November 27, 1991             HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS         Vol. XLI  No. 79

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Before moving into Oral Questions, on behalf of hon. members, I would like to welcome to the galleries today, forty Grade XI and XII Enterprise Education Students from St. Clare's High School in Carbonear, accompanied by their teachers, Mr. Brian Manning and Ms. Christine Rose.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Also, forty-eight Level II students from O'Donel High School, Mount Pearl, accompanied by their teachers, Mr. James Locke, and Mr. Jeff Howard.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, when the Premier announced that Ed Roberts was to become the new Minister of Justice, I think he said publicly on television that the law firm of Halley Hunt, in which the new Justice Minister and his wife, I believe are partners, can no longer do business with the Government. I want to ask the Premier: Has he notified that firm, and has he notified the Government departments and agencies to cease immediately doing business with this firm. Has that been done?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I did not say what the hon. Leader of the Opposition said. I made no such statement. What I did say, and made very clear, is that obviously the firm does have some business in progress, and is doing some work at this particular time, but obviously the firm cannot now be awarded work by the Government to do any further business for the Government.

Obviously also, in the case of any action being taken by the firm against the Government on behalf of clients acting against the Government, and that may well be the case as well, that in the future, nothing that that firm does against the Government will be able to be referred to the Minister of Justice. He will have to be out, and not in any manner involved in it. As well, the Government cannot refer any further work from this point on, even before Mr. Roberts becomes minister. From this point on, the Government should not be referring any further work to that firm. Engagements that the firm already has, I would expect to be completed. That is the explanation I gave at the time and I restate it.

MR. SPEAKER: Maybe before I recognize the hon. Leader of the Opposition, I ought to tell members that there is a cameraman here from Maclean's who is doing a political story, I think, on the House. I checked it out with both House Leaders who agreed, but I forgot to remind hon. members. He is going to be here for a short while during Question Period.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I hope he has his batteries in and his flash is ready and he does not have his cap on.

Mr. Speaker, let us try to get the situation cleared up, because there is some confusion, I think, after hearing what the Premier has now said. Mr. Roberts himself, in an Evening Telegram report, November 17th, confirmed what the Premier said about seeing no reason why Halley Hunt should not keep the business that it already has, but he also said that the Premier and he, Mr. Roberts, had agreed that the Premier would deal with any conflict situation that might arise dealing with Halley Hunt and the Department of Justice, which admits of course obviously therefore that there could be some conflicts arising. Is that the deal that he has arranged with Mr. Roberts? Can he confirm that, then?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, I have not arranged any deal with Mr. Roberts. We spoke about this matter and Mr. Roberts has been asked to identify for me all possible conflicts of interest. I expect I will shortly receive a letter spelling all of that out and I will reply to the letter and state the position. The position is quite simple, Mr. Speaker. The conflict of interest guidelines will be fully and completely enforced in respect to Mr. Roberts and will not be in any manner breached, and knowing Mr. Roberts as I do, I would say with confidence that he, more than anybody else, would conscientiously seek to make sure that that was so.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am glad we are having this little discussion here today because it is contrary to some of the things Mr. Roberts himself, I think, has said publicly. But let me ask the Premier this and quote first of all for him from the Liberal Party Manifesto in the last election, " Ministers and their immediate families, or companies in which ministers and their immediate families have a financial interest, must not do business directly with Government. There must be no room for suggestion of improper dealing by any member of the Cabinet".

Now how does that policy square with the arrangement or the deal that he has made with Mr. Roberts? Is there one rule for Mr. Roberts and one for all the rest of the Cabinet Ministers?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker. The only confusion that exists is the confusion that the Leader of the Opposition is trying to create, where there is none. That is exactly what applies to Mr. Roberts as it applies to all of us.

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

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

Yesterday, I asked the Minister of Fisheries about a plan announced by the federal minister yesterday pertaining to the creation of an agency in Atlantic Canada that would have responsibility for allocation of fish and licensing in the region. I think it is fair to say that at the time the minister was not aware of the federal minister's announcement, so I want to revisit that issue today and ask the minister: did he or any other minister or the Premier have any discussions with the Federal Minister of Fisheries on the plan pertaining to this regional agency that would control licensing and allocations?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, the plan to which the hon. gentleman referred was delivered to my office late yesterday afternoon, and brought to my attention this morning. It is a plan put out by the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans having to do with a proposal for reforming licensing allocation systems within his department. I have gone through the plan, and it does not contain too much information. In fact, there were only five or six pages, I think, sort of general information as to what the minister has in mind. But from what I have seen in the plan, Mr. Speaker, I think it is going to be awfully difficult for the Province to support that kind of an undertaking, because not only is it not even close to what the Province has been proposing, but this plan will include the five Atlantic provinces, including Quebec of course, in which case Newfoundland will be one voice in a sea of many voices representing all parts of Atlantic Canada. We do not think that is going to be in our best interest. In fact, I suppose if we had a choice - again I say this given the fact that I have not been made aware of all the details yet - but I expect if we have a choice, maybe the existing system would probably better serve Newfoundland than that which is now being proposed by the minister in his discussion paper, and for all the obvious reasons.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

