May 7, 1991                     HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS             Vol. XLI  No. 44

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

On behalf of hon. Members I would like to welcome to the Speaker's gallery today The High Commissioner of Zambia to Canada, His Excellency Kebby Musokotwane, and Mrs. Musokotwane.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Also on behalf of hon. Members I would like to welcome to the public galleries sixty Grade V11 students from Fred Kirby Junior High School, Foxtrap, accompanied by their teachers Annette King, and Mrs. Kennedy, and Mrs. Papadaplus, a student teacher originally from Greece now studying at Memorial University.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FLIGHT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to report to this hon. House on the insect pest situation in the forests of Newfoundland and Labrador, and my Department's plan for 1991.

Mr. Speaker, my Department has completed its analysis of the major forest pests forecasts for the 1991/92 season which was supplied by Forestry Canada earlier this year. This analysis indicates that the major defoliators, that is, hemlock looper and spruce budworm, will be at their lowest population levels in fifteen years.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FLIGHT: I will deal first with the hemlock looper, which is essentially a pest of fir in Newfoundland.

The forecast for hemlock looper predicts that 19,100 hectares will be infested and of that only 8,000 hectares will be in the moderate and severe category. The majority of this area is on the east side of the Northern Peninsula near Salmon River, Main Brook and north towards Hare Bay. There are pockets of high counts in these areas but a detailed analysis shows they are scattered in mature stands and a lot of the infested area is of questionable commercial value. The population is at the extreme end of its northern range and is expected to continue to decline due to increasing incidence of parasites and diseases.

Mr. Speaker, now coming to the spruce budworm, the population levels of this insect have been low since the mid-eighties. However, samples show that the insect is widespread over most areas where previous outbreaks have occurred. This may be an indicator of a possible population increase now that its competitor defoliator the hemlock looper is in sharp decline.

According to the forecast, some 33,000 hectares will have spruce budworm populations but only 5,800 hectares could be considered moderate and severe. The Department carried out follow-up surveys in most of the silviculturally treated areas and other areas where severe populations were indicated.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FLIGHT: These additional samples show budworm populations in the surrounding forest to be very light to traces. Therefore, spruce budworm is of little concern for 1991-92. Nevertheless, since the light populations are extensive in the Province, they will be monitored closely for possible increases in the future.

Mr. Speaker, after careful consideration of the forecast information for hemlock looper and spruce budworm, my Department feels it will not be necessary to carry out a major spray program against either insect during 1991-92.

Mr. Speaker, this is the first year since 1977, that we are not planning an aerial spray program against either the hemlock looper or the spruce budworm.

If, after more detailed surveys, the situation warrants some intervention, the Department will maintain the necessary capability to deal with the situation.

The Department has, therefore, submitted a licence application to the Department of Environment and Lands as a precautionary measure to cover the possibility that events do not come out as predicted. Any intervention based on this licence would probably involve local use of helicopters to suppress hot pockets or small infestations not covered in our forecast. No major aerial program is anticipated in 1991-92.

The population decline of hemlock looper and the continued low level of spruce budworm is a credit to the Government's commitment to protect our forests using the most environmentally acceptable yet economic methods of intervention. B.T. appears to have worked, particularly on declining populations of both insects. There are outstanding questions about its effectiveness on rising populations. These questions are being worked on in Eastern Canada.

Mr. Speaker, the low population levels of major defoliators in indeed very good news. We cannot afford to lose timber to insects or fires. Government and industry share a reprieve from the financial burden of a major protection program, although we will still have the costs of surveys and monitoring. Our silviculture investments also benefit, since we do not have to treat these areas in the short term to maintain their growth and vigor. With a continuation of this kind of help from nature we can be more optimistic about the future of our forests.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, this hon. House will understand I am sure, that I get a great deal of personal satisfaction out of this announcement. This House will recall that it was this Government, and it was this Minister, that in 1989 discontinued the use of the chemical spray, fenitrothion in our forests and went to B.T.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. FLIGHT: You will recall, Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FLIGHT: You will recall, Mr. Speaker, that I was severely criticized at that time; even the hon. Leader of the Opposition got into the act; I was accused of playing Russian roulette by the hon. Member for Grand Falls, with our forests.

Well, I take great pride and satisfaction from the fact that our decision, Mr. Speaker, was correct, that our programme has been successful, and that for this season, and hopefully into the future, we will not require any major aerial spray programme.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to first of all, thank the Minister for giving me a copy of his statement and I think it is obvious from the statement that the new PR group must have written the statement. But anyway, this is not a matter to be taken lightly, Mr. Speaker, it is a very serious matter, there is no doubt about that; when you are talking about the forests in our Province that so many of our people and our economy depend on.

But having said that, the Minister dwells a lot on the fact that there is no spray programme this year and that is great, that is great, if everything is alright, but when I look at last year's figures pertaining to - and I noticed last year we had the looper -the main culprits were the looper and the black-headed budworm.

Now we have the looper and just the spruce budworm, I do not know if there is a bald-headed one or not, but there is no other one, like probably a few here, but anyway, Mr. Speaker, the infestations last year, 27,000 approximately hectares last year of hemlock looper, in the moderate or severe category and this year we have 19,000 hectares of the looper in a moderate and severe, out of which 8,000 or 9,000 is in a moderate and severe category, so to me it is just as important this year to have that particular problem addressed as it was last year to have the looper and the black-headed budworm addressed but anyway the question there with regards to the stands being commercially viable and being accessible, I guess. And the Minister goes on then to talk about the moderate and severe categories in the spruce budworm.

Now, Mr. Speaker, there are some 5800 hectares considered moderate and severe in this category out of 33,000 hectares of spruce budworm populations. Now the question I ask is what about the rest? Where do we address and when do we start addressing moderate and severe categories because where there is any infestation of budworm, hemlock looper, or the black-headed budworm, as far as I am concerned, there is a problem - there is a problem.

Now the other question the Minister mentioned, the department has therefore submitted a license application just in case they would have to spray using helicopters and so on to put out so called fires in the district.

The other question I would like to ask the Minister is this: Will they be doing any herbicide spraying this year like they did on hardwoods, like they did with birch last year in the Green Bay area of the Province, if I am not mistaken. They did some herbicide spraying. Maybe the Minister could address that at another time.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the Minister talks about the declining populations of both insects and their outstanding questions about its effectiveness on rising populations. Now, Mr. Speaker, if there was any one paragraph in this statement that you would have to be concerned about - we got no concern. We should not have any concern about the declining populations, it is the rising populations that we should have concerns about. We could probably give the declining populations a good shot of raid and it might do the job, but when you have rising populations of this infestation in the hemlock looper or the spruce budworm, then I think there is reason for concern.

Having said that, I think it is good that we do not have to have a spray program, it is excellent. Furthermore, it is a lot better if we do have one, we have not got to use fenitrothion. That is good for everybody concerned, nature, the industry and what have you, but the Minister also says here that we need a lot of help from mother nature. Well then I guarantee you with the cutbacks and everything else, I hope that this administration is not depending on mother nature to look after the spruce budworm and the hemlock looper in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, the jury is still out as far as I am concerned. It is good to see, but the jury is still out on the Bt on the forests of the Province in the last couple of years. This did not just happen in 1989. This started back years ago and now we are finally seeing something come to fruition with regards to the spraying of those programmes. It did not just happen in two years. If this mess is cleaned up then everybody in this Province would commend no matter who was responsible and I suggest to the Minister that previous administrations in this case had to start somewhere. This is just the end of it and he can take the credit for it. But regardless of the credit, it is good to see that this problem is being addressed and that we do not have a serious infestation of the budworm in this Province.

Thank you.

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Minister of Mines and Energy. Can the Minister tell the House precisely what commitments the Hibernia consortium has given to the Province with respect to employment opportunities for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians on the Hibernia project? Could he give us the precise commitment he has received from the consortium?

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

DR. GIBBONS: From memory, Mr. Speaker, no, I am not able to give the precise commitments. I can take it under advisement and report.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. SIMMS: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker? I wonder could the Minister give us a hint? What have the companies, the consortium, told the Government it would try to do with respect to employment for Newfoundlanders on the project? What is the general -?

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

DR. GIBBONS: In general, Mr. Speaker, during the development phase of Hibernia we expect about 10,000 person years of employment - during the development phase. That is the next five years or so until tow-out in 1995 and then the first production in 1996. So that is going to be about 2,000 - what is it - about 1,600 person years per year, 10,000 divided by five and a half years. And after production starts there would be about 1,100 persons per year employed on the project. Of these after production starts most of them should also be Newfoundlanders. Of the 10,000 person years between now and 1996 these would be primarily Newfoundlanders. These are jobs in Newfoundland - in this area.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. GIBBONS: Yes, yes.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. Opposition House Leader.

MR. SIMMS: A supplementary: Mr. Speaker, can the Minister tell us then what process he has put in place to ensure that the consortium, its project manager, contractors, sub-contractors, are complying with that general commitment, then? What process has been put in place by his Department to ensure that that is happening?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Most of the details of that, Mr. Speaker, would be handled through my colleague the Minister responsible for Employment and Labour Relations, but the key thing that is in place relative to the project at Bull Arm is the special site agreement whereby fourteen unions in the oil field development council are going to be really the agents for the hiring of the people who are going to work at the site in Bull Arm.

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

MR. SIMMS: On the advice and suggestion of the Minister of Mines and Energy I will put the same question to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. Can she tell us what process is in place to ensure that the consortium is fulfilling its commitment with respect to employment for Newfoundlanders on the project? What is the commitment? Does she know?

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

MS. COWAN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, thank you, very much. There is liaison with my Department and with the Hibernia group. I receive updatings every two or three weeks on just what is taking place and I will be quite happy to table those in the House. The one I have here today I have written all over it but I could bring a fresh one in tomorrow and have it tabled, and then I would certainly have no objections to just automatically making it available to everyone through their internal mail once the House is closed, if that would be of assistance to you.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, that would be of assistance. We would appreciate any information we can get on this side of the House. May I ask her also, while she is checking into that, would she please investigate allegations passed on to our office in the last few days that recently there have been two nurses hired for the project site, both from outside the Province, and as we understand it, as the allegation says at least, without advertising in this Province at a time when almost 150 nurses are being laid off? Would she investigate that particular matter and report back to the House as well?

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

MS. COWAN: I will certainly look into that. If it is correct it is not desirable, so I will look into that promptly.

Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, to the same Minister, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. Would she also agree to provide the House, at least while the House is sitting, and the public of the Province after the House closes, with regular and detailed reports about the employment and procurement benefits coming to Newfoundlanders and to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador? Would she do that on a regular basis when the House is sitting, through a Ministerial Statement or something of that nature, and after the House closes on a regular basis as well?

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

MS. COWAN: I would certainly be glad to, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I have a question for the Minister of Fisheries. Now, that it has been confirmed that the proposed shrimp operation for the National Sea Southside plant seems to be off the rails, I wonder if the Minister could inform the Legislature whether or not the Province has been involved in this proposal, and if so to what extent? Is there any hope now for those displaced workers who were hoping to be accommodated with the shrimp operation?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, I understand that negotiations are still ongoing between the company, and others, with a view to getting the operation up and going, so for that reason I do not want to comment at length at this time because I understand these negotiations are very delicate and I would not want to be responsible for doing or saying anything that might interfere with what the company is trying to do.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am sure the Minister is aware that National Sea Products have been looking for a partner to get involved in this operation. Could the Minister inform the House why a company such as National Sea Products would even have to look for a partner and why it would take so long for them to find one? Could he inform the House as to why that might be because I am sure we are all interested in knowing the answer to that question. Personally it baffles me that a company of that magnitude and reputation would find it, first of all, necessary to seek a partner and why it would take so long to get one?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, I cannot speak for National Sea. But I can only assume the fact that they are looking for a partner would indicate that for whatever reason, they need a partner, and maybe the type of investment that the partner can bring with him. But again I cannot comment on it at any length this afternoon because from what I am told, and we have had discussions with highly placed officials in National Sea, that the deal is certainly not off, there is still a good chance that they will be able, maybe, to attract the kind of a partner they are looking for. And, in fact, my deputy minister is meeting with one of the vice-presidents of that company I believe either this afternoon or tomorrow morning. And for that reason I would just as soon not have too much to say about it until after they have had a chance to meet and maybe get a better idea as to what the problem is.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I thank the Minister for that answer, and I hope the thing works out for those people who are looking forward to being employed at the Southside in the shrimp operation.

Could the Minister inform the House as to what the outlook is for Blue Ocean Products of Argentia. I have heard reports that there are some problems being encountered there as well; that the future is quite not certain. Could the Minister inform the House whether or not Blue Ocean Products will operate this year as it has operated over the past year or so or is there any difficulty being experienced there?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, yes, there are some problems, but I would again prefer to get a full updating on that matter from my officials and maybe tomorrow bring back a full report to the hon. Member as to the status of that company and their chances of operating this year.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, and it concerns the accident at Bull Arm on Thursday past. The President of Nodeco, Mr. Fraser Edison, is quoted in the newspaper as saying there was an investigation and the necessary people were informed of the incident. I wonder could the Minister advise the House whether those necessary people included the Department of Employment and Labour Relations, and in particular the Occupational Health and Safety Division? And if so, when was that report made?

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

MS. COWAN: Yes, I have for the House a report given to me by the Occupational Health and Safety, Assistant Deputy Minister in my Department, which I will table, which gives the details of the accident including reporting meetings and what have you. They were late in reporting. There is some dispute as to whether the legislation required them to report this incident. However, we have asked, by phone, yesterday and we will be following this up, in writing, that every single incident that takes place at Bull Arm will be reported to us even as minor as if there is blasting and a rock bounces and hits a car window but does not shatter it or damage anybody or anything. But we will be getting every report from Bull Arm so that we can be keeping our eye on it. So I will table this information and hope that it will be of assistance to the hon. Member for St. John's East.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In view of the comments of Mr. Edison, he says: if we are going to report every scratch that goes on at the site there is going to be a lot of work for the media. In view of the wording of Section 52 of the Act which indicates not only serious injury, but any accident that has reasonable potential of causing serious injury or death of a person are reportable accidents. Does the Minister have any concern about the seriousness with which Nodeco may be taking these accidents and reporting of accidents, in view of that comment, and the specific wording of the legislation?

