April 9, 1991                 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                Vol. XLI  No. 25

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Before moving on to routine business, on behalf of hon. Members I would like to welcome to the galleries today a delegation representing the town council of Twillingate in the persons of His Worship Mayor Harry Cooper, councillors Loveridge and Mr. Stockley, and the town manager, Mr. Hall.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Also, I would like to welcome from the town of Grand Falls-Windsor Mr. Mal Andrews, Chairman of the Central Newfoundland Community Futures Committee, and Mr. Winston Snow, Executive Director of the Central Business Development Centre.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Education. I would like to ask the Minister if he could advise the House what specific community college campuses around the Province will be eliminating the pre-vocational school programme at their institutions next year.

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, the program has been downsized over the last seven or eight years, and I think there are about five campuses left of the original twelve which had pre-vocational programmes - there may be six. Placentia had a program which was to be phased out over a period of time, and that is being eliminated this year; Bonavista is being retained for this year; Springdale has been eliminated; Lewisporte and Gander - that is five. There may have been a class in -

AN HON. MEMBER: Baie Verte.

DR. WARREN: Yes, Baie Verte. That is six. There may have been a class somewhere else. I know Seal Cove was eliminated four or five years ago, Port aux Basques is gone; there may be a class in St. Anthony, but I think these are the ones.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Clarenville?

DR. WARREN: No, not in Clarenville, that was gone. Seal Cove is the big one and that has been gone for some time, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Now that the Minister has confirmed that this pre-vocational programme will be eliminated, certainly in five or six rural centres around Newfoundland and Labrador, let me ask him this: Is the Minister aware that in the areas served by those programmes the high schools just do not have the facilities and the equipment necessary for those programmes? And if he is aware of that, what plans does the Minister have to enable those school boards and those schools to offer a pre-vocational programme to their students so that they will have an opportunity to be able to equip themselves with those skills?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for his question. It is an important question. This programme has been an important programme; I think it was initiated back in 1974, and about 1984 for a variety of reasons the former administration decided they would be phased down and phased out.

Mr. Speaker, this year, because of the financial crisis we have terminated the programme. But we have had some consultation with the boards over the last year. In Central Newfoundland in particular we have had a committee looking at ways and means of dealing with the problems which result from the elimination this year.

Mr. Speaker, we are prepared to do a number of things: we are prepared, for example, to make the facilities available to all the schools if they want to use the facilities. I think there may be an exception with Placentia, because Placentia is a very busy campus and they may not have the facilities. But we have offered to the boards access to all the facilities and they would provide the teaching staff next year. Mr. Speaker, we have also offered the boards any excess equipment and materials, to be made available to the schools if they want to set up multi-purpose rooms. The third point, Mr. Speaker - this is an involved question, so I will make just one additional point - is that the nature of the pre-vocational programme is changed. I am sure the former Minister of Education and the former Minister of Career Development know that with the high school programme the nature of the programme changed and some of the programmes in the vocational schools were not as appropriate today. I think they were in the process of being changed anyhow, and with the high school programme they were taken over by the regular school programme.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, if the Minister is going to be honest with this House he will admit that the former Administration made a conscious decision to keep the pre-vocational program in rural community colleges in this Province to benefit rural students -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RIDEOUT: -on the premise, Mr. Speaker, that high schools in the urban centres had access to the Industrial Arts Program.

MR. SIMMS: Exactly.

MR. RIDEOUT: Now let me ask the Minister this: How does he propose to deliver to students in rural parts of Newfoundland and Labardor a pre-vocational program so that they will not be discriminated against as opposed to students in the urban centres in this Province?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I want to correct the hon. Member's premise. We had programs in Port aux Basques, we had programs in St. Anthony, we had programs in other communities that have been phased down over the years before this Administration took over, Mr. Speaker.


DR. WARREN: Secondly, some other school boards in rural Newfoundland have not had advantage of this program, they have had to provide the facilities themselves. They have done it. Now, Mr. Speaker, we will, as I said earlier, work with the schools that are negatively impacted at this point in time.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. WARREN: If the hon. Member did not hear what I said, I will repeat it - we will make all the facilities available in the colleges so that school boards can use them over the next while.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. WARREN: No. If they take over the staff, we will provide the facilities free of cost. We are going to provide an opportunity for the schools to use the college facilities as long as possible, Mr. Speaker, so that a transition can take place. Some of the school boards have already made applications to the DECs to build multi-purpose rooms so that they can offer an enhanced pre-vocational program in the schools, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the policy of this Government seems to be to reduce everything and everybody to the lowest common denominator, and that is called rationalization. Now, Mr. Speaker, let me ask the Minister this: Is the Minister now telling the House that laying off teachers, laying off post-secondary instructors, eliminating courses and eliminating pre-vocational courses in rural Newfoundland is rationalizing the post-secondary education system? Does he want us to believe and the people of this Province to believe that that kind of rationalization will produce a better system? That seems to be the buzzword of the Government, rationalization will produce a better system, is that what the Minister is talking about?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the hon. Leader gets his information. In this House, and the House Leader agreed to this some days ago, virtually all the teachers that are being lost in the Kindergarten to Grade X11 system this year are the result of declining enrollments. We did not hire back fifty.

AN HON. MEMBER: It did not happened in other years.

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, it happened every year except that fifty were hired back. Perhaps my hon. friend who is nodding over there knows, and we have admitted that we did not hire back fifty this year. But the 133 teachers are the result of declining enrollments.

MR. RIDEOUT: You make it sound as if (inaudible).

DR. WARREN: I would like to answer the question, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

DR. WARREN: Now when it comes to rural Newfoundland we did look at the possibility of phasing down and perhaps even closing some of the most rural campuses. They were underfunded, they were underutilized, and we thought perhaps this year we could rationalize the system - to use the hon. the Leader of the Opposition's term - by closing some of the campuses. This Government decided not to do that. We decided to keep these campuses open and convert them to adult learning centres, and I am delighted with the response we have gotten from the principals of the colleges and with the potential of that concept for the future. We are going to promote rural Newfoundland, Mr. Speaker, and certainly we are going to promote education.

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

MR. HEARN: Mr. Speaker, my question is also to the Minister of Education. Yesterday the Cabot Institute announced the discontinuance of seven programmes: clerk typing; apprenticeship hair styling; hotel/motel restaurant operations; meat cutting; short hand typing; commercial baking; and waiter/waitress training. In addition the number of students in the commercial cooking programme will be reduced.

The board said it had been assured that many of these programmes will be made available in the St. John's or immediate area subsequent to the implementation of the White Paper on post-secondary education. Can the Minister advise which of these programmes will be offered in this area and when they will be offered?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, Cabot Institute was faced with a problem that the Government was faced with this year, not enough money to do everything it wanted to do, and it looked at all the options. Mr. Speaker, I think there are fifty to sixty programmes at the Cabot Institute. It is an excellent institution and this year they made other cuts which made it necessary to cancel or to eliminate or to reduce only eight programmes. And some of these programmes are reduced for this year only.

Mr. Speaker, hair styling is offered in a number of campuses, I do not know the number, there may be ten campuses where hair styling is now utilized. They have reduced to one class the hair stylists.

Mr. Speaker, there are one or two other programmes. Let me take the clerk typist: This is cancelled for 1991-1992. It is my understanding clerk typing is offered in a number of private and other institutions. I can get the information as to which campus later on.

The private colleges offer a very valuable service to -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

DR. WARREN: They do! And I am pleased to see my hon. friend from Grand Falls mention that. Mr. Speaker, hotel management concerns us. The Board of Governors decided to cancel hotel/motel management for 1991-1992. Tourism is important: I have talked to the Minister of Development about this. We know that they have a programme on the west coast for that and we will monitor that very carefully.

Butcher meat cutting: cancelled for 1991-1992. Commercial cooking: I think they are accepting some pre-employment and employment in commercial cooking. So in conclusion, Mr. Speaker, we are delighted that the Cabot Institute could reduce things other than programmes and only eight programmes are being downsized or eliminated in these very difficult times.

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

MR. HEARN: Mr. Speaker, the Minister talked about everything except the answer to the question. I asked him which of these programmes will be offered as committed in or near the St. John's area and when. The President of Cabot Institute has said some of these courses will not be offered at all. What does the Minister of Education say to students who wish to enter these programmes, many of which are courses which only students who have not completed high school can enter, limited choice programmes. Is he now telling these young people they have no right to job training at all?

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

DR. WARREN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. No, we have started streamlining of the system. There is some duplication; there were some courses offered at one campus not being fully utilized. In this difficult process we have gone through the colleges have been most co-operative in trying to preserve those programmes where there is a need and which are not available in the region. I think, Mr. Speaker, I will provide for the hon. Member the list of courses. I could go through them. Hair dressing, let us take that one, is being eliminated. It is offered at Cabot, a reduced - Seal Cove, Placentia, quite a number of campuses. If he wants to ask me about where one programme is being offered, I can provide that information for him.

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I will take him up on his offer. Some of the programmes are supposed to be offered at Bell Island and Seal Cove, and these facilities are strongly suggested to be on the chopping block next year. What assurance can he give that these facilities will stay in place and that the programmes will continue?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for his question because I want to allay these fears, that these campuses are going to be closed in the immediate future. The hon. Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island invited me to visit Bell Island and I was really impressed with what is being offered over there, and this Government is going to continue that programme. We are working with the Federal Government. The Federal Government is already putting, I have heard, $500,000 or $600,000 into training programmes on Bell Island. We have downsized it this year, but we want to work with the Federal Government, with Community Futures to make that a very vibrant campus. These campuses have tremendous potential for adult education in this Province.

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

MR. HEARN: Many of the programmes being cut by Cabot, as the Minister has alluded to somewhat already, are central to our tourism industry. Will not the Minister agree that the cancellation of programmes will adversely affect this vital industry, and how does this promote economic development, which the Government talks so much about?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I have been in contact with the Minister of Development and with Hospitality Newfoundland; his Department is working with them. We want to ensure that anything we do in education does not impact negatively on the tourism industry - it is a very important industry. We have excellent programmes in place, and we will monitor what is going on to ensure it does not hurt the tourist industry.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I have some questions for the Minister of Education as well, a follow-up to some questions I asked a few days ago. He will recall that on Friday - and if he reads Hansard he can see clearly what he said - I asked him to confirm that he had dramatically underestimated the job losses in the post-secondary system. At that time, not all the figures were in. Now the figures for Fisher Institute, Cabot Institute and the Marine Institute are in and they have announced the job losses from their facilities. Can he now confirm for the House that the job losses in our post-secondary system total 362, not the 200 announced by the Minister three weeks ago?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I have a little bit of bad news for the Opposition. The estimates they have are grossly exaggerated. It may be that we underestimated the number of people who will be displaced or laid off as a result of our fiscal restraint this year, but the numbers they talk about, the 500 to 600, is a gross exaggeration of the numbers. There are quite a number of positions affected, and in the next few days I will provide for this House a breakdown of the numbers affected: the number of vacant positions not being filled, the number of people who are retiring, the number of people who will be going to contract training programmes, the number of people who are going to do part-time, and the actual number of layoffs. The number of layoffs may only be fifty or sixty higher than the number we projected earlier on, but I will provide these data for the House in due course.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I am really disappointed with the Minister of Education, who somehow gives the impression or likes to give the impression that he is always honest and direct. When he announced three weeks ago there were 200 job losses, he even made the point then of saying: now, of course not all of these are layoffs, there are 200 job losses.

We are using the same figures based on the announcements made by the various institutions, I have it here and I will table it.

Mr. Speaker, I am asking him to confirm that the number of job losses in the post-secondary institutions is not 200 as he announced in the House, but rather 362. Will he confirm that and stop playing games?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I do not play games. I try to provide the information as best I can. I have said it is premature to provide a final figure yet, I will have them later in the week. There are 360 positions affected, I mean it may be 350, 340 positions affected.

MR. SIMMS: Why did you not say that in the first place?

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I did earlier in the week. I said we underestimated the number of positions affected. Many of these positions, Mr. Speaker, were temporary positions for this year only, so I will get the data. Certainly the positions affected were more than 200, significantly more than 200, but the actual number of layoffs, that is a different figure, Mr. Speaker. I will provide this data in the next week or so when I get all the breakdown; in fact, I will provide the positions affected, vacancies existing for some time, temporary appointments -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

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

DR. WARREN: - that were terminated, options for redundancy and so on, Mr. Speaker, for the Members of the Opposition.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! The hon. Minister went through that.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, we see it now. The Minister is scrambling now to try to cover up for what he said two weeks ago, that is what has happened.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is right, deceit.

MR. SIMMS: Can he now tell us then, since we had to ask him twice to try to confirm 360 positions, job losses which he now has confirmed - job losses, 362, Mr. Speaker, some of which will be lay offs, those are his own words, Mr. Speaker. Is he in a position now then, to tell us what is happening at the school board levels? I know he is anxious that I ask that question because he wanted to get back at me for raising the twenty-two at the Roman Catholic School Board, can he tell me how many other positions have been eliminated, maintenance and janitorial level at the other twenty-seven school boards, does he have an answer to that question or how far are his estimates out, there?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member must realize that the school year extends through to June and school boards are not going to take action right now. We do not have the full data on that, but I have promised the House that once I get all the figures, I will make them available, Mr. Speaker.

We know that school boards have had to take restraint measures and, Mr. Speaker, I want to pay tribute to the educational agencies, the Boards of Governors, the Board of Regents, the School Boards. They have been able this year to take fiscal restraint measures which make it possible for them to retain quality education in these very difficult times, Mr. Speaker. They have really co-operated with the Government and I want to pay tribute to all these agencies for what they have done to work with us to make sure that the impact on programming is minimal in the school system.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. As the Minister is aware, the labour force data for March was released on Friday of last week by Statistics Canada, and the data indicates that the unemployment rate is now at an appalling 22.3 per cent, 22.3 per cent, which means that virtually one out of every four Newfoundlanders looking for work in the Province is now unemployed and that does not include the so called discouraged worker, the person who has given up looking for work altogether.

Now, how can the Minister of Labour, after twenty-two months in that portfolio justify having allowed the Province's unemployment problem to grow so badly and not introduce some kind of a programme, some kind of an employment programme to offset what is rapidly becoming, what is, an emergency problem?

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

MS. COWAN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to ask the hon. Member, how, when he was in -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. COWAN: Mr. Speaker, I assume the Speaker will tell me what to say and what not to say, thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: Go ahead.

MS. COWAN: Mr. Speaker, perhaps I could better answer the question if it could be explained to me why, in March of 1985, the unemployment rate was 24 per cent in this Province, and we did not at that time have a national recession, nor did we have a fishing problem. In fact, that was the year we had the highest prices for fish that have ever been seen in this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. COWAN: I am not particularly pleased with the statistic, Mr. Speaker, nor is our Government. However, we are pleased in the light of looking at an example such as I have just given from 1985 and in some of the years following 1985, because there is this recession nationally and provincially, and yet our employment figures are not that out of whack with what they have been in past March months.


MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, on a supplementary. Let me remind the Minister that when the former Administration left office twenty-two months ago the unemployment rate was at 17.3 per cent. Today it is at 22.5 per cent, a full 5 percentage points increase in twenty-two months. Now we have a labour force in the Province of 235,000 people, Mr. Speaker, and it has been higher. It has been higher than 235,000. Today we have 52,000 people out of work in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and that is the highest number out of work since the Government said: pack your bags and come home. Now let me ask the Minister what hope can she offer, and what suggestion can she make to that 22.5 per cent who cannot find work, to help them find work, some of whom incidentially are sending their children to school hungry every morning. What suggestion can she make for them?

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

MS. COWAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I must say that during the time we have been in Government the unemployment rate has been at 17 per cent. It is very easy to just stand here and grab numbers out of the air and say when we left it was this and today it is that and so on without taking into account any of the seasonal factors that are at work or the recession that is going on in the Province, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. COWAN: I am, as I said earlier, pleased. I have said on several occasions that we are holding our own as well as we are, and the positive thing about this whole unemployment picture, Mr. Speaker, is this, that the people in Newfoundland who have jobs are holding those jobs, and the growth in unemployment is caused by a massive increase in the number of people looking for work. So we have to be pleased about the fact that there are not the layoffs that we would anticipate that would take place normally during a recession. But we do have to have concern about this growing work force and we are addressing that in many ways, for example, through the Newfoundland/Canada Youth Strategy.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, I do not know how the Minister can say that the Government is holding its own with a 5 per cent increase in unemployment, with 52,000 people looking for work. Now the unemployed in the Province have increased by 11,000, the employed have dropped by 3,000 since this time period last year. Now given that fact alone, does the Minister not consider the Government's efforts at job creation to be a dismal failure? And how can she continue as a Member of a Cabient who has cut the only employment program she had by $700,000 when unemployment in the Province is rampant, when it has grown by 5 percentage points over the last twenty-two months? How can she justify that? How can she continue as a Member of that Cabinet when they will not give her the tools to do the job?

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

MS. COWAN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Again the gentleman -

AN HON. MEMBER: Again the gentleman -

MR. CRANE: We have a parrot over there too now.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the Minister to continue, please.

MS. COWAN: Thank you very much.

I would like to point out to my hon. critic, as he has done many times before, he is trying to mislead this House. The Employment Generation Program is not the only Employment Generation Program in this Government, and he repeatedly stands up and says that it is the only program designed to increase employment opportunities. That is totally wrong. And the only thing I can say is what I say to him every time when he asks that same question, Mr. Speaker, is that we have many programs in Government both in my Department and in other Departments which are working towards decreasing the number of people looking for work, those who are unemployed.

For some reason every time I mention the Canada/Newfoundland Youth Strategy he just seems to wave it off. I find that a very cynical approach. There are massive amounts of money coming from the Federal Govenment and the Provincial Government into this Province to help our youth. We have to be extremely concerned about the high unemployment level our youth have, those people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, we are focusing on them in a very, very big way. I would be only too pleased, Mr. Speaker, to table in the House some of the programs that we are undertaking in that area because they are just too diverse and too numerous for me to enumerate as I stand here.


MS. COWAN: We have, as well -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I realize that we are into a large area when we are talking about generation of employment, but I ask the Minister to please clue up her answer in a very few seconds.

MS. COWAN: You can see how difficult it is for me, Mr. Speaker, because we do indeed have many programs that are aimed at reducing unemployment in this Province, and it does take me too long as I stand here in the House to list them all.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, my question is also to the hon. Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. Given the big disaster that we had with the Ocean Ranger and the Royal Commission of inquiry that the Provincial and Federal Governments were involved in - in particular the aspects of occupational health and safety - no doubt the lengthy meetings that have been held in preparation for the Hibernia development project, how could the Minister stand in this House as she did last week and say that at this point in time her Government was not certain what the jurisdiction over occupational health and safety was for the fatal accident that occurred at Bull Arm on Good Friday evening?

If she is now certain let her tell the House whether she has satisfied herself as to her jurisdiction over that accident site.

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

MS. COWAN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Under the Atlantic Accord the Province does have jurisdiction for any shipping-boating activities in the Mosquito Cove area.

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

MR. HARRIS: Given that the Minister has now acknowledged that she has responsibility for occupational health and safety there, can she tell us why her Department has not undertaken an investigation under the appropriate sections of the Occupational Health and Safety Act where an accident has taken place at a work place, according to Section 52 of the Act?

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

MS. COWAN: I am not sure, Mr. Speaker, why he keeps saying we have done nothing when I have stood up here day after day and said we are. Nodeco, my Department and the RCMP are all out there investigating, and I have said that. I do not think I have mentioned Nodeco before, but I have mentioned that time and time again. Early last week I was not sure of the jurisdiction there but I said that was not stopping us from going out there to investigate. So I do not know what the hon. gentleman's concern is.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker -

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

MR. HARRIS: If the hon. Member can confirm to this House that her Department - and not the RCMP conducting some other investigation -that one of her officers is conducting a formal investigation into that work place accident, if she would confirm that to this House now and not say she is monitoring or if she is waiting for some other reports of somebody else. Is she or is she not having officials of her Department conduct a formal investigation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, yes or no?

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

MS. COWAN: An investigation by my Department is taking place, by Nodeco, and by the RCMP. I did not use words - "monitor" or whatever this business is he is quoting. I find it very very difficult to stand up here and say this day after day. I do not know whether he has a hearing - well, he must have a hearing problem, because I do not have a problem expressing it.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I was asked a question yesterday about the cost of Harlow. I think that was the question. I do not have a written response. The Opposition House Leader, I think, asked that question. The annual budget is approximately $300,000, Mr. Speaker. The operating grant to Harlow this year is $188,000 so that the other monies are coming from other sources of revenue. I was very pleased to find out, Mr. Speaker, that Harlow is used extensively. The second part of his question asked about the use of Harlow. Harlow is used extensively by Newfoundland students, 100 students -


DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, 100 students from rural Newfoundland and all over Newfoundland attended Harlow last year. Teachers -


DR. WARREN: I do not have the value of the assets, but the students - Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member -

MR. SPEAKER: Order please! Order please!

I would ask hon. Members to please co-operate in this matter. When we are giving answers to questions for which notice has been given, Ministers should be brief and give precisely what was asked. It is difficult for the Chair unless I have the question in front of me. I know that the matter of cost was asked, whether or not the last question was asked I have no idea. But I ask the Minister please to finish up very quickly.

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, with respect the hon. Member asked if this money could be better spent in rural Newfoundland on extension. I was answering his question, Mr. Speaker, directly, that hundreds of students go to Harlow to do teacher training from business, from engineering. I know the university has reviewed Harlow, but I can assure you that many Newfoundland students benefit from that program, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

MR. SIMMS: Let me refer the Minister, if I may, to page 841 in Hansard so he will know what the question was. The second part of the question was the annual cost of operating and then the dollar value of the assets. That is the question I would like for him to answer.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well you answered the other part like you just answered it then, the same answer. You did not take notice of that part.

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

MR. GULLAGE: Yes, Mr. Speaker, in answer to a question for me, as the Minister, to advise the House when the newly amalgamated town of Grand Falls - Windsor will receive the $1.25 million for capital works committed to it by the Government during the recent amalgamation negotiations.

Mr. Speaker, of course, the municipal capital works both water, sewer and roads are presently being considered by my department. Priorization has been done in the regional offices and is now in for consideration by myself and the executive staff and subsequent to that, of course, Government approval. So at that time when that process is complete announcements will be made on all towns and cities in the Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Notices of Motion. I passed over that, sorry. Petitions.

AN HON. MEMBER: The Minister wants to do a notice of motion.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Queens Council Act." Thank you.


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

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wish to present a petition on behalf of residents of Labrador City and Wabush. The prayer of the petition is: whereby highway construction creates employment and whereas completed highways are a lifeline of increased economic activity we ask the Provincial Government to accelerate the construction of the Trans-Labrador Highway to begin immediate construction from Churchill Falls to Goose Bay.

AN HON. MEMBER: How many signatures are on that?

MR. A. SNOW: There are twenty-eight, I believe it is.

I am pleased to speak to this petition and to support the petition. As we all know, to improve transportation is really to improve one's economy. The highway in Labrador is commonly referred to as the Trans-Labrador Highway but some people even call it a freedom road. The one I am speaking about is a highway that is approximately 600 kilometres long and it stretches from Goose Bay to Wabush. This is the one I specifically want to speak of, although I think of the whole picture of a highway in Labrador that goes from the west to central Labrador and on, possibly in later years, to the coast. In order to have that complete highway we must do it in steps. Before we start walking we must crawl and before we start talking about building a highway right across Labrador we have to build it in sections, as the highway was constructed. The initial part, or one of the longest stretches, the 300 kilometres from Churchill down to Goose was built, I believe, during and after the construction of Churchill Falls. The highway has been done in different stages under different Government programs. The latest development has been under the recovery program in 1983, and again under the ERDA program in 1985. The first one was $16 million and the second was $24 million, and $19 million came out of the Roads to Rails Agreement. That has just about completed a highway system from - albeit it is a dirt road with a certain amount of granular material on it - from Labrador City to Goose Bay, with the exception of one bridge that is presently under construction, and that should facilitate people driving from Goose Bay to the Trans-Canada Highway network system out through Western Labrador and down to Baie Comeau and then they can hook into the Trans-Canada Highway system. This will be a tremendous benefit to the people of Goose Bay but also to the people from other parts of this country who wish to travel into Labrador to a great wilderness area, and of course that would tremendously help the proper development of tourism in Labrador in general. Apart from the instant employment that it would create I think it would open up tourism opportunities, more lumbering opportunities, and make it an easier and cheaper access for mining exploration to occur. It could also possibly lower the cost of living and improve the quality of life for people who live in western Labrador, in the Churchill Falls region and in Happy Valley, Goose Bay. There are merits for doing this, for accelerating the construction they talk about in this petition.

Mr. Speaker, I believe there are some funds remaining in one of the last agreements which is the Roads to Rails Agreement, and I hope that this Administration sees fit to call tenders this year. Now, I hope the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is listening because they should call tenders this year for granular material to be applied to the road surface from, I believe it is Emerald to the Ossok Bridge. I am also surprised that the Economic Recovery Commission has not suggested to this Administration that this is one of the major projects that this Government should look at. The opening up of Labrador with a highway network is an imaginative development that could create thousands of jobs and create a tremendous opportunity for this Province to develop. Mr. Speaker, we should not only look at it in the perspective of having another road to plough. We should look at it as a gateway, as an opportunity of development, as an opportunity to create more wealth in this Province. Albeit, it is in Labrador but it still can create wealth, and I am surprised that the Economic Recovery Commission has not suggested, as I will, to this Administration, that they should sit down with the Federal Government and renegotiate the fourth agreement. Three are already done: A fourth agreement to facilitate an immediate start on construction, or the improvement of the highway from Churchill Falls to Goose Bay.

Thank you, very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MR. KELLAND: I would like to make some brief comments in reference to the petition offered by my colleague from Menihek District. I waited a few seconds to see if anybody on the other side had an interest, but -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) we may.

MR. KELLAND: They may very well still do that, and I hope they do. I should put some of it in context. There are a couple of different considerations here, Mr. Speaker. What the thrust of the petition is there - I can support the concept and the concerns expressed by my colleague quite easily - is the permanent upgrading, reconstruction or whatever of that particular part of what we call the freedom road up there, 300 kilometres as the Member says.

We have been making some efforts in the last couple of years with respect to that particular road. When I hear my colleagues in the House of Assembly talking about 20 kms. or 30 kms. or 40 kms. of unpaved road in their districts, I can assure them that I have 300 kms. of unpaved road between two towns in my District, Naskaupi District, which are Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Churchill Falls, and it is a seasonal road open for approximately five or six months of the year.

