November 6, 1991              HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS          Vol. XLI  No. 65

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Before going to routine business, on behalf of hon. members, I would like to extend a warm welcome from the House of Assembly today to twenty-three Grades VII to IX students from Bethel Academy, Victoria, Carbonear, accompanied by their teachers, Wanda Lewis and John Murray.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today, I am tabling in this hon. House the 1991 Workers' Compensation Statutory Review Committee report.

The committee was established to conduct a review of workers' compensation in Newfoundland and Labrador, as specified under section 114 of the Workers' Compensation Act. The committee was asked to study and report to the Lieutenant-Governor in Council on the financial aspects of the Commission, rehabilitation, industrial disease, accident prevention, the appeals process, and policy and administrative issues.

Two reports make up the committee's finding: a majority report signed by the chairperson and one of the committee members, and a minority report submitted by the third member. I would like, at this time, to thank the chairperson, Mr. Clarence Randell, and the committee members, Mr. Robert Giannou and Mr. Jim Gill, for the time and effort put into the public hearings and discussions giving rise to the submitted reports. I also thank all those who participated in the review process through written or oral presentations.

No final decision on the recommendations of this review will be made by Government at this time. Over the next six weeks to two months, the stakeholders in the compensation system will have the opportunity to comment on the recommendations in writing to my office. Copies of the reports will be made available to all those who made submissions to the committee, in order that they may be fully aware of the recommendations that Government will be considering.

Government would hope to address the concerns that arise from this report early in the new year with a view to ensuring the long-term viability of workers' compensation in our Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to thank the Minister of Labour for providing me with an advance copy of the report he tabled today. Obviously, the short period of time did not allow me an opportunity to go through it. I am bit concerned that we could not get some unanimous consent on it. We have a minority report, and having thirty seconds or so to look through the minority report, I find it is basically at considerable odds with the majority report. I see, if this report is implemented, some serious repercussions for the workers in this Province who would be injured in industrial or other accidents. The minister, in his statement, said that people will have an opportunity to comment on it. I hope the minister means we will have an opportunity to have input, not a comment. A comment does not do very much with this administration, on many occasions, if we are to take past examples. I hope people will have input and that Government will listen to their input, not just to the recommendations of the majority report.

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. By way of a preamble, when the Minister of Finance announced and released the White Paper on tax reform eight months ago on tomorrow, I think it is, he is quoted as saying, at that time, `Legislation will be brought forth to the House this fall and tax changes would take effect on January 1, 1992.' That was the message. Eight months later, last week, on October 28, in Hansard, page 2203, the Premier said, in response to some questions I was asking, that `the tax measures that the Government will take, will, of course, be announced in due course, in the Budget.' Now, because of the confusion, and there is some confusion out there, I want to ask the Premier, Has the Government now decided to postpone tax reform until the Budget in the spring? Which story is correct? Is it the minister's or the Premier's?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Obviously, Mr. Speaker, we would have preferred to be able to bring forward definitive proposals in this fall sitting but we are not yet quite ready to do that. We want to make sure that what we are doing is obviously the best thing for the future of this Province, and we are taking all the time that is necessary to do a thorough assessment. So it may be that we will not be bringing definitive proposals before the House until the Budget time; or, if we are in a position to do so fairly soon, we may well bring in a resolution that will indicate what we intend to do in terms of general reform and would indicate a projected implementation date. It may or may not coincide with the Budget. I would prefer to be able to be in a position to announce what we are proposing for consideration earlier than the Budget, so that we could have a thoroughgoing debate on it in the House; exactly what we will be able to do, I am unable to say with certainty at this moment.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, finally, we have that cleared up. There certainly was a lot of confusion, and I don't think people understood exactly what the Premier was trying to say last week.

May I ask the Premier this: can he give us some indication as to when he might be telling the House, and therefore, the people, what exactly they intend to do? He has just said that he cannot tell us right now what they intend to do. Can he tell us when he might be in a position? Will we know, say, in the next couple of weeks, or what?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Maybe not. It will certainly be by the time of the Budget, but I state again, I would like to try to do it before the Budget is brought in. Now, we normally bring in the Budget the last week of February or the first week of March - that is when we try to get the Budget in - so it will certainly be by that time. But I would like to be able to do it sooner rather than later so that we can provide adequate time for a full public discussion, because the changes are fairly substantial, and would be fairly substantial if we decide to proceed with them. I cannot be any more definitive than that, at this stage, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, it is difficult for Opposition members to do their jobs, and for the people to understand what is happening if we cannot get any answers from the Government. I can only continue to persist in asking supplementary questions.

Again, this is to the Premier, Mr. Speaker: he alluded, in the earlier answer, to the possibility of a resolution. What, exactly, is he talking about there? Is it a resolution giving the Government the power to proceed, or something, with tax reform? I mean, what, exactly, is the Premier talking about there? Is it a very real possibility that we might have a debate on such a resolution during this session of the House, in the next three or four weeks? If it is true, then, where will the extensive

debate and extensive discussion that he talked about in an interview last week in response to questions I asked last week, where will that take place, when will that occur?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I have difficulty understanding the Leader of the Opposition's comment that he cannot get any answers. I answered the questions he asked, fully and frankly. Now maybe they are not the answers he wants, but they are, nonetheless, the real answers.

When I talk about a resolution, we do all sorts of things by resolution; for example, when we bring in the Budget every year we pass resolutions giving notice of changes that we are going to make in the House, give the approval and we go ahead and implement the changes and bring in the legislation after. This is a normal approach. We did the same thing with amalgamation in Mount Pearl; we brought in a resolution, the House approved of the course of action and we undertook to change the legislation to reflect that course of action. This is a normal thing.

Now, Mr. Speaker, in terms of major fiscal changes: we can do it at the time of the Budget; that is one way of doing it, and bring in the resolutions, but what we are talking about here is of greater change than you would normally do in any one Budget. The dimension of it and the possible longer term consequences of it are more significant than you would expect the Government to take during the course of budgetary measures to generate revenue for the coming year, so what I have suggested is that, I would like therefore, to be able to bring in a resolution beforehand that would set out the proposed changes and provide for debate in the House and that, I would hope, would also generate debate amongst the public generally.

If we can do that in two weeks, terrific, however, I do not want to lead the House to believe that we expect to do it in two weeks, I do not, but if we can, we will. We are working diligently on it now, and if we decide that we are going to proceed, or we intend to bring to the House proposals for major tax reform and change, I think the best way to do it would probably be to bring it by way of a resolution like this. I cannot be any more definitive than that, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am beginning to be more suspicious now than I was when I started this series of questions right at the beginning.

I presume the Premier is saying: there is still an option that the Government may not proceed; they have not made a final decision, I think that is what he is saying. I presume, that he may not proceed, but if you do proceed there is a strong possibility that it might be by way of a resolution in this session of the House, just to allow for some opportunity for debate.

If that is accurate, if my interpretation is correct, may I ask him this and would he consider this; Would he therefore consider, since the matter does not seem to be quite as pressing as we were told it was eight months ago, and now that eight months have passed it does not seem to be a necessity to rush into it, would he therefore consider taking the proposals which the Government might bring forth in conjunction with the resolution and giving it to one of the committees of the House to give them an opportunity to see what the public thinks, because quite frankly everybody would know that the Minister of Finance sent out copies, they got sixty or seventy letters back or whatever it might be from businesses and groups, but the people of the Province, who may be most affected, have not had an adequate opportunity. Would he consider that, if in fact, that is the direction he decides to take?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, at the outset I must confess that I cannot accept responsibility for the suspicious nature of the Leader of the Opposition. He has to cope with that problem himself.

Now, in terms of what the Government intends to do, we had intended to have introduced in the House electoral change within two years. We are not going to make it. It is going to be introduced next week or perhaps the next week. So we do not always meet within the time frame we project the good intentions, but nevertheless the intentions and the dedication is still there. So we did not make it within eight months, and I regret that we did not make it, but it is a very complex and very important matter, Mr. Speaker, and it is far more important that we come to the House and say: I am sorry we could not make it within our expected eight months. We are going to take a little more time to make sure that we do it right. Well that is all that we are doing, so I cannot understand the great concern or expressions of suspicious nature on the part of the Leader of the Opposition. We intend to bring a proposal to the House so that it can be fully debated in the House, and that the general public can be adequately informed beforehand of what is proposed, because they are significant matters, but we want to take our time to do it correctly, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is to the Minister of Labour. On October 4th the Minister announced a major employment program for the Province. Last week we found out that some $17 million was taken away in capital works money this year. Can the Minister indicate just how many seasonal jobs or jobs eliminated in the construction sector were a result of this cancellation of $17 million worth of capital works?

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

MR. GRIMES: No, Mr. Speaker, I cannot answer that question.

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

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, I go to the President of Treasury Board then since we cannot identify the number of jobs that were lost. Will the Minister tell us now, then, how or what projects were cancelled or refused - the President of Treasury Board, since he controls spending.

MS. VERGE: The acting President of Treasury Board.

MR. WINSOR: The acting President of Treasury Board.

MS. VERGE: Acting Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. WINSOR: Yes. I am asking the Minister: regarding the $17 million in capital works which the Minister of Finance indicated last week would not be spent, would the Minister tell us where the projects were cancelled or refused and in what specific Government Departments?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, every year, of course, as you start your capital works programme, in some cases there are slowdowns and in some cases more money is spent than was expected and in some cases less. This year there were a variety of problems which I could find out and outline for the hon. Member at some time in the near future, as soon as I get the details. However, I can tell him that part of the reason is that it was a very bad summer and, therefore, things could not progress as rapidly as ordinarily they would have, and that with some projects there were specific problems. I recall one, in particular, the Burgeo Road, where there was a problem with the quality of the material and, therefore, we could not do as much as we had expected to do. But had the quality been there, as was expected, that would have been done.

So there are problems like that. There was, I believe, an $8 million carryover, in that vicinity, to next spring, and these carryovers always exist. I do not know what the hon. Member is doing. Anytime there is a large programme like this, not always do you get it all done in the one season you plan to get it done in, and quite often there are carryovers. There is no money taken out of it at all. I mean, these projects will still be done.

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

MR. WINSOR: A final supplementary to the Premier. On October 4 the Minister of Labour said: It is the intention of Government to proceed immediately with these employment initiative programmes. Last week we asked the ministers to table a list, but we did not get it. In fact, we have only had a partial listing now from one department, despite the undertakings of the Premier that they would do it. It has now been thirty-one days, thirty-two days tomorrow, since the Minister announced that he was going to proceed immediately.

Would the Premier have his ministers in the various departments tell us what programmes have been approved and where they are, so that the unemployed in this Province can get back into the work force?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I did not think it was thirty-one days, I thought it was last Thursday that this was raised.

AN HON. MEMBER: It was announced on October 4.

PREMIER WELLS: Oh, it was announced on October 4. Well, I do know there has been some considerable difficulty due to delay in meshing the Federal programme with it. Now I know that is causing the difficulty even right up to today, and I know that because I heard it on CBC news today. So I heard that that was causing some difficulty even right up to today, Mr. Speaker. But I can assure the House that there is no reluctance on the part of the Ministers to make known to everybody the good works of this Government. We will be most anxious to make it known as soon as they are ready to do it. I assume there is some good reason for the delay.

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

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, my questions are for the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture. Why did the Government close the Western Swine Breeding Station this summer when the Hulan task force on Agri-Foods, which this Administration appointed, praised the achievements of the Western Swine Breeding Station, and specifically recommended that the Government continue to operate it? Would the Minister explain to the House why his Government did the exact opposite of what the Hulan task force recommended?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the hon. Member for her question. As she well knows, as is the case with all task force reports - and this particular Member would know better than most Members - that there was no obligation by Government to implement any recommendation, although there is no doubt that the Hulan task force will provide us with the information and advice we need to plan agriculture in the coming years.

The fact of the matter is that that particular decision was a budgetary decision. It was made prior to receiving the Hulan task force report. As I indicated to the hon. Member, as she would well know, that most task force reports or recommendations of various task force reports did not get very much attention prior to April of 1989.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Minister did not answer my question. The question was: why did the Government close the Western Swine Breeding Station? Granted the Government is not obligated to follow recommendations of experts they appoint to give them advice. It is a fact that this administration appointed the Hulan task force, and the Hulan task force gave the Minister and the Government their report before the March 7, 1991 Budget. Would the Minister answer my question and explain to everyone why, despite the advice of the Hulan task force, the Government closed the Western Swine Breeding Station?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member will know that the Western Swine Breeding Station was established I think in the 'seventies, when the belief was that the hog industry in Newfoundland was going to expand. That did not happen. As the Member might also know there is not a hog producing facility west of Lewisporte today. As a matter of fact there are only fourteen hog producing facilities in all of Newfoundland, thirteen of which are on the Avalon Peninsula.

