November 18, 1991            HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS          Vol. XLI  No. 72

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I was not in the House on Friday but I understand that the Premier and the acting Minister of Public Works admitted to the press on Friday that Government had, indeed, been wrong to issue a vague wide open tender call with respect to the three health care facilities awarded last week. Both, in fact, said that Government would not use that method again. I believe that is what they said publicly. I don't think it is good enough to be able to say, 'Sorry, we won't do that again.'

I want to ask the Premier this: Did he not know that the tender call he referred to on Friday with the press was wrong weeks before the contracts were let? Wasn't the Government told, in fact, by Hanscombe Consultants and by officials of the Department of Public Works? And why did the Government not re-tender those projects when it was advised to do so?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, let me correct the misrepresentation. I, at no time, said it was wrong. If the hon. the Leader of the Opposition wants to interpret something that way, he has to be responsible for his interpretation, but it is incorrect. I have no idea what the acting minister said, because I was not in the House on Friday, either, but what I said to the media was that I discovered after we got the tenders back - I had nothing to do with the design of the tenders - that it would clearly have been better if we had set certain limited parameters. Our objective was to try to get proposals to build at the lowest possible cost and to invite new ideas and suggestions. And, indeed, Mr. Speaker, I think it worked extremely well from that point of view. We did conclude, however, that it would be preferable, not that it was wrong, but that it would be preferable, in the future, to be somewhat more specific in the basic character or content. I think that was a sound conclusion, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, we are well used to hearing the Premier toying with words, but the fact of the matter is that everybody out there thinks - that is my perception, and I think the perception of the press and everybody else - that both he and the minister publicly acknowledged that the approach used in this tender was a mistake, and that, Mr. Speaker, is a mistake that is going to cost the people of this Province $6 million. In fact, it is a mistake that may ever cost more if the contractors proceed with their lawsuit against the Government.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier said this, as did the minister, and if the process was wrong on Friday then, surely, it must have been the wrong process to follow several weeks ago. Therefore, I ask the Premier, Will he do what he should have done in the first place, will he do the right thing and have these projects retendered, using more detailed specifications, this time, to make it fair for everybody?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Let me deal with a couple of things. He suggests I am toying with words. I say to the House, Mr. Speaker, and to all who will listen, I am using the words quite accurately and completely, which the hon. member is not. Now, if he wants to manipulate and try to achieve a particular position for himself, then he has to answer for that; but I am not toying with words, I am using them accurately and correctly.

Secondly, he suggests that everybody out there 'thinks' - that is not correct, Mr. Speaker - everybody out there is being told by the members opposite that this is the case but, fortunately, very few believe it because they don't accept what they say. The third, which is most significant, is that it was a mistake and it cost the Government $6 million. That is totally and completely without foundation. Mr. Speaker, if we had been more specific - and I regret that we were not, but there is nothing wrong with it as such - if we had been more specific and invited proposals from everybody, and required proposals on the basis of a steel and brick building, there is no indication that we would have had a bid one cent less, let alone $6 million less. There is no indication whatsoever that there would have been a bid for one cent less, so to misrepresent this as costing the taxpayers $6 million is atrocious.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I wish to say that I am advised by the acting minister that it is probably the best move Government has made in some time. Now, that is not to say we did it in the most proficient way, but taking that approach was the best move we have made in some time. It has resulted in the Government saving some considerable sum of money.

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

MR. SIMMS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

I say to the Premier, it is not only I who perceives it. I had a little envelope passed to me at the security desk today, and people are writing letters, talking about the conspiracy and everything else. It is not because of something I said. The Premier was the person on television Friday night saying it was a mistake, that it was wrong, it was too vague. It was he who said it, not I.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to ask him this question, and it goes back to his answer to my last question. Section 4 of the tender call documents say, and I quote: 'Amendments to the tender call will be permitted up to the tender closing date,' end quote. Is he aware that the company which was the lowest bidder on two of these projects advised the Department of Public Works in advance, in writing, several weeks before the tenders closed, that brick could be substituted in their bid for steel siding for an additional $150,000 a building? In other words, that company would have constructed these two steel and brick buildings for $3 million less than the Trans City bid. Is he aware of that, and if so, Mr. Speaker, how does he now explain the decision to award those contracts, anyway, when they did, in fact, have bids from another company that would have proven $3 million savings?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, first I ever heard of it. As far as I know, there is no validity in what was said. Whether or not there is, I don't know, but I will most certainly have it checked. I will have the acting minister pursue it immediately, and the House will be fully informed as to what the real situation is, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: A final supplementary, Mr. Speaker, on this particular matter.

I tell the hon. the Premier that I can get a copy of the letter for him if he cannot obtain it from the Department of Public Works.

Let me as him a final supplementary. Since Government is admitting that the process was flawed, will he acknowledge that? Maybe the word 'flawed' might be acceptable to him. He won't accept anything else. He certainly said the process was vague. Can he tell us how it is, then, that Marco Construction correctly guessed the kinds of materials that Government had in mind? How is it that Marco is the only one of all of the bidders -

AN HON. MEMBER: Trans City.

MR. SIMMS: Trans City on behalf of Marco. How is it, that Trans City on behalf of Marco, in addition to all the other bidders, is the only bidder who was able to guess the kind of materials that the Government wanted to use in this particular process? Did they just make some kind of a lucky guess?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, that is another example of this kind of misrepresentation, misleading people into thinking something when it is not valid. The Trans City bid, I am told, is not the only one; there was a second bid from a numbered company, apparently owned and managed by one Basil Dobbin, who also bid on brick and steel, but the bid was substantially in excess of the cost of Marco. It would have cost - how much?

AN HON. MEMBER: $14 million.

PREMIER WELLS: - over the term involved, it would have cost the Province $14 million more to have accepted that bid from a numbered company organized or run by a Mr. Basil Dobbin. So, Mr. Speaker, with that kind of misrepresentation, no wonder people think funny things if the Opposition keep saying funny, unfounded things.

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

MR. SIMMS: We will see. I am going to ask him one quick question. He says he did not discuss this matter with Mr. Hickman; did he discuss it with any of his ministers privately outside the Cabinet room?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I would say yes, Mr. Speaker, I spoke to ministers outside the Cabinet room. I would think that I spoke to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. I would have spoken to Treasury Board. I think I probably would have spoken to the Minister of Health and so on, because the issue was coming up in Cabinet and frequently, they advise me of matters coming before Cabinet. I happen to be the Premier, and they advise me of matters that they intend to bring before Cabinet. So, I would think yes, Mr. Speaker, I would have met with individual ministers or even as a group -

MR. SIMMS: And called them up?

PREMIER WELLS: - no, I would not have called them up. They would have come to me and told me what they were proposing to bring before Cabinet. This is not at all unusual, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I have a new set of questions for the Minister of Finance on another matter altogether.

The Minister would be aware that Members in this House, on both sides of the House, are receiving letters from hundreds of pensioners, those public service pensioners who have retired, thinking of course that their pension incomes would tide them over in their later years, in their senior years.

Many of these people are now desperate, because as he knows, they have now lost about 20 per cent of their annual income in just the last three years. I want to ask the Minister of Finance: how is he responding to these letters? What is he saying to these retired public servants who are bearing the greatest share of the Government's Restraint Programme, what is he saying to them?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A number of points have been raised by the Leader of the Opposition. One: that they are bearing the greatest measure of restraint. I do not know if he has any evidence of that. But with respect to the indexing of pensions, that matter is presently under study and something should be coming forward shortly.

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

MR. SIMMS: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Finance. He would be aware that pensioners in this Province - public service pensioners in particular - last received a pension increase in the year 1989. That was an increase at that time, I think, of about 2.5 per cent. There has been no increase in 1990, no increase in 1991, so a 2.5 per cent increase over a three year period. I mean, that would indicate that they are bearing the brunt, I think, a fair bit of it. By the way, the CPI increased somewhere over and in excess of 20 per cent during that same period of time. So I want to ask the Minister, does the Government intend to provide these pensioners with an increase in his upcoming budget? Can he tell the pensioners if they have something to look forward to?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, we will make the announcements at the appropriate time.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have questions for the Premier about Kruger's operations in the Province. We learned through the news media that the Premier recently had a meeting with Mr. Joseph Kruger II, the principal of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited, as well as members of the executives of the two companies, Kruger Incorporated and Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited.

Would the Premier tell the House of Assembly what he now knows about the plans of Kruger and/or Corner Brook Pulp and Paper for operating the newsprint mill at Corner Brook? In particular, would the Premier tell the House of Assembly what he knows the companies are proposing in terms of employment of people in: first, the mill at Corner Brook; and second, the associated logging operations around the Province in the short term and in the longer term?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible) a little bit of detail and a little bit of time, Mr. Speaker, because the question invites a number of commentaries. The three people with whom I met were Mr. Joseph Kruger, as the Member has indicated, the other two, I do not know whether they are officers of the Corner Brook company, but they are senior officers of the head office. There was nobody from the management section of the Corner Brook company there. One was Mr. George Bunze, and the other was Mr. Guy Dufresne, who are both officials from Kruger in Montreal. So all three were officials from Kruger in Montreal.

I do not know the detail of what they propose to do with respect to individual operations. They are a little uncertain themselves. They showed me figures that indicated that while they operated at, perhaps a better than average level in Corner Brook this year than many other Canadian newsprint operations in terms of producing at perhaps 90 per cent of capacity or something close to that, they are concerned that the paper industry association is projecting next year it may be down to as low as about 82 per cent, or even below 82 per cent of capacity, on average, in the mills in Canada. So, the Association of Newsprint Manufacturers are projecting a very, very difficult year in the year coming up.

Now, let me start by saying I am most impressed with the job the Kruger Organization has done in terms of refurbishing the mill in Corner Brook and improving its capability and its productivity, and with the job that the Kruger officials and the workers in Corner Brook have done to achieve this. They have shown me some of the detail on what they have been able to do and what they have been able to achieve and I am most impressed with what they have done to improve the efficiency of that mill, and I give them full marks and full credit for it.

Mr. Speaker, I do not know in detail what they intend to do, but they did indicate that the possibility is they could have significant downtime in this coming year. There could be significant downtime. It may well be that in order to operate it, they will have to look at how they might achieve it. They might close one machine for a prolonged period of time, which would mean a prolonged layoff for a significant number of people, or they could close the whole mill for a shorter period of time. I suppose, which route they choose would have different affects on their bottom line. It may cost more to close the whole operation for, say, twenty or thirty days than to close one machine for eighty, ninety or a hundred days. But those are things they will be considering and I have no doubt they will let us know.

We do not know in detail what they are doing with the rest of the associated companies, but from the discussion I did have with Mr. Kruger and the other representatives, I felt they were obliged to be fair to their employees in Newfoundland. As long as they were fair to their employees in Newfoundland and did not give them an inordinate share of the burden, I could not complain with what they did to ensure the viability of that operation in Corner Brook. Because it is no good trying to do anything to force them to operate in circumstances where it could only drive them into serious financial difficulties. We had to be understanding of the position they find themselves in and, to whatever extent the Government can assist them, we must assist them.

But, Mr. Speaker, we cannot, for example, just pay out money to assist them to keep the mill going because if we do then we have a similar obligation to Abitibi-Price in respect of its two mills. If we do it in the newsprint industry we have a similar obligation for the mining industry, and if we do it in the mining industry we have a similar obligation to the fishing industry, and so on and so on. Then where are we going to get the money? Are we going to tax those three industries to get it, or are we going to tax the unemployed workers? So you have to be realistic and recognize that we, in this Province, are not and cannot be shielded from the effects of national economic recession, we must live with it as best we can.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

When the Premier is giving credit for the success in the Corner Brook mill over the past few years he might also mention the effort of the previous government headed by Premier Brian Peckford.

I would now like to ask the Premier whether his Administration will take any steps at all, will use its considerable influence with Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, or take other measures to ensure that the maximum number of Newfoundlanders derive a livelihood from the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper operations in this Province over the next year or two. I would like to ask in particular if the Premier is prepared to act on the recommendation of Mr. Ron Smith and the Loggers' Union that in the case of the logging operation the Government work with the company to schedule the logging operations to involve and employ the maximum number of loggers? I am told this can be done in a way that will not add to the cost of the company.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: To the first question the hon. Member asked, Mr. Speaker, I assure the House that I would have given full credit for any significant contribution, if I had been aware that any significant contribution was made to the refurbishing of that mill in Corner Brook and to what has been achieved in Corner Brook. I am very much aware of what the former government did and what its involvement was, and I can say that I see nothing to give any particular credit to the former government for. There is nothing to give them any blame for, but nothing to give them any particular credit for either.

Now, Mr. Speaker, on the second question: the Government will do whatever it can to work with the Loggers' Union and the company to ensure that whatever decision is made, it is made in such a way that it does the least possible harm to the loggers. We cannot, however, tell the company how to run their operation, they must run that. So long as they comply with our laws they must run it in a way that they think best that secures the future viability of the operation in western Newfoundland, but at the meantime it fairly takes into account the interest of their loggers as well, and I have every confidence that that company would not operate in such a way as to cause a detrimental impact on the loggers if they could do it another way without causing any harm to the company.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As the former lawyer for Bowater, the Premier must remember that when Bowater decided to abandon Corner Brook, Bowater did whatever it could to see that the mill would close. It was due to the efforts of the Peckford administration that Kruger was secured as a new purchaser/operator.

I would like to ask the Premier now what concessions has Corner Brook Pulp and Paper and/or Kruger requested of the Provincial Government in relation to environmental compliance, in relation to silviculture or reforestation, or in relation to any other contractual or legal obligations the companies have with respect to their operations in this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, on the first part of the hon. Member's comment let me say to the House that there is nothing she has said in this House more inaccurate than the statement she made then. I have no fear of saying that, Mr. Speaker, because I have personal knowledge of it that no other member of this House has. As much as I give credit to Kruger for what they have done, let me give credit to Bowater for what they did too, Mr. Speaker, because they recognized that those assets were for the purpose of securing the operation of that mill in Corner Brook, and they made available

a power operation, that in terms of value, if you had to look at it in terms of value, was worth $350 million, and did nothing about taking the value out of it, knowing it was dedicated to the operation of the mill. To make this kind of scurrilous attack on a company that contributed significantly to this Province in recent years, over the last forty or fifty years, is unforgivable.