What this Government did in 1989 from a maintenance point of view was increase what had been the annual maintenance funding of sometimes $50,000, sometimes $100,000, up to $200,000. We doubled it. And last year, in the maintenance season, we went a step further. Though the allocation was for $200,000, that was done on a contract basis from the Penis River to Churchill Falls, and an excellent job was done.

That left the portion from Happy Valley-Goose Bay to the Penis River to be done by highways' crews themselves. In effect, we ended up with what I had been suggesting for years, at least two crews on that road. So that I think was a significant change. My only concern with that was it may have started a little later than I would have liked to have seen it start. But in effect, as I made eight or nine trips up and down the road through the season, it was probably one of the better times I have seen it. That was the 1990 travel season.

The other aspect which I suppose the thrust of the petition is, is that substantial funding should be put into the permanent upgrading of the road. It has often been said that if we get mega-projects such as the Lower Churchill, that that would speed up some efforts with respect to funding. But I agree with the Member when we talk about these things in and out of the House, that we should not have to depend on a mega-project in order to get some concentration of effort into upgrading the road. I do not disagree with that. However, it is a fact of life that often a mega-project will speed up infrastructure, or the installation of infrastructure.

I should mention as well that my colleague who is not present right now, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, is indeed into active negotiation with the Federal Government to try to allocate a certain level of funding for that part of the road which, by the way, has never been, as we all know in this House, a part of any Federal-Provincial agreement.

I can assure him that on a weekly basis at the very least I discuss this particular matter with my colleague and he assures me that ongoing and continuing negotiations are taking place with the Federal Government and within a reasonably short period of time we should hear something positive with respect to more substantial dollars going into the permanent upgrading of the road. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WARREN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I rise in support of the petition presented by my colleague asking for the upgrading and the improvement and the continuation of the Trans-Labrador Highway. I was interested in listening to the comments of my colleague from Naskaupi. It is most interesting that he did not mention how he was concerned about the upgrading of the road from Goose Bay up to Churchill Falls. It is also interesting to note that last year this Government lost $1.5 million by re-tendering a contract.


MR. WARREN: No, but you still lost $1.5 million on the Trans-Labrador Highway - it is all the Trans-Labrador Highway. I would hope, Mr. Speaker, that Members of this Government will realize that the Trans-Labrador Highway will be more valuable than the Outer Ring Road is to this Province. The Trans-Labrador Highway is much more valuable in bringing in tourists, bringing extra dollars into the Province than the Outer Ring Road will be, and I would say we should ensure there is more money coming from the Federal Government to get the Trans-Labrador Highway finished not only as far as Goose Bay, but on down to the Straits. Because I would think it will be a long, long time before we will see the road going into Nain or Hopedale, for example, or places like that. I do not think you will -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WARREN: There is no trouble to go - in fact, the survey is already done on the road from North West River to Kitts-Michelin, which is about 20 miles from Postville. That part of it could eventually happen, too, but as for getting into Nain and Davis Inlet and probably places down close to Black Tickle, it is going to take a long, long time. But I can see the Trans-Labrador Highway eventually going down and connecting with the Straits area. And hopefully this sawmill operation the Minister of Forestry is talking about could entice development and improvements to the road.

So the potential is there. All we need is the desire on behalf of the Government to not look at Labrador because of what you are going to take out of it, but also because of what you can put into it.

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My petition is to the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland in Legislative Assembly.

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

It is signed by a number of residents of St. Bride's area, St. Bride's being the largest of the communities on the Cape Shore. As I mentioned yesterday, a number of petitions are flooding in from the various communities, simply because the residents of that general area know full well the benefit of MUN Extension to them.

The Cape Shore area of the Province is one that was forgotten for years, completely neglected, and it was with the efforts of the former Government and agencies such as MUN Extension and the Rural Development movement that the Cape Shore started to come into its own, and certainly in recent years has become well-known throughout the Province.

One of the main industries in the area besides the fishery, which keeps most of my district going, is the great potential of the Tourism Industry. MUN Extension has done a tremendous job in highlighting that, not just the raw resources of scenery and historic sites and what have you. And, of course, we have the beautiful bird sanctuary, the Cape St. Mary's Bird Sanctuary, which is internationally known.

But the culture and the heritage which is so unique here in the Province, the very, very strong Irish roots of Cape Shore have been highlighted well by a number of programmes done recently, most of them with the involvement, the technical assistance of Memorial University Extension. Local groups, the Rural Development Associations and the Arts groups in particular, have developed a number of programmes, put together with the aid of federally funded programmes plus the technical assistance of, once again, Memorial University Extension.

All of these things have helped highlight the tremendous potential, tremendous resources, personal and otherwise, that exist in areas such as the Cape Shore. So these people find, and when I say people all of them, because a number of the initiatives taken were done in conjunction with the whole community, like inter-community hook-ups, where they had forums broadcast around the Shore through the assistance of local cable television companies and the technical assistance, once again, in co-ordination with MUN Extension. So everyone out there has been brought into focus as a player in the development of the area, and they have seen the potential of having a service such as MUN Extension provided to the area. So it is with no wonder at all that these people - in fact, all of them - have come out in support of this body as an institution, really, in areas such as the Cape Shore.

I highlight the Cape Shore area because that is where the petitions are coming from. But undoubtedly we will see them coming from the other three geographic divisions in the district, because all of them collectively and individually have been helped tremendously by MUN Extension. So their prayer is, as is our own, to the Government to discuss with the university, to talk to Memorial University to see if there is some way of offsetting the loss of funding that will enable MUN Extension to exist as it has done in the past, because there are rural areas of this Province where the existing agencies, and this includes new agencies established by the new Government, just do not fill the void.

We have good Rural Development Associations as mentioned, good councils, good fishermen's committees.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HEARN: These petitions are coming from the Cape Shore area. We have good organizations, good associations, but each organization has a specific task; the people involved, many of them volunteer people, and even the paid ones, have specific duties to which they must adhere. But all activities of promotion, co-ordination, lobbying and so on, these have really been highlighted, have been organized, have been presented so well by the co-ordination and the involvement of MUN extension. So I would certainly support the petition, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in support of the petition presented by the hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes. Yet another group from another part of Newfoundland has expressed its concern about the elimination of MUN Extension and the services it has provided the people of Newfoundland, in particular rural Newfoundland. I know Government Members opposite, in particular the Government House Leader, seems to be tiring of hearing all this bellyaching about people losing Government services. I know he is also tired of hearing about them losing their jobs and hearing about them losing their contracts which he and his Government signed with them. It is understandable that he would be tired of hearing that, because they do not want to hear about that; they would rather have people hear the kind of platitudes we heard from the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, those kinds of platitudes about so-called good news when we have an unemployment rate that is reaching toward 25 per cent - if you count discouraged workers, I am sure we would get to 25 per cent.

We have in this Province through MUN Extension an opportunity that has been present for quite a number of years, close to 30 years, a programme and a service which has been able to give or help give people particularly in rural Newfoundland a voice and an ability to organize themselves to tackle some of the problems they have, some of which they can resolve themselves, some of which they have done by developing organizations such as community councils and town councils which, as the Minister of Municipal Affairs knows, historically in Newfoundland have not been developed except in the past 20 or 30 years. They played a tremendous role there, but that was only one step, Mr. Speaker, in the development of rural Newfoundland.

Obviously there is a need to organize yourselves around this Province to help to deliver the kind of municipal services which have been sadly lacking in this Province for hundreds and hundreds of years. We see that happening in this Province, and we see the Government getting more and more involved, not without problems, but sincerely making efforts to resolve some of the problems in rural Newfoundland which have to do with municipal services in particular.

The response of the people in developing organizations in this Province has been part of the work of MUN Extension Field Services, and part of their work in that area at least has been done. But the rural development organizations, the town councils, the people who have been helped by MUN Extension, they, themselves, are firmly convinced that the work of MUN Extension is not done, that there is more to do, and that there is assistance that can be provided for individuals and groups who would like to assist in the development of their own communities. Some of that, Mr. Speaker, may come out as criticism against this Government, the previous Government or the next Government; some of that is part of the reality of a democratic society.

Mr. Speaker, I suppose some of the people who came here last week from Placentia, some of those groups and organizations were formed and developed by help and work from MUN Extension, and that causes the Government concern. And even if they are afraid to go out and listen to them they have to realize they are there, that they are speaking out for things they believe in for services for their community. And MUN Extension provided that service, Mr. Speaker. MUN Extension is still needed, because the people have not yet been satisfied that they are getting proper response from not only this Government but from Governments in general, and that work has to continue. MUN Extension should continue, and this Government should make that possible. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think it is important that other Ministers besides the Minister of Education take the advantage and the opportunity to speak, as the hon. the Member for St. John's East, the rural native Newfoundlander down in the corner, should hear from some Ministers on this side their feelings towards the MUN Extension programme.

I am not surprised that the hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, a former Minister of Education, after the little contribution he made over the years to the education field would now be presenting petitions to the House of Assembly stating that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador should interfere with the decision-making of Memorial University. I think that is ludicrous. It is amazing.

I can understand that the hon. the Member for St. John's East, a new Member in the House of Assembly, after being caught up in all of the affairs of Ottawa and being caught up in a law practice in downtown St. John's, knows very little about what goes on inside the Provincial Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and what really happens outside the overpass. I mean, he has a great deal of concern. My first question to the hon. the Member for St. John's East would be, where is Blow Me Down? Do you know all about rural native Newfoundland, what goes on out there, and how people survive? How phoney can one individual be in this hon. House of Assembly? I am sure the great Socialist who sits in a law office in St. John's counting the dollars per hour he can make is really concerned about native Newfoundland. It is absolute nonsense for the hon. Member to sit down there with his ideas.

But surely goodness, Mr. Speaker, being educated in law, educated for a brief period of time in the Federal Government in Ottawa, and educated somewhat by his colleagues around Memorial University, is he and the former Minister of Education suggesting that there is the remotest possibility that this Government would go over and tell Memorial University how to spend their money on every programme they do?

If you want to see people in the galleries, if you want to see demonstrations let us go over tomorrow and tell them to cut out the Faculty of Social Work over there, or the Faculty of Medicine - no more medicine programme. Let us tell them what time to clean the floors, let us tell them what time to open the doors, let us tell them what time to cook the meals. Now come on! Let us tell them what to teach. Now come on, you cannot have it both ways.

Keep you mind straight now and in order. The former Minister of Education knows full well what his responsibility is - no, I should not say that. He should have known what his responsibility was when he was Minister of Education in this Province, that you do not tell Memorial University how to run their affairs over there. You provide an amount of money and they have the expertise. If they do not have the expertise, then Administration should be removed. But that is another matter.

Now, let me tell the hon. the Member for St. John's East, for the short term he is going to be sitting in his seat down there in the corner he has to get used to the fact that this Government is run by this Administration, that the hon. Members opposite are only Opposition and do not run the affairs of this Province. Nor do they tell us how to run those affairs. Because, goodness knows, after their seventeen years over here, if you are going to take a lead from those people then you are going to be sadly left, you are not going to be returning to this House of Assembly. Because they spent seventeen years turning the whole Province inside out, total frustration, and left the majority of this Province with no confidence in the Administration whatsoever. Absolutely none.

Now we have two former Ministers of Education sitting down day after day telling this side of the House of Assembly to tell Memorial University how to run its affairs, let us make all the decisions, and it is disgusting. It is shocking. Do you want to create another body over there we have no confidence in? We have confidence in the Administration of Memorial University. They are making the right decisions, Mr. Speaker. That is the way this Government operates, unlike former Tory Governments.

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Order 3.

On motion, that the House resolve itself into Committee of the Whole on Bill 16, Mr. Speaker left the Chair.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, at the outset I want to say a few words on this Bill in Committee stage and just remind my colleagues on this side of the House in particular -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. SIMMS: I was just going to make the suggestion. The rules allow us to speak for up to thirty minutes at a time and as frequently as we wish in Committee, but we have in practice, by agreement basically, agreed to ten or fifteen minute speeches back and forth, and if nobody gets up, well you can get up again for fifteen minutes or whatever. It does not matter to us. Fifteen minutes at a time is plenty. So let us say fifteen minutes at a time with the understanding, of course, as we all know, that the rules allow for somebody to sit down and get up again, sit down and get up again twenty times.

The best precedent reference I can refer newer Members of the House to if they want to do some research would be Steve Neary, who used to be the Member for Bell Island - Mount Scio, or Bell Island at least, and LaPoile. Mr. Neary was a veteran at speaking in the Committee stage of debate, he loved it. Of course Beauchesne provides in Paragraph 693 that the debate essentially in Committee is on Clause 1 of the bill, until you proceed on to get to the other clauses, and the debate on Clause 1, according to 693 (2) is normally wide-ranging, covering all the principles and details of the bill, which makes it very wide-ranging. If you look at the schedule at the back of the bill, of course, as Mr. Neary often used to do, Pages 9 and 10, the schedule says, `The Agricultural Products Marketing Board, the Alcohol and Drug Dependency Commission, the Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities, Canada Games Parks, Economic Council, Economic Recovery Commission, on and on and on, so, Mr. Chairman, it is very clear I am sure that everything goes, or anything goes basically, to a certain extent. In terms of relevance, almost anything goes.

AN HON. MEMBER: You do not want to be relevant.

MR. SIMMS: I did not say I did not want to be relevant because I certainly do, but I would not want anybody, newer Members of the House on the other side, to be apprehensive about standing and participating in the debate and feeling that the Chairman is going to come out with his hands like that and choke you and say, you had better stick to this, you had better stick to that. I am sure Your Honour will agree that relevance is very, very difficult to define, as Beauchesne says, and Members opposite and Members on this side should be able to basically discuss anything as long as it touches on some aspect of this bill, including the schedule, the title or whatever.

Mr. Chairman, having outlined that I also want to indicate to Members opposite in particular that it is our intention to continue to speak to this bill, to raise questions as we go through it, and to debate it in the hope that we can encourage some Members opposite to get up and debate it. If they want to get up and lambaste the Opposition, that is fine, too. We would just like to see them get up and participate in debate, because we have not seen that from this Government since they have been in power that I can recall. Just about everything they try to do the Government House Leader gives the direction, and what he tries to do is introduce a bill, or a measure, whatever it might be - on Interim Supply the Minister of Finance spoke for one minute and nobody else got up, or very rarely.

MR. GRIMES: We are giving you fellows a chance.

MR. SIMMS: We have had lots of chances. The Member for Exploits should not be concerned about giving us a chance, the Member for Exploits should be concerned about his own chances. That is what he should be concerned about. I am not sure if he is still here or not, but my friend who was in the gallery earlier is a man who has a keen eye on the Exploits District, as the Member would know. And I suggest to the Member that he should try to make an impression on people like that by getting up and participating in the debate from time to time instead of sitting in his seat, not budging. And if the visitors from the area were here in the past they would know that the Member for Exploits, I suppose, maybe over the two years might have been up twice.

MR. WINSOR: But you noticed he spoke yesterday?

MR. SIMMS: Now you have to give him some credit because he is a busy individual, a very busy man.

MR. WINSOR: But there is a Cabinet post to come, you see?

MS. VERGE: What is he busy at?

MR. SIMMS: NDP? No, no, no. the leader of the NDP has his eye - what is it, a lean and hungry look? - on the district of Exploits too, I hear. It could be NDP territory. Grand Falls could be NDP territory. It was at one time very good NDP territory but I think it has flattened out a little bit.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well, that is the time I was referring to. There was only one time that I know of, 1985, when I came within forty-one votes of losing the seat. But you know the big mistake there, I think -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well, the relevance is to this legislation, I mean, what you are doing to the public service employees, many of whom live in Grand Falls, many of whom are having their wages frozen as a result of this bill, many of whom supported the NDP in 1985 when I came that close to losing my seat. So there is the relevance, Mr. Chairman. Very easy to make the point relevant.

On that occasion if those public servants whose wages are being affected by this bill had been able to talk the candidate who ran in Grand Falls into running in Windsor-Buchans for the NDP against the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, I have a sneaky suspicion that he might very well be in this Legislature even today.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well, I think he could have. At that time I think he could have and may still be able to do it. A very credible candidate. Although I suspect now, having had a few smacks at it Federally and Provincially, he might have had his fill of it and might be prepared to let somebody else go, and I would not be at all surprised if the leader of the NDP Party - assuming he remains as leader of the NDP Party, of course, but his present position is leader of the NDP Party - might have a look at the central area. Because there are an awful lot of public servants who are affected by this piece of legislation who are very upset, particularly upset with this Government.

But I will tell you. The ripest seat in the Province today outside of St. John's - and outside of St. John's Centre, which is extremely ripe - is the seat occupied by the Government House Leader, the Minister responsible for this legislation, the Member for Gander, who as an individual is a fine person, a fine individual.

AN HON. MEMBER: Do not praise him too much.

MR. SIMMS: Well, I have to praise him. I, unfortunately or fortunately, depending on which way you look at it, I have had many occasions over the last couple of years to deal with him as a House Leader. I used to share cigarettes with him from time to time. We had puffs together and we are finally trying to overcome that. But -

MS. COWAN: Is this relevant?

MR. SIMMS: Pardon me?

MS. COWAN: Is this relevant?

MR. SIMMS: Yes it is, I say to the Minister of Labour. My comments, Mr. Chairman, on this bill are as relevant as the Minister of Labour's comments on this bill have been thus far.

AN HON. MEMBER: Has she spoken on it?

MR. SIMMS: No, she has not spoken on it. So mine are very relevant. So I say to the Member for Gander, one of the ripest areas for the NDP and for the Tories, by the way, it is a ripe area for the Tories, is the Gander seat, held by the Minister who has brought in this infamous Bill, Bill 16, and who has attacked the public servants of the Province by - look, the big issue is not the freezing of their wages. I mean, they are mad enough about that. That is not the big issue. The big issue is what has happened with the introduction of this legislation. The breaking of the very basic premise of collective bargaining, and that basic premise is trust, as we all know. And that is what has them upset.

Now my friend from Kilbride last night made some comments that were carried far and wide this morning, and continue to be carried.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: And he made a very valid - now, the Member for Exploits, you see - the Member for Exploits - I was thrown of track a few moments ago because I said -

MR. NOEL: He told you to mind your own business and do a better job in Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: I am sorry, what did the hon. Member say from Pleasantville, I did not quite hear him?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: There.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, thank you for your protection, I appreciate it very much.

Anyway, I was saying that the Member for Exploits of course sometimes gets thrown off track. He is a very busy man. Usually he is tied up outside the House carrying suitcases and baggage and clothing, but here today, because there are some visitors in the gallery from his area who he knows well, he has got to have a few interjections and a few heckles. So we do not mind that, he should have a right to perform.

But the Member for Gander is the individual who is responsible primarily for this legislation, as he knows. And (inaudible) the individual who I honestly believe is very uncomfortable these days. He feels uncomfortable, very uncomfortable, because I do not think he really feels good about bringing in this legislation. In fact, I think he said last night, 'none of us like the bill,' which is a strange thing in itself, yet they are bringing it in, so I guess somebody over there must like it and must give the direction. But the Member for Gander may one of these days realize that what he has done as a former socialist himself, as a former Member of the NDP who will stand up quite frequently in defence of the collective bargaining process, has now hung himself, I am afraid. Particularly with his friends in the public service out in Gander, and I think he knows he is in some difficulty out in Gander.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: The President of Treasury Board says he is in good shape out in Gander. Well, time will tell, I guess. Time will tell. If he is in good shape now then I do not know if it can get any worse.

MR. BAKER: I did a little bit better than 41 votes.

MR. SIMMS: Did you? Yes, well you did a little worse than that the time before when you got defeated. So 41 votes winning is better than losing altogether I suspect.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, having had those few preliminary remarks let me just indicate as well that we intend to propose some amendments to the legislation, to various clauses. I will not say what they are now until we get to them, but at the appropriate time we will be moving some amendments. I understand from the Government - and I would hope that the Government House Leader might take the opportunity to get up in the debate and indicate to us what amendments he proposes - because he has said he is going to propose some and perhaps we can have copies. It would be very much appreciated if we could have copies. In fact, I would be happy to exchange copies of the amendments that we intend to propose for the amendments that he intends to propose. Then we would both know exactly what we can look forward to when the time comes.

Mr. Chairman, there are twenty public service groups, I think, affected by this legislation. I think it is twenty.

MR. BAKER: More.

MR. SIMMS: More than the Government House Leader says. Well he can correct me and he can answer my question when he stands. The list I have includes the Aquarena employees represented by CUPE, the Cabot Institute support staff represented by NAPE, Central Laundry represented by NAPE, Enterprise Newfoundland employees represented by CUPE, General Service represented by NAPE, Group Homes - NAPE, Hospital Support - CUPE, Hospital Support - NAPE, Lab and X-Ray -NAPE, Maintenance or MOS -NAPE, Marine Institute, Marine Services, Newfoundland and Labrador Housing, Newfoundland Liquor Corporation, Nurses, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, Student Assistants - NAPE, Waterford Hospital support staff, Workers Compensation, how many is that? Eighteen. He thinks there are more affected by this? Of course, the NTA group, I do not think I read them out. I did not read out the NTA. Of course they would be affected by the freeze.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes. So maybe I have overlooked another one. In fact I got this list from the Minister's staff. I asked for a copy of the negotiated and arbitrated wage increases, the public servants wage increases for 1991-92. That is the list they gave me, but I now realize the NTA is not on this list.

AN HON. MEMBER: (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Okay. So maybe the Minister will stand when he talks about the clauses and amendments to maybe tell me as well if there are any other groups aside from the NTA that are omitted from this list of (inaudible) agreements.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: That is one public service group that did not have their agreement in place so they would not be on this list. Perhaps he could tell if there are others as well. I would appreciate that if the Minister stands in debate.

I would also like him to address, if he would, this question: in addition to the wage rollback - the wage freeze the Government calls it, wage rollback we call it - the negotiated increases for other monetary benefits, in particular the Labrador benefits package, can the Minister tell the House what exactly will be eliminated for the year 1991-92 for public service employees working in Labrador? What will they lose in 1991-92 in addition to their wages being frozen or rolled back? What monetary benefits will they receive?

AN HON. MEMBER: What they always received.

MR. SIMMS: Well, not what they always received because they just got a new package, I understand, in the last year or so, remember that big two year independent study? So I would like him to be a bit more specific and maybe give us examples of what monetary benefits they will lose, and then tell me also if they will get those benefits back, the wages they can get back a year or two from now when their contract runs out, if they want to extend their contract by a year, does that apply as well to the monetary benefits? So, if an employee in Labrador loses 18 per cent for isolation allowance which they were due to get in 1991-92 will they also be able to get that in 1993 or 1994, whenever their contract?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: So, it also applies to the monetary wages? Okay, well having confirmed that all I need to know from him is what kinds of monetary benefits will the employees in Labrador lose, and indeed what kind of monetary benefits other public servants will lose as a result of this legislation?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I just want to take a couple of minutes of time. First of all, the questions asked by the Opposition House Leader: I do not have all the details at my fingertips but I will certainly get them later on this afternoon and give them to the hon. gentleman. Essentially, what happens with this legislation is that any increase that was due to come into effect from April l, 1991 to 31 March, 1992 will now come into effect one year later, if the unions so choose. It is really a postponing for a year of increases. I would like to point out that what we are talking about here are the increases on the grid. It does not include step increases and things like that, that people ordinarily go through, or normal reclassifications. There is an allowance made in the salary for normal reclassifications and these things, so there will be some movement within the public service during that year.

There are a couple of amendments that I intend to make, and I could send a copy over to the Opposition House Leader. The first has to do with Paragraph 2(c) Section 9. We want to eliminate that and simply substitute another wording which is much simpler. It is just clarifying that the bill applies to employees to whom the Public Service Collective Bargaining Act applies. The second amendment is more significant. This is the amendment that ensures that the Pay Equity Agreement, once it is reached, will not be treated as an increase in wages. In other words we can bring in, during that freeze year, the first step of the implementation of the pay equity, if agreement is reached with any of the groups during the coming year. So, the commitment to bringing in pay equity as soon as agreement is reached is there, and is now made clear in the legislation. Mr. Chairman, we will be moving these two amendments. I understand that Members opposite have a lot of amendments but, at this point in time, these are the only two that we will be moving.

Mr. Chairman, I do not want to take up a lot of time right now because there will be plenty of opportunity to speak in the next three or four days, or week, or whatever the case may be, except I would like to confirm the fact that we do not enjoy bringing in this bill, it is not something we have looked forward to. It is not something we want to do, it is something that has to be done. This bill represents to us in this current year, to Government - nothing to me personally - about $75 million. I said this bill means to the Government of the Province $75 million in this freeze year.

We could equate that with jobs if we wanted to. When we first realized we were that much short this is the way the discussion went with the unions: Look, we have this shortfall and we have choices. Our choices at this point in time are: more layoffs, 2,000, 3,000, 3,500 more layoffs, in that range, that many layoffs; or we are going to have to freeze wages and remove the retroactivity from the pay equity. These are the choices we are faced with. And we made our choice. Our choice is Bill 16.

But it was not a willing choice. It was a choice that was weighed against another 2,000 to 3,000 jobs in the public service. We felt that this was the least painful option for the whole Province. It is unfortunate that it had to be done but, Mr. Chairman, it had to be done. We could not go out and borrow more money. We are borrowing $53 million now. We are planning to borrow on current account $53 million. We cannot go out and borrow any more on current account. Absolutely impossible.

Members opposite kind of make fun of the situation with regards to the credit rating, they make fun of that. Yes, several speakers opposite have made fun of that. They said there is really no problem, that other Provinces have the same credit rating. That we are worrying unnecessarily about that credit rating. The implication being that we can go out and borrow our fool heads off.

Now, I want to make it very clear that we maintain an A- rating with one and only one rating agency, Standard and Poor, A-. With Moody's, we are B. With the Canadian rating agencies we are B. We retain, with one rating agency only, an A rating. That allows us to be perceived as having A rated bonds. We are hanging on by our fingernails. If that drops one more level we no longer have any rating agency rating us at an A level.

Some Members opposite know what that would mean. It would mean that a huge section of the money market would no longer be available to us, the huge section that demands only A rated bonds. A huge section of the money market would be unavailable to us. We probably could still raise some money - we would have to pay higher rates - but not nearly as much at any one time, and certainly not enough to cover our capital needs and the needs to replace past borrowings, certainly not enough for that. Which would mean further, massive, monumental cuts, huge cuts in the public service of this Province.

