April 18, 1991                   HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS            Vol. XLI  No. 32

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order please!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. KELLAND: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This brief announcement would be of particular interest to my colleague the hon. Member for Torngat Mountains. As he is undergoing a period of bereavement at the moment we will make absolutely certain that he has all the full details related to the statement as soon as propriety permits me to do that.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to announce today that there will be an open season for hunting polar bears in the portion of Labrador North of Anakalik Brook. A total of four licenses will be made available and only one bear my be taken on each license. Only residents of the Torngat Mountains electoral district will be permitted to utilize the licenses which will be available from the Labrador Inuit Association office in Nain, Labrador. Persons in that zone who wish to be considered for this hunting opportunity should contact the LIA office in Nain.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that the management of polar bears in Canada is closely monitored, co-operatively by all jurisdictions responsible for the species. A polar bear hunting season has been opened in Labrador because the population is considered capable of withstanding a harvest. The results of the hunt will be analyzed by wildlife division biologists who will be updating and expanding their data base for this species in Newfoundland and Labrador. We will allow hunting of the species to be permitted until November 1991, or until the four licenses have been utilized.

Thank you.

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

MR. PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

First of all I would like to thank the Minister for a copy of his statement well in advance of the opening of the House. I am doing this today, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my friend and colleague the Member for Torngat Mountains. I am sure that I express the sentiments that he would in saying that it is a good thing, it is a step in the right direction, and again I am sure he would be quite pleased that only residents of Torngat Mountains are eligible. In saying that, Mr. Speaker, I again know that I am expressing the wishes of the hon. Member in saying that I would like to see this hunt only available for native people, whereas now the Minister leaves the door open a little, I think, and mounties, teachers, or anyone else can apply on a first come, first served basis. With that said, Mr. Speaker, I think it is good, and I think the people of Labrador will be responsive to it, and I hope that native people will get the first crack at it.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Questions

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I missed the House the last day or two, so I have been trying to catch up on some of the allegations and responses being given to a certain issue that has arisen. In order to help me do a complete assessment of it, as one of the critics on this side of House, I wonder if the Minister of Social Services can tell me, or first of all perhaps, can he confirm to the House that he promised his campaign manager in the last election that he would find him a position in the public service of the Province? Could he confirm that? I know that has been one of the allegations.

Secondly, and perhaps even more interestingly, I understand that the individual, I will not name the individual, but the individual concerned had in his possession or had provided to him somehow, somewhere, a list of questions that the Public Service Commission uses during interview processes. That is the way I understand it. Perhaps I am incorrect, but if it is, can the Minister tell me if he has had a chance to find out exactly how the individual in question came into possession of those interview questions?

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I guess, Mr. Speaker, I know the immunity of the House of Assembly gives hon. Members certain rights over there to make false accusations and go on with the political garbage that they are going on with, and it is my responsibility as Minister of the Crown and as a Minister of the House of Assembly to answer these questions to the best of my ability. As far as the individual was my campaign manager during the last election and the campaign manager during the election in 1985, I only pray to God that I will be alive for the next election because I will be running again, and he will be my campaign manager then. He is now my executive assistant. He is not, has not, and I cannot say will never, but up to this date has never applied for a position with the Public Service Commission.

As far as the other allegations, made by the looniest individual who has made all these allegations this week, that matter is under investigation by the Public Service Commission and they will tell their findings when the investigation is completed.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: I thank hon. Members opposite.

Mr. Speaker, perhaps in a supplementary the Minister can tell us this instead of playing games. I mean the individual concerned is one Mr. Stoyles, I believe, so perhaps he is not his campaign manager, but obviously I think he has admitted that he certainly has been a campaign worker for him. Can he still answer the question? Can he tell us how that individual came into possession of interview questions used by the Public Service Commission? Has he had a chance to get an answer to that?

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, that is far from the truth and it proves quite clearly, as the hon. Member just said, he does not even know the answers. The allegation he used about my campaign manager is as far from the truth as the other allegations.

The matter of a list of questions I have absolutely no knowledge of, except the fact that it was made by an individual for some reason or other. And you can make the allegation that the Minister of Social Services sold drugs last week, that the Minister of Social Services robbed a bank last week, that the Minister of Social Services travelled to Cuba or to Kuwait and was part of Saddam Hussein's war. This allegation is just as foolish.

An internal investigation is being carried out by the Public Service Commission and when the Commission comes out with its findings, it will be released to the House of Assembly and to whomever else is concerned about it.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, thank you. As much as this Minister wants this issue to go away, it will not go away. And flippant answers, I can assure him, will not help his situation. May I ask the Premier a question? Yesterday and now today apparently the Minister has given some fairly flippant answers I think to pretty serious questions. We are asking the questions, and I think we are entitled to some serious answers.

Specifically, the Premier is aware of the allegations which have been made. The allegation as I understood it is that the Minister's Executive Assistant somehow provided this information, or this questionaire, or these questions at least, to this particular individual who was to be interviewed, as I understand it, through a Public Service competition for a position at the Whitbourne detention centre.

Now that is the allegation and that is the question we are trying to get answered, but the Minister does not intend to answer it. So I am asking the Premier if, in fact, he has included this latest allegation then in his most recent investigations of the actions of the Minister and his staff, which he indicated to us some time ago he was investigating and would further investigate, and is he at all concerned about this latest allegation and whether or not that might compromise the Public Service Commission?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Let me state at the outset, the hon. Member is incorrect. I at no time said I am investigating the Minister and his staff. I said I am investigating the allegations which have been made. Bearing in mind the source of the allegations, I also expressed grave doubt that there was any validity to them, but if there was and the investigation demonstrated any validity, I would of course, take whatever action was appropriate. Now the Opposition House Leader wants to convert it into something else and I will not let him do that.

With respect to the other question about the Public Service Commission and the delivery of questions - I heard delivery of answers to somebody who was applying - I, like the Opposition House Leader, was away yesterday; I just arrived back about forty minutes ago now, so I am not totally up to speed on every nuance and detail that occurred. But I have been advised of the event and I have also been advised that as the Minister indicated, the Public Service Commission acting under Sections 16 and 17 of the Act has the authority - and not only the authority, the responsibility - to investigate and carry out any of these events, or carry out investigations into any such allegations.

And, Mr. Speaker, I will not sit here and allow the hon. the Opposition House Leader or any Member Opposite to turn this into a political charade in the way in which they are doing, I will wait for the Public Service Commission to conduct its investigation as it does in the normal course. If as a result of that investigation there is any necessity whatsoever for me to take any action, action will be taken. But I will not allow the Opposition to turn this into the political witch-hunt they want to in the present circumstances.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This matter is much too serious and important I think to be swept under the rug or to be whitewashed. Now if the Premier is as certain as he pretends to be here today that this is nothing more than a charade, will he then order an independent enquiry into this allegation and all the other allegations, take it out from under his own wing and give it to somebody independent as he did one time before? Will he do that? We can then all be certain as to whether or not it is a charade.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker. And let me correct him again. I did not say that that was a charade. Maybe the allegation is totally accurate. It may well be. But that is what the Public Service Commission is given the power and responsibility under Sections 16 and 17 to correct. It is the charade that is going on right now in the House by the Opposition Leader that I call a charade - that is the charade!

Now if he wants me to appoint an independent person to determine whether or not those actions are a political charade, I think it is a waste of public funds to do so. I think it is obvious to everybody who looks at and hears the actions and comments that they will know it is a political charade.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. The Minister will recall that some time ago he requested proposals on engineering design work for several hospitals around the Province. Can the Minister confirm that two engineering consulting contracts have been awarded to a consortium consisting of Newlab Engineering Limited of South River and William Nycum and Associates of Nova Scotia for the design of hospitals at Burgeo and Port


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

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Speaker, as I understand it, that is correct. The consultant's contract was given to Newlab and Nycum, a consortium of these companies, and it was given because both hospitals are of the same design and it was thought it would be cheaper to give the contract to the one consultant firm, which was recommended by officials in my department.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Can the Minister confirm that at least in the case of Port Saunders, Newlab Engineering was not even on the recommended list, a list prepared by the committee from his department which assesses these proposals?

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

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Speaker, that is correct. They were recommended to do the Burgeo Hospital, but the method by which we do business in this Government is to try to save money for the taxpayers and in view of the fact that both hospitals were of exactly the same design, it was thought more prudent to give the contract to the one company and save the taxpayers' money.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am glad to see the Minister is interested in saving the taxpayers' money. But can the Minister tell us why it was necessary to award design contracts to a consortium where much of the design work will be done outside the Province, in Nova Scotia? And does the Minister not think there is architectural and engineering competence within this Province to be able to do such work?

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

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Speaker, the reason the contract was awarded to a consortium of a Newfoundland and an outside company was that we wanted to broaden the base of the expertise in Newfoundland. It was the recommendation made by the group of officials from my department and the Department of Health. They said there was indeed expertise in Newfoundland to do it, but they felt in order not to have a monopoly situation develop, it would be much better if we broadened the base to another company to have a pool of expertise available to do this type of design.

MR. R. AYLWARD: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So I see the Minister is not interested in saving money and spending the money we have within the Province. Is it not true that Newlab Engineering Limited of South River was awarded this design contract at the insistence of the Minister of Social Services who was determined to see that another of his campaign workers, Mr. Max Mercer, who is owner of Newlab Engineering was given this extra work, which was not recommended by the staff from his department, the Department of Health, or other departments, Mr. Speaker?

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, not again!

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

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Social Services had no input into it whatsoever. The recommendation was made by officials in my Department, and a decision was made to extend the contract to save money for the taxpayers.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Premier. Last year when the Premier was trying to defend the Government's disbanding the Ombudsman's office he said the Ombudsman's function could be discharged by open line radio hosts, fifty-two MHAs and, he stressed, by appeal boards such as the Social Services Appeals Board. With no Ombudsman, would the Premier not agree it is now imperative that quasi-judicial boards such as the Social Services Appeals Board be composed of qualified people who are independent of the Minister and the Cabinet?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, to the best of my knowledge the boards which are in place are basically qualified. It may well be that there are some members on boards who were appointed by the former government who may or may not have had qualifications and we have not taken any steps to remove them. That is entirely possible. And it may well be -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: And it may well be that we have made some appointments that were less than the best possible appointments. I do not say we are perfect and I do not claim to be perfect, but I would like to think, Mr. Speaker, that basically the appointments we have made to the boards since we have been there are competent, able people. If anybody has demonstrated, or if there is any demonstration of incompetence or incapability, I would have no hesitation in removing anybody who is incapable from any such boards - none whatsoever, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would ask the Premier to direct himself to the composition of quasi-judicial boards, and to the makeup of the Social Services Appeals Board in question. I am talking about the need to have people who are not only qualified but also impartial and seen to be impartial. Now surely the Premier has to admit that since the revelation that the present members of the Social Services Appeals Board appointed by his Government are political cronies of the Minister, and since the Minister was on television crowing that he would not appoint Tories to boards, that Board has no credibility. Will the Premier not take charge and reconstitute the Social Services Appeals Board by instructing the Public Service Commission to recruit and recommend candidates for appointment to that Board who are both qualified and independent, candidates who are the most meritorious?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Maybe we could get Ida Reid back. Mr. Speaker -


PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: So far I have gotten as far as "Mr. Speaker". Mr. Speaker, to be honest with you, in the last few days since this matter has arisen I have done some enquiry as to the nature of the Board. I would be hesitant to go quite so far as to call it quasi-judicial, although I would have to agree with the hon. Member that the Board makes decisions as to legal rights or entitlement under statutes and has to interpret statutes and regulations. Perhaps quasi-judicial is going a bit far, but it does have to do that kind of thing and I acknowledge that. And there has to be a certain level of competence in the Board. I do acknowledge that as well.

I am told that all members who are appointed to such boards either have the training beforehand or go through a process of training which equips them to do it. I will check and see whether or not these individuals had any particular training or qualification, and let the House know whether or not they had that particular training.

