April 30, 1991               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                Vol. XLI  No. 39

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Before recognizing the Opposition House Leader let me on behalf of hon. Members welcome to the galleries today fifteen students from Cabot Institute, here in St. John's, and fifteen students from Kelsey Institute, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. And these students are accompanied by their instructors Neil Moores and Mr. Peterson.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wonder if I might take a moment of the time of the House to pay tribute to a couple of well known Newfoundlanders who recently have been named to the Canadian Softball Hall of Fame. They have been recognized for their achievements and accomplishments as builders. One is Duey Fitzgerald, who I am sure is well known to all Members of the House. He was involved with softball I think for at least twenty-three years, it is my information; as a coach, as an umpire and as an administrator. He also has a keen sense of humour as everybody would know. Included amongst his achievements was the fact that he was the first ever Newfoundland umpire back in 1973 to umpire a Canadian men's softball tournament, and that was in Quebec City.

The other gentleman is Vince Withers, also extremely well known in the community and to Members of this House, who has had an amazing involvement in softball for thirty-four years as an umpire an administrator, and an official, among many of his achievements he is the co-founder for Softball Newfoundland. He was the first Newfoundland umpire to umpire at a national tournament, and that was at a senior women's tournament in 1972, and he has served at the national level as well.

So I would like for the House and Your Honour on behalf of the Members of the House to perhaps write a letter of congratulations. I might add that I believe they join the only other Newfoundlander in the Softball Hall of Fame who is a brother of the Member for St. John's South, I believe, Dee Murphy. So I would like to send congratulations to these gentlemen.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, we too would like to be associated with the remarks of the Opposition House Leader concerning Duey Fitzgerald and Vince Withers. Both of these individuals, of course, are well known not just in the immediate St. John's area, but throughout the Province with their long involvement in softball, and other sports as a matter of fact, both of them have been involved in community life, particularly in the sports life of this Province for a long, long time. And this honour that is being bestowed upon them, of course, is very much deserved and we would like to be associated with those remarks.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to on behalf of the New Democratic Party -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for St. John's East, I can only recognize him if he has leave of the House.


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to on behalf of the New Democratic Party be associated with the congratulations of these two gentlemen. Both Mr. Withers and Mr. Fitzgerald are very well known for their activity in softball. It is the sport which has perhaps the most participants of any sport in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and one which has been growing rapidly over the last number of years. I know Duey personally, as having worked with him at one of my first summer jobs at Bannerman Park here in St. John's where we helped to coach and teach youngsters in little league baseball, not softball. Both these individuals deserve the recognition that they have.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I have a quick and very short question for the Minister of Education. Can the Minister of Education confirm that six more career civil servants in the communications and publications division of his Department have just been notified, I think on Friday, that they are being laid off? Can he confirm that?

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

DR. WARREN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, a number in that division have been notified in the last few days.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the President of Treasury Board. Forty-five days after the Budget was brought down we finally got the departmental salary details. The Minister and Premier have both said publicly in this House that they needed that extra time to ensure that all the adjustments resulting from the layoffs announced in the Budget were made. Now, we find out that six positions eliminated in the Department of Education just a few days ago are still included on Page 133 of the salary details under communications and publications. My question to the President of Treasury Board: what is the value of the salary details document? How can we believe it? And, secondly, can the Minister confirm that this latest round of layoffs in the Department of Education is in addition to the layoffs announced by the Minister of Finance in his Budget?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

First of all let me point out that in spite of the alarmist statements by the Member opposite there is no new round of layoffs. Let me point out that when the topic of salary estimates first came up I pointed out to Members opposite that in order for the effects to be felt through the system, and especially in terms of the temporary part-time people who are normally hired during the Summer months and so on, that it would take quite some time for the effect to filter through the system and this is the reason why the salary estimates, in order to be 100 per cent accurate, could not be provided at the time of the Budget. They could simply not be provided. Members opposite took the position that that was a lot of nonsense, that we could have presented accurate salary details at the time the Budget was presented, and totally rejected the position I took that we needed time, the effects of downsizing and so on to filter through the system, we needed time to be absolutely certain that our salary estimates were 100 per cent accurate. Members opposite then decided to use an obstructionist tactic. They said they would refuse to examine the Estimates of the House until the salary estimates were prepared. I pointed out at that time that we would hurry the salary estimates but that in fact there may be some errors in the salary estimates because some positions may appear that ultimately would not be there, or, the other way around, Departments are in the process of dealing with their allocated budgets for the year and, Mr. Speaker, it takes some time for the effect to be known. I would like to stress again the strangeness of the position of Members opposite, on the one hand trying to indicate that the salary estimates could have been done when the Budget was being prepared, and on the other hand they are now saying, why did you not wait longer until the full effect was shown? I wish they would make up their minds, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: It is too bad the President of Treasury Board is not able to speak for himself. He is sitting that close to the Premier he has to mouth the Premier's words. What the President of Treasury Board has just told us is simply not going to wash with the public.

MR. BAKER: It is the truth.

MR. SIMMS: It is not the truth and that is the problem. That is the entire problem with this President. Let me ask him this: is it not true that really what is transpiring here is another massive assault on the public service, on public service jobs? Is that not a fact, and is it not being done in order to keep the Budget deficit at the $53 million as closely as they can so as to avoid embarrassment about their projections as occurred last year? Let me ask him this: since it is only six weeks since the Budget came down and with forty-two weeks left to go in the fiscal year, will he confirm for me then that Treasury Board has already asked the Department of Education to find another $250,000 since the Budget came down? Can he confirm that?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I suppose I could make the blanket statement that everything the hon. Member has just said is incorrect, is not true. I suppose that is perhaps the easiest way to deal with it.

AN HON. MEMBER: You do not know.

MR. BAKER: No. I said what the hon. Member said is not true. I did not say "I do not know." I said what the hon. Member said is simply not correct, not true, incorrect, however way you want to phrase it.

Mr. Speaker, what is happening is that in the Budget estimates, each Department has been allocated certain salary guidelines. There is an amount in the Budget for salary and Departments are supposed to live within that amount for salary. This is not an additional cut, there have been no orders gone out to make additional cuts. No, no, no.

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

MR. SIMMS: Final supplementary. I hope the words that the President of Treasury Board just used do not come back to haunt him, and I strongly suggest he check with his officials before he comes back to the House and says "no, no, no." Because I can assure him it is a fact. I can assure him it is a fact.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: Now I want to ask the President of Treasury Board this: have any other Government Departments been asked to start trimming once again from the budgets given to them just six weeks ago? And can we expect other layoffs similar to the ones that we have just exposed that have occurred now since the salary estimate details have been provided? And is this not all again, as I said, a desperate attempt to avoid a repetition of last year's Budget chaos? Is that not what they are up to?

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

MR. BAKER: Again, Mr. Speaker, there are a whole bunch of "nos" that have to be said. And I do not know where the hon. Member is coming from. I do not know how he can stand in the House and indicate to the public of this Province that all of a sudden Treasury Board is now going through the Departments and asking for more cuts, elimination of more positions and so on. I cannot see how he can get away with saying that because it is simply not true. He seems to indicate that he knows that this is going on. I challenge him to prove that it is going on.

PREMIER WELLS: We are eliminating more cars.

MR. SIMMS: Speak for yourself, now.

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

MR. POWER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a couple of questions for the Minister of Health. I would like to ask the Minister of Health if he would, seeing that it has been two months since the Budget or just about two months since the Budget was presented and we all know that the Budget certainly did adversely affect, we believe in many ways, the health care system in this Province, in fact, we think it was in a state of shock for at least a short period of time.

Could the Minister give an update to this House and to the people of the Province, as to any changes that have been made in the Hospital Board plans, the individual hospital board plans. We are led to believe that certain hospital boards in the Province have been upgraded, have been allowed to keep some of their services, have had additional monies allocated to them.

Could the Minister give us an update as to which hospital boards have accepted their Budget allocations as presented in the Budget document, which hospital boards have been given additional funding and which hospital boards have had reduced funding as a result of recent changes?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, this is a good question; this is a good complicated question, which would certainly be more appropriate on the Order Paper, Mr. Speaker, I do not carry around in my head all the details of every single hospital board in this Province.

Now, Mr. Speaker, during the budgetary process, after we learned how much money the Government was prepared to spend on the delivery of health care, we notified all the hospital boards in general terms, what their budgets would be for the upcoming fiscal year. In normal years this would have been done, maybe a couple months after the Budget came down, but this year, because we did envisage some fiscal problems, we got these letters out as fast as we could, and generally throughout the system there have been very few changes made, however, some of the hospitals, especially where we made role changes we have had to do some fine tuning.

One case in particular is Placentia, which I would suggest the hon. Member is talking about, where, after our fine tuning, we discovered that in order for them to fulfill the mandate that we want them to fulfill, it was necessary that we give them an additional $100,000. We are looking through other hospitals in the Province and it is quite possible that in some cases they might not need as much money as we allocated to them, so we may have to fine tune them backwards. We envisage the most difficulty at hospitals where we had some role changes, but there is no major increase, there is absolutely no increase in the total health care budget, but there is some fine tuning to certain parts of the system.

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

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, my supplementary, and the Minister has referred to it: basically the question we would like to ask and like to have is that - and we were hoping that the Minister was misquoted in a recent newspaper article were he said that basically if additional funding were going to one hospital then that funding had to come out of the total hospital care budget and, in effect, will be taken away from some other hospitals. We want to know, and I think the public has a right to know, which hospitals are being down sized in addition to their budgetary cuts and which hospitals have had increases since the Budget was announced. We would also like the Minister to say that he really was misquoted, that, in effect, if any hospital is going to get additional funds they should come from the general revenue of the Province or from taxation, but certainly not from the hospitals that had their allocations cut.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, it is too early in the process yet for me to say which hospitals will have to give up some of their money or which hospitals will need a little extra money. We are spending $530 million, Mr. Speaker, in delivering the hospital budgets in this Province, and 45 days into the new year is a little early for anyone to get up and say here are the facts.

I would suggest to the hon. Member that the absolute total facts will not be available until this fiscal year ends, which has been the case for generations. You always get a Budget, and then you get an actual Budget which is adjusted in the year. But I would be quite prepared to predict that before this year is over there will be a considerable amount of fine tuning to the various hospitals throughout the Province unless we are going to be different from the way we have been for the past 25 years, Mr. Speaker, unless there is a difference, and I do not see any major difference. There will be some fine tuning.

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

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, I will ask a final supplementary, but the way the Minister answers questions it is very difficult to get to the truth. I mean he tells us in one statement that there is $100,000 or $165,000 going to be allocated to Placentia. He also says it has to come from other hospitals. Which hospital does it come from? Are you going to wait until the last of February to take that money from another hospital? That is all we want to know, and we think we have a right to know that.

Mr. Speaker, I just want to ask the Minister to do what any Minister of Health who is doing his duties properly would do, which is to go to the Government. When you look at the statements of the Newfoundland Public Health Association, the Newfoundland Nurses Unions who say that they cannot maintain the Canadian standards in health care. There are tragedies waiting to happen in rural Newfoundland. Will the Minister go to his Cabinet colleagues and seek some additional funding for health care to resolve these problems rather than try to take it from other hospitals?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, with that philosophy I am surprised the hon. Member is not a part of the NDP Government in Ontario today. You just cannot go and write a magic paper and get money coming out of the blue. I mean the hon. Member was a Member of Government for years, and he should know that is not the way things happen. The fact of the matter is the Department of Health -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DECKER: Obviously they thought it, yes. That is why we owe all the money that we owe as a Province. The department is spending $530 million in health care, Mr. Speaker, the same as we are spending to pay off the interest on the debt that the hon. Member ran up.

Now, if we are to take $100,000 of that money and add it onto one institution, it is going to have to come somewhere else from within the system, but it is quite normal that over the past number of years when your spending that kind of money, some hospitals will spend a little less, some will spend a little more. Generally speaking, the ones who have not had their role changes most likely will live precisely within their budgets, but the ones who have had role changes, Mr. Speaker, might need less, they might need more.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member should be aware that for years this has been going on with the hospital boards. As a matter of fact, his administration brought in a program whereby hospitals which spent less money in a year than they were allocated were actually allowed to keep a portion of that money. So, Mr. Speaker, this has been going on for years, and it is just that the hon. Member was accused in a letter of trying to destroy what was going on in Placentia - he should read the letter in the Telegram. Now, I suppose, he is making sure that if there is either nail left to be driven in that coffin, he wants to make sure that he totally destroys the health care system in Placentia and in Newfoundland at the same time.

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

MR. POWER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Final supplementary. Is the Minister just saying in his final comment that because this Opposition is doing its job that in effect you have punished the people of Placentia? Is that what you just said?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I know I am not the best communicator on Earth, but if the hon. Member inferred that from my statement, I am either the world's worst communicator or he is the world's worst listener.

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

MR. HEARN: Mr. Speaker, my question is also to the Minister of Health. The Minister mentioned in answering an earlier question that $100,000 had been provided to the Placentia area health care board. Will the Minister tell us what additional services this will provide? And whether or not he has provided other funding as well as the $100,000?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the Department of Health has the duty to deliver health care to our people. We do that through hospital boards and they do it through their hospitals and their home care programmes and what have you. We give hospitals a mandate. We give the Health Sciences in St. John's a mandate to do tertiary care and so on. We say to Placentia: here is your mandate. Your mandate is to deliver all the primary care services in the Placentia area, to provide lab work, to provide x-rays, to care for the seventy-five people in the chronic care facility.

In order to do all these things you must have so many dollars. While we were fine-tuning the Budget the board came back and said to us: if you expect us to carry out this mandate we need an additional two hundred and some odd thousand dollars. People within the Department went through their request and they discovered that indeed the hospital board did have a point, and that in order for them to carry out their mandate - for example, to maintain a twenty-four hour service - they did indeed need some additional money. We have allocated to them $100,000 additional money to carry out their mandate.