The minister has partially answered the supplementary question I was going to ask him. I was going to ask him if the federal plan meets the Province's proposals for a provincial role in joint management of the fishery, which we have been pursuing over the last month or so here and not getting any answers from the minister. Because it would seem logical to me that the two areas the Province would want some say in would be in allocation and in licensing. Now that the Federal Minister is going to establish a regional agency to deal with those issues, I am wondering now what impact that will have on the Province's role in management of the fishery, and indeed will the Province now proceed with its proposals for joint management of our most important resource?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, the plan that is envisaged by the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans would be one of an Atlantic-wide perception of the fishing industry. I am afraid - and I believe this view will be shared by most Newfoundlanders once the details are all made known - that the interests of Newfoundland will be compromised, and there will be a tendency of course on the part of the Federal Government and this board to look at the fisheries in an Atlantic-wide context. If that happens then -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CARTER: That is far worse than what we are having now. We have had a difficult time of it over the past number of years convincing Ottawa that Newfoundland does have certain historic and prior rights to northern cod, for example. Ottawa appears to have adopted the attitude that any fish that is congregating in Atlantic Canadian waters is a Canadian resource and consequently must be shared by all the Atlantic provinces.

Now we recall a few years back, when a company known as Nova Nord, a consortium put together by interests in Quebec and New Brunswick, applied for permission to harvest, I believe it was, 20,000 metric tons. We will never know how close that proposal came to being accepted, and it was only because of an outcry on the part of certain Newfoundland interests that it was blocked. But that is the sort of thing that we might very well be looking at if and when such a board goes in place.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you again, Mr. Speaker. I just want to say to the minister that he and the Premier have admitted in the Legislature that they have both been having discussions with the Nova Scotian premier and other Atlantic governments about the fishery. That is regional. We have waited some time now for the Province to prepare its formal position on joint management. The minister keeps telling us that he is going to table it next week, in two weeks time, and so on. We have waited months for this. Why has it taken the Province so long to develop its proposals? Isn't what we are really seeing now, is the Government has procrastinated so long, we have really waited so long now, that it is too late to have any significant affect on Federal policies? And hasn't the Government -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MR. MATTHEWS: I mean, once again, Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Minister is the Government not, once again, the victim of its own procrastination, doing nothing? And here we see a federal minister taking the initiative, where this Government should have had some input? That is what we really see here.

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, quite the obvious. Now, if the hon. gentleman opposite wants to support the -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. CARTER: If the hon. gentleman, the hon. the Member for Grand Bank, wants to support, for whatever reason, the Crosbie proposal, then let him do it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CARTER: I can only caution the hon. gentleman that once the news gets out, once the word is out and Newfoundlanders more fully understand what is being proposed in the Crosbie proposal then he will be doing so at his own peril. The plan we have put together has been completed, a copy has been sent to the Prime Minister, and a copy has been forwarded to the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Officials of my Department and those of Intergovernmental Affairs Secretariat are now meeting with the members of FANL and we will be talking to the union, and when we are ready we will be releasing the document. I can only say, Mr. Speaker, that I am sure, once the House has the opportunity of viewing what we have put together, and comparing it with what Mr. Crosbie appears to be putting together, then if there is an ounce of Newfoundland blood in them, I have every confidence they will support the position taken by the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, once again, Mr. Speaker.

Let me say to the minister, I was so concerned about what Mr. Crosbie is proposing that I asked the question yesterday and the minister answered a question on part-time fishermen. That is what I was concerned about. The minister should play a little more fair than he is playing today because he knows full well that both of us discussed this issue this morning.

MR. FUREY: Cop-out.

MR. MATTHEWS: It is not a cop-out, I say to the Minister of Development. He should take the fisheries seriously and get his Government to do something about it.

MR. SIMMS: Spin Dr. Furey.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

In the past, I have asked hon. members to my right, when we are asking questions, to please stop interfering, and today I ask members to my left to stop interfering when we are asking questions.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

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

A final supplementary to the minister: When is he, as the Minister of Fisheries for Newfoundland and Labrador, going to stop his procrastination? When is he going to put before the people of this Province concrete proposals on a joint fisheries management agreement with the Federal Government? When are we going to see that? Is it going to be next week, next year, or five years time?

The problem we have facing us now is that the federal minister has taken action while everybody in the Province has been waiting for some action from the Provincial minister of Fisheries. We have not seen it, and when are we going to see that, is the question.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, he asked when are we going to put together or put out a joint management agreement between the Feds and the Provincial Government. That, of course, is something I cannot answer. An agreement will require agreement on their part. I presume you meant, when are we going to put out our paper. Now, that paper, Mr. Speaker, should be ready for presentation to the House within, I would think, a couple of weeks at the outside.