So it is extremely important that we do not slip any more. It is crucial that we do not slip any more. Members opposite let it slip in 1985. And they make fun of that too as if, well, that is something, there is nothing to that, sure, the credit rating slipped. In 1985 the credit rating dropped, dropped in a lot of provinces, did not have to in some provinces, but the credit rating dropped in Newfoundland. And fortunately for Members opposite they could afford to let it drop one level. I really wish that we had that luxury, the luxury that you people had in 1985 of allowing your credit rating to drop a level. I really wish that we had that luxury, because then perhaps we could have gotten away with fewer layoffs. Perhaps then we could have provided a few more services. Perhaps then Bill 16 may not have been necessary.

AN HON. MEMBER: It will be upgraded next year.

MR. BAKER: But, Mr. Chairman, we did not have the luxury, we did not. Our credit has been used up, totally used up. We had no choice but to proceed with this bill, which as I indicated, we are not happy with. We do not jump up and down for joy when we bring it in. But at the same time we have to say to Members opposite the Province has to be governed, it has to be governed in a responsible manner and we intend to do that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Just a few other comments and questions I want to put to the Minister. On his last point with respect to the downgrading of the credit ratings: My colleague for Labrador West, the economist, -

MR. A. SNOW: No, no, no!

MR. SIMMS: Well the amateur economist. Well the interested individual who represents Menihek District, who has made some inquiries over the last twenty-four hours -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) capitalists on Water Street.

MR. SIMMS: -who has made some inquiries, and has done some research over the last twenty-four hours, including communicating with New York and other provinces. I am not sure he called the same people Eugene Hiscock called when he was down in New York representing the Liberals a few years ago, remember Eugene Hiscock, the former Member for Eagle River, was down in New York one time to check with the rating agencies. The hon. Member does not recall that does he?

AN HON. MEMBER: Was that when we were in Opposition?

MR. SIMMS: When you were in Opposition? Yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: No, I do not know.

MR. SIMMS: You do not know. Okay.

AN HON. MEMBER: He would not know, of course.

MR. SIMMS: Let me ask - so my friend for Menihek was going to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: I do not know what it was, when he was asked by the press, he said he was down in New York checking with the credit rating agencies on behalf of the Opposition, which I thought was rather interesting.

AN HON. MEMBER: He may have been.

MR. SIMMS: He may have been, yes.

Anyway my friend for Menihek is going to make some comments and blow to pieces the argument that the Government House Leader is putting forth, or at least I hope he is - he said he was, unless he is backing off now.

I wonder if the Minister would answer a few other questions for me. In his comments he mentioned there were $75 million dollars saved as a result of Bill 16. So presumably that included the retroactive monies for pay equity, $24 million, around fifty, fifty-one was salaries, salary savings. That is equivalent, I suppose, to one week unpaid leave for every public servant in the Province. Is that what I remember the Minister saying one time?


MR. SIMMS: No? He did some work on that I understand. I think he indicated that there was some discussion about it, who put it forth and everything. I think the Minister says he put it forth, and that is fine. Perhaps he could tell me what he put forth and if it was one week unpaid or two weeks unpaid or whatever it was. What did that equate to? Did that equate to about the same amount of money, $50 million or $75 million or whatever? Perhaps he can comment on it, I would like to hear it.

Secondly, in the Budget Estimates under Department of Health, I do not know if there is another item somewhere for pay equity other than under Health, but he last year had in his Budget $6.3 million for pay equity.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Last year's Budget - $6.3 million for pay equity under Health.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Last year: was that meant to incorporate the previous two years retroactive pay equity payment, or was it just estimated for last year's.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes, that is why I am asking, because this year, of course, as he knows, you have $3.5 million in there, which is half or little more than half of what they had in there last year and which you did not spend at all. So, I am wondering if the $6.3 last year was really an estimate of what they thought pay equity would cost them last year -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: - okay, so it should have been - he is saying now, I think he estimates it would have cost $24 million, so that would be for four years, 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991, four years, so $6 million a year, so last year instead of -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: - no? Well in any event, last year $6.3 million to pay equity, obviously it was a gross underestimate using his evaluation today and it probably should have been last year $18 million or $15 million or something, is that what he is trying to say, maybe he can explain it that way to us, we would appreciate it if he could. Then, on what grounds is the $3.5 seen to be an accurate estimate, $3.5 that he has in this year's estimates, how confident does he feel that that is the estimate for this year, right, how firm is that? So if he can answer that question, I would appreciate it.

I also want to take issue with the Minister of Education, if I may, during this debate, talking about public servants, loss of income as a result of the wage roll back, but I want to touch on the issue that I have raised in Question Period, in the last two or three days, and that is the difference in the job losses in the education sector - particularly, I have been arguing the last couple days, the post-secondary education sector.

The Minister has said, and the point I am trying to make is, the day after the Budget, he talked about 200 in the post- secondary sector and at the time, he said: now not all of those will be laid off -


MR. SIMMS: Oh yes, he did. Oh yes, he did. He said these will be job losses but not all of those will be laid off -

AN HON. MEMBER: I do not recall it.

MR. SIMMS: Oh well, he might not recall it, but I can assure him we have it on the record.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well, it is not only Hansard, you had a press conference, you will recall as well the day afterwards, and some of the press might be able to even play your mouthing the words, in case there is any dispute or difference, but he clearly said -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes, but - wait now, stick to one argument at a time. The argument that he was trying to give me in Question Period today and on Friday, after the fact, was that - what he really meant to say was that there were going to be 200 layoffs, that is what he is trying to put out there now in the way of an argument -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Okay, but my point is, my point is - no, Mr. Chairman, my point is, if you add up the totals as articulated in press releases by every institution, the total comes to 362 job losses, job losses.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Oh well, maybe not all due to restraint he says.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well that is not what most of the press releases say.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: But wait now, you are getting over to teachers here and we are not talking about that now, I am trying to pin him down on the post-secondary sector, he said there would be 200 job losses. Now that is what he said and I am saying today that there really are 362, all you have to do is add up every press release that has been made by all the post-secondary institutions, you add them up, 362, I just gave the list to the press, they have it there to look at. There is only one that may be in dispute and that is one of the institutions say twenty-six, but yet in the release they mentioned another twenty contractual employees, which are, for all intents and purposes, equivalent to full-time positions, but there are 362, and my point was, that the Minister said there would be 200. Now job losses can be layoffs, job losses can be freezing of vacant positions, we all understand that, positions that were not filled -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) vacant for a long time.

MR. SIMMS: - no they are not all vacant for a long time though. No, Mr. Chairman, if he checks, some of them and quite a few of them were positions that became vacant in the last six months for example, and they did not fill them because of what was coming down the tube, everybody understood, so, it is a job loss.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: That is okay, go ahead.

DR. WARREN: (Inaudible). redeploying quite a number. I will give you the final figures, but we are redeploying to other jobs also -

MR. SIMMS: I do not know, Mr. Chairman, why the Minister does not just directly confirm what has been in all the newspapers and what is in all the releases and if you add them up, 362 job losses -

DR. WARREN: No, they are not 360 layoffs; they are not 360 layoffs, they are not.

MR. SIMMS: He just said to me, he just nodded -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: I gave it to the press, actually, you might have it there, someone might have it there. He just nodded when I said there are 360 positions, he said yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Job losses.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Oh, now he is really wasting his time if he is going to try to argue that. The point is, it is the same equivalent, they are the same words that he used three weeks ago. I say to the Minister, they are the same words he used three weeks ago when he spoke to the press at a press conference, he said: I estimate there will be 200 job losses. Not all of them will be layoffs. He said that. So we are talking about apples and apples.

And my point is this: That there are 362, not 200 - 81 per cent more job losses than he estimated three weeks ago. That is my point and all I want him to do is to confirm it, admit it, confess to it. The other night he said: I admit we underestimated, it might be a hundred more. Well now, maybe it is 160 more.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes, well. I will get the numbers for him. Has he not taken the press releases from all these institutes and just written them down and added them up? And he just committed - he just said a moment ago, yes, it is 362 job losses. If a position is frozen and not filled that has been vacant, that is a job loss.

AN HON. MEMBER: No it is not.

MR. SIMMS: Oh, it is not a job loss? Oh, that is not a job loss!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: There are lots of people who retire and the positions are filled.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: So it is not a job loss in their opinion, if you cut it by attrition then it is a job loss.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: They were frozen positions. But most of these positions now became vacant - most of them, the ones that he is going to categorize as vacant - came vacant in the last six months or so since the Government last August or September put out the threat and institutions started holding off on filling the positions. But they would have filled them under normal conditions, under normal circumstances. The Minister would concede that.

So we are talking about a job loss. Now it might not have affected an individual at the moment but it is a job loss, one less job, one less position available to somebody who was looking for a job. But the point is the Minister estimated there would be 200 job losses three weeks ago, there are now going to be 362, 81 per cent more. Now, that is the argument.

DR. WARREN: Let me just, if we might, Mr. Chairperson, is that possible?

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Minister sure, please go ahead.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Minister of Education on a point of clarification.

DR. WARREN: Yes, Mr. Chairperson, I did make a mistake in underestimating the number of positions affected, and I will provide the hon. Member with all the details later on. I will give him - once we get it all from the colleges - all the details.

But let me admit one other thing. I made a mistake also in saying there would be 133 job losses as a result of fiscal restraint in the kindergarten to twelve. That is wrong. Most of the job losses in the elementary and secondary system, Chairperson, is declining enrollments. So I perhaps made another mistake. Now that is two mistakes, and they happen to cancel out the figures, but I probably made a mistake and I should have stated it more clearly. I am learning that with the hon. Member for Grand Falls, he has a way with words and I have to be much more precise. He has some charm too, and all of these other things, but he has a way with words and I have got to be much more precise in the future.

Perhaps in a week or so I will give him all the facts on the number of positions affected, the number of layoffs, the number of people who would have gone anyhow, the number of positions affected as a result of fiscal restraint. That is what we are talking about - and the cutbacks. And that is a different figure from the total number, Chairperson. but I will give him the figures, and I will smile doing it like he is smiling right now.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for Grand Falls.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, it is not the Member for Grand Falls who he needs to be precise with, he needs to be precise with the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, right? That is who he needs to be precise with. There is no need to play little games and try to twist and talk around. Let him confess, as he now has done I believe, he has confirmed there will be 362 job losses -


MR. SIMMS: - in the education sector as a result of the Budget.


MR. SIMMS: Well, we will check Hansard. I will tell you what we will do, Mr. Chairman. I will tell you what we will do. We will watch the television news tonight or tomorrow night and see if the press carry the Minister's comments at his press conference a few weeks back, where he may have said, I understand, there will be 200 job losses as a result of the Budget in the education sector, post-secondary.' Job losses. Job losses! And he may also have said, `now not all of those job losses are layoffs.'

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: No. So `job losses' are the words he used and they are the words I am using. We are talking about the same thing, we are talking about apples and apples, he misjudged, miscalculated, underestimated by 81 per cent, and he is nodding.

My next question then is to the Minister of Finance. If the Minister of Education has now confirmed that he miscalculated and underestimated by 81 per cent the number of job losses, can the Minister of Finance tell the House whether or not his numbers in his Budget of 2,100 public service positions -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: I think it is 2,100 in the Budget. The Minister should know better than I. He is the one who wrote the Budget, I presume.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

MR. WINSOR: Are the fifteen minutes up, Mr. Chairman?


MR. SIMMS: The Minister just sat down, did he not?

MR. R. AYLWARD: The Minister was up in the meantime.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes, but he was up on a point of clarification.

MR. SIMMS: No, he stood up in debate. I sat down and he stood in debate. I have just a few more minutes, I think.

MR. CHAIRMAN: There is no problem with the Chair if there is consent of the House.

MR. SIMMS: I sat down and the Minister of Education stood up in debate.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I thought he was getting up on a point of information.

MR. SIMMS: It is all points of information, I guess.

MR. FUREY: There is no point of information - a point of order, or a point of privilege.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes, but he yielded for the -

MR. SIMMS: Anyway, it does not really matter. I have a few more minutes.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The Opposition House Leader.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Minister of Finance maybe could get up in the debate. I thought, from recollection, that he announced in the Budget there would be 2,100.

AN HON. MEMBER: Two thousand.

MR. SIMMS: Two thousand. Okay. That is fine if that is correct. Now, then, considering the fact that the Minister of Education has admitted that he has underestimated the number of job losses in the education sector because of the Budget, does that affect his announced number of positions of 2,000? He understands what I am asking and what I am saying here, does he? The Minister of Finance knows what I am asking, so I would like him to stand and tell us whether he thinks that will affect his estimate. That is what we would like to know, obviously. Before he stands though, there are just a couple of others.

Mr. Chairman, there are so many questions here to ask. Does the Minister of Education now know? Did he happen to make a phone call to his Deputy Minister and say, `Look, I promised the answer to a question to Mr. Simms from Grand Falls yesterday on the assets of Harlow campus. Can you phone Art May and tell him to look it up in his books?' It takes two minutes probably, and maybe the Minister has the answer by now.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: He still does not have it? He will have it later. That will be interesting to know. I do not know what it is. I have no idea. I know the operating cost was $300,000 a year because I read that in the paper, and the breakdown was $180,000 from the Government and $120 from private sources, or whatever.

By the way, I have visited Harlow campus and I was in no way reflecting on Harlow campus or -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: No. No. Well, I will make it clear now.

Mr. Chairman, I have had a number of students from my district attend Harlow, and, in fact, I, myself, visited Harlow one time many years ago. It is a beautiful location, a beautiful campus. It is a wonderful job it does, and the opportunity it provides for young Newfoundlanders to get some teaching -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: I do not know. I have no problem with that. The point of my questioning was this, and I say it in all sincerity to the Minister of Education, as good it is and as wonderful a program as it is, in terms of priorities -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: I hope they do. I hope so.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well I did not say anything the other day. The Minister tried to put words in my mouth, that is all that is wrong with the Minister. But, Mr. Chairman, as worthy as it is, my question was whether or not he personally as Minister of Education in terms of priorities considered the expenditure on Harlow Campus a higher priority than MUN Extension. I was asking him his opinion as Minister of Education. That is all it was. And that is a reasonable question, is it not? That is not outlandish. Is that an outlandish question? Maybe I should be barred from the House for asking it. But I thought it was a sensible question and to tie in with it, what are the total assets there?

AN HON. MEMBER: If you asked the question (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes, you would think you would. I say to the Member for St. John's, I agree with him. If you ask a question you think you would get the answer. But you do not get it from this Minister because he keeps twisting things. But maybe he will stand and address the issue once again, and maybe he will give us his opinion in terms of priorities. Maybe the Member for St. John's South will give us his candid opinion. In terms of a priority and if he was in the position, what would he see as the priority, the expenditure on Harlow campus or the expenditure for MUN Extension which services rural Newfoundland? That is all I ask.

MR. MURPHY: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Both are. Exactly.

MR. MURPHY: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Now the Member for St. John's South is hitting the nail right on the head. So I am asking which would be his priority?

MR. MURPHY: My priority?


MR. MURPHY: I would have to sit down and look at it.

MR. SIMMS: He will have to sit down now and look at the issues.

MR. MATTHEWS: He has not had enough time.

MR. SIMMS: The Member for St. John's South is becoming more and more like a Cabinet Minister every day. When you put a question pointedly to him he says, I will have to sit down and look at the issues. I suspect if the Premier sees him in action like that today he will have him in the front benches any moment. The Member for St. John's South, he just gave a perfect answer to a pointed question I asked him. I asked him if he was in a position to determine a priority, the Harlow Campus expenditure versus the MUN Extension expenditure, what would his priority be? He said, I would have to sit down and look at the issues. I mean, that was his answer. A very convenient answer. So I suspect he will be moved to the front benches in due course.

Mr. Chairman, my time must obviously be up now.

DR. KITCHEN: Yes, in more ways than one.

MR. SIMMS: In more ways than one. Now, I say to the Minister of Finance, if there is one individual in this House whose days may be numbered it is not the Member for Grand Falls, I can assure you. But it might very well be the Member for St. John's Centre. All he has to do is look at the Members behind him, look at his Members in the backbenches, look at the NDP. They are down there every day, day in and day out. Behind our candidate of course, but they are down there every day and the Member for St. John's Centre is the individual, I think, who is going to have to be very concerned.

AN HON. MEMBER: After you lose the leadership.

MR. SIMMS: Well I do not know. The hon. Member knows something I do not know. I do not recall saying I was running for the leadership of the party. So you might have to wait and see what happens in that area, in that regard.

Now, Mr. Chairman, there is one other question I wanted to ask the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations on this segment before I sit down, but the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations is not here.

MS. VERGE: Yes, she is.

MR. SIMMS: She is here, I am sorry. She is up in the back row. I say to the Minister seriously, on a couple of occasions the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations was asked a question. I asked her one time -

MS. COWAN: Be charming now, be charming!

MR. SIMMS: I will try to be charming - and my colleague for Grand Bank asked her one time. It was a serious question but, of course, she took high offence to it and tried to chastise us and yell at us and bawl at us and criticize us instead of answering the question.

We asked her sincerely as Minister of Employment and Labour Relations - maybe she can stand in debate - is she not concerned really and truly with the negative fallout as a result of legislation like Bill 16? As the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations is not concerned about that, and does she not think that that may jeopardize, hurt the efforts of her Department in terms of negotiating with the Public Sector unions and groups in the future? Now that is a sensible question, a simple question, and it did not warrant the kind of response the Minister gave on two occasions in Question Period. Surely she must have some concern about it. We would just like to see her admit it rather than try to skate around it, and say what she is going to try to do to overcome what obviously is going to be negative fallout as a result of Bill 16. I hope the Minister of Labour will be able to comment on that question, particularly as it applies to Bill 16 when she stands in the debate, I hope the Minister of Education stands and answers my questions, I hope the President of Treasury Board stands and answers the questions I asked at the beginning, and I hope the Minister of Finance will get up and answer in a sensible way the questions I asked him.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Chairman, I just want to say a few words to correct a few points which have been made. During the course of debate, and I cannot remember when it was, someone raised the question about redundancy pensions and how we were not able to identify how much they would cost the pension fund. First let me say this. Redundancy pensions are not part of the budgetary process, not directly at least, because redundancy pensions are paid out of the pension fund rather than out of current revenue. Eventually it will effect current revenue, because we will have to be putting money into the pension fund if the payouts for redundancy pensions are too great. We cannot give you an exact figure on the amount of the redundancy pensions because each person, as he or she is identified for redundancy, the pension has to be calculated - alright? - somebody has so many years at 2 per cent of a certain salary. But we have a fairly good notion. It looks like there maybe 400 or 500 redundancy pensions. People now are working on getting the exact figures compiled, and when these figures are quite firm we will let you know just how much the pension fund will be affected by that. I would like to make one more point concerning the numbers that are being flashed around. Members of the Opposition used to be using the phrase 2100. The figure that we used in the Budget was 2000 and some management. Let me just refresh Member's -

AN HON. MEMBER: What page?

DR. KITCHEN: On Page 16. We were saying here that the lay off of permanent employees will number 1300 - it is expected, we said, and in addition there will be a reduction of 350 part-time employees, and we will be hiring about 350 fewer seasonal employees. Now that totals 2000. The reduction in permanent part-time and seasonal employees will be spread throughout the public service, including 650 in Government Departments, 900 in health care, 350 in education, and 100 others, again totalling 2000. Furthermore, up to 500 vacant positions will be eliminated, mostly in Government Departments. Executive and management positions will be reduced by 10 per cent. We have already explained that there may be a few extra people not in the 2000, in management, because we had not come to the top management positions at that point. But there were very few of those; I think there was a very small number in addition to the 2000.

Now, that was what we expected because you cannot be absolutely certain of what the various boards and institutions are going to do when what they have been given is a budgetary amount which has to be translated into how they are going to operate it. So gradually these figures are being refined by the various components, and in some cases the estimates may have been a bit low and in some cases they undoubtedly will have been a bit high. It may very well even out, it may be overall a bit higher or a bit lower. But at the time, it was the best estimate that could be made. We will see how it goes as time goes on, but there is no point in mentioning figures of 3500, or 5000 or 6000 and stuff like that, it just misleads it. The figure we made was an honest estimate and hopefully it will not be any more than that; it may be less than that or it may be somewhat more.

Now the other point I want to make has to do with the - I do not like to use the word `hypocrisy' with respect to the labour movement, but some of us have been involved in the labour movement for a great many years in various capacities and when I hear the hollow phrases coming from the Opposition, you would think the ghost of Joe Hill was over there, this legendary hero of the labour movement. I expect the Leader of the Opposition to break into a chorus of Joe Hill any minute, but he has not done so. `You dreamt you saw Joe Hill last night as alive as you and I.' Remember that? Mr. Chairman, it is amazing how things happen, how things change when the positions change. You would not know but they were all against the IWA strike. I suppose I am the only Member in the House who fought against the Government in fighting for the IWA. It is amazing how things go back in history, how things happen. I do not want to belabour that point, but I do want to say this though, that from my point of view and from other Members', my associates, it is a very difficult thing to bring in this bill to deny signed contracts. It is a very harsh thing - a very harsh thing - to do, but the alternative would have been even worse. The alternative according to the Member for St. John's East was not to do it. He said it is either do it or not do it. That is not the alternative. That maybe the logic, A or not A, but it is not the common sense approach. If we did not do that we would have had to scrape $50 million up some other way, perhaps by firing another 2000 people, laying off another 2000, or perhaps we would have had to try to borrow another $50 million. And if we had done that we might have very well have lost our A-minus, and then we would have had to lay off more perhaps, because we would not be able to borrow the money we needed to operate at the present time.

What we really have to do, in my view - this is not something we wanted to do, but something I think we had to do. I cannot think of anything else we could have done.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) next year.

DR. KITCHEN: But that does not solve this year's budgetary problem, when you do something next year. There is a problem next year we may have to face, but hopefully the revenues during the next year will increase. Hopefully they will. You have to live in hope. It could be less, you never know, but we will face that problem when we come to it. But at the present time I see no solution other than to go ahead with our proposals in the Budget.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. SIMMS: I just want to make a very brief comment because some of my other colleagues wish to participate in the debate. I do want to make one point in response to the Minister of Finance's defence or argument over the use of job numbers and how they sometimes can become confusing. You say 2000 we say 3000, somebody else says 4000, or whatever. I agree with him, they can tend to be confusing. All we can do in Opposition is try to extract from the Government answers to our questions, such as the questions we put to the Minister of Education in which I have shown clearly, and he has admitted publicly now, that he underestimated the job losses in the education sector as a result of the Budget. He admitted publicly on television the other night that he underestimated it.

DR. KITCHEN: (Inaudible)

MR. SIMMS: Now, now. Let me send over to the Minister a nicorette or a piece of Dentyne. Just relax a bit now. Just relax.

Notice how calm I am? I do not get offended at all with people questioning or asking questions. The Premier is extremely interested in what I have to say, I see him there listening intently. My point is, does the Minister of Health have any confessions to make? For example, has he underestimated the number of job losses in the health care sector? That is a logical question that needs to be asked, and so on and so on. But I will make this one point -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: They may have, but we do not know. It has been over a month since the Budget came down, so surely there should be some indication from the Government as to what they expect the fallout to be? Now I say to the Minister of Finance and to the Premier and to the President of Treasury Board, this is the reason why we have been steadfastly holding out for the Departmental Salary Estimates documents. If we had those documents available to us, then maybe we could see more clearly, maybe the press could see more clearly, maybe the public could see more clearly whether or not what the Government is saying is accurate. Because do not forget, I say to the Minister, that last year up until May he was defending a $10 million surplus in his Budget, and in September it was whatever it was - a $120 million deficit within four months. So as an Opposition we have every right, I think, to ask these kinds of questions and to demand that proper documents be provided to Members of the House so they can scrutinize the estimates more properly.

PREMIER WELLS: You know they are not being withheld. You know they are not available to us, either.

MR. SIMMS: I know what the President of Treasury Board told me, and I have no reason to doubt the President of Treasury Board. I work with him in a co-operative way as much as I can, given the restraints under which we work as House Leaders. Only he and I really understand that, nobody else. Quite frankly I do not think even the Premier would understand the kinds of constraints I am referring to. But it is a fact that the President of Treasury Board has told me that he does not have the documents or does not have the information available yet. I have said to him, as he can tell you, that I somehow find that hard to believe. But I take him at his word,

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: But I am absolutely delighted to hear that. The only thing I am surprised at is that he has not produced some kind of a document for the Premier just to get him off his back. Anyway, that is the reason why we would like to have that information, because it would help to make our jobs a little easier and maybe it will help make the Government's job a little more easy in terms of trying to defend what has happened.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, that is all I will have to say, as there are others who wish to participate.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to speak to a couple of issues in relation to the bill now before the Committee. The speakers have had something to say about the presence or lack of presence of members of the labour movement in the House during the debate last night and during the debate today. I know the Member for Kilbride has expressed some consternation and some discouragement in the fact that members of the labour movement have not filled the House to take this Government to task for what it has done. But I suppose, Mr. Chairman, there is a number of possible reasons for that. I would suggest that what this Government has done has discouraged members of the labour movement, in particular the public service labour movement, from having any real interest in what this Government is going to do next; they do not think this Government is going to change its mind; they do not think this Government listens to them; they do not think, despite what this Government says about its respect for labour relations, that this Government really means it at all.

We have heard the Minister of Finance talk about the hollow phrases he has heard from the official Opposition. Well, Mr. Chairman, perhaps they are hollow phrases from the official Opposition, as they were not any great respecters of the labour movement when they were in office, but the hollow phrases I hear coming from the Government side of the House, from the Premier and from the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, which say they have some respect for the collective bargaining process, all that has been thrown to the wind because this Government cannot say on the one hand that it has respect for the collective bargaining process and then go through a period of negotiations six, eight, ten months after it recognized the financial difficulty it was in and continue to say certain things publicly about the financial state of the Province which, in the ordinary course, public sector unions consider part of the bargaining process.

All employers poor mouth their situation, all employers poor mouth their bottom line and poor mouth their profitability in the private sector. It is part of the negotiating process. And I see the Member for St. John's South nodding, because he is a practical man of some experience and he knows what goes on in ordinary life and negotiations. And that is exactly the way public sector unions see the Government acting in the midst of some pretty intense negotiating situations over the last twelve months, that the Government in making these public pronouncements continued to sit down at the bargaining table, continued to say yes, we will agree with you on that but we want you to give up something else, the quid pro quo of collective bargaining that goes on, on a daily basis and quite often late into the night.

They asked public sector bargaining agents to give up certain things to get certain other things, and that process went on. You start off, each side with a list of demands, and you negotiate certain things away; the employer gives up some things, the union gives up some things and eventually as a result of the bargaining process, the strike if necessary, and arbitration in certain cases, a decision is reached as to what is appropriate and reasonable, or if not even agreed upon, both sides accept that concessions have to be made.