So based on that fact and other facts, we have advice from very professional people - people associated with the hog industry in the Province, people associated with hog production outside of the Province - that it was not in the long term better interest to maintain the West Coast Swine Breeding Station. So as a result of that advice we moved the function to the Central Swine Breeding Station here on the Avalon Peninsula. That was done after the best possible advice could be sought on the contribution that that particular facility was making to the overall hog industry in Newfoundland.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Would the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture tell us whether the Government is continuing the work of the Western Swine Breeding Station at the Central Breeding Station on Portugal Cove Road near St. John's? Specifically, would the Minister say whether the Breeding Station at Portugal Cove Road is doing genetic research and producing breeding stock for export?

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

MR. FLIGHT: I can tell the hon. Member that whatever functions were being carried out by the Western Swine Breeding Station in Corner Brook are now being carried out by the Central Swine Breeding Station in Portugal Cove so any aspect of hog production in Newfoundland that was being carried out in the Western Swine Breeding Station, the complete function has moved to St. John's or to Portugal Cove. Yes, the Central Swine Breeding Station is carrying out all functions that were carried out previously by the Western Swine Breeding Station.

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

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary to the Premier.

Why has the Premier acted contrary to his election campaign promise of decentralizing the Provincial Government? Why has the Premier moved the Western Swine Breeding Station, highly praised by the Hulan task force on Agri-Foods, from the Humber Valley, a prime agricultural area, to St. John's?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I really do not know what the hon. Member is talking about. I suppose she wants to put some kind of political connotation on the very clear and lucid answer that the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture just gave. There are a total of fourteen producers of hogs in the Province. One of them somewhere near Bishop's Falls, and the other thirteen on the Avalon Peninsula. Now, maybe I am missing something but it just seems to me that logic and good sense would dictate that you operate the swine breeding station in the area where the swine are being raised, and rather than close the one on the Avalon Peninsula we closed the one in the Humber Valley where there were no swine farmers. It was clear we only need one and it was a waste of money to maintain two with the hog industry that we have. Is she suggesting that we should have closed the one on the Avalon Peninsula where thirteen of the swine farmers operate of the total of fourteen and kept the one open in the Humber Valley where there are no swine farmers and the closest one is in Bishop's Falls? Maybe that is the kind of logic that explains the utter mess they left this Province in.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. I am looking at the minority report by Jim Gill on the Worker's Compensation Review Committee representing employees. It is entitled 'Betrayal' and inside Mr. Gill says that betrayal is what workers in Newfoundland face if the Workers' Compensation Commission goes ahead with the proposal to slash benefits to injured workers. Will the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations confirm that if recommendation 33 of the review is accepted that benefits be set at 80 per cent of net income, will the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations confirm that if that recommendation is accepted then the workers' compensation benefits in Newfoundland will be the lowest in Canada?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the Member for his question. I can only reiterate, Mr. Speaker, as I indicated in the statement today, that at this point in time I cannot present any position on behalf of Government with respect to the report, either the majority report or the minority report. We will allow over the next couple of months for continued input. Government then will have to take some decisions early in the new year, we hope, and our total motivation which we will commit ourselves to, as I indicated in the statement, will be with a view to ensuring the long-term viability of worker's compensation in our Province. Whatever decisions those are we will endeavour to take them.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, my supplementary then is for the Premier. Since the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations is unable to comment, I will ask the Premier whether or not he can assure injured workers in this Province that they will not have their benefits slashed? Will he as the Premier of this Government assure injured workers that they will not be in a position of being the lowest compensated workers in this Country? Can he give us that assurance now regardless of what the study says?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, here is the report that the hon. gentleman is talking about. The report was written by one member, the labour member of the committee. I can only express my complete disappointment in an individual who would so prejudice fair consideration of the real issues at stake here, the protection of the long-term interest of the workers of this Province from the utter mess that the Workers Compensation fund and structure is in. And instead of working with the others to try and achieve that result, writes this politically motivated and oriented approach in this way that shows no objectivity - I can only express great disappointment that the individual did not do the job that was asked of him, and did not work to try and find a solution instead of taking this political approach.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the hon. the Minister gave the Government's answer. We will take into account the whole of the report, even the report written by this individual, who portrayed it in that theatrical way, and the lack of substance is reflected clearly in the theatrics of the way in which it was presented.

So, Mr. Speaker, the Government will take into account all of it, but it will not be stampeded into betraying the interest of the workers of this Province by taking this and by responding to this kind of an approach in that way. We will take into account everything that is said and done, and all further representations that we receive and will make sure that we provide for a good sound Workers Compensation system that will protect the long-term interests of the workers in this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My final supplementary is further to the Premier. He did not give the assurance that was requested, but I want to ask him if he can confirm or admit that the harmonization or integration of Workers Compensation programs was one of the items on the table at the Atlantic Premiers Conference held in Prince Edward Island? Can he tell us that that is one of the issues that was discussed for possible integration, and what implications this has for this report?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, that was not discussed at the meeting. Somebody mentioned it but it was not discussed. Somebody mentioned a whole host of things that might be considered, but no, it was not discussed, but I do recall hearing somebody mention it. There was also some discussion about the level of unfunded liability in some of the provinces, including Newfoundland. As people will see, the level of the unfunded liability that has developed as a result of the policies implemented by the former Government here is just horrendous to cope with at this stage, and we have a major, major problem to deal with to prevent this fund from being bankrupt in a few years. We will, Mr. Speaker, commit to taking whatever action is necessary to protecting the long-term interests of the workers of this Province, but we will not commit to an action that is ill thought out or will prejudice the future protection of our workers.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister responsible for Municipal and Provincial Affairs in regard to Bill 50, "An Act To Facilitate The Amalgamation of Certain Municipal Authorities and Municipal Services in Relation to The Northeast Avalon Region." Could the Minister tell the House today if a copy of that particular Bill - Bill 50 - is now ready?

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

MR. GULLAGE: No, Mr. Speaker, the Bill is not quite ready, but it should be ready very shortly within the next few days.

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

MR. WOODFORD: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker. I wonder could the Minister tell us if any part of that particular Bill, or if he could tell us if he is aware of any consultations whatsoever by officials in his department pertaining to portions of that Bill with any particular municipality in the northeast Avalon region up to this point?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we have transition teams in place right now dealing with the four groupings that are being considered for amalgamation, and those transition teams have had considerable ongoing discussion with all of the municipalities involved on the northeast Avalon.

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

MR. WOODFORD: A final supplementary, Mr. Speaker. I wonder if the Minister could then tell me if those particular municipalities would have copies of that particular Bill, and would the Minister now tell the House that when the - the draft I am talking about - that when the Bill is tabled in the House, the draft copy of the Bill, will he then refer it to the proper Legislation Review Committee for proper hearings?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, as the Bill has not been presented to the House yet, the municipalities of course would not have seen it either, and as to the procedures followed in the House, that would be up to the Government House Leader.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Port de Grave.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, some time last week I asked a question in the House of Assembly pertaining to the Morgan Report and then later we had some discussion in debate in the House of Assembly and I feel obligated to continue on with that questioning to get clarification, so I will refer my question to the Minister of Justice, and it deals with the Morgan Report on page 34, where it says very clearly that: today, in the House of Assembly, to fulfil the function, requires both to the Legislator and to the constituents, a full time occupation'.

I would ask the Minister of Justice: an MHA working in another occupation and receiving a full time salary from the House of Assembly, I would ask the Minister of Justice, in his opinion, would that be, either receiving money under false pretences on a legal matter or, certainly inappropriate to the rules and laws set down by the House of Assembly and the Legislature of Newfoundland and Labrador?

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would not express an opinion in the House or elsewhere as Minister of Justice, as to whether or not a member, doing what the hon. member indicates, has done anything contrary to the criminal code, especially false pretences.

It seems to me as well, that the issue is, to what is necessary for full time services, one really that the House itself, in the Internal Economy Commission must define.

It seems to me that if an individual is available for his duties as and when required, as in any job, that is full time availability; whether or not, to what extent a member can carry on other duties, whether for remuneration or otherwise is something that this House as a body should really consider and I think the House Internal Economy Committee as well, and I see my learned friends on the other side are nodding in agreement with that and I appreciate that.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

With respect to ruling last week on questions relating to Internal Economy, the Chair took that under advisement and since that time has done some research on the matter. Hon. members will know, at that particular time I said that it was not in accordance with the rules of the House to ask the Speaker the question. The Speaker is Chairman of the Internal Economy, so all members will understand that that is not permissable. Members wanting to know can write the Speaker, and the Speaker, naturally, is obligated to respond.

On any particular aspect in the House, hon. members will also know that when a matter of order arises, we go to our own Standing Orders, and when they are silent, then we go to precedent; when we have no precedent, then we go to Ottawa. That is precisely what I have done, I have gone to Beauchesne, or the rules and procedures of the House of Commons. In the House of Commons, what normally happens in this respect is that the IEC designates a particular minister. That is the only avenue I have right now. The next time that IEC meets we will raise this matter and give IEC the opportunity to deal with it in the appropriate way, to designate a minister; or they might make a suggestion to the Committee on Privileges and Elections, that they might do what is done in other Houses. The majority of the other Houses do not allow questions to the IEC. There are, I think, just one or two that will allow it at the discretion of the Speaker, and there are some that follow Ottawa.

So, it is not exactly clear, but my decision is that we will follow the Ottawa precedent, pending the decision of IEC.

Notices of Motion

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

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

MS. VERGE: What about the school tax?

DR. WARREN: It's coming.

MS. VERGE: When?

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Labour Relations Act, 1977."

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, I believe it was on Thursday that the hon. the Member for Grand Bank asked me a question concerning the status of the Belleoram fish plant. Because time did not permit him to ask a supplementary, my answer was not as complete as I would have liked it to be. So, today, I am tabling the answer to the question on the current status of the Belleoram fish plant.

Private Member's Day

MR. SPEAKER: It being Private Member's Day, I call upon the Member for Menihek to proceed with his Private Member's resolution.

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to have the opportunity of presenting to the House, for consideration, this resolution, which says:

"WHEREAS mining is the only industry in the resource sector subject to the payroll tax;

AND WHEREAS minerals are a non-renewable resource, and the economies of mining communities are vulnerable to depletion of the resource;

BE IT RESOLVED that payroll tax revenues collected from mining companies and from companies which service the mining industry be invested in a special fund; and that expenditure from the fund be directed to the diversification of the economies of the mining towns, and assistance to persons affected by economic dislocation in the mining industry."

Mr. Speaker, this is something that a lot of provinces have considered over numbers of years. Some provinces have made certain moves to have a fund established in non-renewable resources, I understand. Other provinces have made moves in a similar type of fund, called a diversification fund, for industries that have been directly or negatively impacted in their particular economies.

We are seeing, Mr. Speaker, a lot of problems and economic dislocation in the mining industry over this past year, an industry that produces a tremendous amount of wealth for this Province. I think the gross provincial product is around 6.6 per cent at factor cost, about three or four times as much as pulp and paper, and about three to four times as much as the fishing industry, at factor cost.

Mr. Speaker, we have seen last year that over 4,000 people were directly employed in the mining industry, itself. It is the leading industry in this Province, an industry that is going through a lot of pains now, and one might ask, why am I proposing another burden to be placed on the industry? Now, Mr. Speaker, I am not proposing that we put another tax burden upon the industry. I am asking for an allocation of a particular tax; that this industry has been singled out in having its tax imposed upon it. I say, singled out, because it is the only resource-based industry that has the infamous payroll tax, the health and post-secondary education tax, imposed upon it.

Mr. Speaker, the district I represent is totally dependent on mining - totally dependent on mining. And I suppose if you were to ask anybody living in a district, especially people living there as long as I have been, and involved in the community, even people on the other side of the House, who have spent a few years in Western Labrador, they will tell you that everybody does recognize that when you move to Labrador City there is going to come a day in Labrador City and Wabush when those communities will not have that industry.

That is a fact of life when living, working, and raising a family in a single non-renewable resource industry community. Yes, that is difficult to live with, Mr. Speaker. It is difficult, knowing that somewhere down the road that industry is going to be wiped out. The people of Western Labrador recognize that, but yet they continue to go to work and be the best miners in the world at what they are doing. The Iron Ore Company of Canada probably recognized that in their wage settlements last year, the increases offered to their employees.