Mr. Speaker, if they can see and understand what has been happening here, maybe then they will have a better appreciation for what the Province is trying to do, and that it is quite obvious that the federal minister is under very substantial pressure from the other Atlantic Provinces. It might very well be perceived by other Atlantic Provinces that it is not in their best interests to have a Newfoundland/Canada board, but certainly, it is in our best interests and that must be our first concern.

When you look at the implications, Mr. Speaker, of putting together such a board, the political ramifications of that kind of an arrangement, where, in terms of political clout, we in Newfoundland have seven federal seats, the collective strength of the other provinces in Ottawa would be - what? - well, in excess of 100 federal seats. So you can imagine just what chance poor little Newfoundland would stand in that kind of a scenario.

So, certainly, I think that once the proposal is made known and all the details on it, then I think every Newfoundlander will have to take a stand against this sort of thing and come out against it.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question, Mr. Speaker, would be to the Minister responsible for Municipal and Provincial Affairs but, in his absence, I will direct my question to the Premier. Last year, Mr. Speaker, between Christmas and New Years, municipalities in the Province were hit with a real bombshell when they were told about the changes in their municipal operating grants and, to add insult to injury, at a time of the year when most municipalities in the Province, Mr. Speaker, had their budgets done up and submitted to the department.

Would the Premier be able to confirm to the House today if he is aware of any other major changes to the municipal operating grants this fall?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of any proposed changes to the municipal operating grants this fall. I am aware that the minister has been working with a number of municipal representatives and representatives of the federation in the matter of the implementation of the existing changes, but there are no new changes that I am aware of. What the Government may do in its budget, I cannot speak for, but that is not this fall, that will be next winter or next spring sometime when we bring in the budget. There is nothing that I am aware of this fall.

MR. WOODFORD: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, would the Premier, after answering my first question by saying that he is not aware of any changes - I am aware, Mr. Speaker, of some major changes that municipalities in the Province have been notified of as of yesterday and today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: One, Mr. Speaker: That the roads component to municipalities in the Province is going to be cut by 30 per cent, crucifying municipalities in the Province. How can the Premier and his administration justify such a move to municipalities in the Province again at this time of the year?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I will take what the hon. member says as notice. I can only say to him that I have no personal knowledge of it and, to the best of my knowledge, what he puts forward is totally without foundation. It may apply to a particular municipality, I don't know, but I don't think there is any general application to that effect. If there is, I have to confess that I am totally unaware of it at this moment.

MR. WOODFORD: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Make no wonder the minister took off to Bristol, he did not even notify the Premier of what he was doing.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, in light of the seriousness of this particular blow to municipalities again, the second in two years, would the Premier take this seriously and, as he said earlier, look into it immediately? It is not only the roads component, the equalization component has been changed, the averages are all changed, but I haven't time to go into that on a supplementary. This is a serious blow to municipalities in the Province. Members opposite obviously do not take it seriously, because it would have been dealt with earlier.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WOODFORD: Would the Premier make sure that they look into that and, if this is so, have it cancelled and consult more with municipalities in the Province before such an adverse thing goes into effect?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I just spoke with the Minister of Finance, and he alerted me to what is probably the explanation. There is no change this year. That change was implemented last year. As he reminds me, the road component -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: As hon. members know, when the situation was revised - the standards for municipal grants were revised last year and the rules were set - the final component that was adjusted up or down depending upon the money available for municipal grants was the roads component. I believe that is correct. But I will confirm to the House, whether or not it is correct. I believe that to be the case.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that is what has got the member stirred up and putting forward the proposal that this is now a new change that is being put forward by the department. It is not. It was part of the change in the grant system put forward last year and I think the Minister of Finance is probably correct. But I will check it and advise the House.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Minister responsible for Employment and Labour. The Federal Government Fishery Assistance program now appears to have completely exhausted its funding, and CEIC officials claim that no new applicants are eligible for the program. The present Provincial Government program has already exhausted its funding, yet there are thousands of Newfoundlanders, from 39,000 as of October, who needed work. Does the minister have any further plans to help the unemployed of this Province now?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again, I thank the hon. member for his question. It is unfortunate that in the lead-in to the question, as the member indicates, that the federal response program directed to the fishery is, indeed, exhausted as they indicate. Because it did leave a number of people in the Province, a number of people involved in the fishery who still claim that that they can identify an attachment to the fishery, left without benefits under that program. I know there are a number of appeals that probably members representing all districts are involved in, trying to, again, have more people deemed to be qualified under the federal Fisheries Response Program than were allowed or permitted to qualify under the rather strict criteria set forward.

But we know for a fact that, to date, they have dictated and determined that there will not be any further funding unless some of these appeals that all of us are involved in are successful from the fisheries side. From our own point of view, we are looking at the possibility right now, in this Government, of putting another small amount of money into the short-term make-work assistance program that we got involved in, in the $13.5 million. It will be determined in a matter of days as to whether or not we can allocate some monies or transfer some monies from our longer-term response program into the short-term. We do recognize that there is still a significant need that hasn't yet been met in this Province in relation to the employment needs of people in all parts of the Island. It seems that Labrador has been fairly well taken care of but there are certain areas identified in the Island part of the Province where there still is remaining need that we are looking at the possibility of addressing.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The minister correctly indicated that large numbers of people have not qualified for programs. Can the minister indicate if he has made representation to the federal minister responsible for employment to ask for federal assistance and a job creation program for people other than those related to the fishery?

