April 19, 1991                HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS               Vol. XLI  No. 33

The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Before going on to our business of the day I would like, on behalf of hon. Members, to welcome to the galleries today sixty Grade XI students from Ascension Collegiate, Bay Roberts, accompanied by their teachers Claude Taylor and Corbett Newman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Speaker, I would like today to announce that effective May 6, 1991 payment of driver's licence and vehicle permit renewal applications will be accepted at chartered banks and credit unions in the Province.

Drivers' licences and vehicle permits or stickers will not be issued at renewal time. Payment at a bank or credit union will extend the current validity of the applicant's driver's licence or vehicle permit for thirty days from the date of payment. All payments with accompanying documentation will be forwarded to the Motor Registration Division for processing. Permanent drivers' licences and vehicle permits will then be forwarded to the applicant by the Department. The bank or credit union will charge a fee to the applicant for this service.

Any outstanding fines will appear on the renewal application form. The renewal forms have been changed to an 8 1/2" by 11" format to accommodate this change in payment procedure. This affects May expiry of vehicle permits and June expiry of drivers' licences. Renewal applications issued prior to this month will not be accepted at chartered banks or credit unions.

Mr. Speaker, this change will mean that residents who live in rural areas of the Province, including coastal Labrador, can now go to the nearest bank or credit union to utilize this service. It will also mean that a person who has regular daily working hours can take advantage of the extended hours offered by the banks and credit unions in order to renew a driver's licence or vehicle permit.

By tapping into an already existing network, extending the availability of driver's licence and vehicle permit renewals through banks and credit unions will result in an expansion of service for all Newfoundlanders.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the Minister for providing me with an advanced copy of his statement. I do not know, they must be desperate for news to be putting this out. It is old news. This has been announced several times before. Mr. Speaker, when a Government has to lay off 2,000 public servants and pass the responsibilities for some of those public services over to the richest corporations in the world so that they can make larger profits, Mr. Speaker, there is something wrong with the thinking of the Government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shame! Shame!

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, it does not say in this how much the fee for the application was. The Minister suggested last year that the fee would be $1 each, I am not sure if that still holds. The banks control what the fee will be, and if the fee is going to be $50 it will be $50; if the fee is 50 cents, it will be 50 cents. The Government has no control whatsoever.

Mr. Speaker, I hope this helps people. But to put out a news release to say that the renewal forms are changed into eight and a half by eleven format, Mr. Speaker, is kind of a ridiculous statement in my mind, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

MR. HARRIS: I would ask whether the House would grant leave to respond to Ministerial Statements?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Further Ministerial Statements?

Oral Questions

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

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. While the Premier was away this week several matters again came up regarding the Minister of Social Services and his departure from the straight and narrow. The most recent allegation of wrongdoing is that, number one, the Minister or someone in the Minister's office has leaked confidential information to a job applicant from the Minister's district, and number two, someone at the Public Service Commission quite possibly has broken the act and the law in making that information available to the Minister or to someone in his office. Now the Premier has said that the Public Service Commission is going to examine these allegations. The question I have for the Premier is, how can the Public Service Commission be expected to impartially examine itself?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member has fabricated quite a web that he speaks of as being real or something. There is a suggestion, and this is the only thing I am faced with at this moment, a suggestion, that apparently an applicant who was applying for a civil service position may have had some questions made available to him or her by somebody somewhere along the line. Now under the Civil Service Commission Act, which is a statute of this Legislature, the Commission is charged with the responsibility to make whatever enquiries are necessary into the running of their office and the proper management of the office; they are given specific powers under the Act. As a matter of fact, they are specifically given the powers of a Commission of Enquiry under the Public Enquiries Act, and they are carrying out that investigation into these allegations. The hon. Member is talking as though all these facts are apparently proven. They are not. If, as and when the Commission reports that something is amiss, the Government will then make a decision as to whether or not the Commission is in any manner incapacitated from conducting the investigation.

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

MR. DOYLE: I agree with the Premier, Mr. Speaker, there is a (Inaudible) plan but it is being woven by the Premier (inaudible) social service. Now the Premier must have some impartial party or individual investigate this matter. The Premier himself is not impartial enough to investigate the Minister of Social Services and the Public Service Commission is not impartial enough to examine itself and to investigate itself. In any event, the public is not well served by that process. Now the question I have for the Premier, why was an impartial enquiry conducted by a supreme court judge required last time and it is not required this time? If it was right, reasonable and honourable last time, why is it not right, reasonable and honourable this time? And why is the Premier dragging his feet on this issue? The Premier has a right to let the public know.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the initial allegation that was made was that somehow the Minister interfered with or caused the increase or extension to a Level 2 of the Members of the Social Services Appeals Board so that they could get higher pay. This was the whole thrust of it. That has been determined to be totally without foundation, completely false and fabricated by Members opposite. Mr. Speaker, I tabled in the House yesterday the full details of all that and it is ready for all to be seen.

Now in the meantime, nobody in this Province is at all blinded to the fact that the Opposition have now said this is get the Minister of Social Services week - let us fabricate whatever we can to attack the Minister of Social Services. They did it with the first allegation, we saw another indication of it yesterday when they were talking about the awarding of a contract for consultants to build a hospital, as though that was somehow affecting the Minister of Social Services. We have seen clearly, Mr. Speaker, that there is no substance to anything that has been put forward yet. Now I do not know whether there is any substance to this allegation about the Civil Service Commission or not, but the Civil Service Commission will conduct its investigation and will advise me. And if there is substance, action will be taken. But I am certainly, Mr. Speaker, not going to respond to this vengeful act of the Opposition in this particular way.

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

MR. DOYLE: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker. The Public Service Commission Act, Section 20-1, says a person shall not directly or indirectly endeavour to influence improperly the Commission or any employee of the Commission.

Now let me ask the Premier, in view of the fact that no one knows who leaked this information, and in view of the fact that it appears as if someone at the Commission is involved in this scam, and further in view of the fact that the Government has decided on two occasions that Government bodies cannot investigate themselves, once when the RNC was involved in a death at the Lester Hotel and a partial investigation was conducted, and once when the Minister was investigated by a Supreme Court Judge, now in view of the fact that the Premier has decided on two occasions that these Government bodies cannot investigate themselves, why not now call in the RNC or the RCMP or a Judge of the Supreme Court to impartially adjudicate on this matter?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, that is the same question asked three times, and I will state again the position. We are not going to create a witch-hunt to satisfy the political blood lust of the Members opposite. We are simply not going to do it merely because they choose to attack the person of an individual Minister who has served this Province and its people well and in a distinguished way.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if anything of substance is put forward or demonstrated which justifies an independent assessment, I can assure this House and the people of this Province that an independent assessment will be undertaken. But I am not about to run before vengeful political blood lust of the Members opposite.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Premier as well. In The Sunday Express the Premier is quoted as saying all Members of his Cabinet have been told that both they and any company in which they have business interests as well as those involving immediate family members, are forbidden to do business with Government. Because of events of the past few days in which several allegations have been made with respect to conflict of interest of several Cabinet Ministers, will the Premier tell us if he is still following the same guidelines as he espoused in this article?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I do not know what he is talking about, the several allegations of conflicts of interest of Cabinet Ministers. Of course, that is the standard and we are continuing to follow it.

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

MR. WINSOR: In that same article, Mr. Speaker, the Premier refers to immediate family members. How does the Premier define `immediate family members'? Does it include a brother, a sister, a son or a daughter? Exactly what does he mean?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: It is not my personal definition, Mr. Speaker, it is a definition out of the act and the regulations and it is normally taken to be the husband or wife of a Minister and the direct children, is what it is usually confined to. But I think it really should be extended beyond that. It is difficult to try and do business in an independent way if the Government, for example, is doing business with a brother of a Minister. But when you stop to think about it and try and enforce it, it is very difficult because this is a very small Province. But I have been applying the definition in The Conflict Of Interest Act to the husband or wife and the children.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Since the allegations of improper behaviour on the part of Cabinet Ministers has surfaced recently, our office is flooded with calls and reports with respect to the (inaudible) of some Ministers. Would the Premier tell us if he would consider it appropriate for the brother of a Cabinet Minister to enter into a lease agreement with the Department that Minister presides over?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: It certainly would be inappropriate for the Minister or the Department to just go and negotiate and enter into a lease. I do not think that would be at all appropriate. However, when tenders are called by the Department of Works, Services and Transportation in the ordinary course, if the tenderer involved somebody who was a brother or a sister of a Cabinet Minister or a company owned by a brother or a sister of a Cabinet Minister, there is nothing in the conflict of interest regulations as they stand at the moment that would preclude that. As the law stands at the moment, it would only be precluded by a company in which the Minister - I have forgotten it - holds 25 per cent, or holds a substantial interest. I have forgotten now, I will get the exact wording of it.

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

MR. WINSOR: Final supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Would the Premier then, in his investigation into the Minister of Social Services, investigate this charge: That the Department of Social Services has entered into a lease agreement between a social service recipient and the brother of the Minister of Social Services for a St. John's residence, and is paying $475 a month to the brother of the Minister of Social Services for a social services recipient?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.


PREMIER WELLS: It is difficult to imagine that they could -

MR. FUREY: Why did you not ask that, Len? Because it is too low.

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

MR. FUREY: You did not have the guts to ask it.

PREMIER WELLS: -stoop this low, Mr. Speaker and it just demonstrates that the objective is to get this Minister - for whatever reason, this is the objective. There is no interest in protecting the public interest, it is a personal attack on this Minister. But I will take a look at whatever allegation is raised and make sure that -

MR. FUREY: Oh, come on. (Inaudible) rookie up to ask that!

PREMIER WELLS: I will take a look at whatever allegation is raised. I will not close my eye to any allegation that is raised in this House or outside this House. I will take a look at any that is raised but I will express soundly my opinion of those who raise it without foundation in an attempt to cast aspersions on individuals involved.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the conflict of interest regulations would not in any manner prohibit that particular thing, so far as I know, as they stand at this moment, it would not prohibit that. For example, I believe one of the landlords in the former government who rented to a lot of these tenants was Mr. Morgan, was he not? Did he not own a lot of these houses that were rented in this same way? He himself personally as a Cabinet Minister directed -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: - or he was a Member at the time. He was a Cabinet Minister originally, yes.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: We will take a look at it and see, Mr. Speaker. But, Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: - I will respond and assess (Inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shame, shame!

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Premier is aware that British Columbia has established an independent commissioner who recently reported on allegations against the former Premier in British Columbia. He would also be aware that recent allegations made in Nova Scotia concerning a salary supplement paid to the former Premier Buchanan when he was leader of he Party have now been referred to a judge of the Supreme Court. Indeed, there is an indication from Premier Cameron that Nova Scotia also intends to appoint an independent commissioner to investigate allegations against Ministers as they arise from time to time.

I would like to ask the Premier this question: Are these statements attributed to the Premier on April 7 in a Sunday Express story accurate, and I quote 'any serious alleged case of unethical behaviour will be referred to an outside party for investigation.' Close quote. Are those accurate statements by the Premier and is that a policy that he still adheres to?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: It is not accurate in the sense that it is not complete. The complete statement from my recollection that I gave to The Sunday Express was that if there is anything of merit, any allegation that is made that appears to have some substance in relation to a Minister, I will not deal with it inside, I will seek outside advice. Usually a Supreme Court judge. And what I was doing was pointing out that it was not necessary to have a full time commissioner on conflict of interest because this Province cannot afford to pay those kinds of monies to do it. If you are a rich province like Ontario or BC, maybe you can afford it but you cannot if you are a poor province like Newfoundland. Supreme Court judges are available and they can do an equally good job.

But the complete statement said that that was the course that would be taken. But I would not be running to the Supreme Court every time the Opposition made these kinds of unfounded allegations. If there was anything of substance that had merit we would indeed go that course. And I do not know whether The Sunday Express published the full statement or not but that was the statement that was given to them.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I think the one thing the Premier is missing in all of this is that all of these allegations are not coming from the Opposition. Many of them have come from citizens in the Province. That is the point my colleagues have been trying to make.

Can I ask the Premier a supplementary? Does he agree with his Government House Leader who said in that same interview and I quote: improving the Province's conflict of interest guidelines has been revived by the BC scandal. Our position is that the Premier is responsible for his Ministers. Then the question comes up: who judges the Premier? I think in the case of BC - this is continuing this quote - it was rather fortunate that they had that mechanism in place. End of quote.

Does the Premier agree with his Government House Leader when he says it was fortunate they had a conflict commissioner in place? And if he agrees, can he also tell us who judges the Premier?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, we have had in the past in this Province, the British Parliamentary traditions; the former Governments did not have it any differently than it is at the moment, there is no change at this stage and the practice has been that the Premier is responsible to the House and to the public of this Province and he has to answer. As well he is responsible to his Party because the Members of the Party in the House would withdraw support from the Premier, if he did not meet an acceptable standard.

Now I can say to you, Mr. Speaker, that what I think should be done if there is an allegation of any substance, not just the kind of low-minded things that have been coming from the Opposition this week to try and smear people, it has not done them any good in the past and they should learn it is not going to do them any good in the future. If, Mr. Speaker, there is anything of substance, the Lieutenant- Governor would have my resignation immediately and then you could appoint whomever you wanted to investigate the Premier.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Opposition House Leader, on a supplementary.

MR. SIMMS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am sure the Premier would admit however, not withstanding his thoughts on an independent commissioner, I am sure he would admit that one way to have public confidence in the system would perhaps be, to have an independent person responsible for these kinds of situations. I mean that would certainly be a way to have public confidence in the system. If he was prepared to reconsider his position on an independent commissioner, perhaps have a closer look at it, this side would be quite prepared to agree with speedy passage of such legislation. Would he be prepared to bring in an amendment to the legislation to allow for the appointment of such an independent commissioner?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, it is incredible that they now find this necessary bearing in mind the scandals their Government had to cope with in the past. All of a sudden it is necessary for an independent commissioner and they are standing with these pious expressions of support for an independent commissioner, Mr. Speaker. No, Mr. Speaker, I would not introduce such legislation, of course not.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Premier, and it concerns the public interest in matters such as retro-active pay which Bill 16 dealt with in one particular; in the documents tabled by the Premier yesterday, indicates that, in addition to the Social Assistance Appeals Board that other Boards such as the Mental Health Review Board, The Mining Tax Review Board, also received increases in the pay compensation for board members, would the Premier advise the House as to whether or not these payments were also made retro-active to April 30, 1990, in addition to the Social Services Appeals Board?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I do not have the information readily at hand, but I would certainly undertake to obtain it and advise the House.