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Certainly we see another good skater on the hockey team opposite. Since the Minister listened to the concerns of the committee and acted to a degree, for which I thank the Minister, will he agree to further improvements provided he is convinced of the need?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is almost surprised to hear that we listen. This is the most listening, open government we have had in seventeen or eighteen years. There is nothing new about our listening, that is what we are here for. And what the hon. Member is talking about is something which is carried out on an ongoing basis by the officials in the Department. This was done through the administrator in the Placentia area. It happens all the time. But do not be surprised about this Government listening, this is what we are all about. That is what Liberalism stands for, listening to the people. And if there are some minor changes that have to be made we will be quite pleased to make them.

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Minister has admitted that he did listen to the concerns of the local committee, as he should and as he praises himself up for doing. And since he reacted, consequently the concerns must be legitimate. Consequently a lot of credit goes not to the Minister for listening but to the committee for bringing the concerns to the Minister.

In light of that, I ask the Minister will he now apologize to the members of the committee who he said had another agenda and were not acting in the best interest of health care in the Placentia area?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, if I had any reason to apologize I would be so humble that I would be down in Placentia apologizing. I cannot take responsibility for the way The Evening Telegram wishes to carry any story. I have the little article in the paper cut out. I said, in a discussion with The Evening Telegram - and I am man enough to admit it - that the Government's agenda in delivering health care to Placentia, Baie Verte, Port aux Basques, Bell Island and St. John's and Newfoundland is to deliver the best health care that we can afford. And there are no other agendas. We are not concerned because a district is Liberal or Tory, we are only concerned with delivering the best health care system we can deliver.

And thinking out loud I said to the reporter from The Evening Telegram: I hope - and I said I believe - I hope that that is the same agenda that the people in the Placentia, Baie Verte and the Bell Island areas are running by. And I stand by that. I hope that anyone who gets up and criticizes what we are doing is doing it based on health care. And I can challenge anyone in this country to criticize what we are doing with the amount of money that we have to do it with. Criticise it on the basis of health care and we will pass with flying colours.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I have questions for the Minister of Health as well. I would like to ask him about patient care in Western Newfoundland. The Minister's Government is forcing Western Memorial Regional Hospital at Corner Brook to handle a greater load than ever by taking over services the Government has cut at Burgeo, Port aux Basque, Deer Lake, Norris Point, Bonne Bay, and Baie Verte, yet the Government has slashed the Western Memorial Corner Brook Hospital budget forcing the hospital to close thirty acute care beds and eliminate about seventy positions. Now, I ask the Minister how can the result of this combination be anything but a serious deterioration in care for patients in both rural and urban areas?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that this Government has been strapped by the way this Province was abused by the previous administration, there is no doubt about it that we do not have the fiscal capacity to put as much money into health care as we would like to do. That is a known fact and I cannot argue that. The hon. Members knows full well why we find ourselves in this position. However, the suggestion of closing thirty beds in Western Memorial: some of these beds, Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to be able to say we closed them. I am delighted to say we closed them. Some of these beds, Mr. Speaker, were pediatric beds and every time we do away with a pediatric bed we are saying that we have overcome rickets, we have overcome smallpox, we have overcome polio, we have overcome tuberculosis in children, we have been successful as a people and we have overcome the need, we do not need those pediatric beds any more, Mr. Speaker, so some of the beds which we have closed I am proud to be able to say we closed. I wish we could close the Janeway. I wish we could say that we have overcome the need for a Janeway.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, when we rationalized the hospital system, when we made some alterations in Burgeo we compensated for that in Corner Brook. When we made some changes in Bonne Bay we compensated for that in Corner Brook. The wonderful thing about this policy which the Department of Health has put in place, with the full backing of my colleagues in Government, Mr. Speaker, is that we have put in place a system where every single hospital board has a role to play and if you tamper with one you have an impact on the other, but it is all one integrated system which is committed totally, Mr. Speaker, to delivering health care, and I am so pleased that Government supported the Department of Health when we put that system in place, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This Minister of Health is completely out of touch with reality and is really quite pathetic. I say to the Minister of Health that one of the very worrying developments in hospital care in Western Newfoundland has been in the area of diagnostic services. The Regional Hospital at Corner Brook operates a lab and X-ray department which now has to serve many more patients since the closure of the clinic in Deer Lake and the down scaling in other smaller hospitals, yet as I hope the Minister realizes, Western Memorial has been forced to lay off eleven staff from the lab and X-ray departments. Now, the full effects of the cuts have yet to be felt. Some of them are working their way through the system, bumping is still going on, but already, over the last two weeks -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am waiting for the hon. Member's question.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary.

MS. VERGE: I ask the Minister to look at the situation regarding longer waits for patients requiring X-rays, blood tests, and other lab work in Western Newfoundland, and the delays in testing specimens resulting in a deterioration in body substances with faulty readings. What action will the Minister take to ensure that there are proper diagnostic services for patients throughout Western Newfoundland in the immediate Corner Brook area as well as in other parts of the region served by Western Memorial Regional Hospital?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member says I am out of touch with reality. The people who blew $30 million on a Disney World scheme called Sprung says I am out of touch with reality, Mr. Speaker. Let the people of the Province judge.


MR. DECKER: The diagnostic services, Mr. Speaker, in the Corner Brook Hospital: the Department of Health has been monitoring that on a daily basis. We are aware that there were some changes made when the x-ray was taken out of Deer Lake that would necessarily have some impact on the Corner Brook Hospital. I have talked personally with the administrator. The Department of Health talks with the administration back and forth. The administrator assures us that he would like to have more money, as would I, as would Government, as would all of us. But under the circumstances he is satisfied that the services are adequate at the present time. They have made some changes.

For example, previous to the changes people from the Sops Arm area who came into Deer Lake for X-rays came in, had their X-ray done one day and went back home and then a few days later had that read and got the results. Now just to show how the thing has been streamlined people go to Corner Brook and have their X-ray, have it read, and the doctor is notified all in the one day. So we have streamlined the thing, so that it is much more efficient.

However, I have to say to the hon. Member that we are constantly monitoring Corner Brook and Stephenville, Mr. Speaker, and we are monitoring every other hospital in this Province, and that is the work of the Department of Health to constantly monitor the hospitals. And if a severe problem develops there, we will have to address it. But to date -

MS. VERGE: Somebody will die before you will act.

MR. DECKER: - Mr. Speaker, there has been no reason to believe that there is anything unnecessary happening. But we are monitoring it very closely, Mr. Speaker.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, Mr. Speaker. Two years ago the Minister announced some amalgamation proposals, and we have lived with two years of uncertainty and indecision since that time. Originally the Minister said it would be a matter of weeks or months at the most before he would make those decisions, particularly as it relates to Northeast Avalon. Last night or this morning we saw the City of St. John's essentially declaring war on the City of Mount Pearl as a result of the Minister's indecision. It is very clear that indecision is causing an even greater rift between the two cities, a rift which may well result, in fact, in regional government of any sort being impossible. Would the Minister immediately cancel his amalgamation proposal? Or at least ensure his constituents and mine that the super city concept will not be considered, since it is clearly against the wishes of our constituents?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, the City of St. John's and the City of Mount Pearl both of those cities have every right to mount any sort of a campaign they wish. I understand they both have engaged PR firms and have decided to take their case publicly and restate, I guess, a lot of the points that they made in the feasibility process at the hearings and in their briefs and so on. They have every right to do that, Mr. Speaker.

The final conclusion and decision as far as the Northeast Avalon is concerned I would hope would be made as soon as possible. And that decision may or may not see an expanded urban core. The actual groupings that will be decided as far as the seventeen - there are seventeen communities in the Northeast Avalon - how many groupings will result when the process is complete, I cannot predetermine, Mr. Speaker. That decision will be made as soon as possible.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the Minister is obviously not prepared to give us any answers again in relation to when he is going to make a decision. Well let me ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker, maybe the Premier would confirm the statement that he made, I believe, here in the House some time ago, that he will not force amalgamation down the throats of those that do not wish to have amalgamation, and that he will not use his majority in the House to force what he cannot get by agreement?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, he does not accurately reflect what I said.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Well, the Opposition does not, they have their own motivation to twist and contort in whatever way they want to and they seem to do it on a basis of monotonous regularity, in fact.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, the position the Government has taken in the past is that we just would not willy-nilly force amalgamation down people's throats; we have allowed two years at least now or a year and a half of extensive discussion; what I said in the House, Mr. Speaker, is, we would not sit in the secret of the Cabinet Room and pass an order in Council, as we are entitled to do, under the law as it stands now, we would not sit in the secrecy of the Cabinet Room and pass a law, to order communities to be amalgamated.

If, we concluded as a Government, that it was desirable that amalgamation for any group of municipalities should be done or should be considered, we would bring it to this House, if the group concerned did not voluntarily do it; we would bring it before this House or it could be done by resolution, if we had to, involving the city of St. John's, the city of Corner Brook, the city of Mount Pearl, it would have to be done by a piece of legislation in this House because they are all under separate statutes. So, Mr. Speaker, the commitment that I made is that we would not sit in the secrecy of the Cabinet Room and make these decisions secretly, if we felt it was desirable or necessary to bring together any particular groups, we would bring the proposal before this House.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

MR. GILBERT: Yes, Mr. Speaker. On April 24, the gentleman from Kilbride asked me some questions about the awarding of a contract for the hospitals in Burgeo and Port Saunders. They were detailed like; amounts of money saved, local content and all that sort of stuff, so rather than take the time of the House, I will table it, Mr. Speaker, and let the hon. Members have a look.


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

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to present a petition signed by 161 people, residents of Menihek. The prayer of the petition is: We, the undersigned, protest the proposal by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to cut back the funding of the Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital in 1991-92. Your petitioners urge the Government to reconsider this proposal which will have the effect of reducing the level of health care services to our communities.

Mr. Speaker, this is another one of the several petitions that I have presented in this House concerning the health care cuts in Western Labrador, an area of this Province which produces a tremendous amount of wealth, probably more wealth for this Province than any other electoral district in this Province.

Mr. Speaker, the people in Western Labrador want this Government to reconsider the amount of cuts that they have given the Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital, to reconsider the amount of funds that they have allocated to that hospital for funding this year, because they feel that this Government has not considered the special needs of Western Labrador because of it's position geographically.

We in Western Labrador do not live a half an hour, an hour and a half, or two hours away from another health care centre, Mr. Speaker. We live eight hours turn around time for emergency medical treatment. That is what it is, Mr. Speaker. If we have to get an air ambulance into Western Labrador it is an eight hour turn around time. So we feel that people in Government have not considered the geography of Western Labrador when they decided the amount of cutting they are going to give the hospital in Western Labrador.

We feel that the cuts proposed with what the board had to live with are not fair to the people of Western Labrador, Mr. Speaker. We felt that the additional strain that is going to be put on the major health care centres such as here, now is going to put even more strain on the people of Western Labrador, more stress. Just this week I talked to a young woman who has spent twenty-five years living in Labrador City and raising a family, and she came out here in January for treatment at the Health Science Complex. She was discharged in February and told to wait for a bed so she could get heart surgery. Now, Mr. Speaker, she has been discharged from hospital since February 7 and here it is the end of April and she still has not been admitted to the Health Sciences Complex because they say there are no beds available. Now, Mr. Speaker, if that is the case today, can you imagine what it is going to be like in six months time. Can you imagine how that woman feels, after spending her life working in Labrador City in a household raising a family while her husband worked in the mines producing the wealth for this Province and now she comes out here and waits months, months, Mr. Speaker, to be admitted to the hospital. Now, that is bad, that is tragic, but imagine what it is going to be like next year, when we have the additional strain put on the hospitals here in St. John's and in the regional centres, all these regional hospitals are going to have more strain put on them and that is going to cause more stress on the people living in Western Labrador.

The Minister accused me last week of fearmongering. Mr. Speaker, it is not fearmongering, these are facts that I am stating. They lost $870,000 in funding this year and what I am suggesting, Mr. Speaker, is that the quality of health care in Western Labrador is going to suffer during this year and next year and that is going to affect the people in Western Labrador. The hon. Member still does not understand how it is going to affect people - people are nervous, Mr. Speaker, there are going to be 3,750 fewer patient visits to a physiotherapist in Western Labrador, do you not think that bothers them? That does bother them, Mr. Speaker, there are going to be fewer specialists visiting Western Labrador, do you think that bothers the people in Western Labrador? Well, it certainly does.

They do not have access to specialists as the people who live an hour's drive from here, they can drive into St. John's. It costs $1,000 to fly to St. John's from Western Labrador, it does not cost you just five dollars or ten dollars of gasoline to drive in here, it is $1,000 air fare. Now, Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. A. SNOW: If I could have just one minute, Mr. Speaker, to clue up?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you. Mr. Speaker, I would ask this Government to reconsider this drastic decision that they made in cutbacks to the Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital and re-instate the funding to ensure a good quality health care system in Western Labrador. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. POWER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to rise just for a moment or two to support the petition so ably presented by the Member for Menihek and I want to say that I take pleasure in supporting the people from Labrador West, who, probably are the most independent, hard-working people who contribute in a very meaningful way to this Province.

The people of Labrador City - Wabush are very self-sufficient, have a very vibrant economy for most of their history of twenty-five odd years, or I guess thirty years in Labrador West now, they have contributed in a very - how many?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. POWER: Thirty-two? They have contributed over those thirty-two years in a very meaningful way to the general revenue of this Province, they have paid their taxes, they have paid on gasoline, as we heard the other day, they paid sales tax, and there is no question if you talked to the people of Lab. City - Wabush that they are very often upset that they give so much to the Province in the form of taxation and money and revenues to the Government, and they receive so little in return. And these people, you must remember, went to Labrador as many as thirty-two years ago, and many of then from many parts of rural Newfoundland who were not really miners. They went there, they learned a new trade, they left their homes where their parents and grand parents had lived all their lives and they went out to a wilderness part of Labrador to earn a living. These people deserve special recognition, and they certainly deserve special services.