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

MR. GRIMES: Yes, Mr. Speaker. In the initial stages, before we even decided to get involved in a program ourselves in the Province our $13.5 million Emergency Employment Response Program, we had made request to the federal minister to see if they would get involved from the federal point of view in a response program not related to the fishery. We have not received a positive response to that request and only in the last day or so I have been involved in meetings with officials in my department whereby we are going to make a renewed request based on numbers that have come to our attention of the unmet need that still exists there.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Premier a couple of questions. The Premier has said, and he has been quoted, and has said in this House, that Government's view was that they would not force amalgamation or regional services or anything of that nature on municipalities which show that they did not want it, and if it was not in the public good and desired by the majority. Would the Premier tell us if that is, indeed, the Government's position?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, hon. members keep trying to obfuscate and confuse this whole thing. The Government's position has been consistent from the beginning and it remains the situation today. There are a great number of areas in this Province where there are municipalities contiguous to one another where it would be highly desirable, from Government's point of view and from the point of view of best administration of municipal matters in the Province, and getting the best value for the scarce taxpayers' dollars expended, if these municipalities were amalgamated.

Now, we have also said that if the majority of people in the area concerned, not the majority in each municipality, and let me emphasize that over and over again, because it seems to get confused and people seem to constantly misrepresent it. If the majority of people in the area concerned are opposed to it, we would not pressure acceptance of it. I did say there may well be an exceptional case or two that it may be necessary to bring to this House and have decided in any event. Now that is the position that we took from the beginning. The position is really no different today, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the Premier for confirming once again that is precisely what I had said to him, in fact, I did not misconstrue what he had said at all. In view of that statement, Mr. Speaker, and in view of the fact that the Fire Commissioner, who is the chief adviser to Government and to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs on matters relating to fire prevention, has recommended that the City of St. John's should take over what has been known as the St. John's Fire Department, volunteer fire departments in the region should be allowed to expand because they are very cost efficient, and the City of Mount Pearl should be permitted to operate its own fire department. In view of the Fire Commissioner's advice to Government in that regard, Mr. Speaker, how can the Premier justify the approach that is being taken by Government? How can he tell us that it is in the public good, when the chief official says that it should be otherwise?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I would have to look in detail at what the chief official said. I do not accept, on the face of it, that it is as the hon. member has represented, but I will have it checked. Mr. Speaker, the fire department, commonly referred to as the St. John's Fire Department, operated by the Provincial Government, from its inception, I expect, until now, has always provided the fire service in the area known as Mount Pearl - has always provided it. Now, Mr. Speaker, we are not going to retrench and have Mount Pearl create its own new fire department. What are we going to do with the capability, the staff, the people and the unionized representatives employed by that fire department? Are we going to fire some of them, to lay them off because there is not enough work so that Mount Pearl can hire its own and withdraw that experienced, long-standing fire fighting service from providing fire service to the area of Mount Pearl? No, Mr. Speaker. It make eminently good sense to do what we did.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Let me advise the Premier, Mr. Speaker, that the Fire Commissioner, and studies that have been carried out by Woods Gordon and by others, show quite clearly that the operation of the Mount Pearl Fire Department will have absolutely no impact whatsoever on the existing St. John's Fire Department - absolutely no impact, and there will be no layoffs as a result of Mount Pearl being open.

Mr. Speaker, let me ask the Premier this: The Premier has also said that if the majority of the people in the area desire such a service to be provided in a certain matter - that is what he just told us - if the majority of the people in the area in the region. In view of a poll that was released last night, Mr. Speaker, a poll done by Corporate Research Associates, an independent poll -

MR. SIMMS: That is right, there was.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I do not want to discuss other polls.

AN HON. MEMBER: Were there other polls?

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, there were other polls, as well. The only one that counts here is at the ballot box, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: We will see how good that poll is when balloting time comes.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, a poll was done by Corporate Research Associates, an independent poll not commissioned by anybody locally, a poll, Mr. Speaker, of 406 persons in the region, 262 of whom were from the City of St. John's, only 52 from Mount Pearl, and 92 from other parts of the Metropolitan area, clearly a large majority from the City of St. John's; 83 per cent of those persons agreed that the City of Mount Pearl should be permitted to own and operate its own fire department.

In view, Mr. Speaker, of the Fire Commissioner's recommendations, in view of the lack of any financial analysis on the proposal Government is putting forward, in view of the very strong expression of public opinion by this poll and by the 22,000-name petition that I tabled in this House, how can the Premier justify the action, and will the Premier not agree, Mr. Speaker, to put the question of the Mount Pearl Fire Department before a plebescite of this whole region? Let the people of this area decide.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, let me just point out the misrepresentation again in what the hon. member has said. He has now represented or misrepresented that my position is that if people want service in a certain way we will take a poll. I never said any such thing. What I talked about was amalgamation. I said nothing else other than that.