Well, Mr. Chairman, while the Government was engaged in that process it was telling the people of Newfoundland that there were serious financial difficulties, and we accept that. But they did not suspend collective bargaining, they did not suspend negotiations. They did not say we are sorry, we have a serious problem here and we are not going to enter into any more collective agreements until we can resolve our financial difficulties. They did not do that.

If they had respect for the collective bargaining process they could have and should have said, we are sorry, we cannot even sit down and talk to you because we have nothing to give you. We cannot insist that you take certain things from the table in return for things we are going to give you, because we have nothing to give. They did not say that. They sat down and they negotiated and they said Well, if we give you this will you take away that? They made those agreements, and they did that allegedly in good faith, and now they turn around in the end and say, we are going to take it away.

Now the Minister of Finance says I am trying to be simplistic about this, saying, Well, we had an alternative, you just could not have done it; it is either you do it or you do not do it. Well, Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Finance would have us believe that there was only one alternative, that there was only one choice, that there is only one way of doing things. But that is not the case at all - that is not the case at all.

They said they were telling the unions as early as October, let us present alternatives. But, Mr. Chairman, the only alternative presented to the unions was either take it or leave it - you take the wage cuts and you take the layoffs and there are no other alternatives.

We know, Mr. Chairman, that at least one was discussed and presented by some of the public sector unions, and that was instead of destroying the contracts in their entirety and reversing the gains that had been made and agreed upon, what Government could perhaps do was have all public servants covered by the agreements take an additional two weeks holiday without pay, add that to the agreement and that would have the effect of saving the Government money all across the board, perhaps an equivalent amount of money. That was one alternative that was, in fact, presented and rejected by the Government. But it was an alternative which would have protected the integrity, at least to a certain extent, of the bargaining process. It would have been something agreed to. It would have been something that the union members could, perhaps, have sold or the union officials could have sold to their members. That was one of the alternatives, and there are others.

Back in 1982 when the Government of Manitoba was faced with a difficult decision with respect to what they should do when public sector wage demands or public sector wages were lagging behind other sectors and the Government was in very serious difficulty financially, they came to an agreement, they came to an arrangement. The public sector unions agreed to a zero/zero wage increase, and in return the Government of Manitoba, an NDP Government I might add, reached that agreement and in return the money it might have spent on a wage increase was spent in job creation.

Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Finance might say, Well, that does not save you any money. If he does say that, and perhaps he will because he is looking at the Budget and the bottom line, he is not looking at the economic consequences, he should know that by spending an equivalent amount of money in job creation, whether it be in the public or private sector, it will have the effect of generating jobs, generating spin-off economy, generating revenues for the Government. That will be the effect of using that alternative as a way of responding to economic difficulties. It would decrease the unemployment rate, it would increase Government revenues, and it would give some people who did not have jobs some hope, some chance for a better opportunity. Those are the kinds of solutions that are creative, are positive, are alternatives to the naysaying and the lack of alternatives and the lack of ideas this Government has.

Now, Mr. Chairman, they tell us about bond rating and these things. I am certain if the bond rating agencies or the other financial advisors were aware that this Government was capable of putting into place a long-term plan which provided for measures that could last one, two or three years, that would have the economic effects they are predicting from Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, that would have the long-term effects of creating and generating revenues that the Government could then use to offset its expenditures, if the Government was able to convince - they have not convinced the people of Newfoundland yet, but if they are able to convince the bond rating agencies, if they are able the money markets that they have a plan, they might realize it before the people of Newfoundland would. They have not convinced them yet, but if they could convince the bond rating agencies yes, here we have a plan, it is an economic plan. We have in place programs that are going to be effective in turning around the Newfoundland economy and generating revenues to look after the needs of this Province, then they, perhaps, might get a different hearing. But instead of that they have offered no solutions to the economic problem except cutback.

And what is so appalling, Mr. Chairman, is that they have looked, first of all, to the contracts they have signed with workers. They did not go and look at The Public Tendering Act and say that every contract the Government had is going to be slashed by 10 per cent; we are going to change all those contracts, we are going to take 10 per cent off all the contracts we have: the construction contracts, we will give them 10 per cent less. They could do that. They have the power to do that. They could legislate that if they wanted to. They could legislate 10 per cent off the top of every contract if they wanted to do that. But they did not do that. They did not do that, Mr. Chairman, because they have respect for contracts with businesspeople, they have respect for those kinds of contracts. But they have no respect for the contracts they sign with their own workers, the workers who are employed by the people of this Province. So that is the choice they made. We will change the contracts of those who are least powerful, that is what we will do. And that is what this Government decided. They did not consider all the other alternatives, they did not see that as a proper way of going about it. They did not explore every other way, aside from destroying the contracts and destroying collective bargaining in this Province.

What respect can the labour unions and the public sector bargaining agents have for this Government's attitude toward labour relations and collective bargaining? None. None! And what confidence can the private sector people have for labour relations, and what respect are employers going to have for labour relations if, when you get into trouble, Government will just go ahead and change these contracts?

Mr. Chairman, Government Members keep talking about what are your alternatives? What would you do? What would the NDP do? And they also say, let us wait for the Budget in Ontario and see what they do. Mr. Chairman, the NDP Government of Ontario has already indicated quite clearly what it will be doing in terms of the transfers it makes to universities, schools, and municipalities under the legislation. They have already indicated what increases will be available to social services recipients. They have indicated that. These things have already been done in Ontario. As of January 1, 1991, in Ontario they have increased the basic rate for social assistance by 7 per cent. Now, Mr. Chairman, this Government in its own Budget papers says there is going to be a 6.7 per cent increase in the cost of living, according to Statistics Canada, in the current fiscal year. What do we see in basic rates for social assistance? None. No increase in basic rates of social assistance to keep up with that. Now we have a specific program for certain people who have to pay to heat their own homes.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I will have another opportunity to speak.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The hon. Member for St. John's East caught my attention with regard to a couple of points he made concerning respect and confidence in Government. The point about social services I will get to a little later. When it comes to respect and confidence, the two I guess are one and the same when you talk about respect for politicians, or the respect politicians in Government have for people, companies or unions, and the confidence of people being placed in an administration. With the second one, the part about confidence, I agree. There is a lack of confidence by the people of Newfoundland and by the public sector in the administration, and why should there not be? Why should there not be a lack of confidence? The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador with all the resources we have had at our fingertips for the hundreds of years, especially since Confederation, and they have hardly been developed to the advantage of Newfoundlanders. Is there any wonder we have no confidence left? I do not disagree with that.

I will tell you that we can go back two or three Governments and you would have to ask some questions to understand how people can even stay in this Province. We could be one of the richest little Provinces in Canada if we were able and allowed to utilize and control some of the resources we have. But we seem to be raped continually by outside interests, and we never seem to be able to get any advantages from what is happening in this Province for ourselves. I am the first one to agree with that. How in the name of God can anybody have confidence when you look at what has been happening to this Province? Tell me where over the last seventeen years there has been any degree of stability in this Province so that people could have confidence? And you are not going to change that attitude, or that feeling, or that perception of Government overnight.

So we as an administration, when we sat down to make decisions, we realized people in this Province were frustrated. Look around the ocean, look around the shores and you will see the multi-millions of dollars worth of product and produce that is being taken over to other countries and processed, and jobs and dollars and cents and profits being made on it. What is happening here in Newfoundland? Newfoundlanders have to fight to get inside of two miles and put a cod trap in the water. So, no, there is no confidence.

When you come down to firms and unions, somethings determine our fate and unions are probably one of them. You cannot take away or take from a government, or from a business, or from a source of profit or private enterprise something that is not there. And that is one of the biggest problems. Now in the Department of Social Services we have to provide services for people. But every time we turn around we have x number of dollars to do it, and the minute we start up a project - let's talk about group homes for example. When the former administration brought in group homes in the Province there was a reasonable salary paid, a salary which could be afforded at the time. The unions stepped in immediately and now it is costing $105,000 to keep one resident in a group home in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Mainly because of unions in the Province, it is costing $105,000 per resident per year. Why? It has been driven out of all proportion and we cannot afford to pay.

It is the same thing if you go into private enterprise. I remember about six years ago I came into the wharf in Bareneed - I have a little boat - and there was a fellow standing on the wharf. My son had some squid aboard the boat. One of the plant workers was standing out in the doorway so he said, would you mind asking the weigh master to come out? The worker said no, that is not my job. You want him, you go get him. The union - he just did what he had to do. He was holding the hose, he washed that and that was his job. Nothing outside of that.

One of the biggest problems we have in this Province is lack of production. People are not producing any more. People want to get but nobody wants to give. If that attitude continues, we are going to go down, down, down. If the attitude of politicians and the attitude of the private sector and the people in the public sector changes we may have a future in this Province. Respect and confidence are not one-way streets. We first have to have respect for ourselves as individual citizens in this Province. And secondly we have to have confidence not only in ourselves and our ability to produce and to ask a little less and to give a little more, but we have to have confidence in each other. And I am going to tell you, there is very little promotion done in this Province by anybody to produce confidence or to give confidence to people, or to display confidence or respect.

As politicians, Government Members, Opposition Members and party members, we had better start changing our attitude at this level and know what is right for today and right for the future if we want this little Province to survive. You talk about the outward migration today because people have to survive and live and look for jobs. If we continue on the path we started some ten or fifteen years ago and continue on for another ten or fifteen years down the road, there will be no trouble finding seniors around this Province, because they are the only ones who will be left, those who cannot travel. Because there will be nothing left here.

And so someone has to make some decisions. We have to make some decisions. They are not good decisions in all cases. They are not decisions that I would like to have made. I am a Liberal. I would have loved to have made a decision this year that I could double, triple, quadruple, and go on and on with the increases to social assistance clients. I would love to be able to bring in a guaranteed income for every man, woman and child in this Province. I do not take any pleasure in visiting a social assistance home - which I do as Minister on many, many occasions - and see a child sitting down eating rice or eating Kraft dinner, who cannot afford oranges. It does not give me any pleasure.

No more does it give the Minister of Health pleasure to know that he has to make some responsible decisions, order some restraints and some cutbacks in order to bring together an efficient health service in this Province. Nobody gets any pleasure out of it. But when you look around and there is no money there, and we have a $5.7 billion debt and we are paying $600 million interest charges and the banks said let's show some responsibility or nothing else, now we had better stop and think.

There is a future, unless the world is going to end, and I do not think the world is going to end tomorrow. Some of the religions try to tell you the world is going to end and you believe, but you do not operate on that premise every time you make a decision. We look for a future. I have a daughter going to University. Number one, I want her to have a future. Number two, I hope probably someday she will get married and she will have some children - I will be lucky enough to have grandchildren. I want them to have a future.

I do not want them to look back and say their grandfather was in this Government and he made some stupid decisions and he bankrupted this Province. I would like to be able to hold up my head with some dignity and say that I was a part of protecting their future. But I can tell you one thing, of all the Members on this side of the House I am about the hardest one to convince not to give, give, give. Probably it is my nature and I find it very difficult, and there are many times I lay awake at night, and I look at myself in the mirror when I am shaving and say, what in the name of God are you doing, you are taking away stuff, but you have to do it when you rationalize.


MR. EFFORD: The hon. Members opposite can make all the fun they want, they spent seventeen years destroying this Province and if they have to look in the mirror and begin to wonder why they should be ashamed, just tell the hon. Member for Mount Pearl to look at what he did in Mount Pearl or the hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes when he was Minister of Education, so do not go one with that nonsense. I do not mind the quibbling back and forth, but if you want to talk some sense and talk about where we are going in this Province let us talk sense, let us talk respect and let us talk confidence in each other and confidence in this Province. And I have a lot of confidence in this Province. But I am not going to have confidence if we continue on with the Administration and the ways of the Administration that we had in the past.

Now what do we want to do? I met a group of people in my District about two weeks ago and they were talking like some Members opposite, there were about seventy people in the hall, in fact, it was in the fishermen's centre in Port de Grave, and they were upset because the Marine Centre was going to be closed out in the Community of Port de Grave, my own District. They were taking away the services there. They were angry. Okay, I said, you elected me, you put me in the House of Assembly, you did not put me in the Cabinet, but you put me in the House of Assembly, and two years down the road or three years down the road, whenever that election comes, you have a right to vote me out. That is your right. You give me direction. Do you want me to go back in as a Cabinet Minister and make the same decisions as the former Administration made, with the same foolish waste of monies and no jobs and no protection, no future, and spend unwisely and build the debt up to $l2 billion over a ten or fifteen year period, it is now $5.7 billion, if that is what you want me to do then you tell me? I will go ahead and I will be part of a Government that will do it. You are my boss, because you will hire me or fire me in the next election. They stopped, and they realized, because they knew me, I did not want that Marine Centre closed in Port de Grave, and I do not want hospital beds closed and I do not want people who depend on social services to go hungry because they know me, we had to make those decisions. There is absolutely no other choice.

Now when you are talking about social services, the people in Ontario, a 7 per cent increase. And I am going to tell the hon. Member for St. John's East right now that the Department of Social Services was not started or created by John Efford, the present Minister, but all of the programs leading up to the present day do not have to take a back seat to any other province in this country. Program for program, service delivery for service delivery, social worker for social worker and executive for executive, and director for director, it is as equal and better in most program deliveries than any other province in Canada. In the Division of MR, Rehabilitation Department, it has nothing to do with me, but I tell you I have attended conferences where every other Social Service Minister and executive in Canada will say that Newfoundland is leading. Youth corrections: Newfoundland is leading. Deinstitutionalization: Newfoundland is leading. Job opportunities and educational and vocational retraining programs for social service recipients: Newfoundland is leading.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: Every single program in the Department of Social Services are leading not only Atlantic Canada, but all of Canada. So do not tell me what is happening in Ontario because I know what is happening up there. And the cost of living in downtown Toronto, a 7 per cent increase compared to the cost of living in St. John's is quite substantial, they need a lot more than 7 per cent. Now you tell me we never gave any increases to social service recipients this year. Every social service recipient outside of the people who are getting rent or board and lodging paid for them who are not receiving direct payment received an increase this year. Nine thousand nine hundred single parents, every single one except we are paying -

AN HON. MEMBER: Every one did?

MR. EFFORD: -no, no we are paying board and lodging directly to a landlord. You are not going to give those people an increase. You give an increase where it directly affects the recipient. Every single one of them, $50 a month for fuel, $55 for the first child in every single parent family. Increase to foster parents; increase to child welfare, increase the child welfare allowance, increase for day care.

AN HON. MEMBER: In a recession time.

MR. EFFORD: In a recession time. Are you saying that social services in this Province just turns its back on the people? You may say it, but the people out there know the difference. The problem is you open the book and you cannot read it. A new vocational program this year, $3.5 million to put single parents and people on social assistance into a training program. Employment counsellors hired on in the Department of Social Services to do an assessment on the training ability of individuals, instead of taking - like the former administration did, train people to do work they had no ability to do, and to waste time in training - we are now sitting down and hiring on councillors who will do an assessment of an individual to find out what that individual is interested in - his or her capabilities. They suggest: this is the best field, there are opportunities if you take this; do not just take something to waste time on - that is No. 2. A complete re-organization of the Young Offenders Institutions here in St. John's and in Whitbourne; a rehabilitation of the young offenders, not just to put them in a secure cell and lock them away and forget them; some concern for people's ability to change, so you can stand up, irrespective. I would think, Mr. Chairman, that over the next two to three years, with what is on the forefront for this Province, there is going to be a lot of change in this Province, there is going to be a lot of confidence, there is going to be a lot of respect.

Let us get back to putting in the wage freeze.

Why would we put in a wage freeze, is there any money to pay the increases? I would like to double my salary, I am a businessman, I would like to triple my salary.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, goodness. You did that.

MR. EFFORD: Yes, but I cannot do that if there is no money, I cannot take money out of my past business or the one I had to operate the business now, I could not take the money and triple my salary if there is no money there. I could not give an increase-

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

MR. EFFORD: Already? I was just getting wound up.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The only thing new we learned out of the diatribe that just came from the Minister for the last fifteen minutes, is that the Minister must have a glass canopy over his bed, because he said he lies in bed in the night-time and looks at himself and wonders what he could do about this -

MR. EFFORD: And what is wrong with that, I have -

MR. RIDEOUT: Well, I do not know -

MR. EFFORD: - mirrors in the ceiling.

MR. RIDEOUT: Yes, you have eh? Well that is what I said, that is what I said. It is the only thing new we learned out of what the Minister said. We learned something about the Minister's bedroom, that is the only thing new we learned and I am saying it exactly -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) for twenty-nine days (inaudible).

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Chairman, did I interrupt the Minister?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. RIDEOUT: Turn back on and get your pickle book out again!

MR. EFFORD: God, yes.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Chairman, the swan song coming from that Member, when I can remember back just four or five or six years ago, when we were part of a Government that faced a recession in this Province, and we did certain things that were not popular-

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) popular.

MR. RIDEOUT: - and we did them in a certain way -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. RIDEOUT: -and I have to sit in this House, Mr. Chairman, and hear that Minister saying: I do not like a wage freeze. I would not like to have my wages frozen either, he says, but we have no other choice but to do it, he says. Then, Mr. Chairman, to recollect the things that Member did as a Member of the House and the things that Member said as a Member of the House when the position was reversed; we were over there and he was over here: how can you go on doing this, he said, and close down hospital beds, how can you do this to the poor, how can you do this to the sick; there are going to be people dying in hospital corridors, the widows are not going to be able to keep body and soul together. Mr. Chairman, the halls, he said, the halls of this, not this Chamber here, but the halls of the House at the time, they were ringing, day in and day out, night in and night out, Mr. Chairman, with condemnation and now he gets up in this House with religious sanctimony and says: we had no other choice but institute a wage freeze. We had no other choice but roll back, we had no other choice but do this, do something else.

Well, Mr. Chairman, before I get convinced of the necessity of a wage freeze, of a roll back of wages that had already been negotiated, I will want to hear some more convincing evidence from someone on the other side, other than the present Minister of Social Services, because we know what he is like. We know that the Minister will adopt with the same sanctimony any given position no matter where he is. If he is here or over there -

MR. EFFORD: You should talk.

MR. RIDEOUT: If he is down there-

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Chairman, will you give the -

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Chairman, would you give the Minister a bit of chocolate-

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. RIDEOUT: - either that or bring in the leg-irons and chain him onto his desk. I am afraid he is going to slide down through the corridor there between the two seats, skidding out ankles and tipping over Ministers and everything as he goes. The Minister is a bit rambunctious. If he cannot take it, go out and cool down for a minute, and then come back and have another go at it. This is going on, I suspect, for some time, Mr. Chairman. I would not say the bill is going to pass between now and five o'clock. Why does the Minister not slow down for a few seconds?

Oh, yes, before I forget, the Minister of Finance was over there just now in another flight of rhetoric and he was saying he thought he saw a lot of ghosts of Joe Hill over on this side of the House. Well, let me say to the Minister of Finance, Mr. Chairman, that whatever he sees or whatever he does not see, and no matter whether his glasses are coloured or not, what he does see are people who were prepared to tell their employees the truth. They were not people who were prepared to go to them and say the future of this Province looks great, our financial situation is great, and you can have 22, 23, 24, or 25 per cent, and then bring in a piece of legislation and call it back. Those are not the ghosts that are over here, Mr. Chairman, what ghosts are here are ghosts of honesty and not ghosts of deceit, which we see on the other side of this House, Mr. Chairman. Whether they liked us or lumped us is immaterial, and while he might not find a Joe Hill at least there was honesty over here. Now, there were two Ministers in this House this afternoon who continued their verbal gymnastics, one was the Minister of Finance and the other was the Minister of Education.

AN HON. MEMBER: One was the Minister of Employer and Labour Relations.

MR. RIDEOUT: The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, other than in Question Period, has not spoken. I have been told by my colleagues that other than answering a question in Question Period the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations has not spoken since this bill was introduced. Now, I do not know if it is true, but I have been told it is true, that out of all the debate that took place on second reading, and we are now in debate on Committee of the Whole, there will be some debate, I suppose, if Government allows it on third reading, but I have been told that not once has the defender of collective bargaining in this Province been on her feet defending this bill, not once, and I can remember the Opposition only a few years ago going after the Minister of Labour of the day. How can you sit there, how can you stay there, how can you do that, how can you do this? And the more things change the more they remain the same, for that Minister and that present Minister down there.

Now I wanted to get back to the Minister of Education. He has been doing verbal gymnastics since the Budget was brought down. He was not truthful about the Budget to Memorial University but yet he would not admit that he was not truthful. Will not admit it but he was not truthful, and he has not been truthful over the last two or three days. Certainly he was not truthful today in this House in Question Period on the number of job losses in the post-secondary institutions in Newfoundland and Labrador. Somebody else always has a problem adding up the numbers except the Minister of Education.

Well, let me take him down through not our numbers - because of course our numbers would be grotesque right from the beginning. We have no knowledge of the truth. All we can do is deliberately -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) that is a fact! You have that right!

MR. RIDEOUT: - inflate the numbers to get the Government in trouble. Mr. Chairman, could you flick over to the Minister something else to chew on?

Here are the job losses that have been announced in post-secondary institutions in this Province over the last several days and their source. Let me give the House not only the job losses but also the source of that piece of information so that the House and the press - if anybody in the press is interested - will know where it came from. The number of job losses at Memorial University according to the latest count is 122. Now I believe the Minister said in his Budget 100, was it not?

AN HON. MEMBER: One hundred, yes.

MR. RIDEOUT: But anyway, the latest count at Memorial University, job losses, 122. The source of the information? One Dr. Philip Warren, April 5 1991. So that is the source of the figure of 122.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: Well, I do not know if that was in the evening now or a late night session of the House. The Cabot Institute, the latest figure that is available is 43. The source of that? A press statement from the President of that institute yesterday, April 8 1991. Forty-six job losses at the Marine Institute. They fall into the following: three management; eleven and a half in administration; two in research; nine and a half institutional faculty; fifty contractual. Source? News release issued by that institute on April 4 1991.

Thirty-six job losses have occurred at the Western Newfoundland Community College. The source - personnel communication from Corner Brook on April 5 1991. Dr. Warren said twenty-six.

There were seven job losses at the Labrador Community College. Source - Dr. Warren, April 5 1991, (Inaudible).

Nineteen job losses at the Eastern Newfoundland Community College. Source: news release issued on April 5, 1991.

AN HON. MEMBER: Dr. Frank Marsh.

MR. RIDEOUT: Dr. Frank Marsh. Forty-five job losses at the Avalon Community College. Source: news release issued on April 9, 1991. Telegram story reporting that on page 6, for the Minister who is so interested in sources, carried on April 9th. Fifteen job losses at the Fisher Institute of Applied Arts and Technology in Corner Brook, five management, six support, four instructors. Also, two new instructor positions will not be filled. So the source of that was a news release issued by that institute on April 8, 1991.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I would assume there were some people over there with their calculators as I read them out, but 122, 43, 46, 36, 29, 7, 19, 45, 15 adds up to 362 job losses, not what the Minister said in this House or tried to defend today. What was the original estimate? What did Dr. Warren say about this on April 5th? He said, `I did say I think' - now notice the cagey answer from the Minister. Even his `I think' was wrong, but this is what he said in the House on April 5th. He said, `I did say I think about 350 was our best estimate.' Even his `I think' was way off at that time, on March 12th., and he went on to say 133 from kindergarten to twelve and so on. `I said an estimate of 350 he said', unquote.

Well look at the differences, Mr. Chairman. There were 200 job losses predicted in the post-secondary system. There are actually of this moment which have been identified now by the various colleges and institutes around the Province and the university and announced by them - not announced by us, but announced by them - not 200, but 362. Mr. Chairman, that is an 81 per cent increase in the job losses over what the Government predicted. Or, if you want to look at Government deceit in another way, Government predicted only 54 per cent of the layoffs that would occur in the - or job losses, you have to be careful. The Minister talked about job losses, I want to talk about job losses because the Minister says there is a difference between layoffs and job losses. And of course he is right, there is a difference. You are not laying off a person from a job that has been frozen for five or six years, but it is still a job loss because that is what the Minister is using, job losses. In other words, he either was 81 per cent out on the information he allowed his colleague, the Minister of Finance, to give this House, or he chose to only give this House 54 per cent of the bad news at that time.

Now, Mr. Chairman, no amount of verbal gymnastics by the Minister is going to get him out of that quagmire. No amount of verbal gymnastics by the Minister is going to allow us to allow him off the griddle, he is not going to be allowed off the hook until he is roasted and boiled and scald and the strips start falling off the Minister, until he stands up in this House and atones for misleading the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. When the Minister does that, and the Minister has the right to get up when I sit down, I am not in the mood, Mr. Chairman, at the moment for hearing confessions, I am in a mood for kicking you know what because the Minister has been misleading this House.


MR. RIDEOUT: The Minister has been misleading the House, Mr. Chairman. Even the Minister, I think, in his answer of April 5 was misleading. He could not even have an 'I think' said properly. That was misleading, Mr. Chairman.

So, Mr. Chairman, that Minister is going to say on the griddle for several days to come and the heat is going to be turned up on him until he develops enough humility to get up and say to the people in Newfoundland and Labrador and the students -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

-I do not want to hear the Minister now, I am not hearing confessions between now and five o'clock. Mr. Chairman, I am not putting on my stole and going into the confession box between now and five o'clock. I am not going to do it.

Now during the supper break I may take the Minister into the little office that I have off the Common Room, I may do that, but at the moment I am not going to be sidetracked by the Minister trying to confess. And the other thing, Mr. Speaker-


MR. RIDEOUT: -the other thing that I need is this, I will need a public confession from the Minister. Because I will then have to cogitate over the supper break what his penance should be.


AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: No, get down!

AN HON. MEMBER: I confess.

MR. RIDEOUT: Is the Minister going to publicly confess to misleading the House, Mr. Chairman? When he tells me that he is going to do that I might give him leave.

MR. SIMMS: You would like to confess?

MR. RIDEOUT: I confess, he said.

MR. SIMMS: He said he would like to confess.

MR. RIDEOUT: I confess, he said.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Chairman, after fifteen minutes I finally got an 'I confess' out of the Minister and I would say that is a good enough job for between now and five o'clock.

MR. SIMMS: Move that the Committee rise?


MR. SIMMS: Move that the Committee rise, report progress or what?


MR. SIMMS: Yes, I will move it, move that the Committee rise, report progress and if it does not pass what happens then?

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

MR. SPEAKER: The Member for Trinity - Bay de Verde.

MR. L. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole have considered the matters to them referred, have directed me to report progress and ask leave to sit again.

