April 4, 1991                   HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLI  No. 22

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the Premier. The New Brunswick Liberal Minister of Finance just brought down his Budget, a couple of days ago, and in it he said, 'We looked at major layoffs, as Newfoundland did, but ruled that out as unconscionable.' This particular Government, of course, struck a double blow against public employees, both massive layoffs and wage rollbacks. I want to ask the Premier did the Government considered introducing an early retirement program? Did it look at job reduction through a greater emphasis on attrition, and if it did not, why not? Would he agree, for example, that a 5 per cent attrition rate would yield about 1500 jobs? Would he agree with that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: The New Brunswick situation is quite different than the Newfoundland situation. If the Newfoundland situation were the same as the New Brunswick situation we may not have had to take those kind of steps as well, Mr. Speaker. Also, one would have to look at the number of employees in New Brunswick compared with the number in Newfoundland. Look at all those things and you may well come to quite different conclusions. The second part of his question, Mr. Speaker, was: did we look at all those other alternatives? The fact is we looked at every possible alternative and came to the conclusion that in the overall interest of everybody in the Province, taking into account as well the concerns of those people who were laid off, and balancing all of the concerns and interests in the Province, the Government is satisfied that the decisions we took to deal with the financial difficulty that we found ourselves in were the best and fairest on an overall basis throughout the Province.

MR. SPEAKER: The Opposition House Leader on a supplementary.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Premier can tell us then why did not the Government consider job sharing and unpaid leave, as more desirable options than layoffs and wage rollbacks? Perhaps he could tell us that. For example, would he agree that one week of unpaid leave for every public employee would equate to about 700 jobs? And, if only 5 per cent of public employees in the Province chose to job share that would be equivalent to about 800 jobs? What does the Premier find so objectionable to those options?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, we looked at a variety of options including the ones mentioned. We talked to the leaders of four of the major unions in the last two or three weeks before the decisions were made. The President of Treasury Board talked to the unions dating back to last October and asked for suggestions or proposals along these lines. None of those were forthcoming. When we looked at the overall management and the problem that we had this year, and not only the problem that we had this year, the problem that you could project into the coming year as well, bearing into the year that will follow after the one that we are presently providing for in the Budget. When you look at all of that and the overall structure of the Province and the number of employees and the fact that the Federal Government announced its decision, and there is a fair indication as to what they were going to do: to freeze for a further period of time, for a further three years, any growth in the transfer payments to the provinces. All of those things factored into it, we believe, made the decisions that the Government took the right decisions, over all, for the Province.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to ask the Premier - I hear him talking about two or three years down the road. I understood he said the problem is this year, so maybe he could explain that. But let me get on to another point. The Minister of Finance announced $44 million in funding for the Economic Recovery Commission or its agent at least, Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador. Isn't that about the amount of money that Government will save as a result of the wage rollbacks - that is question number one. Secondly, will the Economic Recovery Commission, which has not created very many jobs in the two years of its existence that anybody can put their finger on, will the Economic Recovery Commission be able to replace next year the 2,000 to 3,000 jobs that are going to be lost in the public sector?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member should make clear what he is talking about when he talks about the $44 million. I will get to that shortly, but let me answer the first part of his questions about the problem this year and the problem next year. The $200 million problem we had to deal with this year did not come as a result of budgetary decisions made by the Federal Government in this years Budget. That came about as a result of the decisions made in the last years Budget. That is where it originated to the tune of about $80 million of it. Pretty well -

AN HON. MEMBER: Not true.

PREMIER WELLS: The Member can say not true if he wants to. The reality is otherwise, and he is either trying to mislead or he does not know what he is talking about - one or the other.

Mr. Speaker, the consequences that we had to deal with in this current fiscal years Budget resulted from the Federal decisions last year. Now the problems we are going to have next year are going to result from the decisions made by the Federal Government in this years Budget to extend for a further three years the decisions to freeze transfer payments, and that is going to impact on us in the next three budgetary years. Now with respect to the $44 million that is primarily capital money, and most of it is necessary to repay -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible.)

PREMIER WELLS: Yes, most of it is necessary to redeem -

are you talking about the $ 44 million in ERC?

MR. SIMMS: The $44 million you are talking about in the Budget (inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Then I am not sure what $44 million he is talking about. But one of the things we had to do for Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador was provide out of provincial funds money to repay the Newfoundland stock savings certificates which are being redeemed in this year that were borrowed under the system put in place by the former Government that was costing us more to borrow by about 1 per cent.

MR. WINDSOR: (Inaudible) money to go to Toronto.

PREMIER WELLS: If the hon. Member wants to answer the Member's questions he can. I will not bother.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is pretty obvious the Premier is getting a bit testy. I do not know why. We are asking him reasonable and sensible questions. On page 18 in his Budget the Minister of Finance said the New Crown Corporation, meaning E and L, will deliver a range of assistance programs for every region of the Province. Its 1991-92 Budget has been increased to $44 million. And I distinctly remember everybody over there, including the Premier, banging on their desks. That is what I am talking about. It is amazing the Premier forgets.

Let me ask him this question then, Mr. Speaker. Will he confirm that the operating budget - does he know this? - for Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador is increased by $19 million from the amount budgeted in 1990, enough in fact to keep 600 health care workers employed, and has not Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador really become the employment agency for Liberal Party campaign workers? Is that not what is really happening around the Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the $44 million is essentially what I said; it includes the money necessary to repay the bonds that are being redeemed under the stock saving certificates. That is included in it. Now as to the increase in operating, that also includes as hon. Members will remember, the fact that - was it about a third of the Department of Development that was transferred into Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador? So it is just the transfer from one division of Government to another.


PREMIER WELLS: Well that is where it was done, and this is part of the money. Now as to the suggestion that it is an employment agency for Liberal Party workers, as I recall the campaign manager or worker or organizer for the hon. the Member for Humber East was one of the ones hired. So maybe -

MR. SIMMS: Who is that?

PREMIER WELLS: I have forgotten what the name is, but I will find out the name.

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

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible) did not manage my campaign, he changed politics.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I have recognized the Member for Green Bay.

The hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wonder if the Minister of Health would give us a brief update on the meningitis situation in the Province, please.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, it is the kind of question I feel a little bit hesitant to draw a whole lot of attention to, for the sake of the individuals who are involved in this very serious disease. As the hon. Member is aware I am sure, the media carried the story about the little boy who died yesterday on the west coast.

There are certain medical procedures to be followed with any disease, and the Department of Health has on staff well qualified professionals who deal with every outbreak. Be it meningococcus disease, or be it any disease, they deal with it in a protocol which has been laid out according to the best medical practice which is available. At this moment the efforts are being concentrated over in the St. George's area. People from the Public Health division are meeting with parents over there and explaining to them some of the preventive measures to stop the spread of any disease, especially in this case meningococcus disease.

I was just reading the Telegram, where a woman said the media seems to be causing a panic, I think is the word she used. In an effort to try to explain to the media what is going on, today officials from the Department held a briefing for the media to explain to them just what this is we are dealing with. It is a disease and there is a very set protocol as to how to deal with it. The number of cases in the Province this year is up over previous years, and this for some strange reason is also the trend throughout the nation. Now mind you they have not doubled or tripled or anything like that, but they have increased.

No one can say there will not be another person have meningitis - and it would be unfortunate for it to happen - but I can assure that Public Health officials within the Department are treating the meningitis cases in this Province in a manner which is absolutely and totally in keeping with the way that disease is being treated anywhere else in North America - I suppose anywhere else in the world.

I thank the hon. Member for his question.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Premier. After the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Quebec Sign Language Law violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and struck down that law, the Quebec Government used the notwithstanding clause to enforce it anyway. The Premier expressed his distaste for that measure, indeed, the Premier has said on more than one occasion that, he disagrees in principle with the existence of the notwithstanding clause. I would like to ask the Premier, in the event the courts rule that his rollback legislation, Bill 16, violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is indeed unconstitutional, will he promise never to use the notwithstanding clause to enforce the law anyway?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I can only say to the hon. Member, Mr. Speaker, that the Government has no intention ever, of using the notwithstanding clause. If our Charter of Rights go so far as to prevent a Legislature from living within its means, if we cannot run the Province on a fair and proper basis, then, we should change the Charter of Rights; either we believe in the Charter of Rights and it is sound and solid, or, if it is unacceptable and produces unacceptable results, we should seek a change in the Charter of Rights, but I can assure the hon. Member and assure the House that the Government has no intention ever of resorting to the notwithstanding clause.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, perhaps the part of the Charter that gives the Premier some difficulty is the guarantee of equality rights without discrimination, including without discrimination on the basis of sex. Will the Premier and the Government take the initiative of referring their rollback legislation, Bill 16, to the Newfoundland Supreme Court, Court of Appeal for a ruling on whether it is constitutional or not?

MR. SIMMS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, we will not because for one thing we are committed to the principle of equality, and equality based on sex. We are setting about now to implement at the earliest possible opportunity, pay equity, which primarily affects women, but we are dedicated to bringing that in at the earliest possible opportunity and phasing it in as was originally contemplated and we would like to start it forthwith. We have put money in the Budget this year in the expectation that we will be implementing it this year.

As to the question about referring the Bill to the Supreme Court for an opinion, it is not necessary because we are confident that what we are doing is quite within the Charter of Rights, I am quite confident. Now, the hon. Member can laugh, but that kind of noise has very little intellectual value or persuasive power, either in court, or in a Legislature.

MS. VERGE: This Premier knows better than everyone else. He does not need the courts, he does not need an ombudsman; if the Charter does not suit him, he will change that too.

Mr. Speaker, what this Premier is doing is breaking contracts providing for pay equity as of April 1, 1988. I would like to ask the Premier, since he wrote on February 11, 1989, as leader of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador, and I quote, 'It is unconscionable that women be treated differently than men in the work place when dealing with wage rates.' How is it that he has allowed his conscience now to renege on contractual commitments to pay pay equity adjustments back three years to April 1, 1988?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: That is simple, Mr. Speaker. If they had not gutted the Treasury and the tax ability of the taxpayers of this Province we could have done a lot of other things as well.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: But, Mr. Speaker, if you apply the principal that the hon. Member now espouses, you would not stop at three years, you would go back to thirty-three years and 133 years to do whatever is necessary. There is nothing any more magic about three years, or now, or thirty-three years ago.

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: There is the ability -

MR. SPEAKER: Order please! Order please!

I remind hon. Members that there is supposed to be a semblance of order when we are in Question Period. It is written quite clearly in our rules that there are not to be interruptions. Members ask a question, and they should give courtesy to the Ministers to answer.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Speaker is quite right. I admire and respect the Speaker's ruling, and I think all Members should, for the sake of maintaining some order in this House.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: We know what the Members opposite think, they are displaying it. Their behaviour speaks louder than their words, and speaks more effectively than their words in that regard.

Now, Mr. Speaker, to respond to the question that has been raised by the hon. Member for Humber East. We have complete respect for the Bill of Rights and for the principle of equality, and if that is what the Charter of Rights requires that we do, we must live by that. We will not seek refuge in a notwithstanding clause. We will live by the Charter of rights. If we believe that is wrong what we should do is seek to amend the Charter of Rights. That is the approach that I am taking. If we think the Charter is wrong, seek to change it. Don't use the notwithstanding clause; we think that is the wrong approach and we have no intention ever of using the notwithstanding clause. Our commitment to the principle of equality of the sexes remains, Mr. Speaker, and we will implement pay equity as soon as it can be agreed upon.

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

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

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Employment and Labour has a very special important role in labour management and relations and so on in the Province. She is responsible for administering the laws of the Province which provide for collective bargaining and which demand respect for negotiated collective settlements. I would like to ask the Minister: what does she have to say to an employer, namely the present provincial Government, which used legislation to end a legal strike, used legislation to force the workers to binding arbitration, and then further used legislation to take away the arbitration awards? Does she support this unacceptable action?

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

MS. COWAN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Obviously as a Member of Cabinet I certainly do support what we have done in the Province. You might recall that not only, Mr. Speaker, am I the Minister responsible for labour relations in the Province, I am also responsible for employment and the two must be balanced. If we had not taken the steps that we had taken in regard to collective agreements we would have seen the number of unemployed in this Province continue to rise to an unacceptable level. That indeed was the rationale. It is one that I can live with most comfortably.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A Minister who has seen the unemployment rate rise in this Province over the last twelve months and laid off 3,000 people, I can see why she would be pleased.