One of the things that has happened in Lab. West over the years is that through the company and through Government agencies they have tried to do special things to encourage people to stay in Labrador West. Whether it is a physiotherapist in our health care system in Labrador West, whether it is an Arts and Culture Centre which gives people in that part of Newfoundland certain access to certain cultural events and activities that take place. Those things are designed to keep people in rural Newfoundland, and certainly Labrador West is deserving of the special status that they receive. And then you look at the possibility of the Labrador West Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital losing $870,000 of their small budget anyway when they did not have all the services of St. John's. You are not cutting back the Health Sciences Complex in Labrador West, you are not cutting back the Grace Hospital or St. Clare's, you are cutting back the only hospital, the only health care services that they have.

Besides the special services and special status of Labrador West, they have special weather conditions in Labrador. There are many times in Labrador, as my colleagues just mentioned, that it is an eight hour turn around trip to leave Labrador West in an air ambulance to come to St. John's and get back to Labrador, but there are lots of times during the year that you cannot even do that. Even if the air ambulance is there on the ground, there are times in the winter when you cannot fly out of Labrador West. That is why the services have to be kept there. Now I got to say I take some pride in supporting those very strong, hard working, independent people of Labrador West, but it is unfortunate that we always have to get up in this House and try and support petitions which are downgrading and negating the gains that those people have made over the last thirty-two years, many of them at their own expense, because I am sure if you factored it out like the Member for Pleasantville often wants to do, and say, how much do you actually contribute to Newfoundland and how much do you take away from Canada, as is his analysis. I would like to have someone do an analysis sometime of how much the people from Labrador West in a real taxation form contribute to this Province and how much they actually receive back in the form of Government grants, incentives, government employees, whether through the educational or health care system. I want to say, Mr. Speaker, it is just another example of where this Minister of Health, the Premier, and the Cabinet does not listen. They have not listened to the concerns of Labrador West and they have not listened to the concerns of a vast number of people. If the Labrador West people were able to arrange 1000 people to come to the steps of Confederation Building maybe somebody would listen to them, but unfortunately that is not very likely, and I suspect they will have to live with the downgrading of services in Labrador West, but it is certainly unfortunate and not something that shows very much foresight on the part of this Government.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a petition signed by 150 residents of Green Bay, mostly from the north shore of Green Bay, and Little Bay, St. Patrick's, Springdale, in that area. The prayer of the petitions is as follows: we the undersigned residents of Green Bay humbly petition the hon House of Assembly not to make any changes to the ferry system which would see the combining of the ferry service between Little Bay Islands, Shoal Arm, Long Island, and Pilley's Island, which would result in the termination of the Little Bay Island's mainland terminal at Shoal Arm.

Shoal Arm being omitted from the service would result in disastrous things to the livelihood of this area, the main source of employment of Little Bay Islands, the S. T. Jones fish plant also employs people from our communities. We have to commute back and forth and because of a lack of accommodations on the Island should Shoal Arm be dropped, and the Mainland terminal for Little Bay Islands, we would be unable to seek employment with S.T. Jones, thus raising the level of unemployment in our area. Shoal Arm is important not only to the residents of Little Bay Islands but also to the surrounding area. We urge you to consider all our concerns before making a decision that could adversely affect the lives of the residents of Green Bay.

Mr. Speaker, this is a petition essentially from the residents of the north shore of Green Bay district in support of the case of the citizens of Little Bay Islands. I presented a petition on behalf of Little Bay Islands in this hon. House before. Needless to say my position as the Member for the district is that both ferry services should be left intact because there is no way that one boat, even for six months of the year, can do justice to the transportation needs of the area. The people who signed this particular petition, Mr. Speaker, are used to a steady flow of traffic through their area giving commerce to their area from Little Bay Islands. Some of them as well actually commute and work at the fish plant in Little Bay Island's. The Little Bay Island's fish plant has a crab operation in the Fall, Mr. Speaker. It is a fishery not unlike the caplin fishery, very fast and swift, and the fish plant actually has to import labour from off the Island, even though it is only a small Island, for a very brief period of time, so a good transportation system to enable workers to commute to and from the island is essential from their point of view. The proposal of this particular administration to amalgamate the transportation systems of the two islands will only lead to the downgrading of the economy of both islands and to the district in general. We are also talking, of course, Mr. Speaker, of half a dozen or more jobs involved here in addition to the inconvenience to the residents and the downgrading of the economy.

Mr. Speaker, this Government came to power promising rosy things for rural Newfoundland. So far all we have seen from this Government is a cut back in jobs, services, etc., making life in rural Newfoundland, especially on islands in rural Newfoundland, so miserable as to force people to resettle.

Unfortunately unlike in the days of former Premier Smallwood there is no grant to help people move any more, so we have a situation where people are being squeezed out and really have nowhere to go. The telephone calls that I get in my office indicate that people are desperate for work, but at the same time they have no alternatives. There is nowhere to go, you cannot go to Toronto, even Calgary is laying off right now. No major companies in Canada seem to have landed any contracts in Kuwait. So being squeezed out of rural Newfoundland is absolutely no good whatsoever, Mr. Speaker, if you have nowhere to go. Right now even going to and from where you live in rural Newfoundland is becoming more and more difficult because of this Administration, because of its downgrading of the transportation infrastructure.

So, Mr. Speaker, I support the prayer of this petition, and I ask the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation to reconsider the amalgamation of these ferry services. As of my coming into the Legislature area at lunch time we had not had word on the final outcome of the Minister's deliberations with regard to these two ferry services. But I would urge him to drop the idea of the amalgamation, leave well enough alone, do not fix that which is not broken. I thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Opposition Leader.

MR. SIMMS: I am just waiting, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Opposition House Leader, I should say.

MR. SIMMS: That is fine. Mr. Speaker, I was just wondering if the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation was going to have a few words.


MR. SIMMS: He is not going to have a few words.

MR. GILBERT: I spoke to it last week.

MR. SIMMS: You spoke to it last week, I see.

AN HON. MEMBER: This is another petition, you know.

MR. SIMMS: This is another petition from another group of people, I guess.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, from the North Shore.

MR. SIMMS: From the North Shore. Do you have a copy of the petition? From the North Shore. Now that is not the same petition he brought in last week, is it?

MR. HEWLETT: No the other one was from the Island. (Inaudible), Mainland terminal.

MR. SIMMS: So the one that the Minister spoke to last week was from a group of people representing the other side, if you want, this is representing people from another part of the area, another part of the District, one was from the Island, and one is from the Mainland. He understands that now, I guess. So in lieu of that he may reconsider and say a few brief words and respond to the citizens of the Province who have petitioned the House as is their right. I would hope that the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation will reconsider this, Mr. Speaker. Perhaps he did not hear the prayer of the petition as read and articulated by my colleague the Member for Green Bay. And I am not sure of the numbers, I did not catch the numbers.

MR. HEWLETT: One hundred and fifty.

MR. SIMMS: One hundred and fifty people who are residents of Little Bay and St. Patrick's have signed this petition, and they petitioned the House of Assembly not to make any changes to the ferry system. I presume they want the House of Assembly to ask and plead with the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation and his Department not to make any changes to the ferry system which would see the combining of the ferry service between Little Bay Islands and Shoal Arm in Long Island and Pilley's Island which would result in the termination of the Little Bay Islands mainland terminal at Shoal Arm. It is pretty straightforward. And as I said a couple of days ago speaking to a petition presented by the Member for Green Bay on behalf of some constituents in Pilley's Island, I have some ties and roots from Pilley's Island, so I know the area somewhat and have a great deal of interest in it. And I also mentioned yesterday, it never ceases to amaze me the determination of the Member for Green Bay, he is on his feet day after day, day in, day out, representing his constituents, speaking out on their behalf, unfortunately to no avail. He was up yesterday presenting petitions from people in his District. He is up again today. And what reaction do we get? We get the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation saying, oh, no, he is not going to bother to comment or respond to the petition. He is not even going to speak to the petition. He spoke to it last week. So the people out in Green Bay, Little Bay and St. Patrick's area can petition all they want to the House of Assembly, he is not going to respond or comment any more on this particular issue. He has spoken once and that is it. I mean how arrogant, and how dictatorial, Mr. Speaker, can you get. The least the Minister can do is stand in his place and say to the citizens of Little Bay and St. Patrick's that he understands their concerns, he knows their frustrations. And if he must give an explanation why he cannot do what they are asking him to do then let him give the explanation. But at least he should not be so arrogant as not to respond to the people. The people have a right to petition.

And, Mr. Speaker, the petition and petitioners go on to say: should Shoal Arm be omitted from the service, that the results could be disastrous to the livelihood of the people of the area. The main source of employment at Little Bay Islands is the S. T. Jones fish plant, and that employs people from all those communities, all around that area. And they have to commute back and forth because of a lack of accommodation on the island. There are no accommodations worth talking about on the island other than staying with a friend or a family member, something like that.

So there are no accommodations. They have to commute. And should Shoal Arm therefore be dropped as the mainland terminal for Little Bay Islands they would be unable to seek employment elsewhere or at S. T. Jones fish plant. Therefore the level of unemployment in their area will just increase from what it is.

So they say Shoal Arm as you can see is very important, not only to the residents of Little Bay Islands but to the entire surrounding area. And the 150 people who have signed this petition to the House of Assembly asking the Minister of Transportation to reconsider this, to have another look at it, are urging him to consider all of their concerns before he makes a decision that could drastically affect the lives of the residents of this particular part of the Green Bay area.

Now, Mr. Speaker, what could be more clear? What could be more proper -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. SIMMS: -then the people of the area asking the Minister responsible. So I hope the Minister says a few words on the petition and does not continue with his normal arrogance.

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Motion 5, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 5.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Finance to introduce a Bill, "An Act To Amend The Co-Operative Societies Act", carried. (Bill No. 24).

On motion, Bill No. 24 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. BAKER: Motion 3, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 3.

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

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In the absence of the Minister of Finance who sponsors such bills, I would like to do a very brief introduction to this Bill 14, "An Act To Amend The Tobacco Tax." It is very, very straightforward. All it does is it repeals paragraph 9.1 subsection (a) of the Tobacco Tax Act 1986, and the following is substituted 'that in the case of cigarettes a tax of 0.0678 dollars on every cigarette. This Act is considered to have come in force on March 8, 1991.' In effect this raises the tax on cigarettes to the point of which now, Mr. Speaker, there is a provincial tax of about $1.35 on a pack of 20 cigarettes. It is a substantial source of revenue for Government, and in the first instance this measure was taken to generate an extra $8 million or $10 million worth of revenue. So that was, on the surface, the function of this particular piece of legislation. We are in the situation where we need extra money, we have to have extra money, and this was a tax that we felt at this point in time we could institute.

There is a limit as to how rapidly taxes on tobacco and some other products can be raised. The general guideline is that these taxes generally progress throughout the country at about the same rate, and the reason is obvious. If, for instance, in Newfoundland we were imposing a tax of $5.00 on a pack of cigarettes and in Nova Scotia next door there was a tax of $1.00, then the activity of smuggling would be encouraged and there would be a lot of smuggling back and forth, cigarettes being bought in one province, sold in another. It is an activity that is very difficult to control in some instances. So, this particular increase in the Tobacco Tax keeps us in the same ballpark as the Maritime Provinces so that there will be no large differential between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, or Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, and this tax is about the same as what is being generated in other provinces.

So, Mr. Speaker, we had to do it because we needed money, and we did it in such a way that it would not create the smuggling problem that would be there if we had raised the tax on tobacco even higher. I make no secret of the fact, Mr. Speaker, that I was one of the ones who was encouraging an even higher tax on tobacco than we have brought in, but we have to keep it within the ballpark in terms of the Atlantic Provinces.

Some people say, Mr. Speaker, that because we are now raising this tax on cigarettes that we are going to run into the law of diminishing returns. My answer to that is if only we were so lucky. If only we were so lucky that the price of cigarettes would cause everybody who smoked to give up the habit. The effect that would have on our health care system 10, 15, 20 years down the road would more than make up for the loss in revenue that Government would be suffering.

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to introduce this particular piece of legislation, and I hope that it is dealt with by the House as expeditiously as possible.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I really have no major objection to my colleague, in his enthusiasm, wanting to respond to the bill. Actually there is not a great deal that one can say about the bill, except to bring - and I missed the President of Treasury Board's opening remarks. I am not sure if he addressed the impact on border communities and the impact on smuggling into the Province.

MR. SIMMS: No, he did not touch any of that.

MR. WINDSOR: He did not touch it?

MR. SIMMS: No, he did not even mention it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Did you?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: If he did, he obviously did not say anything of great value.

AN HON. MEMBER: He said that it is in the same ballpark with the rest of Atlantic Canada (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: In the same ballpark. Well, Mr. Speaker, the Minister not being the Minister of Finance may not be in possession of all the facts, but it is quite clear that we are losing, and if he is not aware that we are losing then his officials are not in possession of the facts because we are, indeed, losing a tremendous amount of revenue from tobacco products that are being brought into the Province without paying provincial taxes on them because prices of tobacco products are so much cheaper in other parts of Canada.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No, it is true. And in fact it is a product that is relatively easy to move and light and easy to handle. Also, a very valuable commodity at this stage of the game, Mr. Speaker. It is interesting. I have been recently advised that people who are transporting it -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, a tractor-trailer load is worth a lot of money. In fact people who are transporting it are under very strict guidelines as to what they may do, and in fact whether or not they may stop without some kind of supervision. It is indeed a very valuable cargo, far more valuable than the average cargo that you are hauling in a tractor-trailer. Just recently a trucker was in fact telling me in fact about that.

But, Mr. Chairman, I think we should be concerned about the impact on - smuggling is too strong a word, perhaps, but illegally bringing the product into the Province without paying it. And also the impact on the border communities. We spent the last couple of days talking about the impact of the gasoline tax on the border communities in Labrador. And it is so easy - I did not get into the latter area of the debate on that. One point I would have made and wanted to make on that, was that when the Minister of Finance was saying, well, it is only a couple of cents a liter difference or something. Might be $1.50 on a tankful of gasoline or something.