Mr. Speaker, the Government will honour all the terms of all the agreements that are in place.

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible) Kruger and Corner Brook Pulp and Paper.

PREMIER WELLS: I cannot speak for Kruger or Corner Brook Pulp and Paper.

MS. VERGE: My question was, what concessions have Kruger requested?

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, Kruger have asked us to look at a number of proposals.

MS. VERGE: What?

PREMIER WELLS: Kruger have asked us to look at a number of suggestions that they made. We had only a preliminary discussion the other day. The Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, his Deputy, and myself, met with these three people. We had only a very preliminary discussion on a number of proposals. I gave them a preliminary reaction of Government to those proposals and I also gave them an undertaking that Government would look at those proposals and respond more fully over the next few days or so.

MS. VERGE: What were the proposals?

PREMIER WELLS: Oh, there were a number of things, and before I discuss it in public I will respond to the Kruger officials and then I have no hesitation making them public.

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

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

I have a question for the Minister of Fisheries. Last year when the Minister reacted to the 1990-91 Atlantic Groundfish Management Plan he said he was unconvinced that there was a real sensitivity to the plight of the northern cod resource as reflected in the Multi-Year Plan that we saw come down last year, where we had a total allowable catch set for three years, decreasing each year, I think it was, by 5000 tons. As well last year the Minister recommended a total allowable catch of between 170,000 tons and 185,000 tons. I am wondering if the Minister will be discussing a similar recommendation with his Atlantic counterparts, as he is meeting with them this week, I understand? Consequently, as he is meeting with the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, will he be recommending a total allowable catch in the same range as he recommended last year, or will he be recommending a reduction in the total allowable catch that has been set for 1992?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, when we meet on Thursday, the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the other Atlantic Provinces Fisheries Ministers, we will be discussing the forthcoming management plan, the management plan for 1992, and I expect at that meeting the Federal Minister, Mr. Crosbie, will present to the Ministers the latest scientific findings on the health of the stocks and, if in fact, Mr. Speaker, as happened last year, it can be shown that the stocks continue to be overfished, and if a reduction in the total allowable catch is necessary, then the Province will do the right thing. We will do what we have to do to ensure the future rehabilitation of the stocks, and indeed the future of the fishing industry.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you again, Mr. Speaker. A supplementary to the Minister. Will he be recommending to the Federal Minister, Mr. Crosbie, that the inshore allocation, or the inshore allowance, remain steadfast at 115,000 metric tons? Will the Province be making that recommendation this year?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, the position of the Province with respect to the long established inshore allocation is pretty well known, I think. I do not know what has happened this year that would encourage the Province to take a different position and to maybe stand by and see the inshore allocation tampered with. I guess, not being able at this point in time to give the hon. gentleman a firm commitment as to what we will do, I think it is safe to say that we are not going to be recommending to the Federal Minister that the inshore allocation be reduced. We will wait until Thursday, but again I can assure him that we have no intention at this point in time of making any such recommendation.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Final supplementary, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask the Minister: in light of the controversy surrounding the 3NO zone over the last number of months, and seeing what has taken place with the Newfoundland boats and so on that have gone in there to fish and that have been arrested, will the Minister be taking forward a Provincial position for discussion with his Atlantic counterparts? More importantly, will he be recommending to Mr. Crosbie, the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, that there be an allocation provided in 1992 for Newfoundland boats to fish in the 3NO zone?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, I will be making a statement at the meeting of the Ministers on Thursday. In that statement we will be setting forth the Province's position with respect to foreign overfishing and the need for Canada to have some kind of management control over the resource, and I will be releasing that document to the House I expect, either before, maybe before I make it at the meeting, or maybe right after that.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Premier too. I find it interesting over the last few months to observe that the Premier's Ministers are falling around him like flies, and I guess the start of his political patronage appointments to fall started this weekend. I have always wondered what the real reasons are that Ministers quit in the middle of a term, like several of the Ministers over there. I wonder could the Premier tell us if the real reason that the Member for Humber West quit his portfolio, Mr. Speaker, was that the Premier asked him to move aside from that portfolio and offered him a lesser portfolio, in order that Ed Roberts might be substituted for the Member for Humber West?

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I note the Premier did not want to answer it. Maybe I am closer to the truth than he really wants to admit. Maybe that is not the real answer. But I wonder would the Premier tell us if the real answer as to why the Member for Humber West quit Cabinet was that he would not cooperate with the Premier when the Premier was trying to devise some way to circumvent the Public Tendering Act, so that he could use the public works' fund as a Liberal slush fund? Is it true, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister of Justice would not go along with the Premier and that is why he quit?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I rise only to say that I am not going to engage in this kind of scurrilous, personal attack, and respond in that way. I mean, I am prepared to debate issues on the basis of their merits. But I am not going to reduce myself to intellectual cowardice in responding in this kind of a way with this kind of action.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Before proceeding on with the routine business of the day, on behalf of hon. Members I would like to welcome a delegation of students from Levels I and II from the Fogo Island Central High School, accompanied by their teacher, Mr. Clem Dwyer.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Notices of Motion

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

MR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I move that on tomorrow, I will ask leave to present the following resolution: BE IT RESOLVED that the House of Assembly Act be amended to assure the election of an aboriginal person to the Legislature of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Order 4, Mr. Speaker.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Revise And Consolidate The Law Respecting Crown Lands, Public Lands And Other Lands Of The Province", (Bill No. 22).

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

MR. PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I closed the debate on Friday and I do not know how much time I have left -

MR. SPEAKER: We will check with the table for the Member for St. John's East Extern. You have three minutes.

MR. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, seeing that I only have three minutes left, I would like again to say that we on this side, have no problem with the revamping of that Bill. The old bill was outdated and had to be revamped and brought into this century; but what I do say to the Premier today, who is sitting in his place, that I do not see any need for 7 (2). I do not see any need to fix something when it is not broken. Mr. Speaker, we had no problem in Newfoundland and Labrador with Section 133, I think the section was, in the old piece of legislation.

It served Newfoundlanders and Labradorians well and all I say to the Premier is the only part of this Bill which I have problems with is, 7 (2). I don't know the reason, but the Premier seems to be the leader in pursuing this section 7(2). For the life of me, I don't see it, and there are many people like me.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: The Premier has not spoken about it this time, but he said he would amend it, to take away whatever wrong was done in the first instance. This bill has been on the floor three times, first, as Bill 25, then, Bill 53, and now, Bill 22, and there have been additions and amendments.

I say to the Premier, I don't think there are any great things, even in section 7(2), but I believe there is a loophole, of which advantage will be taken, not by the many, but by the few. And if one person took advantage of that, depriving one Newfoundlander or Labradorian of the right to fish, or to travel, the right of access to any lake, river or pond in Newfoundland and Labrador, then I think it is wrong, Mr. Speaker. And the Premier, perhaps, now is the only one who can change it. It is not a big deal but, again, the option is there for someone to abuse it. Surely, Mr. Speaker, history repeats itself, and if there is a loophole, there is a tendency towards abuse.

There is provision now in this bill to grant land to the edge of a pond, river, stream, or whatever. And, Mr. Speaker, a grant, unlike a lease or a permit, as I understand it, is absolute. If a person were granted a piece of land to build a boat house, and the boat house went back thirty-three feet, the whole reservation, then you could fence from there in, on his personal property. It can be said that there is provision in the act, in the amendment, whereby one would have to leave x number of feet between the fence and the boat house. However, Mr. Speaker, if he has granted land, I don't know if any court in the land would say to the person, you have to leave an opening between the boat house and the fence.

Mr. Speaker, I repeat, I don't think many people would do this sort of thing, but if one person did, then I think it would be wrong. Mr. Speaker, I say again to the Premier, there was nothing wrong with the act since 1949, and before. Our people delight in the outdoors and going in the woods, and I, for one, hope there will never be an obstacle to their doing that. It would be an awful slap in the face for many of us if we were to go up the side of a pond, a lake, a river, and run smack dab into a chain link fence.

Mr. Speaker, with that, I rest my case, and ask the Premier to reconsider. In support of the six-month hoist, I think it is relevant. I think the Premier and his Cabinet, over the six months, might have a change of heart. So, Mr. Speaker, I certainly support the Member for Torngat Mountains in asking this legislature to vote with us for a six-month hoist.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As my colleague from St. John's East Extern has said, this is the third time that this bill has appeared on the Order Paper, originally as Bill 53, I think, then as Bill 25, and again, as Bill 22.

Mr. Speaker, when public hearings were held throughout this Province on the bill, I cannot remember seeing any one group who supported the provisions of section 7(2), not one group, Mr. Speaker. Wildlife federations, rod and gun clubs, The Salmonoid Council, SPAWN, and groups involved in recreation in this Province, opposed the intent of section 7(2), not the bill itself. There is a recognition in the Province that there needs to be something done to clarify the Crown Lands Act. Indeed, in many of the municipalities of this Province and the territory bordering them there has been abuse of the Crown land, and it certainly needed to be cleaned up.

Newfoundlanders, since we have come here - I guess in 1610 the first community was established - have always believed they had the God-given right to proceed along the shoreline of our ponds and rivers - not as much as the seashore. It has traditionally been accepted that individuals owned portions and, indeed, had grants of land right to the seashore and erected fishing premises there, and people believed it and accepted it. It has always been a right to pursue the shoreline of this Province without any impediment from any kind of construction.

The Minister of Environment and Lands, when he spoke on the bill, said, you could get a permit to occupy before. While you could have gotten a permit to occupy, what this does now is it gives an individual grant, ownership, of a portion of land forever and a day unless some kind of an expropriation order would come into being. It gives them that right forever and a day to a parcel of land that had been traditionally set aside for the good of the Province in general.

Mr. Speaker, the question is why. If the Premier and the Cabinet wanted to put in section 7(d) and (e), as they did, and then say a way out is provided in subsection (3) and (4), then why the necessity of putting in (d) and (e)? There is, for some reason, an apparent hidden agenda in this one. No one in the Province wants this piece of legislation and have said so publicly. Maybe there have been some discussions privately, and perhaps the Minister in closing debate later on next week, will tell us about some of the conversations that have taken place privately in this Province, as to why it is necessary to give leases to portions of land right up to the water's edge.

Mr. Speaker, in the district that I represent, a large number of people use, especially, the Gander River. It is, perhaps, the one area that was more controversial than any of the other areas, because it is widely suspected that on the Gander River certain individuals wish to have control of large sections of the shoreline for hunting and fishing lodges and for other reasons. It is a belief out there, Mr. Speaker, that there is somebody pushing this to restrict access to portions of that river.

I had some discussion with the Minister of Energy, last year, about a company that had been granted, back in the early 1900s, I think, title to all of the land, and they have already asked several of the cabin owners along that river to remove their cabins, even though they are back thirty-three feet from the water's edge. Mr. Speaker, we, as the Opposition, and the people of this Province, are suspicious of the reason for having section 7(2), particularly (d) and (e), Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, we have no problem with people having the right to carry on aquaculture. We think it is highly desirable that a person who has an investment in aquaculture along a stream would certainly have to have control of that portion of land, and you cannot have intruders on it. In the same way, if you had a fox farm somewhere during the breeding season, you cannot have people interfering with the right to breed fox, just as someone who has fishing rights cannot have people fishing on a pond before it is ready, or possibly polluting the water that could in some way interfere with the aquaculture. There is obviously no problem with a municipality being allowed to engage in water and sewer projects along the seashore. Indeed, that provision has always been there. Mr. Speaker, we have no problem with people who already have grants that were given them maybe 150 years ago. What we do have problems with is giving the grants now.

Mr. Speaker, the Acting Minister of Environment and Lands, when he spoke last week, said there was no difference between a permit to occupy and a grant or a lease. Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform him that there is. There is for a couple of reasons: Number one, PTOs are always subject to renewals after the end of five years. I know a number of people in my district now, Mr. Speaker - in fact, a friend of his has just recently acquired a PTO in an area. The minister might know about it. I will tell him about it in a little while. He acquired a PTO to occupy a portion of land on a remote access road. Now, it is going to change and they have to get grants for that particular area.

Mr. Speaker, there is a difference, and the minister knows there is a difference, between a grant and a PTO. The terms and conditions change almost on a yearly basis. Each time they come up for renewal there is a new consideration or new stipulation in the PTO. Once those grants are issued they are going to be forever and a day.

Now, Mr. Speaker, with the passage of time, what is going to happen as a result of this piece of legislation is Newfoundlanders are going to feel that they are not allowed to walk along the seashore, because they are trespassing. If someone is given title to a piece of land, a parcel of land and he erects buildings, wharves and so on there, they are going to feel that that is that individual's property and I cannot walk by it. A mind-set is going to develop in the people of this Province that, for some reason, the shoreline which was always theirs is suddenly going to be taken from them. Whether they fence it or they erect boat houses, or whatever they have done, Mr. Speaker, there will become a mind-set in the public, 'We are on territory or property belonging to someone else, and we should not be here.'

Now, the minister might not think that is going to happen, but it has already occurred, Mr. Speaker, in cabin lots where -

MR. FLIGHT: The legislation makes it impossible.

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, the legislation does not make it impossible.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible). This legislation makes it possible.

MR. WINSOR: No, Mr. Speaker, the legislation does not make it possible. What this legislation does is it gives the individual the right to that land right to the water's edge if he is given a grant.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible) regulation makes it possible for him to get the grant.

MR. WINSOR: Yes, exactly, that is what we are saying.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible) impossible!

MR. WINSOR: No it's not! It makes it possible, Mr. Speaker.

MR. PARSONS: You said it right the first time.

MR. WINSOR: You had it right the first time. Now, the other day when the Minister of Environment introduced the bill, I thought he had become very proficient in this particular bill, and, Mr. Speaker, I have to tell you, I was very impressed with the minister's presentation. He did well, he did a good job, but he has undone it all today. Because it says: 'No grant or licence of the Crown lands shall be given except under the following circumstances.' Then he goes on the spell out the five conditions under which he is going to give it. Now the minister just said he is not going to give it. Now what is it? Are you going to give or not give a grant?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) identify the purpose.