What does the Minister say to an employer - the present Provincial Government - who negotiated and signed wage settlements with the public sector unions just days before Bill 16 was introduced to strip away the most basic benefit of any contract - wage increases? Does she support this cynical action? And what does she have to say to the unions who bargained those agreements in good faith, giving up other benefits I might say to the Minister, for wage increases? Does she agree with her Government's position, which really is: we will keep what you gave up and take back what we gave you. Does she support this?

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

MS. COWAN: Again let me state, Mr. Speaker, that I am still sitting in the front benches of this House in support of the position of our Government. The hon. Member from Grand Bank made a point when he began his comments today which is incorrect, when he talked about the rising unemployment level in the Province. And again it is the use of statistics to manipulate and to confuse. I remind him of my favourite saying: that if you torture statistics they will confess to anything.

Actually the number of employed in Newfoundland has remained reasonably stable. Our problem is that we have had an unexpected number of people entering the work force. So those who have been employed have not been losing employment, but indeed have been maintaining it in full time jobs while we have a new group of people entering and searching for jobs. So there is more than one way to look at that particular statistic.

I can only repeat, Mr. Speaker, what I said in the early part of my comments. Had we not taken the steps that we did in freezing wages then we would have had to lay off perhaps in the range of another 1,500 to 2,000 people. As a Government we could not live with that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The statistics that I and everyone else in the Province refer to are the statistics of her own agency, Newfoundland Statistics. They are not our statistics, it is her own Government's statistics.

Mr. Speaker, I was wondering. If the Minister was in her former position as a union leader, president of the Newfoundland Teachers Association, would she still trust this Government? And is she at all concerned that unions and workers have lost trust not just in the Government as an honest employer, but as well have lost trust in the Minister of Labour as an honest broker?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. COWAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That is a hypothetical question which I certainly could not answer. I again would just simply reiterate what I have said. I can live and sleep peacefully with what this Government has decided. The decisions were not easy ones, they were indeed very difficult, and there were many sleepless nights in the beginning. However, as we went through the process I became more and more convinced in my own mind that what we were doing was the correct thing to do.

Again, I did not want to do it, none of my colleagues wanted to do it, but we are responsible to the citizens of this Province who by their taxes are trying to help us pay our debts and fund the services in this Province. We are responsible to those people ultimately, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the President of Treasury Board. Section 8 of Bill 16 gives the Cabinet the power to set aside or modify an arbitration award made to compensate for wages and benefits lost during the restraint period. What criteria will Cabinet use to determine whether or not an award constitutes compensation for lost wages and benefits? And is the Cabinet's decision final and binding on the affected bargaining units?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious if we are going to do legislation to restrain wages for the one year period that we must have provisions in there to ensure that that same money will not be paid out immediately after the restraint period ends. Otherwise, what is the point? We are still in the same financial mess that we would have been in this year if we had not taken measures to correct it. Obviously that particular measure had to be included in the bill. I should say, Mr. Speaker, this is the second full day of debate on Bill 16, and that is perhaps the first thing of substance that has come out in two days, and it has come out in Question Period.

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

MR. WINSOR: Will Government apply the intent of Section 8 to all future collective agreements in the public sector? What new rules will Government impose on collective bargaining and job actions to achieve the intent of Section 8?

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

MR. BAKER: We will apply common sense, Mr. Speaker. It is about time some common sense was applied in Government in this Province.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Is Government then telling the public service bargaining units of this Province that they will never make up for the wages they will lose this year, and that they will never regain their comparative relationship to public sector employees in other provinces of Canada?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I cannot make pronouncements right now on what may or may not happen several years down the road. I can say to the hon. Member that all across Canada the need for wage restraint has been seen, even though some of the Governments have not found themselves in the tremendously difficult financial circumstances we found ourselves. The need for financial restraint is seen all across Canada. All I can say, Mr. Speaker, is that we had to do this year what we did. The options were not there to do anything sensible other than what we did. We stand by it and we have to ensure that what we are doing this year is not going to create twice the problem for us next year. We have done what we had to do with common sense, with a lot of thought, and with a lot of attempted consultation with the unions of the Province. Mr. Speaker, that is all we can do.

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

MR. WINSOR: Would the Minister answer the question instead of giving speeches? Anyway, does the Minister realize that this Bill destroys free collective bargaining in this Province? In addition it will cost each public sector employee thousands of dollars in lost income for each year as it survives as a law, and will the Government show some mercy and bring in a sunset amendment to at least kill the legislation after one year?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the Members opposite can get up and rant and rave all they want about the effects of what we are doing will have on individuals in the Province. There is one thing I can assure the hon. Member, that had we continued on the way the previous Government was going, this Province would be bankrupt and there would be no jobs in the public service of this Province.

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

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Finance. This Province is not bankrupt. This Government is bankrupt of ideas. One of the most important responsibilities of the Minister of Finance is to assess the impact of lost jobs and lost income on the economy of this Province. The loss of 2000 to 3000 jobs and the effective wage rollback of 7 or 8 per cent to about 20 per cent of the wage earners of this Province will have an immediate and long-lasting effect on this Province. I ask the Minister responsible, the Minister of Finance, what his assessment of the effect of these measures is on, one, the average personal incomes, two, gross provincial product, three, the consumer spending. This will bring an analytical suggestion from him I would hope, rather than just the common sense one we got from the Minister responsible for Treasury Board.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, when we made our calculations we factored in these items that were mentioned by the hon. Member and we still projected for the economy, the only economy in Canada with the possible exception of Prince Edward Island, that our Gross Domestic Product next year will increase by .8 per cent while the Gross Domestic Product in Ontario will go down by 3 per cent and across Canada by -1. After factoring in all those layoffs, as bad as they were, as serious and as hard as they were to do, the economy of this Province next year will still increase by .8 of 1 per cent.

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

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, I would imagine that is because of the industrial project that is going to be taking place out in Hibernia, the development out there. I do not know how many teachers or how many nurses or how many Government workers are going to be working on that project.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. A. SNOW: Other than Hibernia, what effect will these sector layoffs and the wage rollbacks have on the other private sector, the service sector out there? How much will unemployment increase overall as a result of the public sector layoffs and the spin-off job losses in our economy? How much, Mr. Speaker?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, had we not done what we did we would have lost our credit rating and that would mean we would not be able to borrow $600 million this year, which would mean that we would have to lay off the whole public service. Now that is the alternative this Government was faced with. It is no good posing these hypothetical questions, what would be if this and that and the other thing? I am telling the hon. Member that these decisions had to be made, they were made as difficult as they were, and that is the bottom line.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I inform hon. Members that Question Period has appropriately expired.

Before moving on to other routine business, on behalf of hon. Members I would like to welcome to the galleries today His Worship Mayor Harry Baikie, of the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Order 15, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Second reading of a bill, "An Act Respecting Restraint Of Compensation In The Public Sector Of The Province", (Bill No.16). I do not know who adjourned debate.

The hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I guess it would be remiss today if I said I take pleasure in rising in this Legislature to speak in this debate, because it would be much more pleasant if we did not have to stand here and face this ruthless rollback bill that has been brought forward by this Government. The real reason we are speaking today is to speak to an amendment put forward by the Member for Grand Falls on a six month hoist, which in essence is asking that this legislation be delayed for six months so that the Government could call in the leadership of the various unions which have been dealt this terrible blow by this Government to discuss other options than rolling back their benefits which have been rightfully negotiated, and to see if there is not some other way around this.

I see the President of Treasury Board is quite amused by my comments and about the suggestions we have made. But it is a very serious matter, that we have to stand here in this Legislature and take part in this kind of debate. I cannot help, Mr. Speaker, but refer to the answer just given by the Minister of Finance in response to the Member for Menihek, when he talked about what choices the Government was faced with, and he talked about the Province's credit rating, the last person in this House who should stand and lecture someone about decisions and about credit ratings, a Minister who a year ago stood in this Legislature and brought down a Budget and told the people of this Province, the unions and the workers of this Province, that we were going to have a $10 million surplus - a $10 million surplus - on current account, which pays the wages and benefits to workers of this Province.

What did we see happen? Three to four months after the old tune had changed - $215 million we were told a few months ago the Province was (inaudible). Can you imagine? Is it any wonder the bond rating agencies, the credit rating agencies threatened to reduce the credit rating of this Province, with such mismanagement over a four or five month period? And the Minister has the gall to stand there and talk about someone who governed this Province for seventeen years, who did not do as much damage in seventeen years as this Minister did in seven months. You talk about incompetence! There are two Ministers over there, I suggest, who are definitions of incompetence, the Ministers of Finance and Labour, the two Ministers who will replace the definition of incompetence in the dictionary.

Now this bill, this rollback legislation, ruthless! "An Act Respecting Restraint Of Compensation In The Public Sector Of The Province." I mean, when I read the title of the bill, the actual wording, it reminded me of a certain person in this Legislature. Who would title a bill that way? When you read it, "An Act Respecting Restraint Of Compensation In The Public Sector Of The Province". I wonder who.

Now this bill is really a violation of trust; we are talking about a violation of trust. The pure basis of public sector collective bargaining is trust, and this Government has violated trust. The unions of this Province sat down and negotiated with this Government collective agreements. And I can remember back when the Minister of Finance brought down his budget a year ago the post-budget euphoria. There was a while in this Province when everyone was calling it a good budget. A common man's budget. I remember the title very well and going back to my district and people saying, well, Bill, boy, it was a good budget.

And I remember the glee in the eyes of the labour unions that were right here in this Legislature listening to that budget speech. Because in essence the Minister was telling them this Province was in very good financial position. And those very same unions were already in negotiating some agreements and about to negotiate others.

So why would they not feel good about the budget speech? The Province was going to have a surplus. So why should they not expect to go to this Government and negotiate reasonable wage increases and benefits? Why should they not? And of course they did. They did in good faith. And this Government gave some very good increases. Deserving increases, I might add. But what did they do after?

I remember the nurses very well, the special case. And so they were a special case. But the special case was soon forgotten just a few months after. Department of Health officials went worldwide recruiting nurses for this Province. Flew them in first-class. A few short months after, before they even had time to become acclimatized to Newfoundland, they packed them out, sent them home.

MR. WARREN: First-class?

MR. MATTHEWS: No, whatever the cheapest rate out. Now what this Government has done by this violation of trust is they have really set a precedent in this Province for future collective bargaining. A very, very dangerous precedent. And they have sent a strong message to unions throughout this Province that the Government is quite willing to sit down and negotiate agreements, to put their signature to agreements, and then bring in a wage restraint bill to change those negotiated agreements. That is what this Government is quite willing to do in this Province.

It will be virtually impossible in the future to get two sides to come to a bargaining table, because they can come to the bargaining table any more as equals. They will not be equal when they come to the bargaining table, since one side has now given itself absolute power and absolute authority over the whole process. That is what this Government has done to the bargaining process in this Province.

What it is has done is undermine not only the credibility of this Government - it has certainly done that, very much so undermined the credibility of the Wells administration - and that is going to stay with us for a long time, even after the Wells administration is no longer here. It is going to be a reflection on this Legislature, what is happening here, Mr. Speaker, a reflection that does not only reflect on the Government but every Member sitting here. It is very easy for people when they lose faith in their elected representatives in the Legislature to soon thereafter lose faith in the full democratic process of which we are all so proud. Now that is what this Government has done in its actions over the last number of months. If we reflect back to last fall when the Premier - I believe it was in August - gave a statement that said the Province was facing financial difficulty. And then they went on to say in October that there would be departmental reviews undertaken to see just how severe and what severe measures had to be taken. Every time last fall in the Legislature when the Opposition questioned the measures that Government may have to take, the Premier and the President of Treasury Board consistently stood in their place and accused us of fearmongering and said that there were not going to be any layoffs, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is not true.

MR. MATTHEWS: There were not going to be any hospital closures, Mr. Speaker. The Opposition was continuously accused of fearmongering.

MR. SIMMS: Fearmongering.

MR. MATTHEWS: Fearmongering.

MR. SIMMS: Right on.