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

MR. HARRIS: Yes, also in respect to the public interest in public confidence in the impartiality of boards appointed by this Government, would the Premier not agree, that it is improper and in fact would be totally unacceptable for social services recipients to have to appeal to a board, sometimes perhaps appealing decisions of the Minister himself, when that board is composed principally of appointees of the Minister, who are political supporters of him, who live in his district and who are campaign workers for him, is it not improper for people to have to appeal to that kind of body, knowing that the body itself is dependent upon the Minister for its further appointments and because they receive those appointments in part at least because they are political supporters of the Minister?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, just to demonstrate the extent to which they are stretching to try and make this look somehow terrible, just bear in mind now what the hon. Member asked. Is it proper for a board made up of members from the hon. Member's district to have to appeal against a decision? There was one member from the hon. Member's district out of four on the board. One out of four. There are four members who deal with that board; three operate on a full-time basis, and one as an alternate. So of the four members who serve on that board, one is from the Member's district. So that will just tell you the direction and validity of the question.


MR. SPEAKER: Order please!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I am satisfied that the board has been doing its job. I have had no indication that the board has not been acting properly or has been giving decisions that are unduly preferential to the department of Social Services as opposed to the individuals who have appealed, but I will take a look at the whole performance of the board, and if I get any complaints, and I have not received any complaints from persons who have gone before that board, Mr. Speaker, so I can only operate on the assumption that the board has been performing its duties quite well. The only problems we have been dealing with are largely the problems fabricated by the Members opposite in the last few days.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Premier splits hairs. The former Chairman of the board, although not from the district as the Minister said his parents were, worked on his campaign, and the current Chairman is also a campaign worker of the Minister. Despite the fact that individual social services recipients have not complained to the Premier that they have not received treatment, does he not agree that it is improper for them to have no way of having public or personal confidence that they are going to get a hearing when they are appealing a decision of the Minister to one who is dependent upon the Minister for his appointment and who happens to be a political supporter or a political worker for the Minister? Does he not feel that that is improper, that if he wants to appoint political appointees to boards he should have appointed them to some other department, not his own.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I have no indication whatsoever. I have received none. I do not know of anybody else from the Government who has received any indication whatsoever that that board has been performing in any manner in an improper way the duties that have been assigned to it. There have been no complaints whatsoever. Now it may well be that as of right now there is a substantial lack of confidence in that board, not because of any improper performance of their duties, or not because they have been making decisions that are unduly favourable to the Department of Social Services, but because of the hatchet job that has been done by the Members opposite in the last week. It may well be that the credibility of that board has been greatly diminished or destroyed, and we may well have to look at replacing it.

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

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

Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Premier. In a speech to the Board of Trade this week, the Minister of Fisheries urged that a joint Federal/Provincial management board be set in place to manage the fishery. I am wondering if the Premier could advise if a detailed formal proposal has been submitted to the Federal Government on this matter, and would he consider tabling that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I have been corresponding with the Prime Minister for about three months on the matter. It has been limited correspondence, I think it has involved three letters. I do not think it is at a stage where I would want to table that publicly right at this point in time. I am more concerned with being successful in the end than I am with gaining any political advantage out of it right now, and I think it would be far better if I refrained from tabling the correspondence at this time.

AN HON. MEMBER: They do not understand.

PREMIER WELLS: Now in terms of the detailed presentation, the detailed presentation is prepared and in the course of revision, but the detailed presentation has not been formally presented.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to say at the outset that I hope the end result is productive. That is not why I asked to have it tabled, so that it would not be. But on a number of occasions the Minister of Fisheries and the Premier have mentioned the Offshore Petroleum Board as a model for the joint fisheries management board. The difference between the board and what the Premier seems to have in mind is that the Offshore Board is not just an administrative arrangement, it is a board established under joint legislation with legal rights and obligations. Is that the kind of joint fisheries management board the Premier is thinking about? And is this exactly the kind of board he wants?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I say again the detailed proposal has not yet reached the form we are prepared to release it in. A great deal of work has been done on it, and I doubt if the Minister of Fisheries, even if he were here, would want to discuss the details of it publicly this morning. We envisage a board somewhat like the Offshore Petroleum Board, established under legislation enacted by both the Parliament of Canada and this Legislature.

Mr. Speaker, this Legislature does not have jurisdiction in certain aspects of the fisheries and the Federal Parliament does not have jurisdiction in other aspects of the fisheries. We would envisage the passage of legislation by Parliament to deal with giving to the board powers that it has, and legislation being passed by this House to enable giving to the board powers the Department of Fisheries in this Province would have, so that together they could manage the fisheries in this Province in a co-ordinated way, that would see a co-ordinated management of processing facilities with catching capability, with catching rights and opportunities, and have the whole of the fisheries managed in a co-ordinated way. As the Member is quite aware, it is a split jurisdiction with the Province having jurisdiction over the processing and the on-land aspects of it, and we would see a joint fisheries management board that would operate in such a way as to co-ordinate both aspects of it.

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

MR. POWER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I guess we only have a couple of minutes left in Question Period, so I will not worry about a preamble. I want to ask the Minister of Finance a question on established program financing which is basically made up of both cash transfers and tax credits. The Minister of Health and the Minister of Education have said on several occasions that we will be out of established program financing - the Federal Government will - and we will receive no money as of the year 2004. Could the Minister tell us if there have been detailed studies, and what scenarios have been worked out where we will receive more tax credits, less cash transfers? And in effect, will we really be out of Federal money to give to health and education in this Province by the year 2004?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

That question has been asked. I have received preliminary information on that and I am having it re-analyzed and will be responding to the House shortly. It is true that the cash transfers will disappear in time and we will be responsible basically, but there will be tax points transferred to the Province. As I say, the complete answer will be available shortly.

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

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, it will be just a very brief supplementary. Of course the Budget cuts in both health and education are expected to be, I suppose, accepted by the people of this Province because there are no cash transfers coming by the year 2004. I just want to ask the Minister again, although I think he mentioned it at the end of his answer, when those detailed studies are done, will they be made available to the House? And I would also like to see the study the Minister of Health in particular continuously quotes when he says in a very definitive way that studies have been done and that by the year 2004 we will receive no cash transfers to this Province on EPF. I would like to see that study, as well.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

MR. SPEAKER: Before moving on to the next item of business, on behalf of hon. Members I would like to extend a warm welcome to sixty democracy students from Vaters Collegiate here in St. John's, accompanied by their teacher, Robert Ryan.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

DR. GIBBONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is my pleasure this morning to table the report of activities on the $300 million Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Development Fund which my Federal colleague, Mr. Epp, is releasing today as well in Ottawa. This report highlights the significant contributions made by both Governments to establish the educational, research, industrial and social infrastructure which would put the Province in a better position to meet the future challenges related to the offshore oil and gas developments.

Our Governments consider this investment in Newfoundland's future to be of strategic importance and of a high priority. We look forward to the immense opportunities the industry will bring, confident in the belief that with the diverse initiatives we are undertaking through this fund a strong foundation is being laid to ensure that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador reap the maximum benefits from offshore petroleum resources. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I rise to table the report of the Government Services Legislative Review Committee respecting the draft bill, "An Act To Amend The Labour Relations Act, 1977, (No. 3)." This particular bill, of course, deals with what is commonly known as the double-breasting legislation. We had fourteen presenters, and I might say that the quality of those presentations, the briefs, was excellent. It took some twenty-odd hours to receive those briefs, and some twenty-odd hours to meet in Committee to put together the report.

I want to thank the Vice-Chair, the hon. the Member for Kilbride, and the hon. Members for Harbour Main, Pleasantville and LaPoile for their contributions, and of course the Deputy Clerk, Miss Elizabeth Murphy. So at this time I would like to table the report. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Kilbride on a point of order.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I just received a copy of this report, and being Vice-Chairman of the Committee - I do not know if this is a point of order or point of privilege - at least I would expect that Members of the Committee would have been given copies of this - it is dated April 17, so it was prepared at least two days ago, and I would think Committee Members should have been given a copy of it.

Now I was given a copy of the rough draft of this a week ago and I went over it and it seemed to be reasonable. But, Mr. Speaker, I am not sure - I tried to peruse this in the ten or fifteen minutes I have had it - that the recommendations in this reflect what I thought on the Committee or what I recommended. I would think they would, but I am not sure, so I would just ask Committee Chairpersons on that side of the House - and they have control of when they present this - if they would at least do the courtesy of having each Committee Member get a copy of reports at least a day in advance - I do not think that is unreasonable - just a day in advance, so that we can go over it and make sure that something has not been inadvertently omitted. The Chairman would not do it intentionally I know, but maybe inadvertently. If two or three of us read it over, or the whole Committee read it over, we could make sure that there would be no omissions from the report.

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

There is no point of order. The hon. Member took advantage of the opportunity to point out some concerns. These are matters which have to be dealt with by the Committee and are not for the Chair at this particular time.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

DR. GIBBONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, a question on the Order Paper to me from the Opposition House Leader concerning my trips for the year, April 1, 1990 to March 31, 1991: I would like to table the answer to that question.

MR. SPEAKER: Are there further answers to questions for which notice has been given?

MS. COWAN: Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. COWAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am rising, as well, to present the record of my trips in the past year, in response to the question by the same hon. member.


MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have the honour and privilege to rise and present a petition on behalf of 192 residents of the District of Conception Bay South, the district of the hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

The prayer of the petition, Mr. Speaker, is to the Honourable House of Assembly, the Province of Newfoundland.

`The undersigned 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 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 service it has traditionally provided.'

This petition, Mr. Speaker, is one of a number of petitions presented to this House. Now I do not know whether the hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations was asked to present this petition and refused, but it has been the practice in the past, that members for the district have been asked to present, and if they are unwilling to do so, an Opposition member was sought to present these petitions.

I want to say in my remarks today, Mr. Speaker, this is one of dozens and dozens of petitions from thousands of Newfoundlanders all over the Province, from the very remote and rural areas of Newfoundland to the urban areas, such as St. John's and Conception Bay South, which is sort of semi-urban, semi-rural.

These residents of Newfoundland recognize the value of the Memorial University Extension Service, and I know the Government is now taking the political position and is talking about academic freedom as if it has no influence whatsoever over the affairs of Memorial University, to which it gives in excess of $100 million per year. The Government is pretending it has no influence over that, and the Government House Leader, the President of Treasury Board, took pains yesterday to quote a letter that was written by a former Minister of Education, now the P.C. Member for Ferryland, indicating that that Government also took the position when it was convenient to do so that they would not interfere with Memorial University.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that contrasts quite strangely and quite obviously, I suppose, with the position the Government takes when it wants to say something positive about what it is doing in relation to Memorial University. During this campaign, for example, the Liberal Party campaigned on the promise of opening a new campus of Memorial University in Central Newfoundland, of having first year courses in various places, of having degree-granting institutions in Corner Brook, and Grenfell College, to which students could go and get their full degrees.

This, Mr. Speaker, seems to have no taint of interference with Memorial University, yet it obviously involves the university doing things at the behest of the Government, conferring degree-granting status on an institution in Corner Brook, having a whole new campus set up in Central Newfoundland.

The Government went through for a period of some months, a year or more, with some sort of charade about competition between Lewisporte and Grand Falls, Botwood and various other possible places, Government inviting submissions. What role was the Government playing there? Did it have any role at all? Obviously, Mr. Speaker, it has a role when it wants to have a role. It has a role when it suits their political motivations to do so and, in this particular case, this Government has decided that it wants to see Memorial University Extension die, is prepared to let it die, and is prepared not to do anything about it.

So they can get up all they like and talk about academic freedom. This has nothing to do with academic freedom, it is only a political posture by this Government. They can get up and say all they want about that, but the reality is when it comes right down to it, this Government has said it is prepared to see Memorial University Extension die, a service that Newfoundlanders relied on for nearly thirty years and still rely on, particularly in rural Newfoundland where there are very few services and very few opportunities for communication between groups. And problem-solving facilities offered by Memorial University Extension workers, there may not be hundreds of them, as the Minister of Education said in his hyperbole one day, about how there were hundreds of people working for Extension when he worked for them. There may not be hundreds of them, Mr. Speaker, but they are very well regarded and very well received by the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. And this is noted, not only by the residents who signed this petition, but also by people who have spoken publicly on television programmes and news programmes, who have written numerous letters to the editors of newspapers in Newfoundland, extoling the virtues of Memorial University Extension Service, repeating the great service they had provided to these communities.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the prayer of the petition presented by my colleague for St. John's East regarding the cutback of MUN Extension Service in this Province. Mr. Speaker, I think the prayer of the petition says basically everything that needs to be said, when one looks at the addresses and the signatures on this petition and the places they are from, places like Kelligrews, St. Thomas, Paradise, Topsail, Holyrood, Manuels, Upper Gullies, Brigus, Topsail - the whole piece - St. John's, Corner Brook and the names go on and on.

Most of the signatures there are from the area represented by the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island, as I understand it. I want to speak to this petition and make a few comments, particularly because of some of the non-factual information presented yesterday in this House, which has become the mode of the President of Treasury Board, when he spoke as it relates to who presents the petitions, who spoke and who did not speak. Obviously the President of Treasury Board makes these accusations about people not supporting various things within their districts without even bothering to check Hansard. But that is one of the characteristics of the President of Treasury Board; he has never made a factual statement in the years he has been in this House.

When it comes to MUN Extension Service, I am sure his brother does not support the decision of the President of Treasury Board to cut funding for MUN Extension in the Province. And I know the Minister of Social Services does not support the cutting of funding for MUN Extension Service. But I want to support the petition which has been presented.

And, you know, it is strange that when the Member for Stephenville was in Opposition he could write a Minister of the Government and ask if he would interfere -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: The Member for Stephenville. When he was in Opposition he wrote to the Member for Ferryland, who was then Minister of Career Development, and asked the Minister if he would interfere with the operations of Memorial University and ensure that the University -

MR. GRIMES: That is not true (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: - and ensure that the University that -

MR. GRIMES: That is a lie.


MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, is it parliamentary for the Member to say `it is a lie'?

MR. SPEAKER: If a Member has said it, of course it is not parliamentary. Is the Member saying somebody said it?

