his trusty assistant Hubert Kitchen are spinning the wheel of misfortune in an effort to bring the Province out of its deficit situation. Will it work? Ask the people. Government philosophy seems to be, if you do not like it you can leave. But if they are not careful there will be no one left to slash. After all, who wants to live in an area where there is no health care, no education facilities, and bankrupt municipalities? For the past thirty years residents of the Baie Verte peninsula have lived comfortably. Many enjoyed a steady income with the asbestos community in Baie Verte. The hospital was another good employer and the community college acted as a training centre for many spin-off business opportunities. Now suddenly all this is being taken away from the people of the Baie Verte peninsula. This once vibrant area of the Province has the lowest morale ever, and the future (inaudible). Every day we hear people leaving the area. We elected a Government for a real change.'

It goes on and it says, it has been a real change all right but not for the better. You would think that in 1991 this Province would be advanced in all facets of health care and education. You would think that the Government would jump at the chance to fund rural hospitals and learning institutions for its people. But no, that is not what they are doing. Rural Newfoundland has always been absolutely nothing to those who live inside the great overpass. It is time for the Government to wake up and smell the coffee, so to speak. Newfoundland and Labrador is not just St. John's, and we deserve better. We are just not taking any more of it. Wells and his followers have to become sensitive to the needs of the people and we are going to be switching to another channel.'

I would ask this Government to reconsider for six months and not attack the people of this Province. It being five o'clock, I adjourn the debate.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to remind hon. Members that tomorrow is Private Member's Day, and I believe there is a debate on perhaps the shortest resolution ever put before this House having to do with women's rights - discrimination against women.

That is the debate tomorrow unless Members opposite want to give up their Private Member's Day to continue the debate of today. Mr. Speaker, that is the debate tomorrow.

I would like to move that the House at its rising do adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow and that this House do now adjourn.

MR. SPEAKER: The Opposition House Leader.

MR. SIMMS: To the motion, I know it is not debatable. First of all I want to confirm for the Government House Leader that yes, the Private Member's motion as notice was given of yesterday will stand. It is one that Members opposite I know will vote for; they will argue against it, but I am sure they will vote for it in the end.

Secondly, can I ask him what his intention is for the rest of the week, Thursday and Friday?


MR. SIMMS: We are not debating, we are doing what we normally do. Thursday and Friday, what might the Government's business be?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, my intentions with regard to the rest of the week are as they have been for the last couple of days. I have not changed my mind. We will go on with the bill we are debating presently, Bill 16. It is my intention to do that on both Thursday and Friday.

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