MR. MATTHEWS: Fearmongering. And I remember the Premier distinctly standing in his place day after day and saying, 'Mr. Speaker, there have been no decisions. The hon. Member is misleading the people of the Province.' That is exactly what the Premier said day after day. How I wish we had only been fearmongering. How I wish it was us who had mislead the people of the people of the Province and not the Premier. How I wish that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: Because with us fearmongering and misleading we do not have the power and authority to throw 3,500 people out the Government door, as this Premier and this President of Treasury Board have done, but we were correct, Mr. Speaker. We were just as correct last fall as we were last March when the Minister of Finance brought in his Budget predicting a $10 million surplus, and I am sure at the time people said, 'well what do you expect them to say, they are the Opposition.' We said it was a fraudulent document - a fraudulent document. We kept saying it and we kept saying it. It took a number of weeks, Mr. Speaker, before people saw any crack whatsoever in the Minister of Finance's Budget, but eventually they saw it. In August they surely saw it when the Premier made his statement to the Province. We saw it in October when they talked about the departmental reviews. But all the while they were doing the departmental reviews they were negotiating and signing contracts with unions in this Province, reasonable contracts, at the very same time that they knew full well what they were going to have to do at the end of the day, and some of them just days before the March 7 Budget. This Government kept putting its signature on negotiated settlements and then walked in here on the 7th of March and lowered the boom.

Mr. Speaker, I want to say that is not the first time that signatures have not been worth the paper they were written on, but it is just unfortunate when you do it to your own people. You do not feel as bad about it when you do it to people from outside the Province. When you sit down with other First Ministers and attach your name to a piece of paper you do not feel good about it when you do not honour it. But when you sign an agreement with your own people, the people that you were sent here to represent, the people who sent you here with their trust and that paper is not worth the signature or the ink it is written on, then I say, Mr. Speaker, it is a sad day for this Province.

But finally, Mr. Speaker, the people of the Province are starting to see the real Wells administration. People sent us all here to represent their interests and they expect us to stand here and speak on their behalf and first of all to be responsible to them, the ones who sent us here. But it is passing strange to me, Mr. Speaker, that the people who knew the Premier best did not send him here, and the people who knew him best did not send him here. And the more people get to know him and get to know him well -

AN HON. MEMBER: He has not been elected yet.

MR. MATTHEWS: Well, I did not say that.

Mr. Speaker, that is the sort of sequence that has happened leading up to this terrible bill, this terrible rollback bill. This bill that is tearing up negotiated contracts in the face of the employees of this Province. The big rosy $10 million picture that eventually led to a $215 million deficit. And those people who signed the agreements, and those workers who are going to benefit, who had no say whatsoever over the change from $10 million in surplus to a $215 million deficit are the ones that have had to pay the price. That is another very sorry indication of what is happening in this Province, Mr. Speaker.

And we have talked about alternatives, other ways that Government could have gone about this without laying off in excess of 3,000 people and rolling back wages. The former President of Treasury Board, the Member for Grand Falls, has asked a number of questions to the Premier and the President of Treasury Board over the last few days, Why did they not consider some other alternatives? Why did they not consider job sharing? Why did they not consider a proposal put forward that employees would take two weeks off on paid leave? Why did they not consider that? Attrition -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: What is that?

Who put it forward? Are you saying it was not put forward?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Why did you not put it forward, is the question?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: You are not a put forward person, you are a roll back person.

MR. WINSOR: Clyde would not approve of it.

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, there are all kinds of other alternatives.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are a roll back person, not a put forward person.

MR. MATTHEWS: You could have cut 1 or 2 per cent in discretionary spending.

MR. SIMMS: He wanted to gut it.

MR. MATTHEWS: Newfoundland Information Services budget which has increased so much this year did not have to be increased. But I guess when you got a Government that is so image conscious they want to spend more money to build up their image particularly when they sense they are starting to slip. And they are willing to put a few more dollars in the Budget to try and do that. Meantime you are laying off people, but you want to keep up your own image.

Car allowances, Mr. Speaker. There could have been some action taken there. And a number of others. But my pet peeve, Mr. Speaker, is one that was questioned on today here the Economic Recovery Commission. The Government sat down and established budgetary priorities for this Province. This Government choose to lay off 650 departmental employees, around 900 health care workers, and others, and at the same time what did they place higher on the priority list than keeping those people working? What did they put above that, the higher priority? It was funding for the Economic Recovery Commission. Some $44 million that they were so proud to talk about on Budget Day, but today now we sense a backing off. Well we are not really sure it is $44 million, it is so much from here and so much from there. But any way you want to cut the cake it is $44 million that this Government decided to give to Dr. Doug House and the Economic Recovery Commission to create jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador -

MS. VERGE: Jobs for whom?

MR. MATTHEWS: - while you were firing 3,000 public servants.

MR. SIMMS: Jobs for the Liberals.

MS. VERGE: Jobs for the Liberals.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) 4,000.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, he says 3,500. And I will take his figure a little more over yours.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: I do not doubt any figures from this side. But after your Budget of a year ago I question all of yours.

MR. WINDSOR: I will put my record up against yours any day.

MR. MATTHEWS: I question all of yours.

MR. SIMMS: We heard yesterday, he did not know how many were going to lose their jobs.

MR. MATTHEWS: Why the Minister of Education a few days ago said there was going to be 300 jobs out of the education system, there is going to be about 500 out of the education system of the Province let me say to the President of Treasury Board.

MR. SIMMS: At least.

MR. MATTHEWS: That is not even included in your numbers, but it is included in ours.


MR. WINSOR: We know more what is going on than you do.

MR. SIMMS: Another shemozzle.

MR. MATTHEWS: The point I was making, Mr. Speaker, is this, that with the $44 million that Government gave to Doug House on his Economic Recovery Commission you did not have to lay off your departmental employees, you did not have to send people out of the health care system of the Province. You could have kept them employed because there is no way that Doug House is going to create that many jobs in the next twenty-five years in Newfoundland. There is no evidence to date of it. Everybody knows that the jobs Government has touted that Doug House has created were jobs in fish plants that were kept going by Newfoundland and Labrador Development Corporation that Doug House had nothing whatsoever to do with. But, again, it is priority, Mr. Speaker, and it is obvious that this Government has its priorities mixed up. I say to the President of Treasury Board in the amendment moved by my colleague calling for a six month hoist, why do you not defer this legislation for six months, call in the union leaders of the Province, sit down and see how far Doug House's $44 million can go towards keeping those people working? You can still do that. The Budget is not passed in this Legislature. You can always amend the Budget. You can always call in Doug and say, sorry Doug, you have to go because we are going to keep those other 2000 people working. Those 2000 are more important than you are Doug. You can do that. You can get rid of Doug and however many there are of them. There are too many of them. If you were a caring Government and if you were concerned about employment in this Province, I say to the President of Treasury Board, that is the action you would take. You talk about defenceless - when my colleague flicked out about the job creation agency for former Liberals, Liberal campaign workers today, and the poor Premier was so embarrassed he tried to blurt out something, accusing the person of being the campaign manager for the Member for Humber East, and in essence it was the campaign manager for the Minister of Justice for Humber West. This is the kind of thing that is going on here. You can tell you do not have a defence for the actions you have taken.

MS. VERGE: You do not need the Public Service Commission.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, of course they do not. Why do they need the Public Service Commission. They go about and brag about downsizing the Cabinet. They have a mechanism in place where if you take the fourteen or fifteen that are in Cabinet, plus Doug House and his crew, if you had forty Cabinet Ministers it would not cost near as much. It would not cost near as much to have everyone on that side in Cabinet, however many there are.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) the way you fellows operated.

MR. MATTHEWS: Well, they know how you are operating. That is what I am talking about right now, how you operate. You tell people you are doing one thing and you do the reverse. That is what you do. You say you are going to abolish school tax but you increase it. You are going to set up a water and sewer corporation, where is it? You have made it impossible for small communities in this Province this year to either get water and sewer systems or to continue with some that are half installed. There were to be more hospital beds, but what did you do this year, you closed 438 more. That is what this Government has done, Mr. Speaker. Now, I say to the President of Treasury Board, this amendment put forward by my colleague is a serious amendment, and we put it forward for a very good reason, because we believe that the Government have their priorities - there are words I could use but I cannot use here because they are unparliamentary, but mixed up, mixed up. There is still a chance for you to make up for the dreadful mistake you made, for bringing forward this legislation and laying off those thousands of public servants. Why do you not call in the union leaders and discuss the situation with them and see if there is some way you can rectify the situation so that those people who have lost their jobs, or will be losing them, there is a way to put that off. I have already given you a very good suggestion.

AN HON. MEMBER: As usual we are way ahead of you.

MR. MATTHEWS: Are you telling me you have already had them in and those jobs are secure? Is that what you call being ahead of me? If that is the way you are far ahead of me I do not mind it. There is no doubt you are way ahead of me. Why does the President of Treasury Board not consider that? Or is it the same reason why the Minister of Labour was not allowed to have an opinion not long ago on an issue? She was not allowed to have an opinion on a matter. I have to call someone, she said, I do not know if I am allowed to have an opinion on this. Two people she named, she would have to call, to see if she was allowed to have an opinion.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who was that?

MR. MATTHEWS: The Minister of Labour.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who did she have to call?

MR. MATTHEWS: You are not supposed to talk about people who are absent. But that is what is happening, Mr. Speaker, with this Government.

But I say to the President of Treasury Board in all sincerity, that I ask him to consider this amendment put forward by my colleague for a six month hoist. Because the President of Treasury Board, the Premier and the Cabinet think that by taking this action of laying off all those people and rolling back their wages, that it is going to do something for the economy of this Province. There is no doubt it is. But it is going to be just the reverse of what the Government thinks it is going to do. Because our economy is going to further shrink. There are going to be less people employed, there will be less money spent, there will be more layoffs in the private sector of this Province. As a result of that our unemployment rate will further increase. I would suggest to the Minister of Finance that instead of reducing his deficit he is going to increase it substantially. And if he kept the health care workers employed, the Departmental workers employed, and as I told the workers in the Shipyard in Marystown a few weeks ago, if they built the Fogo ferry, they could do all that with the money they have given to Doug House and not increase the deficit of the Province by one nickel, not one nickel.

As a matter of fact by doing those things they would probably make the bottom line of the Province a little bit better off. And it was quite pathetic today to hear the Minister of Labour stand in her place here and try to justify, to say that she was somehow proud, of what has happened to the unemployment statistics in this Province since she became -

MS COWAN: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, let me say to the Minister of Employment and Labour over there, that most days you ask the Minister a question you do not get any answers. And today was surely an example of that. She bragged about the unemployment statistics for this Province, how proud she was.

AN HON. MEMBER: Talk about Sprung..

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, I will talk about Sprung too, if you want to talk about that. You want to talk about Sprung, I can do that too, and pickles. And I say to the Minister of Social Services, moose, if he wants to about that, we can talk about it. The only Minister of Social Services since confederation, I believe, who has not been able to get an increase for social assistance recipients in this Province in a Budget. The only Minister of Social Services ever who has not gotten an increase for the poor and the downtrodden of our society, this Minister of Social Services who just left.

When I asked the Member for Carbonear he said it was a lie. Well, we have had to refer the Minister to the Budget documents a number of times. And that is true. And as a matter of fact, in the Budget speech given by the Minister of Finance he very explicitly said that this year there would be no increase, he was sorry to say, for social assistance recipients. That is exactly what is in your Budget.

Dig up the Budget and let me refer him to the page again. I suppose the Minister of Finance would deny -

AN HON. MEMBER: No other increases.

MR. MATTHEWS: No increase. No increases, I say to the Minister of Finance. Now I do not want to stay and debate the issue with the Minister of Finance because if there was ever a person in this Legislature who it is a waste of time to debate with, it is the Minister of Finance. A man who was most responsible for the actions of this Government which they are taking now with this terrible Bill 16. A man who has mismanaged the finances of this Province for the last two years. Mismanagement, total mismanagement, and he told us today really, Mr. Speaker, why the Government took the actions they took; because of his mismanagement, the bond rating agencies called them in and said: Hubert, you get this deficit down and take whatever actions you have to take or else your credit rating is going to be reduced.

Can you imagine a Minister of Finance making such a mess of this Province in such a short time that the rating agencies would do that?

AN HON. MEMBER: They did it to you fellows.

MR. MATTHEWS: Oh no, they did not.

AN HON. MEMBER: They reduced your (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: No, they did not. No, they did not, No, they did not and there is no point of the President of Treasury Board talking about us fellows, we are not the Government, you are.

You talked about us when you were over here; when you were over here you talked about us.

AN HON. MEMBER: You lost your credit rating, you blew it.

MR. MATTHEWS: I would say to the Minister of Finance about blowing it: as I said before, there are a number of adjectives one could use on the Minister of Finance and what he has done, but you are not allowed to use them.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I would hope that because of the exchanges from some Members Opposite, that after I take my place now, we will see some of them stand and debate this legislation. The only person opposite who has spoken to this bill as of now, is the President of Treasury Board, that is from standing in their places speaking to it, Mr. Speaker. The only one person who has spoken on the Government side, on such a drastic piece of legislation, is the President of Treasury Board; no other Member, Cabinet Minister or Private Member has stood to debate this legislation.