MR. TOBIN: The Member for Exploits, Mr. Speaker, said it was a lie.

MR. R. AYLWARD: The Member for Exploits, yes.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. R. AYLWARD: Twice.

MR. SPEAKER: If the Member for Exploits said that something was a lie, then the hon. the Member knows it is unparliamentary and I ask him to withdraw.

MR. GRIMES: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I apologize. In the heat of the moment, having heard something I understand to be definitely not true, I did use that phrase and I apologize for using an unparliamentary phrase.

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

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is strange how some Members when in Opposition could ask that Government interfere with the operations of the University and ensure that MUN Extension was maintained throughout Newfoundland, and yet, when they become Members of Government, they change their tune. Probably when the President of Treasury Board stands to speak to this petition, as I am sure he will, he will be able to tell us why Members of his Government wanted it supported, why Members of the caucus of which he was a part asked to have MUN Extension continue in Newfoundland.

He got up, Mr. Speaker, about the Government's (inaudible) changing it from one place to another place, moving it from Marystown to Clarenville and things such as that. Well, I can say to the Members opposite that MUN Extension was alive and well when the Progressive Conservative Party reigned in this Province; there were MUN Extension Service offices throughout. Why is MUN Extension being cut out today, being eliminated in this Province if it was not done before? What hogwash, Mr. Speaker. What hogwash!

There is no commitment to Newfoundland in this Cabinet nor in the caucus. If there was in the caucus, Members opposite would stand up and support the people who elected them. They should never forget that no one in this House voted for them, that it is their constituents to whom they are responsible, the people who elected them. Those are the people who went into the ballot box, not the Premier, not the Cabinet. So get out and stand up and support your constituents, instead of having the Member for St. John's East and the Member for Ferryland and the Member for Port au Port presenting petitions day after day which you refuse to present. It is the second time this week that Member has presented petitions on behalf of other Members, who refuse to present them on behalf of their constituents.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up

Orders of the Day

AN HON. MEMBER: Motion 6.

On motion, that the House resolve itself into Committee of the Whole to consider certain Resolutions relating to the Guaranteeing of Certain Loans under The Local Authority Guarantee Act, 1957, (Bill No. 18), Mr. Speaker left the Chair.

Committee of the Whole

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order please!

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Yesterday afternoon when I finished debate, when I was so rudely interrupted by the clock, I was speaking about servicing municipalities and a whole new concept of providing funding for water and sewer facilities. I know hon. gentlemen were tremendously interested in what I had to say, but I am not going to go over it again - I am sure they have heard me say most of it before. So I just want to make a few final remarks on this particular Bill at this point in time - I may have other opportunities to speak.

Mr. Chairman, the real question here then is - we asked the Minister who was not in his seat. He is now, or at least he is in the Chamber - when is the Minister going to come forward with the capital works programs for this year? I realize the Premier is taking his attention now, but it is important, Mr. Chairman, that we move ahead with a water and sewer program in very short order. We are at that time of the year when construction is at a low, where we need the employment and the activity generated by the Government's water and sewer program, and I think it is absolutely critical to municipalities from a planning point of view that they be allowed to go ahead. So why has the Minister not moved? He is on record many times as saying that he is greatly in favour of early tendering and awarding construction contracts early, and I know his personal views are that he would like to do that. Why then is he not doing that? What is the hold-up? He told us in the House yesterday in answer to a question that this program is being reviewed now and will soon be ready. Well let us move on with it, unless there are some other reasons why the Minister does not want to move on with it.

Perhaps there is another question here we need to be addressing; perhaps the Minister is delaying so that he can implement his amalgamation program first. Is that why the Minister is not approving water and sewer grants for this year?

MR. DOYLE: I think I know.

MR. WINDSOR: Is that the reason?

MR. DOYLE: It is so thick (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No doubt. No doubt it will be the same as the roads program. There were 64 out of 68 projects in districts represented by hon. gentlemen opposite. That is the fairness and balance the Premier promised us in the election campaign. No doubt we will see the same thing when it comes to water and sewer programs. But I am more concerned - Mr. Chairman, if we could just take the opportunity to welcome my friend, the former Member for Conception Bay South, Mr. John Nolan. The House should welcome him here today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: Now, Mr. Chairman, that is the question though, are we seeing our water and sewer program delayed so that the Minister can implement his amalgamation program? And how would the two be interconnected?

Ah, we finally got the Premier and the Minister to break up their little huddle and pay attention. You may leave. It is all right, I am after your Minister this morning.

PREMIER WELLS: Was something important being said?

MR. WINDSOR: Absolutely. The Premier was out doing other business yesterday afternoon, too, when I was making one of the finest speeches I have ever made here. I can do it again.

PREMIER WELLS: I heard part of it. There were meetings upstairs (inaudible). And I must agree with the hon. Member, the part I heard (inaudible) was making a lot of sense.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, I was trying to make a point. There is a better way and there is a need to rationalize water and sewer funding. I will not go through it again in detail, but just in a nutshell I was making a number of points.

PREMIER WELLS: When I had to leave and go somewhere else, it sounded like the Member was making a lot of sense.

MR. WINDSOR: Okay, thank you. Please do read it. But in a nutshell what I was saying is that there are inequities, there are inequities in the cost of servicing municipalities simply because of the terrain. Burgeo was solid rock; I was involved in a water and sewer program down there and there was horrendous cost per unit to service Burgeo. Labrador is another question altogether. When you compare Burgeo with a town like Cormack, which has beautiful sandy conditions and not a rock out there, you do not use a stick of dynamite, the cost of servicing is much less. On the other hand, Cormack is spread out over a long period. And we use the example of Dunville, and my friend for Placentia is so familiar with it, where it is ribbon development on a highway and the cost of servicing each lot is incredible because you are only getting one lot serviced for each section of pipe, basically, that you are installing; you may be servicing five or six hundred feet of highway to connect one house because they are so spread out, on such large lots.

I made the point that we need to have a capital improvement assessment on those areas, within reason, within the ability of the people to pay and the value of the property in that community.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) enhance it the better (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Because it enhances the value of the property.

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible) should do that.

MR. WINDSOR: Exactly.

PREMIER WELLS: This is the point the hon. Member was making. Would the hon. Member give me just one second?

MR. WINDSOR: I will yield to the Premier.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: That is the point the hon. Member was making, this concept of a capital assessment, that people who were serviced would pay. Because the minute you put water and sewer by a house its value goes up by several thousand dollars and it is unfair to people living in subdivisions who bought their lot with that cost included, or to taxpayers who do not have water and sewer, that their monies are used to enhance the value of the property of others. So this results in unfair treatment. That is what motivated us during the campaign to talk about the concept of a water and sewer corporation, where we could allocate the cost. But, frankly, we have taken a preliminary look at it and the possibilities of doing it just do not seem like they could work. Now we have not done a detailed, thorough assessment, but a preliminary assessment has been done and it appears as though it would be impossible or quite impractical to put in place. But I agree with the hon. Member that we have to find some means of doing it fairly so that people are treated fairly, and still provide the maximum possible level of water and sewer. I thank the hon. Member for giving me that few minutes. Thank you.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: No, I have to go to take an urgent call from a Premier.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Premier. I thank you for your comments. I am delighted to hear your comments on the water and sewer corporation. I agree it could not work, and to be fair it would cost you billions of dollars to buy the infrastructure that municipalities have already invested before you could set up your corporation.

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible) most of it now.

MR. WINDSOR: You have it now, but not from the larger municipalities. They are paying their way, and they always will pay their way. It is the smaller municipalities which are not paying now. The ones which are not paying now will never be able to pay. That was the other point I made, and for the Minister's benefit I will just complete that. The other point was not all municipalities are able to pay the same amount. You cannot say to every municipality pay $1000 or $1200 per house otherwise you will not get water and sewer. Because many people, and I use the example of Buchans where you have about a 95 per cent unemployment rate, those people are not in a position to pay $1200 per house. So we have to accept our social responsibility on a provincial basis and have a program which accommodates that. And even though we have paid the full shot for our building lot, we may well have to pay.

I am sorry the Minister is leaving. Is the Minister going to stay, or is he going to run as well? Mr. Chairman, it is very difficult to speak to a Government that keeps running away. Before the Minister goes, will he please tell me this? Will he answer this question? Is the delay in the water and sewer program in any way connected with his amalgamation proposals? Is he delaying for that reason? He tells us not. You can tell us that. I wish the Minister could stay. I appreciate he has other business, but I would like to know when the Minister is going to deal with the amalgamation program. amalgamation program. Communities all across this Province would like to know, particularly in the urban area, the St. John's Metropolitan area, the northeast Avalon. We would like to know.

It is time, Mr. Chairman, that the Minister made some decisions and moved forward with whatever he or Government is proposing to do. And I would hope they would listen to the people when they make the final decision on that and when they move forward, and they should do that very, very quickly. Because the uncertainty in this region now is hurting the municipalities; the uncertainty of their future is drastically holding back municipalities from moving forward with their plans for further developments and further investments. It is holding back investment in the private sector. Private sector wants to know what municipal structure they are going to be dealing in: who will be the taxation authority, what kind of a system will be established. And it makes a tremendous difference to them.

So it is imperative that Government move ahead forthwith with whatever they propose to do in the area of amalgamation. And it is absolutely critical in the northeast Avalon area, because developments are being held up, private developers are holding up, waiting to see exactly what will take place. Mr. Chairman, it is critical that we move ahead and that the Minister announce his amalgamation programme forthwith, and he announce his water and sewer programme forthwith.

Let me say once again - I am tired saying it in this House - that he stop procrastinating and he establish the Mount Pearl Fire Department with whatever structure he is proposing to establish. Be it part of a regional system, if the cost is reasonable we do not have a problem with that. But if not, then he should stop procrastinating and allow the city of Mount Pearl to move ahead with their fire department. It is costing us $300,000 a year in interest alone for the most modern, up-to-date, state of the art fire department and fire trucks and equipment in that building, in there with the doors locked now for two years, while the people of Mount Pearl do not have as good a level of service as they deserve and they wish. They are paying a lot more for it. They have their own fire department there and the Minister refuses to allow them to man it. There is absolutely no justice whatsoever in that.

So I do not think there is any point in delaying this piece of legislation any further. I think I have made the points that need to be made. We are obviously not going to get any answers from the Government at any rate, so I am going to take my seat, Mr. Chairman, and we will have an opportunity to speak another day.

AN HON. MEMBER: Question.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Question? Are we ready for the question?

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

DR. KITCHEN: I just want to take a minute or two to answer certain questions the Member for Mount Pearl raised. He asked why we ended on February 21, our schedule. As Members will remember, the House was called to meet on February 21. It was deferred to February 28, because we deferred it for a week, and that is the reason for that date. The other point was, what about the fact that some are ten years and some are twenty in the schedule. The `ten years' refers to paving and the `twenty years' refers to water and sewer.

I might add that these amounts are not the amounts the NMFC has put in place, they are the amounts the Minister of Finance has guaranteed prior to - these are works in construction, things under construction. When each job is finished, the Newfoundland Municipal Finance Corporation will set up a term loan to the municipalities involved. But in the event that NMFC does not do it, then the Government is on the hook for ten years and will arrange a long-term payment schedule. Anyway, these are the explanations the Member requested, and that is all I will say at the moment.

On motion, resolution carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the resolution and a bill consequent thereto, carried.

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Chairman, I want to move to Motion 5, Bill No. 19.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Bill 19.

The Opposition House Leader.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, the same rules apply for speaking.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Yes, Mr. Chairman. Bill 19 is "An Act To Amend The Loan And Guarantee Act, 1957." Basically what we are doing now is amending the schedule to report the changes we have made in our loan guarantees since the last amendment was presented. As indicated here - and I will just review what is in the schedule and perhaps add certain points to it - we have guaranteed to St. Lawrence Fluorspar Limited a loan of $42,850.57, which can be explained in some detail. We had a large guarantee in place of $3.3 million, and it was demanded on by the bank. Another bank had an interest in that and it agreed to advance $400,000 - that is Barclays Bank - if the Bank of Nova Scotia which had the guarantee would defer interest, and the Bank of Nova Scotia agreed to do this if the Province guaranteed the interest. So that is a guarantee of the interest to enable Barclays Bank to put in $400,000 to keep the mine open for a little longer, while they were making up their minds as to what they were going to do with it.

MR. WINDSOR: Forty-two thousand.

DR. KITCHEN: I am sorry, $42,000, right. Well, no, the $400,000 was what Barclays Bank put in to keep the mine open for three or four months in the interim because they thought they might be able to keep it open longer. And we were guaranteeing the interest to the Bank of Nova Scotia during that interim period.

The other one was Smith's Seafoods, where we advanced a loan guarantee to a fish processing plant at Chance Cove, Trinity Bay, a guarantee which will expire in November.

Clause 2: We extended the date of a loan guarantee of $500,000 to A. L. Stuckless and Sons, from July 31 to April 30 1991, a nine month extension in time, that was all that was involved in that.

Clause 3 has to do with James Doyle and Sons Limited. They had two guarantees in place, one of which expired at an earlier time than the other. And what we did is we extended the time so that both guarantees would expire at the same time, namely March 31 1991. And we are presently trying to decide whether we are going to give a further extension to that loan guarantee.

I think, Mr. Chairman, that that is all I would like to say on that particular bill.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman, I am not going to speak for too long on this bill. There are a few questions that I would like to ask. I guess - St. Lawrence is a question. Obviously there is nothing in the bill itself but it does give an opportunity to raise some questions about exactly what was happening at St. Lawrence and what efforts if any Government made to try to keep that mine alive.

I am painfully aware of the difficulty of that, and of the markets, and was responsible for having the mine reactivated a number of years ago, and for dragging it along with more guarantees and more investment over the years. I think it was a wise investment. I think Government got good value for its money over those years. It created a lot of employment, a lot of economic activity and spin-off in the St. Lawrence area and the Burin Peninsula generally. Government may well be called on to honour some of the guarantees that we have had in place on that operation, that industry.

But I think over the last - my guess is what, about seven or eight years? - it has been a good contributor to the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador and it was a good investment on behalf of government. The question is: is it not possible - I wish either the Minister of Development or the Minister of Mines was here to tell us what efforts have been made to try to keep that mine alive. I understand that recently now the mine is flooding and naturally will fill with water unless pumps are maintained to keep it pumped out. And I am just wondering what efforts have been made to try to keep that industry in this Province, to keep it from shutting down. I know there were some efforts made by Government and if one of the Ministers can give us some details we would be very interested in hearing them. I wish either the Minister of Mines or the Minister of Development was here. No doubt they have been most directly involved in it.