Mr. Speaker, I cannot say it embarrasses me but it concerns me a little to say that when you have quasi-judicial boards, ideally perhaps you should have legally trained people, lawyers, but to be honest, Mr. Speaker, the people of this Province cannot afford to hire lawyers to go on all these boards because they are too darn expensive, so instead we appoint independent, competent, capable people to do it and provide whatever training is necessary to give them the legal background to carry out the function, and this is a way of reducing the cost.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Premier asked: maybe we could get Ida Reid back. Maybe we could get the Ombudsman back, maybe we could have real change, maybe we can reform our ways of governing the Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. VERGE: Maybe the standards of the past are no longer good enough.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member is on a supplementary but it appears to me she is making a speech rather than asking a supplementary.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I am asking rhetorical questions. I say to the Premier: when social assistance recipients believe they have been shortchanged by the Department of Social Services, and remember it is their livelihood at stake, normally they exhaust all recourses. They go to senior officials of the Department, they go to their MHAs, they go to their Minister's offices, and it is only when they are refused all the way up to the Minister that they go to the Appeal Board. How can the Premier expect any of these appellants, particularly any of the 48 per cent of the population who voted PC in the last election, or any of the people who are represented by Members on this side of the House, to have any faith in this Appeal Board made up of cronies of the Minister for whom the Minister got thousands of dollars of retroactive pay, and how can they expect these people, these appellants, to trust the board after seeing the Minister on television declaring that he has a vendetta against Tories?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I do not quite understand the hon. Member's reference to the 48 per cent who voted Tory and how they do not have confidence. I would advise the hon. Member that if you pay any attention to the polls, virtually all of them have switched since anyway, so it is no major problem so I do not think they have any great concern. But, Mr. Speaker, in terms of competence and confidence, if there is any basis for the allegation that the individuals who constitute that board are not properly discharging their duties, or not properly assessing the appeals by individual applicants, and making correct decisions, or in any way making prejudiced decisions, then steps will be taken to correct that immediately, to remove them from the board and put in place a board that will award proper decisions. But I am not about to castigate every board in sight merely because the hon. Member points out that 48 per cent of the people voted Tory in the last election and some people may be apprehensive that now persons appointed under the Liberal Administration might somehow be prejudiced against Tories. It is utter nonsense, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, let me say to the Premier that the polls have changed so drastically that he is now on the Mainland again trying to build up his image.

I have a question for the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, Mr. Speaker, the Minister who last year said he had so much faith in the early tendering system in this Province for councils to get their work done throughout Newfoundland, and for contractors to be able to start, let me ask the Minister why he is procrastinating and when can we expect the capital works program for his Department to be announced?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, as I answered this question almost identically a few days ago, I will answer it again. We are now in the process of finalizing the municipal capital works for this year. It was delayed because we added a fiscal capacity as a component to the criteria, which I think is a very important component, dealing with the ability of towns and cities throughout the Province to take on more municipal debt for water and sewer and roads. That component has now been substantially finalized. When it is we will assess the priorities as they have been established. The recommended list is in from the regional offices, so the work is substantially done and will be finalized very shortly and will be announced.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West, on a supplementary.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the Minister refers to the rating system. I would like to ask the Minister: will it be rated in the same manner which the transportation projects were rated based on how people voted?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, the rating system has been completely changed in the sense that we now have put substantially more detail into the criteria, because we have for the first time, I believe the first time, fiscal capacity as a component that is going to play a very vital role in deciding which communities are able to handle the additional debt. But the factors of health and environment, the two key factors, will still be the most important factors in deciding the appropriation of municipal capital works, particularly of course, water and sewer. Those factors will still be in place and will continue to be the most important, but we have added fiscal capacity, and indeed we do priorize it on the basis of submissions from our regional offices and they do it in very detailed consultation with the towns and cities that are in their regions.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the Minister places great emphasis on fiscal capacity. Will he come clean with the House now and tell us how much money will be allocated this year for capital funding for his Department - water, sewer and roads?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, as the Member knows, of course, as one Member of Cabinet I do not decide the capital works allocation.


MR. GULLAGE: First of all let me explain, Mr. Speaker, that it is not a budget item in the current year. The funding in question and the work gets done in the upcoming and forthcoming year. But the financing itself is moved from the banks over to the financing corporation in the next fiscal year or in some cases the fiscal year beyond that. So it is not a current budget item and, therefore, it did not need to appear in the Budget, and this particular year it did not appear. The actual amount of capital works, Mr. Speaker, will be decided ultimately by Government based on a submission made by me as the Minister and that will be forthcoming.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Minister of Environment and Lands. The disposal of fish waste or offal as we commonly refer to it is becoming increasingly a big problem around the Province as some fish companies have been fined recently for it. I see a number of applications for permits in the paper in the last few days. I am wondering if the Minister of Environment and Lands realizing that the issuance of permits is a Federal matter, I am wondering if this concern has been brought to the attention of the Minister of Environment to address the problem? And I am wondering if it has, has he given any consideration to holding discussions with his Federal counterpart to come up with some means of controlling this obviously environmental damaging process?

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

MR. KELLAND: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, indeed it is a matter of concern with our Department. What I can report to the hon. Member at this point in time is that there have been ongoing considerations as it involves our Department and the Federal people with respect to finding a solution. But we at this point in time are only in a consultative stage with the Federal Government, but we have expressed our concerns on a continuing basis, and there is ongoing discussion with us and the Federal authorities and, in fact, those polluters who are involved to see if we can find a solution.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: I have a supplementary, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Fisheries. I would like to ask the Minister of Fisheries is he aware that a number of smaller, medium-sized fish companies are having problems with fish waste disposal? A number of smaller sized fish meal plants are not viable, consequently companies are faced with trucking for long distances and so on. Is the Minister aware of this problem that some small fish companies are experiencing, and is he doing anything to address this matter?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, yes, we are very much aware of the problem, and we have had discussions - and I suppose they have been ongoing now for the past six or eight months - with various groups that have expressed an interest in developing a fish meal manufacturing type operation in the Province, and that seems to be the most practical way of solving the problem. I know it can be taken, I suppose, and dumped, and that can cause problems too, but if some of the interest that I have seen in recent weeks and months come to pass I expect that maybe there will be a number of fish meal operations around the Province. That would certainly then go a long ways towards solving the problem.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, a supplementary to the Minister - I was going to say to the Minister of Development, but the Minister of Fisheries has partially answered. My next supplementary was to ask the Minister would he undertake to look at the possibility of establishing regional fish meal plants? It seems that if they were located regionally they would service a number of companies and that, then, would reduce the financial strain on those companies, address the environmental concerns as addressed to the Minister of Environment, and at the same time maybe employ some people in the process. As we know, fish meal is very high protein and has been used in fertilizer and some animal food. So I am wondering if the Government is giving serious consideration to the establishment of regional fish meal plants for that reason?

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

MR. CARTER: I do not think it would be fair to say that Government will be establishing fish meal plants. Certainly Government will encourage in every way possible. And I can tell the hon. Member in the House that at the present time there is a company that is investigating the feasibility, I suppose, of developing some kind of mobile, floating type of operation that would go around to various parts of the Province where there is a problem, in some kind of a vessel. It is very much in the planning stage. I do not want to give the impression that it is about to happen tomorrow, but certainly there is some thought being given to that kind of an approach to the problem. From all accounts, from what I have heard, it may be that that kind of an operation may be economically viable.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: A final supplementary to the Minister of Development. I am wondering if the Minister of Development would give serious consideration to this matter and undertake to discuss this matter with the Economic Recovery Commission. For two reasons, Mr. Speaker, I think the potential for regional industries exist. With the natural waste products that come from fish, it might do two things. The environmental issue, the waste disposal issue, the employment issue, it would give the Economic Recovery Commission something to do as well as hopefully create some jobs for Newfoundlanders.

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I am amazed. When hon. Members want to hate and attack the Recovery Commission they do it daily, but when they need the Recovery Commission they are as gentle as lambs and they love the Recovery Commission, the wonderful Recovery Commission. I will undertake, Mr. Speaker, in fact -


MR. SPEAKER: Order please!

MR. FUREY: In fact, Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for his question. I think already the Economic Recovery Commission, along with the Minister of Fisheries and my own department, are examining this very problem right now to see what we can come up with. Government cannot put these facilities all over the Province, but what we can do is try to facilitate, enhance and use whatever fiscal instruments we have to encourage companies to do just that. I think that is already underway, and I thank the hon. Member for commending the Economic Recovery Commission.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, a couple of days ago, I undertook in the House to do a review of all the correspondence, everything relating to the re-arrangement, the providing of new levels of payment for appeals boards and the reclassification of the Social Services Appeals Board.

I am not going to read this material, Mr. Speaker, I am just going to table it all. But I will summarize essentially what is in it. It is all correspondence we have been able to find relating to the whole issue, and there is a summary of events, including a note to me which was done by the President of Treasury Board who carried out this assessment. I am tabling that note to me as he has provided it to me. It also includes an assessment of the scales which were paid before and the scales which were paid after. Basically what we did was cut the maximum per day down from $300 to $200; the minimum has gone up in some cases from fifty dollars to seventy-five dollars, and in some cases the minimums have been cut down as well.

Now what I do not have yet and it may take some weeks to finalize, is an assessment of the savings we have achieved by doing this. I undertook to also provide that to the House, but that will come later. But I did not want to delay with this information.

Mr. Speaker, in summary what it shows is that when this assessment was done and the new pay scales for the three different levels were made, each Department put in recommendations with respect to the boards for which that Department was responsible.

The Department of Social Services, over the signature of the Deputy Minister, argued that this Social Services Appeals Board should be level 2. The President advises me -

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, answers are (inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: I will just be another minute or so, Mr. Speaker. The President of Treasury Board advises me that there was a difference of opinion on Treasury Board on this; some did not think it was quasi-judicial as the hon. Member for Humber East argues, and in the end it was classed in level 1. But they came back and appealed, along with two or three others, and the Minister made the appeal, presented an appeal, the Minister of Finance and a couple of others, and the President of Treasury Board took these appeals orally back to the board. This information contains the exchange of correspondence, the Minister's statement and should also include the guidelines, Mr. Speaker, and it demonstrates that along with at least two other boards, the Social Services Appeals Board was classified as level 2, and that is the basis on which it has been done.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I should also say that we are taking a particular look at the amounts paid to the individuals on this Appeals Board, because there appears to be something out of whack, that at least needs explanation, and we are taking a look at that, too. Here are two copies of it.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I was asked by the Member for Grand Falls to place upon the Table a list of trips taken by the Minister and claimed from Government during the fiscal year April 1 1990 to March 31 1991. I will do so, but I would like to have a word or two to explain some of the points.

I was asked to give the destination and date of trip. That is not too difficult to do. I was asked for the length of the trip. That is a little difficult, because I did not know if he meant the length in time or the length in kilometres. I decided I would give the length in time. Then he asked the purpose of the trip. That was alright. Then he asked me for the names of personal, political and Departmental staff accompanying the Minister. Now, Departmental staff, that was pretty easy, the political staff was easy, but personal staff - I do not know what he meant by that. I do not have any valet or butler or anything like that, or bodyguard. Maybe he meant my family. But then I cannot very well classify my wife as `personal staff'.

AN HON. MEMBER: You had better not!

DR. KITCHEN: My rod and staff they comfort me. But I took it they did mean the family, and I am glad none of my family accompanied me on any trips, Mr. Speaker. I took seventeen trips: five of them for conferences of Ministers of Finance, two of them were for bond closures, several were to Chambers of Commerce in Grand Falls and Corner Brook and Millertown and others, and two were trips to Clarenville in connection with the possible closure of the Clarenville taxation office, which we had to review.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) after the (inaudible).

DR. KITCHEN: No, it was before, long before. That is about it, Mr. Speaker. If there are any further questions I would be glad to answer them, providing they are properly asked.


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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to rise and present a petition from the residents of the District of Gander. This is the district of the hon. the President of Treasury Board who, I understand, was unwilling to present this petition on behalf of his constituents.