AN HON. MEMBER: They are not allowed to.

MR. MATTHEWS: Now, I would hope that there would be others who would get up to speak on this legislation, particularly those in the back benches, who do not have to toe King Clyde's line -

AN HON. MEMBER: They will not get in Cabinet if they do.

MR. MATTHEWS: - King Clyde's line, they have to (inaudible) stand up and talk - they do not owe anything to the Premier like the Ministers do. We heard the Minister of Labour say why she is so bound to what she is doing today, she would rather stay in the Cabinet and inflict damage on the people of the Province than stand up to the Premier and get out of it, that is in essence what she said to the Legislature today.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to conclude my remarks on the amendment, the six month hoist put forward by the Member for Grand Falls, which, in essence is asking the Government to delay any action, any further action, until they sit down and meet with the union leaders of this Province to see if there is some way to get around these very drastic measures they have undertaken, by laying off employees and rolling back wages and benefits that have been duly negotiated and signed by this Government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: Nobody getting up?

MR. WINSOR: Nobody over there?

MR. SPEAKER: Are we ready for the amendment?

MR. SIMMS: No, we are not ready, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: We had twelve speakers over here, they only had one; what an embarrassment.

AN HON. MEMBER: (inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: No, Mr. Speaker, I say to the President of Treasury Board, I have not spoken. The only one who have not spoken are seated on that side of the House.

AN HON. MEMBER: And they are not allowed to speak.

MR. WINSOR: Now, Mr. Speaker, that is a sad testimony in itself. My colleague from Grand Bank just referred to that fact. Here is one of the most drastic pieces of legislation ever introduced to this Chamber; the President of Treasury Board introduced it briefly and nobody else has the intestinal fortitude to stand up and defend their piece of legislation, or if defend is not the word, Mr. Speaker, to explain it, to give us a rationale for taking such drastic action at this point in time.

Now we know the explanation given by the President of Treasury Board; he has talked about the financial situation of the Province, projected deficit the Minister of Finance has handed us, and the threat to the credit rating. My colleague also referred to that briefly, just a moment ago, and that is the fact of the matter. I can sympathize with Government that they are in a very difficult position financially, but I say to them in contradiction to some of the comments that have been coming across the floor of the House, it is a situation of their own making, Mr. Speaker.

We handed them a surplus, and in two years the Minister of Finance has brought us down with a $117 million deficit last year, a $117 million deficit last year and a $54 million deficit projected for this year and, no doubt that will increase before this year is over.


MR. SIMMS: Yes she is back to normal, there is no doubt about that.

MR. WINDSOR: It is incredible, Mr. Speaker, how they can make the sorts of comments I am hearing there now and they almost believe them; I do not know but they just might believe some of the things they are saying even though the facts do not substantiate what they are saying at all and they know it, but they tend to try to convince themselves.

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to speak for a long time this afternoon because there is an overall futility in this whole exercise; there is an overall futility. It is very clear that this Government is going to force this legislation through the House of Assembly, they are not going to speak to it, they are not going to rationalize, they are going to force it through using their majority, and this is the kind of Government that we are seeing in this Province, Mr. Speaker. It is clear, that regardless of what we say in this Chamber nothing is going to change, but it is, nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, important that the points be made.

My real concern, Mr. Speaker, with this piece of legislation - there is nothing in the legislation itself, it is very clear and concise, we do not like what it does - the concern is how it is being done and the approach this Government is taking to collective bargaining in the Province. And not only collective bargaining, it goes much further than that, it goes to doing business in the Province. And I have spoken in this Chamber before in this session about the breach of trust that we have seen from this Government on several occasions. And we should not be surprised because we were warned before this Government came to power of the approach that they would take.

The Premier, before he became the Premier, spoke about loan guarantees that the previous government had issued. And he said that in all likelihood his Government would not honour those loan guarantees. And he threatened not to honour them to the point where there were serious questions in the financial community - and if the Minister of Finance wants to know one of the reasons why our credit rating is now in jeopardy, this is one of them, but just one of them - by the statements made by the Premier and the Minister of Finance as to whether or not this Government would indeed honour financial commitments made through loan guarantees. To the point where many businesses in this Province and industries which depend on those loan guarantees in order to raise their financing required, were beginning to find it extremely difficult because there was a real question as to whether those loan guarantees were worth anything in fact. And it would have been very serious if the financial community lost confidence in those loan guarantees and lost confidence that this Government would indeed be good to their word and to their signatures on those guarantees.

Well, we saw very shortly after the election that the Premier had to backtrack on that and indeed he has been forced to honour the loan guarantees. He now, I am sure, realizes the gravity of such an action if the Government were to take that. So that was the first evidence of the lack of trust that people could have in this Government.

And then of course we all remember very well the Meech Lake episode. We all saw the Premier on national television signing a document saying that he would bring that resolution before this Chamber for a vote. We saw him put his name to the document, give his word to the Prime Minister and to all other premiers, and to the people of this Province, to the people of the nation. And he came into this Chamber and talked about such a resolution. And sent us around the Province doing a fair and honest assessment of the wishes of the people of this Province.

So we went through that exercise and what happened in the end? The Premier refused to call a vote. Once again he broke his word to the people of Canada, to the First Ministers of Canada, and to this hon. House. Perhaps even more importantly, to this House, to this Chamber, to the elected representatives of the people, he refused to give us a voice on that particular occasion. So this has come through now into collective bargaining. And what we are hearing from labour leaders today, is that they have lost confidence in this Government, they no longer trust this Government.

Collective bargaining is a strange occurrence. It works in strange ways. Only those, I would suggest, who have been intimately involved in it can fully appreciate some of the subtleties involved in collective bargaining. But collective bargaining above all is based on one thing, mutual trust and respect. Obviously when two groups sit on opposite sides of the collective bargaining table they have opposing points of view, opposing objectives. But they must respect each other. That is essential or the collective bargaining process is doomed to failure before it begins.

I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that we have lost that trust now in this Province. The union leaders will no longer feel confident when they sit down at a collective bargaining table with this Government, because we have seen the name of the President of Treasury Board signed to collective agreements now, knowing full well that those agreements were not going to be honoured. And that is what is so serious about this piece of legislation. It is not a wage freeze, Mr. Speaker.

A number of years ago we imposed a wage freeze, when we were in power for good and valid reasons. We went before the people, we explained the financial situation we were in, the options available to us, and the sad choice that we had to make, and we chose at that time to freeze wages and prices. And that was a very serious decision, Mr. Speaker, but it was done for the right reason and it was done honourably. We did not break any contracts that we had signed. The wage freeze took effect at the end of existing contracts.

That is quite a different thing than what is taking place here today, Mr. Speaker. What we are seeing here today is, in fact, a roll back and it is contract stripping. This Government, Mr. Speaker, sat at the bargaining table with people who were there in good faith bargaining on behalf of the people they represented, and they went through the motions of working out a collective agreement. I have no doubt that, during the course of those negotiations, that significant numbers of benefits were given up by those bargaining agents in return for salary increases. And as a colleague mentioned a few moments ago we now see that not only did they not get those benefits that they bargained away, in good faith, now we see the Government is taking back the wage increases that they awarded in their stead.

Now, Mr. Speaker, how would we expect collective bargaining agents to have any confidence in any future negotiations, in any agreements made with this Government? We see in this bill, for example, the bill also controls future collective agreements to some degree. Now, Mr. Speaker, I do not know how we can do that. Because one thing we cannot do is bind a future Legislature. So notwithstanding anything that is said in this piece of legislation a new Legislature, with a new Government can reverse any decisions that are taken in this piece of legislation. You cannot bind future legislators.

So you are not concerned about long-term implications from that point of view. But I am concerned about our ability ever to have meaningful negotiation again with these bargaining agents, because the trust is broken, Mr. Speaker. And once the trust is broken then the whole basis for collective bargaining has been destroyed. And that is a very serious thing, it is much more serious, Mr. Speaker, than the fact that wages are being rolled back, salary increases are not being given, as important as that is. But the breach of trust, Mr. Speaker, is what will be with us long after this wage restraint program is over.

The pay equity issue, Mr. Speaker, in this legislation: We now know that the retroactivity of that very positive and very important program has now been eliminated by legislation. Mr. Speaker, how does this Government expect women in this Province to have confidence in the Government when such action is being taken. And as my colleague pointed out, my colleague for Humber East particularly, this is a very discriminatory action on behalf of Government. Once again we are seeing a benefit that had been negotiated in good faith being taken away.

I think we need to really examine that, Mr. Speaker, and recognize what we are doing. The sad part about it is that some of these collective agreements were signed within days of this announcement being made, and try as they may this Government will not convince me, for one, that they were not aware when they signed those collective agreements that they had no intention whatsoever of honouring them.

Mr. Speaker, the motion we are debating is a six month hoist. This is a traditional parliamentary procedure to give not only Government but the organizations involved, and the Province generally, the opportunity to re-examine, to look for other alternatives. Now obviously a six month hoist would have a tremendously negative financial impact on the Government. And we do not suggest that lightly, because we know that will have a serious impact on the financial position of the Province because other alternatives, Mr. Speaker, have now been eliminated. Had the other alternatives been taken during the budgetary process, then we would have seen the financial benefits of them. But they are not there now.

Mr. Speaker, a wage freeze is one thing. The layoffs in the public service is something else again. The action of Government is in fact to remove something in excess of $100 million from the economy of this Province at a time when our economy needs stimulation, not to have $100 million removed from it. So it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, Mr. Speaker. When the Government says we are not expecting to raise enough revenue to meet our needs, and therefore we are going to remove $100 million from the economy, you may rest assured that this Government will not meet the revenue requirements. And I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that the revenue projections in this Budget will be found to be overestimated, largely as a result of this action.

And it is not just that $100 million, Mr. Speaker. That is 3,500 jobs lost all around this Province, but there will be a spin-off factor from that in the private sector. So we will probably see about 8,000 people lose their jobs as a direct result of the decisions taken by this Government, and $100 million will become $300 million or $400 million out of the economy. That, Mr. Speaker, is going to be devastating to the economy of this Province. So what the Government will have done in an attempt to try to resolve their financial position, they will have made their financial position much worse, they will have reduced even further their ability to negotiate further agreements and to provide increases to the public service in future years. And I have no doubt that you will see in next year's Budget additional layoffs as a result of it, and the same implications will be felt from that.

So, Mr. Speaker, I do not think there is much more that needs to be said. I think it is very clear that this Government has made a decision. It is irrevocable. I do not know if they knew the consequences of their action when they did it, but they certainly know it now and we can rest assured, Mr. Speaker, that we will feel it over coming months throughout this Province. We are feeling it now; we are seeing it not only from a financial and economic point of view, we are seeing it in the level of service that is being provided to the people of this Province. And there were other alternatives. There were other alternatives. Perhaps a measure of restraint in this area was justified - none of it is desirable - in view of the economic situation, but there are other alternatives and other things this Government could and should have done as well. They should not have tried to resolve all their financial mess, which again I emphasize is of their own making. The Premier tries to say time and again it is because the Government of Canada is not giving as much money as we had before. That is just a deceitful statement for the Premier to make. He knows that we are, in fact, getting probably $40 million more this year. It may not be as big an increase as the Government would have liked to have gotten, Mr. Speaker, but it is being deceitful to say that you are getting less, and the Premier has said that.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible) in one year.

MR. WINDSOR: I did not say he was trying to solve all the problems in one year, I said you are trying to solve your problems on the backs of the public service and, in fact, you are only making your situation worse. The President of Treasury Board was out for a few moments and he did not hear the scenario I had summed up for him prior to that. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy, I said, that your financial situation will now be worse because of this action. The President of Treasury Board shakes his head in disagreement.

MR. BAKER: Overspending by a couple of hundred million does not solve the problem.

MR. WINDSOR: I did not say overspend by a couple of hundred million. The President of Treasury Board is trying to put words in my mouth. What I am saying to him, Mr. Speaker, is that there were other alternatives. Perhaps we needed some measure of this. If the President of Treasury Board had listened to the words of all the economists across Canada who were predicting that our economy in Newfoundland was going to strengthen very quickly in the Spring of this year - in fact, Mr. Speaker, I say to you that we were starting to see it even earlier than economists predicted. In January and February of this year things were starting to turn around, the perception out there was positive. People were planning things, and quite actively. If the President of Treasury Board had his finger on the pulse of the business community he would know that people were proposing to move ahead with some of their developments. Then all of a sudden the Budget came in and things changed very, very quickly. So I say it is a self-fulfilling prophecy not only for the money that this Government has taken out directly, but from the cloud it has cast over the whole economy of this Province. Daily I talk to businesspeople who say, I am not doing anything until I see if this thing is going to change, if the economy is going to improve.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is that all across Canada?