But it is unfortunate. It is a major employer in the St. Lawrence area. It is a major loss to the economy of that area and no doubt will be felt tremendously on the Burin Peninsula. And the Minister will feel it, because he is going to lose a lot of revenue from personal taxes and so forth that were paid by the people who worked there.

Perhaps the Minister could tell us a little bit more about James Doyle and Sons Limited. Is that a forestry operation in Gambo? Am I right on that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) New Ferolle.

MR. WINSOR: It is probably New Ferolle? I wasn't just sure where it was. Thank you.

Mr. Speaker, a question one could ask - because, you know, this is a valid programme of Government to assist industry, and I have said many times in this Chamber, that we do have to put these types of guarantees in place to assist industries. It is quite an interesting thing that during the election, the Premier indicated that maybe they would not use this mechanism of supporting industry. I believe, at the time, he felt that it was a false economy. It is interesting now, and I am sure the Minister of Finance does not agree that it is a false economy. I said at that time, and I say again, it is a necessary part of our economy. The financial institutions, the banks, when you get in trouble, they want to bail out, and bail out quickly. They pile more trouble on your shoulders. I have seen it so many times when I sat in the Minister's office. How many times did I call the banks and say: what are you doing to this industry? They have been a good, successful industry for thirty years, they have had one bad year and you want to call their loans; you want to put them into bankruptcy, show no confidence at all. It has been said many times, the banks will only loan you money when you can prove to them that you don't need it. Unfortunately, that is painfully true, particularly at a time like this when we are into a serious recession. No doubt, the banks are finding it tough. They are finding it tough, because they are having a lot of loans defaulted. They take the bite on that, and naturally, they have to be very careful. But I would urge the financial institutions in this Province, and in Canada, generally, to have a little bit of confidence. And the Minister of Finance can play a key role

here as the liaison between industry and the financial community.

MR. MURPHY: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I realize the Minister is having trouble hearing, because our friend from St. John's South is overpowering the P A system here. But, the Minister can play a key role as a liaison between industry -

MR. MURPHY: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I am not interested in the letter the Member for St. John's South has. Would you please ask him to be quiet, because the Minister of Finance is listening intently and he is having trouble hearing what I am saying.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the Minister plays a key role as a liaison between business and industry and the financial community, and it is a critical role, I say to him. I am sure he is aware of it, but it needs to be said. It is a critical role in letting the banks know that this Province and this Government is not prepared to watch industries fold simply because the banks get cold feet. The boys up in Toronto say: Oh, oh, the economy is bad. They are having a rough year down in Newfoundland. We had better tighten up. The first thing they do is raise the interest rate, they will up the interest rate, so, when you are having a tough time, they charge you more for your money. Instead of giving you a break - you know, I guess you could hardly expect them to lower the interest rate, but it would make a lot of sense if you were having tough times. No, the banks do not play a role in dealing with the recession, they make it worse. They tighten up. The money supply is tighter. It is harder to get a loan today. It is harder to start a business; it is harder, again, to keep a business going, because the banks start tightening up on the reins and they start demanding.

Every day, I hear people saying: I am getting calls now from people to whom I have owed money for a year or two and just because things are getting tight now, they are starting to call whenever they want their money in. It is no trouble to borrow money when times are good, when there is a lot of money on the go, but when it gets tough, when you really need it to get you over the hard times, it is very difficult and very expensive to get it.

The Minister can play a key role - and I have had to do it many times when I was Minister of Finance, call a particular bank and say: Look, this company has been in business for thirty years, you can see their record, the Government is behind them, but now, at this time, when they need another $300,000 to get them over this bad fishing season, or whatever the case may be, you are saying, no, you won't give it to them. The banks play hardball, I say to the Minister of Finance. They play a little poker game. And, if they can, when an industry is ready to falter, if they know that Government is ready to step in and accept the risk, the bank will shift that risk over on to the shoulders of Government. They will shift the risk over to Government, because they know that Government cannot allow a fish plant with 400 employees in some small community - Flower's Cove, I say to the Member for St. Barbe, is a good example - cannot allow a fish plant like that to close down for the lack of $300,000 or $400,000.

AN HON. MEMBER: Sandy Cove.

MR. WINDSOR: Sandy Cove.

For the sake of $300,000 or $400,000, the impact of that fish plant on that community and on fishermen all along the shore, is horrendous if it were to shut down.

So, the Minister of Finance has no choice but to step in and say: we will guarantee that $300,000. So, all of the risk, therefore, is carried by Government. Now my pet peeve on that, if we were to do that, if the bank says: That is it. We are not prepared to lend 5 cents unless it is fully guaranteed, and if that is their final position then the Minister has no choice. I say to the Minister that I would be very reluctant to agree to that sort of thing. I am very reluctant to agree to any guarantee unless the bank is putting in some money too. I will guarantee half of it. How many times have I said that to them? I will guarantee half of it, but you guys have to put some money in too.

I think I may have mentioned this to the Minister in the House once before, the other thing that I was trying to do was to say that if we are guaranteeing the money, there is no risk to you, so we should have a drastically reduced interest rate. I mean it is free money. You are loaning the money out and you are absorbing absolutely no risk whatsoever, there is not a chance that you will not get your money back. Obviously the higher the risk, the higher the interest rate. That is the way the system works, and naturally so, and so it would be. You are into venture capital, risk capital, and you expect to pay a higher interest rate for it. But I think the opposite should also be true, that if there is absolutely no risk whatsoever because Government is guaranteeing the money then we should have a lower interest rate. Otherwise, Mr. Chairman, it may be just as well for the Government to consider setting up a fund and instead of guaranteeing the loans, actually loan the money directly at Government's borrowing rate which would be lower, I say to the Minister of Finance, than the fish plant would be paying to the Bank of Nova Scotia who would be - The Bank of Nova Scotia has most branches in rural Newfoundland and actually holds most of the loans in the fishing industry. So Government may well be served by actually borrowing that money themselves. It would not change the fiscal position of the Province. A guarantee is a contingent liability on the Province. It will appear in a prospectus anyway, so the Province's financial position does not change, it is just that the Province gets into the business of loaning money unless, I would say to the Minister, the bank is prepared to loan the money at the Province's current borrowing rate, then I do not have a problem with it. But why should the Province pay more for that money? Why should industry pay more for that money when there is absolutely no risk whatsoever to the bank?

So, Mr. Chairman, that is the sort of thing I would like the Minister to think about. And I would just take the opportunity to make this point that I was starting to make a moment ago, the Premier during the election said: We do not like loan guarantees. In fact, he threatened not to honour loan guarantees. There were particular ones, at least, that he said: We will not honour those loan guarantees when we get in office. He soon learned that you indeed will honour those loan guarantees. He had no choice but honour those loan guarantees or we would destroy the integrity of this Province altogether, the credibility of the Province. We would have no credibility whatsoever in the financial community. The Minister's borrowing is tough now, it would be much tougher then, because if you can refuse to honour a loan guarantee, you can refuse to honour a loan. What is the difference? What is the difference, if some legislation could be passed to dishonour a loan guarantee it could be used to dishonour a loan itself.

So, Mr. Chairman, I am glad to see the Government's position has changed. I am glad to see that the Government is still making this vehicle available to support business and industry. I suggest the Minister have a good look at how we do it, and I suggest that he play some hard ball with the banks. I think it was time they were told that there should not be any more free rides. There should not be any more interest being collected with absolutely no risk whatsoever at higher than necessary rates. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to have a few words to say to this piece of legislation as well. Some of the issues -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Do not bother.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: What did he say (Inaudible)? Mr. Chairman, I would like - why does the Member not stand in his place and say what he just said and I am sure the Chairman would make him withdraw it.

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

MR. TOBIN: Now, Mr. Chairman, comments like that are not allowed in this House and the Minister should know full well, he has been here long enough. Let me say -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, let me say to this piece of legislation, particularly as it relates to the St. Lawrence operation, I take that quite seriously, as obviously the Minister of Forestry does not take St. Lawrence very seriously, nor do the Members of his Government take it very seriously. Nobody took John (Inaudible) pretty seriously in 1982.

Now let me get on with this piece of legislation. What we have happening here in this Province particularly in St. Lawrence as it relates to the mine situation - and I am sure my colleague for Grand Bank will be here momentarily to speak to this as well - what we saw last week in St. Lawrence is again something that is typical of this Government. When you see the police moving in, when you see court injunctions, and you see everybody moving in to basically bring St. Lawrence back to its knees once more, one has to wonder about the sincerity of this Government in keeping that operation going.

The former speaker, my colleague for Mount Pearl, who was Minister of Development, worked extremely hard, together with my colleague for Grand Bank, to see that the St. Lawrence mine was reopened. And it was reopened and it was kept going. And while we were in government the St. Lawrence mine was operating. People were working and making money and investing back into the economy of the Burin Peninsula. But all of a sudden Government changed and like everything else on the Burin Peninsula and throughout Newfoundland, St. Lawrence mine was on the block again. The jobs and the livelihood of the people of St. Lawrence once more were thrown into question by an insensitive Government led by the Premier and the President of Treasury Board.

MS. COWAN: It is Friday, be nice.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, would you ask the Member for Conception Bay South to contain herself? Please?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I am extremely serious about what is happening because the economy of the whole Burin Peninsula is affected by the St. Lawrence mines. And it is this Government that has closed the St. Lawrence mine, the St. Lawrence Hospital, that has cut the hours of medical services in St. Lawrence because the mines are closed. Now where and what are we supposed to do? Why has this Government taken such drastic action? Why have they mounted up such a vendetta against the Burin Peninsula, and in this case against the people of St. Lawrence and Lawn and Lewin's Cove and Epworth and other places that worked in the St. Lawrence mines.

There are a lot of questions that have to be answered. I know that the Minister of Energy - and I do not mind saying it - is one person whom I have a lot of respect for. And I know that he has a great commitment to his Department and to the people his Department serve. But I know that this Government collectively has no commitment to anyone who lives or operates or needs Government assistance in rural Newfoundland. And that is the sad part. Maybe the Minister of Energy should be President of Treasury Board or Minister of Finance. Someone competent in the job. Rather than who we have.

AN HON. MEMBER: A Member for a rural district.

MR. TOBIN: No, he is not a Member for a rural district but he has more sensitivity to rural Newfoundland than most Members. For example, he has more sensitivity and commitment to rural Newfoundland than has the Member for Windsor. He has twice as much. He had none, he has forgotten rural Newfoundland, like a good many more once they got elected and became Members of Cabinet. He forgot rural Newfoundland.

But this is very important to the people of St. Lawrence, Lawn and to the other parts of the Burin Peninsula that work -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, Mr. Chairman, yes, now there is the arrogance and I am sure my colleagues just witnessed that. When I said about St. Lawrence and Lawn, he said: they are gone! Now that is a Minister of the Crown saying - when I said St. Lawrence and Lawn are now in trouble, he said they are gone.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who said that?

MR. TOBIN: The Minister of Forestry. Put down (Inaudible) and the people of St. Lawrence and Lawn. Now that is the contempt, the arrogance, that is being displayed day after day, day in and day out, in this Legislature by Ministers of the Crown. Most of them are not as blatant to say it outright as the Minister of Forestry just did in his thumbs down to the people of St. Lawrence and Lawn. That will not be tolerated and accepted! The people of St. Lawrence and Lawn may know it!

And there are a few things that I may say today in this debate on St. Lawrence and Lawn. Not because they think they are such close friends with the Mayor of St. Lawrence can they do what they like with the people of St. Lawrence, let me say that quite categorically. Not because they think they are buddy-buddy with the Mayor of St. Lawrence he can do what he likes with the people of St. Lawrence. And that is what this Government is doing; the Minister of Forestry put thumbs down on the people of St. Lawrence and Lawn and we do not stand by it. We think it is regrettable that such action was taken. The people of St. Lawrence have always had a rough time of it, and I know because I practiced social work on the Burin Peninsula, and did the St. Lawrence/ Lawn area, for probably ten years or close to it.

I was there when Alcan moved out and I know the feelings of the people in St. Lawrence and Lawn. I have been there several times and I have seen the tragedy which has taken place in those communities. But there was hope again, Mr. Chairman, because of the work of the former Government, in particular the Member for Grand Bank, and the Minister of Development, the Member for Mount Pearl. Once again there was hope for the people of St. Lawrence, but then along comes this Government to axe any commitment to rural Newfoundland, and they will be known and will go down in history as the Government which slaughtered rural Newfoundland.

AN HON. MEMBER: Slaughtered (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, there is a serious meeting underway over there. I find it difficult trying to tolerate the Member for St. John's South and his buddies over there, with their list of former board members. If they want to do that, they should go out in their common room and do it, never mind in here where people are supposed to be speaking.

Now what is taking place in this Province, particularly throughout rural Newfoundland, is the Government is working with a vengeance, with a single agenda which is to devastate the economy of rural Newfoundland. And no place - but no place - has received more of an injection of venom than the people of the Burin Peninsula. There will be 300 people or 400 people who worked in the St. Lawrence mines have to leave this year; there will be another 300 people or 400 people who work in the Marystown Shipyard who will have to leave and go to the mainland. So you are looking at close to 1,000 people, I would suspect, who will leave the Burin Peninsula this year to seek work in other parts of Canada, all because of the action or the inaction of this administration.

The Marystown Shipyard where people from St. Lawrence work is basically closed. That once thriving industry, the pride of the Province, Mr. Speaker, has now been brought to its knees by an insensitive Government. And what does all that mean? It means that rural Newfoundland has been wiped out - wiped out, Mr. Chairman. I spoke to the President of the Marystown Shipyard Union the other day, who is very disturbed by the arrogance of this Government towards its workers.

The President of the St. Lawrence Fluorspar Mine was on the radio the other day, I heard him myself. He could not believe that there is a Government in this Province, that there could ever be a group of men and women elected to govern this Province, so lacking in sensitivity to the needs of his community.

Maybe it is time for some other people on the Burin Peninsula to speak up; maybe it is time for other people to have their say as to how this Government is bringing the Burin Peninsula to its knees. I do not know what the answer is, but I do know it is very sad when you see your friends and your neighbours packing their bags and moving away. And that is happening day in and day out.