This petition is of the undersigned Friends of MUN Extension who state that whereas MUN Extension has provided and continues to provide an essential service to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador; and whereas no other agency is capable of providing that service, MUN Extension should be reinstated. Your petitioners respectfully request that the hon. House take such action as may be necessary to ensure that Memorial University reinstates its Extension Service and that it be funded and equipped to provide the services it has traditionally provided. Mr. Speaker, this is signed by seventy-eight residents of the town of Gander, and the area of Glenwood and Glovertown, one of whom is the Deputy Major of the town of Gander who signs herself as such. Mr. Speaker, I understand, as I said, the Minister was unwilling to present this petition. I understand he actually visited the town of Gander in the last twenty-four hours and while there received a hearty greeting from a number of residents who wished to demonstrate their concern about this Government's policies in another area, that of layoffs. However, this is an extension of the layoffs, Mr. Speaker, by extending their layoffs not only to hospitals, not only to schools and nursing homes and Government services in general, but they have extended their layoffs to Memorial University and in particular MUN Extension. Mr. Speaker, despite the fact that this Government appears to be stonewalling this issue for many, many days now in this House, and yesterday to a person hon. Members opposite refused to support a resolution which would have the effect of opposing the shutdown of MUN Extension. They have been stonewalling this issue but, Mr. Speaker, it will not go away because the people of Newfoundland who depended upon MUN Extension, and who still have respect for MUN Extension, although the Minister of Education appears not to anymore, despite some of his sophisticated platitudes in the House over the last several weeks. It appears, Mr. Speaker, that this Government has given up on MUN Extension and is not prepared to do anything to help save this service which people have come to regard as an important part of their lives. One only needs to reflect upon the events that took place in Placentia last Friday when university officials, through various means, were trying to empty the offices of MUN Extension by having trucks outside the door to collect the furniture. During this period of time, from eight o'clock in the morning on, numerous people from the community, community leaders, town councillors, the Mayor of Placentia, the Mayors of various surrounding communities, and ordinary individuals without any particular position in the community who had respect for, and who needed and wanted to continue the service of MUN Extension, came out and stayed at those offices that day to support the work of MUN Extension and to attempt to demonstrate to the public and to the media, and to the university officials in general, that they regard MUN Extension as a vital part of their communities's life. This not only took place in Placentia, Mr. Speaker, it also took place in other centres where Memorial University Extension Services have field services or field offices. I guess I should say, had, as they tried to close them as of last Friday. Mr. Speaker, what has happened in that particular office in Placentia is that once the furniture was removed by Memorial University officials, or their trucking company, the people from the community came in and brought in other furniture, other equipment, makeshift equipment to try and continue to keep that office open. Now, Mr. Speaker, in the face of this kind of community support where an institution which for thirty years has provided a vital service to rural Newfoundland, in the face of that, and in the face of the attacks on rural Newfoundland by this Government in terms of the reduction of services - and they may not call them attacks, but let me tell you, when the people in rural Newfoundland say they are being attacked by this Government I believe them. When the people of Newfoundland say that they need Memorial University Extension Service to help them in their community development efforts to build their communities and to take on whatever battles they need to take on, whether it be with this Government or with other Governments, or whether it be self-help projects which have been so much the history of work being performed by and through the efforts of MUN Extension, no matter what those projects are, Mr. Speaker, when the people of rural Newfoundland say they want this service and they want it continued, I think they are right and this Government by turning its back on them is turning its back on the people. Mr. Speaker, the Government still has a chance, despite this resolution yesterday, the Government still has a chance to change its mind. They can still take action to save MUN Extension and save particularly the field services of MUN Extension, and I urge them, despite the actions they took yesterday, that they reconsider and listen to what the people of Newfoundland are saying, and in this particular case the Minister of Treasury Board should listen to his people in the district of Gander.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to give my support to the seventy-eight residents of the Town of Gander, who are petitioning the House to have the Government reinstate Memorial University Extension Service.

I agree with the comments made by the Member for St. John's East, in presenting the petition.

It is obvious, now, a month or six weeks after the Budget, that Memorial University Extension Service is cherished by thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. We are hearing that through letters, through petitions that we have presented day after day in this Assembly, and through speeches at demonstrations.

Perhaps, the Minister, who, for many years was cloistered in the faculty of education at the university, failed to keep track of what Memorial University Extension Service was doing. Perhaps, the Premier, who carried on a law practice serving the interests of corporations, failed to notice what Memorial University Extension Service was doing. Perhaps Art May, the new President of the university, has not been in his position long enough to understand the importance of Memorial University Extension Service. People make mistakes, but citizens of the Province will respect decision-makers more when they acknowledge their mistakes, when they respond to representations, when they reconsider decisions and indicate a willingness to change their minds.

Mr. Speaker, Memorial University received from this Government, inadequate funding. The absolute increase was a drop in the bucket and has fallen far short of the rising cost of carrying on the university operation. So the Government squeezed the university.

There are people who would argue with the choices made by the university administrators and regents, but it is a fact that the university administrators were left with impossible choices because of the inadequate level of funding provided by this Government. The Education Minister's own staff have admitted to educators that post-secondary education has been short-changed.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the alternative for providing Memorial University Extension Service programmes have been talked about, have been examined, and have been found wanting. Even the Minister, himself, has admitted that community colleges that have had to scale down their operations, cannot replace MUN Extension.

The Minister responsible for Culture has not been able to come up with any substitute for MUN Extension Arts. The Economic Recovery Commission, in the meantime, is a burgeoning new bureaucracy; it is a new empire under the personal thumb of the Premier. The Minister of Finance bragged in his Budget Speech that Government was increasing the budget of the ERC with its subordinate ENL, to $44 million this year. So, Mr. Speaker, there are places for the Government to get the money to reinstate Memorial University Extension Service, and the number one possibility is the ERC. The Government can halt the increase in funding to the ERC, an agency operating under the thumb of the Premier, and shift some of that money to Memorial University, so they can resume their tried-and-true extension service which operates independently from the Cabinet.

Now, Mr. Speaker, many, many people involved with MUN Extension operations have paid tribute to the significance of MUN Extension's contribution to rural Newfoundland and Labrador. And, right now, the rural parts of our Province are under attack by this Government and by the economy. The fishery has been in decline because of the state of the fish stocks, some of our mines have closed because of depletion of minerals, we have been plagued by high interest rates which, thankfully, are just starting to come down. There is an economic recession hurting our rural areas; but, on top of that, this `real change' administration is closing hospitals, down scaling other hospitals, including the hospital in Placentia and rural Newfoundland needs MUN Extension.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to spend a few minutes speaking to the petition presented by the Member for St. John's East. I would like to quote from a letter from the Minister concerning Memorial University's decision with regards to Extension Services in the Province and it says: It is my understanding that the University, prior to making the recent announcements regarding Extension Services, reviewed all of its services and programs and based their decision on a priorization of services. It is Government's view that the University has the right and the responsibility to make these decisions without Government interference. To do otherwise would seriously jeopardize the academic freedom and right which is so essential to the existence and operation of a university. I think that generally most people subscribe to this principle.

As you know Memorial University operates under its own act, and the administrative responsibilities for its operation rests with the Board of Regents. Therefore, any adjustments to programs and services of the University are the sole responsibility of the Board of Regents. And it has been the policy of Governments not to interfere with the internal operations of the University but to maintain an arm's - length relationship on such matters.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BAKER: Now, Mr. Speaker, that explains the situation perfectly. I would like to point out to hon. Members that if they thought this was a letter from the present Minister of Education concerning cuts to Mun Extension, they are wrong. This was a letter from a previous Minister -


MR. BAKER: - of Career Development, Hon. Charles J. Power, expressing the view of these Members.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FUREY: What hypocrisy! Get up and take a bow! What hypocrisy!

MR. BAKER: So when the Member for Humber East gets up and goes on with her pious platitudes about what she would do if she were in Cabinet, about what she would do with this situation -


MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, we have to take these statements with a grain of salt.

MR. FUREY: A big grain!

MR. BAKER: A big, big grain of salt.

Mow, Mr. Speaker, I can understand the Member for St. John's East getting up and presenting this petition and making the plea to save the Extension Services of Memorial University. I can really understand that.

As a matter of fact I knew this petition was coming and Members indicated to me, well, would you want to present it? And I said, no, one of the Opposition Members normally presents petitions and I suggested they go, and I am very pleased they went to the hon. Member. I am happy about that. I can understand him presenting the petition. But what I cannot understand is the hypocrisy of Members directly opposite. In this particular instance Mun closed the Extension Services at Stephenville and in Marystown -

AN HON. MEMBER: Shame! Shame!

MR. BAKER: -and the Member for Marystown did not say a word in the House about it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BAKER: And the Member for Humber East was sitting in the Cabinet. Now, Mr. Speaker, I think we have had enough of this hypocrisy. I think everybody should recognize these pious platitudes for what they are, sheer hypocrisy.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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


MR. SPEAKER: Order please!

I have recognized the hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition on behalf of approximately 100 people from the district of Conception Bay South and there are also some people on here from the district of Harbour Main as well. The prayer of the petition reads as follows: The petition of the undersigned, The Friends of MUN Extension, state 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 Service should be re-instated. Your petitioners respectfully request that the hon. House take such action as may be necessary to ensure that Memorial University re-instates the Extension Service and that it be funded and equipped to provide the service it has traditionally provided.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to present this petition today on behalf of approximately 100 people in the district of Conception Bay South, and I am pleased to lend my support to the petition as well. I have informed the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations that I would be presenting this petition today because it is from her area and my area as well. We have adjoining districts. I informed the Minister as a matter of courtesy so that she would be prepared to get up today and support the petition when I am finished presenting it.

Now we have seen several petitions, Mr. Speaker, presented by Members here on this side of the House regarding MUN Extension, and we have received little or absolutely no support to have that service re-instated by Members opposite. I think, Mr. Speaker, a prime example of the Government's lack of concern for this particular Extension Service was seen yesterday when the Opposition Leader presented a resolution to the House of Assembly calling on Government to continue that service and to re-instate that service and to put more money into that service, and what did we see? We saw every single Government Member on that side of the House, including the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, whose constituents are presenting that petition today, even the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations voted against that resolution to have extra money given to the university to re-instate MUN Extension. All the Members in whose area MUN Extension operates, including the Member for Eagle River, and the Member for Placentia, and Fortune - Hermitage, and Bonavista in particular, who received a lot of service from MUN Extension, yesterday in the House voted against the re-instatement of MUN Extension. The consistent reply from Government, Mr. Speaker, has been that it cannot afford to give more money for that purpose. If it gives money to one body then it has to give money to every other body who might be looking to have their programs re-instated.

But still we find out yesterday, Mr. Speaker, that the President of Treasury Board, since the Budget came down, has given extra money to a transition house out in Gander. Now that is a very, very important thing too, and we do not begrudge the transition house in Gander from receiving extra funding. As a matter of fact, we are very pleased, we are very glad that the transition house in Gander has been given five and a half extra units, five and half extra people to help operate that facility out there, which is badly needed. But still, all in all, when it comes to an essential service like MUN Extension, the President of Treasury Board cannot seem to find the few paltry dollars that are necessary to keep that particular service going.

So, Mr. Speaker, if the Government has the will to keep MUN Extension going then it can do so. If the Government has the commitment to rural Newfoundland and Labrador then it can find the money to re-instate MUN Extension, and if it feels that MUN Extension is carrying out any kind of an essential service here in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, then it can find the money to do that. But we saw the Minister of Education yesterday speaking to the resolution that the Leader of the Opposition put on the floor of the House, and not once did the Minister of Education make any reference to the fact that MUN Extension was providing a very, very good service for the people in Newfoundland and Labrador. So, maybe it is the opinion of the Government that MUN Extension is not providing any kind of a good service and it is not worth preserving. That is the impression we get from the Government, and the Government keeps trying to deflect its responsibility off on the university. Well, Mr. Speaker, it is the Government which has the responsibility here to keep MUN Extension funded and going; it is the Government which cut back on the funding to the University. And the President of Treasury Board can talk until the cows come home about academic freedom, but it is the Government which cut the funding to the University and forced the University to abolish MUN Extension.

MS. VERGE: That is right. That is right!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Sorry, the hon. gentleman's time is up.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I certainly anticipated the Member for Conception Bay South would rise to support the petition presented by my colleague for Harbour Main. I suppose after listening to the President of Treasury Board in that eloquent reply he made to the petition, she might be afraid to get up to address it because she might say something that would be contrary to what the Minister said.

What the President of Treasury Board should know, though, is that while there were obviously difficulties with MUN Extension financing throughout the years, the thing that should be remembered is that when we were in power we always gave MUN enough money, enough of an increase each year so that they would be able to carry on with the work and MUN Extension was able to be saved. It was this administration, this Minister of Education who chose to give some $5.5 million less than he had originally told the University, and that is the real reason that MUN Extension was cut out.

It is interesting that today we would have another petition. Because I think today is the provincial day of protest from development associations throughout the Province with respect to MUN Extension. I just happened to get a copy of a letter -


MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, if you can silence the people on the other side, this is another letter which came in a brown envelope but this one came on a fax machine. I think it is quite poignant and interesting what this letter has to say. It is from the Development Association of Fogo Island and it says: `On this Provincial day of protest Fogo Islanders join in with the rest of rural Newfoundland and Labrador in voicing our deep regrets over your unforgivable decision to abolish MUN Extension.'

Now I do not know about the rest of the Members opposite who come from districts which are rural by the nature of them, but I, too, share in the concern. The people in my district said, `Back in the 1960s, during the infamous resettlement programme - we will always remember what administration headed up that resettlement programme - our island was faced with a real threat of having to uproot our families and belongings to move to large populated centres. But stubbornness and determination prevailed, and with the assistance and guidance of MUN Extension a systematic approach was formulated through which new life was given to our people. During the Fogo process birth, Fogo Island shipbuilders and the Producers Co-op Society, MUN Extension has remained at our side through thick and thin over the years, through infancy and to our teens, and most recently in a community t.v. production as we went into our adult years, now boasting to be twenty-three old.'

That is what the people of Fogo Island think of MUN Extension. They watched them grow from a community that was slated to be wiped out into the strong, viable community it is today. In fact, I was out there last year to a t.v. forum in which MUN Extension was again involved in helping Fogo Islanders look at themselves.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: I should go out more often? If I go out more often I might find more information. The Minister of Social Services might be relieved if I would go out there. At least my phone would not be ringing day and night.