But, Mr. Speaker, they recognize that they have to compete in a global economy, and they know that there is going to come a day when the industry will not be there for them to go to work. They do not know if a similar type of thing will happen in their community as occurred in Gagnon, Quebec, east of us, where the community was totally bulldozed, or if it will be like Schefferville, Quebec, where it was partially bulldozed, or like Daniel's Harbour, that was left, or Buchans, that doesn't have very much economic activity there now. There is some, but they don't know what is going to happen. They know it will not be as prosperous as it is today, albeit we are going through several layoffs, and there is a lot of uncertainty in the area.

So, Mr. Speaker, the people in Western Labrador recognize the fact that there is going to come a day - and I don't want you to feel that I am being totally negative, I don't think that in my working life these mines will be shut down, at least I hope not. But I would think that in the working life of my children and the children of my next-door neighbour, the mines in Western Labrador will probably be shut down; and there is going to be a tremendous amount of trauma, hardship, incurred upon individuals and families affected. So, Mr. Speaker, I hope that people on both sides of the House consider that. We are not talking about something that may occur in the up and down cyclical nature of the fishing industry. I am talking about a day coming when the mines in Labrador are going to be shut down just the same as the mines on Bell Island, albeit they operated for seventy-one years, I think, and produced a tremendous amount of wealth. But Bell Island does not have the economic activity that it had during its production years as a mining community. Neither does Buchans, Mr. Speaker, with, I believe, around fifty years of mining activity.

AN HON. MEMBER: Non-stop production.

MR. A. SNOW: Non-stop production. They did provide a tremendous amount of economic activity and wealth to everybody else in this Province. It was not just for the people in Buchans. Daniel's Harbour, St. Lawrence, we can go on and on and on naming mining communities in this Province, Mr. Speaker, that are mining communities no more.

What I am asking is that this House consider that a specific tax, the payroll tax, be set aside as a special fund. Some people may argue that maybe we should not have the payroll tax there at all. Well, if it is not that particular tax, maybe you can put it on the royalty companies or take it out of the corporate tax, do whatever you wish. I am not suggesting that you only consider that as the payroll tax, Mr. Speaker. What I am suggesting is if you wish to negate that, what the members on the opposite side should do is amend my resolution to meet the principle of the idea, if you agree with that principle, that these people who have produced so much wealth for the rest of this Province should have some special fund set aside for them when they are dislocated from their jobs, and they have the trauma and the hardship of picking up their families and moving from that community that they have lived in for a number of years.

I do not know if many of you have gone through it, Mr. Speaker, but I want to tell you it is very hard for people, at least for me, to see families having to sell off their furniture and their cars just for enough money to get out to a highway where they have a greater opportunity to seek employment, where they have debtors chasing them because of debt burdens put on them by housing. Mr. Speaker, to see the hardships that these people have to go through after producing so much wealth for the rest of the people of this Province and then to see the Government of this Province turn its back on them in their time of need, it is wrong, it is fundamentally wrong.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we have, one could argue, two problems occurring in Western Labrador. There are two mines operating and there are two completely different problems, I believe, in the restructuring of the mining operations in the Iron Ore Company and the rationalization that is occurring in Wabush. But there is one uniform problem, there are going to be fewer people there, one common denominator, if you will, Mr. Speaker, that people are going to be adversely affected.

I am asking that this Government help them financially by specifically taking this amount of money that is collected from that resource industry, the only resource industry, Mr. Speaker, and put it into as special fund.

The Premier, in response to a question of mine a few days ago, suggested that that tax should not be wiped out because it was miniscule, it was small, it did not matter to the economies of the companies in their operational feasibilities, whether or not they could compete economically. It did not matter to them because it was miniscule in the total scheme of things, I think were the exact words the Premier used.

Well, Mr. Speaker, if it is miniscule, if this $2.2 million that is collected from the mining companies of Western Labrador is miniscule to this big Government in their approach to the mining companies, should not this Government then, be able to take this miniscule amount and put it into a special fund for the people of the mining industry who are going to be adversely affected?

Now, Mr. Speaker, we know that these people who are affected have produced a tremendous amount of wealth for the rest of this Province; they have not just worked for nine or ten weeks for three or four years; some of them have worked as long as sixteen, seventeen and twenty years, some more than twenty-five years, and have been thrown out of their jobs.

They are pioneers. They went to Northern Labrador, to a desolate, cold, harsh climate, to a mining community of bunkhouses, of camps being towed in over winter roads; they are friends of mine, some of them. They are being thrown out of their jobs after twenty-five or thirty years of producing wealth for the people of this Province to spend, a tremendous amount of wealth.

I think the mining industry produces something like $130 million, annually, of direct and indirect revenues to this Province. No other area in this Province produces as much wealth per capita as the people of Western Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, all we are asking now is that the people in this House reconsider the imposition of this tax, or going into the revenue of this Province, which will be general revenue, and allocate a specific fund. You could call it whatever you wish. The name of the fund is not that important, but what is important to me, is that the recognition of what the people of Western Labrador have done for this Province, not just for themselves but for all the people of this Province that, that be recognized and this fund could be set up to help in their dislocation.

Some people might call this a socialist solution; and I hear some people on this side saying: `Yes, yes, right, correct,' and I hear somebody over there saying: `Yes, it is socialist, but we are going to do it.'

MR. SIMMS: We did it as Tories.

MR. A. SNOW: We did it, Mr. Speaker. We will look after them, somebody on the Government side said. I do not know what they are going to look after, Mr. Speaker. What we have to do is, consider that people have to come first, Mr. Speaker. We have to put these people who worked so hard - do not think of them as just mining companies. These people who operate that equipment up in Western Labrador are people, who lived in Joe Batt's Arm, Twillingate or Millertown Junction, like myself, or Cormack, or wherever; they are from all over this Province. They have gone there to work and they have had a reasonably good life, but yet contributed tremendously to the Province. Economically, they have contributed more than any other district in this Province.

Socially, they have contributed, Mr. Speaker. Some of the finest drama presentations that have ever been produced in this Province, have come out of Western Labrador. Athletic groups, Mr. Speaker, coming to this Province - we have won national, provincial and international championships and awards; we have hosted provincial, national and international sporting and athletic events.

Mr. Speaker, we have contributed more than any other electoral district in the Province and I think the people of this Province want this Government to react in a favourable manner, to help the individuals who have done so much for this Province through their participation. When these young men and women went up North and came in over ice roads, as I suggested in 1959 and 1960, and developed the communities of Labrador City and Wabush, yes, they had the primary purpose initially of going up to Labrador, making a quick buck and leaving again; 99 per cent of us, that is what we had in our minds, but what evolved, Mr. Speaker, are undoubtedly the most civic minded and responsible people of this Province and of probably the whole Country. There is not a more volunteer oriented community and a more forthright community in coming forward to help one another, to help groups, whether in our community or outside, Mr. Speaker. Western Labrador is known for its participation in being neighbourly, if you want to call it that, or being helpful in assisting somebody not as well-off as they are.

Mr. Speaker, I am hoping that other people will be speaking on this resolution and that they will be in favour of it, because it is very important at this particular time that you consider this and not only think of what these people have produced and what they have done for this Province, and not only because of your social conscience. Do not think of just those two reasons, but, Mr. Speaker, think of what is occurring down the road. We are on the eve of another development in this Province, a new industry, and that industry is the offshore oil development. That is another industry that is a non-renewable resource and it is very important that we approach that industry not just from the aspect of jobs today, not just the wheelbarrow jobs or the jobs of construction. We have to approach that industry as an industry that is going to operate for a number of years. Also, Mr. Speaker, we have to be cognizant of the fact that it is a non-renewable resource and the first day that we pump one gallon of oil from those reserves it is a day closer to the demise of those reserves, so we must prepare for the future when those reserves will not be there, as occurred in the mining industry in Buchans. It was not economically feasible to mine any more in Buchans so the mines were shut down. It occurred in Daniel's Harbour and it occurred on Bell Island.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible) Speaker's mike not on.

MR. A. SNOW: The hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture has suggested that a proposal similar to mine was proposed to Government, and I assume it was proposed by the Opposition of the day.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Well, I thought he said it was the Opposition. I am hoping he has enough clout in his Cabinet to be able to take this, because he was in favour of it when Buchans was affected, he can take it, argue, and articulate the position I am talking about and say that, yes, they have earned it and we should do it. Mr. Speaker, it was good yesterday and it will be good tomorrow. Mr. Speaker, I am hoping he is going to stand up and support my resolution because it is very important. It is important to everybody in this Province, as I said, especially in light of the fact that we are approaching this new industry, the offshore oil. We have to consider that one day, because as I said when I began this speech, one of the recognitions of everybody in western Labrador is the fact that there is going to come a day when there will not be a mine operating, at least the two that are there, will not be operating in western Labrador because it will not be feasible to do. That is the very hazard, if you will, of living in a mining community, but we must, Mr. Speaker, set in place something such as I proposed to ensure that the economic dislocation, the personal hardships that people affected in the industry will not have to endure by themselves. They must have a helping hand from Government which represents the people of this Province from all over this Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. Member is beating his favourite drum, namely special treatment for his district. He has been beating this drum, Mr. Speaker, ever since he got in the House of Assembly. Can you imagine if every industry in this Province wanted to set up its taxes in a separate fund for future contingencies? Can you see the fishermen paying their taxes into a special fund? Can you see the clergymen spending their taxes in a special fund or the teachers putting theirs in a special fund, and coming to the logical extreme: why don't we take each persons taxes and put it in a special fund? Then we would have no commonweal at all. There would be no Province, everybody would be on their own and we would just be collecting taxes from ourselves to put in a special fund. The whole purpose of Government is for all of us to look after each other when we are in trouble, and a special fund like the payroll tax put aside will not help the people of Labrador if they close down, there is not enough money in it.

Now we brought in the Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax for a special purpose, and the special purpose was to go against the cut-backs that the Federal Government were making in their transfer payments having to do with health and post-secondary education, and we spend more in the university courses that we have in Labrador West and in maintaining the hospital in Labrador West than we get from the payroll tax, and so we should. I am not begrudging anything I am saying, but we do not want to go against this concept. It is true that the mining industry is subject to the payroll tax, the 'whereas' is correct. The reason we put in agriculture, fishing and forestry there was a special reason why that formed a unit. We wanted, basically, to help out and exempt the fishing industry in the bad times that were had last year when we brought it in because they could not afford to pay their payroll tax, being a very labour intensive industry, and also we had a problem with the pulp and paper industry which at that time looked bad as well. But we were afraid that if we gave special exemptions to a particular industry like the fishing industry the United States Government would call countervail, and we got expert advice from our fiscal advisors and others, lawyers and so on, in the United States and they said the way to handle it is to define this sector in a sector. Take a sector and define it the way the Americans define it, and they define this sector as fishing, forestry and agriculture, primary and secondary, and that is how agriculture, basically, got in it. That is why that exemption - not an exemption, it was zero rated which is a little bit different from an exemption. We decided that that year and this year it would be zero rated. What we are going to do next year, who knows, but it is zero rated.

The other thing is that there is no connection, of course, between the 'whereas's' and the resolution, and that is the problem that I am having with this whole question. I know there is a problem about depletion of mining resources and there should be some provision in the future for that problem, I agree with you that we have a general problem there, and that problem of mining companies winding down should be addressed, but the question is this is not the mechanism for doing it.

I want to sort of divert my remarks in the few minutes that I have and talk a little about taxation because there is a feeling out there that there is a lot of taxation in this Province, and I want to correct some points. First of all I want to say this: if you look at the general levels of taxation in this Province you will find that our general rate of taxation at the moment - if I could find this figure here - is about 100.3 of the national average, and as usual I cannot find these papers. Here we are -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) in the Atlantic Provinces.

MR. A. SNOW: Yes, at the moment the last figures we had was about 100.3, and other provinces were higher. The Atlantic Provinces, generally speaking, were lower. For instance, Prince Edward Island, their average tax effort is 92.9, and Nova Scotia is 90, New Brunswick is 95, British Columbia is 91, and Alberta is 77, but Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are well above the average with the tax level in Quebec being 114 whereas ours is 100. So the average tax rate in this Province is exactly on the national average. We are not more highly taxed than any other province in Canada. We are higher than some and lower than others, but the average is right on the national average. So it is wrong to suggest that Newfoundlanders pay more tax or are more highly taxed than others. Our problem is that our two most visible taxes, namely the income tax which is 62, looks higher but is not, and the retail sales tax at 12 per cent is the highest in Canada.

Now I want to look at business tax effort. I am going to zero in on the mining industry later. But let's look at the business tax effort. The business tax effort, the taxes paid by businesses in this Province, is lower than the all-province average. Businesses now in this province, their tax effort is 84 per cent of the national average. Whereas in Ontario, it is 112 per cent, and Manitoba is 110 per cent and Quebec is 109 per cent. Newfoundland is 84 per cent. Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are lower still. Our business taxes in Newfoundland are amongst the lowest in Canada. Now many people may not have believed that but it is true. Our business taxes are lowest in Canada. Part of the reason for that is the fact that our property taxes are well below the average in Canada.