MR. WINDSOR: All across Canada. It is changing in Ontario now. The economy in Ontario is starting to strengthen. If you read the Globe and Mail today you will see the President of the Bank of Canada commented, I think in Vancouver yesterday, on such things and indicates that interest rates are still going to decrease. That is positive, because it will help the economy strengthen, and it also indicates that things are on the rise. And I am saying to the President of Treasury Board that the economy in Newfoundland would have recovered more by now than it has had the Government not taken these decision in the Budget, because it has destroyed the confidence again in our economy. If you take $100 million of Government money out of the economy you are going to have a very, very serious negative impact. People literally put on the brakes on Budget day. So, I say to the President of Treasury Board, if we had any confidence in the economic projections of national economists and our own people, very qualified and capable people Government has on staff, if we had any confidence in their projections, then perhaps we should have borrowed a little bit more. I am not one to suggest borrowing more, and $600 million is a record expenditure. In Question Period the Premier talked about the Newfoundland Stock Savings Plan. I think there is $25 million being paid back this year. Why have we not sold another $25 million worth? That was a decision this Government made, to eliminate the Stock Savings Plan. Maybe the Government is happy that $400 million a year is going out of this Province in investment money. Those programmes were instituted to keep that money in Newfoundland, and the Government chose to pay those back and not to make any more available. They could have been continually bringing money in. The whole purpose was to make the Newfoundland and Labrador Development Corporation, which they have now rolled into Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, somewhat self-sufficient so that they could raise their own equity funding and reinvest it in the Newfoundland community. Instead of that this Government has eliminated that option, and it is one of the reasons we have $25 million more of a deficit than we should have.

Well there was a way the Government could have picked up $25 million very quickly; we just will not cancel that programme; leave that programme in place; sell another $25 million worth of bonds this year instead of paying that.

MR. BAKER: Too expensive.

MR. WINDSOR: Too expensive. You are not getting on with this foolish argument the Minister of Finance talked about, competing with borrowing in Japan. That is not what we are competing with. We are competing with Canada Savings Bonds. And that is why the rate we paid was one-quarter per cent higher than Canada Savings Bonds, because there was a real premium in having that money stay in Newfoundland instead of having it go to Ottawa. That is what we were competing with. Not the Japanese market, or the Swiss market. We are talking about competing with Canadian instruments. Too expensive. Too expensive!

Does the President of Treasury Board not recognize the fact that keeping that money in Newfoundland, circulating in the economy, pays a real premium? Does he understand that, Mr. Speaker? He would rather have that money invested by Newfoundlanders in Toronto and borrow in Japan! It is no wonder we have such a financial mess. It is no wonder the investment community and the bond rating agencies are looking very carefully at this Government.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible), did they not?

MR. WINDSOR: One of the credit rating agencies did, temporarily. And I would say to you, if we were still there we would have been back up and probably even higher. We had every reason to believe that our credit rating was about to be increased.

MR. MATTHEWS: Your Premier increased with the shenanigans he got on with.

MR. WINDSOR: We did not bring in a $117 million deficit, Mr. Speaker. We did not lay off 3,500 public servants. We did not freeze -

MR. BAKER: You are gone to 3,500 now, are you?

MR. WINDSOR: 3,500. I have been consistent since Budget Day.

AN HON. MEMBER: Consistently wrong.

MR. WINDSOR: I appreciate the hon. gentleman opposite would not recognize inconsistency. Consistently wrong?


MR. WINDSOR: Well who predicted the deficit last year when somebody was predicting surpluses? I will put my record up against yours any day, I can tell you that, and we will see who has been correct in their predictions. And I do not have 200 staff upstairs doing it for me. It is called basic economic sense.

The Minister projected a 10 per cent increase last year in some of his Provincial revenues. And his transfer payments he predicted were going up tremendously, at a time when the economy of central Canada was in a recession. And the Minister, if he knows anything about transfer payments and the economy, would know that if the economy in central Canada is weak, then our transfer payments are going to be down. It is the very basis of the whole transfer payment programme. Yet he merrily and dishonestly and deceitfully predicted large increases in that area.

So it is very clear that this Government has lost control of the finances of the Province. I say to the President of Treasury Board that - more specifically, we are dealing now with collective bargaining here - he is also the author of his own misfortunes, as I have said before. Because he turned too many of the agreements over to independent arbitrators when he did not need to. He turned tail when the negotiating got tough and he said, well, we cannot reach an agreement, so we will turn it over to independent arbitrators and let them take the heat. And they took the heat, and they gave increases Government could not afford. Not that they were not desirable, not that they were not deserved by the people who received them -

MR. BAKER: They were reasonable.

MR. WINDSOR: They were reasonable. Very reasonable. Except you cannot afford them. So what was the point of having an independent arbitrator give a reasonable settlement that you could not afford? And what was the point of using those arbitration settlements as the basis for further negotiations in the future and making settlements with other collective bargaining units that you could not afford, knowing all the time that you were going to come into this Chamber and legislate those agreements, reversed?

AN HON. MEMBER: That is not true.

MR. WINDSOR: That is true.

AN HON. MEMBER: No it is not.

MR. WINDSOR: That is the absolute truth, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No it is not. It is the opposite (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: That is the absolute truth, Mr. Speaker. And that is the problem here. That is why we are faced with this, because the President of Treasury Board lost control of the collective bargaining process. He abdicated his responsibility to independent arbitrators who do not put very much weight in the ability of the Province to pay. I say to the President of Treasury Board, if he had come clean with the unions, if he had said to them we just do not have the money to give you, eventually he would have found a solution. There would be some pain on both sides, but there would have been an agreement somewhere down the road if he had been honest with them.

And I say to you, Mr. Speaker, that I doubt very much if there was one union representative who would say to the President of Treasury Board, we would rather you give us an agreement and then roll it back than be honest with us up front, be straight with us. Instead of that this Government comes in with a projected surplus, the people's budget the Minister of Finance talked about. A $10 million surplus he projected, setting the scene for these negotiations, giving false hopes to the people with whom he was negotiating, knowing all the time that it was beyond their means and that this type of action may well become necessary.

And that is why I say that what we are talking about here today is not the words in the Bill at all, but it is the concept of negotiating, knowing that you have no intention of honouring the terms and conditions that you are negotiating.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: The President of Treasury Board can say it is not true, but the facts speak louder than words. And the fact is that hon. gentlemen opposite are not even on their feet to defend it. They either have been under direct orders from the dictator not to speak, or in their own personal consciences -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. WINDSOR: - they know they can not defend it. Thank you.

MR. MATTHEWS: King Clyde is going to bring in his own charter now, a charter according to Clyde.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Is the House ready for the question?

MR. SIMMS: No, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

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


AN HON. MEMBER: Still nobody up!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

MR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, let me say to the comment I just heard from the Member for Eagle River, when I do receive a petition from my constituents I will present them to the Legislature, unlike the one I have here that was given to him and he would not accept it. I have a petition here that was given to the Member and he would not accept it or present it to the Legislature. But I tell the hon. Member that it will be presented tomorrow in this Legislature, and it concerns Government cutbacks.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we have been talking about Bill 16 and the amendment that was brought forward by my colleague, the Opposition House Leader.

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

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

The hon. the Member for Eagle River on a point of order.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member just mentioned that I had a petition in my mitts that I have not presented, and that is certainly untrue. I do not have a petition, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

MR. WARREN: No, Mr. Speaker, he does not have the petition, because I have it. That is why -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WARREN: He did not take it. He would not accept it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible) take it, that is why.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WARREN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Let me continue. I want to read something and it is very, very important. This is from the campaign of 1989, the policy manual of the Liberal Party. I want to read what they said about labour, because there might be somebody in the gallery who might want to reflect back to 1989 when the Liberal Party were talking about labour in our Province. Here is what they said about labour:

`In recent years, economic development in Newfoundland and Labrador has been impeded by an unsettled labour climate which has resulted largely from the failure of the government to recognize the essential role of the unions in our society.'

Now these were the words of the Premier and the Liberal Party in the 1989 campaign. It goes on to say: `The record of the Tory Government in dealing with labour has been dismal. Its adversarial approach has created some of the worst moments in this Province's trade union history.' This is from the Premier and the Liberal Government. Now what else does it say? It says: `A Liberal Government will be determined to create an atmosphere of realistic co-operation in developing labour legislation and in dealing with public service unions.' That is what was contained in the Liberal campaign policy manual in 1989.

I am sure you realize, Mr. Speaker, that this Government you are part of is not really treating health care workers in New Perlican as they were saying here in their propaganda. `The Liberal policy of fairness and balance will be the basis of negotiation.'

AN HON. MEMBER: That is right (Inaudible).

MR. WARREN: Now the hon. gentleman, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, says, `oh, that is right.' `The Liberal policy of fairness and balance will be the basis for negotiation. Mutual respect and genuine concerns for the welfare and interest of all sectors of society, for employees, employers and the public at large, will be the guideline for labour policy.' Now the guideline for labour policy in 1989 was mutual respect and genuine concern for the welfare and interest of all sectors of our society.

They go on to say, `Progressive and fair legislation must be developed to deal with such issues as double-breasting, industrial standards, the minimum wage, and pay equity.' It says `pay equity'. `While the rights of all workers must be protected, it should not be at the expense of the trade union movement and its members.' Now that was the labour policy of the Liberal Government during its campaign.

What has happened in the last two years? After everything they said then, they have now turned their backs on the labour movement. Just listen to this, Mr. Speaker. `A Liberal Government is committed to full consultation with labour and management in the creation of competent legislation to address these issues.' In full consultation with labour. That was the Liberal Government's policy in 1989.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WARREN: I would say to my hon. colleague - again he is interrupting - I will finish speaking about 4:00 p.m., and if you are allowed to stand up and speak about this legislation, why do you not do so? But I know you are not allowed. The Premier has already told you not to speak, therefore, you are not allowed to speak. All you can do is shout across the House. I would ask the Speaker to ask my hon. colleague for Eagle River, if he does not want to take part in the debate, to please be quiet?

Now let us see where this Government is going with respect to priorities, with concern for health. I have read the labour part, now let us see what they said about health. `Liberal health policy dictates that as long as the demand exists, hospital beds must be kept open.'

Mr. Speaker, during the last number of days I had the opportunity several times to visit the Health Sciences Complex, a close relative of mine has been in there for a number of days. And if you want to see nurses overworked, I say to any Member here, just go over to the Health Sciences Complex at any time. You will see they are understaffed and they are being asked to do more than their bodies can stand. And that is ridiculous in this day and age.

I had another note - oh yes, right here. Let us see where this Government puts its priorities. I want to bring this to the attention of all hon. Members, because I do not understand why the President of Treasury Board would do this. In February or March of 1990 there was an Order in Council sent out to all Departments asking that the boards be reviewed - various boards in each Department were asked to be reviewed in March of 1990.

Now that was a letter that was sent out by Treasury Board. My colleague just asked me what happened. They were told in this letter that any adjustments or increases would become effective May 1, 1990. When this review took place there was one particular board which was not given a review, and that board was the Social Services Appeal Board. We are talking about rollbacks, and I want to tie this in with the roll back of wages, the layoffs, and the freeze on wages, and when I am finished I think you will get a good comparison.

So in November -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I want to say one more time if my colleague for Eagle River is going to keep interrupting, I would ask you, Sir, to ask him to be quiet.

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

The hon. Member has asked for silence while he is speaking. I ask all hon. Members to accord the hon. Member that privilege.

MR. WARREN: If you do not want to take any part in the debate, maybe you should be quiet. This bill is trying to destroy the working people in this Province. And if that hon. gentleman is in favour of that, then he should not be in this Legislature, he should be outside altogether.

Anyhow, in November 1990 the Minister of Social Services - the Treasury Board President is listening, because this is very important - went and saw the President of Treasury Board and asked if the Social Services Appeal Board could be reviewed and could there be an increase in Members on the Board. Let us see what happened in December 1990. This one particular board, this Social Services Appeal Board, was reviewed, and the rate of pay for the Chairman went from $200 a day to $350 a day. Now this happened while the Minister and the Premier were saying in the media, we know we are in financial trouble. After saying back in September and October that we need to have a wage freeze and all these kinds of things, Treasury Board approved an increase of from $200 a day to $350 a day for the Chairman of the Social Services Appeal Board, and from $150 a day to $250 a day for the members of that Appeal Board.