Now, Mr. Speaker, to think that we are going to burden the taxpayers of this Province by running duplicate fire fighting services in St. John's and Mount Pearl instead of running it in a more efficient way, if that is what the hon. member wants to do, then let him get his party elected to form the Government and they can implement it, but as matters now stand in this Province, that seems highly unlikely.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: The NDP are on the move.

AN HON. MEMBER: Live in hope.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask members on both side, please, to restrain themselves.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the Government has made the decision that it honestly and sincerely believes is in the best interest of the people of this area, and in the best interest of the people of the Province, and we are going to continue to implement that decision. Now, I could ask a question in a certain way, and people might even believe and say that the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl would make a good Premier. I believe if the question were asked accurately, Mr. Speaker, you would get an accurate response.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Orders of the Day

MR. SPEAKER: As it is Private Member's Day, I call on the Member for Torngat Mountains to introduce his Private Member's resolution.

The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Today I have the privilege of introducing a resolution that I consider - when I came into this Legislature in 1979 I was honoured by the people of Torngat Mountains in sending me here to do the best job I could for those people. I think, if you look back over those ten, twelve, or thirteen years, it is fair to say that I have attempted to do the best I could. Today I am bringing in a resolution which I think, and I believe, is one of the major resolutions which could be introduced in this Legislature on behalf of a minority group of people.

In our Province of Newfoundland and Labrador we have a group of people who, I believe, and I believe each and every one of us here believes, have been treated a little bit unfairly and I believe that we, as legislators, public servants in this Province, have to take a lot of the blame. We have to take a lot of the blame.

From 1967 until 1979 I worked and lived with the Innu and the Inuit people in Labrador. It was always - and it is not much different today - it was always what the white man wanted to do. It was always the philosophy that the white man is going to do the best for the native people, without consultation. I remember in 1968 when I was in Davis Inlet and the Inuit people there at that time were living in tents. The following summer two Marine Atlantic ships - then it was called Canadian National Railways - the Bonavista and the Nonia arrived in Davis Inlet. Mr. Speaker, without one word of consultation with the Inuit people in that community they were told they were going to be placed in new homes. What they wanted in the way of new homes was not up to them it was up to Government. Government decided what they wanted to do.

During the past number of weeks and months right across this great country of ours the issue of aboriginal people has been discussed widely. It has been discussed by aboriginals and by non-aboriginals. I think that Governments, both Federally and Provincially, in our country, have to address the issue, have to attack the issue head on, and do what they can to accommodate our first people, because the first people of this great country of ours were the aboriginals. I have been interested in some of the approaches made by the Premier in the last year or so. If the former Government and this Government had recognized aboriginal people we would not be discussing land claims now, Mr. Speaker. In order to discuss land claims we have to also look at the rights of the aboriginal people. In this Legislature today we have fifty-two men and women who have been making decisions on the aboriginal peoples' behalf without really knowing what they are doing. I would challenge anyone here in this Legislature that unless you live and work with aboriginal people you cannot understand very much about them and there is a lot I cannot tell you about them, although I have been associated with these people for twenty-odd years. They are not asking for very much but the one thing they are asking for is recognition.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see there are a number of students in the gallery today and I would venture to say, Mr. Speaker, that very few of those have ever had the opportunity to speak to one or two of their counterparts in Nain or in Davis Inlet. An exchange back and forth occurs once in a while but many of those students, I believe, do not understand the significance of this minority group of people who want to be recognized. I remember when I left the waterfront in 1967 on the motor vessel Bonavista, Mr. Speaker. My mother and father were on the wharf, and it was the first time I was accepted for a job in Nain. The last words said to me by my mother and father -

AN HON. MEMBER: Good by!

MR. WARREN: Exactly. They said: good by, you are going up there with the Eskimos and you will never come back again. That was the mentality of Newfoundlanders at that time and still is today, unfortunately. Mr. Speaker, I find it most disgusting when you see a Minister of the Crown thinking this is funny. What is happening today is that Newfoundlanders are not educated as to the aspirations of the aboriginal people. We need aboriginal people in our Legislature when decisions are being made on their behalf, not only in our Legislature but in other Legislatures in this country. The chances of them becoming members in our Legislature has increased over the last number of years but I think we have an obligation, and the obligation is to assure that a seat in the Legislature will be contested by aboriginal people.

That is not asking very much, Mr. Speaker. If we need to reduce the seats down to fifty, sobeit. I always believed that fifty-two seats were too many. I really believe that. If we have to reduce the seats down to forty, reduce them down. But let's make sure that the aboriginal people in this Province of ours, from Nain to Conne River to the West Coast, wherever they live, be given the opportunity to elect a representative to the Legislature.