Now I want at this stage to look now at the taxes paid by the mining industry. I am just going to zero in a little bit and make some figures available. Under the corporate income tax: the corporate income tax in Newfoundland is 17 per cent for large companies. I will just say that most mines fall in the large company bracket. In Newfoundland the corporate income tax now is 17 per cent for large companies, that is for our Provincial.... PEI is 15 per cent, Nova Scotia 16 per cent, New Brunswick 17 per cent; 17 per cent in Manitoba, 15 per cent in Saskatchewan, 15.5 per cent in Alberta, and 15 per cent in BC; Ontario, which collects its own income tax, is at the rate of 15.5 per cent but it is not quite comparable, and for mines they give it at a lower rate of 14.5 per cent. They can do that because they collect their own corporate income tax directly by the province, whereas ours is collected by the Federal Government and we have to obey by general rules. Quebec too has a different way of collecting corporate income tax. But by comparison our corporate income tax is slightly higher than some provinces, but the same as New Brunswick and Manitoba, and a point above some others. So it is not that much higher.

Now I was privileged to look at a study that was done on the mining industry taxes by Price-Waterhouse recently. They said: let's take a hypothetical mine that will be set up, and let's look at the taxes that hypothetical mine might pay according to the present tax regimes. This was done a couple of years ago. They just looked at three general taxes. The corporate income tax that the Federal Government put on; the Provincial corporate income tax; and the mining tax that the provinces collect. They put the three of them together, did not consider any other taxes, just these three. Then they gave us some figures as to who was high and who was low.

If you take all three of these taxes together the highest mining tax in Canada is Manitoba, the highest one - Federal income tax, Manitoba income tax, and Manitoba mining tax together are higher than any other province in Canada. BC is next, New Brunswick is third, Ontario is fourth, Newfoundland is fifth. So according to the Price-Waterhouse study, if you wanted to set up a moderately sized mine in Newfoundland it would cost you around the Canadian average. A bit lower, actually. There are certain provinces that are lower still, like Nova Scotia, Quebec and Alberta. But basically speaking that is the result of that study.

Now I want to look again at the mining tax and royalties, because as you know in Newfoundland we have a mining tax. Every jurisdiction in Canada has a mining tax. Newfoundland's mining tax works out to be about 16 per cent for most companies, for those companies which came on deck since 1975. That compares quite well with other jurisdictions. Except that when you look at that mining tax alone as it applies in Newfoundland, with our configuration of mines - because we have, as you mentioned, most of the mining activity in Labrador, two very large mines, the amount of the mining tax itself, not the taxes paid by mining companies, but the mining tax itself is quite high in comparison to what other jurisdictions pay and that has to be looked at as well.

I mentioned earlier about our property taxes. Our property taxes in Newfoundland are about 46 per cent of the Canadian average and the mining companies pay property taxes across Canada, but in Newfoundland the property tax on mining companies is not high compared to what it is in other areas.

I want to talk about the payroll tax. The payroll tax that mining companies pay in Newfoundland is 1.5 per cent on amounts over $300,000; one and a half per cent. In Quebec, the tax is 3 per cent, plus a 15 per cent surtax -


DR. KITCHEN: I beg your pardon?


DR. KITCHEN: Yes, because I am looking at ancient figures here. That is right. 3.45 was it not? 3.45 plus a fifteen - that includes the surtax.

In Ontario, the payroll tax starts off at ninety-eight cents, .98 per cent for small companies and goes up to 1.95, which is higher than ours for mining companies which are large. And in Manitoba, the payroll tax for large companies is 2.25, so our payroll tax is lower than any other province in Canada that has a payroll tax. It is true that the three Maritime Provinces and the three most western provinces do not have a property tax, but most parts of Canada do have; most of the area in Canada does have a payroll tax which is higher than ours.

I might add too - I do not want to go into the gasoline tax, but we have certain exemptions that mining companies can take advantage of as well, and under our retail sales tax there are special arrangements with the two western Labrador companies which were started up early and they benefit to a considerable extent from the different retail sales tax, to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars in a normal year.

And under tax reform - I am not going to announce what we are going to do in tax reform because as has been said we have not decided yet what we are going to do, not finally, but we are getting there. If we were to give full business rebates, say for retail sales tax, the mining companies would gain tremendously from that viewpoint; we have not done that, we have not decided to, but that is another point, so there is only so much you can do with taxes to make things better for any particular area.

Our taxes now, Mr. Speaker, on the whole in Canada, are on the Canadian average, our business taxes are below; we are carrying out a study as we announced in the Budget of mining taxes, and what I have to say now is not to prejudice how that study is going to come out, but it looks very much from my perspective that the mines in Newfoundland are treated reasonably fairly at this point in time and hopefully they will be treated even better.

But this resolution, trying to use the tax system to address a different problem is not the answer, that is not the answer to the problem, and to link the whereas's to the resolution is incorrect. I do not know what the solution is to an industry which winds down; obviously the industry which is winding down, whether it is the school system because of lack of pupils or the mining industry in a particular town because of a lack of minerals or some other; the fishing industry because of a shortage of fish, it is winding down. I cannot really see how this can be provided for by earmarking taxes that have been paid by that industry to take care of the problems arising in that industry. The human problems that arise from displacement and job loss have to be borne by the general community, and cannot be borne by that particular industry. It does not make sense to me to link the two, but I do acknowledge that there is a problem in mining towns.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the general thrust of the motion before the House. While there may be some particular difficulty or problems in earmarking a particular tax for a particular purpose, I see no objection to the principle involved, quite contrary and the exact opposite to what the Minister of Finance has just said, the principle being that the industry which benefits from the establishment of a community to extract minerals ought to pay the social consequences of having a short-term industry in a single-industry town such as we have in Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, it is quite clear, as the hon. the Member for Menihek on this side of the House has stated, that the first day that a mining operation starts is a day closer to the closure of the operation, and in the case of a single-industry town, to the closure of the town itself. That is the principle, Mr. Speaker, that it appears the Minister of Finance fails to recognize when he fails to acknowledge that there is a responsibility for the mining company involved to have, as part of its plan, as part of its initial proposal, a complement that ensures that by the time the ore is depleted, whether it be five ten, or twenty years, or, in the case of Buchans, I believe it was thirty-five years; we have had them on Bell Island for fifty or sixty years.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) non-stop production.

MR. HARRIS: Non-stop production, okay. But, if the government of the day had insisted that there be a plan in place, in fifty years, Mr. Speaker, the ASARCO Company and the mine at Buchans, by having allocated yearly a small percentage of the profits of its operation, of the resource taxes it would be required to pay, with all the profit it made over those fifty years, could easily have prepared for the closure of that mine, and either the closure of the town or the diversification of the economy, within that period.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the Member for Menihek has made a lot of good points about the payroll tax. I am not sure I agree with everything he said about the payroll tax, as such. As it happens, I agree with many of the things that the Member for Menihek says. He says, from time to time, when he gets up making speeches in the House that he agrees with most of the policies of the NDP, and I have to agree with him. I agree with most of them, as well. Some of them I don't, and some of them the hon. member doesn't. But I have to say to the hon. member that I don't agree with the policies of his party and his government when they had opportunities, in the recent past, Mr. Speaker, to see the problems.

Let us look back to 1982 and 1983 when there were massive layoffs in Labrador. Now, the hon. member was not the Member for Menihek at that time. He was trying to be, but he wasn't at that time. During that period of time there were serious, serious problems identified in what would happen in Labrador. I don't think they are quite over them yet. It was only in the last year or so that the housing prices - and some of the houses that have been closed and boarded up for many years were re-opened and sold. It is only in the last couple of years that those problems have been resolved. So I say to the hon. the Member for Menihek, his government, the previous government, knew from 1983 that there were serious problems in Labrador. This, Mr. Speaker, could have been addressed then, and his government failed to address it.

So, while I agree with the sincerity of the hon. the Member for Menihek - as did the previous Member for Menihek, he cared very deeply about the problems of single-industry towns, and particularly Labrador West. I have to say that the Government also, the previous government and this Government, have had the advantage of studies done for the Royal Commission on Employment and Unemployment, and a study, a background report, done by Wade Locke presented to that commission as early as September, 1986, long before that day in April, 1989 when the current Government took over with the great promise on which it has failed to deliver. Long before that, Mr. Speaker, there was a report on single-industry towns, something that gave a lot of recommendations, twenty-five recommendations in all, in a background report entitled: "Let's Recycle Our Throw-away Communities and Disposable Workers: Policies for Dealing with Mining Communities." This was done by an economist for the Royal Commission on Employment and Unemployment.

In this report, he identifies the problem that in mining communities, the workers are regarded as a disposable resource, that once the profits have been made by the company, the workers who have contributed to those profits - and yes, they have earned a living in that time, they have paid their taxes and have worked hard for that living. And, while the shareholders of the company put their capital elsewhere, the workers are left to relocate on their own, or with it, what is identified in this particular paper as the main problem, they are left with an ad hoc responsive government, something that is cobbled together at the time, if at all, by pressures brought by people.

I remember, all of us remember, communities like Bell Island, when the Bell Island mines shut down; when Buchans was shut down a task force was set up, when the Americans pulled out of Argentia, another task force was set up, but not until the people got together and forced the government to do it. This is not the way these problems should be dealt with. They are identified from the very beginning of the establishment of a mining community and there must be a fund, as the resolution calls it, a "special fund", that special fund being directed to the diversification of the economies of mining towns. What we need is a depletion fund, one that recognizes that the mine and the resource that is being extracted by these mining companies for industrial purposes, have an economic life that is determined from the beginning. There should be a depletion fund established.

The Province of Manitoba, which the Minister of Finance referred to, established such a fund back in 1985. It was called the - I have a note here. The Manitoba Government called it the Mining Communities Reserve Fund. In that province, the Manitoba Government had earmarked 3 per cent. Three per cent of the mining taxes received in a particular fiscal year were allocated to this Mining Community Reserve Fund. That is what it was called. This fund was used for the same purposes as are indicated by the hon. the Member for Menihek in his resolution, to enhance the welfare and employment prospects of the mining community residents affected by the total or partial suspension or closure of mining operations attributable to the depletion of iron ore deposits.

That fund is a long-term fund. It is there, it is available to government; they don't have to look at their budgets. They don't have to look, as the Minister of Finance is looking every now and then, over his own shoulder, to see what he is going to get from Ottawa from one day to the next. They don't have to look to see what is in the piggy bank. What they have to do is go to this fund established for that purpose and say, this fund is here to help these communities, to help these people. That fund has been made available by the companies that are profiting from the resource.

So, Mr. Speaker, there are ways of establishing, at this very moment, now, plans for the future. The hon. the Member for Menihek has been very forceful in this House, trying to insist that this Government take some action in assisting the workers who are going to be affected by the current layoffs. I commend him for it, because he is doing what the Minister of Finance criticized him for doing, standing up for his constituents. It is sad to see - I suppose I should give credit to the Minister of Finance, he did say, asking for special treatment for his constituents. Well, the people of Labrador West, when they are faced with the kinds of dislocations that are caused by massive layoffs, deserve special treatment. They do make a special contribution to this Province. And we ought to recognize that a mining town is a special type of community and there ought to be special measures and a special fund established to deal with those problems. So, I agree that there ought to be special measures, not taken because they happen to be from Labrador West, or because the Member for Labrador West happens to be a fine gentleman, but because the people of Labrador West deserve to have the support of this Government in dealing with problems that result from the kind of community they have.

I want to speak a little bit - I think I only have a few minutes left - about the tax effort that the Minister of Finance has related to. The Minister of Finance has talked about the tax effort throughout this country, through various sectors, and he has made a point that our party has made for many years, that the business community does not contribute its fair share of taxes. The minister has identified that the business tax in this Province is at 84 per cent of the national average in terms of tax effort. That is a figure that gives us some pause to consider that the burden of taxation is unfairly placed on the individuals who pay their taxes.

I hope the Minister of Finance is saying that he is going to take the burden of taxation away from the people who are dependent upon the Minister of Social Services. Every time they spend, they are paying 7 per cent GST with a piggyback of 12 per cent. That is close to 20 per cent in taxes that social assistance recipients are paying every time they buy goods and services subject to the tax. I hope the Minister of Finance is going to take that burden away from them and place it more fairly on the people who have the ability to pay.