At Christmas I spoke to a friend of mine from Marystown, a young man about 25 years old I suppose who is working in Ajax, Ontario, and he told me he was at a party the night before in Ajax - not in Toronto but in Ajax - and there were 125 young people there from Marystown. Not the Burin Peninsula but Marystown, 125 at a party the night before and they had all moved there in the last year.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, in conclusion let me say that I hope the Premier and the President of Treasury Board will do what they can to try and improve the plight of the people of St. Lawrence and the Burin Peninsula.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I wish to make some comments on the Bill, because it is a Bill concerning Government policy in relation to support of industry. I have no particular quarrel with the Government passing legislation to guarantee these particular loans for companies operating in this Province, but I do have to say that it contrasts with this Government's attitude towards bringing in legislation which is badly needed to protect the workers of this Province in industries that are faltering. We know that Government guarantees, of course, are necessary in certain cases when industries are in financial, trouble and these particular industries obviously need Government guarantees for that very reason. But these are the types of industries, Mr. Chairman, which constantly have a habit of going into receivership or bankruptcy or going out of business, and often what happens in these circumstances is that the Government gets called upon to pay the guarantees so that the banks get protected; the banks get protected, Mr. Chairman, by these acts, by this legislation, by the actions of the Government, but the workers who are often owed wages or owed vacation pay or pension benefits or other work-related benefits, they are left holding the bag. And this Government has dillydallied around and will not bring in legislation to protect the workers by making amendments to the Labour Standards Act.

These are not enormous changes which are needed. Mr. Chairman, it is quite possible to do by very simple legislation, by very simple amendments, to bring about a change in the Labour Standards Act to prevent the banks, the bankers, and the Government loan guarantees from having priority over workers' wages. There is legislation in every other Province of Canada with the exception, I believe, of New Brunswick - another Liberal Government.

MR. TOBIN: What?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Chairman, I know the House is not filled today. We are not allowed to comment on individual Members being absent, but I see there is Baker's dozen over there; there are 13 Members in the House lead by the hon. House Leader, the baker's dozen of his caucus present. Only 13 Members, not even a quorum. If there were not Members on this side of the House, there would not be a quorum in the House.

Mr. Chairman, there are not a lot of Government Members listening to what I am saying here, in particular -

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

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

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

MR. BAKER: I would like to make two points, Mr. Chairman. It is rather noisy in here, and I know it is rather difficult to hear what is going on. The second point is that I do not know if the hon. Member is right in terms of the number of people we have on this side. I believe he mentioned that there were 13 sitting in their places and but for there being somebody on the other side there would not be a quorum. Mr. Chairman, in this House we always expect that there will be at least one Member of the Opposition in the House. Now if the hon. Member finds it difficult to maintain that kind of presence, then we will try to have a few more on this side.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West to that point of order.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, very briefly to that point of order. I do not want to waste the time of my hon. colleague, but what is happening here is the Member stood up in an attempt to waste the time of the House so that they could drag in two Members from the common room to give him a quorum. He was a master when in Opposition at getting up and walking out of the House and calling points of order. So we want no lectures from him, Mr. Chairman. It is up to him to maintain a quorum.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thankfully there is one member from the New Democratic Party present to provide that quorum. With Baker's dozen over there, the thirteen on that side and one over here, there will be fourteen. So as long as the hon. Government House Leader can keep a dozen plus himself in, the baker's dozen, I will be here to make a quorum for him so we can carry on business.

I am glad to see, however, that the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations is here in the House, because the things I am saying have to do with her portfolio. This is a very serious point, and we keep hearing about it time and time again, about individuals, whether it be just one person, or sometimes there are ten or a dozen or sometimes there are very many, as in the case of Baie Verte Mines. As the Minister of Energy and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations will know, I received correspondence just a few days ago indicating that despite the actions of this Government under The Labour Standards Act, employees are still losing money, becaue the Government's ability under the Labour Standards Act to provide special relief - and it is extraordinary relief, not done for individuals but done for groups. The limit is $2,000 per employee, and many of the employees at Baie Verte Mines are still owed in excess of $2,000 in wages, benefits and vacation pay, and are going to be losing that despite the actions of this Government.

So what I say, Mr. Chairman, is if we can bring in legislation to provide loan guarantees for businesses, we can certainly bring in not a total overhaul but a small amendment to The Labour Standards Act to protect workers, so that when companies go bankrupt the loan guarantees which are looking after the banks can be matched by other provisions which protect workers who are going to be losing their employment benefits.

Mr. Chairman, all across this country there is legislation which guarantees that workers are protected to a maximum of six months wages when companies go bankrupt or when they go into receivership. There are various methods which have been tried. There is no need to have a four-year, two-year, one-year or even a six-week wait, Mr. Chairman. There is precedent across this country for provisions which can protect workers in the event of bankruptcies and receiverships, whether big or small, so that the workers are not out there amongst the unsecured creditors looking for money to pay their rent and pay their light bills and pay their mortgages.

Mr. Chairman, that is something this Government can do. It is not something that involves a big expenditure of money, so they can cry about how much money they do not have. Never mind that! Let us bring in some legislation in the event of the bankruptcies which are going on, and they are going on more and more in the Province as a result of the economic recession. Let us do something that is going to ensure that at least in these bankruptcies workers have some protection, that employees who have done the work, who have worked for their wages or for their employment benefits or for their vacation pay, people who have done that work and completed that work, will have the same kind of guarantee the banks have by these government loan guarantees.

Mr. Chairman, that is what I wanted to say this morning about this legislation, because it is a part of the policy of this Government to support the companies, the effect of which is guaranteeing the banks that they will get their money. Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations not to wait anymore, not to overhaul the whole act, but just bring in a specific amendment that would have the effect of protecting individual workers when bankruptcies occur, that they get a guarantee that their wages are going to be paid by the company or by the directors, if that is necessary, or by some fund which the companies are required to provide, or by a bond the companies could easily provide, as they have to in certain circumstances, Mr. Chairman, to protect this Government in its retail sales tax.

This Government can bring in legislation and regulations requiring confectionary store owners to take out bonds so that they will guarantee the payment of retail sales tax goes to this Government. Why can they not very simply, very easily require companies to take out bonds to guarantee that they will pay their workers in the event of a bankruptcy or in the event of a receivership. That is something, Mr. Chairman, which is not very complicated, it does not require two or three years of study, it does not require major legislative review, it requires a commitment by this Government, in particular by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, who says she is committed to this idea. Let us see that legislation. Bring it in and we will see that it gets very swift passage through the House, something that would guarantee that employees in the event of bankruptcies and receiverships, are going to get the wages and benefits to which they are entitled.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. DECKER: (Inaudible) your question.

MR. MATTHEWS: Answer my question? It will be the first time in weeks you have had an answer, I would suggest to the hon. the Minister of Health. If he asked me a question, at least he would get a direct answer. I would not skate around like the Minister of Health has done with the people of the Province the last few months.

Mr. Chairman, I want to have a few words on this Bill 19, "An Act To Amend The Loan And Guarantee Act", for the main reason, as mentioned by the Member for Burin - Placentia West, about Item 1, St. Lawrence Fluorspar Limited, which is in my district. It is very regrettable that the company has gone into receivership and consequently the bank, on January 24th, called their loan, and the interest guaranteed amounts to $42,850.57.

I just want to speak for a few minutes about the plight of that particular operation in St. Lawrence. I was involved from day one in the reactivation project of St. Lawrence Flourspar. Of course, as most members know, once Alcan pulled out in the late 1970s there were four or five years when there was no mining activity whatsoever in St. Lawrence, there was a great fluorspar deposit just lying underground not creating any employment or economic activity.

Upon being elected to the legislature in 1982, I immediately set the process in place to try to find some interested company which might come into St. Lawrence and reactivate St. Lawrence Fluorspar. In 1983 we were fortunate enough, after a promotional document put together by the then Ministers of Development and Mines – two ministers, the sitting Member for Mount Pearl and the former Member for St. George's, put together a promotional package on the potential of the deposits at St. Lawrence Fluorspar and fortunately, Mr. Chairman, there was an interested party in Minworth Limited who came to the Province and made a presentation to the Cabinet of the day. We wished at the time that there had been more than one interest in St. Lawrence, but there was only one and we were grateful for that.

Consequently, over the next twelve months, 1984, with the assistance of the Burin Peninsula Development Fund we were able to enter into an agreement with Minworth Limited to reactivate the St. Lawrence fluorspar mine. And it was a very, very positive development. The town of St. Lawrence had been really on its knees since 1978. There was a fish plant that had been put in the town to replace the fluorspar mine. Both levels of Government funded the construction of the fish plant. But the fish plant was never fully completed, Mr. Chairman, it was only a partial plant - there was no freezing capability in the St. Lawrence fish plant. Consequently, Fishery Products of the day operated the St. Lawrence plant and used it as a feeder plant, where they would fillet fish, take it to Burin - Marystown, package the product and freeze it.

So, really, with the mine gone St. Lawrence did not get a full-fledged processing plant, and it really never accomplished the employment levels the people of St. Lawrence had hoped it would, and, of course, which both levels of Government thought it would at the time they put the money in.

At the time of my election to the Legislature, the mine was gone and the fish plant was not operating, and St. Lawrence was a pretty down and out place, Mr. Chairman. In a matter of a couple years the mine was re-activated, we were fortunate enough to get a new operator for the plant and the town really turned around: employment levels went up, the economy improved, the attitude of the people improved and it was a delight, I might say, to go to St. Lawrence; it was quite a contrast in a matter of two to three years, the difference in the attitude of the people from what they were first when I was elected.

Now it is quite regrettable what has happened to St. Lawrence Fluorspar. When we were the Government we put loan guarantees in place to try to keep the company going when they had cash flow problems, and the present Government continued and extended those loan guarantees to enable Minworth to continue to operate. But like everything else, I guess, it can only go along on that basis so long. The real crunch to St. Lawrence Fluorspar came when a cheap fluorspar finished product was dumped on the North American market by the Chinese. Of course what happened there was during the Tiananmen Square situation, the Chinese were not permitted by the Americans to ship any of their products into the U.S. But once that matter resolved itself and the Chinese were permitted to ship the fluorspar into the U.S., they dumped I think it was 150,000 tons of cheap product onto the North American market. Consequently, the buyers were not receptive to buying the product from St. Lawrence Fluorspar and that really, in essence, was the death knell for St. Lawrence Fluorspar as we knew it.

But it is very regrettable, because now St. Lawrence is back to square one: the fluorspar mine is gone, the 110 or 115 jobs are gone and the future operation of the fish plant seems to be in danger as well. So they have gone full cycle and are right back to square one, which is very, very regrettable. And when you have been involved from day one as I have, you feel the effects and you feel badly for those people who have experienced the ups and downs over time. They really had their share of hardship, not only from an economic point of view and an unemployment point of view but, as we all know, they have lost a full generation of miners to the silicosis disease of St. Lawrence Fluorspar.

The people are trying to fight and hold on to the Fluorspar operation. Just last week, last Friday really, I happened to be in St. Lawrence when the people set up a protest line to try and keep equipment at the mine site, at least equipment, to try and prevent it from being taken out. Because they saw that as the first step toward dismantling the assets of St. Lawrence Fluorspar. Of course they tried to prevent that, but I must commend them on the way they behaved. They wanted to make a point to the Government and to the people of the Province and did so, I felt, in a very respectable manner.

Once the sheriff came to the site and served the injunction, they allowed the equipment to come out. But they at least made their point, that they are very disillusioned and disappointed at the turn of events there, with the mine and with that particular employer for the town. Of course there have been meetings between the Town, the Union and the Minister of Mines to try and resolve this situation. I do not know if there is anything new on the situation. I see the Minister of Mines is in conversation with his colleague for Bonavista South. I do not know if the Minister of Finance - it is his bill I am talking about here, An Act To Amend The Loan Guarantee Act - would know if there are any new developments pertaining to the St. Lawrence situation. The last time I talked to the Minister it seemed as if there were some parties who were expressing some interest in St. Lawrence Fluorspar, and we were wondering at that time if something concrete would develop.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Nothing new? Nothing more? I appreciate that response from the Minister who, I have to say I find to be a very sincere Minister. And there is no doubt that he is quite concerned about the situation in St. Lawrence, and if there is anything he can do about it I am sure he will.

AN HON. MEMBER: His Cabinet will not.

MR. MATTHEWS: Whether or not his Cabinet will is another question. But I must say I have conversed with the Minister on a number of occasions during this very difficult time of this receivership of the St. Lawrence Fluorspar, and I have found him to be most congenial and cordial and sincerely concerned about the situation.

Those are basically my remarks on that, Mr. Chairman. It is most regrettable that this turn of events is happening. I only hope and pray, for the people of St. Lawrence and for the economy of the Burin Peninsula and the Province, that something will develop at St. Lawrence to re-employ those skilled mine workers, to provide them employment in their own town, because the economy of the Burin Peninsula has taken a drastic turn for the worst in the last couple of years: activity at the Marystown Shipyard, as alluded to by the Member for Burin - Placentia West, is at an all time low, St. Lawrence Fluorspar is gone, the situation with the Grand Bank fish plant is still not resolved.

We are still hoping a new operator will come in, but apparently they are taking a little longer than all of us expected to put that package together. Layoffs in the health care centre, as the Minister of Health likes to refer to it, at St. Lawrence: There were some 55 workers there two years ago and now, I believe, there are only a dozen or so left. The situation in Grand Bank: There were 63 workers in the Grand Bank hospital and now that is down to about 20. So all this downturn in the economy, Mr. Chairman, has been drastic.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member's time is up.


MR. MATTHEWS: I just want to conclude, Mr. Chairman, by saying that the downturn has been so great on the Burin Peninsula and, indeed, along the south coast, that the latest statistics show the unemployment rate in what they call, I believe, the southern region as a little over 27 per cent. The month before it was 26.6, it has gone up to over 27 per cent, the unemployment rate in our area of our Province, and that is the highest it has ever been. It is an alarming rate, and I can only say in concluding my remarks on the Bill that I really hope St. Lawrence Fluorspar works out.