So what is new about that? The interesting part of the whole thing is that the Chairperson of the Social Services Appeal Board is an individual from the Minister of Social Services' own district, plus he is a former candidate for the Liberal Party!

Here you are cutting money from the public workers of this Province, the people who are working in the hospitals, in the schools, in the Government services, cutting money away from them, freezing their pay, while you give the Chairman of an Appeal Board an extra $200 a day. There is something else that happened. Let us see what else is happening.


MR. WARREN: (Inaudible). I will tell you what they would give him, they give him the first day $350 to travel to the place of the meeting, that is one $350, then a day for the meeting, another $350, and then a day to come back home, another $350. So for a meeting for two hours, for example, in Grand Falls or in Carbonear that individual would get paid $1,050. Now, Mr. Speaker, this is when this Government is concerned about the cost of wages, and they go in December and bring this back retroactive to May of 1990.

AN HON. MEMBER: Retroactive?

MR. WARREN: That is right. Bring it right back retroactive.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is against the law, retroactivity isn't it?

MR. WARREN: Well apparently not for anybody who works for the Liberal Party.


MR. WARREN: That is the problem. If you work for the Liberal Party you will be honoured. And this is an example of the formal candidate in Port de Grave in the 1985 election, and this is the reward he gets. He gets an increase from $200 a day to $350 a day.

Now, Mr. Speaker, all I can say to the hon. gentleman is that this information that I have supplied right here is against the trend that this Government has been preaching. This Government has been saying -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman is saying that it is not true. Well all I would say is get up and tell us the name of the person who is the Chairman of the Social Services Appeal Board, get up and tell us his name, and tell us how much they are paid per day.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, let me just say to the hon. gentleman, you already spoke in the debate, and apparently no one else is allowed to speak over there anymore.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I do not care. I got until 4:30 or 4:45, or I can keep on going.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WARREN: Well, Mr. Speaker, if it is not true, the hon. gentleman should get up, go to the media and tell them what I said in the legislature today is not true, that the increase has not gone from $200 to $350. And let me say to my hon. colleagues -

MR. SIMMS: What is it you said that he says is not true?

MR. WARREN: The Chairperson of the Social Services Appeal Board recently got an increase per diem of $200 to $350 a day.

MR. SIMMS: That is not true you say?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: He did not get an increase from $200 to $350? It probably went to $325 or something. Is that it?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Ah ha!

MR. WARREN: There you go, Mr. Speaker. But at the same time that they were giving this increase to the member of the Appeal Board who was a formal candidate in the Port de Grave District for the Liberal Party.

MR. SIMMS: Who was that?

MR. WARREN: I will not say the name, but they can find out who it is. This Chairperson has now got an increase and retroactive.

MR. SIMMS: Retroactive? He got an increase retroactive?

MR. WARREN: Now why doesn't the hon. President of Treasury Board say this is not true?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, let me say to the my hon. colleague for St. John's South that you people now are the Government. You are the people who are now saying you are treating, in fact - what were the words I used earlier - progressive and fair legislation and fairness and balance. You are talking about fairness and balance and here you see the workers in the hospitals -


MR. SPEAKER: Order please! Order please!

AN HON. MEMBER: I disagree with him.

MR. SPEAKER: Order please!

MR. WARREN: You see, Mr. Speaker, the workers in the hospitals being asked to take less wages. You get people working in the schools who have been laid off, and at the same time you get somebody who is appointed by the Government to a board, that is operated by this Government, and give him an increase. That is only one board I have mentioned, Mr. Speaker, and there are increases in seven other boards.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WARREN: The increase was not in place for years. You people have given an increase to members on various boards when at the same time you are saying to the public service in this province, 'take no increases. We will take it away from you.'

Now, Mr. Speaker, let us go back again and review again what is happening with this.

Now, I noticed in the weekend paper, and I have to read this because this is most interesting, Mr. Pat Doyle has, 'Meet your Member,' each weekend in the paper, and this past week one of the Members was the Premier himself. It is very ironic that in August 1966 the Premier was appointed Minister of labour. I should say, Mr. Speaker, remembering back twenty-five years ago it was almost like it was today. There is no difference because in those days there was a dictator in the House of Assembly, and we have a dictator now. Actually, Mr. Speaker, nothing has changed in the twenty-five years other than the dictators have changed. That is the only thing that has changed. The dictators have changed in the Legislature. It just happens that the dictator we have today in the Legislature as Premier is the same person who was appointed back in 1966 as Minister of Labour before he became elected.


MR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, let me say to my hon. colleague for Carbonear that we now are in Opposition and it is unfortunate how elections are won and lost because the last election was won on this policy manual, on this campaigning of 1989, of fairness and balance, of treating the people in the unions fair and balanced. When the Premier went throughout Newfoundland and Labrador the big thing was everybody would be treated fairly and everybody would be treated equal. Now, I would suspect, Mr. Speaker, that in the Province today many people are concerned whether this Government has lived up to its obligation. I am afraid it did not, and furthermore I believe that what they are doing with Bill 16 - and I should go back and say when we were in power we suffered greatly because of Bill 59. Because of Bill 59 our Government suffered greatly and we paid for it. This is why we are on this side of the Legislature today, because of things like Bill 59, because we upset the labour movement in the Province. Let me say to hon. colleagues that Bill 59 is nothing compared to Bill 16. Bill 59 might have been a factor in putting the Progressive Conservatives out of power in the last election. It might have been a factor, but let me say to my hon. colleaues that Bill 16 will be a factor in putting you out of power when the Premier decides to call the next election. I would think that the people who are employed by hospitals and by Government throughout Newfoundland and labrador are going to be upset because of what Bill 16 is doing to them. It is taking away rights they had, it is taking away rights that were given to them through arbitration, but I guess it all comes back to one simple reason. I read in the Western Star last week a letter to the editor where a person referred to the Premier as the great pretender. Mr. Speaker, I would think that is what the Premier is, the great pretender. He made people believe, on April 6, 1989, that he was going to bring a different Government to this Province, a Government that would treat the people equal and fair. A real change, Mr. Speaker, yes, and I would say to my friends in the gallery that they saw a real change.


MR. WARREN: Now, Mr. Speaker, I do not know at all if I have any friends in the gallery, I will still call them my friends. But I would think, Mr. Speaker, that the way my colleague for Eagle River is speaking and shouting back and forth and afraid to speak on this bill, that he has less friends in the gallery and less friends throughout Newfoundland and Labrador than he had before this bill came through.

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

I wonder if the hon. Member would permit me to inform the House of the questions for the Late Show?

I am not satisfied with the answer given by the Minister of Finance to my question referring to projected revenues from the payroll tax and its impact on companies - the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

I am not satisfied with the answer to my question from the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations - the hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

I am not satisfied with the answer given by the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs to my question on Mun Extension -the hon. the Member for St. John's East.

These are the three questions.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, if I may, on a point of order.

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

MR. BAKER: Question No. 2, what was the topic? The second question what was the topic?

MR. SPEAKER: The second question was from the hon. Member for Grand Bank, his question is to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. It does not indicate what the substance of the question was.

MR. BAKER: I would suggest to you that question is out of order. We have to know. That would be out of order. So really there are only two questions there on the Order Paper today.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: I do not know what is happening to the President of Treasury Board. It is hard to say. The Member for Grand Bank has given notice of a question that he asked today, he was dissatisfied with the answer. It was a question to the Minister of Labour. Notice has been given of it.

I mean it is hardly a point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) clarification.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

On that point of order, the question says: I am not satisfied with the answer to my question from the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, and it is April 4, 1991. So I assume that it is a question. I am not sure if the hon. Member asked one or two or several questions. But I will check on that with the Table officers and then have a ruling, okay.

AN HON MEMBER: (Inaudible.)

MR. SIMMS: No, Mr. Speaker, because under the rules -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: A point of order!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: Under the rules you can only give notice of the question you wish to ask on the late show on the day it was asked, and it is dated April 4th. So the Government House Leader should know that.

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

The Chair will have the matter checked into and make a ruling later okay.

The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

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

I only have a few more remarks to make and today when my colleague for Grand Bank was speaking he was interrupted by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, and she said, you are playing to the gallery. Now yesterday, Mr. Speaker, when there was nobody in the gallery, very few people in the gallery yesterday, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations spoke in the Legislature, she spoke on the private member's resolution that was brought forward by my colleague for Humber East. I just want to quote what the Minister of Labour said yesterday and it is interesting because she said -

AN HON. MEMBER: What page is that?

MR. WARREN: On page 757. I would like my hon. colleague to get it. She said, and I suppose she must be proud because these are her words: ' As a woman and as a Member of Government who shares the responsibility for women in this Province, I think we can be pleased with what we have accomplished'.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour can say that in this Legislature that she is pleased, she is pleased with what this Government has accomplished, I think, Mr. Speaker, it is a sad day for our Province. I believe if the Minister of Labour can come into this House and agree with Bill 16 that is discriminating against women, and here is a female Member of Cabinet, a Member of Cabinet and she is agreeing with her Cabinet colleagues -

AN HON. MEMBER: That is normal.

MR. WARREN: Okay, it is normal, hold on now. - agreeing with her Cabinet colleagues that they are pleased with what they have accomplished now; and you have accomplished by discriminating against women, so why would the Minister be pleased by saying because Bill 16 is going to take away some rights from them, she is pleased with it, so why is she pleased by taking away rights?

Now, I say to my colleague who is speaking from his Round Chair that if he wants to speak he should go back to his own chair -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

MR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I do not care how much they shout and jump over there because I only have five of ten minutes left anyhow, so, I will keep on speaking and I will keep on until I make sure that this Government's action is known by every Newfoundlander and Labradorian in this Province, and it is going to be said time and time and time again by us Members on this side of the House now, because it is never going to be said by anyone over there because they are not allowed to speak. They are not allowed to get up and say anything; in fact, my colleague would not even present a petition from Mary's Harbour, shameful!

Here are 170 names from Mary's Harbour asking him to present a petition and he will not do it, so, Mr. Speaker, I say, Sir, in closing that, Bill 16 is going to be the downfall of this new Liberal Government, and you know, one thing is going to happen, Mr. Speaker, is that, we are going to be the only Province in all of Canada that has a Premier who has never been officially elected in the Legislature. The Premier was defeated by the Member for Humber East and he won by acclamation afterwards, so he has never been officially elected to sit in the Legislature and he is going to go out without ever being elected officially by the voters of this Province. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HEWLETT: Well said, well said!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I cannot resist the temptation to rise in response to the scathing attack which was put upon me in the last fifteen to twenty minutes by the Member for Torngat Mountains. I know now, that he has to leave, I guess he is feeling the burn behind his ears already, that he is going to get in the next few minutes, because, Mr. Speaker, there is nothing more disappointing, there is nothing more saddening to see in this Legislature, then for a Member to stand up here and recite things and be prepared to have his credibility put on the line, there is nothing more saddening to see that coming from the Member for Torngat Mountains.

Mr. Speaker, I think things have to be put in perspective. People have to understand how that Member operated when he was a Member of that Government; the people out there have to be confident that the credibility of that message is unequivocal, there can be no discussion about whether that is given in any kind of hypocritical fashion or not, Mr. Speaker and I would like to, for the record, Mr. Speaker, indicate that from the time that hon. Member was put into Cabinet, January of 1988 to May 1989, which worked out to some fifteen months in the Cabinet and for the first five months that he was in the Cabinet, his Department was nothing but a paper-tiger. It did not even (inaudible) Deputy Minister. But apart from all that, Mr. Speaker, at the end of the fifteen months I am sure most people out there are saying, with the expression of sincerity he brought to this House today, surely he did not spend any more than $10,000 or $15,000 on his expenses when he was in that position, surely he acted responsibly.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Everybody in debate gets carried away occasionally and takes the odd flick across the House. We are all used to it and we accept it as part of parliamentary practice, but the hon. Member stood to speak in this debate on the six month hoist about Bill 16, one of the most draconian pieces of legislation every delivered in this House, and for the entire first few minutes he has been speaking he has not yet mentioned Bill 16. He is certainly not relevant at all to the debate. I think he is irrelevant and should be called to order, not to mention the fact, of course, that he has really upset the Government House Leader.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's point is well taken and I would ask the hon. Member for Eagle River to keep his comments relevant to the discussion at hand.