Now MUN Extension has provided a valuable service to the people of Newfoundland. The Minister can stand there and sanctimoniously and piously say look, it is up to the University. We give them money and they decide how it is spent. But we just do not buy that. This administration has numerous ways in which it can save MUN Extension and it has chosen not to do so. The President of Treasury Board talks about the need to operate at arm's length. How come that same formula did not apply -

AN HON. MEMBER: You do not believe in that? Do you believe in that or not?

MR. WINSOR: Do you want to get up and debate? Then you go back and sit in your seat and speak after. Now why did the same procedure not apply when the Minister went through a list in Bill 16 and included MUN Extension for a budgetary freeze? How come? Rollbacks and freezes. How can you have two sets of standards, the Minister wants to know? You tell us on one hand to deal at arm's length, on the other hand you are saying to get involved. Well, that is exactly what the Minister did. Yes, it is exactly what the Minister did. On the one hand he said I cannot do anything; on the other hand he reached out and clawed back the wages that had been given.

Now, Mr. Speaker, in closing again I want to support the people of Conception Bay South in their attempt to reinstate MUN Extension. I ask the President of Treasury Board, the Minister of Education, that great champion of the rights of rural Newfoundland -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MS. COWAN: Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker. I really wish I had heard that speech the first session of the House. I was naive then and I would have been naive much less quicker. I cannot believe the political grandstanding that just went on. I have never seen an hon. Member of this House of Assembly who is more interested in going into my constituency to dig around and find 100 people who are going to support something he can bring into the House and get himself known in the House for presenting. He managed to get eighty in his own district, if that does not tell you something. I am absolutely appalled that somebody is more interested in making political points with my constituents than serving his own constituents. Now I must say, I suppose, that I should not be surprised at this, since a very large part of my day and my two constituency people's day is spent dealing with the day-to-day problems of the hon. Member's constituents. Some of them, when they call the office, do not know that the hon. Member is indeed their Member.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. HEARN: Mr. Speaker, Your Honour will remember quite clearly yesterday during the presentation of a petition Your Honour ruled that the person presenting the petition must stick to the contents of the petition. Your Honour made that ruling quite clear, based upon an objection from the President of Treasury Board. Consequently, I make the same objection. The Member should be supporting the petition presented on behalf of people from her own district. She is not speaking to the content of the petition, and I submit, Your Honour, that she is out of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Member for St. Mary's - The Capes quotes me correctly and I would certainly hope that hon. Members would abide my decision. I listen very attentively, I should say, to what hon. Members say and when hon. Members presenting a petition sort of drift away a little the Chair sort of tolerates a little tit for tat. But having said that, that is only the Chair's tolerance.

The hon. Member makes a good point. When an hon. Member raises a point, the job of the Chair is to enforce the rules and the job of the Member is to follow them.

The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MS. COWAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. He rose at a good time, because I was finished that part anyway. As a former educator I have to make a comment here. Obviously all Members on the Opposition realize that as a Cabinet Minister I support the actions of the Government and feel that indeed it is up to Memorial to make their own decisions. But as an educator I am just going to make a point or two here. I would be appalled at a Government that would step in and dictate to a university what it should teach. That happens, Mr. Speaker, in totalitarian states not in a democratic situation. And I am appalled to even suggest that. And if we should do it, if we should ever step in and tell Memorial University what to do, then I hope the Opposition rises as one to condemn us. Because it would be most, most inappropriate.

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to fully utilize my ten minutes, because I think -


MS. COWAN: Oh, only five? I must have it almost completed then, so I will thank you, Mr. Speaker, for your attention and take my place.

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Motion 6, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that I do now leave the Chair for the House to resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole on said bill.

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: Order, please!

The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just on a point of order very briefly.

MR. CHAIRMAN: A point of order.

MR. BAKER: The Money Bills, Loan Bills and so on are treated differently from other bills in Committee stage. The Minister in introducing the bill has an hour and the Member in the Opposition replying has an hour. What I am asking for is beyond that. If we could have agreement on both sides that we have ten minutes back and forth after that particular -

MR. WINDSOR: We have an hour in Committee, do we?

MR. BAKER: Yes, just for loan and tax bills. It says that the resolution is debated in the Committee of the Whole in accordance with Standing Order 49. But it is just for those bills. Standing Order 49 indicates that.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

Would hon. Members curtail their private conversations. I am having difficulty hearing the hon. Government House Leader, and I need to be paying attention and listening to what he is saying. I am sure all hon. Members would want to hear what he has to say, so I would ask hon. Members to refrain from having noisy, private conversations.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. BAKER: Thank you. I am asking if we can have leave, that beyond the Minister introducing and the hon. Member responding if beyond that we could limit it to ten minutes each back and forth so that the length of speech can be shortened beyond those two. Because I understand the two Members who are going to speak first do not mind speaking for an hour, or five hours for that matter - no problem.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, for the sake of everybody understanding the rules, yes, we agree with that. There is no problem. Ten minutes, I think, is certainly adequate for anybody to make one point. They have the opportunity of getting up time and time again, so they can make numerous points. So ten minutes speaking time except for the Minister and the critic, that is reasonable.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Okay. The Chair will enforce the rules as agreed to by both House Leaders.

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is my pleasure to introduce Bill 18, which is An Act To Amend The Local Authority Guarantee Act, 1957. Basically what we are doing here is adding to the schedule of the Local Authority Guarantee Act the loans which we have guaranteed to municipalities for water and sewer and paving while they are in the process of construction. As Members know, when the jobs are completed they are set up as long-term loans from the NMFC, the Newfoundland Municipal Finance Corporation. What we are doing here is listing in the schedule quite a large number of loans - the town of Arnold's Cover, Bay Roberts and so on. There is quite a number, because many town councils need to borrow money to put in municipal services they so greatly need. This is what we have done in the past several months, from October 20, 1990 to February 21, 1991.

I would like to say that like the Province, municipalities have heavy debts. This Province owes, as you know, $5.2 billion more at the end of this year than now, and in addition we have unfunded liabilities in the pension plan of $2.1 billion. We found out that Workers' Compensation has over $100 million in unfunded liability, and included in this debt is the considerable debt of municipalities. Members might be interested in knowing that the total debt of municipalities to the NMFC is $385 million right now, and in addition to that there are those interim bank loan guarantees such as I just read out, totalling $37 million - $36.9 million.

The NMFC itself borrows money from the capital markets of Canada, and NMFC now owes almost $500 million. In addition to that, the City of St. John's owes $91 million which we have guaranteed, and as shown in the Budget the total of all the municipal guaranteed debt is up to $627.9 million, a considerable amount of money. I mention this because many municipalities, as the Minister of Municipal Affairs has said time and time again, are in considerable financial difficulty, trying to raise enough money to pay the bills and not go in the hole to put in water and sewer and all the other services they need for the citizens, and at the same time carry the debt or part of the debt. Because as you know, the municipalities in general, rural municipalities particularly, do not pay a large portion of their debt - it averages out I believe to something like 20 per cent. Twenty-odd per cent of the debt charges are raised by the municipalities and the rest is paid by the Provincial Government.

This year, for example, on water and sewer the Department of Municipal Affairs is going to pay $29 million in interest and almost $12 million capital for water and sewer; for paving $7 million in interest, and for capital account $7 million, for a total of $14 million for paving. Our total debt charge is $55 million, and that is what we are paying for the debt on municipal services.

Now I link that to the desperate need we have in this Province for development, for industrial and particularly rural development. I want to link the two. We are burdened with debt and the only way we can escape from the debt load as I see it, and to perhaps increase the debt load in order to provide the necessary municipal services we need, is to first go about developing the economy of the Province. Now I want to link these two points, particularly in rural areas, because the cities ride on the backs of the rural areas to a large extent; we work together and as the rural areas develop, the services the city provides can increase and the two go together.

Our main thrust for rural development is and will continue to be the development of the fishery. The development of the fish stocks, as the Minister of Fisheries can expound on in greater detail than I, if we could build up the fish stocks, build them up to the extent they are capable of being built up, we will provide more jobs than Hibernia, more jobs than the Lower Churchill development, more jobs than Terra Nova, more jobs than all these combined. And not only that, but these jobs could be in perpetuity, forever, so the greatest thrust for economic development in this Province in my view, has to be the rebuilding of the fish stocks and the development of the fishing industry and that will provide the underpinnings for rural communities to expand the level of municipal services and to be able to handle the horrendous debt load that they presently are under and which must increase in order for them to provide the necessary services. So, fisheries development and the growth of the stocks is a major component in rural development; there are other components which we must not lose sight of and -

AN HON. MEMBER: MUN Extension.

DR. KITCHEN: I will come to that in a minute. One is diversification; it is harsh to have to depend on a single industry, no matter how well it is diversified, and this Government has launched out in an industrial diversification programme which has been described here before in the fishery, aquaculture and underutilized species.

The Minister of Forestry and Agriculture will shortly be implementing, we think, some changes as a result of the task force on agriculture, and we can look forward to developments in agriculture in the whole agri-foods industry and that is important, it is important; we cannot throw the agricultural industry in the garbage -

AN HON. MEMBER: That is what they want.

DR. KITCHEN: - we cannot really do that. I do not know if he meant that or not but we really cannot do that; the agricultural industry in this Province, the agri-foods industry is important and should be developed and there are suggestions in that report that are good ones, even though the Member does not necessarily agree with all of them.

Forestry also, can be developed; there are portions of this Province where the forest industry is not fully developed and it should be developed, particularly in parts of Labrador, where we need a road from Goose Bay, we need a road to link up the coastal communities, so we can get access to the forests of Labrador, one of our major undeveloped areas. That too will help rural communities along the Labrador coast to develop the municipal infra-structure that they would like to have and need and the debts that must be incurred in order to do it.

We must develop manufacturing industries. We must follow the lead of the Minister of Development. I was going to call him the Minister of Tourism, but that would not be right, but that is a major component of the portfolio, to develop a tourist industry and great things are happening in the Tourist industry. We have been discussing that over the past while and we must continue with that, because as we develop the tourist industry, we develop the ability of rural communities particularly, and urban communities too, to develop the municipal infra-structure that they need in order to float the loans and pay the interest on these loans to provide the water and the sewer and all the other things which people need and the stadiums, whatever you want, and that $100 million industry, tourism -

AN HON. MEMBER: $400 million.

DR. KITCHEN: -$400 million industry of this Province will help, but it still has a long way to go to be developed and we are working on that; other former Governments had started that as well and that is why we have put the Economic Recovery Commission in place, and that is why we strengthened Enterprise Newfoundland, changed it from NLDC to Enterprise Newfoundland and extended the network, whose main purpose is to help develop rural Newfoundland, to help develop the Province, so that the lives of people in rural Newfoundland and their life-style can be what people want it to be.

Rural Newfoundland is a wonderful place in the world to live. I suppose there is no better part of the world left that can come close to Newfoundland as a Province in which to live, and the rural lifestyles have to be encouraged and they have to be developed, and the infrastructures have to be put in place.

In addition to these industrial things there has to be an appropriate climate for industry to develop and we are working at that. One of the minor things we were able to do in the past few months was to eliminate that requirement for businesses to have to put up a bond in order to collect retail sales tax. I do not want to boast about that, but as I go and meet with various business people, they say: that is a tremendous thing you did. What a nuisance you took away. We do not have to fool with getting that old bond in place and dealing with the various companies that put them up. All we have to do now is pay our taxes. Before that they had to spend all this time getting the bond in place, and our people up in the Department of Taxation were saying: do you have your bond in place? We had people doing nothing else but tormenting people to get their bond in place. I did not care if they had their bond in place or not, I wanted to get the tax in, get the money in, so that we could spend it. We do not want to build up the bond companies. There is nothing wrong with the bond companies, but there is no point in providing a service that is not necessary. And so business has reacted quite well to that point.

We are also looking at fair taxation, we are trying to change the system of taxation, and in a few months we will be hearing more about that, where we hope to be able to possibly bring in a fairer system of taxation than we have at the moment. I do not want to get into too much of that at the moment, but we will be, in the next several months, visiting and talking with various groups so that we can implement this in such a way that people will not be too adversely affected. And it will be a fairer system than it is at the present.

As I move around and listen to various groups - the Member for Eagle River and I were in L'Anse-au-Clair this past week, and we were in Red Bay - and we were talking to business people. And I said: are there any concerns you have, is there anything that the Department of Finance can do to make life better for businesses?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, lower taxes!

DR. KITCHEN: They said: yes you can. And what you can do, he said: Look, in order to set up a business we need a permit from this one, a permit from Environment, a permit from Health, and a permit from this one. Seven or eight permits, every one of them with a great big old fee attached to it, and it is enough to scare a person off. It is not a good enough climate. And last year we announced that we were going to look at all those nuisances and nuisance taxes and nuisance collections and fees and things like that - but it is very difficult to get rid of them because we have built up a bureaucracy that exists on collecting.

AN HON. MEMBER: They did.