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

MS. COWAN: I do not, Mr. Speaker, again as I said the incident where the man fell from the ladder was open to question as to whether or not it needed to be reported, however, because of the importance of Hibernia to the Province and the fact that we do not want misinformation and so on being used to scuttle the project, I have asked that all incidents that take place at the site be reported to the Department immediately.

I would also like at this time, Mr. Speaker, to invite the Member for St. John's East to my office, at his convenience, for a complete briefing on the safety procedures that are being put in place for the Bull Arm site.

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

MR. HARRIS: I thank the Minister for the invitation, but I have to also raise the question that the Minister refers to a man falling from a ladder. The President of Nodeco, on the radio yesterday, said that the ladder was improperly attached and it has since been fixed. I have a question for the Minister as to whether or not she is satisfied that adequate precautions are being taken, if we wait until after an accident has happened to fix something that is wrong, rather than taking preventive measures to prevent accidents from happening in the first place.

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

MS. COWAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think the thing that we have to note here that is most important was that the individual worker was wearing his flotation device which is of extreme importance; that then is going to work to keep people from serious injury or death, in cases where we cannot always assume or guess or whatever, that an accident is going to happen. After an accident has happened, it always sounds very simple to say: well, my goodness, that ladder should have been put on there properly in the first place; but if that thing has never happened before, and now, an unique situation occurs with wave motion or whatever that causes that ladder to be unhinged, we cannot, in fact always predict that. However, Nodeco has correctly now, made sure that all those ladders are chained in a secure position to the barges and there certainly will not be, as far as we can tell, a repeat of that particular accident, unless of course, some other circumstances intervene.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I raise a final supplementary because of the Minister's comments. Wave motion in a bay in Newfoundland in the middle of the winter is hardly unpredictable activity and I wonder, if the standard -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: - if the standard of -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: - of Occupational Health and Safety is to wait until after something happens to fix it, and if that is the standard, if that is what is being applied, I am very concerned, and I want to go to the Minister's Office and see what plans are in place and to ask the Minister whether she is satisfied that a full and proper preventive programme is in place in Bull Arm?

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

MS. COWAN: Mr. Speaker, I do not know what I can do. As a teacher, I have now gone to the nth degree by inviting the individual to stay in after school. I hesitate to be cavalier about anything that has to do with occupational health and safety; but I also find this nitpicking day after day, extremely irritating, is, I suppose as good a word as any, but there is some sort of an implication there that somehow the company or we as a Department, are not taking occupational health and safety seriously.

If this gentleman had done his research properly, Mr. Speaker, he would realize that the Department of Employment and Labour Relations is taking an approach to occupational health and safety in this Province, that is unprecedented. In fact, I inherited a total and utter disaster and had he come and listened in at the meeting the other night of my Estimates, he would have been only too pleased -

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

MS. COWAN: - and proud and would have been standing in this House, to commend me, not condemn me.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I had indicated to the hon. Member that it was his last supplementary, and I notice that for the last few days we have been getting into a lot of supplementaries. Of course the Chair does not have much choice, when it is the only Member standing, but to recognize an hon. Member, so, I will recognize the hon. Member for St. John's, on a final supplementary this time.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If the hon. Minister regards -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, if the Minister regards the bringing to this House problems with safety at Bull Arm involving the death of an individual and the potential death of an individual falling off a barge as nitpicking, she does not know what her job is.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I recognized the hon. Member for a supplementary.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I want this Minister to assure the House that, in addition to a safety programme in place on land, will she assure the House that it is also in place, right now, a safety programme, with which she is satisfied that looks after the barges and tug boats and the activity on the sea at Bull Arm. Is she satisfied with the programme that is now in place and is she satisfied with the reporting of that accident at Bull Arm?

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

I recognized the hon. Gentleman for a final supplementary and not to get into the kind of thing he is in. Will the Minister respond please?

The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MS. COWAN: Mr. Speaker, I will assure the House, as the best anyone can assure the House, that occupational health and safety measures are put in place to ensure a safe work place. I cannot however rule out unexpected events happening. I might add that I am only too delighted to answer questions that relate to occupational health and safety. In fact I have been waiting for them for two years. However, the comments that I was making were addressed to the nature of the occupational health and safety questions that suggest to me the gentleman is more interested in seeing a failure of Hibernia then its advancement.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Port au Port.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I just want to point out, I am not very tall but I was standing when the Member for St. John's East stood before.

My question is for the Minister of Social Services. Now the Minister told the Newfoundland and Labrador Homemakers and Homemakers' Services Association on April 17 that the Department of Health was to be responsible for home care programmes, and referred the Association to the Department of Health for a decision on their request for a rate increase. Now this was a decision that they had been waiting for since November. The Association then met with the Department of Health on April 24 and were advised on April 29 that it was the Department of Social Services which was responsible.

Now the question I want to ask the Minister: does he not think that the Association is right when they feel that they have been getting the runaround?

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

MR. EFFORD: No, Mr. Speaker, the Association has not been getting the runaround. In fact, since becoming the Minister of Social Services I would take a guess - it will not be accurate probably, the exact number - but I would say I have met with the Newfoundland Homemakers Association on at least twelve to fifteen occasions for a number of issues that they have brought to my attention. We have always worked very cooperatively together in solving the problems that they had.

But in the case of the transition period from home care from Social Services to Health, it is going to take about six or eight months. In fact, I met with the Homemakers Association yesterday afternoon after 5:00, after the House of Assembly closed, and they went away from that joint meeting between Health and Social Services, and they were very happy after that meeting yesterday afternoon.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Port au Port.

MR. HODDER: So the Minister is saying now that they will be transferring to the Department of Health?

Mr. Speaker, the Association has made a very good case for their rate increases, especially since the rates that are being paid now from the Department of Social Services are less than the cost of providing the service. Does the Minister not think that they are presently in an untenable position? Will he ensure with his colleague from the Department of Health - and I did not get from the Minister's answer whether it would be Health or Social Services, but certainly the Cabinet or somebody will make this decision. Does he not think that they should get this increase as quickly as possible?

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

MR. EFFORD: It is ironic, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. Member sat in the government of the administration which brought in those same rates and for seventeen years never sought to sit down with the Newfoundland Homemakers Association and make any adjustment to the rates whatsoever. Seven dollars and ninety cents an hour is the rate that was paid when the former administration was there. They agreed upon those rates and they made no changes. In fact, the Newfoundland Homemakers Association told me they could not get a meeting at any time with the Minister of Social Services to discuss that. The door was closed continuously.

We agree. There are problems with the amount of money being paid to the Homemakers. We certainly - because of the rising costs - but other than that there is a transition period which must take place -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Not a word of truth in what he is saying!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: I would ask the Minister to proceed with his answer, please.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is going to take about six or eight months for the transition period from Social Services to Health. I explained that in the first part of my answer to the first question. I guess the hon. Member could not hear that. But it is a transition period which the Department of Health eventually will be taking over the total home care package. It does not make any sense for two Departments to be administering the one programme, and it is only logical that the Department of Health would assume that responsibility and that decision has been made. And when the transition period takes place it will be finalized and total operation will be the mandate of the Department of Health.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Port au Port.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, this association put in the request to Government in November. Would the Minister not agree that is quite a long time, and now he is talking about six or eight more months before the transition period? Is the Minister aware that there have been 430 acute care beds closed, and is he not aware that these people look after the people who cannot get in those beds? Doesn't he think that this is an untenable situation for this association?

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Social Services is fully aware of everything that is happening within the Department of Social Services. Last year we spent in excess of $11 million in home care. Probably the need is to spend three times as much as that. I wish I had three times as much money to spend in home care. If we did not have the responsibility of paying out $485 million a year on interest caused by the former administration, we would have a lot more money to put out in home care. Now that is the situation that we are dealing with. If I only had one per cent of the $485 million, it would answer all the problems that we have in home care in Health and Social Services. So when we straighten out the finances of this Province, then we will be able to listen to some of the unsensible comments of the Members opposite.


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

MR. WINDSOR: (Inaudible) say to the Minister of Social Services, if the Province had the $750 million a year Hydro Quebec is making off Churchill Falls power, he would have no trouble paying his interest.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, let me ask the Premier this question -

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

I just want to remind the hon. Member for Mount Pearl and others because this is happening, when a Minister gets up to answer a question he should not respond to a question that has been previously answered. The hon. Member knows that his preamble should relate to the question he is about to ask.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, let me ask the Premier a question in relation to a statement he made in this House on November 1, 1989, and I quote, "the Government will not force amalgamation on towns that do not want to amalgamate." He goes on to explain, Mr. Speaker, that he may well bring such a decision before the House and let the House make a decision. He says, and I quote, "I think it would be highly unlikely that it would ever come before the House, but I could conceive of a circumstance where one particular town, or two, may be doing something totally wrong, totally against the overall interest of the Province. Then the House will decide".

In view of that statement, Mr. Speaker, will the Premier confirm that this, indeed, is the position of the Province? Will he also confirm that there are no matters which are totally wrong relating to the City of Mount Pearl that would justify bringing that amalgamation issue before this House for a decision?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, I will not do what the hon. Member asks. I will restate the Government's position, and it is about the same as the hon. Member read out in his preamble to the question. Frankly, Mr. Speaker, the Government had hoped that by this time a number of municipalities would have seen the merits and benefit to the municipalities, as well as to the Province as a whole, of amalgamation. And, Mr. Speaker, we had hoped that more of them would have responded positively to the proposal to amalgamate.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that does not relieve the Government of its responsibility to address the issues properly. There are a variety of ways in which the Government could do it: we can bring it before the House directly, we could order it by a Cabinet order under the legislation as it exists at this moment. Government would not do that, Mr. Speaker. If Government is going to act to cause the amalgamation of municipalities in this Province, we believe, at the very least, we should bring the issue before the House and let it be debated fully so that the basis for the Government's action, or the basis for the House's action should be known.

The other possibility, of course, Mr. Speaker, is that we could hold a plebiscite in the area considered for amalgamation. That is a possibility as well. Government has not made a final decision on it yet.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Premier did confirm in this House yesterday that he would not consider holding a plebiscite in the City of Mount Pearl before forcing them to be annexed by the City of St. John's.

Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that the Premier has again told us that he would use his majority in this House to force such an issue through, will he assure this House that if such a vote were to come before this legislature, that it would, indeed, be a free vote in every sense of the word, and that his backbenchers would, indeed, be free to vote in accordance with their conscience, and would he assure the House that Government will make no final decision before such a free vote is taken in this Chamber?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, the Government will decide how it wishes to proceed. And let me restate again that I did not say I would not agree to a plebiscite in -

AN HON. MEMBER: Read Hansard.

PREMIER WELLS: I will tell the House again the position. The Government will not agree to a separate plebiscite in Mount Pearl, a separate plebiscite in Wedgewood Park, a separate plebiscite in St. John's. If there is to be a plebiscite taken it will be a single plebiscite in the area to be amalgamated. The decision will be made on that basis.

Now, Mr. Speaker, whether we proceed by way of bringing in -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: Let me repeat again, Mr. Speaker. Whether the Government proceeds by way of bringing in a Government measure which would require the support of Government Members of the House of Assembly or whether we would proceed by way of a free vote, Government will decide. We have not yet decided, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, would the Premier like to explain why his Minister of Municipal Affairs on April 15 of this year indicated to the city council of the city of St. John's that indeed the supercity concept would be and had been approved by Government?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I cannot answer for what the Minister did. The Minister will have to say that for himself. But I do not believe that what the hon. Member has just told this House is correct. I do not believe that the Minister said any such thing for one simple reason, Mr. Speaker, it would not be true if the Minister did say it. So I do not believe that what the hon. Member just said to this House is accurate. I think it is totally inaccurate.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber Valley, Humber East, I am sorry.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A question to the Premier on municipal amalgamation. The law, as the Premier should know, requires that there be a feasibility study of a proposal to amalgamate municipalities. The previous administrations interpreted that provision of The Municipalities Act as meaning an independent study. Now in the case of the Government 's current proposal to amalgamate Massey Drive, Corner Brook, and Mount Moriah in the District the Premier represents, the Government appointed a two person commission, the Minister's assistant deputy minister, Art Colbourne, and the municipalities designate Hubert Harnett. Last night fourteen months after the feasibility study hearing the Minister's staff delivered to the three municipalities a report of one of the two commissioners, a report by the assistant deputy minister. Now does the Premier accept that report as satisfying the requirements of The Municipalities Act?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: There are several aspects to the commentary in question by the hon. Member. The first is let me hasten to assure the House and bring great comfort to the people of this Province: there are a great many things the former Government did that this Government would never ever think of doing.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is right.

PREMIER WELLS: So the mere fact that the former Government did something does not make it supportable or commendable, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is quite the opposite.

PREMIER WELLS: Secondly, Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what the Minister delivered yesterday to the City of Corner Brook.

MS. VERGE: -and the Town of Mount Moriah.

PREMIER WELLS: -and the Town of Mount Moriah, but I will take a look at it, and when I see what was delivered then I will comment on the contents of it and what standard it meets.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, as required by Section 3 of the Mineral Act I am pleased to table the Report of Mineral Licenses and Mining Leases issued for the period of April 1, 1990 to March 31, 1991. I will not go into the details. I will leave that for hon. Members to peruse themselves but I will note the number of claims staked during that one year period was 10,446 and the total number of mineral claims in good standing at the end of the period was 42,504.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. KELLAND: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Revise The Law Respecting Land Surveyors In The Province," (Bill No. 29)

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I give on notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a Bill, "An Act To Amend The Schools Act."