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Absolutely, Mr. Speaker. As the previous Member was pointing out, the bill on the table today is certainly having an impact on expenditures in this Province. All I am saying is, just to put the messenger in check, just to make it clear that the people out there must understand that this is a very credible message that this Member is putting out, I wanted to say to hon. Members that for the fifteen months that Member was in that position he did not spend $10,000 to $15,000.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I will continue to rise on points of order if the hon. Member continues to ignore the ruling Your Honour just gave. Your Honour just called him to order, called him to task and told him to be relevant to the debate, and he actually just got up and started repeating what he was saying five minutes before that. He is totally out of order and should be called to order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I remind the hon. Member to keep his points relevant to the Bill.

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Mr. Speaker, I only had about twenty-five seconds to actually get into what I was speaking on. The Opposition House Leader is very sensitive to this kind of point, as the other Member was. The truth is really hurting, I guess. The message has got to be credible. Mr. Speaker, we stood here for fifteen minutes of the twenty minutes while the Member talked about -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DUMARESQUE: I am trying to establish, Mr. Speaker, the relevance that this hon. Member is so persistent on achieving. I am saying the relevance, obviously, is that Member over there went for fifteen minutes telling me about not presenting a petition or fifteen minutes on whether the fees for a committee had actually gone up. Mr. Speaker, I am responding to those kinds of accusations. The point obviously has to be made that if this messenger is going to be credible, this messenger has to stand up to the light of day. As I said, Mr. Speaker, there was a time when this Member was in this House, going through the last fifteen months of office here racking up not $10,000, $20,000, or $30,000 -

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: This is serious, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: If the hon. Member wants to get up and talk about the legislation it does not matter what anybody else said. The point of order has been raised during this Member's debate. He has been told twice now to be relevant, but he continues to make the same points he started to make back at 4:06 or 4:07, when he started. Now that is totally irrelevant. We are interested in hearing what he has to say as a Member of the Government in defence of this legislation. I say to Your Honour that whatever anybody else said in debate is not relevant. What is relevant is the hon. Member is now being called to order and has been called to order by the Chair twice.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair is ready to bring this matter to a conclusion here. I ask the hon. Member to make his point, but I will give him a few minutes to try to get to the relevancy of what he is saying as it relates to this particular Bill. I will give the hon. Member a few minutes to do that.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Mr. Speaker, it is really unfortunate to see the kind of stifling that is going on here this afternoon on a credible point.

AN HON. MEMBER: It works both ways, Danny. It works both ways.

MR. DUMARESQUE: As a matter of relevance, as I was saying the previous Member got up and talked for fifteen minutes on the fact that there was an increase in the Social Services Appeal Board rate to some extent; he talked about me not presenting a petition I had, which is not true. Mr. Speaker, these are the types of things I am responding to, and I believe that is very relevant.

However, with respect to the time of the House, I know time is going and other Members want to speak. I am going to extend the olive branch and get up again on another day to fully apprise Members of the extent of the misuse of public funds and other things that have happened in this Province over the last couple of years.

MR. MURPHY: And Len-in-the-box will be up all the time.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Is the House ready for the question?


MR. SPEAKER: We are voting on the amendment to the bill.

On motion, motion defeated.

MR. SIMMS: Division, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Division.

Call in the Members.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Those in favour of the amendment, please rise:

Mr. Simms, Mrs. Verge, Mr. R. Aylward, Mr. Matthews, Mr. N. Windsor, Mr. A. Snow, Mr. Hewlett, Mr. Warren, Mr. S. Winsor, Mr. Harris.

MR. SPEAKER: Those against the amendment, please rise:

The hon. the Premier, the hon. the President of the Council, the hon. the Minister of Development, the hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, the hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, the hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy, the hon. the Minister of Fisheries, Mr. Barrett, Mr. Grimes, the hon. the Minister of Justice, the hon. the Minister of Finance, the hon. the Minister of Education, the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, Mr. Hogan, Mr. Reid, Mr. Ramsay, Mr. Gover, Mr. Noel, Mr. Penney, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Dumaresque, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Short, Mr. Langdon, Mr. Oldford.

CLERK (Miss Duff): Mr. Speaker, ayes 10, nays 25.

MR. SPEAKER: I declare the amendment lost. We are now back to debating Bill 16 in second reading.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. R. AYLWARD: They might think they can muzzle us, Mr. Speaker, but they will not. They will not muzzle us as they muzzled the Member for Eagle River who did his best to stand in this House.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. R. AYLWARD: He did his best to stand in this House and try to participate in the debate and his own people told him sit down. His own people told him to sit down, and that is a shame, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member for Eagle River was the only one over there with enough gumption to try -

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

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

The hon. Government House Leader on a point of order.

MR. BAKER: The point of order is simply this, Mr. Speaker. Apparently we are now into a very narrow interpretation of how far the debate can go, and I would also like to ask Your Honour to enforce the relevance provision.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader, to the point of order.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, there is no point of order. Your Honour is quite capable, as you have shown in the past, of calling Members to order who are irrelevant. The Member for Kilbride was quite relevant. He was talking about the Member for Eagle River being relevant to Bill 16.


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

I will apply the same ruling to the hon. the Member for Kilbride as I did to the hon. the Member for Eagle River. I will ask the hon. Member to get to his point and illustrate the relevance of the comments to the bill at hand.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I will not even waste a couple of minutes on that. I will tell you of what relevance it is, Mr. Speaker. This is a restrictive bill we have in this House of Assembly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Order, order!

MR. R. AYLWARD: It shows the dictatorship of the Premier we have in this Province, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: And it also shows the dictatorship, when his own member -

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

I would say to the hon. Member, he is making comments in this House which reflect on another Member and he is using words like `dictator'. That is certainly an unparliamentary term and I would ask hon. Members to refrain from using it. I would ask the hon. Member to withdraw that.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, if I have said anything unparliamentary, I will withdraw it unequivocally.

But what I said did not suggest -

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

It is now 4:30 and I guess we will get on to the Late Show.

Debate on the Adjournment

[Late Show]

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, on several occasions in this House in Question Period I have asked the Minister of Finance some questions dealing with the health and education tax, the infamous payroll tax as it is known, and I took that opportunity to point out some of the weaknesses in that tax: the fact that it is unfair to businesses, it does not tax those who have the ability to pay; it is not based on profitability, it is based totally on payroll. It does not have any bearing on the amount of profitability of a company. Whether that company is making money or losing money it does not matter, it is irrelevant. You could have a large company with a large number of employees losing money, they pay a very high payroll tax. You could have a relatively small company with a small number of employees making a large amount of money and paying very little payroll tax. So it is very inequitable from that point of view.

The point I wanted to make though, and I asked the Minister some questions - it was interesting. In a revolutionary move for the Minister of Finance he actually tabled an answer. We had great difficulty getting him to his feet to give us an answer, a real answer in Question Period, but he managed to table one yesterday that somebody typed up for him, except he tabled an answer to a question I did not ask. He said the question was, How can the estimated revenue from health and post-secondary education tax be $42 million for 1991-92 when for 1990-91 the revenues were only $28.6 million? I did not ask that question. We know, obviously, that the first year was part of a year and the second year was a whole year. We understand the concept of annualizing -

DR. KITCHEN: (Inaudible) call it out?

MR. WINDSOR: The question was: How come - obviously the President of Treasury Board did not understand it either. My question was: If he had estimated $15 million in the first year, why did he come in with so much?

AN HON. MEMBER: In the next part he answers the question.

MR. WINDSOR: In the next part he answers the question, yes. But I just have to point out that the first of it is a stupid answer to a question that was not even asked.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the Minister told us in the second part of his answer here the difference between the $15 million net and the $28.6 million gross was the amount of tax paid by the Provincial Government and its agencies to itself.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that is a piece of information that we are delighted to receive. We were delighted to receive that, because we were led to believe last year when the payroll tax was introduced that yes, all of these agencies would have to pay the tax. And we were told, Mr. Speaker, now do not say anything about; you have to pay it, otherwise we will not be able to tax the Federal Government if we do not pay the tax, too. But we are going to slip it back under the table to the boys, so none of the Crown corporations, the hospital boards, the Boards of Education or any of those institutions will pay actually any tax - they will pay it, but they will get it back again.

But we would have assumed, Mr. Speaker, that the numbers in the Budget were the net numbers, that is how much revenue would have been raised. The Minister told me yesterday, uh, uh, these were gross figures, so the $42.5 million estimated for this year is the gross amount and really the Government is only getting, we assume, $25 million. That is what I am assuming. Well the logical question then, Mr. Speaker, is where is this $18 million, this $18.5 or $17.5 million? For that is what we pay back to the Crown corporations. So we look through the Estimates and we say, but where was it paid back? Is it identified? The answer, Mr. Speaker, is no it is not. Therefore, when we look at the university budget for this year, and knowing that the university payroll is about 75 per cent of their total budget, at 1.5 per cent that means they are paying out $1.1 million in payroll tax. But what was the increase to the university this year? $1 million. So the only increase the university got this year was to pay the payroll tax back to Government. In other words, their budget was frozen, not one cent. And I am running out of time.

Quickly, Mr. Speaker, I looked at the grants to hospital boards and the total grant was some $486 million. If I assume 75 per cent is payroll, $360 million at 1.5 per cent, that is $5.4 million in payroll tax. Now when you take the $3.5 million which was supposed to go to pay equity, and that is what we have been talking about all day - that has been eliminated - that is eight point something million dollars. What was the increase? $8 million, total grant to hospital boards. Not one new dollar, Mr. Speaker, is going to hospital boards other than to pay back their payroll tax.

MR. SIMMS: Deception, deception.

MR. MATTHEWS: Deception, deception again. Deceit, deceit, deceit.

MR. WINSOR: Other than to pay back their payroll tax, Mr. Speaker. Now we know and we will have more to say about it. My five minutes are up, Mr. Speaker, I know, but I will have another opportunity to debate this one with the Minister next week.

MR. SIMMS: Herb will not answer that, guaranteed.

MR. SPEAKER: Before I recognize the hon. Minister of Finance I would like to welcome to the galleries today on behalf of hon. Members, nineteen Beaver and Scouts with their leader, Phillip Lundrigan, from the community of St. Bride's in that far greater bay.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am delighted the Member for Mount Pearl after three lessons, and keeping him in after school two days, finally understood that $42.5 is 50 per cent more than twenty-eight, just as twelve months is 50 per cent more than eight, and, also, that in order to get the net revenue you must subtract the provincial interchange from the gross. Now that was a tremendous - see what it is to have a former teacher as Minister of Finance? You can finally get the message through, you can finally get the message through, Mr. Speaker to a person as stunned as the former Minister of Finance. Now!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I would ask the hon. Minister to withdraw that unparliamentary remark.

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I am sorry if I called the hon. Member stunned, but you must admit I had provocation.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I ask the hon. Minister to withdraw the remark.

DR. KITCHEN: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

MR. DICKS: Provocation out of full and complete defence. Tell him that.

DR. KITCHEN: I will withdraw that, Mr. Speaker.

The Member was commenting on the payroll tax and he indicated - Minister that was and never will be. Mr. Speaker, the issue in which his questions are imbedded is that the payroll tax was unfair and what he wanted me to do was to lower the payroll tax to account for what he said was increased revenue from it, the unexpected revenue and we are not going to do that.

I might point out that the payroll tax is a fair tax. It is quite a fair tax. It is in Quebec and the tax, as you know, is 3 per cent as opposed to our 1.5; there is a 15 per cent surtax in Quebec which has been in place since 1970. Manitoba has a 2.25 per cent payroll tax which has been in place since 1982 for payrolls above $600,000; Ontario has a payroll tax that goes from .98 per cent to 1.95 per cent.

The payroll tax is not hard on small businesses because it does have a floor of $300,000. So payrolls must be over $300,000. Also, Mr. Speaker, let me point out that the payroll tax can be deducted from a corporation's income in calculating federal income tax, and as a result of that the Federal Government in effect is paying part of the federal tax.

Now, let me point out that in the last Budget the Federal Minister did say that he was examining this and that we can look forward to certain changes that would occur in time with this tax. But these things are not in effect at the moment. I might also point out that businesses do benefit. We were cut in our last Budget in the transfers on behalf of health and post-secondary education as a last minute grab by the Federal Government. They reduced the transfers they were giving us for health and post-secondary education, and some of the people who benefit from health and post-secondary revenues are businesses, the health of whose employees is important.