That may well be true, but must people - I think a majority of people - who live in Labrador City and Wabush probably travel to Fermont once or twice a week, and they would certainly ensure that they filled up when they were in Fermont. Not that they would go deliberately up there to fill up. Obviously that would not make any sense. But certainly while you were up there you will ensure that you will fill up on gasoline, that you will fill your trunk up with cigarettes if you are a heavy smoker. Certainly you will make those types of purchases. Alcohol is another one. Very common for people in Labrador City and Wabush to go to Fermont to buy alcohol. Not to mention which, of course, the selection - particularly of wines - in Fermont, the good French wines. Much better and much different selection than the wines that are imported by the Newfoundland Liquor Commission. And I have had an opportunity on several occasions in Fermont or in Labrador City to sample some of the wines that were brought from the Quebec liquor commission which are totally different.

The point I want to make is that there is indeed an opportunity here for us to lose some revenue. I find it very difficult to argue against raising taxes on tobacco, I really do. And the President of Treasury Board, I have no doubt, will disagree with that. Everybody who smokes now the President of Treasury Board will hate with a passion. There is nothing worse than a reformed smoker. And we have two of them, as House Leader and Opposition House Leader. And when they get at one another's throats we know the reason. There is nothing worse than a reformed smoker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) listen to who is talking.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, but I was saved fifteen years ago, Mr. Speaker, I have long since gotten over it.

MR. SIMMS: Remember sitting around the Cabinet table (Inaudible) go down the other end of the room.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, yes. That is one good thing about it. I do not know what it is like around the Cabinet table today, but I know in the old Cabinet room ventilation was not great. And I always had the privilege of sitting next to the hon. Senator Ottenheimer who came to a Cabinet meeting armed with a full package of cigarettes, with a pipe and a pouch of tobacco, and a package of small cigars. And he laid his arsenal down on the table. And he had a box of matches from somewhere in the world - outside of Canada - but it was a box of matches from some hotel or lounge or restaurant or somewhere from some part of the world. And when he ran out of matches you knew he was about to start travelling again. You knew he was due for another trip somewhere. Because the hon. Senator was a great traveller and did a lot of travelling on behalf of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. And (Inaudible) indeed was a great ambassador for Canada generally in that particular role.

But I had the great pleasure of sitting next to him at Cabinet I think for about six or seven years. And next to him was the former premier who was famous for his cigars. And on my right for the longest period of time was the former Member for Naskaupi, Mr. Goudie, and next to him was the former Member for Bonavista, Mr. Morgan. Now all of those are very heavy smokers, and I was caught in the middle and begged for mercy on many occasions to be moved to the other side of the Cabinet table. And I sat there in a cloud of smoke. The new Cabinet room upstairs is much better, I think. It has some ventilation and the problem was not as bad and it is a little bigger so you were spread out a bit more.

Anyway, to get back to the topic, because I do not have a lot of sympathy for those who smoke. I recognize their rights but I do not think we will get a lot of public sympathy around the Province for saying that tobacco is getting too expensive. Indeed, it is incredibly expensive and you are paying a penalty for that habit, or that addiction, because indeed cigarette smoking may well be classed as an addiction so you pay dearly for it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) $5000 worth of cigarettes.

MR. WINDSOR: Which $5000 worth of cigarettes?

AN HON. MEMBER: The ones for the private dining room.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, they were not for me you can be assured of that. They may have been for guests and dignitaries coming in so they would be properly entertained. You can be sure they were not for me or for most Members of the Cabinet. I am not one of those that think, by the way, the Premier should not have an opportunity to entertain and should not have a dining room. I told the present Premier I thought it was a mistake when he dismantled the old dining room here on the main floor of Confederation Building. I think a Premier not only has a right but he also has a responsibility to properly entertain official guests and dignitaries coming into the Province.

MR. SIMMS: He is in fact doing it now.

MR. WINDSOR: That is right, he is doing it. We have this $20,000 extra payment in the supplementary supply for entertainment in the Premier's home. Now, he does not even have to account for it.

MR. SIMMS: Plus, they use the executive dining room over there.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, they still use the executive dining room in the west wing which is a new modern facility. So hon. gentlemen opposite need not start talking about that stuff because we can throw all kinds of those things back at them just as quickly as they can. I for one think the Premier should have an opportunity to entertain properly, and so should Ministers. Ministers are representing the people of this Province and when they are doing official business of Government I have no difficulty at all with them properly entertaining dignitaries and guests from outside the Province, from the business community, or from wherever, and you will not hear me, and I think the President of Treasury Board will confirm, that you have never heard me criticize Government for that, as long as they were legitimate expenses. Those that are being legitimately entertained by Government, as our Ministers are when they go to other provinces of Canada, or other countries of the world, are properly entertained in line with the duties, responsibilities, and position they occupy in respect for the Province.

Mr. Speaker, that is about all I can say on the tobacco tax because it is simply an increase on taxation and I think we need to be very careful that we do not pass the point of diminishing returns. As the cost goes up our returns will go less, apparently because of less consumption. I should say this, the weakness in what I am saying, when I say I do not have a lot of sympathy for those who smoke, unfortunately the majority of smokers today in our society are young people, a very high percentage of young people, in fact young girls. There are more young girls than young men, so it is university students and young people who really cannot afford it, unfortunately, and I do not know that by increasing the cost of that habit, or that addiction, as you choose, is really an appropriate way to try to help them help themselves. I would prefer to see a lot of that money put into programs to help people get away from smoking, to eliminate smoking altogether. If I thought that this extra money was being used to curb smoking habits, if I thought the increase of $500,000 coming from the Liquor Corporation would be used to help alcohol and drug addiction, then I would applaud that kind of a move, but unfortunately I do not see it. I do not see any increase in that type of a program here and I think that is a serious weakness, and that this Government should look at. Statistics are there, when you are talking about the increase in health care costs, then have a look at alcohol and tobacco usage. Indeed there is a great opportunity there.

Seat belt legislation was a very controversial piece of legislation. I realize I am way off tobacco tax but I am talking about the cost of Government services. Seat belt legislation was a very controversial piece of legislation and there many people on both sides of the House who agreed, and some who disagreed, with the seat belt legislation. I remember the former Minister of Transportation when he was trying to pilot that through caucus and cabinet in the House of Assembly, the Member for St. George's, Mr. Dawe. He said you have a right, I suppose, not to wear a seat belt in your car if you chose to, but are you prepared to waive your right to free medical treatment if you have an injury, if you are in an accident and are injured because of it? I thought now, that is a pretty astute statement. I wonder if we took the same approach to those who drink and drive, and said, are you prepared to waive your right to free medical and hospital treatment if you are injured in an accident because you are responsible, you are impaired and therefore responsible? Are you prepared to forgive your right, or waive your right to medical treatment if you are the victim of lung cancer because you smoke, for example. An interesting concept. When we say it is our right to do these things to ourselves there is a cost on society, and no doubt, I think statistics could show very clearly the cost of health care as a result of automobile accidents, as a result of drinking and other drug related uses. That may indeed be, it is a long term thing. Not only would it be a great saving, I think, in health care costs, but a saving of lives and misery.

My wife was very recently involved in an accident, she was a split second away from being killed, her and three kids, a split second. And I will not say any more at this point in time because the issue may well yet be before the courts, and I might prejudice the case. But, you know, at another time, later on, perhaps some hon. Member might remind me. It is a story that I would like to relate here, because another split second and she and the three kids could have been eliminated totally, could have been killed. I wonder, therefore, if we have the right, should we not give up certain rights to various treatments and various other privileges, they are not rights they are privileges given by society, and we take them as rights, but indeed they are privileges. And I do not have a lot of sympathy for somebody who abuses those rights, and inflicts pain and misery and suffering on others because of it. And there are a million examples I could give. Now somebody who is impaired, who is caught for impaired driving, and who gets involved in an accident and kills somebody, I do not have a lot of sympathy for that person. I think that person should pay and should pay dearly. Yet I see them every day getting off with very light sentences in our courts and I will be critical of the courts. The courts can come down like a lead balloon on certain very minor offences, and other far more serious ones that have long term impacts on peoples' lives often go off forgiven or with very light sentences. I wish I could go into that story, but I will reserve that for another time. There is a story there, and I will talk about that whole issue one of these days when the thing has been resolved.

So, Mr. Speaker, with those few remarks I will take my seat and I thank my colleague from St. John's East Extern who is anxious to get up and speak to this piece of legislation. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. WARREN: Thank you. I feel compelled to say just a word, Mr. Chairman, I really enjoyed the hon. Member's comments. And, you know, I think at times in the House we do not pay attention, and I wanted to get up and congratulate the hon. Member, without patronizing. I enjoyed the sincerity of his comments and I would like to discuss some of the issues he raised about changing attitudes among young people in another context. That is all I want to say, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am certainly not going to stand for any considerable time on this bill either, Mr. Chairman, but I am a non-smoker. But I cannot say that goes well with everyone. Mr. Chairman, I suppose, the people that I am speaking about now would be so surprised at me standing here in my place today, because last Saturday we were out to a bit of a celebration, and a couple of the people there who were smokers said, you know, we really think under the Charter of Rights that we have a right to smoke, and we have a right to smoke in certain areas. And giving the Government a slap, and I suppose all of us because I am certainly a proponent of non-smoking. But they said, even at the Confederation Building, where both of them are employed, they said there should be a place in the building where people could go, and it should have been their right to do it. I am deadly opposed to smoking. If I go in some place now where there is someone smoking it really takes the conversation aspect of it away. You know, if you are visiting someone, it takes everything that I like away from it. But the point remains that those two people said they did have a right and I am not sure they do not have that right, I really do not.

You know, we talk about taking things away from them. You know, people will say smoking is a killer, and who am I to say otherwise? I believe it, but there are people out there who do not believe the same thing. I have spoken with doctors who do not believe it. They do not believe it, but who are we, we are sort of oppressors because we have the right to tell people here in Confederation Building that there should not be a room, perhaps vented to the outside, where they could go and have a smoke. I think it is wrong, but I still think they should have a right. I really do.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) provide a separate room for (inaudible)

MR. PARSONS: Well, I am not sure about the President of Treasury Board but I am almost sure about my colleague here, the Opposition House Leader. I have not seen him smoke since it was banned here in the building. I am not so sure of what he does on the QT. He might be in Grand Falls or some other part of Newfoundland smoking. There are people out there who really do not believe it is true. In fact only a couple of weeks ago I sat down with a doctor who was smoking the pipe. He knew my father. He said, your father always smoked a pipe, and I said, yes. I said, it is funny though, here you are smoking now and the majority of doctors say it is wrong. I said you should know as much as any of the rest of them because of the job you do. He is a pathologist. We were just in conversation, and I was surprised when he said to me, I have no intention of giving up smoking.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who said that?

MR. PARSONS: Never mind, a good friend, a doctor. He said there are pros and cons to it. I am an anti-smoker, I hate it, but what I am saying is there are people out there with other views. There are people out there who would like to have a smoke and who do not

think there is anything wrong with it, and I do think they have a right. I think everyone in this world has a right.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PARSONS: When we take away a person's right, no matter what it is, we take away that right, and we are slowly eroding the rights. We do not have that many rights now, you know. Oh, no, we do not. Even in sports and recreation, it has all been taken away. It has been taken away gradually.

MR. DOYLE: Tell him about the pathologist we were talking to.

MR. PARSONS: I told him about the pathologist. He was there with me.

MR. DOYLE: He and I were talking to a pathologist about smoking.

MR. PARSONS: I questioned him on smoking. I even questioned him on secondhand smoke. He said there is no conclusive proof. Let me say now that he is a very well informed gentleman who is in one of the larger centres in Canada. This is what his job is, and I was surprised, I must say, I really was. He was a real nice fellow and he certainly did not overpower us.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where was this discussion?

MR. PARSONS: Oh, I will not tell you where the discussion was. Anyway, I want to say to the House Leader that I can see it being a deterrent in some ways, but there are people out there who will not stop smoking. I think when the taxes are raised, and people are now paying something like $5.00, and some cents, for a pack of cigarettes, about $6.00 a pack for cigarettes, there are still poor people out there going to smoke that cigarette if it is the last thing they do. If it were to go for something to eat, or for a pack of cigarettes, they will take the pack of cigarettes. It is an addiction, sure it is. It is the same as everything else. Then, I do not think, that we are completing the turn. We are not evolving. We are not doing what we say we are doing. We are going to tax it out of existence. I do not think that is a real truth.

I would like to say to the House Leader as well, on the reserves, if you are thinking about the health situation and you are trying to protect the health of the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador, then what about the people on the reserves? There is no taxation. They are not taxed on their cigarettes or their tobacco. What I am saying is that we are almost on two levels. I mean are those people allowed to die if it is addressed as being so health conscious? Are the people on those reserves nothing? Is this why we are doing it, to tax it so heavily that people just will not do it? How about those people?

And the other thing about it, how about those people - I do not know if there any involvement there - but how about those people coming from outside who can acquire all the cigarettes they like for sale inside.

AN HON. MEMBER: They are not supposed to do it.

MR. PARSONS: They are not supposed to do it, but it is happening this contraband stuff.

I would like to ask the Government House Leader to answer my query as it pertains to the reserves. What happens inside the reserves, and outside? What happens in Argentia where cigarettes perhaps are a shilling a package.

AN HON. MEMBER: What? A shilling?

MR. PARSONS: A shilling, twenty cents. A shilling is gone out isn't it, and the pennies.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: No, a shilling is still a coin used in some countries, in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Austria, but it is still long ago.

I would like for the hon. House Leader to address some of the queries that I have as it pertains to the right of individuals to have a certain place to smoke if they want to smoke, even here in the Confederation Building. The other thing I would like to ask him about is on the people on the reserves; are they Newfoundlanders and Labradorians as well? Native people, haven't they got a right? If we are going to protect the rights of all the other people and tell them they cannot smoke because it is a health hazard, how about the people inside those reserves? They do not pay taxes on their cigarettes or tobacco.