There is question, I do not know if perhaps the Minister of Finance can answer it for me, but Smith's Sea Foods for Chance Cove, Trinity Bay, that is a loan guarantee. This guarantee will expire on the 30th of November. Could the Minister of Finance inform the House and the Members if it is the intention of Government to extend such guarantees? I understand they will have to be looked at at the time, but is Government still receptive to providing loan guarantees, to extending loan guarantees, particularly to fish processing companies? You know, it seems that every year there are numerous requests for loan guarantees and extensions from fish companies. I am just wondering if the Minister of Finance could tell us if it is the policy of Government to continue to provide those loan guarantees to fish companies, or to extend them. And perhaps when he rises he could inform me who A.L. Stuckless and Sons are.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: What was that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) you and Aubrey have (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Me and Aubrey?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: I thought you were saying that me and A. L. Stuckless had something in common.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: I do not know. That is why I asked the question. There is an extension here for A. L. Stuckless and Sons Limited for $500,000 and I was wondering if the Minister -

MS. COWAN: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much. I need help at the end of the week. I am wondering if the Minister of Finance could inform us who A. L. Stuckless is and what the loan guarantee is for, please.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. A number of points have been raised. Perhaps to clarify the loan guarantee I will give some breakdown as to the loan guarantees which are presently outstanding. At present, the loan guarantees the Government has outstanding total $69 million - $69.425 million actually. In Mining we only have $42,000 outstanding now, because our large loan guarantees for Baie Verte and St. Lawrence have been paid out, or are in the process of being paid out, or are in receivership.

The fisheries loan guarantees are a little over $12 million. The manufacturing loan guarantees are just over $1 million - $1.074 and forestry - and I will have a few words on that in a minute - $1.35 million. For total industrial loan guarantees of just $14.6 million. The remaining Crown Corporations and Agencies, $52.6 million. And there are other guarantees. About $2 million. For a total of $69 million in loan guarantees.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is what is out and about.

DR. KITCHEN: That is what is out there now, right. And if you like I can give a detailed breakdown, company by company.

With respect to St. Lawrence - I do not want to say a lot of words about it because the Minister of Mines and Energy is the lead person in that - but we have met quite a number of times in the past year with the operators of St. Lawrence mines, and hopefully things can happen there in the future because the quality of the ore is quite good. I understand it is arsenic free, which is sort of an unusual thing. Top quality ore. And hopefully when the market situation improves the mine can find a new operator and things will go forward.

The Member for Mount Pearl raised the question of interest rates for guaranteed loans, and perhaps the bank should be approached to lower the interest rates. Now I might add that we have been in contact with banks. We have been meeting with them quite frequently and I have had a number of discussions on that but there are certain problems with it, which are not necessarily insurmountable. One of the problems is this: If companies with guaranteed loans pay a lower interest rate than the normal companies - their competitors - we may be putting these people in a better situation and that would have to be addressed, and I think it can be addressed.

But we are, to answer the Member for Mount Pearl's question, negotiating, discussing with the banks the possibility of having lower interest rates for loans that are guaranteed. Because as he pointed out quite properly, the risk of banks is less when the Government is there guaranteeing the loan, and naturally they should not be reaping all this money. And that is a good point which we have spotted and we are working on.

I want to say - what is the future of a loan guarantee programme? We have tightened up. We do not like losing money on loans - if we guarantee loans and we have to pay out, that is not a good thing from the Province's point of view. So we have to be careful that what we put in place has a relatively good chance of being successful and that the company will survive and pay off the loan and the guarantee can be withdrawn. But we also have to balance that against the employment and the social affects of companies going out earlier, and other considerations. And not always have governments been - what is the word? - successful in their predictions as to the companies which will be successful. And we have revised our guidelines, we have tightened up on the requirements and we look very carefully - and I personally look very carefully at the balance sheets and financial statements of companies who come. And we try to do the best we can with it.

Now I am glad to report that a great many of the small loan guarantees that have been put in place for small companies particularly, they get paid out and the companies pay off the loans and the guarantee is withdrawn. And that is the normal course of events that happen. But sometimes - perhaps hopefully more frequently in the past than in the future - though a company that has received a loan guarantee is unable to meet its payments or it is unable to pay off the guarantee and we have to extend it in time. We have to give them another year or so, guarantee it for a year or so longer than we had originally intended. And that is fairly common as well. And also sometimes a company which has had a loan guarantee is unable to pay the loan at all and it goes broke and the Government is stuck with paying the banks what is owed.

That does not mean that the banks are off the hook, because in most cases the banks have also put up money which is not guaranteed, and it is wrong for anyone to suggest that banks do not take losses in this Province as a result of money they lend to businesses. They do, and some of the losses are quite heavy, very heavy. But the Government sometimes moves in and guarantees some of the loans. The policy that the Member for Mount Pearl indicated, that we would like to see banks taking a risk which we do not guarantee, before we give money or guarantee extra loans, which they do, that is the policy that we have. We are trying to be a little more prudent then in the past because we are nervous about risking Government money. But that does not mean that people cannot get it. We have put a number of loan guarantees in place, most of which have been successful and some which have not been.

I would like to stress that we do not have a blank cheque for businesses coming and looking for loan guarantees. There is no blank cheque there. People have to come and make their case, and we look very carefully at their prospects and at their business plans. The Department of Fisheries does it for fisheries companies, the Department of Development does it for other companies, the Department of Mines does it for mining companies, and we look after the Departments' financing, and we look very carefully at it. Sometimes three or four Ministers might be involved in their Departments in checking things out before a loan guarantee is put in place. So we are very, very careful about it.

The Member for St. John's East was concerned about workers. Let me say, that many of the concerns that have motivated Governments in the past in putting in loan guarantees have been, almost purely, for the benefit of workers. Baie Verte was kept alive for many, many years through loan guarantees that extended the life of the mine and, basically, the people who benefited from that were the workers in the mines, not the companies that operated them because they went down the tubes. The workers kept getting employment year after year after year, and the Government lost $42 million in Baie Verte. I think it was $42 or $44 million.

In St. Lawrence, again Government lost $3.3 million, and the companies themselves went broke. The workers did get benefits because the mine was extended in time. So it would be wrong to suggest that loan guarantees are put in place for the benefit of companies. Loan guarantees are put in place, yes, for the benefit of the companies but also for the benefit of the people in the communities and so on.

The same thing has happened with respect to Marystown. Government now has something over $33 million guaranteed for Marystown. Marystown has taken a lot of money from Government in the past and we have kept that operation going year after year after year, basically as a result of Government subsidies and guarantees, and it has been very useful.

Mr. Chairman, I think that is about all I would like to say on that right now. Thank you very much.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: Questions! Questions!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, just a few brief words.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, just a few brief remarks.

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: I beg your pardon? The Member for Pleasantville was making a comment, but I did not quite hear it.

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible)

MR. SIMMS: Okay. I was hoping the Member for Pleasantville, by the way, Mr. Chairman, might take advantage of the opportunity for these little ten-minute back and forth speeches to get up and tell us about his public meeting he held at the Holiday Inn last week. I apologize to him, I was not able to get up to it. I did get an invitation, of course, through the news media, the newspaper. I indicated to him, half in jest, that I would help encourage people to attend by photocopying the ad that he had in the paper and passing it out to anybody that I saw. It happened to be the day there were a couple of hundred people out here in the gallery on the MUN extension issue. So I did pass it out to twenty or thirty people and -

MR. NOEL: I think you did not get as many people (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: No. That was the only effort we undertook, and I did it on the insistence of the Member for Pleasantville.

MR. WARREN: If you had not, he would have had an empty building.

MR. SIMMS: If I had not done that, by the way, they would have had an empty building probably, because I do not think too many people in the Pleasantville district were that interested in talking to the Member for Pleasantville.

So I gather he had, I do not know, fifty or sixty people, was it?

AN HON. MEMBER: That is all.

MR. SIMMS: Fifty or sixty people is not all. That is a fairly good turn-out, a pretty strong turn-out. I have no doubt they are all supporters of the Member for Pleasantville.

MR. NOEL: There were some who were not from Pleasantville, but they came (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Okay. Glad to hear the Member say that, because what we intend to do is take a transcript from Hansard, when it is published on Tuesday, and send it out to some of the people we know and give them an opportunity to indicate whether or not they agree that you were able to turn them around by the end of the meeting. We will see what they have to say about the member's.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your protection. The Minister of Labour, who is not only not in her own seat - I do not know if she is in anybody's seat up there, she is in the aisle - to be heckling and shouting across the House is most inappropriate during debate.

As a matter of fact, what would be appropriate is if the Minister would take advantage of this occasion to stand in her place and tell us her views and opinions on the latest controversy with the firefighters, for example, a number of whom I know are from her constituency. She could give us her opinion on that latest controversy, or she could get up and give us an update on the health and safety questions that have been asked in this House over the last few weeks. The Member for St. John's East, for example, had some very important questions, I believe, a couple of weeks ago; or she could get up and tell us if she has any concerns about labour relations in the Province and whether or not they are being affected negatively, as a result of the actions of this Government, particularly Bill 16; or, we could get the President of Treasury Board, the Member for Gander, to stand and tell us once again what a warm welcome he received out in Gander the other night. I think there was a discrepancy between his description of how he was received and how the news media certainly described it, as I understand it.

The Government House Leader said he was met by a small contingent.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Twenty-five or thirty.

MR. SIMMS: Twenty-five or thirty people, is the way he sloughed it off. I did not see him myself, but I gather from friends and colleagues that the news media kind of indicated it was a much larger group than that and certainly a much noisier and boisterous group than the Government House Leader led us to believe.

So maybe the Member for Harbour Grace will stand. I remind him that he is allowed to speak on any issue at all. I mean, it is a wide-ranging debate on a finance bill. You do not have to ask the Premier's permission is what the member said, and the Member for Harbour Grace knows that.

The Member for Harbour Grace is a delightful gentleman. He has been around a nice while, I guess. Unfortunately, he has been in the House a couple of years and he has not graced us very often with his eloquence. He has not stood in the House very often. He must admit and confess, he has not stood up. I encourage him, because this is a wonderful opportunity in this kind of a debate, with a ten minute time limit, to get up. Maybe the member is a bit nervous about getting on his feet, and that would not be unusual, there are lots of people like that. He is probably not nervous about standing on his feet at a meeting of the Orange Lodge or anything like that, I am sure. He would not be nervous about that, or the Masonic Lodge, or anything like that. I am sure he would not be nervous about that. So, I encourage him to get up in this kind of a debate.

But, the Minister of Finance will possibly participate again a little later in the debate and take advantage of the debating opportunity to attack the Opposition, as he often does, for frequently not being relevant; but, of course, he must be fair and indicate that in a debate of this kind, relevance is very difficult to define, particularly in a finance bill, and the rulings year after year, decade after decade, century after century, have indicated that the debate on a finance bill is very, very wide-ranging.

I am trying to cover a whole number of bases. I am trying to encourage members opposite to get up and speak and participate, because it is supposed to be a debate, and a debate takes two sides. Unfortunately, we have monopolized the debate in this House since it opened late in February. The Opposition have monopolized the debate, for very good reasons. We are the only ones who have anything to say, and also, because we probably have the best debaters in the Legislature on this side of the House; but I am sure there are some over there who are capable. I see the Minister of Health now taking a couple of notes. I have no doubt now that he will stand up and show everybody what a tremendous debater he is. As a matter of fact, I think it was the Member from Bell Island who used to describe some debaters in the House. I am not going to use the same descriptive words. I think the Minister of Health would remember words that the Member, Mr. Neary, used to use - or was it John Nolan? As a matter of fact, it was the former Member for St. John's North who used to describe Mr. Neary - that is what it was, they are rather tricky words and I don't think I will refer to them here.

The Minister of Health, perhaps, could get up and enliven the debate a bit, that is what we need now, at this stage of the morning. Get him a glass of water. Say to the Page, `Rush down.' Let us see if we cannot liven up the debate again, because we have forty-five minutes. I know it is tough on a Friday morning to get members opposite up in debate, well it is tough to get members opposite up to debate anytime. They are not allowed. The Government House Leader says: Sit down! Sit down! Let us get this done. Let us ram this through. We will get on to the next item. I think the Government House Leader operates as a result of direction from the Premier. But we are going to see if we cannot get a few Members up over there and liven up the debate again. I admit I am not doing much to do it myself, but that is not my role here at this point in time. My role here is to intervene.

Now there is one item that I want to address in this debate quickly. I do not know what I have left in terms of time -

AN HON. MEMBER: Two minutes.

MR. SIMMS: Two minutes. Okay. I want to mention the Member for Carbonear. A couple of weeks ago the Member for Carbonear talked about how he had gone out to his district in Carbonear and he had been met by some people in Carbonear, public servants in particular he referred to, and he said first of all that he ran into a bunch of them and they said they understood what the Government had to do in this Budget. He even went so far as to say, the Member for Harbour Grace will remember the Member for Carbonear saying this, he even went so far as to say that he ran into a public servant who had lost his or her job and they congratulated him. Now that is in Hansard. As a matter of fact, my friend from Fogo, who is a master at digging up information and getting information, I must be honest. I like the Minister of Health's description of the Member for Fogo, the Minister of Health called him Old Sam, or was it the Minister of Development. Anyway my colleague has a Hansard clip and he said that a public servant who had lost his job in Carbonear congratulated him when he was out there over the weekend, and I sat here listening to the Member for Carbonear almost believing him. Lo and behold the next week I see a story in the paper about a big protest out in Carbonear with people carrying signs like, 'Clyde Lied' I think was one, that is the famous one they began to use, but the other one was, 'Where did Art hide'. That was the other poster.

AN HON. MEMBER: Clyde connives, Art hides.

MR. SIMMS: Oh, Clyde connives, Art hides. And I said to myself, well the Member for Carbonear could not have been speaking the whole truth and nothing but the whole truth that day when he said -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order please!

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. CHAIRMAN: By leave.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will only be a moment. I understand what the Member for Gander is saying, that he said one person, but that one person was an individual who had lost their job. That is accurate isn't it? But he gave the impression when he spoke in the debate that day that all the people he talked to out there, public servants and the like were quite happy, that they understood what Government had to do and felt that the Government had no choice. Those were his words. And he said another person who had lost his job even congratulated the Government, but then the next week when we saw the news reports we certainly did not have that impression if we were listening to the Member for Carbonear. We did not get the same impression just as we did not get the same impression from the comments the Member for Gander made for his warm reception he received a few days ago. I mean he gave us the impression he received a kind reception. There was only fifteen, twenty or twenty-five. Well he said twenty or twenty-five. Thirty-five you said. But then lo and behold a day or two later when you look at the news reports, my heavens, I mean it certainly looked like he got a warm reception all right, but I do not think -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: No, he did not refuse to talk to him, did he?