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

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

I rise to present a petition on behalf of 944 people, residents of Labrador City and Wabush. The prayer of the petition, Mr. Speaker, is that we the concerned citizens group against the hospital cutbacks would like to canvass your support against the cutbacks at the Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital by signing the petition to be presented to the House of Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, 944 people signed this petition, and this is undoubtedly now one of the largest petitions that I have had the opportunity of presenting about cutbacks in Western Labrador. It does show the concern that residents of Western Labrador have for the quality of health care that this Government is delivering to Western Labrador, Mr. Speaker. This brings to a total of well in excess of 2000 people who have signed petitions to ask this Government to reconsider their drastic cutbacks to the Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital so that the local hospital board and the Salvation Army who operate the hospital can continue to deliver the high quality of medical service that has been delivered to Western Labrador over the last number of years, Mr. Speaker. An $870,000 cutback, Mr. Speaker, this Government has brought about to our local hospital in Western Labrador, a 12 per cent reduction this year, a reduction that is going to lessen the quality of health care to a drastic degree in Western Labrador, Mr. Speaker. At a time when our population is increasing in numbers, increasing in age, at a time when the mines are going at higher production levels, with greater potential for accidents, this Government has seen fit to reduce the amount of money being send to the hospital. They have also seen fit to not only have fourteen positions done away with at the hospital, but to freeze the wages at the local hospital, Mr. Speaker, which means that undoubtedly will lessen the moral of the workforce that is working at the hospital. Not only will they have to work more, longer, and harder hours, but they are going to be paid less and that is going to drastically reduce the quality of health care in Western Labrador, Mr. Speaker. We are also very concerned, not just with the cutbacks they have had to do so far and they have announced, not just with the 40 per cent reduction in physiotherapy services which results in about 3750 fewer patient physiotherapist visits, not only are they concerned about that, they are also concerned about the future potential cutbacks that the hospital board has suggested they may have to do. They are talking about the combination of obstetrics and female surgery, Mr. Speaker, to the medical floor. Mr. Speaker, several young women in Western Labrador have offered their concerns to me about the amount of discomfort that is going to ensure upon them when they are in hospital to have a child, and also, of course, the people that will be on the medical floor, the surgical floor, while they are in labour and delivering a child, Mr. Speaker. There are two potential problems there. Mr. Speaker, that potential they may have to deal with in the very near future. This hospital has provided a good level of services to the people of Western Labrador for the last twenty-five or twenty-eight years and it is unfortunate that at a time when this district is producing such tremendous wealth to this Province, to provide all sorts of things for here on the Island portion of the Province, while they see fit that they do not recognize the geographic position of Labrador City, Mr. Speaker. The fact that it is eight hours for an aircraft in turn around time to get out here. We do not have the opportunity of driving for half an hour in an automobile, Mr. Speaker, to facilitate going to another doctor. We only have the opportunity of using the one that we have in our home town, Mr. Speaker, which also provides health care for our neighbouring province of Quebec in the town of Fermont. Mr. Speaker, I ask that the Minister reconsider and convince his colleagues in Cabinet to reinstate the funding that has been cut from the Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital.

Thank you.

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

MR. POWER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to spend a couple of moments of the House's time in support of the petition so ably presented by the Member for Menihek and to say that I suppose if we keep bringing in petitions long enough and often enough, if we bring in enough names, maybe when we finally get 560,000 or 570,000 names on a petition, then maybe Members opposite - especially the Minister of Health - might listen to what is really happening in the health care system in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Certainly in the case of the Member for Menihek who has done an admirable job in trying to bring to the attention of the Minister and to the Premier and Members opposite the concerns of people in Labrador. It has not worked, or does not seem to have worked very well. The health cutback for this year of $870,000 I presume is still in effect. I do not know if any of it has been implemented yet. I suspect if Menihek was a little bit closer - if Lab West, Wabush and Lab City were closer to St. John's, if we could bring 1,000 people up to the galleries, up to the House of Assembly to the steps, and have a huge protest, then I suspect that some of the $870,000 would have been reinstated for this year.

But because you are so far away you cannot voice the protest that you would like to be able to voice and as such your voice is not heard and certainly is not responded to. In the case of Menihek maybe that is one of the reasons why it should be reinstated first, with or without a protest. People have to realize that Labrador City - Wabush is not Placentia, it is not Port aux Basques, it is not Trepassey, it is a very isolated region of Newfoundland which goes through very harsh weather conditions, particularly in the winter time. They are not close to other main centres of health care. They do not have options of going across the street, they do not have options of driving to another hospital when services are not available. They have to use only an air ambulance service and that is simply not satisfactory, not acceptable, to the people of Lab West.

I also want to say - as I said in presenting a petition here the other day, or supporting the petition presented from Lab West - that the people from Lab West are probably the hardest working, most independent group of people in Newfoundland. They probably contribute more per capita to the Newfoundland economy than any other given geographic sector in Newfoundland. The tax rate paid by the people of Lab West, the fact that they contribute to the Newfoundland economy in such a very substantial way - from our gross domestic product to a high employment rate, probably one of the highest rates of earning in a monthly or yearly basis of any part of Newfoundland, the taxes that they pay - they should get back reasonable service for that. But it seems that this Government ignores all of those things and says that this strange cutback that they had this year is part of a health care plan instituted in 1989 when this Government took office.

But like I asked the Minister of Health yesterday: if you do have a plan, Minister of Health, how could you open more hospital beds last year; how could you hire more nurses and nursing staff last year; how could you increase the health care budget last year by 11.4 per cent and this year, one year later, as part of the same plan, close hospital beds - 438 - lay off 900 health care workers, and in effect have a health care budget increase of 3.6 per cent or 3.7 per cent?

Mr. Speaker, it does not make sense. It simply shows that there is not a health care plan in this Province. All you have is an ad hoc system in this Government of responding to the Minister of Finance's need to control the deficit and his borrowing rate and to say that he has to do that with the largest Departments, mainly Education and Health. I can only say in conclusion that it is very unfortunate that the people of Lab West are stuck in particular in this system, because they really do not have another option.

I cannot believe that some of the people in Lab West have not joined the Province of Quebec or have not asked to join the Province of Quebec. They could not get any less or worse service in the Province of Quebec than they seem to get from this Government in many areas. I can only say that maybe somewhere along the way when that happens in Lab West, when petitions are circulated not just to improve health care in Labrador West but to take them out of Newfoundland, to give them some reasonable services for the taxation they pay, then maybe the Premier and the Ministers opposite might listen. But I suspect they will not until it is much too late.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, this is probably a little unusual. I have not presented a petition and it does not come from my district. And it is not really in proper petition form but I would ask the leave of the House. It is a petition that asks for assistance with a new water system for the community and I am prepared to present it. It is the community of Westport.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: It's been lying on my desk for days.

PREMIER WELLS: Oh, okay, well I can - then maybe the hon. Member would want to support it, would want to present it. And I will -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) present it and I (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: No, I will - it is his district. Okay. Then I think he should -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: No, this is what I was going to tell the House -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: He has the original, okay. Well, I have written back to the people to tell them that -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: The hon. Member should just let his blood pressure simmer down.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: I was about to explain to the House that it is a photocopy, but I was not aware that anybody else in the House had a copy of it and I was not about to see the people deprived of an opportunity to be heard without making an effort. Now, Mr. Speaker, if the hon. Member has the original I think he should present it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Thank you very much (inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Further petitions.

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: How childish and silly are you getting at all.

You are getting childish and silly.

MR. RIDEOUT: I arose to present the Petition, but the Premier was recognized so obviously I sat down. Now, Mr. Speaker, -

MR. SIMMS: Silly little game.

MR. RIDEOUT: - before I begin to present this petition signed by over 400 residents of Westport, I have to inform the House that it is not in the appropriate parliamentary form. The petition says that students and parents of Westport would appreciate the development of a new water system due to water contamination and high bacterial levels. Anyone in favour, please signed. However, the letter of transmittal written to me as the Member for the District says the following: Would you please present this petition to the House of Assembly as soon as possible. So I would assume, Mr. Speaker, before I proceed I would ask leave to present the petition.

MR. SIMMS: No need to ask, that is acceptable, isn't it?

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible) that they have characterized it as a petition, and this is what I was about to say. I think it should be presented to the House even though it is not in proper form.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Okay, Mr. Speaker, having cleared that parliamentary hurdle, let me say this, that I am very pleased today to have the opportunity to present this petition to the House of Assembly signed by around 400 residents of Westport. Now why is this petition here, Mr. Speaker, is the next question. By the way, the petition should be addressed to the Department of Health and the Department of Municipal Affairs. This matter first came to my attention in January, that the water system serving the St. Peter's Academy in Westport had been tested by officials of the Department of Health and found to contain a bacterial count of 18 when the normal count is 10. So therefore, Mr. Speaker, the public health officers informed the community and the school board that the water source to the school had to be either boiled, as it should be in every home in Westport, or some other measure taken.

Now obviously, Mr. Speaker, in a school of 100 or 110 students, it is not practical to have a boil order. How do you boil water for in excess of 100 people? So what happened at the school was that the water fountains in the school were shut down, so students in St. Peter's Academy in Westport have had no access to drinking water in the school since January. Now when that was brought to my attention, I immediately contacted the Department of Health, I wrote the Minister in the first part of February when I had a letter from the school about the matter, I wrote the Minister again in March and April. In other words, Mr. Speaker, since this matter came to my attention I have been corresponding on a regular basis with the Minister of Health asking that his department do everything in its power to have this matter corrected. The Minister went to the school board, the school board threw it back to the Government, the school board said: we do not have the funds to be able to do anything to improve this situation.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the matter is very, very serious. We have a situation where a school in 1991 in this Province does not have access to drinking water. It is bad enough that the community does not have access to a good source of drinking water. It has a small community system that needs to be chlorinated. In fact, the system was put in several years ago, many, many years ago and probably in all likelihood should be replaced. There was, a year or so before we left the Government, a request from Westport to have a new system installed. Now, Mr. Speaker, I commend this petition to the Minister of Health and to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. If there is any such thing as a community getting to the top of a priority list, certainly the fact a school cannot be serviced with adequate drinking water ought to be a significant factor in a decision of that matter.

Mr. Speaker, the petition has been sent to me. At the first opportunity I have presented it to the House. I have never failed to present a petition to this House in the sixteen years I have been here, and I will never fail to present one in the time, if I am here or happen to be here, for another sixteen years. What is incumbent now is for the Government - since it was the Government's officials through the Department of Health who rightly authorised or ordered the school board and the community to take this matter in hand - to assist the community and the school board in correcting the matter as quickly as possible.

So I would ask that the petition be tabled and be referred to the Departments - because it relates to two Departments, the Departments of Health and Municipal Affairs - and ask the Ministers of those Departments to give this matter their urgent attention and hopefully some corrective action can be taken.

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

MR. POWER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to spend just a couple of minutes and support the petition because it is very indicative of what is happening in many parts of rural Newfoundland. The 400 residents in Westport who are anxious to get an adequate, healthy water system so that their children can have decent water in the schools and they can have decent water in their homes, is one of the most common complaints in rural Newfoundland.

I suspect that an awful lot of those common complaints are going to continue to exist in Newfoundland for a long time to come. We have not seen from this Government any real concern about water and sewer in rural Newfoundland. We have seen them change around the grant system in municipal affairs which will prevent an awful lot of small communities from getting access to an adequate water supply system, making it more difficult, transferring more of the cost of those systems to small communities that cannot afford those kinds of costs away from the Provincial Government.

I can only say that in Westport, which is indicative of many communities in Newfoundland, where you depend so much on those kind of services to be able to reside and exist in rural Newfoundland, that it is another simple form, I suppose, of the resettlement image. (Inaudible) reduce service bad enough I suppose people will ultimately move away or move someplace else. In the case of Westport, how are the children expected to get a decent education if you cannot even have a decent water supply to the schools? It is as I say a very unfortunate situation. I would hope that the timing of this petition, the presentation of it now before the water and sewer grants are announced for this year, before the work is actually to be done will be announced, that maybe this year you might be able to get a few water and sewer projects in PC districts of Newfoundland and Labrador, which certainly has not been the case in the last few years. It seems that this Government is much more interested in pork barrelling its own ridings to make sure Liberal Members are re-elected than they are in giving services in cases where there are emergency needs in the case of Westport.

It will be very interesting to see, Mr. Speaker, if this petition will have any affect on the Minister of Municipal Affairs, on his Cabinet colleagues, to see if they will actually respond to a health care problem as well as an education problem, to give some adequate water supply to the community of Westport. I suspect that an awful lot of the water and sewer projects this year will be done this year exactly as they were done last year, exactly as the paving and road projects were done this year and were done last year. And that is that the vast majority of it will go to Liberal ridings in Newfoundland with no concern for health or the real needs of the people in many parts of rural Newfoundland.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to speak in support of this petition for a couple of moments. I would like to point out again that on April 19 this letter was written to the hon. the Premier, and: enclosed you will find a petition of approximately 400 signatures from citizens of Westport concerning the water supply or lack of it here in town. Would you please present this petition in the House of Assembly as soon as possible?

PREMIER WELLS: I got it on April 24.

MR. BAKER: There was no attempt to upstage anybody. It was simply a petition that was sent to the Premier asking him -

PREMIER WELLS: I had no idea (Inaudible). I did not (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Absolutely, asking him to present it in the House and that is simply all that is to it. Mr. Speaker, it is signed by a student of the school in question. I have no problem supporting the request of the students to have an adequate and proper water supply in the community and in the school. We will take it into consideration when we consider the next round of municipal works that will go on in the Province and we will consider this along with some other requests.

There are a lot of requests in this Province. There are a lot of demands in the Province in terms of water supply. There are

areas of the Province that have a tremendous problem with water supply, and we will try and correct these problems as quickly as we can. This one will certainly be taken into consideration along with everything else when we consider the next series of municipal works in the Province.