DR. KITCHEN: Or they did, we did not, but somebody did. I do not want to blame anybody but it has been built up over the years. I am not interested in that point now. People whose life exists on giving out these permits and travelling around and things like that. And what we have to do I believe is to simplify the process. This is not a new idea. Frank Moores had that idea and other people have had that too. To try to simplify the method by which businesses can get established.

And not that they do not want to pay their fair share of taxes. Because I believe every business wants to pay its fair share of taxes so that it can get the services that are required. But we must make things easier and set up the proper business climate. I believe that the fundamental ingredient for Newfoundland rural development - so that we can develop the Province and the infrastructure, so we can borrow the money to put the infrastructure in place and pay the interest and handle it, because we do not have great municipal infrastructure yet in this Province, not as good as we would like - in order to do this I think the main ingredient has to be further development of independent thought and self-help rather than the paternalistic attitudes that have pervaded the past.

The history of Newfoundland is founded on paternalism. The paternalism of the fishing admirals, of the fish merchants, of the paper companies, of the company towns. Gosh, I lived in a company town. Paternalism. You could not even sell your outdoor toilet unless you consulted the manager of the company. That is the way it is, pretty well, this paternalism, where you depended on government or on a company or clergyman or somebody in authority to tell you what to do, that is rampant in historical Newfoundland society. And that has to be changed, and it is changing.

I want to turn now to the beginning, I think, of that change which I believe occurred in the 'sixties. In the 1960s things happened in Newfoundland, particularly in the latter part of the 'sixties and one of the things that happened was the establishment of MUN Extension. I remember very well being that time, I remember when the Extension Department was established, I remember when we used to go down to Fogo and other places, the northern peninsula, and the Fogo process where the Extension Department asked people their stories, what will we do?

I objected to the Leader of the Opposition yesterday when he said that there would be no Fogo if there would be no Extension. Because he exaggerated. That is not right. But I will say this: that MUN Extension did a great deal for Fogo Island. And I will be the first to say it. Because you cannot say that it is not so. And the Fogo process by which people were interviewed on film, the film edited so that the main points came out, and then showed back to the people, and showed to the government and other officials so that points were made. And as a result of that Fogo process and people discussing their future and what they might do about an economic situation, cognition occurred, group thought occurred, and as a result of that group thought things developed. And I believe that one of the main things that developed in Fogo Island was the thought that people began to think of the island rather than of the thirteen communities that were there, and so people built a central school and they established a cooperative society that included pretty well everybody, and away it went.

That Fogo process was exported to California, and to India, Don Snowden worked in India. And I remember very well the vitality of Don Snowden. I remember one time we went to Ottawa. We were both going to Ottawa, I for one purpose, he for another. He was going up looking for grants for his work. And we were stuck in Moncton. We had to both be in Ottawa the next morning. The plane could not go, it was snowing too hard. So what are we going to do? Boys, let's get a car and we will drive there. So he got this big car, and everybody who was wanting to go to Ottawa on the plane, we jumped in the car, five or six of us. We dropped three or four off in Montreal and we got to Ottawa, seven o'clock in the morning we arrived. Drove all night, never stopped. Now that is the type of vitality.

I remember another time when we went down to Fogo Island and - not in the early, that was a sort of a follow up expedition - with people like Harvey Best and Nels Squires and Randy Coffin. That was the television unit, the film unit, and Joe Harvey. And we went in the back of a pickup. And when we got down to the motel there was no room because they had a conference on, and all the rooms were gone. So we went up and stayed at various houses and we had a great time.

But I want to say this, that that was part of MUN Extension. We had people like Fred Earle and George Billard and Tom O'Keefe and Dave Curran and Tony Williamson and all these great rural developers, and others whose names I am not mentioning.

Do you remember NRDA, the Northern Regional Development Association on the northwest coast of the Province which met and was a very powerful political entity? And prominent in that movement was Father McGrath. As a result of all this community cognition and people determining to develop themselves rather than be told what to do, there developed the development associations of Newfoundland. And that is basically where they came from to a large extent. From the encouragement - I am not going not give all the credit to MUN Extension, but they helped. They were a catalyst that helped to organize and get many things going, and it was good.

And I really believe that the Fishermen's Union, the NFFAWU, was to a large extent part of that movement, that part of that movement where people began to think we need to be organized, we need to take control of our lives. And the Extension Department had a role in that as well. I cannot give them credit for the whole thing, that would not be fair; I cannot give them credit for NRDA, that would not be fair, nor for Fogo, that would not be fair. But a fair amount of the credit for all that is due to that Extension Department.

I remember being in the Faculty of Education when we used the services of the Department to help organize a conference, to bring in various community groups to tell us where the education system should be going in the future: whether we should have regional colleges or community colleges; whether we should have branches of Memorial all over the place, or whether we should have community colleges. And we are still in the throes of that discussion.

But things changed. I remember, too, that that was not the only grass roots movement in the Province at the time. Because I remember at that time being a Member of the Party opposite here, the Progressive Conservative Party, and at that time we were going around organizing district associations. We used to have 500 people out to a meeting to organize a district association. We would have twenty people running for four or five offices, everybody trying to seize control of the district association. A very powerful movement. Movements in Carbonear and the Bay de Verde peninsula, meetings in places like Grand Falls, the Member's district, meetings in the Codroy Valley.

I remember once we were in the Codroy Valley to try to set up a meeting. The Member will be interested in this. We called a meeting and we went all around the Codroy Valley putting up notices. When we called the meeting, nine people showed up. The only consolation we had from that was that when Crosbie had gone through for the leadership a few years before, he got five. But I was worried to death about nine: we did it the wrong way, we communicated to the people in the incorrect way. What we did, we put it over the radio and things like that. What we should have done was announce it in church.

But I want to say this. I mention these points to indicate that there was a grass roots movement in Newfoundland for control of our destiny, for control of a Progressive Conservative Party by the people rather than the clique in St. John's who ran it for so many years, and that was part of my falling out with the Tory Party. Because the movement was on, the grass roots versus the Establishment, and the Establishment won.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible)!

DR. KITCHEN: Now that has nothing to do with you. You were not even in the Party at that time, so do not be talking. We are talking about the way it was years ago. There have been changes since then. But the old order changeth. It is not the same. In 1971 the government changed. All this work that had been done by the Extension Department and by the Progressive Conservative organizers paid off and the government fell. It is too bad I had changed sides at the time but, anyway, that is no odds. But then the teeth went out of the whole movement, everything quietened down: the teeth went out of the Extension Department, the teeth went out of the organizing of the Parties. The only party there was any life in after that was the Liberal Party.

And several things happened. Most of the development associations were gradually put in place in a quiet way rather than in a loud and rambunctious way, (inaudible) associations were put in place, Memorial started offering courses by tele-conference, but I still believe we have to move more than we are moving towards self-reliance - more than we are. Two years ago I was urging Memorial University to put some teeth in the Extension Department, because communities need a group where there is cognition, some group which gets people together to talk about the future of their community.

Now rural development is good - that is good - but it has a limited mandate; the municipalities have a limited mandate. I believe we need some sort of a catalystic function, or I did believe that. But the problem is this, and we are faced with it, we must have people in this Province - I believe the people of the Province have to seize control of our destiny. We have to say if we are not doing well economically, what are we going to do about it? Not what is Government going to do about it? Government can help but Government cannot take the lead, we cannot be fully responsible.

We cannot blame ACOA, we cannot blame Mulroney, we cannot blame the present Government or the Leader of the Opposition, what we have to do I believe is take control ourselves. And there are certain things happening from which I believe we can take some good thought. Recently something good happened in the Department of Finance. We are now regulating Credit Unions - the Department of Finance is now regulating Credit Unions. And in my view it is good for the Department of Finance that we are doing it. It is good for us, it may not be good for the Credit Unions - but I hope it is.

But that has taken me to visit a number of credit unions at their annual meetings. What happened here, and particularly I want to refer to the Eagle River movement, the Credit Union there, where the Bank of Montreal had a bank in L'Anse-a-Loup and decided they were going to close it for whatever reason. So the people decided they were going to have their own bank - we will start up our own bank and we will call it a Credit Union. And now instead of one employee there are twelve in three branches. And, you know, right from the tip of Labrador, right on down the Labrador Coast, right down through Quebec to the end of the Quebec road there is not one bank, but there is the Eagle River Credit Union and there is the Case Populaire - People's Banking. And I am very encouraged not only by that particular Credit Union but by others, and I believe the Credit Union movement can do for Newfoundland what the banks - to supplement the work of the Banks.

I am not anti banker, banks have a useful function, but they cannot provide the essential services to rural Newfoundland that are needed, or they will not. And I believe we have to provide them ourselves rather than just complain. And the Credit Union movement is a great movement for that.

Similarly, I am also very encouraged by the activities of an organization in my district, The Hub, where handicapped people have gotten together and said, `We will do it ourselves. We will need some Government assistance, but we will do it. We will employ handicapped people, we will train handicapped people, we will give them counselling or whatever is required.' We were up there last night for a little draw and it was very, very encouraging to see what the programme is, another form of self-help - two forms. And that is what has to happen, I believe, in Newfoundland.

All of us need to get together and grab hold to what has to be done. We need the Economic Recovery Commission, we need the banks, we need the Credit Unions and we need to think about what we are doing. We have to get away from paternalism, and I believe we have to get away from this rancour which goes on in this House of Assembly. What we do need is grass roots involvement in the economic development of this Province. That is what we need, because that is the only way municipalities are going to be able to develop, that is the only way municipalities are ever going to be able to provide the services. Not by asking Government, because when you ask Government you are only asking the other municipalities to pay; you can share it up a bit, but you cannot create wealth by sharing. That is not how you do it. So we have to create and we have to build up.

Everybody has to be conscious of economic development in this Province. And I believe we need a form of education. I am not against formal education but I will tell you this, that formal education, book learning, is not enough to develop Newfoundland. You need will and determination and discussion. Adult education, that is what you need, not just book learning. And one of the problems in the education system in the Province has been that we put far too much reliance on the book, and what we have been producing with the book is bookkeepers, accountants, lawyers - not developers.

We have to develop. There is more common sense in my grandfather building and developing things than there is in many of the people present. People need a certain level of formal education; I am not against formal education. It is important, but it is not enough. There has to be a community development component in education; we need community cottage type education, where people consider their communities, consider what has to be done, consider their resources and take control and develop. And that is the way we are going to be able to bring in other Local Authority Guarantee Acts, with bigger schedules that the people can afford. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman, that exhibition, I have to confess, has me a little concerned. The Minister did not address this piece of legislation at all. What he did was basically give it the type of debate you would get in debate on the Throne Speech. I am beginning to wonder if the Government House Leader is going to call the Throne Speech any more. They gave me a couple of days, but it sounds to me like the Minister of Finance just used this piece of legislation to give his theory on the economic development in the Province, which one would expect to hear from him speaking in the Throne Speech debate. So, Mr. Chairman, I am beginning to wonder if that Budget is going to be called again; I guess it has to be called some time.

Mr. Chairman, the Minister went on with a whole diatribe of stuff totally unrelated to this bill. I do not question the fact that it is a money bill and you have broad ranging debate on most money bills, but on this particular bill, a Loan Guarantee Act, normally the debate is restricted to the bill or to the financing of municipalities particularly. The Minister strayed quite widely from that, but that is his right. I do not question the fact that on this particular bill he can do that, but it is somewhat unusual.

Mr. Chairman, the bill itself is pretty straightforward. It is simply guaranteeing money that was spent last year. There is nothing in the bill that one can get too upset about. So you have to talk about the principles, as the Minister did, of financing municipal capital works programs. A few questions though that do arise, in that these loans were from October 20 until February 21. Maybe the Minister could tell us at some point in time, when he gets up again - I am curious. October 20 to February 21, does that happen to be the period of time after the projects were completed? Because they do not go into the Municipal Financing Corporation until after the projects are completed. The money is borrowed by the municipalities and when the project is finalized, then it is rolled over into NMFC. So I assume that is why those dates are there? It is a serious question, I ask the Minister. I believe that is what it is. Or are these additional ones that were not announced in the House last year by the Minister when he announced his original program?

DR. KITCHEN: (Inaudible) amend the act every six months.

MR. WINDSOR: Amend the act every six months, yes.

So these are probably the ones that rolled into NMFC at another period of time. I am just curious. Would the Minister give us detailed information on that when he gets to his feet again?

The question I guess that comes from this, Mr. Chairman, and we can talk forever on the distribution of funding in the various districts in the Province, we can get into all kinds of political wrangles about that I suppose, but nobody is going to question the funding requirement for any of these municipalities. There is not a municipality in the Province which does not need funding to put in water and sewer. The question, I guess, is priorities. And I guess I would ask the question my colleague from Burin - Placentia West asked during Question Period - when are we going to see this year's program? I think that is a legitimate question. When are we going to get this year's water and sewer and road program announced by the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs so that we can get on with it? The weather is good now. The weather has broken. The construction season is coming early in Newfoundland and Labrador this year. We will have a real opportunity to get moving, but we have not yet even announced the projects for this year. I say to Government generally, quite seriously, let us get on with it.