Unless we do that I do not think we as legislators are doing our duty. Mr. Speaker, I think it is interesting that you are in the Chair now, because I am sure that I can relate this story and you will understand, and my colleague for Port au Port will also. I presented a petition in this Legislature in 1981 which only had eighty signatures on it and it was from the community of Hopedale. The hardest thing that ever struck me was when a colleague of mine at that time - as we were asking around the table who was going to be the second speaker on the petition - said: Why? - It's only eighty people and they're only Eskimos from Labrador.

That is the kind of comment that really hurts. A former colleague did this in 1981. There are only two other people in this Legislature who know when this took place. He said there was only eighty people from Hopedale and they're only a bunch of Eskimos, so why do you want anybody to support them? That is the kind of attitude that we have, even today! Maybe even in this Legislature, in Newfoundland now. That is what does hurt and that is what is disgusting, when we cannot -

You know, a few days ago I had the opportunity to meet with two members of the aboriginal committee appointed by the Federal Government, the former chief of the Indian nation, George Erasmus, and also Mary Sillett. By the way, I knew Ms. Sillett a number of years ago when she was a resident of Hopedale. I met and had breakfast with them and I discussed this particular issue and I advised them that I would be bringing it back to the Legislature. I asked their opinion, and in fact I got some correspondence back from them since then. They said: the Premier does not share your ideas, the Premier has strong reservations about your ideas. Sobeit - that is the Premier's choice. I cannot argue about that. I am sure every Member in this Legislature has different ideas. Maybe it is because I don't think there are very many in here who have had the opportunity to live, eat, and work with those people as long as I have.

Under new Federal proposals there is a recommendation that a number of aboriginal people be appointed or elected to the Senate. I think that is a good idea. But surely goodness are we just going to go that far and put a number of aboriginals into the Senate and forget about it? There is also a recommendation from a committee on election reform in Canada that a percentage of the total Canadian population be aboriginal people in the House of Commons. This would work out to roughly twelve, roughly twelve.

New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario are looking at bringing in legislation assuring aboriginal representation in their Legislatures. Now, Mr. Speaker, our Premier has been very, very vocal on fairness and balance, and I think we, as the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, can make history. We can make history, by having a guaranteed seat in this Legislature for the aboriginal people.

Mr. Speaker, look at the District of Torngat Mountains, if you want an example. Torngat Mountains has roughly 72 per cent of its people of aboriginal descent, give or take a percentage here or there. Roughly 72 per cent of the people of the District of Torngat Mountains are aboriginal people.

In the District of Naskaupi - if my hon. colleague from Naskaupi were here he would vouch for this - there are close to 3,500 people of aboriginal descent, LIA membership and the Naskaupi Montagnais. So there are roughly between 2,800 and 3,500 people of aboriginal descent in the District of Naskaupi which could be close to 50 per cent. So, those are two districts, Mr. Speaker, if you are looking at it percentage-wise. But that is not a guarantee of election, Mr. Speaker. Furthermore, we have to look at the 28 per cent in Torngat that are non-native and look at the other 45 or 50 per cent in Naskaupi that are non-native. So, where do these people fit in if you are going to have an election in one of those guaranteed seats?

So, Mr. Speaker, if you want to define the boundaries - and there are aboriginal people down in the area of Conne River, down in the Bay d'Espoir area. There are aboriginal people down there. They are recognized by the Federal and Provincial Governments. So, Mr. Speaker, there are more aboriginal people in this Province, in fact there are more voting aboriginal people in this Province, than there are in the District of Eagle River and in the District of Torngat Mountains, the two smallest population districts. There are more aboriginal people all over Newfoundland and Labrador then there are in either one of those two districts.

The hon. the Premier is shaking his head, and I am sure he is going to get up in rebuttal to what I am saying, but I say to the hon. Premier and I say to the rest of the members on both sides of this Legislature that it is out there and we have to address it. Now, whether my suggestion is the right way or not, that will be up to the Legislature to decide. Mr. Speaker, the aboriginal people in our Province want representation, and I think if we can do anything to accommodate their request, then I think, Mr. Speaker, we should do it. It is up to us. If we have the will to do it, we can do it.

I find it very, very irritating when I talk to colleagues either on this side or on that side or down the corridor, or I talk to people on the street, I get this feeling and I get these comments, 'Well, there are only 2500 of them, there are only 2,000 of them, there are only 1,000 in Nain, they are living in old beatup houses with the windows all smashed out,' all these kind of things. That is what really upsets me, when I hear these kinds of comments. It is almost like, 'Oh, they are second class citizens, the hell with them.'