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

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I wonder could we call it 5:00 p.m.? Rather than wait for four minutes let's call it 5:00 p.m. and see what happens then. Is that agreed or what?

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed to call it 5;00 p.m.?

AN HON. MEMBER: Well, now it is 5:00 p.m. and there is no motion to adjourn when he comes back, (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Having called it 5:00 p.m. and no motion to adjourn, I ask hon. -

MR. SIMMS: I move we adjourn the House until tomorrow, Wednesday, at two of the clock, and that this House do now adjourn.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: There is a motion before the House that the House do now adjourn. All those in favour, 'Aye'.


MR. SPEAKER: Those against, 'Nay'.


MR. SPEAKER: I ask hon. Members to join me at 7:00 p.m. this evening.

April 9, 1991 (Night)          HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS      Vol. XLI  No. 25A

The House resumed at 7:00 p.m.

MR. BAKER: Order 3, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 3, Committee of the Whole on a bill, "An Act Respecting Restraint Of Compensation In The Public Sector Of The Province." (Bill No. 16)

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

Committee of the Whole

MR. CHAIRMAN (L. Snow): Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Before the dinner break, I was talking about - there will be absolutely no penance for the Minister of Education after what we heard tonight, Mr. Chairman. I do not know if he saw the news tonight, or not.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is in the fire again.

AN HON. MEMBER: Out of the frying pan into the fire.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: Yes, I saw that.

MR. SIMMS: The Member for Kilbride is going to respond to that.

MR. RIDEOUT: I am not like some of the members opposite, that when a story comes on that you might not like, you flick to the other channel. I am not, Mr. Chairman, like the Member for Placentia, that when a story you do not like comes on, you jump for the flicker and get the picture moved off the screen as fast as you can. I watch the good news and I watch the bad news. I hope the Minister of Education watched the news tonight, because the Minister with the half-moon smile is starting to get the appropriate reaction from the professionals in the field, the people of whom he tells the House every day how well they understand.

MR. SIMMS: The President of Treasury Board said he was shocked that there was no co-operation.

MR. RIDEOUT: The President of Treasury Board was shocked, yet, his colleague, the Minister of Education, stands up every day in the House and tells us he is so pleased; he pays tribute to those people out in the field, Mr. Chairman, who understand. And every time we ask a question about a cutback in education, or some negative impact, the Minister jumps, and asks, `What cutback? What is the Opposition talking about?' And the Minister goes on to say, `But, Mr. Speaker, I will have the Opposition know that those professionals out in the field understand the situation the Government finds itself in, and they appreciate - '

AN HON. MEMBER: And co-operate.

MR. RIDEOUT: `Not only will they co-operate,' he says, `but they are anxious to co-operate with us.' Well, Mr. Chairman, the superintendents had a bombshell dropped on them today.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: No, Mr. Chairman, the layoffs in post-secondary education are not 362; he says no.

MR. TOBIN: The Minister of Finance says it was not a bomb, it was a Scud they dropped.

MR. RIDEOUT: It was a Scud, yes, and the Minister of Finance usually has the most appropriate terminology in this House when there is bad news on the go. He is right, it was not a bombshell it was a Scud. The Minister of Finance has a colourful and appropriate way of coming up with something.

Now, Mr. Chairman, the professionals in the field are saying that this latest cut by the Government in the education sector is definitely -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: You mean there were some backbenchers over there who did not watch the news over supper time, Mr. Chairman.

Now, it is going to be the students who are going to suffer. And he said, `This Government and this Minister promised us that students would not suffer, and the Premier promised us that students would not suffer.' And the reaction, of course, from the only Minister they could lay their hands on, I suppose, the President of Treasury Board, was shocked. Well, Mr. Chairman, there are a few more shocks to come yet, quite a few. The shocks have to come because people on the other side do not understand anything, I do not know if they understand shock treatment, or not. They may understand shock treatment.

MR. WINSOR: How come they did not announce that in the House?

MR. RIDEOUT: How come the Minister of Education did not make that announcement in the House? How come he did not call a press conference, Mr. Chairman, and announce the details of the new substitute teacher financing package for this coming year? How come he did not project his smiling image into the living rooms of the Province and make this announcement? How come that had to be sort of dragged out? I suppose, the Minister of Education, had he gone with a press statement on that particular issue, would just have been as forthcoming as he was on the budget of Memorial University.

MR. WINSOR: I suppose that is not a cutback, either, is it?

MR. RIDEOUT: That is not a cutback, either, Mr. Chairman.

The Minister of Education is going to be on the grill on those issues for a while yet, I can tell him that.

Mr. Chairman, there is nothing to be careful about in parliamentary debate. If the Minister has a defence let him get up and we will listen to it, and then, as is normal, as we have done more times than not, far more times than not, we will sit him back on his haunches, because there is another side to what the Minister says, too. There was another side to the increase in the Memorial University budget. We were not long finding that out. There was another side to a number of layoffs in the post-secondary education system. There is another side to everything the Minister of Education says, and his smiling walk through the eggshells is coming back to haunt him. He is getting picked up more and more every day by the people involved in delivering less and less in education because of this Minister and this Government. That is what is happening, Mr. Chairman.

I may come back to that, Mr. Chairman, but I want to go on to another issue in this bill.

What is wrong, `Graham'?

MR. SIMMS: Very sensitive, isn't he? `Graham' is giving up smoking. He is spending a lot of time, these days, looking for that four-eyed bark beetle. He is pretty tied up.

MR. MATTHEWS: Every time the phone rings now he just about jumps out of his skin.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RIDEOUT: I want to raise another point on Bill 16, this Public Sector Restraint Act. I do not know if it should be called a public sector restraint act, by the way. In fact I might propose an amendment, as we go through this process. I think it should be called the claw-back of wages bill. It should be called something that tells the truth of what it is all about, but that is not the point I wanted to get into. What I wanted to raise was in Section 2 of this act, subsection (c) (iii). The bill makes the following provision, Mr. Chairman. It says, `in this Act' - this is the definition section - `a corporation in which not less than 90 per cent of all the issued common shares are owned by the Crown in right of the province.' Then, of course, Mr. Chairman, you have a schedule to this bill which outlines all the Crown corporations, basically, Crown corporations and agencies of the Government, to which this Act applies, in addition to Government departments. I picked it up and read subsection (iii), but then I checked the schedule to have another look, and listed in the bill, is the Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation. So, I would assume, Mr. Chairman, from reading the definition section of this act, and the schedule of corporations and Government agencies to which the act applies, that this act applies to the Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation. In other words, employees of the Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation are subject to the wage rollback provisions of this bill.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).


AN HON. MEMBER: Wage freezes.

MR. SIMMS: They are subject to the bill.

MR. RIDEOUT: They are subject to the bill; let us put it in that kind of common English. They are subject to the bill, the President of Treasury Board confirms that, and so are a number of other corporations.

Now, Mr. Chairman, the section I just quoted says that the corporation has to be a corporation in which not less than 90 per cent of all the issued common shares are owned by the Crown in the right of the Province. Is the President of Treasury Board aware - certainly, the Government must have enough legal advisors around it to be able to tap into - that the Crown in right of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador does not own 90 per cent of the shares of CF(L)Co? In fact, Mr. Chairman, the Crown, in right of Newfoundland, only owns two-thirds of the shares of CF(L)Co. Thanks to an act of this legislature under a Tory Government, the Crown, in right of Newfoundland and Labrador, owns two-thirds, about 66 per cent, of the shares; my colleague is right. But, generally speaking, in legal terms, it is always referred to as the two-thirds/one-third deal. And Quebec Hydro, in right of the Crown in the Province of Quebec, owns 34 per cent, about one-third of the shares of CF(L)Co.

Now, Mr. Chairman, the operative question, therefore, is: Is this act, as it is intended to be when it is passed by this House, as it will be at some point or another, applicable to CF(L)Co, the Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation? Do not tell me this Government, led by such a brilliant lawyer, has not had that checked out.


MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Chairman, the schedule of the act says that a public employee is described as a person being employed by CF(L)Co for the purposes of this act. The Minister just confirmed that. I asked him did the act apply to CF(L)Co, and I said -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: Hold on now, Mr. Chairman.

- I said, in terms of rollbacks. And the Minister said, no, not in terms of rollbacks, in terms of the wage freeze. Now, I am saying to the Minister that he is going to have to clean up some language in this act and make it abundantly clear whether or not this act is binding on CF(L)Co.; because, the Crown, in right of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, does not own - `not less than', quoting the act - 90 per cent of the shares of CF(L)Co.

AN HON. MEMBER: It does not have to.

MR. RIDEOUT: It does not have to.

MR. WARREN: Well, why is it in there?

MR. RIDEOUT: Well, we will wait to hear the advice of the Government House Leader. If it does not have to, then why is it here? In this act, a public sector employee means every person employed by a corporation in which not less than 90 per cent of all the local issued common shares are owned by the Crown, in right of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

MR. BAKER: There are thirteen headings, read them all!

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Chairman, we are going through all those headings in detail. The minister need not worry. Right now, I want to talk about this particular one, and I am raising an issue that the minister, I think, has an obligation to address.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) explain, you know.

MR. RIDEOUT: Well, Mr. Chairman, the fact that the university did not get the $12 million or $13 million that the Minister of Education said they had, did not make sense. It did not make sense, it was scaremongering and fearmongering. But I want an answer from the minister in whose name this bill stands, and I want an explanation; because I make no pretensions to being a person who is schooled in reading and interpreting the law. I never have been and I never will.

But, the way I read it, looking at the schedule of this bill, the bill is intended to bring within its ambit a number of Crown corporations and Government agencies, one of which is CF(L)Co. And I say to the President of Treasury Board that according to the definition here, the definition does not fit the employees of CF(L)Co.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: I will look at it. I have looked at it all, but I will be quite willing to look at it; I cannot, while I am on my feet, but I will, as soon as I have an opportunity. I have read the whole thing on a number of occasions. Now, we want that clarified.

DR. KITCHEN: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: Is there something wrong with the Mad Doctor? Is there something wrong with Joe Hill, Mr. Chairman?


MR. RIDEOUT: No? Nothing wrong with Joe Hill?

AN HON. MEMBER: He was telling me that would be great reading in the sun.

MR. RIDEOUT: I tell you, I have read one heck of a lot better than this bill in the sun! Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Finance does not think I was stunned enough to take that ten-page bill down to the sun with me! The Minister of Finance is not a quarter as bright as I thought he was. I never thought the minister was very bright, but he is getting denser by the day if he thought I took that bill down South with me.

DR. KITCHEN: You do not work on your holidays? No wonder you are in Opposition!

MR. RIDEOUT: Now isn't that a smart-alecky, fancy remark? That remark falls in the same category as `We got them by the short and curlys.' That is where that remark falls. I read some very interesting material when I was on my holidays, but I had no intention of taking Bill 16 with me to read, because you do not have to be very bright to be able to read very quickly through this, a document that is one of the most infamous ever brought by a government to this legislature, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I needed to rise again to speak because I had heard in response to my speech, a speech by the hon. the Member for Port de Grave, the Minister of Social Services. I listened with great intensity to what he had to say because I thought he was sincere in what he was saying. He was trying to lecture me and other members of the House, but he was looking directly at me and trying to tell me some of the facts of life about what it is like to have to struggle away in the Government of Newfoundland.

I agree with many of the things he said about the kind of attitudes that Newfoundlanders sometimes have. But some of the attitudes are attitudes, Mr. Chairman, that this Government, itself, had fostered. This Government, he must remember, when they were campaigning for office, spoke about the kind of prosperity to which they would lead us. They made promises about what they were going to deliver in terms of their ability to create an economy that was going to respond to the needs of Newfoundlanders, not only Newfoundlanders at home, but Newfoundlanders in Ontario, Fort McMurray, and elsewhere in the country, who might want to come home.

But, then, he slipped into blaming the victim, I think. He started trying to blame Newfoundlanders for the structural problems of our economy, our inability to have control over our resources. He started to blame the people, themselves, for these problems. He did not take any responsibility as a member of a party which made these promises to people and then turned around and went against those promises, went against those expectations, and did not have enough courage or honesty to be up front with people about what they were doing.

Now, Mr. Chairman, this Government and, particularly, this Premier, pride themselves on being honest, open and sincere, men and women of integrity and, yet, that is not what they did when they were dealing with the public service workers of this Province and the economic state that they say they found themselves in sometime late last summer. They were the ones who brought in a Budget this time last year projecting a $10 million surplus. They encouraged public sector workers to believe that there was a bargaining opportunity based on the prosperity of the Province, the ability of the Province to meet its revenue needs, and to finally allow public sector workers to get needed raises, needed increases.

And the Government quite rightly recognized that increases were necessary. The President of Treasury Board recognized in this House that there had to be major adjustments in public sector wages in order to accommodate the needs of this Province and the needs of the workers, themselves. In particular, about nurses, he said they were a special case, and I think others agreed that they were, indeed. And then later on during the summer, Mr. Chairman, the Government realized, they say, that they had a very serious problem, major budgetary shortfalls coming in this fiscal year and the next fiscal year. So what did they do? What was their mark of integrity, their mark of honesty, their mark of honour? Did the Premier say to the Minister of Finance, Come to this House and bring in a new Budget? We want a new Budget to reflect the economic realities. In September, that is what they should have done. If they truly believed and wanted people to understand that there were problems, if they were honest with the people of Newfoundland, they would have brought in a new Budget, a fall Budget, and started the process of indicating what their solutions were. What did they do? They did not do that. They went ahead and continued negotiations with the public sector bargaining units, allegedly in good faith, and they did not follow the alleged claims of honesty, openness, and integrity that they try to convince the people of Newfoundland they have.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: No, Mr. Chairman, I listened, though, with great interest, to the hon. the Member for Port de Grave, the Minister of Social Services. And it was not until I heard - I was not here with the last Government. I did not spend a lot of time in this House. I was busy part of the time in another house. But I heard the Leader of the Opposition tell the House that what the Minister of Social Services was saying here this afternoon was entirely and totally different from what he said when he sat on this side of the House; he made speeches in this House condemning the former Government for hospital expenditures, speeches condemning them for not spending enough on hospitals, for cutting back on beds and services. It reminded me, Mr. Chairman, of the contents of a letter read out, in part, by the Member for Exploits the other night. He told the House that we all had copies over here, but I did not have a copy, not from him, certainly. I managed to get a copy from one of the several members to whom he had given a copy. It was a letter about the Government, that appeared in "The Western Star". He quoted the parts of it that had something to do with the Tories, but what he did not quote was part of the letter that speaks about him, and them, on this side of the House and, in particular, some of the comments that the Member for Port de Grave talked about. This letter says, `At the risk of being too cynical, what we do not need are politicians who jump on and off bandwagons as the political whims and fancies sway them, uttering rhetorical garbage and untruth because they think we want to hear it, who, come election time, will be glad-handling everybody in sight with more teeth showing than a mad dog, as they smile and wave and kiss babies and hand out political plums that should have been handed out three or four years before. What deceit!' That is what the Letter to the Editor said, Mr. Chairman, talking about the politicians who jump from one side of the House to the other and change their tune as they jump.

The Minister of Social Services got up in this House and talked about the great progress in social services in this Province as a result of this Budget. I am not going to quote what he said, but he talked about the great increases in child welfare and in various services. I am going to quote for him, the Budget of the Minister of Finance with respect to Social Services. The overall budget for Social Services, the whole department, has a $4 million decrease; that is the whole department, and services to families, a $4 million decrease. He talked about the need for the development of employment opportunities in this Province, and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations talked in vague, vague terms, today, about all the government programs they have for employment.

Well, Mr. Chairman, in the Department of Social Services, there is a budget for employment opportunities. What do you think has happened to that budget? It was decreased by $4 million. That is what happened to the budget for employment opportunities. So, let him get up and bray and speak in the House about what we need to do for employment opportunities in Newfoundland, how we need to change people's attitudes and help them to find something, and his own budget for employment opportunities is cut by $4 million.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: He talked about services to children. Mr. Chairman, under child welfare, there is a total decrease in services to children, of another $4 million. That is under the category of child welfare allowances, foster homes, group homes, youth corrections, a total of $4 million in cuts and services to children. He talked about changes and increases in foster homes. There is not one extra cent for foster homes in the Budget Estimates, not one extra cent; group homes, a decrease of some $70,000; child welfare allowances, a decrease of $4,000.

Now, when we come to executive and support services, well, we have an increase there of $700,000. In the Minister's Office, we have an extra $15,000. But when we look at the services to children, and day care - he said there was an increase in day care - there is a decrease of $30,000 in day care and a decrease in $4 million in services to families through unemployment opportunities. Mr. Chairman, the only increase I can see, of any substance, is for social assistance payments in a total amount of about $3 million. That is because, Mr. Chairman, we are going to have more people in need of social assistance. I would say that budget is too low, because there are going to be more people requiring social assistance this year. Even at the levels of social assistance we are giving, that increase is going to be insufficient, because the people they are throwing out of work are, themselves, going to be displacing other workers if they get jobs. More and more families in this Province are going to be in need of social assistance and they are going to have to come to this Government to get it.

Mr. Chairman, the members of this Government get up in this House and go on in a sanctimonious manner about how they tell the truth all the time. For example, let us quote the Premier. "The Evening Telegram" saw fit to quote what he said in the House yesterday with respect to education. The Minister of Education should listen, now, because we are going to talk about him, too.

Here is the Premier, now. He said it would be a sad day when the Government starts telling the university how it should spend its money and what its priorities should be - `total arms length, we have nothing to do with it. It will be a sad day when the Government starts telling the people of Memorial University how they are going to do their business.'

Well, Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Education was kind enough, the other day, to give me a copy of his White Paper on Education. I was pleased to receive that because I wanted to hear some of the Government's plans about education, as they had given them a year or so ago when this was released. I read it very diligently and found that, lo and behold, the Government seems to make decisions about what is going to happen in universities in this Province. The White Paper initiatives - the minister was very kind to supply this to me; it is from a press conference given by the Minister of Education on October 5, 1990.

DR. WARREN: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: You should not be giving me your stuff, you know, there is a danger here, someone is likely to read it. Well, here is what the press statement said they were going to do in terms of handling initiatives related to equality and access to universities. They said, `Sir Wilfred Grenfell College will be expanded to a four year institution offering full degree programs in Arts, Science, and Fine Arts. Planning will continue with implementation at the earliest possible date.' I think it is a great idea, and this Government is going to provide the money to do it, at some point in time. And, no doubt, if the university requested - I guess what the Minister is saying is that if the university comes with a request -

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

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

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

MR. MURPHY: Mr. Chairman, we heard, at great length the other day, from the Speaker, and yourself, about decorum in the House, and we hear it every night and day from the hon. the Member for Grand Falls, who, for the past twenty minutes, has had his back to the Chair.

MR. NOEL: Chewing gum.

MR. MURPHY: Chewing gum.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

On the point of order, the point is well taken. It is difficult, at times, to hear the hon. member when he is speaking, so I ask all hon. members to co-operate with us in maintaining order and decorum in the House.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I will just take a few minutes of the time of the House to respond to something that the Leader of the Opposition said. He is a very, very entertaining speaker and I love listening to him. He is interesting and forceful -

MR. FLIGHT: Good looking, handsome.

MR. BAKER: - and so on. He has the propensity for speaking for long periods of time without saying a great deal of substance, but other than that, he is a very, very entertaining speaker.

There was, however, one point I managed to get out of what he was saying, having to do with the definition of public sector employees. I just want to very briefly explain that particular part of the act, as I understand it.

First of all, Section 1 says, `This Act may be cited as the Public Sector Restraint Act,' and, Section 2, `In this Act,' then there are a number of subsections. There are `(a) "collective agreement" means - (b) "pay scales" means - (c) "public sector employee" means - ' and it goes on to list thirteen different categories - `(c) "public sector employee" means every person employed by - ' so they list employers: ` "public sector employee" means every person employed by (i) the government of the province', and it keeps going down through, listing and listing, and listing, and finally, you get to No. (xiii), the last one. It says, `a public sector employer listed in the Schedule to this Act - ' so, you get `(c) "public sector employee" means every person employed by,' and then you go to (xiii), `a public sector employer listed in the Schedule - ' and there is the list of the public sector employers.

AN HON. MEMBER: Earlier, you (inaudible).

MR. BAKER: No. My point was that there is no connection back to Section (iii), which was what the hon. the Opposition Leader asked. The schedule is simply a list of public sector employers, and every person employed by one of these is, by definition, a public sector employee. So, that is the explanation of that particular part. That was the one point that I managed to get out of the Leader of the Opposition's rather entertaining discourse.

I would like, while I am on my feet, Mr. Chairman, to point out a couple of other things and, again, I will not take too much of the House's time.

In bringing in this restraint in the public sector, I must emphasize again, that all through this process we were totally honest and open about every single thing that happened. Now, I am saying this in response to the Member for St. John's East, who did not really understand what was going on, anyway, and who talked in terms of `Should have had a second Budget,' and all that kind of thing. He is entitled to his opinion, I suppose. I mentioned other provinces. I mentioned the Government in Ontario, where they had forecast a quite sizable surplus, about the same time we did. And now, since last fall, they have been looking at, maybe, a $2 billion or $3 billion deficit on current account. And they, of course, did not bring in a new Budget. They did not come in with a new Budget.

I mentioned the Government of Ontario simply because the Member for St. John's East would tend to ascribe all these nasty things to either Liberals or PCs. He would tend to ascribe all these nasty characteristics to Liberals and PCs. But the Government of Ontario happens to be of his particular political persuasion. And, if it was immoral and not honest of us to bring in another Budget, then it was immoral and not honest of Bob Rae - Premier Bob - to not bring in a second Budget. You can't have it both ways, Jack!

Now, as soon as we discovered the problem, we went to the people of the Province and we told them. We went to the unions and we told them - the unions, and told them exactly what our problem was and asked for input and assistance and help. That is what we did. We told everybody what our problem was. We went through the system and tried to come up with solutions through the system. And it took quite some time to analyze and sort through the information that came back. And when we finally did as much as we were prepared to do there was still a shortfall.

So, once again, we called in the heads of the unions and pointed that out to them and indicated the choice we had between laying off more people or freezing public sector wages. We asked them for any input or help they might give us in terms of making this choice, and there was none, no help at all.

MR. SIMMS: What was the response to your request about the two-week unpaid leave? You indicated to me -

MR. BAKER: In discussions with some of the unions, I mentioned a number of possibilities. One of them was this concept of unpaid leave, which would have an effect for one year. If you extended it, then it would have an effect for the second and third year, but it would generally have an effect for one year. And I mentioned some other ideas, too, but never did - it is the kind of thing where we were looking for an indication as to what they thought would be the best way to go, and we got no indication back from them at all, no feedback, no input, nothing in terms of that concept, plus a couple of other concepts that were perhaps a little revolutionary. And we asked for this co-operation.

MR. SIMMS: If you had said to them, `Two week leave unpaid would give us $50 million, a wage freeze would give us $50 million, something else would give us $50 million, which do you think would be the most palatable?' would they accept it?

MR. BAKER: We laid out before them, and it was not just me, the options we had facing us and asked what would be the most palatable option. One union indicated that they would perhaps rather see a larger number of layoffs.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: One of the smaller unions; I am not going to say, it is up to them. If they want to divulge it, fine. They would probably like to see a larger number of layoffs rather than the wage freeze. It was a small sector. The other unions gave us no response, whatsoever. So, that was the only response we got back.

My point simply is this, the Member for St. John's East seems to indicate that by telling the truth like that and exactly what we went through, that somehow, I am being sanctimonious, simply by telling the truth, a strange definition of sanctimony, a very strange definition. I have tried, all through this process, to tell everybody concerned exactly what was going on at every point in time. We did negotiate good settlements with the public sector unions and I would do exactly the same thing again had I had the time back, exactly the same thing again. We went through a hard summer and we ended up in binding arbitration. Another thing having to do with honesty - and this (inaudible) I will get off your case and get on to yours. Members over here talk about us giving away control of the public purse by going to arbitration.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. BAKER: Oh, thank you, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: No, your time is not up. I hate to interrupt, but the level of private conversations in this House is just unbearable and I ask hon. members to refrain from speaking so loudly, because I am having difficulty hearing the hon. minister speak. I trust members will keep their conversations to a minimum.

The hon. the President of the Council.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

On the topic of arbitration and honesty, when members opposite were in government, they set up the collective bargaining process and the legislation, and so on, that was in place this past year. In that legislation, they had the process leading to binding arbitration. And the process was such that once you started on that road, if, in the sequence of events, you got into that chain of events, you could not stop. Once the institution is declared to us - the hospital boards declared to us that within a matter of hours there would be an absolute state of emergency existing in some of the institutions, and we had no choice but to invoke the legislation that was on the books of the Province, and that is what we did. Now, that lead to binding arbitration. The legislation was put there by members opposite. Perhaps, we need to have a look at the whole labour legislation and change that. Perhaps, we need to have some method whereby, if there is binding arbitration, the arbitrators are given very specific directions and very specific guidelines. But I will say to members opposite that the legislation on the books was their product, not ours.

Also, in terms of arbitration, I would like to point out to members opposite that I have done some examination of arbitration and negotiated settlements across the country, and maybe the Member for St. John's East knows about this. But, in settlements reached through binding arbitration - and, in a lot of provinces they automatically have binding arbitration, there is no right to strike and so on - compared with settlements reached through free collective bargaining without arbitration, and so on, over a period of years, there is very little difference. They are almost exactly the same.

So, do not be too quick to suggest that binding arbitration is not, at some point in time, a useful tool to resolve a dispute between parties, because it may very well be.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, I did not mean to take up so much time,I just meant to straighten out that one problem the Leader of the Opposition had with Section 2 of the bill.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Chairman, I want to have a few words on this bill again, since it is at Committee stage. And I will be careful, as I was last night, in making the point that there is nobody I know of except three or four people here in the galleries. I do not see any labour union leaders in the galleries, tonight. I saw one of them today on television.

MR. DOYLE: He is a good union man.

MR. R. AYLWARD: I have not heard from him for a couple of weeks, or from any of them, except one. I understand there is one good union member in the gallery tonight. Today, on the news, I heard one of them, Mr. Chairman, who -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DOYLE: From Avondale, a good construction union man up there.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Chairman, I have not heard from him for a couple of weeks. I am glad to see that they are still in existence. At least, they will talk on television about the rights of their union members who are getting the shaft with this bill. I hope the President of Treasury Board is still listening since he went out there. When he was speaking just now, he made a comment that I found very interesting. I hope I understood what he said and that I am interpreting him correctly, he said there was one union that wanted more layoffs.