Unemployment is at a seriously high level and here is an opportunity to get moving this year to try to get some construction activity going and so create some jobs in the early stages of the year. Let us do it while the weather is good; it is too short a season in this Province. And the Minister of Municipal Affairs I know supports that concept. Let us get into what we are financing, the one area I think the Minister was valid in his debate on. What are we financing here? This Minister said the Department is paying off some $25 million in interest and $12 million in capital this year. Now I believe these are all water and sewer loans. I do not believe any of these - the Minister may correct me - are for roads. Roads are under the 60/40 roads program, 60 per cent is a direct grant and 40 per cent is paid by the municipality.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It may be. I may be wrong. But I would have assumed that all of these were water and sewer because that is generally what we provide loans for. There may be a guarantee given to a municipality, but generally municipalities borrow directly for roads, in fact they have to have their money before they can go ahead. So generally this is water and sewer programmes here, and I would assume that the interest and capital that are being paid by the Province are on the defaults. These are the municipalities that are already paying 20 per cent of their gross revenue towards the cost of water and sewer debt and the Province is picking up the balance.

And here is where we get in to the inequity and here is where I think we really need to revise the financing for water and sewer programmes here. Because there are inequalities across the Province in the cost of providing water and sewer services. Some municipalities are very fortunate. Some municipalities have a ready water supply very near to the border or the boundary of the town and are able to tap in to that water supply relatively cheaply. Others may well have to go five or ten miles back up in the country. And have -

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

I wonder if the hon. Member would allow me to interrupt him to announce the questions for the Late Show?

There are three questions.

No.1 - I am not satisfied with the answer given by the Minister of Municipal Affairs to my question on capital funding - the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West;

No.2 - I am not satisfied with the answer to my question on design contracts awarded for Burgeo and Port Saunders hospitals - the hon. Member for Kilbride;

No.3 - I am not satisfied with the Premier's response to my question about the need for Government boards such as the Social Services Appeal Board being composed of qualified and impartial people. I would like to debate the question at greater length on the Late Show - the hon. Member for Humber East.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As I was saying, the inequity here is in the cost of providing services. There are two inequities, I guess. One is the cost of providing services, one is the ability of the municipality to pay. And in that regard - and I accept some of the points that the Minister made when he was talking about the general strength of the economy in rural Newfoundland generally. And we can talk about that. I do not think this is the appropriate time but we might get into it.

But there are two key points. And the first one is the cost of servicing. The cost within a municipality is to a large degree somewhat consistent, depending on the layout of the municipality. If you have what we call ribbon development, where the municipality is spread out over a highway, like Dunville and Jerseyside, with which my friend for Placentia would be familiar, the towns of Dunville and Jerseyside are really spread out. Jerseyside has a little bit of a subdivision in it, but Dunville, more so than any of them, is spread out, just basically it is just development along a highway, so you have to run your trunk line, your water and your sewer, along the highway. And you are picking up really only the properties on the side of the highway. And in most rural municipalities - Dunville being as good an example as any - homes are generally spread fairly far apart. So you are probably servicing maybe on the average 500 or 600 feet per unit, is the cost of servicing. So you are providing 500 or 600 feet.

Let us say, for argument's sake, 500 feet. It would not surprise me at all if it was double that on the average. A lot of vacant land there. But on the average you are servicing 500 feet in order to service one home. Now to compare that with a house in St. John's with a fifty foot building lot, one on each side of the road, you are really only servicing twenty-five feet per house. And so the cost of servicing just on that basis is twenty times as great.

We have also made the mistake in the past - and I know efforts are being made to change this, but it is not yet in the Act - that when we service that 500 feet of road in Dunville we in effect created nine new fully serviced building lots. In fact we created nineteen fully serviced building lots at fifty feet each. Now standards for St. John's will not be acceptable in rural Newfoundland. You have a different lifestyle. You are not going to tell everybody in Dunville they have to live on a fifty foot building lot. The lifestyle is different, the expectation is different, and they would not get their boats, fishnets and skidoos and everything else on a fifty foot building lot. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying everybody in Dunville should live on a fifty foot lot.

But I am saying that by servicing that 500 feet of road you have immeasurably increased the value of that lot. And so it would not be unreasonable to expect the owner of that property to pay a capital improvement assessment against the cost of providing water and sewer services. Now you have to stop and say: well, that is great but where is he or she going to get that money? Obviously it will have to be financed over a period of time, but there is no reason in the world that an assessment could not be placed on that lot so if and when the lot is developed, but before a building permit is issued, the assessment then becomes part of the cost of building that home.

And that is no different than what is happening - the example I have used before, I used Mount Pearl or St. John's or any other urban development - is that a developer, be it NLHC or a private developer, in servicing a piece of property, when the person buys that building lot they are paying for not only the land, they are paying for the water and the sewer and the sidewalk and the street lights and recreational facilities and other trunk services, a fair share is assessed against that building lot. And so that person is paying the full cost of the services.

And here is where the inequity comes in. When we look at $40 million or $50 million or $60 million this year being paid out by the Province to cover debt on water and sewer services, they are basically providing those same services to people in rural Newfoundland for free and/or increasing the value of their property for free, unless there is a capital improvement assessment of some sort. And it is not black and white.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Beg your pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It only affected value?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes. But the hon. gentleman must agree that you will get a lot more money for a fully serviced building lot in Dunville than you will for the one down the road that is not serviced. I am not saying that because we put water and sewer on a road in Dunville that for every fifty feet we want $50,000, because that is not what the market is in Dunville, and that is not the true cost. But the cost of providing water and sewer, or some reasonable percentage of it, that could reasonably be expected to be recovered from the market, and that could reasonably be expected to be affordable by the people of that community, I think, could be expected to be paid toward it. Now, here is one of the inequities there are between urban and rural Newfoundland. Now to get back to where I started, there are other inequities in rural Newfoundland between municipalities. The town of Lewisporte has a perfect water supply half a mile, not even half a mile, away from the town so it did not cost a lot of money, you have to protect that area, but it did not cost a lot of money to develop a source of supply. We ran a canal down to an intake chamber, and a tower to increase the pressure because unfortunately the pond is at much the same level as the community, so you have to pump up to a tower to give you consistent pressure which is not an unusual sort of thing. So, the cost of developing that supply was not exorbitant, but you take another town, I am trying to think of a good example, Bishop Falls is probably a good one. Bishop Falls has a real problem.

AN HON. MEMBER: Placentia.

MR. WINDSOR: Placentia. Okay. We will stick to the same area we were talking about. In Placentia the water comes from -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) road.

MR. WINDSOR: The old one came from Argentia. The water was pumped from the supply developed by the Americans in Argentia and the water is still being bought today if I am not mistaken. It was suppose to be transferred. There were some negotiations ongoing. Anyway, the point I want to make is that the town of Placentia, or whatever town, may have to develop a source of supply five or even ten miles away. It may have to build expensive dams. It may require expensive treatment of water in order to improve the quality of the water. There is a tremendous expense to get that water to the boundary, just to get that trunk service into the community as compared to, for example, the town of Lewisporte or a similar town, so there is an inequity that maybe we could address. I have said, I think in this House before, that I would see that as a good program, a legitimate role for the Province would be to develop the source of supply. Now the overall message that comes from this piece of legislation and from the Minister's remarks when he told us that $630 million of debt is still on the books: that has to tell us that municipalities are not in a position to fund such expensive systems and that there will have to be a greater measure of provincial contribution toward the cost of water and sewer systems. Unfortunately, that is not what we are seeing, what we are seeing is Government moving in the other direction, but I suggest to them that they need that level of funding but they need it in the right areas. Give it to those that need the help because of the unusual cost of servicing, so if the cost of providing services is ten times higher in one municipality than in the next, then give that municipality that has the higher cost of services a greater level of assistance, but not a level of assistance that provides free serviced building lots to people so that they can make a windfall on it. I think we have to be careful and there has to be a balance. There is nothing cut and dry, there is no formula that will apply in every case. The other half of it is once you finish using that water you have to dispose of it, and again we have some municipalities that are located on a good water course, near the saltwater, with good tidal action that can dispose, in an unacceptable manner, I suppose, overall by today's standards, but can dispose of their sewage simply by discharging into the Atlantic Ocean where it is not creating an environmental problem. I would say to you that most municipalities in this Province are not really creating a major environmental problem by discharging their sewage properly into the Atlantic Ocean. Every municipality has a different problem. The town of Gander is one that we have spoken about before. I mean, because they are on a fresh water body, they are inland, therefore they do not have that privilege of simply discharging their sewage, whereas the City of St. John's can discharge its sewage out into the harbour, it costs them absolutely nothing to do so. The town of Gander invested $2.5 million just in a treatment system to treat their sewage before they discharge it into a river which eventually flows into Gander Lake. So here is a situation where, perhaps, the town of Gander will be justified in receiving some special assistance because of the unique circumstances. Grand Falls - Windsor is in the same situation. They are looking at a very expensive treatment system now to clean up the Exploits River. There is a serious pollution problem in the Exploits River, and a study is being done now by the Province, I think paid for by the Province, a proper study to see what needs to be done to resolve that problem. The solution will be very expensive, I am sure. But that is an area where I think the Province could legitimately give some special assistance, I say to the Member for Windsor - Buchans, give some special assistance to those communities because if they have to bear the cost, the estimate is $12 million to $15 million, that is the preliminary estimate, Grand Falls - Windsor cannot absorb the cost of $12 million to $15 million, neither can we, as a Province, allow that sewage to flow unchecked into the Exploits River, and so it is a provincial problem, I would suggest.

The town of Buchans is one of the worst polluters in the Province. One of the worst locations in the Province is the pollution from the town of Buchans into the little creek that is now dried up because the water has been diverted into the Hydro project. If the hon. Member for Buchans would go down to the bridge that goes down across there, he will see one of the worst polluted areas in the Province. The Department of Environment will identify it as one of the worst areas. Small numbers with a serious pollution problem because there is no flow in that brook; there is no dilution of the sewage. There is an area, the town of Buchans, not only because they do not have the financial capacity, but because again they are an inland water course and we should be making special provisions to deal with those types of things and removing that financial burden to some degree, at least, from the municipalities. We would support such a program.

So there is where you can balance out the cost, because part of the reason that municipalities here have such a debt that they are unable to pay and the Province has to pick up the difference, part of it is because of the difference in the cost of servicing. I think we could go a long way to equalizing them if we provided programs that dealt with the cost, the unusual cost in some cases, of providing water supply to the municipality and the unusual cost of sewage out falls and in some cases sewage treatment systems that might be required. I think it would be a legitimate thing for the Province to do, and would then leave the burder of the cost of servicing a municipality in the hands of the municipality, but you would be dealing on an equal playing field; you would be talking about distribution within the municipality, which would be relatively equal for most municipalities.

Mr. Chairman, I think the Province has to bear a greater share of that not a lesser share, and I appreciate the Province's financial problems, but now we are at a situation where the criteria is one on ability to finance.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Fiscal capacity.

MR. WINDSOR: Now the Minister did say a moment ago - he covered himself well but he did emphasize the fiscal capacity of the municipality is a criteria. He did say health and environment are key factors. I will give him that. He did say that, but I got the distinct impression from what he was saying that the ability to pay is the key one. And I would say the ability to pay is important, but we cannot allow people in this Province to live with serious environmental problems, you know, health areas, health problems, strictly because of the ability to pay. And I would suggest that part of the problem is as I just said, the inequities between the cost of servicing various municipalities. If we were to go strictly on ability to pay, then a place like Burgeo would never have been serviced in the first place, I say to the Member for Burgeo. Probably the most expensive water and sewer system ever built in this Province, certainly among the most expensive was in the Town of Burgeo, and I know it because I was involved in building part of it back when I was a student. Nothing but solid rock, bog and stagnant water is what you dealt with in the Town of Burgeo. A rugged piece of our country. A very pretty piece of country, but a rugged piece of country to install water and sewer. If the Town of Burgeo were to have to pay the full cost of that water and sewer they would never get it.

Conception Bay South is an example, it is a poor example. Not so much the cost of servicing per unit, but the fact that it is spread out, 16,000 or 18,000 people are spread out over such an immense area and here is a prime example of where we are creating hundreds of fully serviced building lots for people because we are servicing their land. I think Conception Bay South now do have a small capital improvement assessment, perhaps not enough yet, I do not have the details so I will not make such a statement. But I recall when I was Minister of Municipal Affairs in 1979, I sat down with the Council of Conception Bay South and suggested to them that they were going to have to impose a capital improvement assessment if they expected to get any significant amounts of money, and I just about got run out on the rails for making that suggestion. Well they have changed their position and I know that the people of Conception Bay South are now expected to bear their share of the debt.