So, Mr. Chairman, I want to say to the hon. House that I certainly am not a proponent of smoking, and the only thing I wanted to do was I wanted to make a point of what I think is wrong. I think that people do have a right and I do not think that as a Government or as people in this Legislature that we should dictate the people and tell them, 'okay, you are not allowed to smoke.' I saw people out around the Confederation Building on bad days, stormy days, days that you would not put a dog out, and they were out there having a smoke. So, you are not going to stop those people from smoking, so if you are thinking about their health, their health could be as much injured out there by the door around the Confederation Building in that storm, so why not put a place or perhaps have a couple of rooms in different areas of the Confederation Building where that person would be allowed to go out and have their smoke. We are not going to stop them, and if we are talking about the health aspect of it, then there could be just as much harm from them going out by that door in the bad weather that we are having. I think that the Government House Leader should address those points. With that said, Mr. Chairman, I thank you very much.

AN HON. MEMBER: An excellent job.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I wish to join in this debate to make a few comments on the legislation itself which is to increase the tax on cigarettes by 1.5 cents per cigarette, thereby raising an additional $8.5 million of revenue according to the Budget highlights.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I have no quarrel with the raising of the tobacco tax. I do have as other members, a lot of practical personal experience for myself and others with the habit of smoking and I do want to make a few comments about that and also, afterwards a few comments about raising Government's revenue generally.

The increase in the cost of cigarettes, Mr. Chairman, has been a constant I guess, of governments over the last fifteen years by adding taxes, I think they call them sin taxes for liquor and cigarettes and maybe even entertainment from time to time is included in that category, and it seems to be a habit of government to raise these taxes because nobody can really complain about them because they are things that we frown upon in one way or the other either for moral reasons, in the case of both liquor and cigarettes for some religions or for health reasons or for general reasons of conservatism.

In the case of tobacco I suppose it is particularly a serious health issue, because the cost of course of smoking, goes beyond the cost of paying for the cigarettes. We do now know, despite the fact that some people may not want to believe it, that smoking is a major health hazard. In fact, one often wonders why people continue to smoke, when you see on every package of cigarettes now, the most blatant kind of statements such as, 'smoking causes cancer'; 'smoking shortens your life' and various other warnings that are loud and clear messages to anybody who is smoking.

I think everybody who smokes knows these things, Mr. Chairman, they know them, either because they have been told or because they are aware themselves from their smoking habits, that their breath is shorter or that they cannot go up and down a stairs as fast or they have coughing in the morning that is bothersome to them.

But the reason people smoke I guess, is because, as has been said by previous speakers it is an addiction and people are addicted to the nicotine habit. I guess that is why people smoke and that is why people continue to smoke despite the fact that they have these warnings and this knowledge about the deleterious effect on their health and I suppose, in addition to the addiction properties, there are also the attractive properties to it and I refer here to the increase in smoking; there is a group of our population, that is the percentage of that population who smokes, is increasing and that is young girls between the - young women I suppose between the ages of thirteen and twenty-four, in that group of young women the percentage of smokers is increasing and, Mr. Chairman, this is a function no doubt of sociological factors, advertising, an attempt by the cigarette companies to increase their revenues by appealing to that particular group of young people and of course, Mr. Chairman, that is quite a serious problem for this age group, smoking of course being a well-known cause of lung cancer and in fact lung cancer deaths are increasing amongst women and decreasing amongst men.

But I do have a concern, Mr. Chairman, that it is almost coming to the point now, we just had this year alone, an increase in tax on the federal level of about three cents a cigarette and now we have another cent and a half here, there may be coming a point when this tax becomes in fact a burden upon those who are addicted to smoking, without any relief, without any concomitant relief being offered, because we do know that the higher the price of cigarettes, the fewer people smoke and I wonder, whether, if the people who give up smoking as a result of the higher cost, are in fact, the people who are hurt more by the higher cost than others.

My impression, Mr. Chairman, and I think it will be supported by what research there is, is that the people who give up smoking as the price gets higher may be those who have more choices to make; those who are, perhaps closer to the middle class and not those amongst the poorer classes who, and the poorer people who do not have many other alternatives and that you will see that the people who continue to smoke are people who perhaps do not have any other alternatives and do not have any other way of fighting against the smoking. So it is coming to the point I think, Mr. Speaker, that these increases in taxes on cigarettes may be a bit of a tax on the poor here. Because the middle class people are more likely to give up smoking as a result of the health warnings and these cost differentials. And the people who are poorer are likely to continue to smoke because they have very little other alternatives and they are suffering from the addiction. I think that you would find that to be the case.

What I would suggest that might be done, along with this increase in the - and I am not suggesting that we ought not to increase it. I am suggesting that we ought to be sensitive to the effects that we have on a population, because this is a tax after all that is going to be paid by a portion of the electorate, a portion of the taxpayers only, and that only those who smoke pay this tax. But I think that some of that $8.5 million increase that we are getting ought to be used to help those who - some of that should be set aside - perhaps $500,000, perhaps a portion of it. That would be a nice, substantial proportion set aside to assist those who wish to give up smoking and have not been able to find a way to fight the addiction.

I know myself, I smoked for many years, probably fourteen or fifteen years, and for another fourteen or fifteen years of my adult life I did not smoke. And it was very difficult to give up. It requires a lot of motivation. It requires two or three failures. And it requires a serious effort on the part of an individual to give up a habit that is addictive. And it also requires I think a little bit of an optimistic look at your own future, and have some hope that by giving up smoking your life is going to be improved and you are not just going to be getting rid of what many people regard as perhaps one of the few pleasures they get out of life.

So that requires a bit of effort. But I think as we are driving up the cost of cigarettes we have to recognize that people are addicted to this, and this is a physical addiction, itself a health problem. And some of the initial money that we are raising - the Minister of Health is unable to spend any more money on health, the cost of health is being driven up by problems that people get from smoking and others who get side stream smoke - and I just say a figure like $500,000. You could run a programme on $500,000. Some of that ought to be used and earmarked for a special programme to assist those who are smokers and who are going to be faced with these increased costs and who have a difficult problem to give up.

Some of it may be used, as the Minister of Education suggested, in encouraging young people not to smoke. Well, I think some of it should be used to set up a special fund or programme to help those who wish to give up smoking to find a way to do it. It is a serious problem and we cannot just say: well, we will raise the prices and people will stop smoking. Because I think it is the middle class people who might stop smoking for that reason and people who are dependent upon it physically, emotionally and psychologically, who might regard it as one of their few pleasures, will continue to smoke and continue to suffer the financial cost of that. And taking away of course from other alternatives that they could use their money for, whether it be for their own families or to improve their lives in other ways.

I do not know how much more time I have, I may be running out of time. I wanted to talk about that because I think it is a very serious issue. But I do want to say something about Government revenues. And of course the Government is raising revenue though this tobacco tax act. I think there are other ways of raising revenue. I do not think that we need to have to have the kind of cutbacks that we have. The Government has consistently said that that they could not borrow any money - they were worried about their rates of interest that we are paying on the bond, the bond rating services. And the Government of Ontario, faced with far greater problems than this Province had in terms of the recession, with 180,000 fewer jobs this year as a result of the recession, suffering more than anybody else, has managed to bring in fiscal measures which result in an increase to many of the services. Such as the grants to municipalities, to hospitals and school boards. An increase in basic welfare payments starting on the first of January -


MR. HARRIS: An increase in taxes, of course an increase in taxes. And an increase in borrowing. Even to the extent of risking their credit rating. And you are going to get different comments on this Budget, Mr. Chairman, and you do. But once you get off the editorial pages of The Globe and Mail where the supporters of Michael Wilson's approach, and the approach of Dr. Kitchen here, once you get off the editorial pages and get on to the real news, and I would refer you to the Report on Business section of today's Globe where in discussing this issue of interest rates and bond rates the response of the Vice-President of Standard and Poor -

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

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

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. Mr. Chairman, I just want to have a few words to say on this bill, following up along the lines, at least, on some of the comments addressed by my colleague the Finance critic, who did a marvellous job as pointed out by the Minister of Education. The first time I have ever seen it. The Minister of Education stood up in this House for no other reason other than to stand and commend the Finance critic for his comments and participation and response to the introduction of this bill. Now I have to say, Mr. Chairman, I do not think I have ever seen it before, and I have to say -

AN HON. MEMBER: And you will never see it again either.

MR. SIMMS: - I would be remiss in my responsibilities if I did not commend the Minister of Education for taking the time -


MR. SIMMS: No, no, I mean it quite sincerely. I mean to see somebody just stand and say: Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to congratulate the Finance critic. He did a marvellous job, he made some good points. It was not partisan. He said, I just had to stand and say it. And I thought that was marvellous, I say to the Minister of Education. Marvellous. And I commend him for it. And it is too bad more Members in this House -

AN HON. MEMBER: You got to be joking!

MR. SIMMS: It is too bad more Members in this House, on both sides quite frankly, did not shed some of their partisanship from time to time. Now we live in a parliamentary world,-

MR. EFFORD: Yes, and do not forget it.

MR. SIMMS: - I used to say this to the Premier, when people use to accuse the Premier of always wanting to have things as if they were in a courthouse, hush, hush. Do you remember first when he came on the scene, and I used to criticize him for taking that approach because in a parliamentary process those of us who have had a chance to go around the world, certainly in other provinces, and maybe sit in on a parliamentary session in another Parliament, will quickly realize that this Parliament here in Newfoundland is fairly mild compared to many of them.

MR. EFFORD: Too mild!

MR. SIMMS: Too mild. I share the view of the Minister of Social Services, now not always. I do not mean that always there should be bantering and interruptions, because there are times when there should be some serious debate and discussion. But for the most part I enjoy the banter. And if you went and sat in the British Parliament in London, the British House of Commons, the Mother Parliament that we all have, as Mother Parliament, if you sat in that Parliament, I mean, it would boggle your mind. I remember sitting there one time, I say to the Minister of Social Services, I sat in the Mother of Parliament in England one time and I got the fright of my life, I sat up in the gallery watching what was going on down below and, of course, in the Mother of Parliament of London, there are no desks or anything, they have a big table like this, and everybody has a bench, and those few that can fit into the Parliament and sit on the benches, everybody else sits outside the House, and I was up in the gallery listening to this debate, all of a sudden I heard this - Mr. Speaker, would be interested in it - I heard this big roar, r-o-a-r, r-o-a-r, and I looked over to the other side of the gallery and there was a chap standing up in the gallery, he stood up in the gallery and was recognized by the Speaker, and started to speak, and this was Reverend Ian Paisley, everybody would probably know who he was. And coming back to Parliament, our Parliament here is pretty mild compared certainly to the Mother Parliament, and I have been in every Parliament in Canada, I sat in every Legislature in Canada, including the House of Commons in Ottawa.

MR. EFFORD: That is what you were doing travelling all over the world, not working.

MR. SIMMS: When I was Speaker, I say to the Minister of Social Services, I was working. That was precisely my job and I am sure, if you ask our own Speaker today, a Member who represents your Party when he is not sitting in the Speaker's Chair, he will tell you the same thing. It is extremely important. And I am willing to bet that the Speaker, our Speaker, has probably been in every parliament in Canada as well, and he has only been there two years. And I daresay the Chairman, I daresay Your Honour, has been in a scattered parliament across Canada. I am not sure but I daresay he has. And he would know too that most Parliaments are pretty wild and there is lots of bantering.

So when the Minister of Education stands in his place, takes the time of the House to use a minute and a half to get up and compliment a Member on this side for the marvellous job he did, I think that is fantastic, and the Minister of Education should be commended. He should be promoted. As a matter of fact, Mr. Chairman, I would not be surprised if one day soon he might even be elevated to that chair in the sky - wherever that might be.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: But I have to add this. I am not surprised -

AN HON. MEMBER: On the other hand (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes, on the other side, as the Member for St. John's South would say. I am not surprised that it was the Minister of Education who stood in his place to make such a comment. Nobody over there really, sitting back and looking on it now, can be surprised. Because he is that kind of a gentleman, that kind of an individual and everybody knows it. Now, I would be extremely surprised if the Minister of Health, for example -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: No, I am going to tell you something. The Minister of Social Services could not carry the Minister of Health's suitcase when it comes to partisanship. Now that is saying something, that is a mouthful, let me tell you. That is saying something. Knowing what we know about the Minister of Social Services and how political he is, I am telling you now, for those who do not know, that old Dagger Decker over there is the most highly partisan individual I have ever seen in my thirteen years in the Legislature. And that includes a lot of people, let me tell you.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are full of compliments today, aren't you?

MR. SIMMS: I am, except when I - well, I am just getting around to the President of Treasury Board, and I do not intend to be quite as complimentary towards the President of Treasury Board though. You see, the President of Treasury Board takes a totally different approach to it all, he sits back and pretends he is non-partisan and non-political. A very cagey character, a very cagey individual. He pretends - you talk to him about something political, he says: what? - no, no. I mean, that is the kind of approach he takes to it all.

But behind the scenes he wields a big stick in that Cabinet and in that Government. And if there is anybody over there - and I suspect he might be the only one who has any kind of clout with the king himself - it would be the President of Treasury Board. I do not think any other Minister - even the Minister of Education, I really do not think he has much influence on the thinking of the Premier. I really do not.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well, I doubt it. Well, somebody asked me what that big podium was out there in the lobby, the new podium. And I heard that it was the new chair for King Clyde, they were going to put the throne out there or something. Yes, that is what we have been hearing.

But anyway, there is only one person who has any clout with the Premier. Only one over there.

MR. EFFORD: Who is that?

MR. SIMMS: The President of Treasury Board.


MR. SIMMS: He is the only one who has any clout.

MR. EFFORD: I thought you were going to say the Minister of Social Services.

MR. SIMMS: The Minister of Social Services had a tiny bit of clout. Perhaps had a bit of clout during the days of the leadership race.


MR. SIMMS: Because I think he strongly supported the Premier in his leadership bid, did he not?


MR. SIMMS: Of course he did.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: I said he strongly supported the Premier in his leadership bid, and the Minister of Social Services confirmed it. Of course, he was not with Wins.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: That is right. He was not with the Government House Leader and the President of Treasury Board, and that is where he should have been.