MR. SIMMS: In all fairness, I understood that the Minister asked for an opportunity to speak to him, and I am not sure if he got it, but the clip I saw, I believe, was an interview with a news person. But I presume he said a few words to the group, quite a few words, and I think he said words to the effect that if we had not done this we would have probably taken your jobs from you or something like that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Pardon?

Well, hopefully the Minister will get up in this debate now and he will participate in the debate too. The purpose of this exercise by me, this intervention by me, Mr. Chairman, is to try to get some Members on that side to make this a real debate, not just a one-sided debate. So I relinquish my position now after seeing the Minister of Health jumping to his feet since I have encouraged him to speak.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, very much for that warm reception.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Chairman, I am not entirely responding to the challenge from the Member for Grand Falls. The problem is, the speeches that we have heard over the past number of days, by and large the most of them, have been so boring and so irrelevant that I find it extremely difficult to stay awake after I have gone through all my mail over here. So I am going to try to raise the level of this debate at least high enough so that people can stay awake for ten minutes of the day.

The hon. Member for Grand Falls says that they are the only ones who have anything to say. Now, I totally disagree with that. For someone to say that they have anything to say is to suggest that they are saying something of importance. I would suggest the more appropriate way for the hon. Member to have worded that statement was to say that they are the only ones who will say anything, because that is exactly what is going on over there. They are saying anything that comes into their mind. Whether it is relevant or not makes absolutely no difference.

The hon. Member for Mount Pearl yesterday made what was considered to be a half-decent speech. And this morning when he spoke in this debate concerning the loan guarantee bill I must say, once again he made some excellent points. He made a good speech. Now that would suggest to me that maybe the hon. Member for Mount Pearl is revealing his leadership potential. Maybe he is trying to change his image. Remember the first session of this House after we took over as Government? The hon. Member for Mount Pearl seemed to have a chip on his shoulder. He was the most disgruntled Member on the other side of the House. And some of the speeches he made, I used to be ashamed to take them back to my district and pass them out to members who want to know what is going on in this House. I used to feel embarrassed about doing that. But I am pleased to see that the hon. Member has now changed his approach and obviously he has his eye once again on the leadership of the Party and I certainly wish him well as he goes (Inaudible) and so he should.

However, the hon. Member for Grand Falls over the past number of days has been making some of the worst speeches I have ever heard him make in all of my life. It seems to me that the hon. Member for Grand Falls has done his homework, he is phoned around to try to get some support in the upcoming leadership convention, and he has come to the conclusion that he does not have a chance in the world of becoming leader of that Party so he is no longer concerned with what he says or does in this House and that has become very, very obvious over the past number of days. It is the little things that Members do which tell - it is like a picture being worth a thousand words. Some little action they take is worth a thousand words.

So based on the performance in this House over the past week I would suggest that the Member for Mount Pearl will indeed be a contender for the leadership of the Tory Party whenever that leadership goes ahead. I would also predict, using what has happened in this House over the past number of days, by the terrible speeches that the Member for Grand Falls has made - the lackadaisical approach he has taken to speaking, whether he is relevant or not - would suggest that the Member for Grand Falls does not intend to be a contender in that leadership convention. These are simple things which - you just see the little actions that they are doing.

Now to speak specifically to this bill, Bill 19, amendments to the loan guarantee Act. I share some of the views with the Member for Mount Pearl. That there are times when banks do get scared and they try to move out from the loans which they have issued. I have been in business myself and I know how difficult it is to deal with business. I have had some companies which had severe difficult times with banks and had a difficult time to meet their payrolls. Fortunately at the same time I had other companies in existence which were in a half-decent position and they could at least cover payrolls. So I know just how difficult banks are to deal with. So I think there is indeed a place for a Loan Guarantee Act, but on the other hand, Mr. Chairman, there is a danger, where, for business people to run straight to the Government before they either use their own resources or before they go to the private sector for funding.

I suppose one of the worst examples that we have under the Loan Guarantee Act in this Province, in the history of us as a Province, maybe in the history as a nation as well as a Province, would be the guarantees which the previous administration gave to Sprung. Now that was a case where there was a total abuse of the loan guarantee regulations; The Loan Guarantee Act is not there to deal with companies who come in with hairy fairy plans, with cock and bull stories, with highly experimental notions, that is not what the Loan Guarantee Act is for, Mr. Chairman, so, we have to be very cautious that we do not see the Loan Guarantee Act as the first place to which business people are going to run -

AN HON. MEMBER: They have refused to bring it in to the House too.

MR. DECKER: - and that specific Loan Guarantee, Mr. Chairman, never did turn up in this House as the Government House Leader points out and I have learned that that Loan Guarantee was put in place over the objections of the officials in the Department of Finance, the officials in the Department of Agriculture, any one who had any knowledge about finance or farming, agreed that this was a hairy fairy plan which was going nowhere, so that is where the Loan Guarantee Act, Mr. Chairman, can be abused. That is not the Act, that is the people who are administering the Act.

Mr. Chairman, when we deal with this Loan Guarantee Act, the people who are entrusted by the people of this Province to administer this Act and provide these loan guarantees must do it with fairness and must do it with some understanding, Mr. Chairman, and we just cannot run off every time a Phil Sprung comes in from Alberta as happened in the first place. The Loan Guarantee Act must be employed in the interest of giving employment to our people, it has nothing to do with keeping a particular company alive.

All too often in the past, this Act was administered by some people who thought: poor old Joe, poor old Joe, poor old Bill or poor old John, good friend of the party, contributed a couple hundred or a thousand bucks to so and so's campaign, poor old Joe is having a bit of a problem out there with his company so let us see if we cannot do something in the interest of Joe's employees and then you see: 'wink, wink, nod, nod', and all this sort of thing, when in actual fact there could have been eight or ten other private sector companies out there who were quite willing to buy up this company, had the company itself gone bankrupt. So the Loan Guarantee Act, Mr. Chairman, cannot be used to prop up bankrupt companies, cannot be used to prop up friends of Government whether it be Liberal administration or Tory administration, that is not the purpose of the Loan Guarantee Act.

We must, when a particular fish plant or a particular company has tried all the private sector for funding and then comes to Government and says: We want to have our loan guaranteed so that we can carry on employing this number of people, then the role of Government is to make sure that we are only concerned with the employees, and that if poor old Joe's company who happens to be a Tory, if his company goes under, so what, as long as there is another company, two, three or four there, ready to buy out the assets of Joe's company and keep the people working. That is one of the things - some of the abuse which is potential there in this Loan Guarantee Act and I do not want to be too hard on the previous administration, but I think it is a known fact throughout the Province that all too often when this Loan Guarantee Act was applied in the past, it was applied because poor old so and so, who owned the company happened to be a friend of the Government so he went in and with a few winks and a few nods and a little commitment that the next time when the writ was placed and the election called that there would be a little bit of money for the administration in power.

The people of this Province, know that day is long past. That day has been gone now for almost two years and if polls are any indication, it is going to be a good many years before we revert to the time when loan guarantees are given out on the basis of the political affiliation of the owner of a company, when loan guarantees are given out for airy-fairy schemes like building cucumbers on The Funks. That day is gone because the Government of Newfoundland has now been taken over -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has expired.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Carry on, boy.

MR. DECKER: Thank you. I will just sum up, Mr. Chairman, and I thank the hon. the Member for Kilbride for the leave.

This Government has now been taken over by a group of people who are rational and sensible. And we are trying to strike a fair balance, so that when a company comes to this Government looking for a guarantee under this particular Act, all factors are taken into consideration. We recognize that there is a time when it might be in the interest of the people of this Province to allow companies to go under as long as there is someone else there to buy them up. We do not want to keep airy-fairy schemes alive, we want to strike a balance. And the assurance is there that this particular Administration is doing just that, Mr. Chairman, and I am sure the people of the Province will be glad to hear that. Thank you.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I noted the encouragement of the hon. the Opposition House Leader of members opposite to speak in particular, and I think he made reference to the contributions the Member for Pleasantville has made in this House on numerous occasions, and also, of course, by having public meetings of his constituents and I suppose anybody else who wanted to attend, to offer their views to him about Government policy.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I know it was well attended.

I want to talk about something the hon. the Member for Pleasantville has brought up in this House, and it concerns the amalgamation plans of the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. I know that he and other Members for St. John's Districts have received correspondence from the former Member for St. John's East, who is now the Mayor of the City of St. John's, encouraging Members from the St. John's Districts to get up, like the Member for Pleasantville has, and speak in the House and announce their views on the question of amalgamation.

I think we have to say that the former Member for St. John's East was expressing her views and perhaps a little lecture to the Members for St. John's Districts: `Your constituents elected you to represent their interests and everybody's interests appear to have been a priority except with our city MHAs, with the notable exception of Walter Noel, Liberal MHA for Pleasantville.'


MR. HARRIS: So I see the former Member for St. John's East, who represented this party over here, has now recognized that the Liberal Member for Plesantville is a notable exception in taking up the interests of the residents of St. John's.

`The City Council is wondering why the silence. Are City Council and Walter Noel the only voices the citizens of St. John's have on this issue? Where are our other MHAs?' This is a very good question that the former Member for St. John's East raises, Mr. Chairman. I look opposite and I wonder why it is that there has been no debate in this House on amalgamation with respect to the City of St. John's. I say this not with tongue in cheek, becuase I have been looking for an opportunity to speak on this issue in this House. I know the Member for Pleasantville brought it up on some other bill. It was in relation to Interim Supply or something he brought up the issue of amalgamation, and the members, of course, are entitled to do that.

This letter, I suppose, is really a letter which ought to go to the Members for St. John's on the Government side, because we have not seen from the Minister of Municipal Affairs what his plans are. He has not brought anything into this House that we can debate. We do not know what this Government plans.

We know that the Member for St. John's Center, for example, sits in this House and represents a St. John's District. He is in the Cabinet. He is one of those who is there formulating these plans. The Member for St. John's West, the Minister of Mines and Energy, sits in the Cabinet as well. He is one of those who has some influence over what this Government is going to do. The member for St. John's North, the Minister of Education, sits in this Cabinet and he has not told us what the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs plans for his District.

MR. R. AYLWARD: (Inaudible) is in a conflict of interest because he represents (inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: And the Member for Waterford - Kenmount, he of course represents a St. John's District and in part, I suppose, a Mount Pearl District, or part of his district is in Mount Pearl. He has to make his plans known to this House and he has to speak on this issue.

Mr. Chairman, this is an issue of great importance. The Member for Conception Bay South - not a St. John's district - but this is a very important issue for amalgamation. And I want to hear what the Government is going to do about this. I have given great consideration to this issue and I will make my views known on this issue and I will speak loudly and I will make my points in debate. As hon. Members know I do without fear or favour, pushing the interests of my constituents and the interests of rightness and justice on all matters that are before this House.

And it is our Party which has always been the champion of fairness and justice. I know the Party opposite has turned `fairness' into a slogan, not into action. But we hope that in this particular case they will, particularly as it relates to fairness in taxation, as it relates to the urban core area of the city of St. John's and certain other municipalities which are in close proximity, some of them inside the city of St. John's, like the town of Wedgewood Park.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Well, the hon. Member uses a concept which I think was devised by someone who opposes the amalgamation of certain interests. He calls it the `supercity'. That is a word that was developed by people - they must think `supercity' is a bad word and that is why they are using it. But the expanded urban core, I agree with that concept. I think it brings about fairness in taxation between residents who share the same services or access to municipal services, who share the same access to the facilities which are provided by the residents of the city of St. John's, the taxpayers of St. John's, and by the Provincial Government as well, I suppose, in terms of roadways. I think it is fair and reasonable that all those who share in that benefit should pay substantially the same in terms of taxes and representation.

I think it is very clear that very close to the city of St. John's there are some areas which are distinctly rural in character. We do not have to go very far from this very building to find areas in Newfoundland which have very distinctive rural characters which they ought to keep. And we go to some the Member for St. John's East Extern is very aware of - Logy Bay, and Outer Cover and Middle Cove. These places have a rural character which is distinctive, which the citizens of that area are determined to protect and are very capable of doing so. Because we have to have those two things intact to make sure that this is not a device to do something other than the idea people have. If there is going to be a rural area, this should not be a long play for people to have special privileges. If they are going to have a rural character, then they should have that rural character if they are capable of doing it. If they are capable of withstanding the pressures to urbanization and want to maintain their rural character, they should be permitted to do so.

Nevertheless the urban areas of St. John's - the Wedgewood Park example, which is an example I suppose of efforts of individuals to create an enclave, they did a very good job in doing that and protecting their interests. But the time has come for us all to recognize that that is not a fair situation for everybody, that there should not be a special case made for people who essentially are part of the same city and share the same services and roadways and benefits of being citizens of St. John's.

So I think it is time that the suspense was lifted and that Members of the Government in particular - individual Cabinet Ministers who represent St. John's ridings - come forth and state their views, to give everybody a chance, as the former Member for St. John's East wants, to break the silence and get up and speak and have the debate and hear what others have to say. I do not know why they are waiting. They keep talking about doing something before the end of this session, and maybe they have to - there are a lot of amalgamations that have been put on hold. That is one of the faults with this Government. They decide that they are going to do something and then they dillydally around and they confuse everybody; they change their minds on these types of things.

They do not seem to have enough assurance that they are doing the right thing, except when it comes to turning back collective agreements. They were very swift and sure when it came to that, even ruthless and brutal when it came to determining that they wanted to take back workers' wages and employee benefits they had signed for in collective agreements, even going so far as to take back compensation for discrimination. But when we see a requirement that the Government take some action that may be unpopular in certain quarters, we do not see any action from them.

Now the President of Treasury Board was asking me, jeering me, cajoling me, trying to get me to state what my position was. Well I ask him to get up in his place now and tell us what his position is. I know he represents the District of Gander, but if he is interested in the position of the current Member for St. John's East, as I am sure he is interested in the previous Member for St. John's East, maybe he can tell us what his position is. And what is the position of the Members for St. John's West, St. John's Centre who sits behind him, St. John's North, who is now in his place? Why do we not have them get on their feet and tell us? The Member for St. John's North is there now. He, I am sure, has also gotten a letter from the former Member for St. John's East.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: By leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have to thank my hon. colleagues for their support after all week. It has been a pretty difficult week and I appreciate their concern. I should also say that hon. Members opposite should take a lesson, that we are not so easy to divide and conquer as they may think over there.