I say that one figure the Minister of Finance failed to mention in terms of tax effort, as a percentage of provincial averages across the country, is the resource taxes. Resource taxes in this Province are at a level of 73 per cent of the Canadian average, 73 per cent of the Canadian average of tax effort in the resource area, and this Province is very low on that area, as well. In the area of business taxes and resource taxes, the taxation that this Province levies is lower than normal, so there is plenty of room to get the mining companies and the corporations which benefit from our Province's resources, to bear a fairer share of their taxes, and through those taxes, have the Government allocate a portion of them, at least, to the depletion of the resource that is being exploited by these companies.

After all, Mr. Speaker, we are talking here, of course, about taxation, fiscal measures and all of this, but what we are really talking about is people, the people who, from all over this Province and other parts of the country, as well, have come to live and build their homes, and have their families and their future, in Labrador West. They have done that. Many of them have suffered illnesses from the industrial diseases that are part and parcel, unfortunately, through lack of proper care, of the industrial life. Some of them have died in the course of their employment through industrial accidents. Many have, as I said, made their lives there.

This community may eventually be shut down, as the Prime Minister shut down Schefferville, Mr. Speaker. Prime Minister Mulroney shut down Schefferville in a very swift way. We may see sometime in the future, I hope we don't, that in a community such as, say, Labrador City, when someone in board rooms somewhere in the United States decides it is no longer profitable for them to mine in Labrador City, they will take action to shut it down.

Well, Mr. Speaker, we want to have something set up, starting now, to make sure that there is some morality involved in the process of mining and what happens to people after the years of service they give to mining communities. Not only should that be for the workers themselves, but their families, the children who make their lives, the teachers and everybody else who works in those communities, that they somehow or other do not have to suffer from the dislocation associated with mining towns.

Mr. Speaker, this is a good resolution. As I said, it is easy to criticize the resolution by finding particular loopholes in it; and the Minister of Finance has tried to do so. But I urge all members to support this resolution so that a start, at least, could be made on recognizing that the people of this Province and the Government of this Province, through the House of Assembly, support responsibility and responsible fiscal morality on the part of mining companies when they undertake to exploit the natural resources of this Province.

After the mine is gone, after the minerals are gone, the people are still here, and these are they, whom we, as Members of the House of Assembly, represent and whom I will represent when I support this resolution. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

DR. GIBBONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say a few words about this resolution. My colleague, the Minister of Finance, has addressed the specific taxation issues and the comparisons with other jurisdictions in Canada. As he said - and I would just as soon repeat what he said - mining companies in Newfoundland and Labrador are fairly treated relative to other jurisdictions in Canada.

We are approximately in the middle of the pack and not too high or too low. And particularly relative to Labrador West, I believe we are very fairly taxed in the mineral industry compared to the adjacent jurisdiction across the border. I want to make one little addition to what my colleague said on the tax of general application and how that applies.

The general application tax of 16 per cent applies to all new mines opened since 1975. It does not apply to the mines in Labrador West, either Iron Ore Company of Canada or Wabush mines. In both cases, they have special agreements signed many years ago with former Governments, and in both cases, their taxation regime is lower than the tax of general application of 16 per cent. That 16 per cent applies, in their case, only to taxes on monies paid to the license holder, not the particular companies that do the mining. So, their specific agreements are the ones that apply to them, and these specific taxes are lower than the 16 per cent tax in general.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) license holders.

DR. GIBBONS: The license holders do pay the tax of general application on any royalties; that would be (inaudible), in the case of Iron Ore Company of Canada, and NALCAP, in the case of the Wabush mines operation, but they only pay that tax on royalties that are paid to them. The general taxes are lower than the tax of general application for the mining companies, themselves. So, we are, I believe, very comparable to the adjacent jurisdiction across the border in Quebec. As a matter of fact, we do have significant advantages compared to that jurisdiction across the border.

I want to mention some other things besides taxation. My colleague talked about the payroll tax, and my figure was 3.75 per cent since July 1st compared to 1.5 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador, but in the other sectors there are big advantages in Labrador.

For example, across the border in Quebec, Wabush mines has to pay 36 mils for its energy, 3.6 cents per kilowatt hour for its electricity. In the Labrador West situation, the cost of the energy is only about 2.5 mils, a major difference in energy cost in Labrador West, a big advantage.

AN HON. MEMBER: What has that to do with the price of tea in China?

DR. GIBBONS: I am talking about things that are relevant to these mining operations, Mr. Speaker, relevant things, and that is one where there is a big advantage. Also, we do not have a capital tax in Labrador West for the capital that is invested in these mining operations, major capital. Across the border in Quebec there is a capital tax of something over half a per cent, again an advantage on our side that is not directly a mining tax. So there are advantages on the taxation side that are positive for the industry in our area in Labrador West.

Now I am not going to talk anymore about the specifics of the taxation issue, I will talk a little bit more about the other aspect of this resolution - whether or not there should be a fund? That is not a new question - whether or not there should be a fund? That question probably dates back as long as there has been a mine and as long as there has been taxation by any government.

I have been associated with our Provincial Department of Mines and Energy since 1976, and dating back to that time there has been discussion of mining funds. Whatever the name, whether it is a miners fund, a depletion fund, a rehabilitation fund, a diversification fund, a community development fund, put any name on it but there has been talk of that for years and there has been research on that for years, and our colleague for St. John's East, who just spoke, talked about some of the studies that have been done.

I brought with me today a copy of proceedings of a Mines Ministers Conference in 1987, and this one has some of the history of that type of research and discussion in it. I can make a copy available to my colleague for Menihek. It shows some of the studies that were done, lead by the provinces, discussions with the Federal Government, every year at the Mining Ministers Conferences talking about this issue. Manitoba did show some leadership and they are the ones that coordinated a lot of the studies on the pros and the cons of community development funds. There are a lot of advantages. There could be a lot of advantages to having such funds because you would know that amount of money is there, but then there are the other aspects of this particular question.

This time I do not know. Frankly I do not know whether it would be good to have a fund or not. If there is no fund, and presently we have to accept the reality across this country that for the most part there are no such fund anywhere - I am not sure of the exact status of the one in Manitoba right now, but there is no such fund anywhere else, and we have to address issues related to a closure or issues related to a cutback from general revenue on the Government's side, and on the company's side the company must also be there at the table to help, and we have to talk about that in this particular case.

Now I want to come back to this particular case. We do not have a closure. We do not have a closure, we just have a cutback, and I hope that for the next half century there is still going to be mining in Labrador West. There are some estimates that there is enough iron ore up there for at least another hundred years, and I certainly hope there is, but that is not the answer.

Bell Island still has enough iron ore for a hundred years. The geological estimates indicate that there could be close to a billion tons of iron ore under Conception Bay, but it is not going to be mined in the present economic situation. It cannot be mined at a cost per ton that is comparable to the cost per ton in Labrador West. That is part of the reason that Bell Island closed, because Labrador West now exists, that the big open pit mines in Brazil now exist, or that the big open pit mines in China and Australia now exist.

MR. TOBIN: What has that got to do with the resolution?

DR. GIBBONS: A lot to do with the resolution.

AN HON. MEMBER: Pay attention.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is unusual.

DR. GIBBONS: We have to look at the economics of the situation, and it is economics that is going to determine whether or not this mine is going to continue in the long-term. That is why we have had the cutbacks announced recently in Labrador City and Wabush, both these companies want to compete, both these companies want to survive for the long haul. I want them to survive for the long haul, and I want to see the towns of Wabush and Labrador City continue to survive for the long haul, and we have to do our part as a Government in making sure that any cutbacks are done fairly, but the companies and the unions involved also want to be sure that everything that is happening between them is done on a fair basis.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to echo some of the comments from my colleague from Menihek in introducing this resolution. The mining industry in Newfoundland and Labrador is a leading industry. In terms of value on a factor cost basis it is the leading industry in this Province. And Labrador West, yes, has made a major contribution to the Province's economy. I want it to continue to do that. In these tough times in Labrador West, my colleague, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, and I are looking at the issues from the Government perspective, and we want to make sure that we do our part to help these employees who are affected negatively, the ones who are displaced.

We are studying the implications of cost in moving. If there has to be a mobility grant in place, maybe it can be worked out. We are looking at that. We are looking at what was done the last time, in 1982, when there was a major reduction and a lot of people got laid off. So, we are studying that part.

We are studying the aspects of training, what can be done in the training area to ensure that people who are displaced from jobs in Labrador West will now have something to go to. Some of them have said to me that they do not want to go to a mining town anymore, they do not want to go to a mining job anymore. They want something different, because they do not see any opportunities in mining, as they look west and north at other mines in this Country. A lot of people are worried about where they are going to go to work as they leave Labrador City and Wabush. We want to help put some programmes in place that will be appropriate, and I would think we can do that in consultation with the people affected.

Let's identify the programmes that are going to be appropriate for them. Let's hope that we, working with the Federal Government and CEIC in getting money and programmes in place, can do things right in Labrador City - Wabush at the community college that will help them get some of the training there instead of having to move, because there are some advantages to them to stay living where they are. The benefits of cheaper energy is one of them, for example, and the fact that they do have their homes in the area and their roots in the area, in some cases. So, we want to work with the people affected.

Next week I plan to be in Labrador City and Wabush again, on Tuesday and Wednesday, and at that time I would expect to sit down with both companies and unions, again to talk about the issue as of today, where it sits right now and what we can do.

Coming back to the specifics of the resolution, Mr. Speaker, at this time I do not really know in my own mind whether we should have a fund. I am not sure. Looking at the pros and the cons and looking at all the studies that have been done in the past, I am not really sure if there should be a fund. I think maybe that is an issue that can be looked at some more. Whether a fund should be created by transferring payroll tax, no, I do not think we should say it is a payroll tax that should be transferred into such a fund. If we are going to create such a fund, I think we should look at it in a more general way and say it is going to be a few cents per ton or a few dollars or a percentage of the taxes that are now paid, or a supplement, an addition to the taxes that are now paid. But I do not think we should say it is the payroll tax. That was put in place for health and education, in particular. So I do not think we can agree specifically on the recommendation.

In terms of the concept, I am still open on the concept and I am still prepared to study the concept more.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to support the motion put forward by my colleague from Menihek. Mr. Speaker, after listening to two speakers, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Mines and Energy, I am not sure where the caring for people rests with that Government. The Minister of Finance got up and tried to throw out all kinds of figures, tax figures, tax statistics and everything else, never once mentioning how people who are dislocated from their towns, from their jobs and, in many cases, from their families have to suffer.

I was also intrigued because it seems to be an ongoing pet peeve of the Minister, whenever he can get a chance, to criticize, quite often unfairly, the people of Menihek in Labrador. The Minister of Finance made reference to my colleague from Menihek who is always championing the cause of the people of his district. The Minister of Finance always seem to be putting down the people of his district. Mr. Speaker, when the payroll tax was introduced in this Province we, as a party, were opposed to it and, Mr. Speaker, we are still opposed to the payroll tax.

If it is to stay there, as the Premier has indicted that it must, and is going to stay there, all we are asking is that the money paid in the Labrador City - Wabush area be set aside for a special diversification fund to help these people in the difficult times we are going through. The Minister of Mines and Energy quite rightly said it is not a closure but it is a cutback. Mr. Speaker, that gives us some lead time. The Minister of Finance said it is only a small amount of money and it would not do very much. Mr. Speaker, if it were collected over a long period of time it would obviously offer some alternatives. We heard the Minister of Mines and Energy all last week lamenting the fact that exploration in this Province has declined from, I think, $41 million to $12 million, that prospects for the future seem even glimmer and that there is going to be even less exploration in this Province. Well, Mr. Speaker, some of this money might be able to be used to see if we can stimulate the mining industry, to do more, to diversify, to explore for more ore, and so on. The Minister of Finance keeps referring to our taxes being the lowest in the country. Every time he gets into debate he takes a great deal of time to tell us we are not taxed very much. Mr. Speaker, I do not find very much in this resolution and I wish the Minister had stuck to the original resolution instead of giving us a barrage of facts, albeit some of them quite old, as he said.