But the problem with this is that so many municipalities were given funding to do water and sewer systems, and any fool would have known that they could never hope to pay for them, and that is why we are still paying for them. But is it fair to put on the back of those municipalities this kind of a burden for at least twenty years when we know that they could not possibly hope to pay for it? Would it not have made more sense upfront to accept the differences, to recognize the difficulties those municipalities would have and to deal with them? Placentia is a good example, we spent a fortune trying to deal with the problems in Placentia. Whitbourne, is a comedy of errors. There were some engineering and construction mistakes made in Whitbourne that has cost the Province dearly.

MR. HOGAN: (Inaudible) engineering community.

MR. WINDSOR: Not by me. The engineering community is prone to making mistakes.

Let me make another statement since we are talking about the engineering community. The engineering community is prone to designing cadillac systems, because their fee is based on a percentage of what they design and build. And I have no hesitation to say that, because I said that to the annual convention three years ago. I said to the engineering convention - I was guest speaker - I said, you have to stop designing systems that municipalities cannot afford. And I have spoken in this House, I will not go into my speech about levels of service to municipalities. The Member for Placentia will recall, I have spoken several times on them, that the level of service needs to be looked at. So we have to rationalize the whole thing. The problem is not here, the problem is not in mere dollars and cents, it is in providing a style of system that we perhaps do not need in some areas or that we cannot afford in some areas, and in not providing a financing program that removes the inequities between municipalities, because there are very serious inequities. Now what can be afforded in the Town of Gander, cannot be afforded in the Town of Burgeo, yet the cost of servicing in Burgeo was ten times what it is in the Town of Gander. And until we recognize that - here comes the Assistant Deputy Speaker, I was just giving a plug for the Town of Whitbourne in his District, and he missed it.

Having said that, you know, we need to design a system that accommodates the differences, that makes it equal, that makes water and sewer services attainable by basically all municipalities. I do not disagree with the concept of saying you must pay your fair share. Municipalities must be willing to bear a fair share of the costs of those services. If they are not prepared to pay a level of municipal taxation that can support those services, then that is their decision.

Now I temper that with saying let's look at the ability to pay. There is no sense saying to the people of Buchans where there is about a 95 per cent unemployment rate - am I close? I do not think I am overly exaggerating. It is close to 95 per cent. It is no use saying to the people of Buchans, 'you have to pay $1,200 per household if you want water and sewage.' The people of Buchans do not have $1,200 per household to pay, but they still need the services. They still need the services, so the formula must accommodate that. There is no sense saying to a community that has 30 per cent of the people who are senior citizens, or on fixed incomes and are not able to pay, for example, or 45 per cent are on social assistance. There is no sense saying to those communities, you have to pay $1,200 per household, you know the property tax, if you want us to approve funding for water and sewage because they cannot afford it. So you have to balance off all of these things. There is no clear cut formula. I do not think the computer can deal with that one. You have to get back to fairness and balance and a bit of compassion. It is hard to find from this Government in spite of their protesting. But that is the only basis under which funding can be fairly distributed for this sort of program.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more with some of the comments that the Minister of Finance said about developing the Province. It is not very often that I agree with the Minister of Finance, but yes, get back to the grass roots. I would not want to follow his economic policies, the economic program to develop our grass roots, but yes, we do have to get back to the grass roots. We have to develop those industries that can generate activity in rural Newfoundland.

I was shocked to hear the Minister talk about our tourism industry. He said a $100 million industry. The Minister of Development quite properly corrected him, it is around $430 million, if I recall. I think it is the second largest employer in the Province today, and the third largest contributor to the economy behind mining and forestry I would think, or fisheries. I think forestry is ahead of fisheries, but mining and forestry, tourism, fisheries if I am not mistaken in the contributing to the economy. The fishery is the greatest employer over all, but I think it is the fourth largest contributor to the economy in dollar value, mining being the top. Mining primarily in the district of Menihek, Labrador City - Wabush. Eighty-five per cent of all the minerals we produce comes out of Labrador City and Wabush, and the contribution they make to the economy in the mining industry is number one in this Province. About fifth or six or maybe farther down in employment and numbers, the fishing industry being the greatest one. But we do have to get back, and rural development is critical, and all of those industries are critical. But the opportunities, I say to Government, are not in - I would like to see in the future them being in the fishing industry, they are not there today. Not in 1991 they are not. I hate to admit it, there may well be too many people depending on the fishing industry for their living this year. We do have to rationalize it and the stocks do have to be rejuvenated. I would say the potential is there in the future to support many more people if we properly utilize the resources available in the fishing industry, if we get into secondary and tertiary processing, instead of allowing our fish to be shipped down to Boston and processed in Boston. There are more jobs created in Boston by Newfoundland fish than there are in Newfoundland, and that is criminal. I do not say that unkindly towards Government because they did not create that, that has happened over the years and it is not an easy one to resolve but it should be a number one priority. Free trade goes a long way to making it possible to change that because now the tariff systems are changing, and now you can ship highly processed product into the United States, or you will be able to. I think there is a five year phase in on that type of thing, but you will be able to, so it gives us an opportunity to develop the fishing industry, not the harvesting of the fish but the processing of the fish. I think there are three or four jobs onshore for every job offshore if the fishery were properly rationalized, and there is where the employment will be created and there is where the dollar value will be added. There is where the profitability is. When you consider what the poor fisherman in Little Hearts Ease gets paid for a pound of fish, when you compare that with what you pay for a pound of fish in Boston and have a look at where the money is being made, it is in the brokers, in the truckers, in the processors in Boston, the marketing agencies, the retailers, everybody gets their cut and the share the poor little fisherman gets you can not even see. You will not even see it, and that is rough. There is where we need to tackle it. We need to ship that finished product from Little Hearts Ease to the restaurant in Boston. There is where the opportunity is in the fishing industry. It is not out in the boat. There is not a lot more fish out there. Even with the number of fish that are there today I think we have to rationalize that. Please God someday we will get some control over our resource offshore, or at least some share in the management of the resource, rationalize the resource and find out once and for all what the sustainable yield is, allow the stocks to rejuvenate to the point where we can now take that sustainable yield each year and with proper management be able to maintain it, and that is all the fish you can take out of the sea. You can only yield a certain number of fish, but then the employment opportunity, the economic opportunity is in utilizing that resource, and there are immeasurable opportunities there. Fish is just becoming an acceptable alternative for meat, pork, and chicken. People are just starting to realize that fish is no longer the poor man's food. I can remember in Newfoundland when you did not have anything else to eat, you ate fish. I can remember when you would not admit that you ate lobster in Newfoundland. You would not admit it, that was a scavenger. Only the real poor in our society ate lobster.

AN HON. MEMBER: How old are you?

MR. WINDSOR: Not as old as you, but I remember that, where you did not eat lobster because he was a scavenger. He ate what was on the bottom of the sea, and now we cannot get enough of it. In fact the season opens pretty soon, I would hope.

I will adjourn the debate and then we can get into having a bit of fun on the Late Show, Mr. Chairman.

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

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

MR. L. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole on Supply has considered the matters to it referred and has directed me to report some progress and ask leave to sit again.

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

Debate on the Adjournment

[Late Show]

MR. SPEAKER: It being 4:30, I will call on the hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: I would like to thank my colleagues for Placentia and Carbonear. Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Municipal Affairs. I asked it today and obviously I was not at all satisfied with the answer from that Minister. I would hope the Minister would take my question seriously and certainly return to his own seat and listen to what I have to say. Because the type of arrogance being displayed by this Minister by not listening is unbelievable. So I would now ask him if he would respond to the question I raised today, because I was not satisfied with the answer.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is appropriate that the Minister listens to what I have to say because I am not at all satisfied with the answer. And I do not think he listens to anybody in his Department. I asked the Minister today when we can expect to have some financial assistance for various councils throughout this Province, because he has not given us the answer yet.

He has said a lot of things, but, Mr. Speaker, I cannot help but refer the Minister to page 22 of the Liberal Policy Manual. During the last election the Premier and the Minister of Municipal Affairs stated, I am sure from time to time, that the Liberal Government would undertake immediately to establish a provincial water and sewer corporation that would take over to continue to operate all existing water and sewer facilities and over a period of time build and expand new ones to areas now not served, in much the same manner that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro expands electrical services to all parts of the Province. Now, Mr. Speaker, I want an answer to my question today.

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

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

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

MR. BAKER: I will only take about thirty seconds, but one of the microphones is on, one that should not be on, and I want to draw it to the attention of the House.

MR. FUREY: It has been happening quite a bit.

MR. BAKER: It happens fairly often and should not happen.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Trinity - Bay de Verde's microphone is on. Okay.

The hon. the Member for Burin Placentia - West.

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I hope Hansard did not miss recording what I was saying, because if it did, Mr. Speaker, it will have a negative effect on this Province.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister said throughout this Province that he was going to set up a system similar to Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro for the delivery of water and sewer, and the water and sewer co-orporation would, like Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, borrow money to build the systems to service the presently unserviced areas of the Province and repay those monies from its overall cash flow.

Now my question to the Minister is, is he going to live up to that commitment he had made to people of this Province? Are the people throughout this Province, throughout the smaller communities I have in my district, and I am sure the Member for Placentia has in his district and other Members have in theirs, are they going to receive anything from him for water and sewer this year? Will the Minister keep that commitment? Will he be honest with the House and tell us if he is going to keep that commitment to rural Newfoundland. Will he assure the House and assure the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that there will be as much money if not more this year for capital funding than last year? Because that commitment, Mr. Speaker, was not made by the Conservative Party, it was not made by the ND Party, it was made by the Liberal Party. And if the Cabinet of this Province is made up of an hon. group of individuals, they will be honourable enough to keep their commitment and that commitment was made by every Minister over there in the last election and circulated throughout this province.

Now I want to know from the Minister today when he is going to allocate the funding and if the funding allocation will be done based on the recommendations of his officials, or will it be done in the Cabinet room? Will it be done in the Cabinet room like transportation? And if it is going to be done based on the recommendations of his officials, I would also like him to answer this question: Will he table the recommendations of his officials that will be submitted to Cabinet? Will the Minister lay before this House the submission of his officials as it relates to the recommendation for water and sewer?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I have asked the Minister of Municipal Affairs the question, not the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island, who will never be a Minister. As a matter of fact, after the next election he will never again be a Member. But my question to the Minister of Municipal Affairs is will he table that list which is going to be attached based on the recommendations of his officials, or will it be done like it was done with the Department of Works, Services and Transportation's funding; they got in behind closed doors with the Premier and divvied up the pie, the financial pie for roads among Liberal districts and ignored the people of Great Harbour and the people of Beau Bois and other places throughout rural Newfoundland.

I sincerely hope the commitment the Minister and his Premier and others made during the election campaign will be fulfilled. Because I can say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation and the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs that Members of his caucus went to Red Harbour and Bois Beau and promised that they would get road work, and the promise was not kept, Mr. Speaker. And, Your Honour, it is not important that I say who made that commitment. I will not do that. It would be a disservice I am sure to the Member who made it. But in any case, that commitment was made in Red Harbour.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I hope I am not being cut off intentionally, because I will not mention the name. I will respect Your Honour. However, I will ask the Minister in conclusion if he will provide us with the list that was going to be submitted by his officials for water and sewer projects, and when we can expect to have it.

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to hear the Member speak about allocations of capital works and whether or not we are going to do it on the basis of fairness and priorities and so on. I would have thought over the last couple of years based on priorizing, using criteria of need which is assessed, of course, by way of health and environment as the two main factors, and other factors, I would have thought that those priorities would reflect almost totally concentrated in Liberal communities, given the fact that prior years were almost totally given to Tory communities. As a matter of fact you would think that to be the case, because with all the Liberal Districts that had not been touched by the previous Government, had been left alone literally unserviced, you would think that the priorities would reflect only Liberal Districts. But, Mr. Speaker, that did not happen. Over the last two years - I will just use last year as an example. Last year, for example, the breakdown of capital works was 60/40; the breakdown of the House happens to be 60/40. Now that is just pure coincidence, but that is the way it broke out last year.

AN HON. MEMBER: You gave them too much.

MR. GULLAGE: I was surprised -

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

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West on a point of order.

AN HON. MEMBER: Watch your blood pressure now.

MR. TOBIN: The man who controls the purse has just stated in this House that he gave the Tories too much. I would ask him to withdraw that statement and stop threatening the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order. The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. GULLAGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Let me get to the main question. The Member asked me about the water and sewer corporation. They are running out of questions on the other side, obviously. This is another identical question like the one I got today in Question Period. Well, that is fine. I do not mind repeating everything over again.

What I said was, we had researched thoroughly the idea of a water and sewer corporation, in my last answer and I will repeat it again. The average cost per household per year - the average family would have to pay something like $2,000 per year.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) on the record.