The other thing, Mr. Chairman, is that you do get surprises from time to time in the House of Assembly. I am not new to the political game, but I am not an historian either. This is my second term. I know what it is like to be in Opposition. I know how to perform in Opposition. And you do perform: you debate, you question back and forth with dignity. But I can clearly hold my head up high in this Province, Mr. Chairman. For the four years I was in Opposition, I was noted as being very antagonistic, very aggressive, but I always researched the answers before I asked the question. I never allowed myself to be caught in a position just to discredit a person or a person's family just for the sake of discrediting people.

I think my hon. colleague opposite, who I have some respect for, and with whom I am going to appear live on Here and Now this Evening, the hon. the Member for Fogo should take a lesson: do not let your friends set you up as they did this morning. A lot of them on your side of the House would not have asked that question. A lot would not have asked that question this morning, let me tell you that.

Mr. Chairman, I sat for a few minutes and I tried with great difficulty to hear and to understand the hon. the Member for St. John's East when he was talking about his constituents in St. John's East and some of the things he would like to see done. The hon. Member opposite should also take a lesson from St. John's East. There are a lot of people not only in St. John's East, but a lot of people in St. John's and on the Island of Newfoundland and Labrador who expected greater things from the Member for St. John's East than getting down in the gutter, as he this week.

I can assure all Members opposite, while I am on this side of the House and while I am a Minister of the Crown, as long as the Premier sees fit to keep me here, I will take full responsibility in my job as Minister of Social Services and I will not back away and run away and hide from any Member Opposite, no matter what questions they put forth.

But the decency and respect of the Member not involving individuals, private individuals who cannot defend themselves in the public forum is another issue and will be dealt with in the proper manner after this investigation is over. I can assure hon. Members opposite, especially the Member for St. John's East, after what appeared in the Evening Telegram yesterday -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Quotes! He now blames it on The Evening Telegram. But he was the man. So we will deal with that in due course. I can tell the hon. Member that he is not going to be around a long time. But he should think about the future, because after the next election, when he is voted out of St. John's East, he will still have to live and with some credibility. So hold your head a bit high and make some sensible statements in representing your constituents in St. John's East. That is what you were elected for, not to try to destroy an individual, without basis, information or facts. If you have facts, present them. I know what the job is like. I know what an Opposition's responsibility is. And he should be in Opposition. I do not blame any Member in an Opposition asking questions when they have facts to back them it up, not asking them for the sake of personally attacking or destroying an individual anywhere in this Province. So take some lessons. You are not alone in this House of Assembly, and you are not here to represent yourself. You are here to represent Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with respect and credibility.

Mr. Chairman, this hon. House of Assembly is a forum which gives people the right - sometimes not agreed to by others - the immunity to say things they want to say in the House of Assembly. Personally I do not care and personally I can take it, but I have learned this week what can happen when people do something for the sake of doing it, or for hate of another individual. I can possibly understand why hon. Members opposite have a personal hatred and a vendetta against me, because they probably blame me as being one of the reasons why they are no longer in Government. But it goes much deeper than that. When you dream up something, when you fabricate and just for the sake of taking an idea or a thought you run with it, you are not hurting me, you are hurting yourself. You are hurting your credibility, the very principle of politics, the very principle of Government, the very principal the House of Assembly is all about.

If it is John Efford, the MHA for Port de Grave or the Minister of Social Services, fine. But it goes much deeper than that. And then it gets into personalities, your families, your wives, your sons and your daughters, your mothers and your fathers. This has nothing to do with me as Minister of Social Services, absolutely nothing at all, And I will challenge any hon. Member opposite, including the intelligent lawyer from St. John's East. You ask me -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: He is not here. The man is not here.

MR. EFFORD: You ask any questions -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. EFFORD: - and I will challenge you. You ask me any question, and you can research it, to do with the Department of Social Services and the operations and the programming and the policies and the delivery of service anywhere on this Island. Any day you ask me a question. But you do not have the ability to do that; you never learned the ability, you never had the ability. But when it comes down to discrediting innocent people who are not sitting in this House of Assembly and discrediting their families because of some individual who is carrying on a vendetta now, because he is not getting x number of dollars, which is the problem, Mr. Chairman, that is where I have a problem with it.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, I know you will never make the system perfect, and I know the people Opposite do not have the mentality to understand what we are talking about. Research your answers, research your questions and if the facts (inaudible) you should bring it out. You have a responsibility to bring it out; it is your responsibility to keep this Government on its toes and any Minister. And if you find any wrongdoings in this Province, you have a responsibility to let not only your constituents know, but the people of this Province know about it.

I will never hide from that. I did it when I was over there, and if I am over there again after the next election, I will do it again, make no mistake about it. But research and get the answers to the question before you do it.

Mr. Chairman, I do not intend to take up the full time because there is probably another speaker who wants to have a say. I wanted to take the opportunity to make those points and do it with respect and do it with credibility and do it with some integrity in the House of Assembly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: I do not know if that applause was for me or for the hon. Member.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: I will be brief, because I see the Member for Humber East wants to speak. I want to respond briefly to what the Minister of Social Services has said. One thing he has said is in part true, that in fact I did not say the things to The Evening Telegram they reported me as having said.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) retracting?

MR. HARRIS: No, I am not retracting it at all. I did not say it in the first place, so I do not see how I could retract anything I did not say.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: It was reported in The Evening Telegram last night that I had said to The Evening Telegram that I had had a conversation with an individual named Mr. Ambrose Stoyles. I have never had a conversation with Mr. Ambrose Stoyles nor have I ever told anybody that I had a conversation with Mr. Ambrose Stoyles. And immediately upon reading The Evening Telegram of last evening, I made a phone call to the author of the article, Mr. Pat Doyle - immediately upon reading the article - and I informed him that his article was in fact incorrect and that he ought to correct it, that I never did have any conversation with Mr. Stoyles, nor did I mention Mr. Stoyles' name toi naybody outside this House or even inside this House. So I have to say to the hon. the Member for Port de Grave, and Minister of Social Services, that he is incorrect, in that I also received a telephone call from the same individual, Mr. Stoyles, last night informing me that I told him that I had called The Evening Telegram and I had told them that I did not make the statement and I asked them to correct it. Now that is what I did, and that is what I did in response to the article.

I also gave Mr. Stoyles the telephone number and the name of Mr. Doyle so that he would call him, and I think he did, in fact, call him. And I fully expect The Evening Telegram will take back that statement today, and also indicate quite clearly that I did not make that statement. Nor did I claim to do that.

But I want to say this to Members opposite, and to the Minister, that when I have information that allegations by a member this Government has appointed to a board, a chairman of a board which this Government has appointed, when he is making allegations about what this Government is doing, that is something which ought to be looked into and investigated. I checked out those allegations to see whether or not it was possible that such a thing could happen. When I was told that it was, and it was also found that the Public Service Commission became aware that these allegations were being made, then I was requested by the Public Service Commission to tell them.

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

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Social Services, on a point of order.

MR. EFFORD: A point of order, Mr. Chairman, and very quickly. I do not intend to take up the time of the hon. Member opposite, but he just made a clear statement, although with no intention of misleading the House, that the allegation was made by the Chairman of the Social Services Appeals Board.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: No, no, he said chairman. That person resigned - I will not tell you how he resigned - as of last December. He is not the chairman. When he made the allegations he made them a vendetta.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: That is why he resigned.

MR. EFFORD: After this is over, I will tell you.

MR. WINDSOR: Tell us (inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

There is no point of order. The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: So, when these allegations are being made by a person in that position, not some Member of the public making anonymous telephone calls, but by a person who was in a position of authority conferred on them by this Government where that person makes allegations about improprieties. Then the Public Service Commission asked me to tell them what the allegations were, I made them known to them.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order please! Order please!

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

MR. BAKER: I know that the hon. gentleman would not want to mislead the House. In actual fact, what happened was that the Member for St. John's East, ran into, outside the elevators, a member who was on the Workmen's Compensation Board. The Member for St. John's East -

AN HON. MEMBER: The Public Service Commission.

MR. BAKER: And he ran into him in front of the elevator, mentioned to this Member that he had certain information that indicated improprieties. The Member of the Public Service Commission then went to the Chairman and said the Member for St. John's East has informed me that he has some information and so on. Then the Chairman phoned the Member for St. John's East and said if you are making these accusations, then show us the information. So I am sure the hon. Member would not want to mislead the House. In actual fact he is pretending that he had nothing to do with it and that somehow out of the blue there is a phone call to him asking him something.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Order please!

There is no point of order. There is a difference of opinion between two hon. Members, but no point of order.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I asked the hon. the President of Treasury Board if he was responsible for the Public Service Commission and he said no this morning, but now he appears to know what kind of conversations I had.


MR. HARRIS: He knows what conversations I had with the President of the Public Service Commission who telephoned me. The Chairman of the Public Service Commission telephones me and the President of Treasury Board pretends to know what the conversation was. What he says is absolutely false. What he says is absolutely false.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HARRIS: What I am telling this House is that I was contacted by the Chairman of the Public Service Commission and asked if I would come and tell them what the allegations were that I was aware of, not that I was making; what information I had about allegations that were being made and I attended at their request and did that.

Now, Mr. Speaker, obviously that is quite different, and it came to the attention of the Public Service Commission because I asked somebody who worked for the Public Service Commission, not the Workers Compensation Board, but I asked somebody who worked for the Public Service Commission whether it was possible that someone outside the Public Service Commission could have access to questions, and he told me that that was true. So as a result of that information it became clear that allegations were being made. So, Mr. Chairman, there are no allegations being made by the hon. Member for St. John's East, other than that a former Chairman of the Social Services Appeals Board is making these very serious allegations about the conduct of the Minister's office and his staff.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: And that those allegations deserve to be investigated by the Public Service Commission and they are so being. Numerous individuals have been asked to attend to give evidence before the Public Service Commission as to what took place and that is right and proper and appropriate. And that is the only allegation that I have made, Mr. Chairman, is that these allegations are there and that these allegations ought to properly be investigated.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: And when they are investigated -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: - I do hope that the full results will be tabled in this House.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

AN HON. MEMBER: Question! Question!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Are we ready for the question?

On motion, resolution carried.

On motion, clauses 1 through 3 carried.

A Bill, "An Act To Amend The Loan And Guarantee Act, 1957". (Bill No. 19).

Motion, that the Committee report having passed, the resolution and a bill consequent thereto, carried.

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

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

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

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

MR. SPEAKER: In these particular ones when we have two and three bills at the same time, sometimes it is a little difficult. And I said "resolutions" and I said "bills." Now, as hon. Members know we have to read each one separately or what we agree I suppose we could do them -

AN HON. MEMBER: As read.

MR. SPEAKER: As read? So we assume that we have gone through the procedure for all of them. Is that okay? I will check with the Table. Is that proper?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Okay. I think what we should do is - okay. We should say then, the bills, we will certainly do the third one.

On motion, the following bills read a third time, ordered passed and their titles be as on the Order Paper.

"An Act To Amend The Local Authority Guarantee Act, 1957," (Bill No. 18), and "An Act To Amend The Loan And Guarantee Act, 1957" (Bill No. 19).

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform Members of the House that it is my intention at the present time to call Bill No. 15 when we next meet. And it is also my intention to as quickly as possible go on to some of the justice bills second reading, and the pension legislation second reading. But the immediate thing will be the gasoline tax bill.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There are five Justice bills listed on the Order Paper which have been distributed, a sixth, amendments to the Q.C. Act has not yet been distributed. Of the five bills that have been distributed, all were given to the Social Legislation Review Committee for our consideration, but two of them are housekeeping measures that really do not warrant any amount of time of either the Committee or the House. Certainly, they can be whipped through in a few minutes next week. They are the amendments to The Law Reform Commission Act and The Law Society Act. However, three of them have quite a bit of substance. They are the new Provincial Court Act, the new Jury Act and the controversial proposed amendment to The Evidence Act.

The Committee had not completed our deliberations on those three measures. We had done a considerable amount of work on them, and we had heard from some members of the public; however, for the last several weeks, our Committee has been without a Chair and we have not been able to operate. Now, I understand the Government is consolidating the Legislation Review Committees and the Estimates Committees, but I do not see why the old Social Legislation Review Committee, with the Member for Carbonear chairing and with the members for St. George's and Harbour Grace, along with two of us on this side, cannot complete our work on those three Justice bills. I understand, at the same time as a Social Legislation Review Committee has been in limbo, another of the Legislation Review Committees, I think it is the Government Services Review Comittee, has been continuing to work. So, I do not see why we cannot re-group the old Social Legislation Review Committee to allow us to complete our work on the three Justice bills before the new Committees are set up.

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

I am assuming that we have called it 12:00.

MR. BAKER: We will say the clock was stopped at 12:00, Mr. Speaker.

The Member for Humber East is absolutely right in what she says, and I am just indicating that my intention is to do the final financial bill. I do not know how long that will take. I would like to do some second readings on some of the Justice bills, and there are a couple there she indicates could be done fairly quickly. I would also like to do second reading on the two pension bills.

So, I am just indicating, generally, what is going to happen over the next few weeks. In the meantime, obviously, we should be able to straighten up the Committee situation and the report on the three bills she is talking about. I am just talking long-term, now, not necessarily short-term.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, just one quick question for the Government House Leader. The Rules Committee Report that has been ongoing now for God only knows how long -

AN HON. MEMBER: Two years.

MR. SIMMS: I know that he and I had some discussions on it quite a while ago, on a couple of items; but, to tell you the truth, I do not know what, in Heaven's name is happening with it. Are we ready to table that or deal with it, or what? because, pretty soon, the session will be over.

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

MR. BAKER: I do not know, we are probably in for a very long session, actually, so there may be ample months and months of time.

The Chairman of the Committee informed me, I believe it was yesterday or today, that he intended to - well, it has already been done in the previous session. The Tabling was done, but he will do it again just to get the motion on the Order Paper on Tuesday. Then, we will pick a time to debate it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Just to get the Concurrence motion, or whatever it is, on the Order Paper.

Mr. Speaker, I move that the House, at it rising, do adjourn until tomorrow, Tuesday, and that this House do now adjourn.

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