MR. WINSOR: Well, the Minister of Mines and Energy constantly had to correct him to tell him he had wrong figures. Mr. Speaker, it was just a litany of facts that had nothing to do with the real issue and the real issue is that the people of Labrador City and Wabush for the next number of years have pretty uncertain times. The payroll tax may take a couple of million dollars a year from the mining companies. The reason those mining companies have been in a downturn is because they have not been economically viable, so if we are taking something from them year after year it makes it less viable. I am sure the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, recently elected, knows something of the problems that a mining town now faces as a result of a mine shutdown. A considerable number of people of the Baie Verte Peninsula as a matter of fact have been dealt a double blow because many of them went to Hope Brook after to work as miners and the closure of the Hope Brook mine has again put these people out of work, so the trend continues. This resolution is only calling for Government to set up a diversification fund to allow people who live in the mining towns and other one industry towns like mines, and oil maybe down the road, to have some future when the mines close down. Now, the Minister of Finance when speaking asked, what happens when the schools lose their pupils? Do teachers retain their jobs? Mr. Speaker, they do because of the 2 per cent saving clause that was put in the contract of these people to give them a measure of protection. It gives them some lead-in time. Instead of having this massive disruption in a town or school you have some lead-in time, you have another year and another year, to do some planning. This is not the case in a mining town. It is not a contract like that at all. If the mine is closed, and as we saw in the interviews on television the other night, these people face a pretty bleak and uncertain future. Mr. Speaker, we see no indication and I am not at all comforted, and I am sure the people of Menihek are not comforted by the Minister of Mines and Energy who set up an advisory board to look at the mining industry, who says that the Province might assist in some mobility. Mr. Speaker, that is not good enough. The people who have contributed so much to the economy of this Province deserve better. If we look at the history of the towns in this Province, the one industry towns, we have to look no further than across from Portugal Cove to Bell Island. The town of Bell Island for a number of years was a town that at one time had some 14,000 or 15,000 people which shrank to 6,500, the economy was decimated. The mines closed down and there was nothing for the miners. Added to that, Mr. Speaker, of course this was at a times when labour legislation and unions were not very powerful; a pitiful pension. We just saw in Wabush last night the union massively rejecting a proposal by the company to come up with some settlement for people who had a number of years experience and basically the company is in such dire straits that it has to do something to protect itself.

What it is doing is laying off employees, sending them throughout the Province and someone has to step in; someone has to take an initiative and in this case the only one who could do it is the Government; but what concerns me about this, Mr. Speaker, was the attitude of the Premier, the other day.

The Premier was quite adamant that he is not a metallurgist or he is nothing else and there is nothing he can do for the mining industry, and what seems to have occurred here is that, Government has thrown its hands up in despair and said there is nothing we can do. The Minister of Mines and Energy said: I am not sure whether it would be a good thing or not.

Well, Mr. Speaker, we would really like clarification on what the Minister of Mines and Energy meant when he said he is not sure if this would be a good thing or not. Anything that could help the people of a town like Labrador City and Wabush or Baie Verte, that have had their sole source of income taken from them - we have to wonder as to what the Minister of Mines and Energy was referring to when he was saying that he is not sure whether it would be a good thing or not.

Everyone I guess can recall quite vividly when Alberta went through its boom years, it set aside millions, in fact billions of dollars in its heritage fund for a time when the oil would be no more. Well they have not reached that stage there yet; there has been a downturn in that industry and the people there had something on which to rely on and it came from this fund. We realize that the amount of money in the payroll tax is not great; it is not a great significant amount for the mining industry in Labrador, but what we need is a recognition of a Government that people are important, that there is some concern and some consideration for the people who have contributed so much to the economy of this Province in the last, I guess, thirty years, maybe longer than that -

AN HON. MEMBER: Buchans was fifty years (inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: - yes, Buchans was fifty years. Mr. Speaker, I did spend some time, as my colleague for Menihek said, and most of us have spent some time in Menihek. I did have a summer in 1973, when I worked in the mines in Labrador City, in the mill while I was a student at University and did quite well. I made a lot of money that summer in comparison to what I would have made elsewhere, so it seems I guess, it is a bit misleading of Government and a bit devious for them to say that they cannot do anything about it because we cannot have, as the Minister said, one thing for one resource, one thing for another one, but what we are dealing with here, Mr. Speaker, is nonrenewable resources and as my colleague said, the minute the first gallon of oil is pumped from Hibernia, it is the beginning of the end and so we have to do something to address it.

My colleague from St. John's East said that we, when we were in Government, did not do anything about it. Mr. Speaker, that is history, that is a thing of the past and what we have to do is to plan and prepare for the future and this is not being done. In fact, what we see happening because of this Government's attitude, it is happening actually in the reverse. In a time when mining industries are becoming increasingly competitive and as the Minister of Mines and Energy said, there is lots of iron ore out in Conception Bay, in fact the Bay is full of it, but it was not economically feasible.

All the payroll tax is doing now is making it less feasible for the mines to stay in operation and at the same time it takes away any potential they have through its diversification fund to do something down the road in the future. There is no question, Mr, Speaker, that in twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years time, there will be more changes in the mining industry, but as a Province, we have to do something to prepare for it.

Looking at reports published back in 1975 or 1976, it is cold comfort, it does not do very much to help the mining industry of Labrador, the miners, their families who, tomorrow morning or next week or next year, have nowhere to go and no job retraining. This is what this fund could entail, so that people of one-industry towns would, when their industries shut down, as happened in Buchans, in Daniel's Harbour, on Bell Island, and many of the numerous mining towns in this Province, have someone come to their assistance.

Mr. Speaker, it was not so long ago that Kruger, the giant in the paper industry, experienced - well, it was Bowater at the time, and the Government came to the assistance of the forestry industry, and rightly so. In this case, Mr. Speaker, it was a renewable resource. Trees will grow again tomorrow and next week and next year. Once these mines have been depleted, they are gone forever, and the onus is now on this Administration, this Government, to put in place now some plans to deal with the displacement that will come to these people.

So, Mr. Speaker, I have no difficulty in supporting this resolution, that the revenues from the payroll tax be set aside for a special fund called the diversification fund to come to the assistance of persons affected by the economic dislocation in the mining industry. I hope that the other speakers on that side - the Minister of Forestry seemed to indicate that he was very supportive of the resolution, and I hope that in a minute or so when he speaks he will rise and support it. The Minister of Forestry said that this proposal had been put forth some time ago, is very supportive of it, and we are hoping that the Minister will rise in his place and support the resolution. We hope next week, when Cabinet meets, the Minister of Mines will have a leading, strong voice from the Member who represents a former mining town, the Town of Buchans, that the Minister will speak quite strongly and clearly in defence of the mining industry.

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay too will speak quite eloquently in caucus on the need for a diversification in the mining industry, as might -

MR. SIMMS: Perhaps in Cabinet as the Minister of Justice.

MR. WINSOR: Perhaps he could be in Cabinet as the new Minister. I am sure the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island, who too has had a town, or the Minister of Development, the Member for St. Barbe who has had a mining town that lost its major resource, that these people will speak on the resolution put forth, support the resolution put forth by the -

MR. FUREY: Ask for a depletion or whatever and you will get it.

MR. SIMMS: We just covered that. That is history now.

MR. WINSOR: Now is the time to look to the future. So, if the Minister of Development wanted a mining depletion resource then, he should want one now. The Minister has got a chance -

AN HON. MEMBER: He depleted the whole thing.

MR. SIMMS: It is rather miniscule now, $2 million.

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, if the Minister of Development is going to speak in favour of this resolution, then I will certainly defer to him and, in so doing, hope that he can convince some of his colleagues in Cabinet, that, by the way, is becoming less and less every day. We only have to have three or four in Cabinet to support this resolution, and I suspect that this resolution could very well carry with the dwindling numbers that are appearing in that Cabinet circle, with only four or five in the front bench now. We do not know who is next because each day brings a new surprise, but we could have enough people in Cabinet to support this resolution. The policy of this Administration in the weeks to come will be the immediate implementation of a mining depletion tax to cover the affected areas.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Before I recognize the hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, I would like, on behalf of hon. members, to welcome to the House this afternoon twenty Grade XII students and their two teachers, Fred Melendy and Peter Gibbons, and the bus driver, Ernest Stagg from the Lumsden School Complex, Lumsden.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: From that great historic District of Fogo.

Now I will introduce the hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SMALL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. This being my first speech in the House I would like, on behalf of my brother Mark, to bring congratulations to Mr. Simms on his being chosen as the Leader of the Party and becoming Leader of the Opposition.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SMALL: I am sure his dedication to politics and this House will be greatly appreciated in the coming days.

Now I stutter a bit but you will have to overlook that. I feel I am honoured today to be able to stand in this House on behalf of the people of my district, Baie Verte - White Bay. It gives me a gratitude to know that they have elected me to represent them in this House of Assembly. I must say it is a whole new challenge for me. It is a lot different from getting up in the middle of the night, untying the boat and going out fishing. But I am sure it brings a greater responsibility to those that elect you and also to our Province on the whole.

Mr. Speaker, I realise that being an MHA in these times is a very difficult job with the economic situation that we have in Canada and in Newfoundland. With all the cutbacks coming down from our Federal Government, Ottawa leaves our Newfoundland Government with no other option but to cut back on health care and education. Our Province has been devastated in the last few years because of the recession in Canada and other parts of the world. Our mining industries have all but shut down, and it is partly because of new technology. Our Government has given large sums of money to our mining industry, our paper mills, our logging industry. They are bringing in new technology and they are employing fewer and fewer people. And we have governments that fail to bring in new jobs to keep up with the jobs that are being taken away by new technology. The fishing industry has changed. We install newer equipment every day. We are building bigger boats and we need fewer men. We install equipment in our plants and we are taking away the jobs. Having said this I would like to come back to the motion on the floor regarding the tax.

Our mining industry I think has had lots of help from governments in the past. I know the Baie Verte mines received large sums of money, but I have my observations on those large sums of money, whether they were used in the right way. The mine was kept open for a very long time. Finally she had to shut down. I think that money could have been used to build new industries so that when the mine did shut down we had jobs, and we did not have to come out with special funds to look after our people. I think this is what we should have been doing down in Labrador West. We should be creating new jobs so when the mines do shut down we have some jobs for our people.

Over the last few years we have seen drastic cuts in transfer payments from our Federal Government in health care and education. The Federal Government is responsible for the destruction of our fish stocks. You might say this is irrelevant to what we are speaking about.

When Newfoundland came into Canada we brought in large wealth, we brought in the largest and best fishing grounds in the world, we brought with us one of the greatest hydro potentials in the world, we brought with us the great iron ore deposits of Labrador, we brought with us the great oil fields off our coast, and we have nothing to be ashamed of. But today we only have 575,000 people and we cannot even feed ourselves. There must be something wrong. Maybe you could talk about our past government also.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SMALL: They had a large role to play in it all. What I see has happened to our fish stocks over my few years that I have been in the world, our fish stocks have been taken away and they have been traded off to foreign nations so they could buy wheat from Alberta and cars from Ontario. To my recollection today the foreign nations are taking more ground fish off our coast than the whole of Canada has taken, and not one cent of taxes collected on any of that fish, only a licence fee.

Mr. Speaker, I think the mining industry receives help from our Government in the way of job training and other assistance. I think if we have to create a special fund for every industry in Newfoundland we will have more funds than we know how to look after. We need our payroll tax because all the money is cut back from Ottawa. We had no other way to find some money to look after our people, and what I say today if we have to set up a special fund for the fishermen, one for the mining and one for the woods and one for the schools, life is only a gamble. We go on and go to work, we lose our jobs. Today we have to go onto other things. We need a general fund that can look after everything in a general way.

Mr. Speaker, before I finish I want to go back to my own district again for a while. The previous Tory government put large sums of money into the Baie Verte mines, but they failed to give the people in my district the basic needs of life, the basic necessities. We still have sixteen places in my district hooked up to dirt roads, and many other communities that still do not have good drinking water and no sewer facilities. This is unacceptable in this day. What the majority of Newfoundlanders take for granted, people in my district think is a luxury. They think it is a luxury to have a drop of good water to drink and a bit of paved road. Now I do not expect miracles overnight after sixteen years of the PC government not being able to do it, but I do need a fair share. We need better facilities for fishermen, we need to renovate our health care system, we need our roads paved, we need water and sewer, and keep our education system upgraded, and we need some money to go into exploration work, the mining.

The mining industry is all but gone in Newfoundland because of the recessions in Canada and other parts of the world. We need to do some exploration work so we can have our mines ready to go when things pick up. We have to work to bring new industries into Newfoundland, something that will bring new dollars to our people and new tax dollars to our Government. Let us all work together for the betterment of everyone in Newfoundland. Let us work together, both on the Opposition side and on this side. I think we have no time for games and play in Newfoundland today. We have to do some creative work.

Thank you, very much.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am only going to speak for a few moments to the resolution. I had not intended originally to speak but having heard some of the comments from members opposite, in particular, but most importantly having heard the introductory speech by my colleague, the Member for Menihek, I was spurred on to get up and participate in the debate. Because I think the Member for Menihek gave one of the finest, most passionate speeches in this House, here this afternoon. I mean that sincerely, he did. What I know about the Member for Menihek is that he was speaking from the heart. Let me assure you, he was not - and I want to specifically direct this comment to the member who just sat down, the member who just gave his maiden speech in the House: let me assure him that the Member for Menihek, when he presented this resolution today and in his introductory speech, was speaking from the heart. Let me assure you, he was speaking for the people of his constituency, and he did a darn fine job of it, as far as I am concerned.