In some jurisdictions in the United States you have to pay insurance for medical coverage for your employees. In Canada it is done through Medicare, and the Provincial Government puts forward that money. So it is only fair if the Federal Government is withdrawing it that some of that should fall on the businesses. And the same with education. Businesses are forever saying we have to be careful, we have to have a highly educated work force, and when the Federal Government withdraws its funding it is probably quite fair that businesses should pay something towards it.

I might also point out that we have no intention of abolishing the payroll tax now for the simple reason that in this particular year the Federal Government brought in the Goods and Service Tax which in effect took $130 million from businesses and laid it on the backs of individuals. So this present year businesses are in relatively good shape as a result of the shift of money from -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

Before I recognize the hon. Member for Grand Bank, for the benefit of hon. Members who sometimes may question the use of unparliamentary language I refer them to Page 143, Paragraph 486 of Beauchesne. `Sometimes it is not the word that is said, but it is the tone and the manner in which it is said.'

The hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We certainly concur with Your Honour. I just want to say in beginning that today I questioned the Minister of Employment and Labour on her role and how she can, being a former labour leader in the Province, feel comfortable sitting and supporting the Government in this very regressive legislation which we see before this House today. I must say to the Minister of Finance as he leaves that we are quite delighted to see a former teacher as Minister of Finance, because who else could take a $10 million surplus to a $215 million deficit in the length of time it took him?

AN HON. MEMBER: Michael Wilson.

MR. MATTHEWS: Not even Michael Wilson at his best could do that, Mr. Speaker. I say to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations that we saw a legal strike brought to an end by this Government by way of legislation when we were sitting in the former Legislature. They have used legislation for binding arbitration, and now we have seen legislation brought before the House to roll back these arbitration awards. The question to the Minister was, does she find these actions of the employer, the present Provincial Government, acceptable? I was quite taken back today, Mr. Speaker, because the Minister keeps saying she has to be neutral, she has to be fair, she has to be this and she has to be that. But today she quite categorically stood in her place and in essence said how proud she was to support the actions of the Government. I think it is another very, very sad day for this Province when the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations supports such regressive labour legislation as not freezing but rolling back negotiated settlements which this Government has signed.

What also bothers the membership of the various unions, Mr. Speaker, is that just days before this legislation was brought in the Government continued to sign negotiated settlements with unions around the Province. The unions did it in good faith and thought that Government was doing it in good faith. Then they just stripped away the very basic premise of any collective agreement, that of fair wage increases. They have not just frozen that, they have rolled back those increases and I was asking the Minister does she not think that this action is quite cynical, particularly in light of the fact that she just a few years ago was a President of one of the Province's most prominent labour organizations, the Newfoundland Teacher's Association.

MS. COWAN: I am very proud of that.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, I am sure she is proud of it, and so she should be proud of being President of the Newfoundland Teacher's Association. But I thought she would be so proud of it that she would not suddenly do a flip flop, to completely abandon and forget her favourite profession. It is just amazing that the Minister of Labour can stand in her place and so support the actions of this Government. My question to her was that if she was still President of the Newfoundland Teacher's Association, would she not have lost trust in this Government? That is the question.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: The Member for Carbonear: I wish he would stand in debate, Mr. Speaker, because he has been very disruptive today. I find it quite annoying that the Member for Carbonear has consistently talked across the House without standing in his place and taking part in debate. I am here trying to make a very serious point to the Minister of Labour, and I am being continuously interrupted by the two Members. It is two Members now, Mr. Speaker, the Member for Placentia and the Member for Carbonear who are continuously disrupting this House this afternoon. I find it quite annoying to be here on such a serious matter where we see a Government that negotiated in good faith and signed collective agreements with unions of this Province, who have brought forward a roll back piece of legislation, who are stripping contracts, Mr. Speaker. I find that quite annoying.

MR. SPEAKER: Order please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MS. COWAN: Did you acknowledge me, Mr. Speaker?


MS. COWAN: Okay, I did not hear it. Thank you very much. I have always prided myself somewhat in my ability to use the English language and to find different words to suit different occasions, and not to wear one word out, but, you know, I cannot get the word hypocrisy out of my mind. These paragons of virtue -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS. COWAN: When these people were in Government it was the golden age for Labour Relations in this Province. The golden age for labour.

AN HON. MEMBER: Get them on strike, put them in jail.

MS. COWAN: You know, I was really interested today. I am surprised actually that the question was even asked of me now because there is nobody in the House who is representing a union as far as I know. I would have assumed, along with two or three other questions that I am still expecting and have not received yet from the Opposition, that I would have been asked this question in attempts to embarrass me and so on almost from the beginning of this debate, and I have waited, you know, wondering when this was going to happened, and, of course, it happened when we might expect it would happen, when there were a number of public service union people sitting in the gallery, when you could then hopefully impress - the Opposition thought that they would hopefully impress and that those people in the gallery would forget about that golden age in which I and the Member for Exploits had the pleasure of leading one of the finest organizations in the Province.

One of the stories - I wish, I just wish - Oh, I do not know. I have so many nasty stories to tell and I am not in a nasty mood.

MR. EFFORD: Oh, tell one!

MS. COWAN: But I can't help but remember how zero and zero was brought into the Province the last time. Now it just so happened that the night before the zero and zero was announced at a press conference at 10:00 in the morning by the Premier - I guess it was the Premier then, I do not recall who it was - but the NTA decided that it was time to start reaching out to Government and sort of patching things up. We had kind of a nasty confrontation in 1983 but we were trying to get things back on the rails again. So we invited these people from the 'golden age' to come and accept some hospitality from the NTA and they all came, they were all there, Premier, Cabinet Ministers, the whole crowd was there -

AN HON. MEMBER: Was Lynn Verge there?

MS. COWAN: - I do not recall now. And they accepted our hospitality, smiled, laughed, shook hands, lovely evening we all had. At 10:00 the next morning they announced a wage freeze.

Never even called us, did not have a bit of a warning. And I remember so often we said at that time, if only we had been consulted. The president of the NTA at that time was Ray Goulding. And Ray tried time after time to get to see the premier of the Province. And he was refused an interview by the premier of the Province. And as teachers we always said: look, we are reasonable people. We could understand that there had to be a wage freeze, we could have dealt with it. But why was our president not consulted by the government? That was the unkindest cut of all. Delivered by these people from the 'golden age'. These paragons, these people who are so worthy of emulating when it comes to labour relations in the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MS. COWAN: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: That is not much of a defence (Inaudible).

MS. COWAN: It is hypocrisy and that is what I find so irritating, that in such a short period of time people forget about the paddy wagons. That is forgotten, I guess.


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

MS. COWAN: If my hon. critic -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Minister's time is up.

MS. COWAN: Oh, no!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I have recognized the hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I noticed, Mr. Speaker, that you recognized me but I was not sure if the rest of the House was ready to listen. I asked this question to the Minister responsible for Culture, the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs on Tuesday concerning the disappearance of MUN Extension Arts along with the rest of MUN Extension. I wanted to emphasize to him the terrific importance of MUN Extension Arts and its terrific contribution to the cultural life of this Province. I wanted to add a little bit more to that this afternoon by pointing out to him and the rest of the Members, particularly the Members of Government, who apparently do not know of the importance of MUN Extension Arts to the cultural life of Newfoundland, because if they did they would not have countenanced the kind of action that their Government has taken in assisting in its destruction. MUN Extension Arts, for the benefit of those Members, is the only continuing art program for teens, adults and children in the Province, with over 100 non-credit courses providing art education to more than 1000 students and providing numerous workshops and non-credit courses from its base here in St. John's on Duckworth Street. It also has program opportunities in Goose Bay and all over the Province. It has a program based in Mount Pearl and it also has working space for the arts community with studio and rehearsal space, available on Duckworth Street here in St. John's. That facility, Mr. Speaker, has been quite instrumental in providing an institutional base for working artists, not only in providing instruction and passing along their knowledge, their ability, and their spiritual commitment to artistic endeavour, but also in developing the cultural life of this Province in providing an opportunity for artists to work together and to have an opportunity to interact with one another and to contribute to the cultural and indeed the economic life of this Province, Mr. Speaker. This has been recognized by the O'Flaherty Report, it has been recognized by independent studies, that the artistic community represents and presents a vital economic, as well as cultural, spiritual, and social addition to this Province's economy and culture. I think that contribution has been ignored by this Government. I asked the Minister for Municipal and Provincial Affairs what he was going to do about this, and all we got back, Mr. Speaker, were platitudes and some suggestions that we might find some place in the basement of the Arts and Culture Centre to let people work. That is the kind of response we got, that we will do what we can. Well, Mr. Speaker, the Government has not done what it could for the arts in Newfoundland and Labrador, and it has not done what it could for MUN Extension Arts in particular. Indeed it has not done what it could for all of MUN Extension, because what it could do is what the Minister should be doing and that is convincing his colleagues in the Cabinet and his colleagues on that side of the House that they ought to restore sufficient funding to Memorial University to permit the continuation of MUN Extension and MUN Extension Arts. That is what the Minister should be doing and that is what this Government should be doing instead of destroying the artistic endeavour and the economic vitality that comes from artistic endeavour, instead of destroying that, snuffing it out and allowing it to hurt and die, the things we do well they do not want to do at all. They are prepared to see them die and be destroyed by the budgetary measures. Mr. Speaker, it is not good enough to hear the Minister get up in this House and give platitudes and say well: the Government will surely do all that we can. Well, Mr. Speaker, that is not leadership and that is not a direction that we would like to see from this Government. If the Government was truly serious about the arts in this Province and cultural industries then the Government and the Minister would be telling his Cabinet that we cannot let this happen. We cannot see this vital institution, which provides service, which provides opportunity, and provides learning and experience for the people in the arts - we cannot see this die. We must find the money. We must make sure that this program continues. And I ask the Minister to tell the House that is what he will do.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, I think just about the last comment the Member for St. John's East made is probably the most relevant one, that is that Government has not done as much as it could for the arts. I think that was true in the past. I think that was very true in the past. But I think I can say without question that the focus on the arts and cultural life of this Province has changed dramatically since this Government took office. It changed dramatically, Mr. Speaker. I think since we have -


MR. GULLAGE: - taken Government we have focused a lot of our time and energy on the arts community. We have commissioned a report that is finalized, the O'Flaherty Report on the Arts. And I think all would agree that report has been most important. It has pulled together a lot of thoughts and ideas from the arts community throughout the Province. And we have already implemented many of the recommendations of Dr. O'Flaherty. One of the recommendations was that we would increase the funding to the Arts Council. And we have done that by almost 30 per cent in this current Budget -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GULLAGE: -that we would focus a lot of our arts and cultural activities in the Arts and Culture Centres throughout the Province, and our new Cultural Director, Elizabeth Batstone has a mandate to do exactly that. And she is now examining, as I mentioned to the Member for St. John's East when he last asked this question, she has been asked to focus a lot of her time now on the activities that are taking place in the Arts and Culture Centres throughout the Province. We do want them to be more reflective of community life and indeed the uses should be more directed towards the arts community. I am not suggesting that it has not been the case in the past, but we have had circumstances where Arts and Culture Centres have been used for other than arts and culture. And we want to change that.

And as I answered a few days ago, if there is anything we can do in the five centres throughout Newfoundland and Labrador to assist arts extension, we will certainly do it. I am advised as well, of course, that our community colleges are very aware of the problem with arts extension no longer being in existence and they too are going to look at the programs and the possibilities of assisting where they are located throughout the Province.

So it is not as if, Mr. Speaker, we are ignoring the problem. We do understand the contribution that arts extension has made throughout the years. Their programmes in fact have been very beneficial in all areas of the Province, and we will do all we can. All Departments of Government that have any interest and any connection with the arts will certainly work with the people involved and try to help.

I might add, Mr. Speaker, speaking of initiatives this Government has taken, that about a year ago now in discussions with the Economic Recovery Commission - which quite frequently gets criticism from the other side - I asked one of the commissioners whether we could look at cultural industries per se and the arts and culture community, and the importance of it to the economy. The ERC commissioned a study which we now have available to Government which clearly shows - as the Member I believe had said a few moments ago - that our culture and our history and our arts community per se, all of those areas of our life, are very very important economic generators, stimulators. Very important to the economy, and I think you are going to see a focus in that area as well.

So not only are we going to focus and concentrate on the O'Flaherty report - which has been very helpful to us already, and we have many other areas of that report that have to be addressed over the next year - but we are also going to turn our attention in a very large way towards the importance of our culture and the economy and tourism.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Friday, at 9:00 a.m.