Anyway, I do not want to be taken aback. I got up to commend the Minister of Education for taking the time to get up. I also wanted to make a comment about the bill or at least the issue, tax on tobacco. I say, in all sincerity, it is one of the easiest taxes for any Government to impose. It is one of the simplest taxes for any Government to impose because nobody is going to complain. Even smokers will sit back and say they do not like it, but if you are going to tax us on anything, tax us on cigarettes and booze, and if we drink and if we smoke, well then sobeit, we will pay the taxes. But I have to say this in connection with the issue itself, of smoking, having become a reformed smoker, so called. One month today - Well, no, it is one month today for me. I was one day ahead of the Government House Leader, he will recall. He started 8:00 on Monday morning April Fools day, and I started the evening before because I did not want to be accused of starting on April Fools day like the Government House Leader. He started Monday morning, and I started Sunday night. So it is actually a month for me today and I think it will be a month for him tomorrow, and it is a tough slug. We all know it is a tough slug.

AN HON. MEMBER: Baker has cheated. I think he had a draw or two.

MR. SIMMS: No, I do not think so. I believe him. When he tells me he has not, I believe him. But anyway, it is one of the most difficult things that I think anybody can undertake. I tried it before.

MR. EFFORD: What? Quit smoking?

MR. SIMMS: Tried to quit smoking, yes.

MR. EFFORD: You got more will power than that.

MR. SIMMS: I am not talking about me, I am talking about other people.

MR. EFFORD: Go away with you.

MR. SIMMS: Unlike the Minister of Social Services, I am concerned about the people, the masses. I have talked to dozens and dozens of people, the masses, who are trying to give up smoking, and it is a very difficult challenge. And I have to say this to the Government House Leader, in connection with the imposition of the no smoking ban in the Provincial Government buildings a month ago, I think admittedly it helped he and I for sure, I certainly can speak for myself, it has helped me.

MR. EFFORD: Do you feel better?

MR. SIMMS: Yes, except I put on 15 pounds in 30 days. I do not feel good about that. But there are an awful lot of other people in this building who smoke, there are Members in this caucus, Members on that side who smoke and I suspect they have cut down a bit because it is hard to keep popping out onto the back steps and everything like that.

AN HON. MEMBER: In the cars out in front.

MR. SIMMS: You notice our angel popped into the gallery to keep an eye on us just to see what we - you notice that?


MR. SIMMS: I am not going to refer to it or anything like that.

But I say to the Government House Leader, there are hundreds and hundreds of public servants who still smoke, who still cannot kick the habit and it is going to be tough for them to do so, but you have an imposition in the buildings now where they cannot smoke and they have to go out on the back steps. You see them out there day in and day out, and some of them out on the front steps, and if you can plough your way through the cigarette butts in the morning you will be lucky to get in through the door. It is terrible. It is terrible. And then there is the question of productivity, the whole question of productivity.

So I say to the Government House Leader that the day will come when these public servants will no doubt express their concerns about this and request, perhaps, that some kind of a smoking place be provided. I suspect that is coming.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: No, it is not for me because I say to the Minister that I have given up smoking. But I would, as one who is trying to give it up, I would be prepared to support the concept of a smoking room being made available to public servants or Members or anybody else because I think it looks terrible. I think it is bad for productivity and I think it looks terrible to have public servants out on the front and back steps of the Confederation Building. It just does not look good. I am suggesting that there should be a room set aside for smoking, and I am willing to think that a lot of Members who do not smoke, I talked to some in my caucus here, not all of them but a lot of Members who do not smoke - the Member for Harbour Main just mentioned to me that he never smoked, and he told me that he would support the idea of a room for public servants. I just plant it in the mind of the Government House Leader, I want to plant it in his mind. Not for he and not for I, not for his use or my use.

AN HON. MEMBER: But for our angel?

MR. SIMMS: Not for our angel's use, because he does not smoke either. In the first six months that he gave up smoking he put on thirty pounds. I put almost that much on in one month, that is my big concern. But I say to the Government House Leader to keep an open mind on it. When the day comes for that matter to be properly and thoroughly discussed in the Legislature - and it will come, I can assure him - I hope he will keep an open mind on it. And not be too -

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

The hon. Member's time is elapsed.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave?

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, I am pretty well clued up at this moment, but -



MR. SIMMS: No no, I will -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Does the hon. Member have leave of the House?


MR. SIMMS: I will come back at it, Mr. Chairman, that is no problem.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. EFFORD: Well, Mr. Chairman, thank you. I could not pass up the opportunity of making a few comments on - especially the hon. Opposition House Leader and his plea. I have never heard in my life such a plea come from an individual for his own rights and what he would like to have for himself personally. Because I am sure the hon. Opposition House Leader was not crying out for the individuals who sit out there in the cold because he can not do that himself and use his smoke. And the fact that the productivity we are losing. Does he suggest that if they moved from the outside steps into a special room that there would be any less lost off of productivity?

Come on! Now, that is a flimsy excuse. What it is, the hon. Member would like to see a special room set aside so he could go in there because he does not want to be seen on the public steps. And I know now he is especially concerned when he started talking about the excessive weight. Because if he put on thirty pounds in one month, I can imagine what we are going to be - we are going to roll him in here at Christmas time when we are sitting down in the House of Assembly.

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

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

MR. SIMMS: We all know how the Minister of Social Services sometimes starts rolling on and on and saying everything that comes to his mind. I have got to caution now. I did not say I put on thirty pounds in one month. I said our Guardian Angel, the Guardian Angel of the President of Treasury Board and myself, he put on thirty pounds in one month, or in six months, rather.

MR. EFFORD: You said you put it on in one month.

MR. SIMMS: I have said I put on fifteen pounds in one month. And that is extremely important, now. So if he is going to roll on, I want to hear what he has to say, but get his facts straight.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

There is no point of order, obviously.

The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MR. EFFORD: I will concede that, Mr. Chairman. I do not mind about the fifteen pounds in one month. Multiply that times six, that is ninety pounds. Can you imagine the hon. Opposition House Leader coming in here in November month? Rolling him in through with ninety pounds? So I suspect that is the reason why he is asking for the special room, so he can get that weight off and get it. But there is a lot of will power goes into quitting smoking and you are not going to do it by the increasing of taxes alone or the increasing of the problems with health in the people's minds. I mean, you need to take up the interest yourself and need to know what the impact on your health is by smoking.

I know when I quit smoking eighteen years ago, eighteen years, I smoked quite heavily actually. And especially when you are out indulging on a Saturday night to a social, one after another. But anyhow, I saw a programme on television about eighteen years ago, I remember it was on Wednesday night, on a documentary, where they had two jars about so big, quart jars, and they filled it up with wad. And they drew the equal of a 1,000 cigarettes smoked through that the same as of an individual smoker. When they finished the two cotton wool wads were coated with nicotine. And I had a package of Belvedere cigarettes in my pocket and I threw them on the coffee table. And I said: never again. I mean, that is all you need to know, is to realize the impact of what is happening to your personal self.

So sure people get addicted. But when you see that - and there is nobody in this House can convince me that it does not have an impact on the cost of health in this Province. Now, if everybody quit smoking today the cost of health care is not going to go down in this year's budget. But over the long term and if people had the good sense not to smoke, then there is no question about it that in a decade down the road the cost of health care would have to decrease.

Now, I know the hon. Mr. Chairman does not agree with that. And he looking over at me and saying: well, that is a lot of nonsense. But I mean the fact is smoke must pay. But the problem that I have with it, personally today, is not only the fact that it causes health problems to the individual smoking, but it is worse for the person who is breathing in the second-hand smoke. It is affecting my health and that is where I have concerns. It is affecting my children's health, or people who have no control over it. I was into a social Saturday night past out in my district, there were about 200 people there. I was just after getting my suit dry-cleaned that afternoon and the next day I had to take it off and put it back in the cleaners again because the stink was through it. I do not understand why the individuals would even consider using the filth and dirt. And considering that it costs us $5.75 or $6 for a package of cigarettes compared to something decent to put in your body, I mean it does not make any sense.

But I want to reflect on one thing that the hon. Member for St. John's East said, and that was one of the reasons why I stood up. Because he said that is was - what was it you said about the poor? That it was impacting on the poor.

Now that is right to a point, that a lot of the undereducated do smoke, but it is not fair to say it is impacting only on the poor. But let me tell you something, if you had seen the number of children in this Province who I have seen in the last two years, as Minister of Social Services, go to school hungry, and no food on the table, and to see the parents spending $5 and $6 on a can of tobacco, or $5 and $6 on a pack of cigarettes I think it is time that we not only ask them to increase the taxes, and increase the cost of smoking, but we should do a lot of other things in talking to those people and making them understand how to manage properly within the income that they have in their own system. And I would a lot sooner see $5 or $6 spent on food than on cigarettes. So if the hon. the Minister of Finance can put up the cost of cigarettes to force people not to smoke, then I have no problems with taking away and supporting the Minister of Finance in doing that, and that is not the only purpose of doing it. Taxes have to be increased in order to provide the service to the people. But at least when you increase taxes you give people the option of doing something. Now if you put taxes on food or taxes on clothing people have to have food, people have to have clothes, but people do not have to smoke. So if they do not agree with the tax, and they do not agree with the cost then they do not have to purchase cigarettes. But if the taxes were on food or clothing they could not do without the food and in most cases they could not do without the clothing. So it is the most logical and sensible place to put it on alcohol, put it on cigarettes, so it will have the least affect on the people. When you walk into a liquor store or when you walk into a tobacco store and the cigarettes there are $6 a pack or whatever the cost they are today nobody has to spend that money, and nobody will suffer if they do not spend the money, but they will suffer if they are not able to purchase the food.

So the hon. Minister of Finance is justified in levying taxes on those sorts of articles, and where an individual has a choice. And unless some Members opposite could tell us where you could provide services without increasing taxes then you would not have to do it on anything. But I only hope that the Minister of Finance, in his wisdom, as long as he needs to increase taxes to generate more revenues, that he chooses the areas like he chose this year, and it would be on articles that people would have to make a choice on. Because when it is put on articles where you do not have a choice then that is where the most difficult impact is going to be, not only on the rich or the middle class people, but especially the poor people in the Province, because they are the people who will find it very difficult to purchase food, and purchase the essential things that they need to provide care for their families and themselves in clothing and food and essential things like heat and light or whatever they need to require for their own environment. But nobody can justify standing in this House of Assembly and saying it is having a major impact on the poor because the price has increased on cigarettes.

Now just to note one thing about the Opposition, I get a great kick out of them when I hear some of the Opposition Members complaining that the price of cigarettes are gone up. And when I referred to this document that I tabled in the House some while ago and it was a standing order from the present Opposition when they were in Government, and the standing order said please issue a standing order for the supply of tobacco products for the Premier's private dining room to be picked up on, an as and when required basis, from April 1, 1989 to March 31, 1990, estimated cost, previous employer J.B. Hand and Sons $5,000. Now make no wonder, Mr. Chairman, that they would be against the increase in taxes, $5,000, and the hon. the Opposition House Leader gets up and complains: well after all you have visitors coming into the Province and you have visitors coming into the country and you need to be able to entertain your guests. Now I say that anybody who wishes to entertain people by spending $5,000 on cigars, it is a poor way of entertaining them. I did not mind as much the purchase for the private dining room, that was not so bad. This one: please issue a standing order for the purchase of groceries for the Premier's private dining hall when required on April 1, $10,000.


MR. EFFORD: How foolish, $10,000. Please issue a standing order for dry cleaning of table cloths on and when required, $1,000. Please issue a standing order for the purchase of fish items for the Premier's dining room, $3,000. Please issue a standing order for liquor and beer to be picked up an on and when required basis for the private dining room, various committees of Cabinet, Treasury Board and so on, estimation of cost April 1, 1989, $20,000.


MR. EFFORD: $20,000. Please issue a standing order for the purchase of frozen and seasonal produce - I guess produce is the vegetables, lettuce and so on - $1,500.

MR. CARTER: Cucumbers.

MR. EFFORD: Yes, cucumbers. My colleague, the hon. Minister of Fisheries reminds me that it was cucumbers. So, $10,000, $11,500, $12,500, $17,500, $20,500 and $20,000, $40,500, should we have to increase taxes? With mismanagement like that, Mr. Chairman, taxes will have to go up to pay the debt that this Province incurred.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased that the Member for Port de Grave, the hon. Minister of Social Services, saw fit to rise and engage in debate because he has spoken about something that I raised in my speech, and I think that at least the hon. Minister is considering the impact of this tax on poor people.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Does the hon. Member have a point of order? Perhaps he should raise it instead of bawling across the House like a omadhaun.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: I would encourage the Minister of Social Services to look a little further and recognize that poverty and addictions are probably pretty seriously related. It is not enough really to say that people who are on social assistance should not spend $6.00 on a package of cigarettes, they should spend money on food. I think you have to recognize that there is a very serious relationship because people who are on social assistance or people who are poor, people who do have this habit of smoking and are addicted to it like the Minister of Treasury Board, and like I myself, that we are maybe in a position of making choices and deciding what is good for us and it is not enough just to be told that it is not good for you because if that were the case all you would have to do is tell the people once like the Minister of Social Services learned his lesson on TV eighteen years ago. If that were enough it would work for everybody. So there is more to it than that, and I think the Minister recognizes that, and I think that he would probably be very sympathetic to a program that if some of this money that is raised could be used to support such a program, I think he would be sympathetic to that because I am sure the Minister knows, and I know the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations knows because she was the author of this report, or she was the Chair of the Committee on children's schools and poverty that was presented in 1988-89, and she is very much aware of the poverty rate in Newfoundland by -

MS. COWAN: Is that the CTF one?

MR. HARRIS: That is the CTF one, yes.

MS. COWAN: That is an excellent report.

MR. HARRIS: An excellent report as the Minister says, and I agree, it is an excellent report, but it points out the serious situation that we have in Newfoundland with respect to families and poverty and particularly children and poverty, we have as Members might suspect, although it is not universally known, we have the highest poverty rate in 1987 by province in the country overall, a poverty rate of 20.8 per cent. The nearest would be the Province of New Brunswick, Mr. Chairman, with a poverty rate of 16.9 per cent, and Quebec very close behind that.

MS. COWAN: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Pardon?