Mr. Speaker, it was because of the speech by the Member for Menihek and because of the remarks of members opposite that I felt I should say a few words. Let me just in passing refer to the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay. I only want to do it in passing, because the longer he sits here, the more he will realize that the rules apply to all of us equally. The one exception is when a member is giving his maiden speech. That is an occasion when members opposite, whatever the opposite side might be, will try their best not to interrupt, or call a member to relevance. The resolution here, of course, was a very specific resolution, and the member did move off into other areas. That was fine; we did not oppose or argue that and the Speaker did not interject. But, as he sits here during the next year, or year-and-a-half - that will be the time he will have, maybe - during that period of time, he will realize the rules.

MR. HOGAN: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: I am commenting on the member's maiden speech.

May I also say, Mr. Speaker, if the Member for Placentia, the Minister of Social Services, would stop interjecting and show a little decorum, I would also like to commend the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay on his maid speech in the House. He did a marvellous job, as far I am concerned. He touched on points of concern to him and I know they are points of concern to his constituents. I know he spoke, as well, from the heart and I commend him on his maiden speech.

Mr. Speaker, to get to the resolution, there are only a couple of points I want to make, and one of those points is this: While the debate was going on, members on this side spoke, and members on that side interjected and talked about the past. The Member for St. Barbe and the Member for Windsor - Buchans both made reference to the fact that when they were facing similar situations in their constituencies, they themselves, and their constituents, community groups in those areas they represented, asked for depletion funds or something similar to aid the people from those areas.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: You see what transpires, Mr. Speaker. When you are trying to make a speech, as soon as you make a point, they immediately try to detract from the point you are trying to make and they want to attack, instead of getting up on their feet and participating in the debate, which they are entitled to do at the appropriate time. Now, they did not do it. So I would like to make my observations, Mr. Speaker. It is obvious the Premier and the Government House Leader are gone, because they are coming at us now like flies. In the few moments I have remaining, I would like to make my comments without interference from members opposite, if I might be so permitted. Mr. Speaker, members opposite said they looked for something similar during times of crisis in their own areas.

Other members during the debate, have made the point that nothing happened when you were the government. You didn't do this, or you didn't do that. Mr. Speaker, I think the Member for Baie Verte hit the nail on the head - I think he was dead on, and I support him in what he said right at the end of his speech, I don't know who was listening, but I was - when he said that what happened in the past can be attributed and blamed to all governments; ours, the previous Liberal government for twenty-three years, or whatever, and he is absolutely correct. What has happened in the past is history. Those who want to live in the past, fine, but I intend to live in the future, because that is where I am going to be spending the rest of my life.

I agree with the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, when he says it is time to put away the games, time to stop playing politics, and time to address the issues of the day. And that group over there on that side of the legislature, Mr. Speaker, has been elected to form the Government. They are the Government. They cannot respond to all of the suggestions and all of the requests by simply saying, Well, the crowd before us didn't do anything. You may as well go back to twenty-three years of Liberal rule. Why were the roads in Baie Verte not paved by Mr. Smallwood and his government for twenty-three years? What is the point, Mr. Speaker - and I think this is the point that the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay was trying to make - what is the point of going back over all of that old history? We can do it, you can do it on that side, but we don't get any further ahead.

The issue that has been introduced here today is an issue that has been introduced by the Member for Menihek in a sincere fashion. He is trying to get some help for those hundreds and hundreds of people from Labrador West who are now faced with a very difficult situation, an extremely difficult situation. There are some 500 employees, I think is the number, early in the new year, who will be faced with job loss. With their spouses and their families, I suppose it is going to affect 2,000 people. It is going to affect 2,000 people. Now what do the 2,000 people in Menihek have to look forward to? Many of them, I guess, have mortgages on houses that now have certainly devalued, no question about that. They have payments on their vehicles to worry about. People have been selling their vehicles, my colleague tells me, over the last little while. They have been forced to sell off their vehicles. They have children going to university. They are people, for the most part, who have been making good money, with very well-paying, high-paying jobs, and now, 2,000 people are going to be forced to make some other decision. I suspect a fair number of those people will probably decide to leave the area. From what I hear, and from what I see - well, 500 jobs are going to be affected. Let us assume that most of the workers have spouses, that will make 1,000. If they have a child or two each, you are looking at a couple of thousand people from the area. That is a large, large number of people to be affected in such a negative way.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I do not think my colleague, the Member for Menihek is necessarily saying, give me or my constituents special treatment. He is not suggesting that only for his area, that it is the only place this would apply, it would apply elsewhere in the Province. And he made it clear in his remarks, if anybody listened to his speech, that he is also talking about non-renewable industries, which would include offshore oil. I checked with the Minister of Mines and Energy, and there is no provision or anything for any kind of a depletion fund to assist workers fifteen or twenty years from now when those resources are depleted. There is nothing there, and if there had been, in hindsight, it would be helpful to the people who are going to be finished work there in fifteen or twenty years time.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I also want to mention one other point that my colleague, the Member for Menihek, tried to make during his presentation in this legislature. He tried to make the point that these people are not looking for a special favour. In response to his sincere request, the Minister of Finance's initial comments were: `looking for special treatment.' That wasn't his point at all. His point is that we need and should have some kind of mechanism in place, whether it is the payroll tax - I am not quite sure, as my colleague pointed out earlier, not everybody agrees with taking the payroll tax. I do not agree with the payroll tax.

But, if it is a minuscule amount, which was $2.7 million, I think the Premier said, is what comes in from the mining industry. And the Premier made reference to the fact when he was asked a question in Question Period that that is a very small amount, a minuscule amount. The point my friend was trying to make is that if it such a minuscule amount, then why don't you start a fund? Why don't you take that money? Because that is the only industry that has the payroll tax -

AN HON. MEMBER: The only resource-based industry.

MR. SIMMS: - the only resource-based industry that has the payroll tax applied to it - the mining industry. All the others were exempt. Forestry, fishery, were exempt from paying the payroll tax. That is his only point. But the underlying point of the Member for Menihek is a plea, crying out, I guess, on behalf of the people whom he represents, and I suspect, will continue to represent for some time yet to come. He is a member who is in his constituency every week. He is a member who goes out to the shopping malls, down around the high schools, walks the streets downtown in Wabush and Labrador City and talks to the people.

MR. GRIMES: He hasn't been in Wabush for two years, they told me when I was up there last week.

MR. SIMMS: Well, I doubt very much if the Member for Exploits would be an expert on that, because he has not been in Exploits for two years, from what I understand. But that is another issue and we can debate that another day.

My point is, the Member for Menihek is speaking in this legislature today as he did two or three days ago in Question Period when he asked the same kinds of questions. He is speaking on behalf of the people who elected him to this House of Assembly. He is not only reflecting their views, my suspicion is that he is echoing their cries for help. They need a lot of help. I say to the Member for Baie Verte: you may think that in the past when our government, the previous administration, assisted in keeping the Baie Verte mines operational, that that money was not well spent. I would disagree with the member. I don't have time to debate him at this point in time, we will do it on another day.

But I would disagree strongly with him. Because it did keep hundreds of people employed, it did keep hundreds of families living, making good money. The government did receive returns from that investment through taxation and all the rest of it. It allowed people to have a reasonably good life. I do not disagree with diversification, nobody does. It is motherhood. But how in the name of God are you going to put a microchip factory down in Middle Arm and make it work? Who is going to put one down there?

I mean, you are faced with realities in a Province like Newfoundland and Labrador. Besides, there is a fish plant down in Middle Arm that is very successful, these days. But my point is this -

DR. KITCHEN: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well, here he goes, back to the past again. What about the chocolate factories? What about Churchill Falls? How many Sprungs do you think that represents, I say to the Minister of Finance?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) hockey stick factory, orange juice factory.

MR. SIMMS: We have already gone over that ground. Fifteen minutes ago, when I started to speak, I thought we had covered that ground. Obviously the Minister of Finance wasn't listening. He is a poor example for the new Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, in my view. Because the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay made his maiden speech and pleaded with us to stop playing silly political games, and immediately the Minister of Finance interjects and says: but what about Sprung? How silly and foolish!


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: Anyway, Mr. Speaker, the point I am trying to make - and I will repeat it again, because if members opposite want to interject, that is fine. I will just wait and start again as others have done in this legislature.

MR. DECKER: You are learning.

MR. SIMMS: I thank the Minister of Health.

The Member for Menihek certainly deserves a hearing. And the most positive thing I heard from the other side, by the way, was from the Minister of Mines and Energy, himself, who is probably one of the most sensible-thinking, free-thinking, ministers on that side of the House, recognized Province-wide. He spoke in the debate recognized Province-wide, I think, as a sensible individual with an ability to think for himself. He said in this House a few moments ago, when he spoke to this resolution - he argued and debated the ability to be able to provide the funds for such a fund and all the rest of it. But the key principle in this bill has to do with establishing some kind of fund to assist workers now and in the future, and on that particular point, the Minister of Mines and Energy said he was willing to think about that. He still had an open mind on it. He was not prepared to just slough it off with, `You fellows didn't do anything when you were the government,' `What about Sprung?' and all that old foolishness. He said the issue is worth considering. He said the principle of this resolution is worth thinking about, and he said, that as Minister of Mines and Energy for the Province, he was willing to have an open mind on it and to consider it. In fact, Mr. Speaker, he indicated that there had been a lot of study done on it in other jurisdictions.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: No, no.

The Minister of Mines and Energy said he had some documents which involved a number of studies that had been done in other jurisdictions on this whole issue of setting up a fund, and he was willing to be flexible. He was willing to think about it. We debated the payroll tax versus some other kind of mechanism. The principle of the resolution here is to set up some kind of assistance program or fund for workers.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well, if the Minister of Finance had listened, the Member for Menihek invited members opposite to amend the resolution. The Minister of Finance is following the principle of his Leader now, he is not prepared to listen. The Member for Menihek said in his speech that if the Government members were not prepared to take the payroll tax, as he suggested in his resolution, and knew of some other mechanism, well, then, please amend the resolution. He welcomed an amendment from members opposite, if they so desired, if the payroll tax was not the way to go.

MR. MURPHY: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: I am sorry. I didn't hear the Member for St. John's South. Well, the point is, are you going to help people, are you going to listen to people, or are you just going to bulldoze on? Is that what members opposite want to do?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: You see what happens, Mr. Speaker, when you begin to make sense to this Government. All they can do is attack it. All they can do is try to deter it. All they can do is try to take attention away from the issue at hand, and the issue at hand is for asking Government to set up some kind of fund to assist people who have been devastated. Are members opposite concerned about that at all? The Minister of Finance keeps joking. Does he know there are 2000 people in Labrador about to leave? Is he aware of it? Is he awake yet? The Minister of Finance has not even awakened yet. He does not have the decency to let members opposite make their speeches. He is acting the way he used to act before. He is right back at it again.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. minister is trying to deflect from all the problems he and his Government have created in this Province, that is what he is trying to do, trying to deflect it in any way that he can, by silly little interjections and foolish little comments like those that he makes now and that he has been making for the last two and a half years instead of listening to the people as his own colleague, the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay asked him to do twenty minutes ago; but he did not even have the decency to listen to him, so the Minister of Finance would be much better serving the people of this Province, if he sat back and listened to people and listened to suggestions and tried to find some way to resolve the problems.

I mean that is what it is all about, to find a resolution, but members opposite are not prepared, Mr. Speaker, to even consider it, except for one person and that is the Minister of Mines and Energy and if members opposite took their directions from what the Minister of Mines and Energy said, they would have heard him say, they would have heard him say: he is open on the issue, he is willing to listen, he is willing to think about it, look at it some more and not just simply disregard it; and if that is the case, then members opposite want to support what the Minister of Mines and Energy said, then maybe what they should do is simply propose an amendment; but if they are going to disagree with the Minister of Mines and Energy, who sees the value in consideration -

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

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. SIMMS: If that is what they intend to do, Mr. Speaker, well then, sobeit.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today just to give a few words prior to the hon. Member's opportunity to close the debate. In the area which I represent, in the district of LaPoile, we have had the opportunity this past few years to have the railway diversification fund set up and established by the Federal Government who were directly responsible for the shutting down of the Newfoundland Railway.

The idea of setting up and establishing a fund is not necessarily going to solve the problem and immediately see to it that there are job opportunities created, it depends on the individuals involved and the manner in which the funds are handled and also, the manner of the approach taken by the people who are trying to set this up.