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Motion 4.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Justice to ask leave to introduce a Bill, "An Act Respecting The Office Of The High Sheriff of Newfoundland." (Bill No. 27)

On motion, Bill No. 27 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. BAKER: Motion 5.

Motion, the hon. the Premier to ask leave to introduce a Bill, "An Act To Amend The Intergovernmental Affairs Act, 1975." (Bill No. 28)

On motion, Bill No. 28 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

Committee of the Whole

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I just want to, first of all, get something straightened out, just a minor point. In terms of the Estimates that are done in the House I think it is normal to include the Consolidated Fund Services with the Executive Council. Is that correct? I just want to remind Members that we also can discuss the Consolidated Fund Services which are contained right in the beginning of the Estimates, a few pages, and that we will consider we are dealing with this as well as the Executive Council.

MR. SIMMS: Yes, of course, that has been the practice. We have done Consolidated Fund, but it does not require any particular notice by the Government House Leader that we can also discuss Consolidated Fund Services - we can discuss anything. That was determined yesterday pretty well within the realm of reason and unless the Chair thinks we are out of order, which he has not up until now, I do not expect he will up to now. We might even reintroduce the amalgamation issue again this afternoon for some discussion. We are thinking seriously about having a few words to say on that issue, in the hope that we will be able to get some Members to rise. The Member for St. John's East is representing Wedgewood Park, which is a major player in this issue, wants to have a few words. Members opposite representing St. John's seats might want to have a few words. Members on this side, St. John's East Extern and then St. John's East might want to have a few words, the Member for Kilbride, even the Member for Grand Falls might have a few words on amalgamation. So we can talk about anything. Consolidated Fund Services is fine, if anybody wants to talk -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Absolutely. Always. So if anybody wants to talk about Consolidated Fund Services, I agree with the Government House Leader they are more than welcome to do so. No problem.

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

MR. PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PARSONS: Mr. Chairman, I would like to have a few words to say about the Estimates from the Executive Council. And since it was pointed out yesterday that the Executive Council sort of rules the roost, a part of every Department, in a tangible way really, because they are the people who really look after the finances, in an overall way. Mr. Chairman, I for the life of me cannot see 35 per cent raises in three years when other situations happening all over the Province are so detrimental health-wise, education-wise, and now, Mr. Chairman, my few words today will be directed towards amalgamation. I think that everyone today, anyone who listened to any media reports certainly there was a great outcry from some areas of the Northeast Avalon as it pertained to recommendations that had already been presented to Cabinet by the Minister of Municipal Affairs. The radio news media today told the people of St. John's Avalon North that the Government had three options and one of them was this conceptual idea of a great big large city, in other words a supercity.

Mr. Chairman, I want to tell this hon. House that last year I presented a petition from the residents of Wedgewood Park and I believe it was 99.9 per cent of the people from Wedgewood Park signed that petition. They signed the petition that they did not want to become part of St. John's and would rather stay as they are. They are a viable entity in themselves, and they should be left to do the thing that they do best, govern themselves in a very fine manner, enthusiastically. And I hear today from one of my colleagues, the hon. the Minister of Finance attending a gathering at Wedgewood Park and he was very, very positive and, in fact, he referred to an idea that he had at one time, Mr. Chairman, that he perhaps thought that Wedgewood Park should be part of St. John's. But after the reception, after being to Wedgewood Park and after being briefed on their achievements over the years, he said, he had second thoughts.

So when the Premier says that, and I cannot quote him verbatim, but certainly he said that amalgamation would not be imposed on people and would not be forced on people. Then I have to say to the Premier that I think that if it is brought to the floor of the House, if amalgamation is brought to the floor of the House then I think that the House will reject it. I feel that there are enough Members, backbenchers, Cabinet Ministers, like the Minister of Finance, who have second thoughts about this supercity.

But going back to Wedgewood Park, Mr.Chairman, it is ironic really when we think about Wedgewood Park. In 1977, no one wanted Wedgewood Park. They were like the fellow that the hon. Bill Keough used to say was out on the Bill of Cape St. George by himself, Wedgewood Park was out there by themselves, no one wanted Wedgewood Park. So finally a group of people in Wedgewood Park, industrious people decided to get themselves formed into some kind of an alliance or some kind of a - not a council, and they formed I think a service board, a district service board and from that stemmed what we see today as one of the best run, most viable towns in all of Newfoundland.

Now people say that Wedgewood Park are not doing their share. They are not contributing. Mr. Chairman, they contribute to the waste problem. They contribute to the workings of Robin Hood Bay.

On a per capita basis, they do their own snow clearing where they have to contribute themselves through their own machines and their own workers; they have their own depot in there, they contribute to everything else that they are asked to contribute to, but through good management, through good management they can afford to charge perhaps a lesser rate than some other nearby towns or another nearby city, but, Mr. Chairman, I cannot see that is a disadvantage; I can see that being a reason why Wedgewood Park should become a part of this supercity.

I mean, if they are that good at doing the thing that they do best, then they should be left alone. They should be left alone to govern themselves as they are doing today in an excellent manner. I go into Wedgewood Park every now and then and you get a feeling once you go into the Town Hall there; every one is doing something, every one is working, everyone is trying to make that small town a better place in which to live, there is cordiality there, there is response there to the human aspect of it; there is response there to the individual who comes into the Town Hall and who has a complaint or whatever.

It is not a great big thing, but who says that being big is better? Some people will, some people will take it seriously and think about it seriously and say yes, it is better for the region itself. Well, Mr. Chairman, I cannot see it for the life of me what, bringing Wedgewood Park, making Wedgewood Park a part of a supercity, how that would be advantageous to any one, and I say to the Premier, who has said over and over, that he will not force amalgamation down anyone's throat, then I say to the Premier: now is the time; now is the time to put your money where your mouth was and say: no, Wedgewood Park will not be changed from its present status.

Mr. Chairman, you know, when you look at - again we look at the Estimates, you can see where a great lot of money has been spent in salaries alone, I mean, it is not - I did not bring it up, there are people there perhaps it can be said that well they received justice for the work that they do, but, Mr. Chairman, when I look at the money that is expended by that Department and look at what is happening in Pouch Cover, where, for three years we have tried to get water and sewer into the Bauline Road, where one person's septic tank is the other person's well and that is the truth, Mr. Chairman.

I wonder if we have all this money that we can throw out, that if we have all this money that we can see that is being expended on salaries, 35 per cent over three years, the Premier said it was last year's, we all know it was last year's, but the point remains, it is 35 per cent over three years no matter what year it was, and it is just too bad that the Government did not have foresight enough to see what was going to happen last year before they introduced this kind of wage scales over the last twelve months, but, Mr. Chairman, what I have been told is that these changes in pay scales, many of them were done after the Budget process, so, Mr. Chairman, that is absolutely wrong. I mean (inaudible) I mentioned Pouch Cove because there is an area in Pouch Cove, although they are perhaps 60 odd per cent serviced, there is an area in Pouch Cove that the Government should - we certainly have given Government the message, that there is a health hazard there and when I look at all these monies being spent by the Executive Council, for the life of me, I cannot see why a couple of hundred thousand dollars could not be placed in that town to augment that water supply if nothing else, to bring in that water supply from the main road in Pouch Cove where there is a health - it is a health hazard. Now with the change in direction from the Minister of Municipal Affairs - now everything is done on this schedule that they have - I do not think that Pouch Cove this year, without some one, without the Government looking at it as a health hazard, will be funded this year.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. PARSONS: With that said, Mr. Chairman -

MS. VERGE: By leave!

MR. PARSONS: I - a couple of minutes to clue up?

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

MR. PARSONS: There is a lot of monies -

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

Does the hon. Member have leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: There is a lot of monies that have been expended and I see that there is room for those expenditures maybe to be spent in better areas. That areas that are concerns for the people that we are here to represent.

Thank you very much.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to sort of respond to some of the remarks that were made by the hon. Member for St. John's East Extern about my having second thoughts. Some time ago I attended a meeting in Wedgewood Park - in fact we went there to open a Credit Union which, as you know, Credit Unions are now being regulated by the Department of Finance. And I went there to help open a branch of the Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union. The hon. Member for St. John's East was there too. And while there I had some discussions with Mayor - I think he is Mayor - Paul Reynolds in Wedgewood Park, and with Glen Collins whom I have known for many years. He is the Registrar at Memorial. And with other people.

One of the things that has always intrigued me about the town of Wedgewood Park is the extremely high calibre of the people who get elected to office there. A very enthusiastic group of people, tremendous enthusiasm, and of great ability. And they have been able, for various reasons, to make the town of Wedgewood Park a very nice place in which to live. And not only that, but a good place in which to develop business. And they were saying: what about this amalgamation thing? Now I do not usually get into that because that is the responsibility of the Department of Municipal Affairs, and my hon. colleague, the Minister of Municipal Affairs. I said: look, what you should do is make sure that your views are known to the Government. They should. And I said: if you want I will arrange meetings if you want to present your views. But they never did come back to me for that and I did not want to take too much initiative.

But I really think that what might happen if an amalgamation were to occur with St. John's, that these tremendous people who live in Wedgewood Park and who do such a great job in council would offer themselves for the bigger city. And I am sure they would make a great contribution to the overall city of St. John's. And maybe -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. KITCHEN: Well, sure. The type of enthusiasm that is there, and for community development and so on, could very well be used by the city of St. John's. And I would certainly welcome that. But as far as supporting an enclave I find that difficult.

But at the same time to some extent the same remarks can be made about Mount Pearl. An enthusiastic group of councillors who have done very well over the years with help, and a group of citizens there who identify with their city -

MS. VERGE: Why don't you leave well enough alone?

DR. KITCHEN: - very important. And I think too that if amalgamation were to occur - and I am not going to get involved in whether it should or should not at this point - the abilities of the people who offered themselves in Mount Pearl would be available to the whole city. And that would be a great thing as well.

And that is all I really meant by these remarks. I would like to clarify that. That is the only reason I am speaking now, to clarify the conversations that I held at the opening of the new branch of the Credit Union in Wedgewood Park.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Insofar as the debate on the Executive Council estimates have tended to centre of late on municipal amalgamation, and perhaps because there appears to be in the air some vibrations or some sort of mist that prevails through the fog that seems to hang over the northeast Avalon of late, that there appears to be a degree of amalgamation in the mist, in the fog, in the air, one cannot put one's finger on it yet but obviously common sense and instinct would indicate that things are probably about to happen. And given the record of this administration so far it is probably safe to say that bad things are about to happen.

I think in a Province as poor as we are, with a slogan under our coat of arms which is a quote from the Gospel of St. Matthew, which says: "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God," I think that is indicative of the fact that we have enough troubles on this poor rock of ours as it is. And yet we seem to have a Government whose own motto seems to be: if it is not broke we are going to fix it. Well my position on many things that this particular administration has taken part in is if it is not broke why fix it? Do not fix it.

In my own particular district I have three communities that were slated for amalgamation a year or two ago. Brighton, Triton and Pilley's Island. Three individual communities separated by six or seven miles of wooded coastal scenery and causeways. Communities whose character are very individual, very distinct communities, having no desire to unite whatsoever. Public opinion and municipal council opinion is in all three communities heavily and decidedly against amalgamation. Yet their situation has been left on hold in Limbo for the past number of months, well over a year, and they have not been told as yet. I had my office check earlier today if they had gotten any word as to their status vis--vis the proposed amalgamation, and certainly as of yet no word.

But at the same time the smaller communities in the area have been impacted very negatively by the new municipal financing system of the Wells' administration. And one wonders if life is going to be made so difficult for small municipal entities that they will be forced to amalgamate, to join together, to gather around any large non-residential source of taxation so as to literally survive. And we just might have the communities of Brighton and Pilley's Island reluctantly being forced into the even more reluctant arms of Triton by virtue of actions of this particular Government.

I certainly hope things do not turn out that way. Because that is not the way the people want it. They do not want to be resettled, they do not want to be centralized, they do not want to be amalgamated, they do not want to be rationalized and all the wonderful words that come out of this administration.

And lo and behold in my mail - yesterday I guess it was, yes, May 6 - I received a copy of a letter to the Minister of Municipal Affairs from the town of Springdale. Now my colleagues in this House will remember that the Mayor of Springdale derailed my petition campaign to save the Springdale hospital, and it is only now that the town of Springdale and many of the merchants in that town and many of whom were on council, realize that the Springdale and Green Bay area has lost forty to fifty full time Government jobs. And the economy of the area has been impacted very seriously in a negative manner.

And they wrote the hon. Minister of Municipal Affairs with regard to the proposed supercity concept here on the northeast Avalon. And go through a number of concerns that they have, some 320 miles from the capital city, about the concentration of municipal, political and economic power in a supercity, super region, whatever you want to call it, here on the northeast Avalon that would completely unbalance existing political and economic structures within this Province, certainly to the detriment of many communities far to the north and east in the Green Bay - White Bay areas, the west coast, et cetera.

This in my opinion, given where I come from and the people I represent, this supercity concept is nothing more than a large power grab. It causes me great problems and it would appear that a whole host of these mini-amalgamations, much smaller than the one on the northeast Avalon, are being proposed. And there has been deadly silence except for the amalgamation of Grand Falls and Windsor there some time ago from the Government as to what it is actually going to do with the forty odd or so groupings of a hundred plus municipalities that were proposed nearly two years ago by the Minister.

We have not heard yet, Mr. Chairman, what the fate is for the three municipalities in Green Bay, but here we have the town of Springdale, the largest community in Green Bay, the service centre, the commercial hub of Green Bay, extremely concerned about a growing political and economic power structure here on the northeast Avalon called the supercity, or whatever you want to call it. The city of Avalon causes worry even in north eastern Newfoundland in the town of Springdale, some 3,500 people.