MS. COWAN: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Manitoba is pretty bad, but it comes after Newfoundland, after Quebec, after New Brunswick and it is in there with Saskatchewan and Alberta. I mean, in fact, when one looks at the poverty rate after you get past Newfoundland, P.E.I. and Quebec there is not much difference really between Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. in terms of the poverty rates except when you come to families it is a bit lower. For unattached individuals the poverty rate is quite high in all of these provinces, 30 per cent and better for unattached individuals. This would primarily be senior citizens and single individuals, and I suppose in senior citizens the majority of them would be women, because the highest poverty rate seems to be amongst unattached females who are unable to have a sufficient income to be above the poverty line, and all of us have heard these individuals say, Mr. Chairman, when you talk about the cost of cigarettes, particularly amongst people who do not have many alternatives, they talk about it as one of the few pleasures they have and they will go ahead and pay the cost despite the fact that it is detrimental to their health.

I want to say a word about raising funds generally, Mr. Chairman. I did not hear the Members opposite, the Government Cabinet Members, or the backbenchers, in talking about raising revenue refer to the Ontario Budget, the courageous Ontario Budget which was brought down yesterday, in taking on the recession as opposed to taking on the deficit. They made a decision to bring in measures that were there to look after people and not to look after the bond rating agencies, or the bottom line. They showed, Mr. Chairman, that there were alternatives. They did certainly increase the current account deficit in Ontario, and they did that because it was necessary to do that in order to protect the people from the recession that had been created by governments in Canada, in particular by the Federal Government, the Conservative Government. I know the Minister of Finance in Newfoundland was high in his praise of the Federal Government and its Budget, but I did not hear him similarly praise the Ontario Government for fighting the recession and for protecting the people of Ontario who are more particularly hurt by the recession than others, by 180,000 people who have lost jobs in Ontario in the past year as a result of this recession. The 28 per cent increase in the number of people who are going to be on welfare, those people the Ontario government decided to help and not leave at their current rates. They increased the rates and they have special programs. They have a capital program that is going to bring about an increase in jobs in the rebuilding of hospitals, schools, and roads, all of these measures despite the fact that this may, and they say, this may affect our bond rating. Mr. Chairman, I want to compare the attitude of the Minister of Finance in this Province to that of the Ontario treasurer. When it came to the bond rating, Mr. Chairman, the Minister was asked about that and the Ontario treasurer said that he expected, he did not absolutely know whether it would affect the bond rating, but he said he expected that the bond rating agencies would understand that this is a budget deficit brought about by the recession and not by the fiscal planning of the Government. Mr. Chairman, when you get, as I was saying in my last speech, when you get off the editorial pages and the people who have their predictable responses and you come to the bond rating agencies themselves, on Page B12 of the Report on Business in the Globe and Mail today, Mr. Chairman, the nuts and bolts of the bond rating agencies and what they say about this, the response of the bond rating agencies was very different than that of the editorialists, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Laughren acknowledged that his budget could jeopardize the Province's credit rating and lead to higher borrowing costs. Mr. Chairman, the treasurer said that the marginal increase in cost was something that it was worth paying in order to have a budget that was going to protect people. I am quoting here from the article, the major bond rating agencies rejected with caution yesterday saying that they would not necessarily savage the ratings. And a quote is here from the Vice-President of Standard and Poor's in New York who says everyone appreciates the fact that all provincial budgets are under pressure because of the recession. Before it considers adjusting the provinces ratings Standard and Poor's will be examining Mr. Laughren's underlying assumptions in arriving at the predicted deficit and assessing Government's plans over its time in office to bring the debt back down to sustainable levels. Now, Mr. Chairman, that is what they looked at. They did not look at the amount of borrowing they had. They wanted to look at the underlying assumptions of their plans for the future. Perhaps that is what this Province is afraid of, perhaps this is the fear, not the amount of borrowing, but that the bond rating agencies do not necessarily agree that this Province has adequately predicted and made proper assumptions in predicting the future, and that is perhaps why they are so fearful of allowing this Government to go ahead and borrow, because they do not trust their ability to predict.

If you look at the experience that we have had with this Government over the last year, they are predicting the rosy $10 million surplus and then, we have all throughout the year doom and gloom predictions, we do not have a new Budget, they do not want to bring in a new Budget; they predict doom and gloom for six months and then they come in with a $120 million deficit -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Tell you about Ontario? Ontario has instead, instead, Mr. Chairman -

AN HON. MEMBER: Were they on target?

MR. HARRIS: Were they on target? The target was a Liberal target. It was a Liberal target, the Liberal target of Mr. Peterson, that was the target that was there -

AN HON. MEMBER: Unrealistic, the same as this one.

MR. HARRIS: It was unrealistic, exactly the same as this one, and now, Mr. Chairman, Standards and Poor's say they are going to look at the underlying assumptions of the predictions, and that is very interesting. The editorial (inaudible) is Mr. Wilson; I know the hon. President of Treasury Board is interested in Mr. Wilson's comments because, Michael Wilson is one of his favourite bed-time reading is: 'The thoughts of Michael Wilson about the Economy' and he suggested that the predictions of Mr. Floyd Laughren in Ontario, are pessimistic about the growth of the Ontario economy and based on those predictions, Mr. Chairman -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I know that the hon. Members Opposite would like to hear more, so perhaps when I get another opportunity, I will tell them some more about (inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

Before I recognize the hon. Member for Stephenville, I would like to remind hon. Members that we are in Committee of the Whole House and the rule is that Members can speak for ten minutes and they can speak as often as they want to and normally what happens is, we alternate from one side to the other in recognizing the speakers, which has been the custom of the House. I just want to clarify those rules for hon. Members who questioned the last time around.

The hon. the Member for Stephenville.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is a taxation bill and therefore the debate includes finance and how you raise revenue and what ability you have to be able to raise revenue and your ability to be able to meet the needs of the public services that are required by the people.

When I hear about the Ontario Budget, telling me about the Ontario Budget that was brought down, you know, I think it was over 290,000, I was reading there a while ago, 290,000 manufacturing jobs have gone from Ontario in the last year and a half.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: No, I know; no, no, no. We are here two years and we are blamed for everything; they are there a year and they are blamed for nothing. Now, I mean, they are going to take their own responsibilities eventually, so I suppose when they get their two years, hopefully they will get the same level of acceptance of responsibility that we are being told that we have to take for all of the problems of the past, but, you know, they have brought in their Budget and they have brought in a Budget with a $9.7 billion current account deficit, and that is going to impact on all of Canada, not just Ontario; it is going to impact on the borrowing markets. It is going to impact on transfer payments. It is a wonderful thing to be able to go to the markets and get all the money. Nobody wants to see job loses or wants to see cutbacks in different services. It is very difficult to wrestle with. They are very tough decisions, extremely tough decisions. For so long everybody has been saying: let us go to the banks and get the money and just forget about if we are doing the right thing for the future. It is a matter of being responsible, I think, for the future and trying to do the best things you can do with what you are able to generate in the revenue side. We are running a current account deficit in this Province as it is for this year and even with -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. K. AYLWARD: It is a matter of reality. The 1990s are going to be the years of reality. You can only spend what you are going to be able to take in because right now the borrowing agencies are saying, people, hang on here, you cannot have any more. If you want more you are going to have to do a few things to show that you are taking care of your house. It is a wonderful thing to be able to say that, yes, we are going to do this, this, this, and this. We have a recession we are trying to deal with down in this Province, and we did not create that either, as the Opposition knows and the Member for St. John's East know that. We are trying to wrestle with it as best we can but I think the budget that Ontario has brought down is going to have negative ramifications for us here in this Province. We are going to see that over the next number of months. There is no doubt about it, and it is certainly not going to promote the economy getting out of a recession very quickly. Everywhere you look across Canada companies are having a difficult time. We are now wrestling with the recession, we are wrestling with the globalization of the marketplace and being competitive, which is something else we are going to have to be. Canada has to be that and the economy has to change. We are going through those changes at the same time that a recession is underway and that is killing a lot of companies out there who are trying to transfer and trying to make the changeover and they are getting caught in the squeeze. We cannot solve all those problems in one Budget, or overnight, but you have to face the reality of the amount of money you are going to have to deal with, the amount of money you are going to be able to generate, and the amount of services you are going to be able to provide.

Health care is another sector here. Here in this Province most of the new money that goes into health care now is all from the Provincial Government. It is not coming from the Feds. The Feds are giving us less money and in order for us to keep the same services we have to take 80 per cent of the new money that goes in which is all Provincial Government money from the Provincial revenue coffers so this Province is trying to do the best it can to wrestle with all those problems. When I hear the NDP Member talking about what we are suppose to be doing, that is fine and dandy, but I would like to hear some more constructive comments as to how we can really deal with it and how we can generate more revenue.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) vote for it.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Well, we will just see what happens. You have to keep proposing because you never know. Keeping working on the Minister of Finance. You have to meet with him and keep talking to him. You never know. These are very difficult times. Like I said every Government across Canada are now having difficult times and trying to wrestle with Budget problems and Budget finances. Tough decisions have to be made. I think the one that Ontario has taken is going to negatively impact on the whole of Canada, unfortunately. In the meantime Newfoundland is going to do what it can, the Province is going to do what it can to get us out of the recession as best it can, and I believe it is starting to turn around and it is going to turn around. I think the Hibernia project is helping a lot here in this Province and it is going to help a lot more in the future. That project is going to certainly help us move. When it comes to taxation measures right now the Provincial Government and the Department of Finance are reviewing certain taxation measures and hopefully they can come up with some more ways of maybe lessening the impact on people who can afford to pay by generating more tax revenue from other sources. Of course that will come, too, once the economy starts to pick up. We can do our part to help the economy pick up, but we cannot certainly solve that problem overnight, in a few days, or in a few months. It is going to take the Federal Government's initiatives on the interest rates to help us do that. I think most people are aware of that. Hopefully, with interest rates coming down lower it will certainly help some companies who are trying to make the transfer to a global market, who are trying to become competitive, and who are in the midst now of making some major changes.

Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to offer my comments on that. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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


MR. A. SNOW: It is good to see that the hon. Member for Pleasantville is speaking up in his caucus telling the Conservative caucus that they should not be behaving the way they are. I am glad to see that some of the new democratic principles are still with him.

Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak on Bill 14, An Act To Amend The Tobacco Tax Act, and it is interesting to note how we have all talked about the ability of this Government to raise revenues and what their approach is to it, and what their approach is to the actually spending of those revenues. And I listened with great interest how the Minister of Social Services explained his understanding of how the expense of cigarettes do not affect the poor people, and it does not have anything to do with the amount of money that poor people will have left for food or clothing or heat. Of course, we know the difference of that.

MR. EFFORD: I did not say that. If you are going to say something say it correctly. What I said (inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Now the hon. the Minister of Social Services knows that by increasing the taxes on tobacco that he is indeed affecting the discretionary income or the income that is left over from what they will spend on tobacco that is going to be left for food.

Now it is just not good enough for him to stand up in his place and yell and scream and say that you should not be doing this or you should not be doing that.

MR. EFFORD: You say they should not (inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: What I am saying, Mr. Chairman, that is not good enough. He should have an education, a public relations program available to the people of this Province speaking about the dangers to your health and the cost of it to the health care sector. That is what he should be doing.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: And he should not be just saying that I told them so, so they should listen. He should apply a little more - take some of those high price PR people that they got trying to make him look pretty and talk about how the tobacco is going to affect the health of the poor people in this Province.

MR. EFFORD: I do not need any PR people today.

MR. A. SNOW: No, I daresay probably you mean it. That is one thing that the hon. Minister of Social Services will never be referred to as just another pretty face, I can guarantee him that. I cannot guarantee him he will never be referred to as that.

MR. EFFORD: I never used them in the Department yet. You find once when I used a PR person.

MR. A. SNOW: Of course, we realize -

MR. EFFORD: Say it accurately, I am sick of fellows misleading this House.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Chairman, we have also just recently passed another bill in this House that has affects with taxes in border areas of this Province. I would have hoped that the hon. Minister of Finance would be here today, I am not sure why he is not in his seat, maybe he is away on business, but I hope that he is listening or have someone listen about how this tobacco tax affects the people living in my area, that is, Western Labrador. And there may very well be room for another amendment here, yes. Because I believe that you have to have an understanding, before you just go imposing taxes willy-nilly everywhere, you have to understand what the effect is going to be in the economy. And part of the economy, of course, is Western Labrador, and other border areas of Labrador.

AN HON. MEMBER: The Ontario's Budget was (inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: Ontario's Budget was good.

MR. A. SNOW: Yes, I agree with my hon. colleague from St. John's East that - I was pleased to see that their attitude was to attack the recession as opposed to the deficit. I was pleased to see that approach. But I notice they did not lay off -


MR. A. SNOW: Now, Mr. Chairman, I suggested long ago some of the things that they should have done.


MR. A. SNOW: You too would have been a Liberal expect for Clyde.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Look while I may have had the opportunity of participating in the business world for the last ten, fifteen years I still hold a lot of the principles of the New Democratic Party dear to my heart.


MR. A. SNOW: I agree with a lot of the principles, not all of them, but a lot of them. And a lot of my colleagues on this side of the House are commonly referred to as red Tories, Mr. Chairman, we are red Tories.

Mr. Chairman, to get back to the bill, one of the things that is in this Bill, of course, it is my understanding - I hope the President of Treasury Board is listening - my understanding is that this bill also covers the tax rebate in Western Labrador. That is my understanding. Of course, as you are all aware, I am sure that you would not dare bring a bill to this House without having properly researched it. I mean I know you would not do that. You researched everything with the Gasoline Tax Act. You knew all about that and how it affected businesses in Western Labrador and how it did not affect the ones down in Southern Labrador. But, Mr. Chairman, I am sure that this is thoroughly researched.

Now, I wonder if the hon. the President of Treasury Board could tell me what the effect of this is going to be, and if they, indeed, are going to change the Tobacco Tax Rebate in Western Labrador because, again, what I talked about with the gasoline tax is that the influence now is being compounded not just for your gasoline now as 7 cents on the supers and 4.5 cents on a litre of gasoline regular, but now we are seeing a package of cigarettes $1.25 more expensive in Newfoundland, in Labrador City and Wabush than it is in Quebec so it is another influence, you see. So not only will they save money on gasoline now when they go across to Fermont, they will save money on their Tobacco.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: I would like to see it after if it is possible. Maybe you could send it over to me.