MR. WINSOR: Yes, Mr. Speaker, that is what we are talking about in 7(2), the identified purpose.


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

The Chair is, again, not going to permit this debate back and forth unless it is done under the proper rules. If the minister wants to ask a question or give an answer, he may ask leave of the member. With leave he can stand and answer. I want these rules strictly adhered to, please.

The hon. the Member for Fogo.

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The minister, in his enthusiasm with the applause he got the last day for his fine presentation has been carried away a little bit with it and wants to speak on this bill at all times.

Going back to what we said, the minister has now acknowledged that people can get a grant for these reasons. Now, who in this Province, once he has a portion of land that has been identified as his, is not going to say: I am going to build a boat house? Then, once he gets the boat house built - the minister has no reason not to give the land to the individual, to erect a boat house. So he is going to acquire title to that land. He would be a fool not to. Why is the minister going to deny someone that portion of land? Legislation covers it. Unless it is going to be selective, unless the average Joe on the street is going to be denied that lease. But some people, certain influential members of society, are going to have access to that land. Perhaps that is why the minister said that not everyone - under certain conditions. Well, what are these conditions going to be?

AN HON. MEMBER: Clause 7.

MR. WINSOR: Clause 7. Well, I just read Clause 7(2) (e): "for the purpose of giving a licence only for the construction of boat houses and wharves to the extent that they intrude on the reservation." Clause 7(2) (e) clearly states it, Mr. Speaker.

MR. WARREN: You're trying to cover up, but you can't cover up.

MR. WINSOR: Then 7(4) says, "A grant, lease or licence issued under paragraph (2)(d) or (e) shall not permit a grantee, lessee or licensee to restrict access to the reservation on the part of the general public by erecting a fence or by other means." But 7(2) (e) says he is allowed to erect a boat house; in 7(4) it says you can't erect one. Now what is it going to be, Mr. Speaker? It has to be one or the other. The minister is obviously not clear. He has become a little bit confused. I think that is what has happened. On Thursday, when he introduced the bill, he had some good briefing notes prepared for him. The minister was quite confident in his presentation. Today, I think the minister has slipped somewhat, and now he is not really, really sure of what the intent of this bill is.

Mr. Speaker, the Member for St. John's East commented that the Premier seemed to be adamant that this bill be passed. Now, the Premier indicated that he has not spoken on it. Mr. Speaker, the Premier did speak on this bill, when it had another name, in a fiery, passionate defence of the need to have section 7(2) included, and he would not withdraw it despite the protests in all the presentations that have been made. Some of them, by the way, the Member for Mount Scio stirred up the protest, said it was not right and that the recommendation was going to come back to change 7(2) because it somehow interfered with the rights of Newfoundlanders.

Now, Mr. Speaker, personally, I am - as my colleague for St. John's East Extern said, he frequently goes in the woods, and I have a cabin where we have a PTO. I don't think we will ever get a lease to where the particular section -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: Yes, Mr. Speaker, a friend and I have a cabin in the Weirs Pond area, back in the country, across the pond and we have a PTO. We have had it now for about ten years.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who gave it to you?

MR. WINSOR: Who gave us the PTO? Crown Lands in Gander, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: No, Mr. Speaker, we have no access to the thirty-three feet along the shoreline. As a matter of fact, if this bill is passed, it is possible, in our particular case, in view of where our cabin is situated, that we might be denied entry forever because of an old road. If someone acquires title to the old road, we can't get along by the beach to put our boat in the water, so we will never get to our cabin.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is right.

MR. WINSOR: So, Mr. Speaker, there are provisions in this that can restrict access. The people in this Province have asked this administration on two occasions to delay the implementation of this bill.

My colleague from Torngat Mountains said, 'Hold on now, what's the rush? You have not given us a satisfactory explanation as to why we should have this bill now. What is the pressing emergency?' He asked that we have a six-month hoist to see if there is something that can be done to accommodate those in this Province who feel that this bill needs change.

Mr. Speaker, there is no question that there is an ulterior motive in including this 7(2). What it is, at this point in time, we are not sure. Perhaps when the minister speaks later in debate, when he asks the House to vote for the six-month hoist so that this bill can have further study, he will give us an explanation as to why Government feels that this particular bill is needed now.

Mr. Speaker, I ask members opposite, Government members, when they vote next week on this piece of legislation that they vote in favour of the six-month hoist, so that before it again comes to this House, we can have more input from the citizens of this Province as to why they feel this legislation is wrong and needs further amendment.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I have a few words to say on this bill, Mr. Speaker. First of all I want to congratulate the minister on presenting the bill, because he did give a good outline of what it stands for. He gave us fairly good detail.

AN HON. MEMBER: He knows a lot more than you do.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Yes, I admit that he knows a lot more - well, I don't know if knows a lot more, but he certainly gave us a lot more detail than I know about it. He presented his case quite well, and he did a good job. I cannot disagree with that. I don't know if the presentation he has made - he told his staff to prepare a text which will give me this type of a flow which will hide what people in this Province are saying, that this act will restrict their access to ponds.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: He did a good job, I don't disagree, but he left out some things. When he delivered the text that he had, and I know he understood it because it sounded like he did when he presented it, but when he deviated a little from what he had prepared, he seemed to waver in his knowledge of what this act was going to be.

Now he keeps saying, and he still keeps saying today, that in the old act you can get a grant for thirty-three foot reservations around the pond, or whatever it may be, some are thirty-three, some are fifty, some are ten metres, some are fifteen metres. Now what the Minister was saying, and where I think he was confused, I do not blame him, I am a surveyor by the way, and I do not know if I am in conflict of interest by even talking about it.

If there is a conflict, I have to declare it, so I declare a conflict just in case there is one, because I will be surveying Crown Lands, maybe even tomorrow, maybe the weekend I am not sure, but I just want to declare that I am a surveyor and if there is a conflict, I want to declare that there is a conflict.

By doing that I can now continue. What the Minister was saying, and he was getting mixed up between Permits to Occupy and Grants of Land, it is not easy, the average person would not understand the big difference. If I have a piece of land and the Government gives me a piece of paper to say I can stay there, that is all I want; most people would not know if it is a grant, a lease or a Permit To Occupy.

But what the Minister kept saying is that the old act could allow you to get a grant to the reservation around freshwater bodies. It was never on saltwater bodies anyway. With saltwater bodies you could own right up to the shore, you always could. This will change that. I do not know if that is good or bad.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. R. AYLWARD: Yes. I would say that for the business of fishing, it would probably be good for people to own right up to the high water mark, with small stages et cetera and most of the used areas that are used for fishing, all areas around coves are all claimed anyway, so it would not be Crown Land. You would not be reserving a reservation around on any of those places unless you happen to give out a Crown grant on them now, but what the Minister used to say is that the old act can grant a Permit to Occupy and he was getting confused that by saying the word grant, that we were granting this land.

Now a Permit to Occupy is just that. The Government will allow you to occupy that land for a specific short period of time until they need the use of that land, and if they need the use of that land, you have no recourse but to move off that land when they request it.

A Grant of Land is much different. The only jurisdiction in this Province who can give you a grant, for one thing, is the Crown. They can only give you a grant if the land for which you are applying is Crown Land which has never had any adverse claims to it and, Mr. Speaker, that is the difference between this Bill and what was there in the past.

What we are doing with this Bill, is serious. I still say most people in this House of Assembly do not understand what we are doing. It is a very serious thing we are doing. If you agree with people owning the reservations up to the pond, vote for this Bill because that can happen. It is difficult to block access to it, but you can own right up to the pond. You may have to go around your boat house, it is quite possible, but you can own land, an outright grant of land right to the high water mark of a pond now, which you could never do before through a grant.

You could do it by adverse claim, squatter's rights as it is known, but you could never get an outright grant of land right up to the high water mark of a pond. Now this act will allow that to happen.

That is a significant change -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: I will tell you what a Permit to Occupy is. I will tell you as I have been at this for thirty-five years. I will tell you what it is.

Mr. Speaker, a Permit to Occupy, for the Minister's information, allows a person certain rights to a certain piece of land for very specific short periods of time, unless the Government needs it, unless the Government needs it in the meantime. It is always in there, unless the Government needs it back, and if the Government needs it back they might pay you for the improvements that you have made to it, they might, but they do not have to, but they could pay you for those improvements and then you have to disappear. Now that could be five years, it could be ten; you can limit them, it could be one year; there are different types of Permits to Occupy, but that was always there and I say to the Minister, yes, that was always there. You could get a permit to occupy right to the high-water mark, but that is all you could get.

AN HON. MEMBER: (inaudible)

MR. R. AYLWARD: Right to the water's edge, right to the high-water mark which is considered the water's edge, the high-water mark in a pond. That is what a surveyor will use to judge the reservation, the high-water mark. Now, if the pond is out twenty feet past that because there is no water in it that does not matter.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair tries to be flexible. The Minister sees what was going on wrong. Thank you, very much.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I was accommodating the Minister, and I appreciate the Minister's input in this because I know he is sincere in what he is saying. He is not trying to do this to dupe people or fool people. I think it is a matter of understanding exactly what we are doing here. A lot of people would support this, by the way, support having a grant to a boat house that you now have. There are some very substantial boat houses on these reservations that people have no claim to, and someone could come and bulldoze them out any time they wanted to. There are a lot of people who would support this to allow them to have a grant for that boat house, a grant for the wharf, or a grant on some occasions for their cabins because some cabins are built on this ten or fifteen foot right-of-way. It would get some significant support but the principle of the thing is what we are trying to argue here, what we are trying to make people understand. There is a difference, once this is passed, to what is happening today. A permit to occupy is a completely different legal status than a grant of land. A permit to occupy is spelled out very specifically, what you can do with it, how long you have it, if it can be renewed, all of these things are in a permit to occupy, but a grant gives you freehold title to a piece of land. You can put restrictions in that grant, and it has been done in the past. The Minister was not around at the time but in the early 70s when Premier Moores was here there was a lot of turmoil about Crown land. They wanted to reform the Crown Lands Act, to speed up the process, and at the same time, around 1972 to 1974 there was a lot of agricultural land which was being lost to agriculture in this Province. There was a suggestion put forward that we only lease agricultural land from now on and that we only lease Summer cottage lots. The only ones we would give a grant for would be residence. Mr. Speaker, the agricultural proposal did not come into effect very quickly. They were still granting agricultural land for quite some time, but they were granting it with conditions. They had certain conditions on the land. You could not subdivide it for a specific amount of time. You could not give it to your son or daughter to build a house on. All these conditions were in the grant. Mr. Speaker, somebody took that grant to court. They went to court with the grant that had conditions on it and it was ruled in court that the conditions did not override the freehold title of the land. Now, that is where the problem comes in. If you give a grant to this reservation it is much different than what used to be done, which was a permit to occupy. The freehold title of that granted agricultural land, back in the 70s, had more weight than the conditions that were on it so this piece of land was allowed to be subdivided.

AN HON. MEMBER: What Section are you on?

MR. R. AYLWARD: I am still generally talking about Section 7, but I am referring back to what the old act was and giving an example, if you bring this in, of what the old act was for land generally. You could never grant the reservation before. You could never grant it. There were people who owned it by adverse possession, by squatters rights but they had no grants on it. What happened later, when the court did decide that the freehold title of this grant had more weight than the conditions that were attached to the grant, and the land was subdivided, from that day on, or a little while after that, the Crown would only lease agricultural land. Now, agricultural land in this Province is very scarce. There is not an overabundance of it so it is important to protect it. I believe it is very important to protect it. Farmers, by the way, do not agree with this. All the farmers in my district tell me I am crazy. They want to own their land the same as every other Newfoundlander wants to own his land. I argued with them when I was minister and I will argue them black and blue today, that agricultural land is a very small resource. It has to be protected. It should be leased, not granted. Now if I argued that for agricultural land, certainly I cannot get up here and argue that the Minister should be allowed to give out grants for reservations around a pond.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: It is almost the same. It is almost the same, protecting your resource for the Province - access - free, unlimited access to rivers and ponds around our Province, Mr. Speaker, free and unlimited access to rivers. It is a tradition. It is a heritage, Mr. Speaker, and it certainly is a resource and a right that we want to protect in this Province. Now this is not going to stop your access immediately for rivers and ponds around the Province, but it is a start. It is the first nail in the coffin. It can be changed and softened up a bit more. This is the first step in this area, Mr. Speaker, to relax the regulations that we have now. For whatever reasons there are, if some people do have very expensive boat houses on this reservation and they want to protect them, which I can understand, the permit to occupy satisfied that for years in the past, and the permit to occupy could continue to do that. If they get a grant for this piece of land, their next step then could be to block off access. If you have a ten meter reservation, and somebody either has a boat big enough, or money enough-

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I have to remind the Minister of Development of a rule that I have made, and I do not mean to be cantankerous today, but it is the Chair's job to ensure that the rules of the House are kept. I have told hon. members that at no time are hon. members to have their back to the House. That is a difficulty that we have with these rotating chairs, but if hon. members can remember that please, it would help the chair immensely for members not to have their back to the House.

The hon. the Minister of Development.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I apologize. My hon. friend from St. John's North, the Minister of Education, was discussing a very significant project for Bonavista North, so I apologize.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair realizes that, but the Chair will tell the hon. member there is a vacant chair to the right of the Minister, and the Minister could have gone, sat down, and discussed at full length the issue of Bonavista North.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I hope you get your project in Bonavista North, and I hope he does not try to fool it up on you now that you have brought him to order.

Now, Mr. Speaker, where was I? I do not know, and nobody else does.

MR. SPEAKER: If I can interrupt the Member for Kilbride for just another minute. This is the point the Chair is making: with the chairs we have - I know hon. members do not mean to break the rules, but it is so comfortable to just turn around, this then creates a lot of loud talking. The way it is generally done is if there is a vacant chair near the member, slip into it and discuss the matter you are handling as quietly as possible so as not to interfere with the rest of the House.