MR. GULLAGE: Yes, you sure do. You have me on the record. I was on the record before, so this is the second time around now.

We have difficulties now in most rural communities in the Province, and that is where the problems are with provision of water and sewer, that is where the needs are that we have to address - $2.5 billion of need for water and sewer and roads. It is mostly in rural Newfoundland. Mr. Speaker, we have great, great difficulty in having those communities pay a reasonable amount of tax right now, for lots of reasons. Some of the communities have unemployment, are on social services, have very low incomes, great difficulty to pay a reasonable amount of tax, what we consider a reasonable amount of tax in the urban areas of the Province. So considering that fact, the difficulty we have now of having those households in rural Newfoundland come up to a reasonable amount of tax - let us call a reasonable amount of tax $500 a year, what we might consider reasonable, say, in urban Newfoundland - surely heavens we are not even going to consider the idea of raising that amount to $2,000 a year. It is unthinkable!

Now where did that figure come from? Well, Mr. Speaker, if you take the concept of the utility corporation, or water and sewer corporation and you want to run it like a utility, obviously if you want to bring everyone in the Province into that corporation you have to take the existing infrastructure and pay the communities for it. That is the first thing you have to do, you have to purchase the existing infrastructure.

Now just to do that in St. John's or Mount Pearl alone, to just take the two cities if you like close to home, would cost an enormous amount of money. That would be a starting point, but the point is, Mr. Speaker, that the cost would be exorbitant.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. GULLAGE: Just quickly in closing, Mr. Speaker, we made a promise that we would examine a water and sewer corporation. We have fulfilled that promise, because we have thoroughly examined it.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I asked a question today of the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation and I was not satisfied with the answer. I do not say it was the Minister's fault that he did not have detailed answers today, because the question might have been one he might not have had detailed information on at the time - I realize his department puts out quite a few tenders.

Mr. Speaker, in the meantime, I would imagine the Minister has done some research on the issuing of tender contracts for consultants for the Burgeo and Port Saunders Hospitals. Now there are two issues in these questions that I would like the Minister to address. I understand that within the Department of Works, Services and Transportation there is a committee set up from several departments to assess proposals which are sent in for engineering work generally. All the proposals are assessed I would imagine, based on cost, based on expertise, and based on other information; there are two or three recommendations sent to the Minister's office to see which tenders will be accepted.

And I understand that on the Burgeo contract Newlab Engineering and William Nycum Associates of Nova Scotia were recommended. I have no problem with that - well I have a problem with it, because I do not understand why it went to a Nova Scotian company. But they were recommended.

Mr. Speaker, then comes the Port Saunders Hospital, and it was decided not by the committee and the department who makes recommendations on who should do this consulting work, but it was decided by someone - I do not know who. We have not been told who - to give the same company, the same consultants who got the Burgeo work the Port Saunders work. Now the Minister might say yes, this is similar work and we get it done cheaper. That is what he said in his answer. Well if that is the case, I want to know how much money he saved. Who made proposals on the Port Saunders Hospital project? How many of them made proposals on it? What was the difference in prices between the ones who made proposals and the ones who got it? Why were the firms of Newlab and William Nycum not recommended by the staff? Who did appoint these two companies? Why was it considered necessary in the first place to give this work to a consortium which would be doing most of the design work in Nova Scotia?

Now certainly in this Province between the architects we have and the engineering companies we have there is the expertise to do this in this Province. I know this firm Newlab has a young architect on staff now. They will do some of that work, but the majority of the work is going to be done by William Nycum and Associates of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, in case the Minister does not know or in case some of the people over there are not aware, consulting companies in this Province are in trouble. They do not have any work to do. I have spoken to two principals of engineering companies who came out of the Minister's office during the last two days, and both of them told me that as of the end of this week if there is not some activity in the engineering consulting field, they will be laying off. Now while engineering companies in Carbonear are laying off staff at the end of this week, we have the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation giving engineering consulting work to Nova Scotia. Now that is not acceptable to me. I would not accept it if I was over there. But there are engineering companies throughout the Province and one I know of in the Carbonear area will be laying off staff, if not by the end of this week, by next week.

Mr. Speaker, I find that completely unacceptable and I am sure the Member for Carbonear, whose constituents are going to be laid off -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. R. AYLWARD: - will also find that to be -

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

The hon. Member's time is up.

Before I recognize the hon. Minister of Works, Services and Transportation I would -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would like to remind hon. Members that it is very discourteous to the Chair for hon. Members to cross the floor to the other side of the House between the Chair and the person who is speaking. I would request that hon. Members in the future refrain from doing this. I will not name any Members at this particular time, but I have noticed in the last three or four days it is becoming a practice, and I request that hon. Members not do it.

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

MR. GILBERT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, the gentleman for Kilbride - again the long-necked geese of the world forever hissing dispraise - got up today and he asked the questions which I gave him the answers to. I would just like to comment. He talks about contracting out. I told him the reason for it, to broaden the base so that we would have an expertise in the Province of more than one consulting firm that was able to do this work.

But it is interesting that you hear Members over there talk about contracting out. It comes to mind, whenever I hear of contracting out, I think of a fellow by the name of Peter Lougheed who we did some contracting out with and we have been trying to get rid of him ever since. We cannot get rid of him because you fellows had him in, and you signed a contract with him.

When I talk about Newlab and Nycum it is interesting that we talk about contracting out, because I believe that it was the previous government that went outside and got this Nycum group to come in to do a hospital study. And they are the same people now that are involved in this. I believe that they are the same people that the previous government got involved with.

But you see, any time that I hear the Member for Kilbride get up I am very suspicious because he speaks with a forked tongue. When I announced the roads programme a couple of weeks ago he got up and he said there were only four Tory districts that got anything. And when I checked it through there were thirty-five districts that were involved in the works project this year, and it was done on a priority basis and a needs basis. And out of that - there were thirty-five districts - twenty-four of them were Government districts, eleven were Opposition districts, but actually twelve, because one of the projects that was announced in Exploits, the Member for Grand Falls announced it over the radio and took the credit for getting it.

So there were really twelve districts. So we heard the Member for Kilbride get up and say that the only reason that they did not get it was politics. I tell you the reason that we did it was the need was there for it, and there were eleven districts out of the nineteen in the Opposition that got it, actually twelve, and there were twenty-three Government districts that got it because there was a need for it.

But then what I did further, I went back and I said to the people in my Department: tell me about the districts that did not get anything in the Opposition. One of the districts that did not get anything was Grand Bank. What they tell me is there are no gravel roads in this district except for two very short local roads. Grand Falls: they said they were listing Grand Falls as one of them, but the only thing about it is, we heard the Member for Grand Falls announcing the Grenfell Heights new bay road one for the Member for Exploits. And the Grand Falls - Windsor town council was in and asked that this project be included this year.

Kilbride: there are no gravel roads except for a few short gravel roads in the Kilbride area. The major need is the upgrading of Route 10 which comes under St. John's. And the bypass he is talking about is in the 235 agreement. There are no Government roads in Mount Pearl. In St. John's East there are no Government roads. In St. John's East Extern there are a few gravel roads but the big one there is the Bauline Line to Portugal Cove. It is five kilometres and one that we should be looking at, and if it is a priority it will be looked at. St. Mary's - The Capes, there are no gravel roads in St. Mary's - The Capes.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Minister's time is up.

MR. GILBERT: When I hear the Member for Kilbride get up and make statements, that this is wrong and that is wrong, I have serious doubts about -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Minister's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the Social Services Appeals Board is one of a number of Provincial Government quasi-judicial boards. The Social Services Appeals Board interprets and applies social services regulations and makes awards, or withholds awards of public funding to some of the poorest people in the Province. The people who go before the board typically have already gone to senior officials of the Department of Social Services, have gone to their MHAs, who in turn have gone to the Minister. The Social Services Appeals Board is now the court of last resort for these people who cannot have their grievances addressed by staff of the Department, or the Minister. Now until the end of last year they could go to an independent officer of this House of Assembly, an official trusted by Members on both sides, the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman had the legal mandate to investigate complaints about social assistance administration, to access documents, to get information from officials, and to do a thorough investigation. The Ombudsman, from time to time, concluded that Government mistakes were made and succeeded in having mistakes corrected. Now, Mr. Speaker, this important quasi-judicial board, the Social Services Appeals Board, has been discredited in the past few days. It has been revealed that the current Members of that board, appointed by this 'real change' Administration, are personal friends and campaign workers for the Minister of Social Services. Furthermore it has been shown that the Minister arranged to have thousands of dollars in retroactive pay issued to these political cronies. Then, Mr. Speaker, the people of the Province saw the spectacle of the Minister on CBC television news declaring that he would certainly never appoint Tories to that board. People witnessed the Minister, basically, expressing a vendetta against Tories in the Province. Now, Mr. Speaker, it is critically important that people throughout the Province supporting each of the political parties, or supporting no political party, have faith in the impartiality of the Social Services Appeals Board, and people no longer have any confidence in the objectivity of that particular board. Mr. Speaker, the Premier can point to shortcomings of the previous Government but blaming each other is not going to restore public confidence in the Social Services Appeals Board. Mr. Speaker, this Premier has to be judged against his own high standards, his own sanctimonious and pious promises of fairness and balance. Those are the standards against which this Premier is going to be measured, and whatever anyone can say about the previous administration, it is true, number one, that PC administrations put in place the Public Tendering Act, PC administrations put in place the Public Service Commission, PC Administrations put in place the office of the Ombudsman, we always had the independent officer of the House of Assembly, the Ombudsman, until the end of last year when this Administration repealed that office. Now in cancelling the Ombudsman office the Premier said that the function would be discharged by Appeals Boards. Now this Social Service Appeals Board has been examined and has been found to be wanting, it is tainted by sleazy partisan politics.

Now I call upon the Premier to live up to his platitudes, to practice what he preaches, to abide by his own standard, not to try to divert attention from the current problem by pointing to mistakes of the past, but lead the way into the future. Bring about the real change that he promised, assuming that that change amounts to improvement.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. DOYLE: A good speech.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, my answer is the same as I gave earlier this afternoon, exactly the same. There is no reason to change it. The Member has done a little bit of additional grandstanding, and I suppose she is entitled to that if she wishes but it does not alter the approach that the Government has taken or will continue to take. We have no intention whatsoever of appointing people because they are Tories or because they are Liberals or because they are NDP, neither do we have any intention whatsoever of refusing to appoint people because they somehow supported the Liberal Party in past elections. I can tell this House that I have no doubt that in the future there will be people appointed to various boards or positions who have been known to have been Liberal supporters. There will be people appointed who have been known to be NDP supporters.


PREMIER WELLS: I think we appointed a number the other day: of Tory supporters and NDP supporters on the Round Table on the Environment. There is a mixture. They were not appointed because they were PCs or Liberals, they were appointed because they were competent people who could do a job.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, that is the objective of the Government. Are we going to be letter perfect? I doubt it. I doubt very much that we are going to be perfect.

AN HON. MEMBER: Nearly though.

PREMIER WELLS: I doubt very much that we will be absolutely perfect. I daresay that occasionally we may even make a mistake or two.


PREMIER WELLS: It would not surprise me at all. I would not even be surprised if we made a mistake or two in the past two years. I daresay we might even find that.


PREMIER WELLS: But to hear these pious gripes from the hon. Member for Humber East and talking about this Social Services Appeals Board having people coming before it and not having confidence in it because they might have voted Tory and these people were Liberals - and they appointed Ida Reid to be the Chairperson of that Board!


PREMIER WELLS: Look at all the others they appointed. Joe Goudie, John McLennan, Edward Osmond - you could go on and on. And I just might go and get a complete list and table it in the House so that everybody can judge it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: But, Mr. Speaker, there was one thing that the hon. Member said with which I agree.

MR. TOBIN: It is 5:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: The one thing that the hon. Member said with which I agree -

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

I just want to remind hon. Members that the Chair is keeping the time of speakers and the Chair will notify speakers when the time is up.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There is one thing that the hon. Member said with which I agree. That we should be looking forward. We should not be patterning what we do in the future after what they did in the past.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: And in the future, Mr. Speaker, we will make sure that we try and avoid any mistakes we might make, and we certainly will not follow the pattern they established in the past.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair apologizes, the Chair was looking at the clock in front of me which does not show 5:00 p.m. yet. I do not know which one we were following but we will look at that for tomorrow. We will call it 5:00 p.m.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. BAKER: I should explain to Members opposite: I believe the Opposition House Leader was out. According to this clock up here we were a minute late starting the Late Show. The first speaker from the Opposite side, the Member for Burin - Placentia West, was given six minutes instead of five, and that is how come we would end up two minutes after. It is not understandable how Members opposite could get so upset about something like that.

PREMIER WELLS: They have an aversion to truth.

MR. BAKER: I was using that one over there.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: I was using that one.

This House now stands adjourned until tomorrow, Friday, at 9:00 a.m.