So, Mr. Chairman, this Government, wherever it lays its hand it usually lays a trail of waste and destruction in its wake. Municipal Government, being no exception to the rule, health care and education, of course, being two other prime examples. It sort of reminds me, Mr. Chairman, of if the Premier had opened an automotive garage and had a sign up asking people to bring their vehicles there for repair, I do not think I would turn my vehicle in to Clyde's garage, Mr. Chairman, for minor problems. I think the minor problems might be entirely ignored and I may end up getting the motor completely overhauled, and probably the car completely rebuilt even though minor adjustments were needed. This Government seems to be only interested in doing things on a grand scale far and above what the people want or what it has a mandate from the people to do. I am sure the advertisements and flyers going around on behalf of Clyde's garage there would be a guarantee that no mole hill is too small to be turned into a mountain. So, Mr. Chairman, my position is quite simply, if it is not broken, don't fix it. And, of course, Clyde's garage will guarantee that if it is not broken they will break it so that they can fix it, and no doubt the product in the end will be even worse than it was in the beginning.

Mr. Chairman, this Government is quite capable of turning an internal combustion engine into an external combustion engine, and that sort of engine will burn everybody who comes within its environs. This Government has no love for the people of Newfoundland. This Government tends to walk around this Province with hobnailed boots showing very little respect for the people. Their sociology, municipal and other groupings, this Government has a tendency to make people fit its moulds, not to develop the moulds and fit the people. The people of this Province appear to be the last on this Government's mind, Mr. Chairman. They said in their election promises that the people would come before the bottom line, but here we have plans, policies, structures, formulas, you name it, Mr. Speaker, they all come before the people. Clyde's garage will fix your car even if it is not broken. They will break it in order to fix it, Mr. Chairman. They are a destructive force upon the face of this Province that has caused nothing but trouble since they have come to office. Word has it that more trouble is brewing on the municipal amalgamation front, and that which does not need to be done, it certainly would appear to be in the wind these days, Mr. Chairman. I only fear for some communities in my district, I fear for the City of Mount Pearl nearby the City of St. John's, and heaven help the rest of the Province, Mr. Chairman, if the Capital City of this Province becomes the city of Avalon. I thank you.

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

MR. K. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Opposition House Leader, you know, he is a good friend I have to say. He is always encouraging me, he is a pleasant fellow, and I have a great respect for his experience. His political views I may differ with, but I must say I have great respect for his respect for the House and his abilities. But you know, Mr. Chairman, Executive Council Estimates, part of the estimates of Executive Council involved the Hibernia Monitoring Committee and involved the review and the watching of the development of Hibernia and I have to reflect to 1982 when I was a young graduate of Memorial University and came out of the Commerce programme with great enthusiasm and still have it and came out of the programme and there was a recession then and I think many Members will remember that. It was a difficult time to get a job like it is now, you are coming out at a time when companies -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: I am getting to that, I am getting to that. Now when I was there in 1982, I was hearing about Hibernia, I was hearing about the offshore and as a young B. Comm. I was hoping that I would be able to avail of the opportunities of Hibernia and looking forward to that, that was nine and a half years ago, and I was enthusiastic and I said, I am going to stay in this Province, no matter what it takes and made sure that I did and went out and found employment and beat the streets and put the resumes every where and created something or try to create something as best I could, like you would and did that. But I kept hearing Hibernia for a long time, I heard it since 1979 when I was in my second or third year university, I heard it up to my fifth year when I became a graduate and decided to pursue some opportunities.

My reason for stating that and for reflecting on that, is that Hibernia has arrived as part of the development of the Province and was one of the components or was one of the many industries of the Province, and I believe that it would have a very big impact on the Province. I think it will have an impact on entrepreneurs, on people who want to start a business, on people who want to identify opportunities and then to seek out those opportunities and start their business, and I am very pleased to see that this opportunity exists now; not only was it a dream or was it an idea or concept, it is now reality and it is something that people can go after with full vigour and achieve.

They can open a business related to Hibernia, there are a thousand different types of ideas, there are a thousand different services that people can avail of that are going to be required for this project; if one goes over to look in a business library or look at the list of business opportunities that have been put forward by the consortium of the ideas or services that will be required, there are hundreds, literally hundreds of opportunities, so it is up to a lot of our young people coming through the commerce degrees and their business degrees, people who are involved in business, people who have been senior business people in this Province to take advantage of Hibernia as it is a major development for this Province; it is the largest oil development, probably in North America in the next number of years and, it is something that will bring to us a great deal of excellence and expertise from around the world.

Technology that we will probably have invented here, technology to be used for the first time, and under Executive Council, the monitoring committee has been put in place to ensure that these benefits are accrued to this Province as best as we can; we cannot have it all but we can certainly strive for that and hopefully get the majority share of what we can achieve.

We have to be realistic on that because of our population and so on but we should be striving to get as many benefits as we can from the Hibernia project. It is a huge, huge project, it is something that will certainly help develop the Province for the next ten to fifteen to twenty years and it is something that we should be more vocal about and we should be encouraging younger people and any business person in the Province to avail of and to look into it and to start a business and to seek opportunity.

It is here now, it is here, it is real, it is something that I think many people never did believe was going to appear; for many years they were told that it might and for whatever reasons, it took that many years to unfold and a lot of major players who were involved worked to develop this and I am very pleased to see that this Government has been able to get the agreement and to get the project off the ground.

I am hoping that the work that will be undertaken for the project will be as much as possible, distributed around the Province. A number of these sub-contracts can have a positive effect, not only on the Avalon Peninsula, but also on Central and Western Newfoundland and Labrador, and hopefully the people, the entrepreneurs who are involved are taking advantage of those opportunities and are seeking those opportunities. A number of major projects if they were to go to other parts of the Province would certainly be of benefit to other regions of the Province and would see the impact of Hibernia spread not only for the St. John's area and the Avalon Peninsula but to other parts and I think that is important and I think that Nodeco, the consortium should - I think they understand that and I am very glad to see that the monitoring committee which is made up of capable executive officials of the Government is there to impress upon them, the need of distributing the wealth as much as they can around the Province and ensuring that as much as can be done will be done.

It is extremely important that the major oil companies understand this; it is important that they understand that this is a project for all of the Province and all of Canada and I think that the Federal Government, Provincial Governments and the setting up of the Offshore Development Board and the monitoring committees of both levels of Governments will certainly help to insure that this project attains the full benefit for the region.

I think that it is a very worthwhile exercise, and I believe that we are building on something that the previous Government in a sense, when the Board was put in place, I just would hope that we will see more benefit coming out of it. It is starting to unfold. In the next year or so I believe that you are going to see major developments occurring, and you are going to see millions and millions being spent in this Province, and I think that certainly is going to drive the economy. As we are in a recession Canada wide, North America wide, hopefully it will certainly help us come out of this recession much quicker than we expected.

I believe it gives opportunities to everybody in business, and anybody who thinks about getting into a business. It is pleasant to see us not having to travel and go to a major project or seek out an opportunity which is away from us. It is nice to have it on our doorstep or just off our doorstep which is unusual in our Province as we have always had to travel to other places most of the time to seek other opportunities. And I think of the manufacturing sector in Central Canada where many of our people go to find employment. At least maybe we can build a bigger base that allows our people here to generate the economy here that we need to keep our people here. And I think Hibernia, being set forth by this Government has certainly been very positive and I see it to be more positive as the months unfold. I think you are going to see many positive things coming out of it. But the thing is and the point to be made is that people cannot sit there and say well, it is here and that is fine and dandy. You have to go in and seek the opportunity. I have been speaking to a number of business people in many regions of the Province and there were seminars held during the past two years on the West Coast and Central Newfoundland and on the East Coast identifying to these companies what the opportunities might be. So it is up to our people, it is up to us as a Government, and us as Members to encourage people to take these opportunities and to get into them. And I only hope that will occur.

The other thing I wanted to just bring up, Mr. Chairman, with respect to the Executive Council Estimates is the fact that under this heading IGA, Intergovernmental Affairs is also there, and being undertaken right now are the discussions of the fiscal transfer arrangements between the Federal and the Provincial Governments of Canada. It is now a major, major issue for our Government and it is certainly going to be a major issue in the future. These fiscal transfer arrangements are going to have to be restructured and re-organized. They are going to have to be done in a proper manner that reflects the Canada of the day, that reflects the needs of the have not provinces, provinces that have not developed as well as others have, and have had the advantages that others have had and these fiscal transfers are going to have to be done in the proper manner. I know that discussions are underway now between levels of Government to see that these fiscal transfers arrangements are put in the right perspective, that when they are finalized I sincerely hope that they will reflect the needs of the provinces. Bill C-69 which was brought forward by the Federal Government sent a very major signal to many of the provinces, especially the poor ones, as to what they are going to have to do to keep their health care systems going and so on. It is not positive at all, it is very negative, it is very extreme. I only hope that the Federal Government will get its act together when it comes to these negotiations and will understand the concerns of each region in negotiating these arrangements and in satisfying the different regions of Canada. It is a large and diverse country and it deserves the standard of living that we now have, but it deserves a better one, certain regions deserve better, and it does not necessarily mean that you have to give special treatment. What it means is you reflect upon and you look at the needs of those regions. And certain regions need more help than others and it is certainly time that the Federal Government makes and pays that attention.

I just wanted to point out these two items, Mr. Chairman, under the items of Executive Council. I believe these two are major, major items for discussion, and I would look forward to hearing further responses on those. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to comment on a few of the comments made by my colleague for Stephenville pertaining to the Hibernia project, and a few other comments as well on the Executive Council. I had an opportunity on Friday past to speak to the Chamber of Commerce in Deer Lake and that was the subject they wanted me to have a few words on, Hibernia. After all the meetings over the last number of years, and all the talk about the Hibernia project I was surprised, I really was surprised, to learn and see the lack of knowledge and the lack of understanding of the Hibernia project by business people, and it is not only in my area. I experienced it in Corner Brook by some fairly large companies, except for the Lundrigan Group. The Lundrigan Group are very aware of what is going on with it, and what the repercussions are. I just last week had a couple of meetings with some people from Lundrigans pertaining to the project itself and some other matters pertaining to the district, and except for those people it is frightening, now that the project is started and we are looking forward, I am as well, and I can well understand why the Member for Stephenville is interested in it because it could be something directly affecting his district with regards to the new contract for the camps, the other 2600 units, but it was frightening to say the least. As I went through my presentation on it, with my little knowledge of the project, what I thought was a little knowledge, I was surprised after the presentation when everybody walked up and said, thanks a million, we finally learned something about it. We finally learned something about the Hibernia project and the possibilities we have to try and get some work out of it.

Mr. Chairman, I think, through no fault of anybody, that is where we are going to fall down as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. After all the years we talked about it I do not think we are ready for it. I do not want to be pessimistic on it, but talking to different business leaders around this Province today they do not know where to go. If they do not have a joint venture formed already, as far as I am concerned, they are out in left field, to say the least. One of the great chances we have today, especially for the West Coast of the Province, pertaining to the Hibernia project directly now, is the contract for the other 2600 units under Phase O of the project, the 3000 man camp. That was suppose to be let out last week, and now it is supposed to be this week, but why the delay? I made a phone call to Nodeco today and got no answers. Why it is not out is beyond me. It is suppose to be let. Now, there may be some conflict, yes. There may be some conflict between the Member for Stephenville and the Member for Botwood because two of the companies, the Lundrigan Group in conjunction with another firm are bidding to do it out of the Stephenville operation under Atlantic Design Homes, and another group Pennecon is combining with another firm to do it out of Botwood. There is another, I understand, affiliated with a company from Mount Pearl. I think the tenders must be pretty close because there has still been no announcement made on that. It was suppose to be out a couple of weeks ago, I think, and it is not out now. I hope for the sake of everybody in this Province, especially for the West Coast of the Province, that contract does not go to somewhere outside the Province. I was given different reasons why the first one went to Kent out of New Brunswick. One of the basic reasons, I was told, was because the other companies could not be ready, they could not have it ready in time. If it is an excuse, good enough, if it is a legitimate one, and if it is not it can probably be covered anyway. That camp site is very important to the West Coast of the Province for two reasons. The economic reasons, primarily because of the camp site is one thing, but the second part of it is the psychological effect it is going to have on the business of the West Coast of the Province to try to take advantage of other areas on the Hibernia project. One of the other things that surprised me, an area that surprised me pertaining to the offshore, to get off strictly the Hibernia project alone right now, is the interest that was shown in the new licenses issued for the West Coast of the Province for the offshore.

Out of the eight claims, seven out of the eight claims went offshore West Coast. And now the Minister has indicated that as of February 15 the new regulations are in place for onshore. And right from the western part of Newfoundland right on up through the Humber Valley down the northern peninsula, there is a great potential for hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons have been found there back as early, early 1800s.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: I believe in the past hundred years there has been something like sixty-six wells drilled on the west coast of the Province. And that augurs well for the oil industry. And granted that all the experience gained probably from the Hibernia development now will finally some day I suppose be able to be used by companies right here in the Province, ourselves, the local people, to try and encourage entrepreneurs to get involved, especially when it comes to the west coast part of the Province with regards to the - both offshore and onshore. And as we know, one of the reasons for interest in the offshore activity over there is because of the presence of hydrocarbons both on land and offshore, and the shallow water that is offshore western Newfoundland. That is one of the big reasons. And the amount of activity over the years that has showed positive signs of hydrocarbons.

If we miss out on the Hibernia contracts now - the other thing that I cannot understand from Nodeco, for instance, is why they are so evasive with some of the information. Just today I called and asked for a list of the contractors, the contracts that had been let so far on the Hibernia project and a list of the sub-contractors and so on. They were fairly touchy and I do not know why. There is no secret. It is all out. I just wanted a list so I could have it today and have it compiled under one heading. I would like to know because I would like to be able to pass it along to some of the people who have been asking questions in my area.