The Chair has to do this because if we let it go then, of course, as hon. members realize, it will become a matter of habit, and it does look awful to see members turned back-on to the House and engaged in heavy conversation. Sometimes it is directed not only to the member immediately behind him, but the member in the next row, and it becomes quite loud and the hon. member does not realize that.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I still hope you get your project in Bonavista North, Mr. Speaker, but after another couple of interruptions -

Mr. Speaker, what I was saying was that what we had at one time is a permit to occupy this reservation. If you do happen to be lucky enough to have an expensive boat house, or a fairly substantial wharf, or a part of your summer residence happens to be built on this reservation, Mr. Speaker, you could get a permit to occupy. Just as a for instance now, if you did have a Summer cabin, a lot maybe, we will take that for an example, and it was on a pond, and you wanted to build a boat house, and you have a ten meter reservation around from the high water mark on your pond, and you wanted to build a boat house. Under this regulation you have to publicize it for three months that you want to build a boat house and you - well no, you do not, actually. You can still build your boat house. Yes. Now you do not understand that part either. You can still build your boat house. When you get the boat house built, as the Member for Fogo said, then you can come and ask for the grant, but then you have to publicize why you want it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: That is probably what the Minister wants, what the Minister would like to see, and that is probably the right way to go, but that is not necessarily the way that it has to go under this Act. Because there is not - we cannot today enforce the traffic laws on our highways, Mr. Speaker. If you think you are going to enforce every ten (Inaudible) - you cannot do it. So although it is right what the Minister might like to see, the practicalities of what has happened is somebody is going to build a wharf and then he is going to come looking for a grant. That word frightens me when you talk about reservations.

But okay. He comes, he publishes, he looks for a grant, he wants to - now if he did not have his house built he gets a grant for a piece of land. Now if he builds that boat house ten metres wide, a thirty foot boat house, it would be a substantial one. You could probably bring in your relatives and keep them in that for awhile, if you like. But he could build a thirty foot boat house. Yes, ten metre or thirty-three foot boat house. Then it is blocked.

Now I know this says that he has to still provide access around the back of that boat house, whether it be thirty, fifty or 100 feet. He still has to provide access around it, and that is good - for this year. But next year he is going to have a fence up next to that boat house, and then the access is blocked, whether you like it or not. Whether we agree with it or not. Nobody else is going to - nobody is going to know the difference unless it is reported. It will be blocked. Somebody comes to use the access, to use that piece of fresh water to go fishing, hunting, boating or whatever they want, they will be blocked access from around that pond. If a person was really devious enough they could do it on both sides of their lot, and then nobody will be able to access that whole frontage in front of that lot, if they have two ten metre boat houses on both sides. It is very expensive but it is possible.

That is why, Mr. Speaker, I am against this legislation in principle. I think it needs a bit more thought. We have concentrated on Section 7 pretty well on this. There are lots of good things in this Act, I am not against this Act per se. This does put together a lot of lands law, law towards land and Crown land in this Province and consolidate it. That is what it is for. There is a lot of good stuff in here. But I have a gut feeling that we should take some more time to consider what we are doing here in Section 7.

I would even be willing to go along with this if the Minister could give me a good reason as to why it has to be done. I cannot rationalize in my mind why this would have to be done. I do not understand. I survey a lot of pieces of property, I see lots of boat houses and wharves. Things are getting along okay. If the Minister was concerned that the permit to occupy that we have in the legislation today could restrict access to beaches or the thirty-three foot reservation, well let's change the permit to occupy so that it would alleviate his fears. But do not grant the land. Because the first fellow who takes this grant to court in the next five or ten years will probably be allowed to block access to that pond. Only one person will have to get the right to block access to that pond. You know how many summer cabins, wharves and boat houses - even summer cabins alone - are around this Province, and what they would do if everyone decided to block their own piece of land from access around that pond. It would be serious, it would be a complete change in what we are used to in this Province.

Every piece of Crown land that was granted from that time after could do the same thing, if the court rules. I do not know how the court is going to rule. I did not expect in the 70s that it would be ruled in court that a grant with conditions on it - that the freehold title holds more weight than the conditions attached to that grant. If I have a freehold title without conditions and you have freehold title with conditions on the piece next to me and the judge looks at the two of them, he says both should be equal, you have no conditions so your freehold title should be as good as the man next to you, to what you have. So that is where I see it is a legal problem, and I certainly do not profess to know what courts are going to rule, but I have been involved in enough legal land cases, I have been in court as a witness several times on land boundaries, lost posts -

AN HON. MEMBER: They caught you.

MR. R. AYLWARD: They caught me, as the Minister said. But I was brought down as an expert witness. The only time in my life that I was ever considered an expert was on a couple of pieces of land that I happened to survey. But the rulings that came out of the court when the judge ruled on them, it seemed to me, as a trained professional in one field - one very narrow field I admit - seemed not to be logical. They were not logical from a surveyors point of view. They certainly could be from a lawyers, obviously they were for the judge's, or they could be for some other reasons, some other laws that I did not know. But they were not logical from a - it was a piece of land that was to be divided, and someone claimed this, and someone claimed that. One fellow had an older claim than the other, and it seemed to me, as a surveyor, to have more evidence that this claim - and what the judge did was split it all in half, and it seemed like none of the evidence was considered. Maybe that was the fairest thing to do, I do not know. He certainly had a lot more to think about than the two or three minutes testimony I gave or the knowledge I had about surveying. But that is what I am afraid of with these grants. If somebody gets a grant on this foreshore or this ten metre reservation, I am worried that they could take it to court. The ruling might be just as the Minister says: you cannot block access, you cannot stop anyone from going around, and hopefully that will be correct, but we are putting it out of our hands. It is like when Prime Minister Trudeau repatriated the Constitution, and we got our Charter of Rights in, and we went more to the American system where the courts decide more of what happens to our lives now than the political people. It could be good or bad. The Americans seem to think that it is the way to go. I just don't. I think the political system should be able to dictate what happens in our lives rather than the court system - one or two or maybe seven or eight men.

Mr. Speaker, I am nervous about this provision. I think we should take some time to consider it a bit further. It is not critical that this be done today or tomorrow, this month or next month; we have been here 600 years. We have the worst land registry system in the entire world, I would say, certainly in North America. It is the most disastrous land tenure everywhere. It is that because of our history, because we were not allowed to be here. So I was not telling anyone that I was here and I owned this fifty acres, I just went and took it. That is why, it is nobody's fault. It just evolved.

I was telling a story one time. I was surveying for Crown lands years ago, when I was a younger surveyor, and we were doing Crown land boundaries, that is what it was called. It was a big project to try and find out where - the Crown is the biggest owner of land in the Province, and it is the one that knows the least about its boundaries. It does not make sense from a surveyors point of view, but certainly from a Treasury Board point of view it would probably make a lot of sense. But, Mr. Speaker, we were surveying the land, and you go to this person and say, 'how much land do you own?' The only way you could decide is what that person who owned the land today told you where the Crown land boundary was. 'How much to you own?' 'I owns back as far as you can see up on top of that hill.' I said they will probably be getting all these properties together now, and I think property tax might be coming in very soon. 'Just a little bit behind my house,' he said, 'you can put that line there.' So it is very subjective, our land tenure system, and it depends on what, at the time, the person thinks you want to know what his land is for. So if it was for a tax purpose he was willing to claim a lot less than he did, and it was a lot easier to survey just behind his house too.

Mr. Speaker, those are some of the reasons why I am nervous about this legislation, this one section of this piece of legislation, not all of it. It is good legislation. It should have been consolidated years ago. I congratulate the Minister and the Government for doing the job on it. I just do not like this specific piece because it changes our historic treatment of that ten metre reservation to give it the potential of restricting access. It does not automatically do it and it might never happen for ten minutes, it might never happen for ten years.

The Minister can smile, I am not being facetious in this, I am not doing this to give you a hard time. I believe wholeheartedly that there will be a court case, fairly soon, to show that no matter what conditions you have on this, once you grant that piece of land, a court is going to treat that grant as a grant, the same as they did in the 70s with a piece of agricultural land that had conditions on it. It was considered as a grant without conditions when the final judgement came, and without all the conditions in particular. That is why agricultural Crown Lands today is still leased land, rather than granted land with conditions, because very often those conditions will not hold up in court.

Mr. Speaker, with those few words, I just want to say again, I support my colleague's motion to hoist this bill for six months. I think it would do all Members of this Legislature some good to give this bill a bit more consideration and see what we could come up with to satisfy what the Premier wants or the Government or the Cabinet wants to do with this legislation.

There would probably be even a simpler way. The simpler way for me, would be for the Minister to tell me why. Why this change? With a Permit to Occupy, if you have problems with it, it can be geared to help you out, can be written in a certain way so that you can alleviate your concerns. A grant takes it out of your hands, takes it out of Cabinet's hands and leaves it up to a judge and a court to rule some day in the future what this grant meant and whether it was meant to restrict access to the ten metre reservation or not.

So I ask the Minister to consider his haste or to supply Members on this side with a logical reason why this change is necessary. If you have to give some permit to use that foreshore, that ten metres, give it in the Permit to Occupy so you can control it. Give it even in a lease, it might make more sense, but take the word 'grant' out of it; if you use grant then you lose control of it; then you give away freehold title. The Crown then does not hold title to it officially. The Crown has given that title to someone else and if you give a lease, you will keep the ultimate title; if you give a Permit to Occupy, you will also keep the ultimate title and you will have control to do whatever you wish to do for bringing this in in the first place. You have that control now; whatever the reasoning in this act, you can carry out that intention by lease or by Permit to Occupy, but you do not need to have it given out as a grant. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, listening to my colleague, who I guess knows more about this Bill than anyone, I wonder what would happen if Government were to enact this Bill and what it would mean to the people of the Province. I can only conclude that Government probably has some of their buddies out there who they are trying to look after, because this Government - the Minister of Education smiles; he is one of the people who practices this very well.

The practice is the pork barrelling system and I would not at all be surprised for a minute if this Government wants to give granted land on rivers and lakes in this Province to some of their big business buddies. That would not surprise me one bit. I do not blame the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture because I do not think that he is involved in something like that; but again, I think that he could be pressured into doing it by some of his Cabinet colleagues.

I am very suspicious of what is taking place as it relates to this new Bill. Now, as my colleague was stating, the biggest problem with the Bill is the word 'grant'. Government is going to enact the word 'grant' rather than the words 'lease' or 'Permit to Occupy'.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Permit to Occupy is the best.

MR. TOBIN: I do not know, Mr. Speaker. So that means that if someone today has a cabin or a cottage, or whatever you want to call it, on a pond or a river in this Province, they can now go out and have it granted. I know that we can get permits to occupy and we can also get the lease, but under this system here the Minister would be giving us a grant to the land. We talk about construction of boat houses and things such as that, close to the water's edge, the high-water mark, as I understand it, is what - I am in the process of having some land surveyed myself and I think the high-water mark as I have been told by the surveyers, is what would be included in the land, from the high-water mark.

The question, Mr. Speaker, is - and the Minister has to give an answer to this, and I understand he has not done it yet - why does Government want to bring in a grant system for Crown land in this Province in terms of cottages on rivers and lakes? Is it because they have buddies out there that they are trying to look after? Is it a buddy system, Mr. Speaker, the big business people?

I could not help, as I was glancing through Hansard that time and looking at how Government - I did not know about it, I had not read the papers in the last few days or heard the news from Newfoundland, because I was on a parliamentary conference. I cannot help, Mr. Speaker, but really wonder if this bill, together with all the rest of it, is not part of big business being taken care of by this Government. The crowd who own large construction companies and get millions of dollars worth of contracts, why wouldn't the Government permit them to have granted land on rivers and let the poor people, Mr. Speaker, swim rather than walk around their property?

What about the person who has fished on the ponds and lakes in this Province for the past 500 years? What about them, Mr. Speaker? Will they now be able to go to the pond of their choice or will they now have to cross over someone's veranda on a cottage because of grants made to some of Government's big business buddies? Will they be allowed to do that, Mr. Speaker? I would suggest they will not.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, sit down!

MR. TOBIN: No, I won't sit down. And if you are sincere in your endeavours for fishermen in this Province, you will not sit down either when the vote comes on this Bill. Because whether they be fishing offshore or inshore or on ponds or lakes, the rights of Newfoundlanders is what's being questioned here, the principle of Newfoundlanders being able to do what they have been doing for 500 years. If they can catch fish, as the Member for Port de Grave is saying, on the Grand Banks for 500 years, they should still be allowed to do it, and if they have been allowed to fish ponds and lakes and rivers in this Province for 500 years, they should be allowed to continue it, Mr. Speaker, and granted, titled land to the high-water mark should not be given to people who are friends of this Administration. It should not be allowed to happen, but that is what will happen, Mr. Speaker.

I don't think the Minister himself would like to deny people the right to fish and swim, because I understand the Minister is a fellow who enjoys and appreciates the wildlife.

AN HON. MEMBER: I would never do that.

MR. TOBIN: No, I do not think you would. But I can tell you there are people sitting on that side of the House who like the comfort of privacy, who like the comfort of their millionaire buddies sitting around. They are over there, Mr. Speaker, who do not want the ordinary Newfoundlander with his pair of boots hauled up around his legs out with a bamboo in front of his cabin. They are over there who do not want it, and this act will deny them the right to do it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Slow down a bit.

MR. TOBIN: I will not slow down a bit . I will say what I have to say, and if you do not like it, it is too bad, leave. That is what I will do, Mr. Speaker, because this irritates me, this torments me, to see -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, okay, boy. I can just tell you that I did attend a parliamentary conference in the Yukon, and it was too short, Mr. Speaker. When you look at this Bill, at the rights that people have in the Yukon and the Territories in terms of their livelihood from fishing and hunting, when you look at that, Mr. Speaker, and see what this Government is trying to do with this Bill, this piece of legislation, maybe we should all attend a parliamentary conference where hunting and fishing is so important to the livelihoods of people. We should all attend that type of a conference.