MR. R. AYLWARD: Now, Mr. Chairman, that is why I wondered that there was nobody here last night. Is there a deal somewhere between this Government and the union leadership that Bill 16 should go through, and there will some cosmetic demonstrations every now and then? Is that the case? The President of Treasury Board has confirmed that one union group in this Province wanted more layoffs. I don't understand what he meant. I hope he gets up again in this House to try to explain it, because I think it is very important for the people of this Province to know which union wanted more layoffs. I do not know which union wants more layoffs. I understand that the unions are against the layoffs.

Maybe I was wrong, Mr. Chairman. Maybe I am misinterpreting what the union membership in this Province are calling and telling me. The union membership in this Province are upset that they are being laid off, and that their friends are being laid off, and they are twice as upset that maybe next year it is going to be worse. That is what they are worried about. And the President of Treasury Board, this night, confirmed - if he is telling this House correctly, and I assume he is, because I have some confidence in the President of Treasury Board.

I wish he had won the leadership of the Liberal Party when it was up for grabs there a little while ago, because I am sure you would not see in place this right-wing type Government that this Province cannot afford right now. I am sure he would rule effectively, but effectively with a heart. He would not be throwing 2,000 or 3,000 people on the streets in times when we can least afford it, when we need, especially in this Province, every single job that can be created, not created for Doug House and his friends in the Economic Recovery Commission, but for the people who are presently working in this Province to continue working.

Now the Minister of Labour, today, when questioned about jobs in this Province and the high unemployment rate - 22.7 per cent, now, I believe - said, we are very fortunate in this Province, because the people who have their jobs are keeping their jobs. Now, I do not know where she has been since the Budget came down, because I know of 3,000 of them, at least, who do not have their jobs anymore, 3,000 of her very own employees who do have their jobs, who are being thrown out on the street. So the people who have jobs in this Province are not keeping their jobs. Whether or not the Minister of Labour thinks they are, I am not sure. Maybe she has her head buried in the sand, but it is written in the Budget, they have admitted, that 2,000 are going.

We know, from questioning the Minister of Education, that he was at least 60 per cent out in his estimates. I wonder if the Minister of Health is 60 per cent out in his estimates. I wonder are other departments out in their estimates of what was happening. The Minister of Finance tells us he will not know until sometime in August which positions are going to be redundant. He told us two days ago in Question Period that it was not yet determined which positions are going to be redundant, so I wonder are there going to be more than were announced in his Budget. Maybe it will not be 2,000 or 2,100, as it would seem to be from reading the Budget. It is supposed to be 2,000 positions plus management, and there would be, I expect, about 100 management positions.

So, as the Opposition House Leader said today, there are 2,100 announced layoffs, or abandoned positions, whatever you want to call them. And I wonder tonight, when the President of Treasury of Treasury Board comes back, is he going to explain to members of this House, to the Province and the union membership in this Province which union asked him for more layoffs. That is what I would like to know. That is the question I put out to anyone over there who would like to answer it. Which union asked for more layoffs? It was he who said it, not me. I just wondered where the union leaders and the union membership are in this Province, who are having their wages rolled back, their benefits taken away, their pay equity destroyed and their Labrador benefits taken away in this legislation. I wonder where they are.

Now, that leaves me somewhat suspicious of what might be going on. I know, at least one of the union leaders in this Province was a great supporter of the Premier during the election. He was publicly campaigning. He sent letters to his membership to make sure that this Premier got elected. Now, that union leader - and Fraser March is his name, I will not hide behind not naming any name - wrote his union membership and told them to vote to get rid of the Tories.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: He said, get rid of the Tories, yes, and he was out publicly campaigning for the Liberals. His picture was in the paper with one of the defeated Liberal candidates during the election. Fraser March it was - I will not hide behind not saying names - publicly known, Mr. Chairman.

Now, I would like to know which of the unions in this Province, as stated by the President of Treasury Board, asked for more layoffs. If there is such a union in this Province, they are not doing the job for their membership and I would like to know which one it was. I do not think it was the teachers. I do not think so. Even though the school boards are going to have problems and teachers are going to have problems in the next while. Students are going to have the biggest problems because they will not have teachers in the classroom. But somebody else here will deal with that in a few minutes, Mr. Chairman.

There is another thing I would like to question. When we go to the back page and the schedule of this bill, we see the agencies affected by the bill, whose people have their benefits and wages frozen or rolled back or taken away and pay equity taken away. Now, I know for a fact that the Chicken Marketing Board, the Egg Marketing Board, the Newfoundland Hog Marketing Board and the Milk Marketing Board are not being paid with taxpayers' dollars, they are supported entirely by the producers in this Province. Now, are their employees' wages frozen, and, if so, why? They are not being paid with taxpayers' dollars. Maybe the producers had them frozen the last five years, I do not know. But the member producers, the boards, decide if their employees are going to get a wage increase, a wage rollback or a freeze. I do not see why the Government is deciding how the producers in this Province can spend their money.

Now, Mr. Chairman, because the Milk Marketing Board is also included, does it mean that the producers in this Province - take milk for example, which was a controversial one lately. If they have to prove again with a study - the fourth since they have been established, on the pricing of milk in this Province - next year, that there is another cent or two a litre required for the producers of this Province to manage their business, is that frozen, also? I wonder do all of the milk producers now have frozen, the option of raising the price of their milk.

The Minister of Agriculture is nodding, yes, so I would imagine there is a freeze in the milk industry.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: No, he is shaking his head now. Well, he does not know. Now, that is the problem with this Government, they do not know. The Minister of Agriculture in this Province should know. When he looked at this, the first thing he should have noticed is that quite a few of them have to deal with agriculture.

AN HON. MEMBER: What about Sprung?

MR. R. AYLWARD: Yes, Sprung if you like. There is no Sprung around now, but you can sling out Sprung all you like. The Milk Marketing Board employees have their wages frozen, I have that confirmed so far. The producers might or might not have the price of their product frozen, which means that several of the recommendations of the task force on agriculture, this year, cannot possibly be brought in. They say you get a better price for your hogs in this Province because you have disease-free hogs. Now, you cannot do that this year. Newfoundland Farm Products is going to lose their subsidy and the producers cannot raise the price of hogs.

So the logical conclusion, because of this bill is that the hog industry is dead in this Province. And when the hog industry is dead, the feed mills are dead; when the feed mills are gone, Mr. Chairman, the dairy industry and the egg industry are in trouble, because we start importing, again, from outside the Province.

Well, Mr. Chairman, I, for one, would like for the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture to get up and explain why the Milk Marketing, Hog Marketing, Egg Marketing and Chicken Marketing Boards are included in this act. I know where they are included, under Definitions here, Section 2 (c) (iv), I guess: "a corporation established by an Act under which the corporation is made an agent of the Crown". That is why they are in here; I know why they are here. But what does it mean that they are in here? Are the wages of their employees frozen?


MR. R. AYLWARD: The Minister of Agriculture now says no. He said yes, a minute ago, now he says no. I do not know - yes, I do know, he knows nothing about it, because he did not take the time to check into it. And I do not say there are very many of them over there who do know. Maybe the President of Treasury Board knows. He does know of one union which asked for more layoffs, I know that. I wonder does he know if the price of milk is frozen for one year, if the prices of eggs and hogs and chicken are frozen in this Province?

Mr. Chairman, I would be interested in finding out, when the President of Treasury Board comes back in here, what other unions might have suggested there should be more layoffs, what union suggested there should not be any layoffs, and what union suggested other alternatives to laying off employees throughout this Province.

I hope to hear from some of the union members tomorrow, some of the union leaders especially, why the galleries again tonight are empty, why there are no representatives of the union members in the galleries tonight wondering why this Government is taking away their wages, benefits and pay equity. And even worse than taking that away, worse than tearing up contracts that were only negotiated up to a week before the Budget, and several months before that, to have a clause in this act saying the unions cannot make it up in the next round of negotiations is worse than all the other things in this legislation.

We know, in the bargaining system of this Province, and this country, that during hard times, union members often give up some of their benefits to keep employees solvent, and when good times come, they can get their benefits back and make it up again, but, Mr. Chairman, they cannot, with this act. If there are ever good times in this Province - and they might come once this Premier is gone, but I do not know when that is going to be. You can smile. I know your polls are high, I realize that. I know your popularity is very high, right now, but Mr. Chairman, when we called an election in 1989, the polls looked pretty good for us, too. Twenty-one days is a long time, ask me, because I know. I know from two elections, because two elections ago, had we gone another week, Leo Barry would probably have been Premier of this Province and the Premier would have never had a shot at it, because the polls were slipping. So, twenty-one days, in an election, Mr. Chairman, is a long time. Maybe the Premier would like to answer which of the unions wanted more layoffs in this Province. Because, as one member of this House of Assembly, I am very interested in knowing which of the unions in this Province wanted more of their -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Chairman, I would like, first of all, to pick up on one of the comments made by the Minister responsible for Treasury Board and also the Member for Kilbride, with regard to the statement made by the Minister responsible for Treasury Board concerning the one small union in the Province that asked for more layoffs rather than a wage freeze or a rollback. I am very interested because, I know, out my way, for one of the unions that comes to mind, I just forget the name of it now, but the union responsible for the lab and x-ray workers, it was a long period of time before they finally came to some agreement. They were one of the smallest bargaining units, I suppose, in the Province -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) NAPE.

MR. WOODFORD: - represented by NAPE. And they had a long, hard struggle trying to get an agreement with this administration. The reason I say that is, I sort of think that was one of the unions, and I am wondering if they are being punished; because, over my way, alone, in Deer Lake, the X ray unit and lab are gone, wiped out completely. They must think me and the people of the district awfully naive or stupid, or something, to tell me I am going to have a better service by moving that unit to Corner Brook. A particular technician in Deer Lake, one of the biggest Liberals on the West Coast of the Province, a good Liberal supporter, doing 3,600 X rays a year there, could, through the Collective Bargaining Act, bump someone else and move on to Corner Brook, and they tell me I am going to have a better service; and, lo and behold, when he moves into Corner Brook, they are going to lay off another four or five technicians. Now, if someone on the other side can agree, in this case, with that solution, that recommendation, the so-called rationalizing of the health care sector, then I think there is something wrong with all of us. The Premier has said many times, publicly and in the House, `If it can be proven that we did something wrong, then we will be men and women enough to stand up and be counted, and change or overturn our decision.'

I have mentioned this to the Minister of Health, I have questioned him, and now, with the councils in the area, if we made requests of the minister, we might be able to get it overturned, I do not know. But, if what they say is factual, if we have so-called `real change', and if statistics count, and the needs, and the services to the people in the area count, then I think it is one decision that could and should be overturned.

The Minister responsible for Treasury Board is back in the House now. He mentioned last night, I think, in a statement, that the unions were consulted. I would like to know first-hand from the Minister - I think he alluded to it earlier but did not continue or complete his statement, that the unions were consulted pertaining to the route they should take rather than have layoffs - the exact consultation process, how they were approached, was each individual union approached, what they were asked, and what suggestions were made. These are questions I would like to have answered.

Mr. Chairman, the Member for Kilbride alluded to the schedule in this Bill 16. I would be remiss if I did not comment on some of the things he mentioned with regard to the marketing boards, in particular. I can understand, under (iii) of the Act, it is only natural that the Agricultural Products Marketing Board is administered by the department, and that Board is responsible for all other marketing boards in the Province. So, I can understand the Agricultural Products Marketing Board coming under the freeze and rollback, but I would like for the minister, or someone - someone should know, it has been put in the schedule - to explain how the marketing boards come under this, when they have absolutely no jurisdiction over them except for the regulations administered by the Act, through the Agricultural Marketing Board? That is a question I would like to have answered.

It appears the minister is taking this very seriously, his back is turned. I hope he hears what I am saying, because, if he cannot answer the question for me, I will have other people in the industry ask questions, and I am sure they will get answers if I cannot get them here in the House. The reason why these boards come under this schedule, especially since they are financed totally, wholly, and solely by the producers in the Province, is a question I would like to have answered.

Mr. Chairman, I mentioned briefly when I was talking on this bill the other night, the intimidation and fear of the administration opposite, that members of the public service and other people throughout the Province are feeling today. I see it every day of the week. It is evident, I think. I said last night, the unions feel betrayed, and I do not think it stops at betrayal, I think there is a sense of fear. There may be a total of just 600 or 700 people laid off in the public service from Confederation Building, as such, or directly involved in government service around this city, but nobody working with government today, wants to be seen on television or heard on radio or read about in the paper, saying they dislike what is happening. They will not utter a statement. You would have to be a very brave individual today, to come out and say, I think what they are doing is wrong. We have the fear in the general service, in every department, we know it is there. Members opposite must not hide from the fact that it is there.

It is not so bad for the Nurses' Union, because they are an independent group, but even they, under the administrators of the hospitals, are afraid to speak up. I know that for a fact and members opposite know, as well. They have members in their districts - and I know two or three over there right now who, having been approached by members in their districts, have told them, You cannot speak up, because you may be next.

AN HON. MEMBER: What nonsense!

MR. WOODFORD: Oh, yes, `nonsense'! We will see about the nonsense part of it. I can remember an era sometime ago -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: No. We faced it head on, Sir, and took them on and paid the price.

AN HON. MEMBER: Look in the mirror again, boy!

MR. WOODFORD: Well, if I were some of the members opposite, I don't think I would stop too long to look in the mirror. I would be frightened to death of what I would see. One of the things I would not see is honesty. Honesty, Mr. Chairman, to members opposite, is as scarce as sealskin shorts on a Greenpeacer, and that is saying something; I do not mean to funny or cynical, but that is what it is. Now, we might as well, once and for all, face it.

At the Western Memorial Hospital in Corner Brook, nurses, nursing assistants and x-ray technicians are going. Those who do not know, will not say anything, and those who do are getting out and will not say anything about those who are left, because they may have a chance of being called back. You tell you that is not wrong? You tell me that someone in Development or Municipal Affairs or anywhere else today, who is the next to go, is going to get out and criticize government? He is not going to do it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Tch, tch!

MR. WOODFORD: You can toot-toot all you like.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is hard to believe!

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, it is hard to believe, it is very hard to believe. That is exactly why they will not say anything, because it is hard to believe. But if members opposite do not believe it, they must have their heads buried in the sand, because that fear is there, Mr. Chairman, just as surely as I am standing in this House, tonight. Now, whether it stays or not is going to depend on the people opposite. And it should not stay. You cannot operate a government or business or anything else with that kind of attitude, you just cannot do it. And it is there. There is no good denying it, it is there.

Mr. Chairman, when I looked at television tonight, I was very surprised -

AN HON. MEMBER: What was that about, Dave Curtis?

MR. WOODFORD: No, it was not Dave Curtis, Mr. Chairman, it was what is happening today, again - not announced in the Budget, nowhere in it, not announced in the House in a Ministerial Statement, or anything else, but done the same way it was done last year, only last year, it was worse; in the middle of a school year, an announcement was made pertaining to school boards in the Province, that saw another some $2 million knocked off with respect to substitute days for teachers. Now is that right, or is it not? Can anybody deny, after looking at the Budget and seeing the number of school board operations - under operating, there is $1.2 million knocked off, already. Then, to go to school boards, last year, and tell them, `I am sorry, boys, but if you need a substitute to come in, to let a teacher go - one who comes to mind is the one who was supposed to have two days on a child sexual abuse course last year; professional development days, in-service days. What is going to happen to sports? We had a teacher in Pasadena, last year, training a class for four years to take part in the games. What did he have to do when he wanted to coach? It is the same thing, Mr. Chairman, as training for the Olympics, four years with the one coach, and when the day of the Olympics came, that teacher had to stay in the classroom because he could not leave, he could not get days to go. Now, that, to my mind, is wrong. It is factual, it can be substantiated, and it is wrong.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did you say this teacher (inaudible) games?

MR. WOODFORD: I am not talking about the Olympics, now, I am making a comparison, drawing an analogy there. This was a basketball -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Well, it is wrong.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Canada Games (inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: No, no! I am talking about -

AN HON. MEMBER: Wake up the minister! Don't listen to the minister, he doesn't know what he is doing, anyway.

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Chairman, what happened last year with respect to substitute days, everybody knew, we realized it, and I can understand it - we were there - that something had to be done about it; but, tonight, when you see the cuts that are coming, in a mischievous and deceitful way, unannounced - all of a sudden we see it on television tonight. What are the school boards going to do? They are cut. Last year, when they said, `We just cannot do it, we cannot send people, we cannot have in-service, we cannot have professional development days,' they were told in no uncertain terms - and I do not think the minister will deny this, because it came straight from the department - if you want to send anybody on a professional development day or in-service day or anything else, you take it out of `operating'. Now, I am right. How could a school board, last year, take anything out of `operating'? They were strapped. They could not pay the heat bill, they could not pay the light bill, and the teacher had to stay there. The students again, Mr. Chairman, are the ones -

MR. MURPHY: Get the facts straight, now. Get the real story.

MR. WARREN: I guess he knows more about it than you do.

MR. WOODFORD: I have the real story.

MR. MURPHY: Half the story.

MR. WOODFORD: No, I have the story right and, Mr. Chairman, the truth hurts when it is told. When a school board, in the middle of the year, in the month of August, is cut 774 days, spreading that over the rest of the year, how can you tell them that they are going to provide the service they are supposed to provide? - including sports, sports is no exception.

All the basketball teams, all the tennis teams, whatever else is involved in the curriculum of the school year, cannot move, and a school board today -

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Member for LaPoile.

MR. RAMSAY: Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to rise tonight and speak about Bill No. 16, concerning the restraint of compensation for workers in the public sector. I want to say, Mr. Chairman, that I have been sitting here, over the last number of evenings and days, listening to the Opposition detail the way that they feel the Province should handle the current fiscal situation.

The details are scant. One hon. member, the one who has difficulty with unions, mentioned that he has a problem - he sees a solution in cutting back on purchased services and he mentioned that as an alternative to what is being done.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader sees a two-week unpaid leave type solution to the problem, which, I understand, was suggested by the President of Treasury Board; also, Mr. Chairman, we hear the borrowing solution from the hon. the Member for St. John's East. So, there is a variety of solutions, one of course, the solution we have provided.

Mr. Chairman, at this time, we have a population of approximately 560,000 and, according to the 1989 figures, approximately 25,800 Provincial Government employees; now, that is quite a number, and the figure is from historical statistics.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: It is 25,799; that is in the provincial and general government sector, according to historical stats.

MR. SIMMS: Forty thousand, by the way, is it not?

MR. RAMSAY: When you include the Crown corporations and that sort of thing, yes; but the number we are looking at is 25,7--. If you are going to compare apples to apples, as often is the case -

MR. SIMMS: How many are affected by the bill?

MR. RAMSAY: - then down to, say, 1968, when 25,799 -

MR. SIMMS: Are you saying how many (inaudible)?

MR. RAMSAY: Not as far as the bill goes, there are more. Well, take, for the sake of comparison, 25,800 employees, which have grown from 1968, by 12,600 employees, now, the growth rate we see in those statistics is phenomenal, as far as the Government services provided are concerned, when you relate it to the population.

The size of government, in general, has grown immensely. Now, is this justified? If it is justified growth, then fine; that is what we should be doing, supporting a huge government bureaucracy to provide services for the people of the Province.

Now, that is one fact of the matter that we look at here, is it possible that we have too many government employees?


MR. RAMSAY: Is it possible? I ask you the question.

Now, it is very possible that, in some cases, temporary employees were hired, some for political purposes - because the politics of hiring temporaries over the years was certainly something to be reckoned with in the ranks of the former government - to make sure at or about election time that the promises made would be rewarded. Now, that is the kind of situation we are in, with respect to the number of government employees.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride makes a good point, that the Opposition is trying to defend the labour movement in the Province, when the labour movement seems to have a much stronger affiliation, or a desire to affiliate, with the hon. member from ACTRA. Now, the hon. member says he feels maybe they should not be supporting the labour movement. Maybe this is because he feels there is a remote possibility that sometime in the distant future, he may still be around and be able to get back into government and possibly would still have to follow the same kind of procedure as is in this bill, that we now have to bring in. He, as a member of some future government - God knows how long in the future - might very well have to follow this same kind of activity, in order to ensure the Province for the future beyond that.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that is probably a bit far-fetched because, as we know, the procedure we are following with Bill 16 is very necessary. I would prefer Bill 16, as an alternative to another 2,000 layoffs. I would say the majority of the labour unions, even though they are in the back rooms with their membership trying to stir up support against the government policy in Bill 16 and to make sure that we, as a government, are defeated at the next election, would still prefer to have their union membership employed, as they are, in the numbers they currently are, with 2,000 more as opposed to the 2,000 less.

Now, why are we here tonight, discussing this kind of situation? Is it because of the last two years - as the provincial Tories would have it - of terrible mismanagement of the provincial Liberal Government? No, Mr. Chairman, it is not. It is because of the crutch used in the past by hon. members opposite, who never had the political guts to stand up and say, `It is a tough situation; we can borrow a little bit more, a little bit more, and a little bit more,' to a point where, now, we are paying $486 million in interest, this year, four hundred and eighty-six million dollars in interest, this year, alone.

MR. MURPHY: That is not counting the pension.

MR. RAMSAY: That is not counting the pension, nor is it counting the debt redemption when you have to replace the debt on top of that. It works out to about $600 million, I understand. That is a huge amount for such a small province.

Now, of course, we have the Federal Government money in there, but even if you were to cut it in half, you are still talking $300 million, a phenomenal figure. To compare, when we joined Canada, the debt cost to service the debt in 1950 was $255,000 and now, we are up to $486 million, a huge growth in the debt. Of course, the Provincial Liberal Government, the Joey Smallwood Government, at the time, was responsible for some of that, but the fact of the matter is, the bulk of it happened in the period between 1972 and 1989.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl mentioned it, and I said, if he is going to talk about the public sector debt as a percentage of the gross domestic product, as a factor that is looked at by the credit agencies and the borrowing markets, well, I will get those statistics and see what is going on with them. We see that the first decrease made in public sector debt, as a percentage of our total goods and services, gross domestic product, in the Province, went down in 1989 from 65.6 per cent in 1988 to 61.6 per cent under the management of this Government. We are getting there. We are still not good in comparison to other provinces, clear of a couple which are going up, but we are getting there. In 1990, it has gone down a little bit more, from 61.6 to 60.8 per cent, so we are getting there, but still, only the Province of Saskatchewan comes close to being as heavily in debt as the Province of Newfoundland.

Now, if we were to go to the credit markets and say, `We need to borrow $600 million,' and they came back and said, `Well, you are borrowing $150 million on current account,' if that is what we needed to keep going now, well, that $150 million, if they did lower our credit rating and we had to go out and lay off another 5,000 civil servants, at the time, what would we do then? It would be just as well to close up shop then, so it is a very fine line, as I understand it. Now, why are we there? Why can the Federal Government not support us with more transfers? What have the Federal Government done to the country? They are at a point where their revenues, besides the recession, have led to the debt situation they are in.

Let us look at the Tory spending policies that the Government, under Brian Mulroney, have exercised. When the Liberal Government left office in 1984, the gross federal public debt was $166 billion, and now, seven years later, unprecedented economic growth in Canada and North America, the United States, throughout the world, has doubled to $351 billion. So, they have gone from $166 billion up to $351 billion, as of March, 1990. They, in turn, have increased the public debt, as well, which burdens you, as taxpayers, the rest of us, as taxpayers, and the people of the Province, I might add, probably moreso than anyone else in the country. Now, Michael Wilson's predictions - you often speak of our hon. Minister of Finance here and his terrible $10 million surplus which turned into a $120 million deficit. His prediction for one year was off by approximately $100 million but, of course, that was based on information provided to him by the notorious person who is always so right in predictions, Michael Wilson.

Now, let us have a look at what Michael Wilson predicted. Michael Wilson said, in 1985, that the deficit for 1991, according to the best predictions he could muster, would be $18 billion. How much was it? It was $30.5 billion. He was off by a scant $12.5 billion over that period of time. So, one can understand, when you look back on who is providing information to our hon. minister, on transfers, why the recalculation maybe is a little bit off. They are using certain formulae in the provision of the EPF and the various programs which provide money to the Province, and those are being fed - you know, you have a model there and you place into it, certain data, and that data is faulty because, of course, they have to use it as political data in order to make their budgets look good. So when you haul that out and put in the real numbers you get the kind of adjustment that leaves our Minister of Finance with a shortfall.

Let us look at the number of jobs lost because of Federal Government policies. How many jobs have we lost, thus resulting in lost production, lost productivity for the country, and lower income tax earnings on behalf of the Federal Government? They have lost 280,000 manufacturing jobs since January 1, 1989. From January 1, 1989 until March of this year there were 280,000 manufacturing jobs lost, in this country, as a direct result of the free trade agreement.

Now, free trade: Was it good or not? Well, we will not know the results I guess until the ten years have passed, but, at the time when the free trade agreement was signed, there was a bit of fanfare over the fact that Brian Mulroney said they would produce adjustment programs to compensate the areas affected by the free trade agreement. Have these programs come forward? I think not. I have heard nothing of any adjustment programs for the free trade agreement.

Now, this year, the Provincial Government is looking at a current account deficit of $53.6 million. You are talking about current account and the difference on current account between the Federal and the Provincial Government. Let us compare the way that our Provincial Government has operated, as far as the current account deficit goes, to the Federal Government's operation. The Federal Government had a Current Account surplus of $2.7 billion, when the Liberals left office. They were $2.7 billion in the black, not million, but billion. Last year, 1989, they had a record deficit of $16.7 billion on current account for operations. So, you can see that they, too, are into deficit financing for the sake of their current account. And it is something that we are doing this year, although I know, if we had our druthers, we probably would not be involved in current account deficit financing.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. RAMSAY: All right, Mr. Chairman, I will finish up.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I listened with interest to the beginning of the Member for LaPoile's speech and lost interest half-way through, I have to confess; but, at the beginning, I did express some interest in it, because it carried the same theme that the Member for Carbonear carried in his speech the other night. The theme that ran through it was that there were too many government employees. The Member for Carbonear said that when he went out and talked to people in his district, he was congratulated because the Government took the initiative to lay off a number of public servants. In fact, it was someone who had been fired who said that.

The Member for LaPoile carried the same theme tonight, that we have too many government employees, yet, the President of Treasury Board keeps saying, This was a cost-saving measure; we did not lay them off because there were too many. Now, to quote the President of Treasury Board, `You cannot have your cake and eat it, too,' or that was the gist of what he said a minute ago when he spoke. Now, what is it? Are the backbenchers telling the truth, or is the President of Treasury Board telling the truth?

MR. SIMMS: The backbenchers are telling the truth.