AN HON. MEMBER: If you're Tory (inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: And some of the people asking the questions are not Tory, they are good Liberals. But even though, I always pass along the information anyway. Regardless of what they are. Because the -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, I know. But I have not got a copy of it, and

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: But even with the sub-contractors, what they are doing, some of the contracts have been let, for instance, the one on Kent Home, on the Kent out of New Brunswick, on those 400 units. I had a fellow for two weeks trying to get information on how they were going to haul them into the Province. And finally he got it after pretty well all in. They trucked some in with their own units out of New Brunswick and took the rest in by water. So when it was all said and done it was too late, he could not even bid, he never even had the opportunity to bid. So that is what I am talking about, about a small operator.

AN HON. MEMBER: Was he a Liberal?

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, by the way, he is Liberal. I thought the Minister and probably the administration would probably have it out to him. But now because of that - and he never got the information and it is too late - then I would say he will probably be in my camp the next election.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: There is a lot of inequity so far. Nothing, I suppose, serious to the extent that we may miss out. And I think that every Member here has a responsibility to make sure that our business people and the people who could take advantage of some of the contracts, not necessarily the main contract, but even the sub-contracts or the sub sub-contracts. A lot of our people could take advantage of that if they knew of it, but there has been a problem in accessing the information, and that is one of the things that we have to be careful of.

The quality control part of it for our companies and the quality assurance, I do not think we have one - we might have two or three in the Province except for the joint venture part of the companies that may have the expertise. Just looking at that if any Member -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: I am not speaking anymore.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you.

MR. SIMMS: Sit down, boy, sit down. You are making a fool of yourself.

MR. SIMMS: Your time is up is it?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, I just want to introduce a couple of other topics that I have been asked by dozens and dozens of people from all over the Province to raise from time to time, I usually keep little notes and scraps of paper and the first opportunity or the earliest opportunity I will flick it out in debate and maybe some Minister will stand and respond. It is very similar to what the Minister of Social Services used to do from time to time. As a matter of fact, I have to tell him -

MR. EFFORD: Take a lesson.

MR. SIMMS: Yes, I went out there the other day and borrowed his flashlight one day not long ago.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: I do not know where - the Member for Humber East, but I borrowed his flashlight and went out and checked out something not long ago.

Mr. Chairman, I wanted to touch on the salary issue paid to executives. I want to touch on that again in my ten minutes. Well, the main reason is because I noticed with some interest the Premier trying to answer the Member for Carbonear, for example, and myself yesterday who were interviewed by CBC television and commenting on this issue. I noticed the Premier, in trying to explain it away, and I know that the Member for Carbonear was not fooled for one minute, nor was I -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes, I saw you on NTV, but the Premier said - I almost had to laugh - it is like they cannot take responsibility for anything. He even blamed that on the previous administration. The reason for the increases in the salary of the executives was because of the HAY system brought in by the previous administration. By God, I thought that was a -

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: I will tell -

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: I will explain -

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: If the President of Treasury Board will give me a chance to get a word in, I will explain.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: I will explain why I want to raise it, because that is such a flimsy excuse and argument that it is almost laughable. Of course the previous administration brought in the HAY system. The HAY system is a recognized system throughout, I suppose, the universe, certainly throughout Canada. In jurisdictions all over the world the HAY system is a system that is used when you have no system, which is what we had for many, many years.

MR. EFFORD: Seventeen years you had no system.

MR. SIMMS: But here is the point, for nearly forty years, the twenty three years of the Liberal rein there was no system -

AN HON. MEMBER: Plus seventeen.

MR. SIMMS: Plus seventeen or almost seventeen before we brought it in. Really there was an ad hoc system, but, Mr. Chairman, the point of the argument is this, I mean to blame, somehow to try to divert the accusation and allegation made by the Member for St. John's South, by the Member for Pleasantville, and by the Member for Carbonear to try to deflect their criticisms as well as ours over this issue, he says, 'oh, that was because of the HAY system brought in by the previous administration.' But I must say the CBC journalists did not let the Premier off the hook because he added his own tag at the end by saying -

AN HON. MEMBER: He is a Tory.

MR. SIMMS: Rick Seaward is a Tory? You have got to be kidding me! I do not know if the press gallery is listening, but if they aren't, I shall be certain to tell them what the Member for Carbonear said. Rick Seaward is a Tory, I tell the Member for Carbonear, you could have fooled us. You could have fooled us! But I will say one thing for him, he did not let the Premier off the hook because, as he said, when the Premier said this was the fault of the previous administration because they brought in the HAY system, he made the point quite clearly that that did not prevent the Cabinet of today from turning down or rejecting these sizeable increases, and that, of course, is the point.

MR. RIDEOUT: They could not say no.

MR. SIMMS: Yes. As has been said on public television on other occasions in major debates, you did have an option, you could have said no - no, no, no!

MR. BAKER: How many more times do you want me to say no?

MR. SIMMS: So, I had to introduce that.

The best thing for the Minister, the President of Treasury Board, to do when these things come up is just admit it, confess and admit it, you made a mistake, you should not have agreed to these significant increases, especially after announcing there was going to be a $120 million deficit. You should have said, Boys, under the HAY system, here is what they are entitled to, but let us put it on hold; I do not think we will do it. You could have done it.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: You could have done it.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: You could have done it.

The President of Treasury Board could have said no, and he knows it. And, Mr. Chairman, if you need any more evidence, I mean, it is not only us. Look, there is the paper with the Member for St. John's South, the Member for Carbonear and the Member for Pleasantville: Some Liberal backbenchers oppose salary increases for executives. Now, Mr. Chairman, if their own members do not understand it and do not agree with it, why, in the name of heavens can the Opposition not bring it up. Of course, we will bring it up.

So, I wanted to raise that to get the debate back on track a bit, not that the matters being discussed were not of interest and importance, they were; but, over the last two months since the Minister of Finance brought in his Budget, I have talked to so many public servants who are so upset with this Government for all kinds of reasons, as the Member for Carbonear knows. He said in his interview and he said on television that a lot of his constituents are giving him heat on this issue, in particular. For those who have been asked to take a wage freeze and for those who have lost their jobs, that is very hard to understand.

MR. BAKER: Name one.

MR. SIMMS: Name one what?

MR. BAKER: One public servant.

MR. SIMMS: Do you want me to name a public servant? Would the Minister like me to name a public servant?

AN HON. MEMBER: I would not dare.

MR. SIMMS: Well, I could name one that he has already fired, so they do not have to be concerned, but I certainly would not name a public servant who is still employed in the system, because they are all scared to death of this Government because of the Gestapo tactics that you use. You have them totally intimidated. You have them intimidated. You are back to Joey's day, using intimidation and fear. They know it, and you cannot fool them for a second.

MR. RIDEOUT: You have already put them in jail, too.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: No, Mr. Chairman, these are only preliminary remarks, yet.

Now, there is another matter. I said I would raise some matters that I have been asked to raise by people I am talking to; constituents, public servants, around the Province have asked me to raise these things, so I am raising them.

AN HON. MEMBER: A massive uprising.

MR. SIMMS: Yes, I say to the President of Treasury Board, there could very well be a massive uprising and he had better be careful.

Now, here is another minor issue, I am sure, in the mind of the President of Treasury Board. Somebody called me and said: For the love of heavens, the first chance you get in the House of Assembly to ask Winse Baker a question, publicly - because, I mean, I talk to the Government House Leader -

AN HON. MEMBER: It is not Question Period.

MR. SIMMS: No, it is not Question Period, but let me throw it out, anyway: Why will he not accept an invitation from George MacLaren or Bill Rowe to go on Open Line?

MR. RIDEOUT: They are supposed to replace the Ombudsman.


Now, Mr. Chairman, I am saying, it is not a major issue in the mind of the President of Treasury Board, but, in the minds of many people out there, the thousands who have been kicked out by the Government, the thousands who have been fired by the Government and the thousands and tens of thousands who have had their wages frozen. They want to have a chance to have a crack at the President of Treasury Board. What is happening, Mr. Chairman, is that the Minister of Finance even goes on, the Minister of Social Services goes on, and other Ministers go on, the Premier goes on. But George MacLaren butts in - when a caller calls in and says: Bill, why do you not get Winse Baker on the line? and Bill says, I can't get him on the line because I can't get him to answer my phone calls - and George butts in and says: Yes, Bill, I can't get him to answer my phone calls, either.

So, I want the President of Treasury Board to tell the Province, tell the people of this country, why he will not go on Bill Rowe's Open Line Show. It is extremely important to those people out there.

MR. RIDEOUT: (Inaudible) go on with Ron Pumphrey.

MR. SIMMS: Go on the Ron Pumphrey show.

MR. RIDEOUT: The Ombudsman.

MR. SIMMS: Well, it is interesting the Minister of Finance mentioned that because that is precisely the reason they want you on the Open Line Program, precisely the reason because you flicked out the Ombudsman, you tore up The Ombudsman Act, you took away the right that the people have to go to an independent person to present problems that they have when they feel wrongly done by this Government, and lord knows there are thousands who have been wrongly done by this Government over the last couple of months in particular. They flicked that out and the reason you gave was because MHAs will take up their causes, and now you cannot even get the President of Treasury Board to go on Open Line for god sake. How can they get a hold of him? So maybe he can answer that. Will he answer this, and I will sit down then, my ten minutes are just about up -

MR. WINSOR: (Inaudible) Gander Beacon.

MR. SIMMS: But I have one important question for the President of Treasury Board, if he will give me ten seconds.

MR. WINSOR: You see, the President of Treasury Board wrote to the Gander Beacon -

MR. SIMMS: The President of Treasury Board wrote to The Gander Beacon -

MR. WINSOR: - protesting that he is getting unfair criticism.

MR. SIMMS: Oh, did he? That is a sure sign that they are getting through to him. The public servants must be getting through to him.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

MR. SIMMS: I will raise it the next time, it is about Princess Anne, I thought he might let me get on with it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Tell the truth now.

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: I think the Princess Anne issue I dealt with yesterday, I do not know if the Member was here or not, $130,000 was being spent on the Royal Visit.

In terms of the question about the Open Line Show, first of all, I do not know recently of any requests for me to go on the Show by popular demand. I do know that during the NAPE strike back last June there were a couple of calls and at that point in time I did not want to inflame a situation that did not need to be inflamed, so I refused to go on. But I believe, since that time, recently I have not had any phone calls from him.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: I know. Recently I have not had any phone calls from that particular show.

However, I should point out to the hon. Member that I really do not have time to sit around in the morning listening to the show and I do not really have time to give up in the morning. Now after the House closes my time may be a little freer. At that point in time maybe I will myself call Mr. MacLaren and call Mr. Rowe and suggest that I would like to come and sit in on their Show for an hour or two or whatever the case may be.


MR. BAKER: What I was about to do, Mr. Chairman, was go over some truth to counteract some of the impressions that the Member opposite is giving, but I see even the press has left the gallery. I suppose even they are not interested in what I am going to say.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: What I would like to do is this, I would like to deal with the statement made by the Opposition House Leader that somehow after we knew about the serious financial position of the Province that there was one group that we gave huge salary increases to. Now, Mr. Chairman, I would like to be totally honest with the Members opposite, totally honest with the people on this side, totally honest with the people in the gallery, and the press who I know are listening up there, and I would like to confess to all of the increases that were given after we recognized we had a financial problem. I will go through it. I have it all done up here, and with the dates and everything. First of all, there was the CUPE workers at the Aquarena, got 2 per cent, since we knew about our financial problem. The Cabot Institute Support Staff which happens to be NAPE got 3 per cent. The General Service and NAPE, a very large union got 6 per cent, 3 and 3, one of the 3's, both of them were given recently. The Nape group homes got 3 per cent. The hospital support staff CUPE got 3 per cent. The hospital support staff NAPE got 3 per cent.

MR. SIMMS: When?

MR. BAKER: Since we found out about our financial problems.

MR. SIMMS: When, October 1?

MR. BAKER: October 1, yes.

Lab and X ray had 5 per cent, the MOS, NAPE got 3 per cent, the Marine Service Workers, NAPE got 3 per cent; Newfoundland and Labrador Housing which is CUPE got 3 per cent; Newfoundland and Labrador Housing which is IBEW got 3 per cent and that one was January 1, this year; Newfoundland Liquor Corporation, NAPE got 3 per cent. The Nurses' Union, January 1, this year got 5 per cent and that is since we knew about our financial problems. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, since we knew about our financial difficulties got seven-tenths of 1 per cent, seven-tenths of 1 per cent; The Student Assistants, NAPE got 3 per cent; the Waterford Hospital Support, NAPE got 3 per cent; The Workers' Compensation Commission, NAPE got 4 per cent; The Group Homes, CUPE got 3 per cent.

Now, Mr. Chairman, these are all increases that workers received after we discovered at the end of last summer, last September that we had a financial problem, okay? Some of these agreements I just mentioned were agreements that were reached within the last couple of months even, well, the General Service for instance, General Service, yes, so we reached that within the last couple of months; it was well into the new year, so, Mr. Chairman, these are the increases that were given since we knew about our financial difficulties.

Now there were two other groups and these are the two that the Opposition keeps harping on, these are the two that the press seems to be interested in carrying -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: - interested in carrying. These are the two groups that seem to be mentioned around the Province, in the evening news and everything else, let me tell you, Mr. Chairman, the truth.

The management group on the 1st of January, 1991 got 2 per cent and the executive group on the 1st of January, 1991 got two per cent. Now these are the huge increases since we discovered our financial problems, these are the huge increases we have given these two groups, 2 per cent. Now, Mr. Chairman -

MR. SIMMS: Is that right?

MR. BAKER: That is absolutely right, absolutely correct. I am telling the absolute truth about things that were done in terms of salary adjustments. Now, Mr. Chairman, Members opposite might like to try to make something of that, they might like to make something of that.