Under this piece of legislation, I have great fears of what could take place when the big business people, the buddies who get the tenders to construct hospitals in this Province, as I just read from Hansard, I do not know who owns the companies to be honest with you, and I could not care less, but if things are being done for people in this Province do not be surprised if certain people in this Province do not fence their land to the high-water mark. I am not suggesting for one minute that this Minister intends for that to happen. I am not suggesting that, but I am saying if you can build a boat house in front of your cabin, in back of your cabin on a pond, or whatever the case may be, if you can construct a boat house on your property if it is granted, which will be to the high-water mark, then does a man or woman who have fished there, trouted, or whatever the case may be, all their lives -

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible) doing that.

MR. TOBIN: Sure, but you are not giving people grants to the high-water mark because right now under a permit to occupy or a lease, and I know what I am talking about because I have a cabin on a pond, and I do not mind admitting it, and people come time and time again to fish in front of my place. I go out and chat with them and we have a great time and all that, but under this here if I or anyone else was to get a grant, saying you can build a boat house to the high-water mark then so can the Minister of Social Services and other people. That is what we are saying. That is what this act will do.

MR. HOGAN: (Inaudible)

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Social Services is back in the House and it took him two minutes to get up. Probably he should get up and talk about the rights of people with cabins, what they can do, and how they can abuse the system. Probably the Minister of Social Services can tell us how the system can be abused by those who have cabins and cottages.

MR. HOGAN: (Inaudible) your buddy - boat house -

MR. TOBIN: Yes, I consider you my buddy so I know who you are talking about. You do not have to mention your name. I look over at the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay who is listening to what I am saying and I hope he realizes that the people who fish ponds, lakes, and rivers in his district will not be able to do it in a few years time if this Bill is enacted because there will be people in this Province who will put boat houses to the waters edge and then fence it. That will happen.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible.)

MR. TOBIN: That will not stop it. That will grant it. Right now if you have a permit to occupy the Government can take it on you in ten minutes. If they want they can reimburse you for what they take but they do not have to. The other avenue is a lease that has worked very well in this Province. What scares me is not the ordinary Newfoundlander and Labradorian who have cottages and cabins on a pond, that is not what bothers me.

AN HON. MEMBER: Do you have a grant for yours?

MR. TOBIN: A grant, no, a lease. I do not know what I have. I do not have a grant, I know that.

AN HON. MEMBER: You do not know the difference.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, I do know the difference. I have a PTO and I am in the process of getting a lease. I can tell you this much, Mr. Speaker, that is if I can get my colleague to survey it, that it is not the ordinary Newfoundlander that causes me concern, because most people in rural Newfoundland today respect the rights of people who fish around lakes and ponds, as they have done all their lives. It is the big business people who are cosy to this Government-


MR. TOBIN: Who should know better than the Minister of Social Services? The Minister of Social Services is talking about big business. He has brought so much welfare to the Placentia area, Mr. Speaker, that this year Placentia got more money for projects because many more people there are unemployed than in any other part of the Province. That would not have happened if he had stood up with me and fought to make sure a portion of the Hibernia development, if not all of it, took place in Placentia Bay. What has happened? There is so much welfare now, in the minister's district, that he has to - and I don't blame him, for having the most money, with the number of people who are unemployed in that district. Because that is all one can conclude when one looks at the statistics, that if the most money went there, that is where the most money was deserved. That is the mess that this minister has brought to his district.

So he should get them all out building fences, or tearing down fences, around the ponds.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, the minister doesn't bother me either, because I know he respects the rights of the people of Newfoundland to fish in the lakes, rivers and ponds. If someone did it in front of his place he would probably invite him in for a cup of tea. I understand that is the type of man he is. But it is the big business people who are cosy to this Government that cause me concern. If the millionaire buddies of the Premier, Mr. Speaker, or of any of the other ministers, or the highfalutins of this Province, get on a pond that is good for salmon and fishing, and if there is any way that they can prevent the ordinary Joe from fishing in front of their cottage, then you can be assured that the ordinary Joe will not be permitted to fish. That is exactly what this bill will enable them to do.

So there is someone somewhere on a lake or river in this Province whom this Government is trying to look after. As the debate goes on, I just might say more. But there is someone somewhere who wants this enacted. If not, why does the Government bring it in? That is the question.


MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, probably the minister over there should get up and tell us who wants it done. If I understood rightly what he said. He should get up and say over there why they are doing it. But he hasn't done it yet!

Does the Member for Fortune - Hermitage want the people of his district to be denied the right to fish? Does he want people to have their cottages or their cabins there, and then build their boat houses to the high-water mark, and put up a fence and let nobody fish in front of their properties on the lakes, rivers and ponds in his district? I suggest he does not. There is one way to prevent it, and that is if enough over there have the courage to stand with us.

MR. HOGAN: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Well then, you didn't stand when they closed the Placentia hospital, I can't see you standing up for a piece of Crown land. When the sick and the suffering of Placentia were thrown to the wolves, you didn't stand. I don't expect him to stand for a piece of Crown land, Mr. Speaker.

MR. PARSONS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, that is right. My colleague for St. John's East Extern said he knows you long enough to know that you won't stand. Now, I don't know what that is about. Mr. Speaker.


MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the Member for Placentia is doing an awful lot of interrupting. I don't know what is on his mind, why he is so distraught. I know what it is! He is against this piece of legislation, and he is in Cabinet and he can't stand up! That is his problem.

MR. MATTHEWS: What do you mean, he can't stand up? Can't he get up?

MR. TOBIN: No he can't. Because he would have to resign from Cabinet, and he won't do it. I suspect he shouldn't do it. Because there is a fellow behind your back now and you had better be careful. I tell you, I wouldn't be looking this way too quick.

MR. EFFORD: Are you talking about me?

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, every time I say something in this House the Member for Port de Grave asks, 'Are you talking about me?' Why does he have such a complex?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Oh, is that right? Mr. Speaker, why did he attack the Member for St. John's East the other night when he was not even here, if he is that type of fellow? Every time the Member for St. John's East is not here, he gets on his feet and attacks him, but he never does it in front of the members when the member is here. It is when he is not here that you hear the Member for Port de Grave.

Now, I want to get on with this. They are trying to distract me from speaking to this bill.

MR. MATTHEWS: They can't stand the heat.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Crosbie is going to (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: They cannot stand the heat because they know you are picking them apart.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I can't hear what you are saying.

MR. MATTHEWS: When was the last time you were in the House? Now, there is a slur on a member!

MR. TOBIN: Wednesday, Mr. Speaker.

MR. MATTHEWS: Tell them where you were.

MR. TOBIN: I went to the Yukon on Wednesday evening. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, I was attending a parliamentary conference with two of his colleagues, if he wants to know where I was.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, where you?

MR. TOBIN: Yes, I was, and we enjoyed it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who was with you?

MR. TOBIN: Well, I can tell you, it is not every member over there that I would travel with, to a parliamentary conference, either.

But I want to say this: I expect there is someone out there, somewhere who has a cabin or a cottage on a piece of Crown Land who wants to travel with somebody, I can tell you that.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did you read the bill?

MR. TOBIN: Yes, I read the bill. As a matter of fact, we were briefed and had a discussion.

AN HON. MEMBER: Tell the truth, you never looked at it.

MR. MATTHEWS: What did he say?

MR. TOBIN: Tell the truth, you never looked at it.

MR. MATTHEWS: Tell him you took it with you on the conference to the Yukon.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, not only did I read the bill, I had it with me, and I intended, although I never got around to it, to talk to some of the leaders in the Yukon, to find out if they tolerated this type of Government action on their lakes, rivers and ponds; that is what I intended to do, but I never got around to it.

The Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, has to come clean with the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Unlike the President of Treasury Board as it relates to the construction of hospitals in this Province; from what I have read in Hansard, he squiggled and squirmed, he didn't come clean. More questions will be asked now that I am back as the official critic and I will demand answers. But I say this: that the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture has to answer because he has a responsibility to tell us who is the person or persons that this act is going to look after.


MR. TOBIN: Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say that.


MR. TOBIN: What my colleague just said. I would not say that, but I will say that there is someone, somewhere who controls, to a large extent, what is taking place in this Province.

MR. DOYLE: Some of the Premier's friends.

MR. TOBIN: Well, they say it is some of the Premier's friends, I don't know, Mr. Speaker. It is more than I can say, I don't know.

MR. WINSOR: He will have no friends left out in Gander.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DOYLE: Some of the President's friends, he said.

MR. TOBIN: Probably, I do not know, Mr. Speaker.

The President of Treasury Board might have a point when he says they are his friends because there are some great fishing areas and some great developments on Gander Lake and the Gander River. I suspect that he probably has some friends; and when he says that they are his friends this bill is looking after, probably, he is right. But rather than saying it and whispering it, let him stand in this House and put it on record, that is what the President of Treasury Board should do.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: It is his friend?

MR. DOYLE: Mankind of every description without any exception of persons.

MR. TOBIN: I heard Mr. March paying him high compliments in the last few days with the exception of one.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, and you know, the Minister of Development probably believes that! But I can assure him that it is not true. There are some people who like the President of Treasury Board, but there is a vast majority who dislike his policies - not him as a person, but they dislike his policies, his arrogance, and his contempt towards the public service of this Province.

But that is the question that we want answered. My colleague just asked: Who are they? Who are the people that this bill is looking after? Does the Member for Exploits have any buddies who have cottages or cabins?

AN HON. MEMBER: He has his own.

MR. TOBIN: Oh sure, but I am asking - it is not being done for you, I wouldn't suggest that. You are not suggesting this bill is being brought in to look after you.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, he is saying it is.

MR. TOBIN: No, he is not, he shook his head and said no. But I want to know if it is his buddies. Mr. Speaker, is it developers in this Province?

MR. MATTHEWS: What developers? There are none left.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, what developers? - that is a good question, what developers? Some big meetings are going to take place in this Province tomorrow, I know that, Mr. Speaker.

MR. MATTHEWS: What are they about? Tell us what they're about!


MR. TOBIN: We are talking about Crown land, Mr. Speaker, that is what we are talking about! That is the confidence that we have in this Government, when a Minister of the Crown doesn't know what this piece of legislation is about! I hope Hansard picked it up, because the Minister of Social Services does not have a clue what this piece of legislation is about. 'What is it about?' he asked, Is it about cabins?'

It is about Crown land and the rights of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that they have had for 500 years and that are being taken away from them. That is what this legislation is about, Mr. Speaker!

AN HON. MEMBER: Who read it to you?

MR. DOYLE: He asked: 'who read it to you?' Imagine a minister asking, 'who read it to you?'

AN HON. MEMBER: Tom Murphy read it to him.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, that is who read it to me.


MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Development is trying to distract me from the real issue.

AN HON. MEMBER: That isn't much trouble.

MR. TOBIN: No, but it wasn't much trouble the day Crosbie did the number on you, either. It wasn't much trouble that day when you tried to be the hero. You have a lot to answer for in this Province one of these days. He has a lot to answer to some of the people one of these days, according to what I am hearing, Mr. Speaker. You should follow the example of the Minister of Fisheries. You should listen more closely to the Minister of Fisheries. You would be well-advised to do that. Rather than thinking you are the Minister of Fisheries, you should consult with the Minister of Fisheries.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have rights, whether it be in the offshore fisheries as I have said, in forestry or the mining industry, then they should have rights in this piece of legislation, and that denies them their rights.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Not as often as the Minister of Development. And he should be careful now, talking about trips.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I just might.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: A good name for him, too.


MR. TOBIN: Chuck Barrett, a good name for him.

MR. MATTHEWS: Chuck Barret or Chuck Barry?

MR. TOBIN: Chuck Barrett. What does that have to do with this anyway? I have to give this up.

AN HON. MEMBER: Sit down.

MR. TOBIN: I won't sit down unless the minister stops it, I can tell you that. I have never been interrupted so often before in the ten years that I have sat in this legislature - spurious comments, particularly by the Minister of Social Services, and the Minister of Development, to some extent. I have never been interrupted so often. Unless they give me the opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to speak in the way I want to, with silence -

MR. DOYLE: And to bring out the points in the bill.

MR. TOBIN: - and to bring out the points in this legislature, I will stay standing, Mr. Speaker. I don't intend to take very much longer.

MR. MATTHEWS: By leave!

MR. TOBIN: No, not that either. I see the Minister of Forestry is back. Another thing, Mr. Speaker, that irritates this side of the House - if the piece of legislation is that important, why isn't the minister in the House when it is being debated? That is the question that has to be answered! That is why we have to stand on the floor and try to keep the issue going until we draw him back into the House so he can hear our points. If the minister were in the House listening to this debate it might not take as long. It might just not take as long to debate the issues.

But we have to say it over and over again, hoping that he is listening somewhere outside when he is not in his seat. How does the Premier expect to get legislation through this House when a minister shows such contempt for the House by not staying in when his bill is being discussed?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, when a minister shows contempt by not staying in his place when a bill is being discussed, no wonder we have to try to stall it. No wonder we have to repeat ourselves. He's at it again, Mr. Speaker - the buffoon from Placentia! I want to withdraw that comment, Mr. Speaker. While it may be parliamentary, I don't think it is right to say it. I regret that I made that comment and I apologize.

In closing, let me say that I have great fears that the rights of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to fish, walk and cruise around the lakes, rivers and ponds in our Province -

MR. DOYLE: Is going to be seriously hampered.

MR. TOBIN: - will be, yes, in the first year, seriously hampered. And in the second year, the fences will start going up, and the buddies of this Government, with the money in this Province, will bar and deny the rights that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have known for the past 500 years. I hope, and I beg and I plead with all members of this House to vote with us for a six-month hoist. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. Opposition House Leader.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I couldn't hear you there, with the applause for my colleague. I will say, it is going to be very difficult -

MR. WINSOR: Follow that speech?

MR. MATTHEWS: - to follow that speech. I say quite sincerely, Mr. Speaker, that that is the second best speech that has been given in this Legislature on Bill 22. The two best speeches that have been given were by the minister when he introduced the bill - I must say that; I thought he would be here for me to commend him on it. It was the best speech - I knew he would not be long coming in when I said that. It was the best speech I have heard the minister give, and that includes when he was in opposition and since he has become a Minister of the Crown. He was really geared up for the speech. He did a marvellous job in presenting the notes that were prepared for him by his officials, I must say that.