MR. WINSOR: Interestingly enough, I believe someone on the research staff in the Premier's Office has done some statistics on this, because I think, as the Member for LaPoile was giving his figures, the Premier was following them, almost mouthing exactly the same thing, from some kind of sheet he had there. It looks as if he was totalling up the sheets. They all have their little sheets. I don't know if they were lay-off notices or what those little sheets were.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) pass around speaking notes.

MR. WINSOR: I expect they are speaking notes with the same train of thought, that there are too many government employees.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) the Iraqi Parliament.

MR. WINSOR: Just like the Iraqi Parliament, they all vote the same way or say the same things.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if that is the case, I think it is time for the government to come clean and tell the people, `There are too many government employees and that is the reason we had to lay you off.' Now what is it? Perhaps the President of Treasury Board will explain it in a while?

The President of Treasury Board went on, when he spoke a few moments ago, to clarify some points that had been made, I think, by the Leader of the Opposition and the Member for St. John's East, that those terrible contracts, from a wage perspective, that were entered into, were the result of the arbitration awards.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: Well, that is what he indicated - the arbitration awards that he had no control over. Now, the President of Treasury Board should remember that the first contract signed was not an arbitration; I think it was the one - I can see him standing over there with his chest thrown out: `This contract with the nurses' union is a breakthrough.'

MR. BAKER: How about the first one (inaudible)?

MR. WINSOR: Well, that was the first major one - I think the police which was the first one you did and you broke that one after, too, on pensions, I believe -

AN HON. MEMBER: No, there was one before that.

MR. WINSOR: One before that? It must have been a minor one

- the first substantial agreement that had been reached and it was right and proper.

Now, Mr. Chairman, he goes on to say, `The arbitration awards might have been too high, but you know, we were in no position to do anything about it, because it was legislation passed on to us by the former Government and we couldn't do a whole lot about it.'

Mr. Chairman, there were two things they could have done, number one, they could have immediately changed the legislation, as they just did now with rollback, so that should not have been a concern. You have no qualms. There is no conscience in the President of Treasury Board, that he would be really shaken because he had reneged on a contract offer. He could have done as he did when he introduced this bill. He could have done it then.

In addition to that, he had just about two years; I cannot remember the time when he forced the hospital workers back to binding arbitration, but he had some time then. He had a year. He knew the contracts were coming up with hospital workers. He knew that - what was the bill? - C-59, or was it Bill 41?


MR. WINSOR: The one about essential employees, and so on, in the hospitals.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: Bill 59. He knew - he had lots of time to fix anything that was wrong, but he chose not to do it. He chose to go to arbitration and he lost. He made a call and lost on it. The President of Treasury Board had not done his homework again. He had not calculated what his deficit was going to be and ended up in the kind of situation we have. But, after watching the news tonight, I just cannot - I watched the Leader of the Opposition give the Minister of Education a roasting, if there ever was one, this afternoon, in this House. In fact, he got up about ten times to confess, and I was starting to wonder if the new chairs in the House of Assembly on the Government side had some kind of spring to launch the Minister of Education from his seat, because he was up and down like a jumping jack all afternoon, going to confess to having misled this House and the people of Newfoundland on the number of layoffs that were going to occur in the post-secondary institutions in this Province, numbers up to some 360, 160 more than he indicated.

Mr. Chairman, last week, the Newfoundland Teachers' Association came to, I think, an agreement of some kind, with the President of Treasury Board, and one of the things they were led to understand was part of the deal, was that substitutes, would essentially remain the same, and so it might have, for pay. Mr. Coombs, today, gives some indication that they were not aware some 20,000 days were going to be taken, and if you can remember, let me take the -

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: Pardon?

MR. NOEL: What kind of an (inaudible)?

MR. WINSOR: They do not find out that until after they sign the agreement.

But let me tell you why this came about today. Last year, as my friend for Humber Valley said, in August, school boards were told they were going to have 8,000 days less to work with than they had previously thought. As a result of this late announcement, they had used a number of days in April, May and June, so now they were hard pressed for the remainder of that year to find enough days to get them through and in fact, what we found happening in this Province was, school after school after school was being closed because substitute teachers could not be brought in.

The common method of having in-service in this Province last year was to shut down the school system and send the children home or shut down the primary section or a grade or whatever it was, so that workshops could be conducted.

Now, Mr. Chairman, this year, the Minister of Education did one thing right. He announced it at the time he should have; because the Government's fiscal year runs from March to March, the school boards have to fall in line with it, even though the school year goes beyond March. Now, they have been told up front that they have, I think, 21,000 - that is the easy figure to work with, there might have been a number of odd days - 21,000 days or so less.

DR. WARREN: You do not know what you are talking about.

MR. WARREN: Go on boy! He knows more (inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Chairman, if I do not know what I am talking about, the Minister of Education will get up, of course, as his normal response is, `In due time,' or `One of these days I am going to table,' or `One of these days I am going to tell you'. Now, the superintendents interviewed tonight on CBC -

AN HON. MEMBER: Were they lying?

MR. WINSOR: Were they lying? Are they not telling the truth? Does the Minister of Education have something they do not know about?

MR. SIMMS: Get up. You were told to get up.

MR. WINSOR: Let me ask the Minister of Education this question.

AN HON. MEMBER: The Premier said you would stand, and you stand. Okay?

MR. WINSOR: Will the Minster of Education tell us the number of days that substitute teacher allocation will be reduced by next year? And does he plan to save about $2 million? Is that the figure?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) per cent.

MR. WINSOR: Yes, it is roughly $21,800. Is $2 million the figure that is going to be saved? Is that the figure the Minister has, and if it is, why does he not announce it? Every other time the Minister has had anything to announce, even if it were two flies killed in a classroom, he had a Ministerial Statement. He would take the time of the House to stand, with a big grin, and announce that he had solved a major epidemic in some school through killing two flies, and pay tribute to the two teachers who killed them. That is the way the Minister of Education operates. Now, when he has a serious issue, when he takes away from the education system another 20,000 teaching days, the Minister of Education laughs it off and says you do not know what you are talking about. Well, Mr. Chairman, we would like for him to tell us what it is all about. Actually, I have had some calls from teachers since this has been announced tonight and they are afraid that the minister, who has deceived them already - and is 133 the operative phrase we can use for teachers? Because they are not sure. The President of Treasury Board alluded to some formula changes.

DR. WARREN: A hundred and thirty-three.

MR. WINSOR: One hundred and thirty-three, but $5 million for university, too, was it not?

DR. WARREN: (Inaudible) declining enrolment.

MR. WINSOR: No, not only a declining enrolment. Let me tell the Minister of Education, it is not only declining enrolment. The President of Treasury Board confirmed in this House that it is adjustments to the formula, as well. Will the President of Treasury Board confirm that factor is included? He will not confirm it anymore. He will not confirm that it is because of the ten teachers a year for five years. Are all of these now going to be thrown out of the system? These were extra teachers, I think, for guidance, library resources, and that kind of thing. Are they going out of the system, too?

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible) mostly.

MR. WINSOR: I would like for the Minister of Education to explain, because the Minister of Education is going to do all of this `in due course'. Now, we are wondering when this due course is going to come. The Minister of Education can tell us what is going on, because, frankly, we are not quite sure, after seeing his performance on the few issues he has addressed in education in the last two or three months, the last month-and-a-half at least, that he knows very much about what is going on in his department. I do not think that many people out in the education field believe the minister anymore, since he made a press statement that Memorial University had $5 million, only to discover a week later that he had made a terrible error.

AN HON. MEMBER: He lied.

MR. WINSOR: Well, I will not say that. I will not say it in the House. He deceived the people of the Province by saying, `We would have had the money there had we not gone through a budgetary freeze.'

AN HON. MEMBER: It was announced the day after the budget was presented.

MR. WINSOR: Maybe it was the same press release he had last year, and he just dug it up and patched up a few numbers, the same press release he had after last year's budget when they might have gotten $5 million. They should check that out and see if they did get $5 million last year, and perhaps he forgot to do a new press release because nothing else had changed.

DR. WARREN: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: I am picking on the Minister of Education because now he has been exposed. There was a belief in this Province that he was concerned about the quality of education that was being delivered. That was a belief. Now, the Minister, in the last number of days, has shattered that belief completely.

DR. WARREN: (Inaudible) Fogo Island.

MR. WINSOR: Yes, I am longing for the Minister to go to Fogo Island to get roasted again. Are you going? Now, the Minister told me he was not going, he has changed his mind.

DR. WARREN: Next year.

MR. WINSOR: Next year.

Now, Mr. Chairman, why does the Minister of Education think anyone would invite him to a school after his ravaging of the public school system in this Province?

Mr. Chairman, in the few minutes I have remaining, I will say, I am expecting, of course, that the Minister of Education is going to get up and respond to Bill 16 and what is going on here. I am sure he will, because it affects the teachers in this Province.

With respect to substitute teacher indexing, teachers came out of their meeting believing, as the President of Treasury Board led them to believe, that pensions were indexed forever-and-a-day. We now know that two days after he had led the negotiating team to believe indexing was going to be a reality, the minister had a statement saying it might not come about. Now, Mr. Chairman, he has rolled back their wages, or brought in wage restraint, as he likes to call it. What does the minister think this is going to do for morale in the classroom? He destroyed it completely last year.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Member for LaPoile.

MR. RAMSAY: Mr. Chairman, I just have a few remarks to clue up what I was saying. I was saying about the budget deficits, the current account deficits, that the federal and provincial governments in the past seemed to have had no choice, I guess with the demand for public services, as we all noted, I would suppose, if the Opposition reads some newspaper columns from the Weekend, and the public demand for services is possibly also part of the reason why governments choose to venture into current account deficit financing.

Now, how do we get where we want to be sometime in the future as a people here in the Province, not as a government, but as a government which wants to develop the Province in a way that will be most beneficial to its citizens? There are several things happening, of course, right now. The Hibernia project is assisting us and will be a very solid benefit, I suppose, from the standpoint of developing the private sector which serves the Hibernia project more as a long-term thing; the development of technologies throughout the Province; the development of skills and services that normally have not been provided, which, hopefully, will be able to provide a higher level of service to some future project such as the White Rose or the Terra Nova project.

I also might note that in a recession, as I understand it, economists see a variety of ways to get oneself, the local economy, the provincial and the whole country's economy out of the recession.

Now, our government has chosen one way of seeing a responsibility to assist with the recessionary problem in providing money to Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador for the stimulation of the private sector, through the provision of low-interest loans, for the provision of some equity financing, for some regular debt financing, as a lender of last resort.

MR. PARSONS: What percentage rate did it cost?

MR. RAMSAY: I really do not know. Some of them are down around 12 per cent, if I remember correctly, and, as the regular rates go lower, I would expect that Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador would also lower theirs, as would the Rural Development Authority in the Province, who also provide some loans for the private sector.

Now, there are other ways. One thing I found very unusual when I first discovered such a financial problem - last year, when the announcement was made, when the Premier and the Minister of Finance and the President of Treasury Board told us in a press conference just how severe the problem was, and that it was going to be something we would have to take bitter medicine to handle, I, along with other members of the House, thought to myself, `Well, maybe if we backed off on the capital works side of things, that would be an idea.' At that time, it was explained to me just what lowering the capital works expenditure on the capital account would mean to the economy of the Province, and how damaging that could be to the overall private sector that handles most capital works in the Province.

If I looked at it then, I said, `Well, there has got to be a solution in there somewhere.' So, I can see the Government has been supportive of the capital works side of things in order to maintain our infrastructure, keep improving what needs to be improved, replacing what needs to be replaced, and also to look at it as a method, through the private sector, of stimulating the economy. I give them full marks for maintaining a very high level of capital works in spite of the recessionary figures, and in spite of the deficit financing problem, which, on the capital side, I understand, is a little easier, as far as borrowing money is concerned. If you are putting it into something that is a physical asset, it is a little easier than it is to borrow money to pay the light bill or to put the groceries on the table, if we want to correlate Government to the family.

Now, in a recent magazine, Business Week, from the United States, although it does cover the North American market and the world market quite a bit, there is an author named Robert Kutner, and Robert Kutner is suggesting that the fuel to assist with the recession problem in the United States is through just that, the provision of an expansion of capital works programmes throughout the States to improve the overall capital works. Now, if you look at it, these experts within these different magazines, who are very notorious for their views, have come to the conclusion - I might note that two are quoted in this article alone, two think tanks in the U.S., one being a very far right think tank and the other one being very far left. So, you have the Liberal view and the Conservative view, completely.

Now, to look at that as being a solution, there is a possibly, but you would have to come up with the money. Where would you find the money to do a massive capital works programme, like we need here in the Province, for water and sewer, as an example? We know the needs are so high, as mentioned by the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. How do we come up with that kind of financing, either locally or some other way? I would suggest that sometime in the future, Mr. Speaker, maybe some of our very wealthy companies, which are local here in the provincial economy, companies such as Newtel Enterprises or Newfoundland Telephone or Newfoundland Light and Power, the utilities, who are very cash rich companies - now, this is also suggested, I might add, this is not from me. This is an idea that I have developed based on some information that I have researched.

Now, if you provide incentives to these companies to allow them to invest, somehow or other, in the capital side of things, to provide them with some way of benefitting their corporate structure so that their shareholders will receive their just rewards at the end of the year for investing in the companies, then you can utilize their money. Now, members opposite might say, `Well, we tried that with the Newfoundland Stock Savings Plan,' but I doubt that is the end we are looking to. The Newfoundland Stock Saving Plan was somewhat different, more of a small enterprise-type situation. This might be something that we can explore in the future in trying to assist with the improvement of our municipal infrastructure, the improvement of other aspects of the Province that do need to be looked at over the next while.

On a different note, Mr. Chairman, since we are now talking about Bill 16 and the labour movement in the Province, I would like to note that I have participated with the hon. the Member for St. John's South in a process of going through labour legislation over the last year or so. And, in dealing with what the hon. member mentioned as to the changes required because of Bill 59 and a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the former, former Premier, the hon. Brian Peckford, at the time, as a result of the collective agreement, problems experienced with essential employees back in the mid-1980s when we had problems with collective bargaining and the protests and the subsequent jailing of civil servants - now, we participated in this process and I have learned a lot about labour organizations, the collective bargaining process and also labour legislation. And, just for tonight, I thought, considering that this deals with collective bargaining and a collective agreement, I would get a definition here. The definition comes from the Glossary of Industrial Relations Terms, so it is an official definition, I guess, according to Labour Canada, of the collective agreement. The definition of the collective agreement says: An agreement in writing between an employer and the union representing his/her employees, which contains provisions respecting conditions of employment, rates of pay, hours of work and the rights and obligations of the parties to the agreement. Now, ordinarily, the agreement is for a definite period such as one, two or three years - this is ordinarily - usually, not less than twelve months. Under some conditions, amendments are made to agreements during the term of the agreement in order to deal with special circumstances.

That, then, would suggest that in certain special circumstances changes and amendments are made. Once a collective bargaining process or the law, according to labour, is looked at and you have a collective agreement on the outside - now, a collective agreement has to conform to the law of the day. Currently, this bill is not into law, but when it does come into effect - it will be deemed to be in effect, as the legislation says, on 31 March of this year - that, in turn, would mean that the collective agreements already signed would have to abide within the law, which is perfectly legal, albeit somewhat of a terrible thing to have to stomach, in consideration of our financial situation; but I would say it is infinitely more acceptable - and, according to the hon. the Member for Kilbride, he thinks it is quite a bit more essential, in the fact that there are no members of the labour union movement protesting, here in the galleries.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: Oh, there are a few. But, again, the numbers that he thought were so necessary to support the Opposition in its opposition to the bill were certainly void in his presentation last evening. Now, what would you rather have if you were in a labour movement? I have never been part of a union but I do understand the union people's concerns from dealings with them in the process of labour legislation and hearing their concerns in the collective bargaining process. And I would think, difficult as it is to stomach and to handle a change like this, which takes back something that was agreed to, they would prefer to have their membership working, in consideration of it, and hope for better times.

Now, that is the way I see it, but, of course, other people are entitled to their opinion. I found it very difficult to handle, until I did understand that another possible solution was the layoff of another 2,000 or 3,000 workers. People opposite might feel it is a bunch of useless drivel to say you had to lay off workers, and why did you not go out and borrow another $50 million? Well, if the credit rating did drop as a result of the extra $50 million in borrowing, then we would have to lay off another 3,000 or 4,000 or 5,000 civil servants. This is something we have to look at.

In representing the labour movement, I think, the hon. the Member for St. John's East should work more closely with the Opposition and, maybe, with his experience in dealing with the Official Opposition, they could come to some kind of solution and put forward a solid argument to the Government, possibly suggesting solutions, other than the few I mentioned earlier in my speech, that they suggested as possible solutions. All you have said is, bring down purchased services somewhat, cut it by .7 per cent, or something. Maybe that would solve the problem, I do not know, but I would like an analysis of it to see if it is the kind of thing that we over here would support. I have not seen anything of the sort.

We also note, the hon. the Member for St. John's East has mentioned that we should borrow more in order to do it. He does not really get into detail, as most Opposition people do, and if I were over there I would probably be doing exactly the same thing, be as vague as possible, because vagueness would get you elected sometime in the future; if you do not have anything to stand by, and any policies to uphold, then maybe you will never have anything to stand up and defend.

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

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Chairman, I could not help thinking, during the hon. the Member for LaPoile's speech, that he is a perfect example of the saying, `A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.' The hon. Member has read American Magazine, The US News and Business World, and he has also read and heard a few comments on labour law, and now, he is telling us, if they institute this act, the labour law will change, and therefore, it will be perfectly legal, so what are people complaining about? Mr. Chairman, I do not think the Member really understands. I have to give him credit, he is trying to learn. He, and the hon. Member for St. John's South sat on the Committee and listened to what people had to say, but I think he is going to have to do a little more listening and a little more learning before he is able to tell us what is wrong with this bill. He says it is a disgusting bill and it turns people's stomachs, it turns his stomach. Well, I can tell him why the people are not in these galleries.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I am just telling you what they told me. They said they came here and heard hon. members on that side, they heard the Cabinet Ministers, and what they heard turned their stomachs, that is why they are not back here. What they heard from these hon. members, from the Government, turned their stomachs. They did not hear fairness, they did not hear honour, they did not hear integrity, they did not hear all the things this Government claims to stand for.

Now, let us talk about fairness. I have talked about integrity and honesty before, but the hon. the Premier was not in his seat, at the time. Let us talk a bit about fairness, now. He said they looked around to see what they could do, and they decided to reach into certain people's pockets and take some money in order to meet their budgetary needs, only certain people's pockets. Let us try out a few figures for size on this one, Mr. Chairman. The Minister of Finance has used the figure for the average public servant's wage as being $26,666, something like that, so let us use that as the average. Let us say, for example, that is the average wage. If we take the kinds of increases that are being wiped out by this bill, there will be losses something in the order of 6 per cent or 7 per cent, and, in some cases, as the President of Treasury Board will know, some of the bargaining units will be losing 10 per cent. So, taking an average wage of $26,000, this Government decided to reach into certain workers' pockets and take from the 10 per cent worker, $2,600. From the pockets of government workers, they have taken $2,600, as a result of this bill: `We will look at all of the people in Newfoundland,' Mr. Chairman, `and select certain people to pay the price of this Government's financial problems. We will select, first of all, government workers, and reach into their pockets, let us say 7 per cent - 22 per cent or 23 per cent has been the range of some of these three year agreements or arbitrations - per year or 7.5 per cent per year.' And, take a person with a salary of $25,000 or $26,000, we are looking here, Mr. Chairman, at $1,600. On a wage of $26,666, at 6 per cent, we are looking at $1,600; at 7 per cent, we are looking at more. That is what we are looking at, the reaching into the pockets of government workers and saying, `We want you to pay.'

My friend from LaPoile talks about an American poster. Do you remember the Uncle Sam poster? - Uncle Sam wants you,' - well, Mr. Chairman, Clyde wants you to give $1,600, $1,800, $2,000, out of your pocket, only if you are a public servant, not if you are a worker out on the streets, working somewhere else, not shared amongst all Newfoundlanders, but they reached into the pockets of public servants. That is what this Government has done with this bill, and that is why it is unfair.

Let us say, in addition to being a public servant, you also happen to be a woman who has benefitted from the pay equity agreement that this Government has signed repeatedly, that, commencing in 1988, you will be compensated for discrimination. Now, let us say, for example, that this government worker, it turns out as a result of these provisions, is entitled to compensation at the rate of $500 per year, not necessarily very much. I would not be at all surprised if we are going to have compensation figures approaching that; $500 per year is not unusual, not unlikely. We will say to this government worker, in addition to the $1,800 that that `short and curly' Kitchen over there wants out of your pocket, he wants $500 per year, if you happen to be a woman, for the last three years, 1988, 1989, and 1990, another $1,500 that this Government wants from you. That is what is wrong with this bill, it is unfair and unequal to women who happen to be affected by the pay equity legislation, and it is unfair to all public sector employees who are affected, because this Government is saying to them: From your negotiated or arbitrated wage increases, we want you to donate that much money.

Let us take somebody who does not even have an agreement. There are lots of them out there. Memorial University professors do not have an agreement. We know from the government document that inflation, the cost of living, for the next fiscal year, is going to rise by 6 per cent. Let us say the average university professor makes $30,000 - I think they make a little more than that, but let us say they make $30,000. Six percent on $30,000 is $1,800. So, this Government is saying to university professors: We want $1,800 out of your ability to spend, so we picked a certain group of Newfoundland workers and said, `You must pay' - not the whole of the Newfoundland economy, not the whole of the Newfoundland people, but specific people who happen to be employed by the public service.

The Member for Trinity North happens to have a job in the House of Assembly and he has a choice, he can vote for or against the bill, but if he had not been elected he would have had no choice. I suspect he is now going to vote in favour of the bill, like all the people over there; they do not have a right to vote on their own, they do not have a mind of their own. They will have to vote for this bill, if not they will be kicked out of the caucus. The hon. the Member for Fortune - Hermitage, who just recently crossed the House, will vote in favour of it, too. And he will say, I will donate, from my pocket, a special amount towards this bill. Well, that is fair enough, he is entitled to do that, he has that right. He can vote for or against it, but he will vote for it because he joined that party, and that is the cause he took up.

The people who do not have that choice, Mr. Chairman, are the people this bill affects. This Government is unfairly and discriminatorily saying, `We want you to take out of your pockets, from your negotiated salaries, a contribution to the Newfoundland economy, a special contribution from you, a special tax, let us say, for all public servants - not a wage freeze for the future but the taking away of something they have either negotiated and are entitled to by contract, not some agreement that is willy-nilly, that maybe exists and maybe does not, that can be changed, as the Member for LaPoile says, but something that has been negotiated and is legally binding until you guys change the laws. You guys changed the laws and you imposed an extra burden, an extra tax on public servants because they happen to be public servants, an additional burden on women because they happen to be women. This Government have discriminated against them and the previous Government discriminated against them. They recognize it, you recognize it, and you are prepared to continue to do that. That is what is wrong with this bill, it is unfair. You had a choice. You did not have to be unfair. You chose to be unfair to public servants and you chose to be unfair to women, that is the choice you made.

Now, if you say you have no choice but to be unfair against women and against public servants then you are wrong. I say to the Premier, it is just simply wrong. It is not appropriate. It is not right. It is wrong and you should not do it, you should change your mind. Mr. Chairman, that is what this Government have done, they have made a grave mistake. They have failed to recognize that what they are doing is unfair to the public servants of this Province. It treats them unfairly when compared to the rest of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, who ought to be sharing equally in the burdens of the finances of this Province. They ought to be sharing fairly in the extra burdens. That is what this Government ought to be doing and they have failed to do that. I am not surprised when you think about it. I am not surprised that the galleries are not filled with people whom this Government is hurting, because they are disgusted. They have been here and have heard what this Government is saying. They have heard them laugh and chuckle, and ha-ha-ha on the ripping up of contracts that they have negotiated, agreed to, and signed, and are prepared to dishonour. That is what this Government have done. I am not surprised that people stay away, when they come here and see hon. members laughing, giggling, shouting, and yelling, and not taking seriously the rights of workers in this Province when they sit down and negotiate collective agreements. I am not surprised. They are disgusted.

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible) serious.

MR. HARRIS: Here is the Premier saying, `How can we take this seriously?' How can the people of Newfoundland take seriously, a Government who are ripping up their contracts which were signed and agreed to? That is one of the major flaws of this Government and this bill. Not only have they been dishonest with the people of Newfoundland - I will go back to what the President of Treasury Board said when he got up for his few comments after my last intervention. He said that the Government of Ontario ought to have brought in a new budget. Well, Mr. Chairman, that has nothing to do with it. The Government of Ontario is not going to be bringing in measures to rip up collective agreements. I am not in a position to guarantee him that but if I want to make a prediction, I will give you a prediction that the Government of Ontario will not be ripping up collective agreements that they have negotiated and signed. I have a great suspicion, Mr. Chairman, back last September or October, after the arbitration came down, it seemed, all of a sudden, it was pretty easy for this Government to negotiate collective agreements, there were no strikes, they would stay up late at night and early in the morning and then they would sign collective agreements; this went on for a period of months. I wondered why it was so easy and I think I know, now, because they had no intention of honouring them. They were quite happy to go through the charade all last fall and into March month. They were quite happy to go through that charade because they had no real intention of honouring them. That is why I think they are being dishonest. That is why I think, if they really were serious about the financial situation of the Province and wanted to make everybody know it, last fall, they would not have negotiated those agreements. They would have brought in a new budget, then, and told the people what the real facts were and what measures they intended to take. That is what they would have done.

That is the difference between this Government, Mr. Chairman, and the Government of Ontario. If the Government of Ontario had the kind of financial problems that this Government said they had and was going to do the kinds of things that this Government said they were going to do, they would have brought in a budget. They did not do it because they are not going to rip up collective agreements, they are not going to destroy collective bargaining in the public service. This Government did, and that is why, Mr. Chairman, the public servants of this Province who supported them will turn against them. Some of them may have supported the Government, some may have supported the Premier, some may have supported the President of Treasury Board, out in his district, but they will not the next time. Hopefully, they have learned their lesson, and we will find out, Mr. Chairman, next time, whether, in fact, they have. This Government is teaching them a lesson, though, I guarantee you that. Do not trust them, do not take them at their word, do not trust them on their signed agreements, that is the lesson this Government is teaching the workers of this Province, Mr. Chairman. I do not think they can withstand another election with that kind of a record.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

Before I recognize the hon. the Minister of Development, I would like to say to hon. members that during the last two or three days, there have been quite a few occasions when hon. members have been referred to as `Jack' and `Murf'. I refer hon. members to Beauchesne, page 142, paragraph 484, which says that in this House, you refer to hon. members and the districts they represent, not using their names. It does nothing for the decorum of this House to be shouting across `Murf', `Jack', or any other names.