Mr. Chairman, I hope that we would still be able to adjust the Tobacco Tax in Western Labrador because of the influence that by having the tobacco cheaper in Quebec, it is going to influence more people to leave Western Labrador and go up to the Province of Quebec and purchase the gasoline and their tobacco, because, Mr. Chairman, $1.25 on a package of cigarettes is too much of a gap between prices, and, of course, we know that it is only a 20 kilometre drive between Western Labrador and Fermont. So combined with the savings in gasoline and the savings they would have on a package of cigarettes, I do not know, some of them might even want to buy some other goods that are not taxed as much up there, so we are going to see a loss of revenue to businesses operating in Western Labrador. Of course, if the businesses lose revenue they are probably going to lay off people in their stores, and the sales will drop. So, in effect, you will have lower taxes accruing to this Province.

Well, Mr. Chairman, I hope the President of Treasury Board has thoroughly investigated the impact of this, and I am sure that he will be able to tell us that yes, they can adjust the rebate because he knows that if you could drive down to Benton from Gander and get your cigarettes for $1.25 cheaper a pack, that he would have been going to Benton for years. He would have been going, Mr. Chairman. That is the distance that I am talking about, Mr. Chairman. He would have been going down to Benton to pick up his cigarettes. Now if he could get his gasoline down in Benton -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: - while he was picking up his cigarettes when he was a heavy smoker. Mr. Speaker, rather than purchasing the gasoline and the cigarettes in Gander, he would have been over in Benton buying them. And that would have meant - if Benton were paying taxes to another province or another area rather than this Province - that there would have been less revenue coming to this Province. Now that is all I am saying.

Now I know that he understands that when I bring it - rather than Western Labrador and Quebec I will use Gander and Benton. If the prices were in those areas he would have known that, he would done that, because he knows himself that where he used to smoke three packs a day that he could have been saving as much as - with the gasoline and everything - that he probably would have been saving $5 or $6 a day. That is how much he could have saved. So, Mr. Chairman, I hope -

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

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you.



MR. CHAIRMAN: No leave?

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased to hear that the hon. Member for Menihek is supportive of the Ontario budget and the decision to fight the recession and not the deficit. And I know he says he is not yet fully supportive of all the NDP policies but I think we could probably convince him that if he had a closer look he might be at least as supportive of as many of them as he is supportive of his own current Party. Because if you look beyond just the deficit numbers of the Ontario budget the newspaper reports say in addition to the budget that it also cuts taxes for people with low incomes. It provides more for social assistance, affordable housing and capital projects.

And here is one that he might be interested in because the New Democratic Party when in Government looks after small business. They do not just make lip service but they actually do things about it. The new budget of Ontario offers loans for businesses hurt by the recession and promises to create pools of investment capital. Hear that, Mr. Chairman? Pools of investment capital. And that could give tax breaks to investors. Now this is the NDP Government talking about creating tax breaks for investment. I am not sure I agree with all these philosophies myself, Mr. Chairman.

But I am sure that the hon. Member for Menihek and I could agree that this government in Ontario in bringing in this budget is bringing in a balanced and - it may not be balanced in his terms, it is not a balanced budget in accordance with an accountant. But it is a balanced budget in the sense that it balances the needs of the people with the needs of the economy. And they chose in doing that to recognize that the poor people ought not to have to pay more than their share. They lowered the taxes on the poor. They increased taxes but they lowered them on the poor. They increased taxes on the wealthier. The people who are driving around in gas-guzzling cars had to pay a little bit extra in sales tax as a result.

And I see the omaudhauns over on the other side of House are keeping up their usual barrage this hour of the day when I get up to speak. But that is to be expected. But I am sorry that the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations is not now in her own seat. Because she was telling us what a wonderful report, this CTF report, Canadian Teachers Federation report was, on children's schools and poverty. And I wanted to respond -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: - by making a few quotes from that report. Because I know the Member for Stephenville will also be very interested that his colleague in the Cabinet, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, chaired this committee on children and poverty of the Canadian Teachers Federation.

And they came up with a number of very interesting recommendations as to what the Canadian Teachers Federation should do and what provincial governments should do. And the action resolutions - this is in 1989 - and they wanted this organization to lobby provincial and territorial governments and appropriate ministries to take greater responsibility for the poor. Specifically urging them to increase minimum wage and social assistance benefits to levels above the poverty line. Good idea. This Government is not doing it.

To mandate pay equity in public and private sectors. Well, what have we done? This Government has taken away the pay equity agreements. And I hope they are also going to bring in a pay equity legislation for the private sector. The Ontario Government in this budget is also providing money and in addition to increasing the ordinary level of benefits for the municipalities and other organizations that get government grants, they are giving them extra money to look after the pay equity programmes. Not taking away the pay equity programmes that are already in place.

And they are also going to be mandating pay equity in the private sector as well. Another of the action resolutions that the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations committee recommended was that governments introduce legislation ensuring that women and children are not impoverished as a result of marital breakdown, to increase the availability of affordable housing, to make funds available for administration and delivery of school food programs, Mr. Chairman, that is another area that this Government has failed to take any significant action, that is leaving it to service groups and to charity.

These kinds of programmes, Mr. Chairman, are programmes that we would look to this Government to introduce, if this Government were really a serious Government about the needs of the people who suffer most from poverty in this Province, and they would not be looking at closing down schools and hospitals like my friend, the Member for Menihek was speaking earlier about the Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital being deprived of $875,000, it would not be doing that sort of thing, Mr. Chairman, they would not be looking for a recession as an opportunity to cut back services; they would be looking for an opportunity to find ways of guaranteeing that the services were maintained and not looking for it as an excuse to cut back services.

For example, Mr. Chairman, what plan of the Minister of Health has it, that you should cut back on physiotherapy services in Western Labrador to the tune of 3,750 physiotherapy treatments, what plan is that, what great plan does he have, does he have something else in mind other than physiotherapy for people who need it, does he think that they should fly people from Labrador City into St. John's for physiotherapy treatment; why is that part of his plan, can he explain why the sudden decrease in the need for physiotherapy services in Labrador or, are we just talking about budgetary measures, Mr. Speaker?

Fiscal responsibility, they will say but, Mr. Speaker, it is their responsibility when it comes to the needs of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, their responsibility and I want to say that I have to commend the Government of Ontario for their courageous budget in standing up to the Michael Wilsons and their friends in the corporate world, who have only one view of what should happen.

I just showed the hon. Member, the President of Treasury Board, how objective the Globe and Mail is on this issue. The front page picture has a picture of the Premier of Ontario and Treasury Board Laughren and the quote underneath; but I do not know, I guess they had the picture alright; 'Treasurer Floyd Laughren and Bob Rae laugh after presenting the Budget'. This is a very objective report on the front page of what claims to be Canada's national newspapers, suggesting of course that the premier and the minister are laughing at the Michael Wilsons or laughing at the people.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I think that the people of Ontario will be laughing at the nay sayers and the people in the Globe and Mail who want to push their editorial views upon them, because the people of Ontario, the majority of the people of Ontario, in particular those who are suffering from the recession, will be looking once again to the New Democratic Party in Ontario to continue to provide good Government and proper, responsible approaches when it comes to dealing with recession, that individuals may not have the resources to deal with but Governments certainly do.

Mr. Speaker, those will be my comments on this bill at this stage of the proceedings.

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

MR. SIMMS: If the hon. Minister of Development wants to speak I will give him leave as long as he is not nasty. If he is nasty I will take away leave.

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

MR. FUREY: I thank the hon. Member for his kindness in giving me leave. I tell the House that I am very shocked to learn that the Member for Menihek who is a known Conservative, and who is a very successful businessman, would even hint that he would accept some of the philosophy of the New Democratic Party. I think he slipped a little and he will take some of that back and correct the record sometime over the next little while.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FUREY: Oh, well, we all get lost in the woods I guess but we find our way back.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, the hon. Member for St. John's East is comparing the Ontario Government to the Newfoundland Government and he is not really comparing apples and oranges when he compares credit ratings and ability to borrow. Ontario is left with the luxury of a Triple A credit rating. They have the luxury to borrow. I happen to believe they made a gigantic mistake yesterday. I believe that.

AN HON. MEMBER: They should have laid off people.

MR. FUREY: No, I am not saying that, but I am saying they should have trimmed the sails in perhaps other areas, but to triple the budget to $9.7 billion and ask another generation up the road to pay for that I think is pretty dangerous stuff, and I think what is happening is we will see the Ontario heart land, which is the manufacturing sector of the country, continue to dip. Mr. Laughren himself says he will create 70,000 jobs by tripling the deficit to $9.7 billion but what he does not account for is the 290,000 manufacturing jobs that have left in the last year or so. What is going to happen to all those people? I think as the economy and recession will deepen in Ontario it will spill out into the extremities. The hon. Member selectively chose pieces from the Globe and Mail but he should look at the business report section. Deficit shock overshadows Ontario tax moves. We see people such as the senior economist from DRI McGraw - Hill in Toronto talking about the shock and the alarm that this triple deficit brings - the alarm. Then we go on to see the Federation of Independent Business express their shock. Just listen now, it is not just business people, I have heard anti-poverty groups talk about their shock and dismay, people who run food banks in Ontario who say there was not enough. They were on the national news last night. So, you know, what your party has not come to grips with is that you cannot be all things to all people. You are trying to be all things to all people. You are kind of wolves in sheep's clothing. You talk a great story with your heart, but when you are asked to open your wallet you run under rocks.

Mr. Chairman, it is interesting too, that the hon. Member from St. John's East criticized the Economic Recovery Commission. I believe the New Democratic Party attacked the Economic Recovery Commission.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

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

MR. HARRIS: The hon. Minister of Development keeps referring to me as the hon. Member from St. John's East. I am the hon. Member for St. John's East. I do not recall criticizing the Economic Recovery Commission, I think that the Newfoundland Government has put money into economic recovery and small business just as the Ontario Government is putting $131 million in technology and research and development and that is the appropriate thing. I do not recall ever criticizing the Economic Recovery Commission. I think we should know more about it in order to know what they are doing but I have never criticize it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

There is no point of order. The hon. the Minister of Development.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, I thank the hon. New Democratic Party for going on record and commending the Economic Recovery Commission and supporting it. Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FUREY: That is very kind of you, and I do not blame you because while the hon. Member 'for' St. John's East commends us for the Economic Recovery Commission he should because the Ontario NDP Government followed in our tracks. What did they do? They set up a Manufacturing Recovery Commission to administer the manufacturing recovery program, the 300,000 jobs we just talked about going out of Ontario. They put $57 million into it, for that huge province where 300,000 people lost their jobs they put $57 million in it. This little Province put in Enterprise Newfoundland to move toward economic recovery, $24 million, that is not bad. So we commend the hon. Member for complimenting us on putting the Recovery Commission in place, and we accept the New Democratic Party's support here in the Assembly through the only elected Member here in the Province. But I wonder would the hon. Member tell us then, we are being led astray, that the New Democratic Party is against the Hibernia project. We are told that you are against the $6 billion Hibernia project. I would yield for a second if the hon. Member wanted to correct the record on that as well.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am glad to see that the hon. Member seems to be shifting his ground from moment to moment, it is like the shifting sand of his opinion, when he hits on something that he is obviously wrong on he tries to move something else he thinks he is going to gain some ground on. So now he moves on to Hibernia, one of his favourite topics. He is so enamoured with the Federal Government's move to establish the Hibernia project that he wants to now make it a grand Liberal project of the Province of Newfoundland. And I think we have gone on record as saying that the Hibernia project is not a very good use of Government funds. It is not the best use of Government funds. In fact, our Federal Party in the House voted against the legislation. But now we are quite happy to have $2.7 billion spent in Newfoundland,

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: So if he wants to hear the position he is going to have to yield to me, perhaps he should rise and report progress and he can continue this tomorrow.


MR. HARRIS: This is a lengthy debate, Mr. Chairman, if he wants my comments on the Hibernia project, perhaps we should rise and report progress and ask leave to sit again.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!


MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Order, please! The hon. the Minister of Development on a point of order.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, I just want everybody in the House to understand what has just happened here. Finally the New Democrats, through their elected Member - we knew where the Federal Party was coming from, they were against the Hibernia project, they were clearly on record as being against those jobs. Mr. Chairman, the House should know that the Provincial Party, through its Member, has said they are against the Hibernia project, against this $6 billion project and against those thousands and thousands of jobs. I just want the record to show that, Mr. Chairman.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Order, please! The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

AN HON. MEMBER: There is no point of order?

MR. CHAIRMAN: There is no point of order, no.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, I could not stand any more of it. I really could not. I thought the Minister of Development was going to bring some sense to this debate. I thought he was going to bring it back to where I had left it about a half an hour ago.

He clearly chose to avoid that. I wanted to get up, because there is only a minute or so left, and I did not want the afternoon to go by without pointing out that just a few moments ago in the House when the Member for Stephenville got up, our friend from Stephenville got up, and spoke in the debate, and in the debate he was making a strong argument asking on the one hand for ways of saving money, pleading with the Opposition to give suggestions for ways to save money, and we have put forth ways in the past and suggestions but the Government just ignored them.

But then I was reminded as I opened my desk and saw this news story from one Walter Noel, the Member for Pleasantville, who has publicly urged his Government, the Minister of Justice, to back off on a cost recovery programme, and to spend more money. Now I do not have time today to go into it in any more detail other than just to mention it in passing, so I will do that the next day we come back to this bill.

Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Trinity - Bay de Verde.

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

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

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Tomorrow is Private Member's Day and we all know the resolution that is being debated. On Thursday I want to come back to the tobacco tax bill again, and when that one is finished, before we go on to the other legislation that I announced, I think that we would prefer to get on to the estimates of Executive Council. So perhaps if we have time on Thursday and Friday from the tobacco bill then we can start the estimates on Executive Council.

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