MR. WINSOR: But it was flawed.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, there was a flaw. Because he tried to defend something, I guess, in his presentation that is really hard to defend. It has been touched upon by a number of speakers already. We all know the history, Mr. Speaker, of this very contentious, controversial bill that stared out a year or two ago, as Bill 53. Then, it came back as Bill 25, and now it is back in front of us as Bill 22: "An Act To Revise And Consolidate The Law Respecting Crown Lands, Public Lands And Other Lands Of The Province." So this is the third edition.

MR. WINSOR: And it was the Premier who spoke most eloquently on that bill in one of its former stages.

MR. MATTHEWS: In one of its former stages, yes, the Premier spoke very well about it.

MR. WINSOR: He wanted it.

MR. MATTHEWS: But it is brought back now for the third time. The Minister, when he made his presentation, and a number of times since, keeps talking about this being our piece of legislation - our piece of legislation. The Minister cannot have it both ways.

AN HON. MEMBER: It must be some bad if they want to give us credit for it.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, it is not that. It is just that we all know that within the last twelve months there has been a lot of controversy out and about the Province about this particular piece of legislation. We have seen the different associations and federations get quite annoyed with the Bill. We saw a lot of public outcry at public meetings. Public attention was brought to the bill, because was it the Wildlife Federation-


MR. MATTHEWS: There were two or three others. The other two or three associations and federations affected have really been concerned about this particular piece of legislation. Really, their concerns are what it will take away from the rights and privileges of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Now that has been the big concern over this particular Bill since day one, with its different numbers and different arrangements.

I suppose it is worth repeating, Mr. Speaker, as my colleague has said, because the controversial clause here is Clause 7.2. I, like my colleague from Burin - Placentia West, have gone through this particular piece of legislation and have followed the happenings in both the Legislature and outside on this particular Bill. But there seems to be somewhat of a contradiction, in my humble estimation, in Clause 7.2 and then the subsequent clauses, particularly (d) and (e), and Clause 7.4. Clause 2 (d) and (e) seem to give the right for those structures to be constructed, 'where a structure that is being used as a residence and was erected before the coming into' and so on, and 'for the purpose of giving a licence only for the construction of boat houses and wharves to the extent that they intrude on the reservation.' What I am asking you is, there seems to be some kind of contradiction with (4) 'A grant, lease or licence issued under paragraph 2 (d) or (e) shall not permit a grantee, lessee or licensee to restrict access to the reservation on the part of the general public by erecting a fence or by other means.' So there seems to be a bit of a contradiction here that on one hand you provide for the structures to be put up-

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: You cannot own it. You do not own it then.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, you do not own it. That is right. There is a complete difference. You do not own it. So what I am saying to the Minister is, and I do not know if the Minister is going to speak again-

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) closed debate on it.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, he closed debate, but maybe you can react to the thing I am pointing out to you, because to me it seems to be contradictory. On one hand you say you can or you cannot, and then you cannot or you can. That is our only problem with the Bill, I say to the Minister quite honestly. That is the only concern that we have, on this side, for the Bill. Now I say only concern, but having said it, it is a very important concern, because if anything is going to happen in this Province - well we know what type of people Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are; we know how much we like the outdoors; we know how much we like to fish and hunt and so on - and if there is anything that is going into a piece of legislation here that is going to restrict in any way that right to freedom that we have enjoyed, we cannot support that. We have seen, as I have said, a public outcry in the Province about that, particularly when the Bill was in a different form, so that is the bone of contention that we have with this legislation. We just want to be sure, we say to the Minister, that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will be able to exercise those rights forevermore. But there seems to be some reason, and we pursued this before, particularly with the Premier, because it seems that the Premier is the person who most wants the Bill in this particular form, with this Clause 7.2. It seems that for some reason, and a number of speakers have alluded to that as well, that the Premier is pretty adamant about having this clause in the piece of legislation. We have tried to pursue, and tried to find out exactly why that could be, and there were all kinds of possible reasons why it could be. Either there was something happened in the middle of the last general election campaign -

MR. TOBIN: What?

MR. MATTHEWS: I say it could have been, when the Premier was going about the Province and Labrador, that he may have run into situations and talked to individuals who, for one reason or another, thought this particular inclusion in the Bill would give them some rights that they thought they should have, to the detriment, I might say, of the majority of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. That is a possibility, and that has been suggested, I say to the Minister. He knows that. We were not the first ones to suggest that, I say to him. This surfaced in the public meetings that were held about the Province on this particular issue, that that may be the case, that there are some people out and about the Province who are affluent enough to own properties along rivers, ponds, lake sides, and so on - affluent people - who could build boat houses and so on to the extent that we are talking about here, that they would actually restrict the reserve so that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians could not get around the pond or lake or whatever they were used to accessing. It is possible that this could happen, and that is why we want this particular aspect of the Bill clarified to our satisfaction, I say to the Minister. Once we are satisfied with that, when the Minister can allay our fears on that, then we will look at giving this Bill passage here.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible) issued for the purpose that you are concerned about. I mean that is the whole purpose of the legislation.

MR. MATTHEWS: But there are grants out now.

MR. FLIGHT: That is the whole purpose for the legislation.

MR. MATTHEWS: They are already out there, I say to the Minister. It is not only what is going to happen in the future that we are concerned about here.

MR. FLIGHT: Not on a reservation they are not.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, there are structures out and about the Province now, I say to the Minister. If the Minister would listen to what I said before, there are people out and about the Province who own some pretty nice structures out in the wilderness by way of -


MR. MATTHEWS: You would not call them cabins or cottages, they are more like homes - people who can afford it. And there are some pretty nice boat houses and so on out and about the Province. I am not fortunate enough to have one.

AN HON. MEMBER: You do not even have a boat.

MR. MATTHEWS: I do not even have a boat, that is right. I was going to say to the Minister that I do not even have the oar that goes with the boat.

MR. TOBIN: I have one then, I tell you that.

MR. MATTHEWS: But there are people out and about the Province, and the accusations have been made -

MR. TOBIN: That was not very nice what the Minister of Finance just said.

MR. MATTHEWS: I did not hear what he said.

MR. TOBIN: I heard what he said.

MR. MATTHEWS: It's half my fault for saying what I said to him, so if he said something back then I have to take that.

These are the concerns that are raised by the different organizations and association, the wildlife people, the wilderness people, Salmonoid Council, I think, and associations, SPAWN have had some concerns about this, rod and gun clubs, all those out doors people who like to use our wilderness areas, outdoors areas, whether it is for boating, hunting, fishing or whatever.

So we are quite interested, Mr. Speaker, in having these fears put to rest, so that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can be guaranteed the rights and privileges that they have exercised for hundreds of years. We want to be absolutely certain that the Premier's insistence on having this clause in this Bill is not at the request of, or a promise made to certain individuals in this Province, because we really cannot find any other reason as to why the Premier would be so adamant on wanting it included. We could just take it out, and away we go with the Bill, I say to the Minister, and he knows that, but the Minister shakes his head. The Minister shakes his head that he cannot omit that clause. Why can't you? Why can't you omit it and go on about things the way we have gone on about things for the last 400 or 500 years, I say to the Minister. Since before Confederation this is the way we have operated in this Province, without this. What is so important in the year 1990 and 1991 that we have to go and do this, I say to the Minister? Maybe he does not want to tell me. Maybe he knows, maybe he does not know. Maybe the Minister does not know the real reason why the Premier wants this here. Maybe he has not been told, but I say to the Minister, before we pass this legislation, Mr. Speaker, we are going to want the answers to this.

DR. KITCHEN: Are we working tonight?

MR. MATTHEWS: Are we working tonight, I believe the Minister of Finance asked. I say to the Minister of Finance, I do not care how many nights we work. That does not bother me.

MR. TOBIN: Oh, that is a trick. That is a trick.

MR. MATTHEWS: It does not bother me how many nights we work. If we want answers to something we feel is important to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, then we will pursue it, and we feel this is important.

The Minister, to date, and the Government have not answered the question.

MR. FLIGHT: It is answered.

MR. MATTHEWS: You have not answered the question. We've been at this now for a long time.

MR. FLIGHT: We have had no opportunity.

MR. TOBIN: Well, we will give you leave.

MR. MATTHEWS: Oh, there were opportunities before now, I say to the Minister.

MR. TOBIN: If you want to close the debate, we will give you leave.

MR. MATTHEWS: The last time we dealt with this particular legislation, there were opportunities, I say to the Minister, and we didn't get the answers then, and we haven't got them now.

AN HON. MEMBER: In Committee, we can answer them.

MR. MATTHEWS: What's that?

AN HON. MEMBER: In Committee.

MR. MATTHEWS: Well, we will go to Committee to get answers.

MR. TOBIN: We are hoping to get a six-month hoist.

MR. MATTHEWS: Well, that is what we are debating here, Mr. Speaker, is that we are asking the Government to delay this piece of legislation for six months, so that we can get the answers, so that we can once again give Newfoundlanders and Labradorians the opportunity to express -

AN HON. MEMBER: There's no rush.

MR. MATTHEWS: There's no rush, that is right. Why rush into something? Why rush into it, unless it is very, very important to someone, Mr. Speaker, that there was a promise made that has to be kept. Otherwise, what is the rush?

I say to the Minister - and he laughs about it - what is the rush? Why don't we delay it for another six months, to see if we can get the people of the Province to once again express their concerns, to let the Government reconsider striking Clause 7(2) from the Bill. If they do that, there we will be no problem, we will gladly pass this piece of legislation, I say to the Minister.

Now, I think the Minister is going to get up, when he closes debate, and make excuses as to why this particular clause, this section of the Bill, is here. He will not be able to tell us the real reason, I say to the Minister, with all due respect.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: You will do your best to try and explain that to us and justify it.

MR. EFFORD: Sit down, boy.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, I say to the Member for Port de Grave, I am not going to sit down, as much as he would like that.

AN HON. MEMBER: Or be muzzled like he was.

MR. TOBIN: Why doesn't he stand up? Why is he muzzled? Why doesn't he stand up and speak on it?

MR. MATTHEWS: I do not know why he won't speak on it. I am sure the great Newfoundlander and Labradorian that he is and so concerned about Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, their traditional fishing rights, I say, both inland and offshore -

MR. EFFORD: They have no rights.

MR. MATTHEWS: They have no rights, he says. Oh, yes, they have rights. They can still fish.

MR. TOBIN: What will this do to them?

MR. MATTHEWS: There might not be any fish out there to catch, but at least they can go out and try to fish.

MR. WARREN: The Member for Eagle River does not care at all.

MR. MATTHEWS: So, I cannot understand these great defenders of Newfoundlander's and Labradorian's rights, like the Member for Port De Grave and the Member for Eagle River who sit back in their seats as if everything is wonderful.

I say that very sincerely, because I am sure the Member for Port de Grave probably goes out and does a bit of trouting himself, traipsing around the woods and one thing and another, as much as he likes to go off and jig a fish. I mean, he must have concerns about this piece of legislation, does he not? I do not know. He says he does. Well, I hope that he rises in his place soon and we will hear his real concerns about it.

I am sure, as my colleague said, the real reason why he is not up asking questions and debating this piece of legislation - I do not think his mind is put to rest on this piece of legislation, I do not think it is. The Member for Eagle River might not care about it.

MR. EFFORD: I am trying to get back in Cabinet.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, I know. That is fair enough. You are trying to get back in Cabinet and that explains it all.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Next week after the enquiry you are in.

MR. TOBIN: Did he say that?

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, that is what he said, he is trying to get back in Cabinet. So, that is fair game. I hope that if he goes back into Cabinet, Mr. Speaker, he will try to persuade the Premier and the rest of his colleagues to eliminate that particular clause of the Bill.

MR. R. AYLWARD: I wish he were still in Cabinet. I would'nt be (inaudible) if he was in Cabinet.

MR. MATTHEWS: I am sure that he was one of the few, perhaps the only -

AN HON. MEMBER: He wants to be Minister of Fisheries.

MR. MATTHEWS: He wants to be Minister of Fisheries. Yes, I am sure he does. Perhaps he wants to be Premier. That would not surprise me either.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Aiden Maloney is going to get that job when Walter quits. They are just going to put Aiden in.

MR. TOBIN: I heard it was Myles Murray.

MR. MATTHEWS: Having said that to my friend from Port de Grave, I am sure that when he was there he was perhaps the only one who used to stand up and be counted around the Cabinet table, and I say that to him very sincerely. The rest of them were like mice, Mr. Speaker. So I hope he is back in the Cabinet soon, so he can take up the fight for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and get this particular clause struck from the Bill, so that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will not be in danger of losing the rights that we have so enjoyed.

MR. TOBIN: The other thing that could work is if they put Oliver in.

DR. KITCHEN: What is the concern?

MR. MATTHEWS: We have been here two or three days and the Minister of Finance wants to know: what is the concern. Now, it is hard to know when he is sincere or not. What is the concern, he says. Well, I tell the Minister of Finance there are a number of concerns we have. Now, this is the Minister's third Budget, I believe it is, and he is really out of whack again. That is a real concern we have in the Opposition.

DR. KITCHEN: That is not addressing the Bill.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, it is not addressing the Bill, but you asked me what our concerns were. It is a big bill I say to the Minister, a $95 million deficit. It has a lot to do with bills, and it is obviously going to put a lot of pressure on the Minister and the bills he is going to have to pay, or not pay. It depends on how he choses to address his $95 million deficit again this year. That is the concern we have. I am sure the Minister has listened to the debate or perhaps he has been too busy doing his sums and he has not realized what the debate is about. If he has I understand that he should put a lot of time into that. Permit to occupy versus a grant.

MR. WARREN: Where do you think there is a pond in St. John's Centre?

MR. MATTHEWS: There are no ponds in St. John's Centre. I do not know if there is or not.

MR. WARREN: That is as far as he has been outside St. John's.

MR. MATTHEWS: The Member for Torngat says there are no ponds in St. John's Centre.

DR. KITCHEN: (Inaudible) in St. John's Centre (inaudible)

MR. R. AYLWARD: Burton's Pond is in there.