The hon. the Minister of Development.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, I would like to say a few words about this piece of legislation.

Mr. Chairman, this Government does not take any great pleasure in bringing forward this particular piece of legislation, but it has to be repeated that you can only act and react within the confines in which you find yourself, and the Government found itself extremely confined when we took over. I do not have to repeat the debt situation we found ourselves in, but, in some way, it was considerable, it was $5.3 billion. The interest rates on those debts, on an annual basis, are $528 million. What we are trying to say through this legislation - it is not a happy piece of legislation, not one that people can take great pride in, but within the limitations of what we have, and trying to preserve the integrity of the civil service as best we can, we cannot borrow, we cannot tax, so we have to cut. But, Mr. Chairman, I have not heard a soul on the other side of the House offer any solutions. I have not heard one single solution.

MR. MATTHEWS: That is not true!


MR. FUREY: The hon. the Member for Grand Bank says that is not true, they offered solutions.


MR. FUREY: I did not hear the solutions. Perhaps, when the hon. the Member for Grand Bank stands again tonight, he can tell the House what the real solutions are and what the alternatives are.

I hope the hon. the Member for St. John's East is not going anywhere, because I want to turn my attention to him, now. I have heard the hon. member speak a number of times in the House now, but I have not heard him offer one single solution to the difficult problems in which we find ourselves.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) says don't do it.

MR. FUREY: Don't do it, that was the solution by the New Democrats: `Don't do it.' Mr. Chairman, I tell you, in the limited time that I have been involved in politics - and I think most members on the other side would agree with this - I have never, in all my life, seen a party so steeped and immersed in hypocrisy as the New Democratic Party.

Now, I know they do not share the views of the Liberal Party and I know they certainly do not share of the views of the Conservative Party, but, in the limited time that I have served in the Legislature - and I have served as an Opposition member, a Government member and a minister - I have never seen such hypocrisy.

Members on this side, who served in Opposition, and members on that side, as well, would recall that the NDP could not take a consistent position; their position on the seal hunt was one thing one week and something else the next week; their position on the NATO base, whether that was right for Newfoundland, was one thing one week and something else completely, diametrically different the next week. In fact, the hon. the Member for St. John's East should know that his two predecessors, the Member for St. John's East before him and the Member for Menihek, were commonly referred to as 'Flip and Flop', they flip-flopped on every single issue before the Legislature that required some guts, where you had to dig down and deal with the problem. Whenever the flack came, they would crawl into the safety of the shadows of the Assembly and would not stand to take a position.

In fact, Mr. Chairman - and members on the opposite side will remember this, the Member for Humber East, in her capacity as Justice Minister, will remember this - the day the resolution on the NATO base for Goose Bay was brought to the floor of the House, they ran out of the Assembly! They scurried out between the curtains and hid. We asked them to come back in, the Speaker waited for them to come back, and they tiptoed back in, thinking the vote was over, but it was not over, and they bolted back out of the House again; the hon. the Opposition House Leader, I believe, was the Government House Leader.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) motion.

MR. FUREY: You moved the motion. So, when the hon. the Member for St. John's East stands in his place pontificating and dripping in hypocrisy, he should know that he represents the party that best exemplifies hypocrisy, and also, Mr. Chairman, best exemplifies the party that does not have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and make tough decisions, now matter how right they are; they crawl into the shadows of safety and go with whatever the political polls say, they are followers of polls. Give Peter Fenwick credit, he at least put in the paper - last week, somebody was telling me he wrote that, no, what the Liberals did might not have been tasteful, no, it might not have been good, politically expedient stuff, but it had to be done. And I did not hear the hon. the Member for St. John's East rise in his place and say that the former leader was correct in his statements that the rationalization of the hospital system was long overdue; he did not stand in his place and say that. But let me tell him something else, Mr. Chairman, it was his party in Ontario that campaigned. He talks about hypocrisy and ripping things up. Well, it was his party, just six or eight short months ago, that came to power in a wave of orange, across Ontario, and do you know what they ran on, Mr. Chairman? They ran on the Agenda for the People. That is what they ran on. That was their election platform: the Agenda for the People, and it was a litany of very exciting promises that were catalogued and laid out, specific promises - not platitudes, not rhetoric - very specific promises.

Now, I notice, Mr. Floyd Laughren, their Finance Minister -

AN HON. MEMBER: `Pink Floyd'.

MR. FUREY: `Pink Floyd', they call him - just recently, in a number of articles, had the following to say about the people's agenda. Now, keep in mind what they ran on: the people's agenda. Here is what `Pink Floyd' said: - I quote him from the Toronto Star - `It would really be misleading to say we intend to implement the Agenda for the People in this term of office.'


MR. FUREY: `That is not what we meant.'


MR. FUREY: `So, four years from now, we might implement the Agenda for the People.' Here is what the Windsor Star said about it, and they quote the Finance Minister again. `Art critics will have a field day,' he said, `but it is quite right that many of the items in the Agenda for the People are far too expensive to implement.'


MR. FUREY: Hypocrisy, Mr. Chairman - hypocrisy. He went on again, a month later, in the Windsor Star. He said, `It is very painful to have to admit this, that despite what you said you were going to do, you just cannot do it in the first term of office.' Hypocrisy, Mr. Speaker. And, then, he went on in another leading national paper to say, 'No politicians like to live with broken promises, but I guess we will have to.' And he said, `We will not be able to implement this Agenda for the People, the way we thought we could, and it is as simple as that.' Hypocrisy, Mr. Chairman - hypocrisy, the Agenda for the People, a litany of glowing glistening promises specifically outlining and passing to the people a bill of goods. So, this Government does not need to take any lectures, Mr. Chairman, any lectures, from the NDP, because they have written the book on hypocrisy.

Mr. Chairman, nuclear energy: What did they say? Before the election, they said, and I quote, `a phase out of all existing nuclear reactors.' That was on August 14, 1990 from their letter to the pollution probe, the lobby group in Ontario. What did they say after? They were going to eliminate the nuclear reactors.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes they are.

MR. FUREY: That is what they were going to do.

AN HON. MEMBER: They said they would.

MR. FUREY: Afterwards, and I quote the Premier, Bob Rae, he said, `I have an obligation to all the people of the Province to keep the lights on.'

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, he has.

MR. FUREY: `That is what I have. And one of the things we have to consider as a Province and weighing the balance between the alternatives in terms of their efficiency and in terms of their cost both economic and environmental, is nuclear reactors.' Hypocrisy, Mr. Chairman. The hypocrisy just builds and grows bigger and goes on and on. On the environment, `an immediate ban on CFCs in flexible furniture foam and rigid foam insulation, with a complete ban by 1995' - eight or nine months later, no action, nothing, not a peep, not a sound, nothing from the NDP. And the Environment Minister in Newfoundland would be interested in this, in listening to the litany of promises that brought the orange wave into Ontario. But they will go out just as fast, I have no doubt about that. They said they would enact the Environmental Bill of Rights immediately. That is what they said during the election, And that they would pass the Environmental Bill of Rights as their first piece of legislation. We have not heard a peep since, not a peep. Hypocrisy, Mr. Chairman.

The hon. the Member for St. John's East, who stands up with no solutions, with his rhetoric, hollow as it is, day after day, and his simple speeches - too simple, far too simple, for somebody who graduated from the London School of Economics, far too simple for a legally trained mind, and a good mind. He has a good, legally trained mind. But to stand over there and listen to that nonsense coming out of such a good mind, is just unacceptable to this Assembly, Mr. Chairman.

Now, what else did they say? Here is what they said about tuition fees in Ontario. They were going to establish a post-secondary education system, where admissions are based on merit rather than affordability, and eliminate tuition fees. That is what they said during the election. Here is what they said afterwards when they put an 8 per cent increase on tuition fees. They said, and I quote: `There is no free lunch.' Who said there's a free lunch? There never was a free lunch, there certainly is not a free lunch, and there will not be a free lunch. That is what they said after the election. Hypocrisy, Mr. Chairman.

So, I caution all Members, all fifty-one who occupy chairs, whenever the member stands and mouths platitudes prompted by `Cle', remember, their foundation is based in hypocrisy.

Child care, Mr. Chairman, here is what the New Democrats said about child care. New Democrats would provide funding for 10,000 new non-profit child care spaces and offer subsidies for 10,000 spaces in each of the next two years. To date, they have offered 5,000 new child care spaces, 5,000. That is it. And that is all they are intending to do. Why do I say that is all they are intending to do? We just wrote a difficult Budget in this little Province. This little Province had $5.3 billion worth of debt and a current account problem that we were struggling with because the bond markets were watching and our options were limited.

You think we have problems? You should see what old `Pink Floyd', in Ontario, has on his plate, $2.5 billion in this year's debt and 8 per cent across the board for hospitals and schools with no accountability of where the revenue will come to be added to this current debt. I predict his debt will be somewhere around $4 billion to $5 billion. And you talk about Newfoundland struggling. Wait until `Pink Floyd' gets his hands on that. And we all know what the NDP philosophy is: Spend your way out of a recession. Spend like drunken sailors, do not worry about fiscal accountability. We will deal with that later when the credit rating starts dropping. And that is why I say to the hon. member, who has a good mind and a good background, and who knows economics, he cannot stand there and mouth hollow rhetoric like that. He has to stand up using his background, his knowledge and his good mind and say: Members, Ministers, Government, here are some solutions, not a solution!


MR. FUREY: Now, listen, you guys relax or I will start attacking you fellows! You guys just sit back and enjoy the show.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Now, listen! You are really going to anger me and I am going to have to turn my attention from `Pink Floyd' and `Union Jack', to over there.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The Chair has already ruled on -

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, protect me from the almost-dumped Opposition House Leader, please.

As I was saying, you have to look at the litany of promises, you have to look at the record of the NDP.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

MR. FUREY: By leave, Mr. Chairman. Surely, you are going to give me leave!

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The hon. the Minister of Development is now leaving his place. I hope he has paid his actor dues.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is running away from me. He can't take the heat.

MR. HARRIS: He is running away, now. He can't stand the heat. He does not mind getting up and putting on a performance. I hope he has paid his actor dues, because if he has not they are going to fine him for putting on a performance without having a proper licence. He cannot stay in here to hear the response. All he wanted to do was have a chance to speak about the party that his Government fears the most.

His Government fears this party the most, Mr. Chairman, because he knows, despite the rhetoric of his Government - his party when they were campaigning for office - and their talk about fairness and balance and integrity, we heard him criticize the New Democratic Party. And you heard him criticize me for getting up in this House and saying this bill was unfair to certain segments of our society. We did not hear a word about the bill. We did not hear a word about the unfairness of that bill. What we heard was pillory against and a few quotes that some of his researchers have got together, quotes out of context, partial quotes from partial stories gathered together from that famous national newspaper of total objectivity, the Toronto Star, which we all know is a paper that has decidedly Liberal views.

Let me tell you some of the things - and I think some of the things the hon. the Minister of Development said are, in fact, true, that the Government of Ontario is not implementing all of its program in the first year, in the first term of office.


MR. HARRIS: No, they are not. In fact, they have said exactly that. Let me read to you from something that was issued by the Ontario Premier's Office that refers to the commitments they made during the election campaign. Here is what they say: `Some commentators and members of the Opposition have taken a score sheet approach to government actions and announcements. From this point of view, all commitments, whether made during the election campaign, by the caucus while in Opposition, or by party conventions, are seen as promises for immediate government action. Anything less than full and immediate implementation is seen as broken promises or a reversal of policy.' They say, and here is the responsible part, `The double whammy of the economic recession, lower revenues combined with tremendous increases in costs associated with unemployment, like social assistance, have limited our ability to move as quickly as we would like.'

Now, the Minister of Development does not want to hear this. All he wants to do is stand up and practice his acting skills and, being demonstrative by nature, talk to the House and wave his arms around. He does not want to listen to what the Government of Ontario really says. What they have said is that their ability to move as quickly as they would like is limited, `but we remain committed to reform, to positive changes for working people, to greater fairness and integrity in Government.'

But, Mr. Chairman, action was taken, with one billion dollars in capital programme spending in order to create jobs for people in Ontario. That is what they did, along with bringing in many other policies as part of their programme. Of course, there are things they cannot do all at once, no government can. But to suggest that the Ontario Government, because they have not implemented all of their policies, because they are responsible, to suggest that that is hypocritical is to try to provide a defence for their lack of integrity, and a smoke screen for the lack of fairness inherent in this bill.

There was no comment by the Minister of Development about the unfairness of this bill to a particular section of the public, public sector workers. Now, he wants to talk about alternatives.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: I say to this Government, there are alternatives. The President of Treasury Board has said there were a number of alternatives discussed with the unions. He did not tell us what they were. He did not come here and tell us what they were. He told us what one of them was. He said that one of them was having a two-week layoff, and that was proposed by one of the unions. That was one alternative measure. He has not told us what other ones were discussed. And we have, Mr. Chairman, a Minister of Development who claims - along with his Government, and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations - that the policies of that Department, through Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, are going to bring about economic recovery in this Province. Well, he has not convinced us yet and he certainly - maybe he did not try. Maybe one of the alternatives was to convince the bond market that his economic recovery plans were going to work and that, in the short-term, we could not be unfair to Government workers as a particular segment of people who should be discriminated against by this Government.

The alternative had to be a combination of economic measures and fairness to Government workers, fairness to all people, so that the burden of the financial constraints of this Government ought to be shared by all of the people of Newfoundland, not just individuals who happen to be working for the Government. That is why this Government is unfair, and that is why there is no comparison to the commitments to integrity and fairness that I am convinced you will see in Ontario, that you do not see in this Government. Because they have abandoned - to them fairness is just a slogan, just rhetoric. In practice, they are prepared to discriminate against Government workers and to discriminate, further, against women. That is what is wrong with this Government, Mr. Chairman. Fairness is a slogan, not a reality. Thank you.

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

MR. PARSONS: We are tired and our legs are getting cramped from sitting here. It is hard when you have so many people on this side wanting to say a few words. But for the last fifteen minutes, Mr. Chairman, I was amazed. Because some of the members on this side were giving the Minister of Development a five and a six, and the hon. the Member for St. John's East, a three or a four. But, to put everything in its right perspective, I will have to give the Minister of Development a little higher than that, I will have to give him a seven. Because he put on a great performance and what he said, in essence, was the truth. Most of his speech pertained to the NDP, and I have no problem with that, but what he talked about was Ontario and the broken promises of the NDP. Well, now, you talk about two people being in bed together! What have the Liberals done since 1989 only broken every promise they made during the election campaign? They never kept one single promise they made during the election campaign, not one. Would someone get up and relate to me one thing they have done? - the Minister of Education, abolishing the school tax -

MR. DOYLE: Keeping hospital beds open.

MR. PARSONS: - keeping hospital beds open, increasing the number of hospital beds -

MR. DOYLE: Better labour relations.

MR. PARSONS: - better labour relations with the unions, all kinds of contracts being given out - `Come in, what percentage do you want?'

MR. DOYLE: A typical (inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: Yes. Oh, my goodness, Mr. Chairman, I am flabbergasted. I believe the Member for LaPoile is still here. Yes, I can see him. I was listening to his first speech, the second time I did not listen to it in its entirety, but he started talking about what is happening federally, you know, the responsibility lies partially with the feds, the greater responsibility.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: My friend, all this started a long time ago, in your buddies' reign, in Trudeau's reign, when we almost - we did not almost, we became a socialist country. That is what happened. Since this Government in Ottawa took over, let me tell you some of the things they did.

AN HON. MEMBER: Free trade.

MR. PARSONS: Free trade, yes, good, excellent! We would have never made it now. Read the papers and see what the Americans are saying about it now. We would have never reached it now.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: That is right. They say they have been hoodwinked.


MR. PARSONS: Read the papers, boys! Come off it! It is the best thing that ever happened to Canada and it will go down in history as Canada'a biggest achievement.

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

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Chairman, I do not mind a bit of shouting and bantering in debate back and forth across this House, but Your Honour - and I know Your Honour was trying - Your Honour was shouting at the top of his lungs and could not be heard over the pandemonium on that side of the House. The Premier is gone, the Government House Leader is gone, they are gone off their rockers over there. The Chairman and the Speaker have one option open to them, when they cannot maintain order in the House, which is to leave the Chair and leave the Chamber. That is the option open to the Speaker and it should have been done that time, Sir.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!


MR. FUREY: His only valid point was that there was too much noise and in fact there was, Your Honour; and it was coming from both sides of the House, so both sides of the House should be told to calm down.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The point of order raised was a valid point of order. The Chair was trying to get the attention of the hon. member to ask him to take his seat so that I could bring the Chamber to order. There was a lot of noise in the Chamber and the hon. member could not be heard. All members know that the Standing Orders do not provide for interjection, or comment of any sort, when an hon. member has been recognized by the Chair to speak. Again, I ask all hon. members for their co-operation.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I again refer to the Free Trade Agreement, and I say, from my point of view and from what I have read about it, it will go down in history as the greatest thing that ever happened in Canada.

In referring to Bill 16, I will not do what the hon. the Member for Exploits did yesterday.

AN HON. MEMBER: What was that?

MR. PARSONS: I think he read in "The Sunday Express" that there is a possible chance of his getting into Cabinet, and because the Premier was in his place yesterday, the member got up and was very good, in espousing this to the Premier and saying: `Now, you know, I hope you have already chosen my place up front.' Now, I looked all along the front and cannot find anyone to put out, so you did not achieve -

MR. DOYLE: Just a couple of resignations.

MR. PARSONS: Just a couple of resignations, but you did not achieve anything. Now, I say of the hon. the Government House Leader, that when it gets out what really is in Bill 16, then there might be a vacancy. I would not like to see it, because I think the hon. gentleman does a fairly good job, but with Bill 16, he did not do it himself; it was not through his influence that this infamous bill came to the House. He was influenced by perhaps the Chairman of the Economic Recovery Commission or other people, lawyers, business people, or whomever; I do not think the President of Treasury Board was capable of bringing Bill 16 before this House.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not nasty enough.

MR. PARSONS: He was forced. No, he is not nasty enough.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: Well, be that as it may, I know he was a born Socialist at one time, but I mean, people can change; I suppose, if my old advocate over there, the Minister of Social Services, had been around, he would have said, you were an anti-confederate, and now you are a real true confederate, so yes, that is true, people can change and the President of Treasury Board, more than likely, has changed.

I want to go back to a few things the Member for La Poile said. He talked about why we are in the situation we are in because of what the Federal Government have done, because of what they have taken away from us. Let me say to the hon. gentleman what the Federal Government has done.

The National Energy Programme caused this country, through your buddy, Trudeau -

AN HON. MEMBER: Bill 16.

MR. PARSONS: We are getting to Bill 16, just be quiet for a minute.

AN HON. MEMBER: Name that hon. gentleman over there.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. PARSONS: This country lost $55 billion through that NEP that the Liberal Government brought in, in Ottawa, the National Energy Programme - $55 billion. Perhaps we could have had more transfer payments if that mess was not made by the former Liberal regime in Ottawa.

There is a bill before Parliament now to privatize Petro Canada.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: I am getting to Bill 16, it all relates -

AN HON. MEMBER: Tell us what (inaudible) about Bill 16.

MR. PARSONS: Yes, tell us what the Minister of Development said about Bill 16.

MR. SIMMS: Tell the Member for Eagle River to stop interrupting. Put the clamps on your members over there.

MR. FUREY: Give us an alternative.

MR. PARSONS: The alternative? There is one really basic alternative. When the Minister of Development rose tonight, he said he heard a lot of dialogue, but he asks, what is the alternative. I told him what the alternative was the first day I rose in my place; I mean, I find that young man a very intelligent young man.


MR. PARSONS: I do, I do. And he asked for the solution. Sure, I had the solution.


MR. PARSONS: No, dissolve the ERC, $44 million! That Minister is quite capable of handling Development in this Province, Mr. Speaker. There is one way, $44 million.


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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

The Chair has just reminded hon. members that there is no provision for interjection or asking questions unless the hon. member gives leave, and the hon. member has not given leave to any member to my left to ask questions.

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

MR. PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, $44 million, that is one fine lot of money. With it, we could keep a lot of hospital beds open; we could keep on a lot of the people you are laying off, that you are depriving of their livelihoods.

Now, Mr. Chairman, on occasion here I have rose in my place and asked the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation about living up to the Government's commitment to start the Outer Ring Road, the Torbay by-pass road. I mean, Mr. Chairman, of the 2,000 people they laid off, this could possibly take up some of the slack. What is this Government doing about it? What are the ministers over there, the St. John's ministers, saying to the President of Treasury Board? What are they saying to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation?

AN HON. MEMBER: Nothing.

MR. PARSONS: They are not doing anything. They are sitting on their oars. Well, it is time to get out and paddle the boat because, if not, you will see what will happen. I mean, I am surprised at the Minister of Education, that he has not interjected, that he has not used his power, because I am sure he has some power in Cabinet.

MR. SIMMS: He is on the Planning and Priorities Committee.

MR. PARSONS: He is on the Planning and Priorities Committee, sure, he is. The Minister of Development, although he is not representing a St. John's seat, is certainly living here. He certainly sees the need. The Minister of Mines, I am sure, agrees with me. I am positive he would like to see this Outer Ring Road started. Imagine, perhaps there are 1,000 jobs out there.

Now, you asked what the other solutions were. When the unions met with the President of Treasury Board, he told us tonight, one of the unions was prepared to lay off more of their people. I have never heard anything like that before.

Mr. Chairman, every union person, every union leader has an obligation to his people, to work for them to keep them in their jobs. That is his job. It was frightening for me, a union man myself - I was a shop steward for thirteen or fourteen years.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: Yes, I thought I was a fairly good union man.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: Yes, and the hon. the Member for Placentia will know that I played a major role when the police force was working forty-eight hours. We also formed a little group among ourselves. We were not allowed to call ourselves a union at that time because we would be fired, but we did form a group and we finally had the forty-eight hours reduced to forty hours.

AN HON. MEMBER: The same as today.

MR. PARSONS: Oh yes, almost the same as today. You would be fired.

Mr. Chairman, I cannot, for the life of me, understand what went on behind those closed doors. Now, the President of Treasury Board told us a little bit tonight. He said one small union was satisfied to have more layoffs. I would like to know who that was. The members of that union would certainly like to know. You know, that is a breach of trust. Perhaps, what went on behind closed doors is why we do not have any union management in the seats. Perhaps it is a done deal. Perhaps there was a deal cooked up. There has to be something, Mr. Chairman. Then, on the other side of the coin, all those agreements were signed. Can you imagine the former Government doing what you have just done? I am not saying you did not need restraints. If the President of Treasury Board says, `We are down as far as we can go. If we had to borrow more money we would be in deep trouble,' well, I would say he is the person who knows. He is in the position, not me. I assume, and I can see no reason why I should mistrust him, when he is saying that he is telling the truth, but, in the meantime, there were other ways of doing it. I cannot, for the life of me - I heard the Minister of Social Services the other day laugh about the Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I have great difficulty listening to the hon. the Member for St. John's East Extern. We have listened to the hon. the Member for St. John's East and between the two of them, for the most part of this evening, they have not offered one single solution.

Now, I would suggest to the hon. the Member for St. John's East Extern - and I like the gentleman, he really is a very conscientious Member. He comes back after reading "The St. Petersburg Times" for three weeks and tells us that free trade is a good deal. I would suggest to the hon. member - and, you know, he might have gotten a copy or two of "The Globe and Mail" -


MR. MURPHY Mr. Chairman, may I have equal order?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. MURPHY: He comes charging back after his vacation, well deserved, and tells us that free trade is a wonderful, marvellous thing. I do not have time to get into some of the good Canadian articles that have been written recently, totally discrediting free trade.

Now, the NDP Government are now blaming free trade for the loss of 80,000 jobs in the Province of Ontario. I do not know where the hon. member is getting his information. Last night, members here stood up and said emphatically they felt that the bill hon. members are supposed to be discussing was one that was very unpalatable, totally unpalatable, it was medicine we did not want to take but if we knew that we were going to get well, we had no other option. Then, members on this side got up and explained the position this Government found itself in and asked hon. members opposite to give us their remedy to stop the freezes, to stop what they called cutbacks and stop the layoffs, and still we have heard the same old rhetoric, the same old songs with different words from different members accusing this Government -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: And now the hon. the Member for Kilbride is charging into the unions trying to find out that the big public service unions in this Province have somehow or another cooked a little deal with the President of Treasury Board, another accusation because what the hon. member is stating and inferring is that if those unions were really concerned, really cared about the people they are representing, all during the debate of this particular bill, they should have these galleries filled. As you can see the galleries are very far from filled. I will let the hon. member draw his conclusions as to why they are not.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: I will tell you why they are not. It is because they do not feel there is any competence on the other side to represent them, that is why they are not up there, and for no other reason. I suggest to the hon. members that most of the people in this Province understand the predicament that this Government finds itself in. I, for sure, as every member here, would sit with bated breath, listening to the offer of solutions as to how this Government should handle this situation.

Now, we know who created the situation. We know it was the transfer payments. I can refer to all kinds of material I have here in 198, when the then Premier, Mr. Peckford, was on his knees with a $78 million deficit,screaming to the feds, `Please help us.' So, there has been constant rhetoric, and the hon. the Leader of the Opposition knows only too well what his government went through when they approached the feds. And now, not two years later, this Government has faced the biggest downturn in transfer payments in the history of the Province. We did not get the revenues we projected, and the options are quite simple, that we increase taxes or, as my hon. colleague for St. John's East, says, borrow. Borrow, let her go, maybe Armageddon will come. That is the NDP philosophy. Maybe Armageddon will come and we will not have to pay it. What foolishness! What logic! There is more logic in an empty barrel, more logic in Mount Pearl with bright lights.

AN HON. MEMBER: A great speech!

MR. MURPHY: Well, it is not a great speech. And I invite hon. members to stand in their places and offer some alternatives for the ministers in this Government, for the Cabinet in this Government, to take up to their meeting Thursday and say: `Well, now, the hon. the member for Humber Valley made a good suggestion. And the hon. Member for Grand Falls, well, he might have made a good suggestion.'

Being that it is 9:58 p.m., Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Trinity - Bay de Verde.

MR. L. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole have considered the matters to them referred, have directed me to report progress and ask leave to sit again.

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

MR. SPEAKER: This House now stands adjourned until tomorrow, Wednesday, at 2:00 p.m.