Mr. Speaker, that is not my attitude towards the whole thing. My attitude is that they are part of our great Province, and we should recognize their rights. Mr. Speaker, Sister Campbell with the Presentation Sisters of Newfoundland said: The greatest thing we could do in our Province of Newfoundland and Labrador is to educate our non-native people to the aspirations and ambitions of our native people, to educate them as to who our first people were. Unfortunately, we are not doing that. I would hope that this resolution would go through and, if need be, maybe the Premier may see fit to set up a committee to study this resolution. Irregardless of what you do with the resolution, and if we do come out of this Legislature today setting up a committee to study the whole idea of how this would work, I say to the Premier, to the Government, to everyone in this Legislature, there is only one way to set up a committee, and that is with the aboriginal people, not with us. It is not for us to decide. If we are going to set up a committee, let us set it up with the aboriginal people and let them decide the best way for them to get into this Legislature. I venture to say they would come back with a suggestion such as that of having a guaranteed seat.

Mr. Speaker, I leave this, as I am sure I am going to finish up in the last twenty minutes, or the last hour if need be. Then I will go into more detail on what the particular resolution is about, which is making sure that there is a seat in the Legislature of Newfoundland and Labrador for the first people of this country, the first people of this Province, the aboriginal people. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, before I give my response to this resolution and the comments of the hon. member, I want, at the outset, to say that I have no doubt that the intentions of the hon. member are good, and he genuinely is concerned about ensuring appropriate and adequate representation in this Legislature of the aboriginal people who live in this Province. However, as sometimes happens with good intentions, they are often expressed in an ill-timed manner, or the good intention carries the individual to make a suggestion at a time when it is most inappropriate, or to propose a solution that is not at all appropriate to the circumstance. I think that this is what this resolution reflects. So, in making the comments let nobody suggest that I am, in any manner, questioning the good intentions or genuine desire of the hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains to achieve the desired end, because it is our own desire to see that there is adequate provision for representation by aboriginal people in this Chamber.

Mr. Speaker, I should also, at the outset, tell members that in preparing for the last general election, I talked to at least five different aboriginal people in Torngat Mountains to seek their agreement to run for the Liberal party and contest the hon. member in the seat that he now holds, and I think that the hon. member is probably aware of that, that I did seek their consent to run. For whatever reason - maybe they liked the hon. member that much that they did not want to contest him; I do not know whether that is so or not, but for whatever reason - none of them decided to seek the nomination. Maybe they did not like the Liberal party, but in any event, no aboriginal member sought the nomination for the Conservative party, either, or for the NDP, as far as I know. So no aboriginal member sought election in the Torngat Mountain district in the last general election in this Province.

As the hon. member knows, I sought another member, too. I tried to persuade him to run in a district on the Island part of the Province. He chose not to at the time. He is a good, solid Liberal supporter, and maybe the next time around he will seek a seat, and I would like to induce him to do so.

The other thing I want to say to the hon. member before I address his remarks specifically is, please don't rely on what somebody else tells him are my positions. Seek them from me and I will gladly give them to him, but don't expect somebody else's view of my position to be my position. They are just that, they are somebody else's view. Whether it comes from Mary Sillett or whether it is a figment of the hon. member's imagination, or a dressed-up version of it by the hon. member, whatever it is, it is not my personal view of it, so please do not misrepresent my personal view on these matters.

There are a couple of difficulties with the hon. member's suggestion. The Province of New Brunswick have proposed that they would create a number of aboriginal seats but they would be non-voting seats. They would have the right to sit in the Legislature and speak but not have the right to vote. Frankly, I think that is wrong. I think it would be insulting to the people and I cannot imagine that they would accept the proposition, and I would not for a moment put that forward here. I would only hope that the aboriginal people would seek election in any seat in the Province in which they wanted to, but, in particular, in Torngat Mountains, where at least 72 per cent of the voters - as the hon. members notes - perhaps more, are aboriginal.

AN HON. MEMBER: What about Naskaupi?

PREMIER WELLS: I don't think the percentage in Naskaupi is bigger.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) more numbers (inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: There are more numbers but not a bigger percentage.

Mr. Speaker, I should say something else to the House. As hon. members know, in 1993 there will be the decennial reallocation of seats in the Province. After the census of 1991 is tabulated and a committee can be put in place, the existing legislation requires that a committee be put in place to reallocate seats. One of the things we have been looking at is the possibility of a reallocation of seats to include, perhaps, the Sheshatshit area and the predominately native areas of the Naskaupi district into Torngat and make sure that there would be one seat with an overwhelming aboriginal majority, and that there would be a clear chance for the people of that district, if they wanted to elect an aboriginal person to this House, to do so, but you should not force it on them if they do not want to do that.

I would prefer, really, to change the boundaries in such a way as to do the best we can to include in a district in Labrador, perhaps basically founded on Torngat, the hon. member's district, and include a portion of Naskaupi in that, that would be predominantly aboriginal, to have a clearly predominantly aboriginal seat in this Province, and leave it to the aboriginal people for themselves to decide who they want to represent them. I would be quite confident that they would chose an aboriginal person, if that is what they want, but, by the same token, we should not dictate in any area that nobody who is not of aboriginal blood can represent all of the people in that seat if they want to choose somebody else to do so. I think it would be wrong to do that. I think we should distort the size of the seat, as we have already done, because Torngat - how many people are there in Torngat? - 1500?