Now, the hon. Member sees a way of taking a payroll tax off, which we now need to offset some of the federal transfer problems that we are having from Ottawa, as a way of funding this. Well, I have some problems with that. I support the intent, the idea of diversification funds, I think it can be a good idea, but the method that you use here: I do not support the idea of taking something from our general revenue and establishing it to that specific, I think that is a decision that has to be made by the Government in general, that type of thing.

Now I have of course, support for the intent of your resolution, but again, the method that you use the resolution to it, I do have problems with. I wanted to say something about some things that have been coming out on the other side; we speak of the cutbacks from the Federal Government and it causes a great problem for the Province and of course the Federal Government have problems with their finances as well, but if you look at the collective amount of cutbacks with which we have had to deal since being in Government, then I can see why the Opposition, who probably do not understand government that well, would come to the conclusion that we have caused this problem.

They would come to the conclusion based on what some people have suggested would be ineptitude or lack of understanding of government when they were in power, they look at the fact that we caused this, when in effect, the cumulative impact of Federal Government cutbacks, since we have taken power, is $500 million.

MR. MURPHY: Ask him were there any layoffs in Labrador City when they were in power?

MR. RAMSAY: Well, I understand there were, but they fluctuated up and down of course according to the market. Now, we want to look at the cause and effect to the problem that we have here. Was the made in Canada recession, made in Canada recession, the Federal Government's initiative to cause a recession in Canada, to try to keep inflation under control, like throwing out the baby with the bath water or possibly cutting off the arm so that the hand would heal.

Now, if in effect that was the cause of the down-turn in the economy which in turn has caused the mines to have to lay off some individuals because the market is not there for their product, well, then we have a mine problem that is a made in Canada mine problem. Even thought the Province has the responsibility for this made in Canada recession, or the mine itself, the problem with the mine is, of course, the direct effect of the recession which is a made in Canada problem. Now, with the $500 million worth of accumulative cutbacks that we speak of since we have taken power, if you look at that then we of course have had to come up with the equivalent of $500 million or somewhat thereof, or cut back to some extent to cover off the money that we did not get from Ottawa because of their changes to the policy regarding equalization. Now, is there a made in Canada financial solution similar to -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. RAMSAY: In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, we will -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. RAMSAY: By leave.

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

MR. RAMSAY: Mr. Speaker, we want to diversify the Province. We offer Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador. We are looking at $24 million a year which will go in the general revenues of the Province to offer to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in mining communities and throughout the Province.

Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I knew I should not have given the extra minute, but having said that I will just pass a few comments on what some of the previous speakers have spoken about. I am a little disappointed that I did not get the opportunity of listening to a response from the President of Treasury Board. As a former New Democrat I am sure he is one that I know has a social conscience and while he ran for the New Democrats in Algoma if he would adopt that type of policy in those days? I think he would have. When I ran for the Tories back in 1985 I had that policy then and I believe another hon. Member sitting in this House now probably, who was running in the same general election, also had the same policy. He happens to be on the other side now but I was hoping that the President of Treasury Board would get up and speak. I would have though he would have supported the intent of this resolution. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member for LaPoile talked about this made in Canada recession and all the problems with the economy and the mining industry. Well, he should know the difference in that. Most of the iron ore products that are produced in western Labrador have now shifted. Since the last recession most of the product is going overseas to Japan and to Europe, so if you do not have anything intelligent to say, or anything constructive to say, you should not be up there talking about it and making silly statements. Having said that I will move on to other places. I want to congratulate the hon. Member for Baie Verte - White Bay in his maiden speech. I can understand how nervous and apprehensive he was about getting up and speaking the first time in the House, about an issue that involves his district, too, because he represents another mine that operates in this Province, in Baie Verte. I can understand the amount of trepidation he felt because I feel the same thing when I get up speaking, I do not have the experience of other people in this House. It was a good maiden speech but I just wanted to comment on a few things that he did say, that it is time for us to work together and that it is not a time for games. Mr. Speaker, I did not propose this as part of a game. This resolution was put forward with the intent of helping people. Some people sitting in this House think it is a game. The hon. Minister of Finance thinks that I am proposing this as a method of - I think he called it beating my drum. Well, it is not that. If beating my drum means I am attempting to help the people who are going to be directly effected in Menihek by a downturn in our local economy, caused by the global recession but can be helped by the provincial taxation structure, Mr. Speaker, then I am beating my drum. Mr. Speaker, I do have a concern when people do not really understand what I am trying to do.

I wish you had lived in Labrador for a few years. Mr. Speaker, if you lived there and you saw what these people built, then you would have the appreciation of the wealth that they have produced, not just for themselves but for this country and this Province. Then I think you would have more of a social conscience in helping them in a direct manner of establishing a fund so that they can be helped in their time of need when you have these vagaries in economics that are occurring in the global sense today.

Mr. Speaker, to go back and comment on the Minister of Finance's comments, and he talked about how we do not have responses for fishermen when they are in trouble, or the paper workers when they are in trouble. Well, Mr. Speaker, there have been responses by the Federal Government in the fisheries aid package, and I believe that this Government participated in it by a couple of million dollars to help these fishermen in a short-term measure. But what I am suggesting here is not a short-term measure, Mr. Speaker, it is a long-term calculated plan that can be put in place that can help the people who are dislocated because of a downturn globally and provincially, and nationally or course. But, Mr. Speaker, we do have the wherewithal to do it in our tax structure. Now the Minister of Finance just flicks it out as if it is foolish and silly that we can do this in the tax structure. His own Premier suggests the regional disparity we have talked about so much in these chambers can be fought with changing the federal tax structure, then we can help people in time of need over a resource that we control - the mining industry, we control the taxes on that - we should then do it. We have a responsibility to do it. We just don't have the right, we have a responsibility to that industry and to the people affected in the industry.

Now the Minister of Finance says that is poppycock, he thinks that is foolish. He says that he would not agree with my suggesting the payroll tax. My comment was that if it is just a payroll tax - I suggested the payroll tax because that was the only resource based industry the payroll tax was on. But if you do not agree with it there, if you do not agree with establishing a fund from that area and I did not want to go into a new area of taxation because I recognized that one of the mines in particular, the one operating in Wabush, has a lot of financial problems, and they may not indeed be around if they cannot economically get their cost of production down.

I specifically would not suggest a new tax to be placed on the mining company at this particular time. Now if you want to tax the licence holders or the royalty holders, such as (Inaudible) or the parent company being Northsands, or NALCAP, parent company Javelin, or a different name, if you want to tax them, well that is another issue. Maybe they should be taxed. I thoroughly agree with it.

But, Mr. Speaker, to suggest that we cannot touch that because that is going to be used in general revenue and we need it in hospitals and for post-secondary education - I did not want to impose a new tax because of those things.

The Minister of Finance also suggested that companies are not sharing the full tax burden in this Province. They only pay about 84 per cent. Mining - I am not sure how you can measure this. I think you might be talking about apples and oranges when you talk about the mining tax on Prince Edward Island versus the mining tax in Newfoundland and Labrador. I do not think - if they give them a complete tax-free holiday in Prince Edward Island they will not open any iron mines there. You can give them a tax-free holiday forever and a day, it will not open a mine in Prince Edward Island. Because it is not possible to open a mine in Prince Edward Island, they do not have the ore deposits.

Now, those ore deposits are non-renewable, and every time we stick a shovel into the bank in Wabush or Labrador City it's a day closer to the demise of those mines. That's a fact of life. The people working in it recognize it, the industry recognizes it, and it's time for this Government to recognize it. My hon. friend representing the New Democratic Party spoke and talked to us about how the previous, or other administrations did not assist. They had the opportunity of helping or imposing this diversification fund tax, if you want to call it that, or to set up a similar taxation structure that could assist mines in problems such as they are having today, and they did not do it.

Well, I guess that may be one of the reasons why our Party did not win enough seats. We did not have a broad enough mandate, we did not have a broad enough scope, to attract the voters, and you people did. Now you have the responsibility of governing. You should accept that responsibility and take a lead from Manitoba. They have it, because they recognized the need, in what I believe they call a resource depletion fund tax, that they specifically set up. You can call it what you wish. It still will be a fund that will be able to be set up, I believe anyway, to specifically address diversifying local areas; a special pool of capital that could be available, and also to assist individuals who will be dislocated economically because of technological changes. It is completely unfair that somebody who has worked in a job for twenty-eight and twenty-nine years, produced a tremendous amount of wealth for this Province, and to be thrown to the wolves, as the Minister responsible for Treasury Board suggested. That is what he suggested in a question the other day. He said that people are going to be thrown to the wolves.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: The Member should be in Algoma. Maybe the people in Newfoundland would be a lot better off.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister responsible for Mines and Energy talked about how the mining companies are being fairly treated. Well, Mr. Speaker, they may indeed be fairly treated, but I am talking about fairly treating the employees too. I believe that this Government has a responsibility to treat the employees as fairly as they treat the mining companies. I recognize that the mining companies probably should not, at this particular time, be given the increased tax burden. That is why I suggested the payroll tax, but I believe that this Government has a responsibility to specifically earmark part of the tax that they are presently collecting to this special fund; the part that is collected from the mining sector, the total amount.

He talked about the fact that this is not a new question. This is not something new. You are not breaking new ground. You are breaking new ground in this Province, but not in the Country, so I am not asking for something that is going to completely change the world of mining; that there will never be another mining company set up and operate and develop and create more activity in this Province; you will not scare away investment. You will probably just attract investment because of the fact that the companies are going to be aware that you are setting the rules up front, and they will know what they have to deal with.

You talked about the low tax, the general application tax, that is on (inaudible) and NALCAP, and I think it is only 16 per cent. I believe he is nodding that is correct. Well, that could be a tax and maybe that is one of the ones that you could, because these people, you have to realize, are merely tellers. That is what they do. They collect royalties on the ore that comes out. Every time it comes out they get a certain amount. Maybe that can be increased, and it can be specifically earmarked then for the advantage of people who are particularly involved in the industry.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister also mentioned they are keeping an eye on it, that they have the feasibility of doing studies on the industry and the tax burden on the industry and that type of thing. Well, I think that they have known for several months now that they are going to be coming in with a new tax structure in this Province, and they are talking about harmonizing different taxes. So they should have been cognizant of what was occurring in western Labrador over the last four or five months. The industry itself was aware of it and they should have been aware of it. They would have known that there was going to be a dislocation, so I think that he is admitting that they sat on their hands and did nothing. That is unfair. It is not fair to the people being affected. There is going to be a couple of thousand people affected when the dust settles, pardon the pun. But when all is done in western Labrador I believe there will be a couple of thousand people directly affected negatively with the downturn in the economy.

We have to be, as the Minister suggested, aware that in the long term we have to be looking at the survival of the industry. I agree thoroughly with that. That again is one of the reasons why I would not suggest that we increase the tax burden right now. But he talked about how they were going to influence the Federal Government to come in with some of their programmes that would help the mobility and training. Well that is all fine and good, and hopefully some of it will help. But I also believe that there is a responsibility to have this specific fund as a diversification fund so that down the road the community will be able to administer this fund and be able to diversify the economy more then they can today. They would have a pool of capital specifically available to the local area.

But then he stuck his proverbial foot in it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Foot in the mouth. Mr. Speaker, he talked about the availability of the cheaper energy in western Labrador. Now here is the Minister who refused to allow public hearings into the the fact that Newfoundland Hydro are coming in and going to take over -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Going to take over our local utility company, and we know that there are going to be tremendous increases in electricity charges. Now the two of them, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Mines and Energy -

MR. SIMMS: They are in cahoots.

MR. A. SNOW: Now the Minister of Mines and Energy suggests that I do not know that there are going to be increases in electrical energy in western Labrador. Well I just want the Minister of Mines and Energy to know that the President of Newfoundland Hydro was in my district and announced that there are going to be increases. Now maybe he forgot to tell him -

MR. SIMMS: He forgot to tell the Minister.

MR. A. SNOW: - and that raises another issue, Mr. Speaker, that I am sure we will be debating in this House about how Crown Corporations should not be attacking the people in time of need, they should be in there attempting to help the community to get along rather than to increase the financial burden on them. That will be another question.

Mr. Speaker, in conclusion I would hope that you people in this House have recognized the need - I hope I have painted a picture that helps you understand better the plight of the people in western Labrador and that it is different than anywhere else in this Province in the sense of geography and the sense of obligation that the people of this Province owe to these people who have produced so much over so many years for everybody in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Yes, Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member for St. John's South suggests that other areas produced a lot of wealth too, such as the people in St. Lawrence and the people on Bell Island, and they did. Mr. Speaker, never had so many owed so much to so few. I would ask you to vote for this resolution in support of the people in western Labrador. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question?

All those in favour of the motion, please say 'aye'.


MR. SPEAKER: All those against the motion, please say 'nay'.


MR. SPEAKER: I declare the motion defeated.

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