Since last October, or September, around the time September/October we discovered we had a problem, all of these groups had salary increases and I have just named them out. From a low of .7 per cent with the Constabulary, January 1st, to a high of 5 per cent with the Nurses' Union and just about everybody else got 3 per cent, with the exception of two groups who got only 2 per cent and this was the management group and the executive group.

Mr. Chairman, I know that sometimes it is difficult for Members Opposite to come up with criticisms of this Government, very, very difficult. You would think that in all of this, the things that we are doing and all the decisions we are making, that they could find something, some decision that we made that was wrong or they thought was wrong or could have been done differently, on which to criticize us, and all they can do, all they can find is a 2 per cent salary increase given to management and executive on January 1st, and try to distort and blow it up into some big problem.

Now, Mr. Chairman, if that is all they can do, I would like to say to the people of the Province: we must be doing some good job of governing this Province, if that is all the Opposition can find to criticize. If that is the only thing on which they can hang their hats, that is the only thing that they can get their kicks out of, their jollies out of, sit back and chuckle over, is a 2 per cent salary increase to the management and executive group; so, Mr. Chairman, that is the truth about increases since we discovered our financial problems.

That is the exact truth, the whole truth, about increases since we discovered our financial problem. I would like to make one further point. Members opposite not only take this 2 per cent and try to blow it up into something it is not, go back a couple of years, and go back three years. What they have been doing is taking the salary of one individual three years ago who has since gone to something else, compared it with the salary of a totally different individual in a different job and said: this is a big increase. They have been totally misleading and not telling the truth about these things. Not only did I want to point this out, but I wanted to point out something else. They are trying to give the impression that somehow one group of workers escaped the freeze. Now, I suppose it is their job in Opposition to try to exaggerate and take a 2 per cent salary increase and try to blow it up into something it is not. Maybe we have come to expect that kind of thing from this Opposition, but the truth about the salary freeze is that every single employee of Government will have twelve months of salary freeze. There are no exceptions anywhere. Everything that would have ordinarily happened during the year will happen a year later, probably, depending on the choice the unions make

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

MR. BAKER: I will finish up later, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, I never, ever witnessed such a weak, weak, defence of a government initiative as I have just seen from this Minister. I cannot believe my ears. Again, I gave him the opportunity to stand up and confess, get down on his knees, as my friend for St. John's East Extern did the other day to the Premier, and confess that they made a boo boo. Even his own colleagues over there, the Member for St. John's South, the Member for Pleasantville, even his own colleagues do not agree with what they did, so why did he not get up, take the opportunity, confess it, admit it, and get on with something else? No, Mr. Chairman, he could not do that because he could not stand for the Opposition to be right at all. He just cannot stand it. Now, Mr. Chairman, what are we talking about here? He gets up and says, we gave them a 2 per cent increase. That is all we gave them. First of all he listed all the union groups and what their increases were, neglecting to say, of course, that 95 per cent of them, except for a couple, I think, he said, were all part of collective agreements that were signed, sealed, and suppose to have been delivered. They were all part of agreements so it is hardly the same kind of a comparison, so forget all that, that is nonsense. Then he said we gave the management people, executives, 2 per cent. Well, let me ask him this, perhaps he can check it out for me, under Executive Council, the area which he is responsible for, and the Estimates which we are debating, a Director of Resource Programs 1990-91 there was one person $47,812, and in the 1991-92 fiscal year the salary will be, the same one person, $57,693, an increase of, not 2 per cent, 20.7 per cent. Now, that is not 2 per cent, so check that one, the Director of Resource Programs. Director of Social and Economic Policy, one person last year, $47,811, one person this year $60,863, is that an increase of 2 per cent, Your Honour? Your Honour knows full well that is an increase of 27.3 per cent. Now, where is this 2 per cent? The Director of Constitutional Policy, last year her salary was $44,790. Well, that is what it says in the Estimates, and this year, $64,000, an increase of 43.7 per cent. How about the social policy analyst? - one person, $41,251 last year, this year, $91,000 - $92,000 in the Estimates. One person, $48,404. Is that 2 per cent? No, Mr. Chairman, that is 17.3 per cent. And on and on it goes.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: I am telling the truth. I just read for the Minister what the salaries were of those positions.

MR. BAKER: You read what you were saying, that is all.

MR. SIMMS: Naturally, what else would I read, what you are saying? Don't be so silly, boy! Don't be so silly!

MR. BAKER: You did not read the truth.

MR. SIMMS: I did not read the truth, no! The salary was $47,000 for Director of Resource Programmes last year, this year it is $57,000 and that is not the truth, is that what he is saying?

MR. BAKER: You are not telling the truth.

MR. SIMMS: Well, I am asking the Minister -

MR. RIDEOUT: Nobody tells the truth.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, surely, I do not have to ask Your Honour to ask the Minister to withdraw that. I mean, obviously, it is unparliamentary. I could ask you to ask him. Would you ask him?

AN HON. MEMBER: It is not unparliamentary.

MR. SIMMS: He said I was not telling the truth, that is unparliamentary.

MR. RIDEOUT: If you are not telling the truth, you are lying.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. Member, on a point of order.

MR. SIMMS: Well, I was hoping I did not need to raise a point of order. Your Honour, perhaps, did not hear it, but I will.

MR. CHAIRMAN: On the issue of whether the statement made by the hon. the Government House Leader is unparliamentary or not, the Chair rules that it is probably not the kind of, I guess, statement that we would like to hear and I would like hon. Members to refrain from using this kind of language from time to time, that has been common, I guess, in the last little while, to be used here. I ask that they refrain from using such language, and ask hon. Members not to infer that hon. Members are lying to this House.

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

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Your ruling is accurate, as usual. It is a correct ruling. I think it was Winston Churchill, was it not, who used the phrase `terminological inexactitude', and there are many other ways around using that word that is considered to be unparliamentary in the House.

I would suggest, Mr. Chairman, that the way to avoid all of this, and all of the ways of getting around saying what you should not be able to say is for Members to tell the truth in the House. I think that is probably a good practice.

AN HON. MEMBER: They should practice what they preach.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Chairman, if the Government House Leader is not big enough to withdraw unparliamentary remarks, then sobeit. I am not going to fiddle around with him and what he had to say. He had to be cagey and coy by using some other little terminology. Why does he not use the reference that my friend, the Leader of the Opposition often uses? Instead of calling somebody a liar or -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes. Say, `You have the face of a robber's horse', like the hon. the President of the Council does. That is all you have to say.

Now, let us get back to where we were, Mr. Chairman, before I was so rudely interrupted. And that is a favourite tactic of this Minister. When he is starting to feel the heat, he stands up and starts interjecting or whatever; but let me ask him this question. I am presuming he is going to answer the other four that I pointed out, whose salaries have increased by 17.3 per cent, 27.3 per cent, 20.7 per cent, he is going to answer all of those; forget the Director of Constitutional Policy, he has a real problem with that one and I will not even throw that one in there if it causes him great heartache and headache; but answer the others and tell me those other positions did not get 27 per cent increases or 20 per cent increases, because they did.


MR. SIMMS: No? How can he say no? I do not understand it.

MR. BAKER: That is not true.

MR. SIMMS: It is true. There it is, from the Estimates. Now, unless, Mr. Chairman, they have done what they normally do, and that is, cover up, if they have covered it up somewhere, then we have no way of knowing that, unless he tells us the truth when he answers. He will not.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well, listen: Last year, in the Premier's Office, the average salary for fourteen employees in 1991 was $37,881 - the average salary for fourteen employees. This year, 1991, 1992, for those same fourteen employees, the average salary is $41,482. That is an increase percentage-wise of 9.5 per cent. Now, is that true? Can he say if that is true or if that is accurate?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Okay. Well I hope he does check it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well, so far I think I have been right on just about every count. I think I am batting 100 per cent so far in everything. According to the press, according to popular opinions, according to open lines, according to everything, I have been 100 per cent on everything I have raised so far.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) truth now.

MR. SIMMS: Everything has to do with the truth. Listen, Mr. Chairman, if there is one group in this Province today which has the most suspicions cast upon them for not telling the truth, I can tell the hon. Member it is not Members on this side of the House. I will not say what side it is on because it could be unparliamentary. But I can tell you, everyone of them over there got the face of a robber's horse. That is all I can say to him.

Now, let's get on to a couple of other things too. Because we clearly won that argument. We saw his weak defence. Lots of other questions about NIS on salaries by the way, which we will get to as well. But I wanted to ask him a question about Princess Anne. Right? And I asked him for permission to let me do it the last time before he cut me off but he would not do it. He is in his usual nasty form. Took his nasty pills this morning, I do not know why, he does not need them.

MS. COWAN: The Princess Royal.

MR. SIMMS: He is nasty without them. I am talking about Princess Anne now.

MS. COWAN: The Princess Royal.

MR. SIMMS: Well, you call her "Princess Royal," I will call her Princess Anne.

MS. COWAN: That is the correct (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: If the hon. Minister does not mind. Now I want to ask the Government House Leader this: Princess Anne is due to visit here next month -


MR. SIMMS: Next month, is it not? June? Yes. The Minister of Social Services does not even know. Anyway, the question I have been asked to ask the Premier or the Government House Leader, his left-hand man, is this: I have been asked to ask the question. Does the Premier or the left-hand man, or does the Government, plan to bring Princess Anne into the House of Assembly for some kind of official ceremony to open this Legislature officially, or something along that line?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: He understands the question, I do not have to repeat it. I am sure he understands the question. That is what I have been asked to ask. When Princess Anne comes down here in June - if the House is closed for example, if we have adjourned for the summer recess -

MR. EFFORD: Did Princess Anne ask you to ask that?

MR. SIMMS: - does the Government intend to call the House back -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: - to have some kind of formal ceremony?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. SIMMS: Oh! It's up, is it, Mr. Chairman? Well, I will get back.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First of all, we will start at the back and go ahead. In terms of the royal visit, I do not know, I simply do not know what the plans are, what the itinerary is or anything. What I will do is I will try to find out and sometime tomorrow let the hon. Member know. As far as I know there are no plans to open the House or to keep the House open that long or to open it when she is here, although that may very well be happening. I just do not know about her itinerary, I will find out. It is something perhaps I should know anyway. From the point of view as a matter of interest I should try to find out, and I will.

There are a number of matters raised by the Opposition House Leader and while he was speaking I reacted rather strongly to some things that he said. Because sometimes I do get angry, momentarily, but it passes off very quickly and generally I get back to my calm self that I am most of the time.

I made the point that the Opposition House Leader had been trying to pretend that since we knew about the financial problems this Province was facing that we have given some huge salary increases to one group of individuals. That is simply not true and I have quoted for the record all of the increases in the whole of the public service that were granted from the point in time where we realized we had a financial problem. And the group that he talks about got increases of 2 per cent during that time period.

The Opposition House Leader tries to distort things then by going back and picking out salary estimates that deal not with the period in question but with an entirely different period, to try to indicate that what I have said is not accurate. Now I think everybody understands that. If there is anybody listening they understand that the salary estimates do not deal with that period of time, only from the point in time where we recognized we had a financial problem to this budget year. It covers a different time period altogether.

Within the time period the Opposition has been harping on the salary increases were as I read for the record a few minutes ago. And since that time, since the first of April, we have now passed legislation instituting a wage freeze for all employees - no exceptions, all employees. There is no increase in the scales paid to any employees during that particular year. Then the Opposition House Leader picked out some specific examples, and he picked out one example here and another one here and another one there. Now I dare say amongst 35,000 direct and indirect Government employees, you are going to find a lot of examples where there are variances, and the variances are there for a number of reasons. First of all, some salaries - what you see in the estimates are not necessarily the salaries that are paid during that year, or the salary level a person is on. If, for instance, in one year a person is going to be on for six months and another year they are going to be on for twelve months, because the salary is double in the second year does not mean there has been a salary increase. It simply means the person has worked twice as long. So he has picked out some examples of annualized salaries, one example of the constitutional person whose salary last year was $58,000 - not $44,000 as he quotes, and so on. He picks out a few anomalies out of 35,000 and tries to make a general rule out of all that by saying that because there were some anomalies, there were some reclassifications, there were some positions that one year were only there for part of the year and the next year for a full year because these conditions existed that somehow that translates into a huge salary increase for the whole of executive management, which obviously is not true.

Mr. Chairman, I would just like to reiterate again that all of the examples used by the Opposition House Leader are incorrect. They do not point out anything, they do not show large increases, they may show a few reclassifications and there were a few of those. I believe if you combine the management and union reclassifications, there might have been 400 or 500 done during the year. So there were a few reclassifications, there were a few individuals who left jobs and other people came into the jobs, there were a few people moved around, and all this sort of thing. There were a few annualized amounts, part year last year, full year this year. So there are a few of those and I dare say you will find a few. But as for the truth of the matter, Mr. Chairman, you have to go back to the list that I read out the last time I was speaking indicating all of the salary increases in the public service of this Province since the point in time where we discovered we had a financial problem. All I can say, Mr. Chairman, to his comments that - well, what the newspapers say and what is in the press and so on, so all I can respond is that I am limited to telling the truth, and that is exactly what I have done here today. As to his comment about it being a weak defence, again, I will make the comment again, that if the truth is a weak defence, then we are in one heck of a mess in this world if the truth is looked upon as being weak. And all I have done is present the truth of it.