MR. MATTHEWS: Burton's Pond is there.

MR. R. AYLWARD: It is probably covered over now.

MR. MATTHEWS: Well, Mr. Speaker, I am going to conclude by saying to the Minister that I look forward to his answering the questions, answering them properly, and not answering them in a way to try and get the Opposition to shut up. None of this foolishness. Get up and tell us why you cannot strike that clause from the Bill, the real reason, and if it requires you to do so, go see the Premier and ask him why he is so adamant about having this in the Bill. Ask him if he would relent and have it struck from the Bill.


MR. MATTHEWS: He may. If the Minister goes to see the Premier he might agree to take it from the Bill. He might. Maybe there will be some people out and about who will not be as upset as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in general would be upset if their rights and privileges are taken away by this piece of legislation, I say to the Minister of Social Services, who shakes his head. He does not obviously understand either because he is too busy there signing off his -

MR. TOBIN: His Christmas cards.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, it is not his Christmas cards, it is the grants and the projects he has approved for the Placentia office of Social Services. I think the Minister gave himself $390,000, his office out there, more than any other office in the Province.

MR. TOBIN: But, he had no choice with the unemployment that is out there. He had no choice. There is nobody out there working.

MR. MATTHEWS: Then he pretends he knows about this piece of legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to conclude my remarks on the Bill and look forward, I say to the Minister, when he responds accordingly, to give the real reason and to tell me why he cannot strike this particular clause from this particular piece of legislation.

MR. TOBIN: That is unparliamentary. You should withdraw what you just said.

MR. MATTHEWS: If the Minister could assure the House that he is going to do that then we will very quickly agree to pass this legislation. That is all I have to say on the matter.

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This is a fairly detailed Bill covering a lot of areas. We have heard most people who spoke, I think, zero in on Clause 7. There are a lot of other sections in this also that bear scrutiny and most of them, I think, we are quite satisfied with the appropriate wording. They do clear up some of the problems we have had in the past. Most Members representing large rural areas in particular in their work every day run across a fair number of people who are constituents and have problems with Crown lands, one way or another. Sometimes it is a matter of people looking for Crown land upon which to build a house, sometimes to start a business, sometimes to get into one type of industry or another. Sometimes to try to clarify mistakes of the past. Strange things have occurred over the years in this Province in relation to Crown land, and I suppose it dates back to the original settlement. When we look upon the history of our Province and how it was settled, and where the people came from, then we can easily understand why they feel so good about living in a place like Newfoundland where you have such free access, and where you can obtain, basically, the land certainly you need for yourself and for whatever work you want to do.

Many of our ancestors came from England and Ireland. Many of them had very little control over the lands upon which they lived. If we study our history at all we realize that in Europe most of the land was held by the feudal lords. Over the years the poor people - the peasants - worked the lands, basically, for the owners. They had very little land of their own in many cases, and could partake of very little of what the lands produced, the lands upon which they worked for somebody else. Everyone has read the stories, and seen the movies of Robin Hood. That is probably the best example of what it was like living in feudal times, and it is a story that has been passed on and on over the years. Basically, the underlying message being that the poor people, the average person, was always subdued by the great lord, the overseer, and, of course, the peasants eventually to some extent revolted within whatever power they had to try to get even or to get as much of the goods or properties that were there as they possibly could under the existing laws. Of course that was very little.

As times changed and people sought new worlds and freedoms, many of them came and settled in America or in our own case, Newfoundland, came and settled, took whatever land they wanted and eventually gained title, whether it be through squatters rights, or in some cases legally through Crown grants, et cetera. Over the years some of these land seizures have caused a tremendous number of problems because people just took it for granted - pardon the pun - that the land was theirs, and they seized a block of land, settled on it and, I suppose, really gained title by working the land for a number of years, and passed it on to their children.

The old interpretation, I remember, on a piece of land, was that the youngest son in the family usually got the land when the parents died. Now where it came from I certainly do not know. Apparently there is no legal basis for it, but I know up our way it was taken for granted that usually the youngest son or sometimes the son - usually a son more so than a daughter - who stayed at home with the family ended up getting control of the land. As I say there is absolutely no legal basis, but it has caused a tremendous number of problems, and we have scattered throughout this Province a lot of land which nobody really owns, and it ties the hands of people who want to build, who want to start developments, and it takes quite some time for them to get any title to the land. Sometimes there are old grants there that have been there for years. But as long as there was a grant, of course, it is granted land, not Crown land. That causes all kinds of confusion. I noticed that the Bill is trying to address some of these problems and hopefully we can eliminate some of the confusions that exist. Just a few examples: a few days ago I ran across a gentleman who was going to build a house on a piece of land upon which his father had built a number of years ago, and when he went to get his survey done he was told that it was not Crown land although he had applied for Crown land adjacent to land that his father had obtained from the Crown. He was told that he was really on granted land. Now, the grant was well over 100 years of age and held by a gentleman of a name that is no longer in existence in the area. Actually I could not find the name in the Province, but there was a grant. It was not Crown land so the Crown Lands Division could not give him the land because they did not own it, it was granted land. It caused quite a confusion so the question was, what do you do? Basically, if he were building a house and going looking for a mortgage he would not get one simply because he did not have clear title to the land. The only suggestion that could be made to him, well, it was taken for granted in the area that the land is Crown land and nobody has put up any markers, or nobody is expressing any interest in it, whether it be ownership wise or anything else, you take a chance on building and after X number of years undoubtedly it becomes yours, and that is what he had to do. Now, luckily he could build the house without any financial assistance, otherwise he would not be able to get a mortgage because he would not be able to get clear title to the land, as there was a grant in existence for something like 140 or 150 years. In that immediate area there were a couple of grants, one to the church, which was basically taken up by church buildings, school buildings and so on, but the churches in those days grabbed up large tracks of property as we know, and this other held by a gentleman of unknown origin. As I said where we have such grants about the Province large tracks of land are tied up and it prohibits people from building or developing.

Another major problem we have had over the years is in absentee landlordism, where people obtain land, or are left land by their ancestors, move away, and the land is just sitting there. It is prime land, quite often, in the middle of a community and nobody knows where the kin of the original owners are. They may have no interest themselves but yet the land is just sitting there and nobody else can either work it or use it. We had an example again, Mr. Speaker, a few years ago of an old gentleman in the community who lived on a fairly large tract of land that everyone in the area considered was his, it had been left to him by his family. He was apparently the only one around and he had worked and lived on the land for something over seventy years. He sold the corner of the land to an individual who went out and got a mortgage based upon witnesses that this guy had worked and owned the land for years and built a new house. A few years later the old chap died and a sister that nobody around knew he had, apparently she had moved away sixty or seventy years ago, came back from the States and claimed the land. Rightfully she had as much claim to it as he had because even though he was the fellow who stayed home and worked it, and, as I said, locally you are under the impression that: you stay home and work the land and it is all yours. The law says it is shared equally among the children. She came home, claimed the land, including the piece on which he had built his house. Her daughter who was with her was a lawyer and she in turn was married to a lawyer, so that certainly complicated things, and it took two or three years -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. HEARN: Lawyers always do complicate things for a price. It took two or three years to get the matter cleared away. In fact the Crown had to apparently seize the land, or expropriate the land, because they were somewhat lax, I guess, in providing title originally. Once again it shows what can happen. Even though a piece of land is sitting there and everyone thinks it is not owned or some local person owns it there may be connections all over the place who have some title to the land. Just today I talked to an elderly couple who had bought a piece of land two or three years ago, and had a grant on the land. The land had been willed from father to daughter, adopted daughter, and then onto her children. She had willed the piece of land to one of the children who had built a house and when he went to widen the driveway somebody else came up and ran a fence up by it and said: it is not your land it is mine. Even though there is an old grant on the piece of land, because apparently it has been inactive for so long neighbours constantly moved in bit by bit and encroached upon the land, and are now claiming it. So, you run into all kinds of problems.

The Bill, once again, addresses a number of these things. The Bill spells out clearly the steps necessary to make sure you have claim on your land with the proper markings and the cut easements around and whatever. One of the most sorrowful things, I suppose, in any community is to see a piece of prime property - and we have run across that in some of our communities - where we wanted to build playgrounds or schools or housing developments, to find out that the land is in dispute. There may be some local ownership, but there are always aunts or uncles or brothers or sisters or somebody who is in The States or in Europe or whatever who have also some claim to the land. You might get nine out of ten willing to sell, and the tenth person does not want to sell because he or she might think the property in outport Newfoundland is just as valuable as the property in New York and wants a fortune for it. Here you have this big tract of land, an ideal place for the playground or the school, held up simply because of the involvements or the complications of ownership.

So, hopefully the Bill will address some of these things. Of course, the private side of it, the Bill cannot address. It does say, I believe, under the absentee landlord section on page 21, that if there is no sign of anybody expressing any interest in the land for a number of years, then the land can be taken back by the Crown, where it feels land as been abandoned. I think the Crown should really exercise some aggressive authority there, not just to sit back, perhaps, but to try to aggressively identify tracts of land that are out there scattered everywhere, originally, perhaps, granted or leased land or whatever, which has just been abandoned by people. Some of it private land that has been abandoned, families die off or move away and the land is just left there and it plays havoc with development. The Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, if he were here, would certainly realize the complications in a town where you are trying to prevent border or elongated expansion along the roadway. You are saying to the people, 'Build in the community.' How many times do we have to go to appeals because people want to build on the outskirts of the community, simply because there is no land available in the community. Yet really within that community you have these large tracts of land with the confused ownership that cannot be obtained by the people who want to build, preferably in the community itself.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) in this section?

MR. HEARN: That is covered also, yes. A lot of people do not understand the law and do not really realize, perhaps, that if they really went after this land and pushed it and so on that we would now have the protection to take the land back and grant it or lease it or whatever to individuals who are involved. I am sure all across Newfoundland, in every community, there are tracts of land that are of questionable ownership, and much of that land should be taken back.

One of the big problems that existed in the past, that once again will not exist after the Bill is brought in, is grabbing up huge tracts of land. In the past there were families in this Province who made millions and millions of dollars simply because they just moved in and grabbed up major tracts of land, land upon which the railway was built. You know, whether it be speculation back in the old days or whatever, that you could just go out and grab up any amount of land apparently. I suppose for those who were close to governments or whatever, it was that much easier. You got what you wanted and then, as developments occurred, you profited greatly from it. That is certainly wrong and we'll see now that there are limits, of course, upon the amount of property granted to anybody.

That brings us basically, Mr. Speaker, to the section of controversy, Section 7, whereby one of the concerns here raised by people who have looked closely at Section 7, is there is a possibility here that governments of the past who granted great sections of land to friends of theirs for the purposes of development, have the potential now to grant or lease tracts of land to individuals to erect properties that could prevent - could, ? - there are different interpretations, but until I think it is independently cleared, we have to make sure that the rights of individuals are protected; it could prevent people from moving around some of the streams and rivers in our Province.

One of the things that is going to complicate this, is going to be the request in the next few years as we see happening now, from individuals to develop private ponds for the purposes of aquaculture. We see it happening and I notice the Minister nodding his head and that is an extremely hard rule to deal with because in light of the failing fishery and in light of the need for diversification, in light of the need to establish new industry, one interesting area, and the area which has not to date proved very successful unfortunately, but one interesting area is one in the field of aquaculture, and one possibility is the stocking and the managing and the using for profit of ponds or lakes around the Province. We call them ponds. If they are small they are ponds and if they are big they are lakes. Sometimes outsiders call anything a lake. Newfoundlanders say a lake is a hole in a rubber boot, but to us, we say ponds.

I know people in my own area, and I am sure there are in others, who have an idea of a pond that is reasonably accessible, where you would obtain a permit to use that as a private operation and undoubtedly, you would stock the pond and when it is filled with fish, a lucrative business could occur by having tourists come in and charge them so much, whatever, to go out and catch the fish. That is going to cause a problem because, picture yourself and your own favourite fishing hole, and I would think many members have a favourite fishing place; I know I certainly have one that is not too far from the road and it is a place where -

DR. WARREN: Tell me where it is and (inaudible).

MR. HEARN: I will bring the Minister of Education there next Spring, it is a commitment. I will take him there next Spring to show him my favourite fishing hole. It is a place where you can get there quite easily, but it is also a place which, by being accessible, would be an ideal place to develop. There are some beautiful trout in the pond and if it were protected and stocked, it would be an ideal place to set up as a private operation.

Now if different individuals in different areas start setting up the old favourite fishing hole as a private resort for the purposes of making money or creating jobs, it is laudable in one sense but I would think that a lot of locals would start objecting if they could no longer gain access to their own favourite fishing hole. The same thing really applies here, if people are used to walking along the side of a river; if people are used to walking around their favourite ponds to find that for some reason or other, whether it is to establish an industry, whether it is to let somebody get involved in an aquaculture project or whether it is just to let a friend build a large boat house which blocks free passage around, so that he himself will have private use of that section of river or pond, then I would think that people who are used to the freedom, the freedom that they did not have in the old world, the freedom that means so much more now because of the way we were kept down in the past, then if they think there is any way that this act - and I am not saying that there is - but if they think that there is any way that this act or section 7 of this act, will prevent them from free passage, then they are going to be upset; we all should be extremely upset in light of past experiences.

In this Province, Mr. Speaker, we are extremely fortunate. To listen to people talk on a day to day basis, you will find nine out of ten people will tell you how tough it is, you know even the fellow you meet going into the woods with his new pickup, his trike in the back, his skidoo tied on, and his UI cheque in his pocket, will tell you how tough it is, and maybe compared to a few years ago it is. There are people this year, I know, who are finding it extremely tough in this Province, but generally speaking - generally speaking - living in Newfoundland has a lot of benefits. Why are we here? Practically every person in this hon. House has the potential to find work wherever he or she wants to find work. They have the finances to move, some of them. The Minister of Social Services certainly has the finances to move anywhere in the country. Why does he not leave? Because undoubtedly he likes the Province, as we all do. Because this Province has a tremendous amount to offer. If you ask anybody: what has Newfoundland got to offer more than anywhere else in Canada? - the word perhaps is freedom. Freedom of choice, to come and go as we wish. Why do so many members commute? I commute seventy miles each way every day. Why? Simply because when you go home in the evening, you can walk out in the woods; you can trout ten minutes from your home; pick berries; you can catch rabbits; you can shoot moose; you can grow vegetables in your garden; you can do whatever you want to do - freedom - fresh air; freedom to do basically what you want.