Now Members opposite can have some fun and exaggerate and all those kinds of things and pick out a few examples. They are allowed to do that. That is okay, but I would just simply like to say, Mr. Chairman, that these examples are simply not correct and the variances are there for reasons other than salary increases and that is a perfectly normal occurrence in the public service of any province. In terms of the salary levels that they sometimes talk about I would defy anybody opposite to find an organization, Government or whatever, that has 35,000 or 40,000 employees and does not have at least half a dozen people earning in the $100,000 a year range. I defy him to find anywhere in the world with that situation existing. $100,000 a year looks high, but we have a big budget, a big public service and the people at the top are getting paid perhaps even less than they would in some other places in the same kind of job. So, Mr. Chairman, I know it is unusual to defend that kind of wage, but if you have a structure where there are promotions and there are a lot of levels in that structure, and if you are paying, for instance, the lowest levels in that structure, $23,000, $24,000, $25,000 a year, then obviously the few at the top are going to get high salaries, and that is a fact of life, it always has been and always will be.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want to address a few issues that have come up today and some that have not. First of all, with respect to the issue of amalgamation, there has been some discussion of it here this afternoon, and I want to talk briefly about that seeing as we are interested in issues of Government policy. I said yesterday when I spoke that I supported an approach to amalgamation that involved the expanded urban core concept that involved more than just St. John's, Mount Pearl, and Wedgewood Park. I said that, Mr. Chairman, because I wanted to make certain that I was prepared to discuss all these issues and not take a hardened position that said, no, no, we cannot touch Wedgewood Park, we cannot touch Mount Pearl, we cannot touch Conception Bay South, Paradise, or all these places, so it is important that we look at the concept. Now, that does not mean that whatever proposal that comes forth from this Government is going to be supported, because we have yet to see the plan that the Minister has. We have yet to hear any responsible discussion by Government as to what their proposals might be. We have heard, oh, you will hear it sometime this month, but I think they have left it so long that opinion out there is becoming polarized, and you have a battle partly being waged by the Member for Mount Pearl and the council out there, and partly being waged by the City of St. John's, and people are starting to get concerned. The Member for Pleasantville has joined in and helped us out. At least the Member for Pleasantville had the courage to raise the issue here in the House, I think perhaps for the first time in the last couple of months, since I have been here anyway he was the first person to raise the issue in the House and state some opinions on it. We have to see, Mr. Chairman, what this Government is going to come forth with and have them bring it forth soon so that we can have a debate about it. I said we should go as far as we can to bring about fairness in taxation in this region, and also fairness of municipal standards and those two fundamental principles ought to be part of whatever it is the Government does. It is not good enough to say, amalgamation by and of itself, means nothing, by and of itself. We do not just put two, three, or four, five, or six blocks together for the sake of having a bigger block. That is not the point. The point has to be to achieve something for the purpose of fairness or for the purpose of raising the standards of all people who demand municipal services, so I am waiting in great anticipation, Mr. Chairman, to see what it is that the Government puts forth, and ask them to put it forth soon so that we will have time to debate it. I do not know what is going to happen if they really expect that between now and the end of this month something is going to happen that is going to resolve all this problem. It has taken two years of festering and lack of leadership by the Government, and I do not see how they can resolved it in thirty days, twenty days, or however many days we have left for this session.

Mr. Chairman, that issue is something that is going to be before us for a little while longer and we will have a lot of opportunity to talk about it, but I do want to say a couple of things about, in particular the Estimates that are now under debate. I heard the President of Treasury Board make his comments in response to the Opposition House Leader, particularly when he was talking about whether or not he could or would appear on Bill Rowe's Open Line Show, whether or not he had time to do that or respond to the call. I want to ask him a question about all this because it has been a matter of a little bit of interest at some of the Estimates Committees as to whether or not he has time to return his phone calls, or how many secretaries he has, perhaps. Two, he says, and that conforms to what is in the Estimates. I visit his office and I have met both of his secretaries. They are fine, efficient people and provide good service, and I am glad to see they are there to assist the Minister in his many duties, the many jobs and undertakings he takes on behalf of some of the people of Gander and others on behalf of the Government. I wonder if he could tell us whether or not the Cabinet, or the Executive Council has some policy on how many secretaries a Minister is entitled to because we seem to have a variety, or different standards. At the Social Services Estimates the other night the Minister of Social Services was asked how many secretaries he had.

He said that he had a departmental secretary which he indicated he was good enough to keep on and it was a secretary to the Minister and then he had what he called a political secretary, so I wonder where the Minister of Social Services gets to have a political secretary that is not included in the Departmental salary estimates -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: - Department of Development too? Okay, but they are not in the departmental salary details, this person does not appear here. The Member for St. John's South who chairs the Social Services Estimates Committee, says we talked about it the other night - yes, we did, but I want the Minister -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: I want the President of Treasury Board to tell us why it is that some people have political secretaries and some people do not, and why these political secretaries do not appear in the departmental salary details, and how come he does not have one if he cannot respond to Billy Rowe and get on his open line programme, at least, perhaps he could have someone listen to it and tell him what is going on. So, Mr. Chairman, I wonder if the President of Treasury Board could tell us that and tell us what - if you can get by with only two secretaries, for your many jobs and you have four or five or six, you only have two secretaries and the Minister of Social Services, who only has one job as Minister of Social Services -

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman?

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

The hon. the Minister of Social Services on a point of Order.

MR. EFFORD: Yes, Mr. Chairman, it is not really a point of order; I just want to bring to your attention that I am trying to hear the hon. Member down there and I cannot hear a word, because of the noise in the House; I just want to bring that to your attention.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The point raised by the hon. Minister is indeed a valid point of order. The Chair has asked for order on several occasions in the last few minutes; I have had the co-operation from some Members but not all of them, so I expect all hon. Members to co-operate and help me to maintain order and decorum in the Committee.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is a serious point and I am glad that the Minister of Social Services wants to hear it because I am asking the President of Treasury Board to tell us what policy the Executive Council and Cabinet have with respect to how many secretaries a Minister gets, because the President of Treasury Board only has two and I know the Minister of Education only has two, he said so in the Estimates Committee, but the Minister of Social Services has three and the third one does not get mentioned in the departmental salary details at all; so that is the question I have for the Minister to answer and I have others, but that is one. Mr. Chairman, the President of Treasury Board said, that he was unfortunately constrained in speaking in the House because he was limited to telling the truth. He was limited to telling the truth. And I was getting a little concerned about him because while he was speaking I was looking at his nose and I was afraid it was going to grow as I watched and as I heard him speak.

AN HON. MEMBER: Pinocchio did that.

MR. HARRIS: Well I will not say Pinocchio, because then the Minister may say that I am implying that he was lying and misleading the House and suggest that it is unparliamentary. But I was just looking at his nose to see if it was going to grow or not.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: Because I could not look at the Premier's nose, and what was reported in the paper because the Premier was talking about pay increases as high as 10 per cent or 12 per cent or even 13 per cent, and the Premier was concerned about that. Now the President of Treasury Board he is limited to telling the truth, so he can only talk about 2 per cent increases here in the House. And I wonder if he would explain the discrepancy between the truth that he limited to while he is in the House, and what the Premier can say to The Evening Telegram and have reported. Because we all know, Mr. Chairman, that the Government is saying, okay, as of the 1 April 1991, nobody gets an increase from April 1, 1991 to April 1, 1992. That is all right. That is simple. So you tar everybody with the one brush, I am sure they will say. Tar them all with the one brush, everybody is treated exactly the same. Well, Mr. Chairman, the effect of that, is that, people who have already got their increases they keep it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Now he says 2 per cent for managers. I do not think anybody is complaining about a normal type of step progression that is in the cards, that is agreed to by collective agreements, that this Government is bound by.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: They are bound by these things. They have signed agreements. The agreements are binding. We expect these increases to take place. But there are, Mr. Chairman, the HAY system is not part of any collective agreement that requires senior executives to get 10 per cent or 12 per cent or 13 per cent. There is no obligation there. And if the Government can make a discretionary decision to freeze hiring so that somebody who might have gotten a job and is now unemployed, cannot get a job, then surely under this terrific financial constraints that the Government says it was under as of September or October of this year surely they could have introduced discretionary rules saying that people who are already senior executives and already have salaries of $60,000 or $70,000 or $80,000, that these salary increases, based on the HAY system or whatever it is, that these shall be delayed until we can properly assess the financial situation of the Province. Those are the things that they could have done, Mr. Chairman, the massive increases. I am not talking about the 2 per cent that the Government managers may have gotten generally that the Minister -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Two per cent - that may be 2 per cent. That would mean that the maximum increase of any one person in the public service in September in Government management or senior executive position was $2,000, if $100,000 was the maximum. Do we have increases of more than $2,000 for any public servants who make less than $100,000? I think we do. And I will ask the Minister to get up and tell us if that is not true and we will all have a look at his nose -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: - and we will see what happens as to whether he can convince us that nobody got an increase of more than -

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

MR. HARRIS: - $2,000 in that year.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Another lesson in truth, I guess. I have to give it to the Member for St. John's East as well. He is a very confusing character. Very confused as well as confusing.

First of all, the time period that he talks about in terms of salary increases begins last April and goes to March 31 of this year. That is the last year. During that last year a number of things happened. There were positions that changed. Some positions got reclassified. During that year there were some individuals in positions for only six months of the year, whereas in the coming year they will be there for twelve months. So if you are looking at the salary estimates you are going to see some anomalies in there. You are going to see some cases where a person this year is getting paid $30,000, next year $60,000, simply because he was only working half the year last year, a full year next year. You are going to see that.

Now then I understand that the hon. gentleman understands that, I know that. I am just leading up to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: I am just leading it - right, I am leading up to his question. But he does something, exactly the same thing. I was accused by the Member for St. John's East and Members opposite of giving large salary increases from the point in time where we knew we had a financial problem. Which was early October of last year, right?

Now. Let's get that clear. I was accused, or Government was accused, of giving large salary increases since last October. So I just went through the list of all of the increases given since last October in the public service of the Province. And lo and behold, the RNC got seven-tenths of 1 per cent, that was the lowest increase that was given in that period of time. Most other people in the public service got 3 per cent. The nurses and lab and X ray got 5 per cent. Since last October the management and executive group got 2 per cent.

Now these were the salary increases given after the point in time where we knew about the financial problems. Now, the hon. might say, 'well alright.' Maybe he is willing to accept that because it is the truth. He can still come back and say, 'well, if you knew you were in financial trouble, why did you give the 2 per cent? Why did you give 2 per cent?' The reason is very simply this: we believe in treating people equitably, in treating everybody the same, and -it is getting about that time isn't it - believe in treating everybody the same, and if, in fact, there are going to be problems in terms of paying normal salary increases to cover cost of living or whatever, I mean 2 or 3 per cent, that is about what it would do. Maybe the .7 per cent or the seven tenths of one percent would not even begin to do it, but if you are going to stop doing that, you have to stop for everybody, not just one group, not just one person. You have to treat everybody the same.

What we did, though, and what is not commonly known is that in the couple of years since we have been here we have cut the number of executives by 30 per cent. In this exercise we have just gone through, we have cut the executives by 10 per cent, we have cut management by 10 per cent. We have not done the same cuts amongst the working people in the public service, amongst the unionized workers. We have not done the same cuts with the unionized workers. We have cut management and executive in the last few months by 10 per cent. The numbers have been reduced by 10 per cent.

So, Mr. Chairman, there are a lot of misconceptions out there about executive pay, and the misconceptions are spread first of all by Members opposite who do not understand what is going on. Some Members do understand, but they still want to exaggerate, and you have a willing press who wants a good story, and you put them all together and that is what you get.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I know what happened. I know in reality what happened, and I am quite comfortable with what happened, and I do not mind answering the questions as they are asked. As a matter of fact, it is rather good to see that Members opposite are finally asking some questions about Executive Council and about some of the decisions that are made in Executive Council. It is rather good to see.

Now, Mr. Chairman, the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Oh, the Open Line Show, okay, let me comment about the Open Line Show. Oh, no, no, I have to answer re the secretaries. Government policy when we took over was that a Minister could have in his office three people, an executive assistant and two secretaries.

MS. VERGE: I only ever had two.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is right.

MR. BAKER: The average, though, was a lot more than that. I might say to the ex-Minister of Justice, the average was a lot more than that. An executive assistant and two secretaries, one of the secretaries is a departmental secretary, the other is the Minister's secretary, a political secretary.

There are two instances I know of, I thought there were three, but there are at least two; and this was made clear to Ministers from the beginning, if there were some overwhelming reason why there needed to be one extra, one would be provided.

In the case of the Minister of Social Services, there were social service calls from all over the Province that two people could not handle, so there was one extra hired.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: No, no, it was because of the volume of calls coming into that office.

The other was the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, who was getting a lot of housing calls, particularly housing calls, I believe, so an extra person was hired to handle the housing calls.

I believe these are the two exceptions. There may have been one more that I have forgotten about.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: And it should be in there.

About the problems returning phone calls, I will talk about that later. The Open Line Show, I want to answer that. I believe, at some point in time during the NAPE strike last June, there were a couple of phone calls to my office asking me to go on Open Line. Now, there may have been, since then, but I cannot recall it. The problem is that - for instance, I had a call recently to go on Crosstalk and, unfortunately, I could not because I was tied up at that particular time. The call comes in, `Can you, in the next few hours, go on Crosstalk?` and I am busy most of the day. So, Mr. Chairman, the problem with Open Line has been that I cannot recall having received the requests. I will check and see if I have and one of those days when I get some free time in the morning, I shall certainly call Mr. Rowe and volunteer to go on for an hour. I don't mind doing that. He has a tremendous show. I love being on there. I was on there once before and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to move that the Committee rise and report progress.

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

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

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

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

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

MR. BAKER: We will call it five o'clock, Mr Speaker.

MR. SIMMS: We agreed to stop the clock.

MR. BAKER: In terms of the Committees I have not been finally notified but maybe somebody could enlighten me. Could somebody enlighten me as to what is on tonight?

AN HON. MEMBER: Environment and Lands tonight.

MR. BAKER: Environment and Lands as scheduled tonight, but tomorrow morning, I believe, there has been a change. Is that correct?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, Thursday morning.

MR. BAKER: So, Forestry and Agriculture has been moved from Wednesday to Thursday morning. The only ones we have to worry about today and tomorrow would be Environment and Lands tonight, in the House, at 7:00 o'clock, and nothing tomorrow.

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