Over the years, governments have started to encroach a little more and more upon our freedom. There was a time when any person in this Province could go down to the beach, shove out his dory, and go out and catch his fish for the winter; catch a few fish to salt; catch a few fish to sell, and do whatever he wanted to do. He cannot do it anymore. Whether that is right or wrong is debatable, but it is an encroachment upon our freedom - maybe a necessary encroachment because of the mismanagement that has occurred - but we are starting to see other encroachments on our freedom. No more can you go in and set your rabbit snares unless you have a licence. No more can you go in and cut firewood wherever you want. Now you have to have certain selected areas. You also have to burn up the tops of your trees, and all of that. Perhaps-

AN HON. MEMBER: That is right and proper.

MR. HEARN: It is right and proper. There is nothing wrong with that. But I think perhaps in the old days the people, knowing that they had to depend upon the land, appreciating the freedom that they had a lot more than we do today, looked after those things a lot more. Conservation practices were there. They only caught what rabbits they wanted. They only shot what moose was needed. They did not shoot them for the fun of shooting. They shot them to support their families. They only caught what fish they wanted, and they caught it with technology that might be antiquated, but it was good. It provided them with fair catch rates. The problem was the price that they got for their product. It was not that they were not bringing in product. It was the fact that they were not getting paid for the product they brought in. I remember selling fish myself for two and one-half cents per pound. That is not too long ago. You come in with skiff loads of fish and end up with very little return. The old hook and line technology, Mr. Speaker, that left bait around the grounds for the fish, that selected only the best of the product, that did not tear up the bottom and so on, meant sure that year after year after year the stocks continued to grow and flourish. It was when we moved into our gill nets and our trawls and so on that we started to get rid of the fish. Then, because of these things happening, laws and rules had to be made that started to encroach upon our freedoms. It is the same way here, because people get wealthy sometimes, and people get greedy, and they shut off others.

The one thing we have in this Province besides what I mentioned, the freedom, is the friendships. Almost everybody knows everybody else, and if you do not know them, you pretend you do. You meet somebody on the street and you get the wink or the nod and, how are you, boy? And he does not care whether he knows you or not. You go out, especially in the smaller communities, you walk down the road and everybody will speak to you. Everybody will smile at you. If you have a flat, they will stop and help you fix it. It changes as we get bigger, and into the larger areas, because you do not know people as well. You are afraid of the person next to you, and it is strange to see. You know, the day when you could drive up the road and somebody was walking along, you would stop and pick them up. Now you are almost afraid to stop and pick somebody up. If somebody has a flat you are afraid to stop, afraid there might be somebody there to mug you. Most of those fears are unfounded but we hear too much about what is happening upalong.

But these things once again are changing the type of Province that we have. But what makes a community, or what makes a house, what makes a province, is not our geography or our physical (Inaudible), the people make life for us. The people around us make up our society, whether it is a good one or a bad one. If we get along well together and we share, well then things usually work out quite well. It is when we start getting greedy and we start encroaching, we start shutting out our friends and neighbours, then we start to worrying, and I fear this may be a possibility here in Clause 7.

The question being: who is pushing to have Clause 7 kept in the Bill? There is absolutely no reason why it cannot be eliminated. Leave it alone. The same wording that was always there in the past gave people the protection that they needed. There are possibilities here, and maybe the Minister will clarify. The Premier hopefully when he speaks on the Bill next week some time will clarify for us the fact that people need not have any fears. It is no good just to say it, we must have it in writing, because how the Minister or the Premier interpret the Act now may not be how lawyers will interpret the Act. The big question is: why are we so headstrong in leaving this clause in when so many people want it out?

We wonder if there are not very powerful people who can see a chance to protect their own piece of turf. If this starts happening in our Province then it will start escalating. That freedom that we have today to move around our Crown lands will be once again cut into.

So we will get a chance to speak again when we get into the main Bill. But on the six month hoist I think the logical thing to do right now is to sit back and to assess. Let's get it into the committee, let's get some interpretation from a number of lawyers. By the way, lawyers' opinions, I should mention, - when I talked about talking to somebody today about somebody encroaching on their land, they went to see a couple of lawyers. One fellow told them they had nothing to worry about, the other fellow told them they had problems. The ironic thing about it is, both lawyers work with the same firm. So that gives us an idea of what we get when we go to a lawyer. The old saying, of course: go see a 100 lawyers you get a 100 different opinions.

So maybe we should have 100 different opinions on the wording in Clause 7 to see if, or not, people of this Province have to worry about free access around their favourite ponds and rivers. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I just want to say a few words on this particular piece of legislation. As a matter of fact I spoke just a few minutes with the Minister who very honestly and straightforwardly told me his point of view as far as this legislation is concerned. It was the Minister's contention that grants would be required where we have such situations as municipalities, sewer systems, aquaculture, and that sort of thing. But, Mr. Speaker, the whole problem here is why I do not intend to say a lot, because there is only one thing you can really say here, and that is the fact that you can give permits to occupy for any of these particular situations, and you can give leases for any of these particular situations, but once we start granting or even if there is a hint in this Province that the Government in Cabinet can grant land to individuals that can stop the free flow of people around river banks or around ponds, just the very thought of that happening in this particular Province is something to make Newfoundlanders upset, which they have been upset.

I did not attend any of the hearings, Mr. Speaker, but certainly the people on both sides of the House who did attend the hearings last year - that Newfoundlanders came out was quite unexpected, the large numbers of people who attended the hearings on this particular Bill. Certainly the people who attended had one message for Government: don't do it.

Mr. Speaker, there is a way to get around this. Just drop that particular section and things will go on as they were before. Any of the reasons that I have heard from members opposite, and there are not many members opposite who have spoken on this particular Bill, but when they have the reasons that they have given just do not hold water, Mr. Speaker. I feel that the Minister should allay all the suspicions and problems that we have and the rest of Newfoundlanders have by dropping that particular section.

Mr. Speaker, I am very surprised that this particular Minister would bring in a piece of legislation like this. I first met the hon. Member, the Minister - I have always been a resident of the west Coast, and within walking distance or within a few minutes from where I live we have Harrys River, which has often been fished by the Member for Windsor - Buchans, and we have Bottom Brook and Flat Bay Brook -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) a lot of jigging over there.

MR. HODDER: No, Mr. Speaker, I have to say that for the Member, he is a good salmon fishermen, and he sure has slaughtered a lot of salmon on the west Coast. As a matter of fact, I met the hon. gentleman for the first time, and I think he was fishing Harrys River at that particular time, and he had just joined the Reformed Liberal Party, and it was myself who talked him into joining the Liberal Party. He was part of former Premier Smallwood's party - as we remember in 1975 - and the former Premier sat with four members in the House - not this House, but the House upstairs - and it was only by chance, a fluke, that we met, and I persuaded him to join the Liberal Party rather than the reformed Liberals. As a matter of fact, he attended a convention, as Your Honour very well knows, because Your Honour was involved in those particular days, as well. Mr. Speaker, the Member for Windsor - Buchans appeared at the meeting and had been hailed with the reformed Liberals. I sat down and said, now 'Graham', you just cannot do this. And because of that he is sitting right there now.

MR. DOYLE: If you don't listen to him, you won't listen to anyone.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I am disappointed in him, because I know he is a conservationist. He made his mark in politics in this Province because he fought against the Lloyds River diversion and was the saviour of the Lloyds River. It was a good job, Mr. Speaker, one of the single acts where I have seen a member of this House - and when I say 'this House', I talk about the Chamber upstairs - stand for something. And to think that the member is here now, a member of Government, giving up his principles, a person who is an environmentalist and has given up, and knowing his high ideals, bringing in a piece of legislation which has the potential of stopping Newfoundlanders from fishing. Mr. Speaker, I fished two salmon rivers this summer, two widely different salmon rivers. I fished the Gander River. I must say I didn't catch anything except trout. I was down there for three or four days, the first time I had been on the Gander River. I was quite surprised by the number of beautiful lodges. There are very few small cabins on the Gander River. If you tried to sleep in on the Gander River, the helicopters going overhead taking people back and forth to their lodges, and one thing and another, would keep you awake, Mr. Speaker. I was surprised. I would say, 'Who owns that one? Who owns that one?' I mean, there are mansions down there with boats, they have their guides and people hired on. It was quite amazing to me.

But the Gander River is free. I can start at the end of the Gander River, Mr. Speaker, and I can walk from one end to the other and nobody will stop me, because that is a principle in this Province. But the other salmon river I fished this summer was the Miramichi in New Brunswick.

MR. TOBIN: You did?

MR. HODDER: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I certainly did, and I tell you why I fished it; it was a product of a fantasy auction which I bid on one time. I had bid on it two or three years ago and hadn't used it and the people were good enough to take up my right to do it this summer.

Mr. Speaker, the person I stayed with said, 'That is my portion of the river, from the red marker to the green marker.' I said, 'You own this?' and he said, I believe, 'Yes, I have riparian right. I own to the center of the river and nobody else can fish there.' And, sure enough, Mr. Speaker, it was really strange to go down there and see the sign up, 'No Fishing', 'Trespassers will be prosecuted.' He owned another part of the river, as well. It was his own home we were using but he had a fishing lodge, as well. As a matter of fact, while I was up there, General Schwarzkopf was in the other place. I said to him, 'This must be a great investment, a wonderful investment.' He said, 'Yes, Sir, it is one of the best investments you can have in New Brunswick now, to be able to own a part of the Miramichi River.

But, Mr. Speaker, I was down there fishing, and people are very touchy about where you walk on that river. For instance, there was a path back up that I had to take every night when I finished fishing, and there was a shorter one which went over private land. I happened to ask the question, could I use the lane. No. And, Mr. Speaker, you see, all along the Miramichi River, chains blocking off driveways.

That is where we are going, Mr. Speaker, and I am surprised that a man who would champion the Lloyds River diversion and defeat the government single-handedly, because he believed in the outdoors of this Province, would bring a piece of legislation into this House of Assembly which would be so onerous to all Newfoundlanders.

MR. TOBIN: Resign, boy, resign!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HODDER: Let's hope not.

Mr. Speaker, the minister has not been able to tell the House of Assembly why he can't drop section 7(2). There has been no explanation. You would think that at this point in a debate - I mean, we are not all here saying this for the sake of saying it. People we talked to say that if the Government has the right to grant land on a river, they have the right. But if we never give them that right, then Newfoundlander hunters and fishermen and people who use the outdoors can go to bed and rest easy. I know that there are a lot of things that have to be done in the wilderness of Newfoundland. There are a lot of things the minister should be doing, and some of them he is, I know.

AN HON. MEMBER: He should get lost in the wilderness.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, no, he knows the wilderness. But we have problems with all terrain vehicles, with snowmobiles, major problems with the environment in this Province. It is a ticking time bomb and it is going to have to be dealt with. But this is not one of those problems. This is something that can be scratched out with the stroke of a pen.

One of my colleagues here the other day talked about the history of the Province. You see, our freedom has been won over a long period of time. There was a time in other countries where you could not kill the king's deer or trap the king's pheasant, or whatever. But Newfoundlanders, since we have arrived here, have always been able to feel that the outdoors is ours. Now, there has to be restrictions, just as there has to be restrictions everywhere else. You just can't tear up the environment. Our paper companies, some of the reforestation techniques that are being used, there are a lot of things that are wrong. But this is not something that is wrong. Mr. Speaker, I think the phrase is, Why try to fix it if there is nothing wrong with it?

I think that is what the minister is doing. I also think, unless there is a reason - some of my colleagues here have alluded that there is some sort of a hidden reason. Well, unless there is some sort of a hidden reason, the minister should just cut it out, there is no reason to have it there. If there is no reason to have it there, why have it there?

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear! true!

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, it is very vague legislation, but very dangerous legislation. I know the exceptions here for aquaculture; I know that aquaculture is a coming thing in Newfoundland.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is your legislation.

MR. HODDER: No, Mr. Speaker, the legislation may have been drafted by somebody - the legislation was never looked at. And if Cabinet had approved it, the previous Cabinet - and it wasn't the Cabinet that I was in, even though I was there for a very short time. Nevertheless, if Cabinet did approve it -

AN HON. MEMBER: No way, I would put it in the garbage bucket.

MR. HODDER: Even if Cabinet did approve it, Mr. Speaker, were I the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, sitting there where that minister is sitting right now, I would have put away this foolishness - this bill would have been passed - I would have cut it out.

Mr. Speaker, 7(2) must go, and if it doesn't go, it will not be because we did not try to get it out of there. And, when the epitaph is written on this Government, Bill 22, section 7(2), is the section which will be written on their tombstone.

Mr. Speaker, again, I just want to say to the Member for Windsor - Buchans - a man for whom I have always had great respect and who, as other members have said here, made the best speech that he has ever made.

When I first was elected to this House, the hon. gentleman sat behind me. I remember the first speech I ever made. He was sort of jabbing me and heckling me from behind. But, Mr. Speaker, I have always had respect for him. I think he is arid from time to time, but I have always had some respect for him. But I cannot believe that he, of all the people on that side of the House, would bring in this type of legislation. I think perhaps the reason members are so stubborn and blind about it is because they have had such respect for the minister.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Keep it going, 'Jim', you will change his mind.

MR. DOYLE: No trouble to change his mind.

MR. HODDER: But, Mr. Speaker, we have so much to offer. As a matter of fact,I think it is time for the Minister responsible for Tourism to stop worrying about the weather in this Province and start developing the Province, so that people will come for what we have, not what we don't have, and the development of our fishing resource is certainly something that should bring money into this Province.

Mr. Speaker, I adjourn the debate.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to remind hon. members that on Wednesday, the Private Member's debate is on the resolution by the Member for St. John's East. Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, we intend to call Bill 22, again.

Mr. Speaker, I move that the House at its rising do adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow, and that the House do now adjourn.

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