MR. WARREN: Thirty-five hundred.

PREMIER WELLS: About 3500, altogether, which is less than a third the size -

MR. WARREN: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: There are 1400 voters and in many districts in the Province -

MR. WARREN: Where?


MR. WARREN: There are 1600.

PREMIER WELLS: There are 1600 voters in Torngat, which is about a quarter of the size of most other districts in the Province, not all, but most other districts.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible). The geography is (inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: I say, I agree with doing that. The geography of it is important, but also, Mr. Speaker, we must preserve to the maximum extent we can the principle of the equality of citizens, one person, one vote. But there are certain circumstances that warrant deviating from that principle, and I believe, the fact that the majority of the people in that area are of aboriginal decent warrants our creating and putting in place a seat that would give a clear and overwhelming ability to elect an aboriginal person if that is what the majority of the people of the district wanted to do. So I think that is probably the best way to achieve it. We are probably part of the way there now with the structure of Torngat district the way it is. We could probably add in a portion of Naskaupi to make it even more effective in that way, and I think, when the review comes around in 1993, that is one of the things we should look at. But I don't believe we should make the decision now in this House, I think there is a greater reason for not supporting this resolution at this time, and we do not support it for those reasons. I think, a more cogent reason is the fact that it is inappropriate.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: The next review is in 1993 - or 1992, I guess -

MR. SIMMS: No, it is not. The electoral boundaries, you mean?


MR. SIMMS: 1995.

PREMIER WELLS: 1993. We will get the act and see.

MR. SIMMS: Well, (inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: It came in 1973, 1983. I looked at the statute only two weeks ago, but I will have it checked. Maybe there is an amendment to it that I haven't seen, but I will have the statute checked. I think it is 1993.

In any event, Mr. Speaker, there is a more cogent reason for not moving in this direction now, and that more cogent reason is that right at this particular time in the whole nation, the whole question of the constitutional place of our aboriginal people is under discussion. It would be inappropriate for us to act precipitously and say in respect of the aboriginal people of Newfoundland and Labrador, we - none of whom are aboriginal in this House, or claim to be; maybe some of us have some aboriginal blood, but none of us claim to be aboriginal people - would be making a decision without having any input from the aboriginal people. I think that would be wrong.

I think it is more appropriate at this stage, Mr. Speaker, for us to watch the national constitutional developments, because they are surely going to provide for a certain level of aboriginal self-government, as well as representation in the two Houses of Parliament and representation in the various Legislatures of the territories and the provinces. So I think it would be acting presumptuously and precipitously for us to move now on this resolution. That is why I prefaced my remarks by saying I do not question the good intentions of the hon. member. I know he genuinely desires to address the question, but I do not think this is the correct way to address that question.

As well, Mr. Speaker, hon. members would do well to bear in mind that there are two other Royal Commission processes in place. One: the Erasmus/Dussault Commission, the Royal Commission on aboriginal affairs, co-chaired by George Erasmus and Mr. Justice Dussault. That commission is working and considering these very questions, so I do not think it is the right thing to move now, to make a decision and to go a certain way without having the overall input and the collective wisdom of the aboriginal people of the country as to what the constitutional changes should be.

As well, Mr. Speaker, I announced on behalf of the Government recently, and I had indicated it prior to that, to aboriginal groups in Labrador, to the LIA, to the Naskaupi people at Davis Inlet, that we were quite prepared to discuss with them, aspects of self-government. We think it only appropriate, and we told them a year ago that we were quite prepared to do that. When I spoke to our Constitutional Committee in this Chamber, some month ago, I guess, now, I stated very clearly that this Government is committed to the principle of providing for an appropriate level of aboriginal self-government, of discussing with the aboriginal people a means whereby that could be implemented within the overall constitutional sovereignty of Canada, and we are committed to doing that.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if we are going to have that, and have a level of aboriginal self-government, we cannot very well have a situation where there would be two or three levels of voting, or two or three rights of voting for the same citizens. You have to balance it and provide for continuing balance that represents the principle of the equality of citizens. We will not achieve a just and lasting solution if we take the pendulum from an unacceptable level on the left and swing it all the way to an unacceptable level on the right. You are only going to create dissatisfaction and backlash. So the way to deal with this problem, I believe, is to take the time over the next twelve to twenty-four months, as these Royal Commissions and the various constitutional activities are underway, and try to find the right solution.

But I share the member's dedication, and if this resolution, instead, called for a commitment to work towards finding a solution to provide for an adequate level of representation in the House or self-government or a combination of both, then I would be quite prepared to support it because that, of course, is the position of the Government.

But, if this resolution were to pass now, the Government really would be duty bound to introduce legislation to immediately amend the Elections Act to provide for the election of a person of aboriginal descent, and I think that would be presumptuous on our part, and it would be acting irresponsibly, in light of the present discussions that are underway. So, if the member wanted to amend the resolution - I will not ask the House to amend it, nobody on this side would move an amendment because it is the hon. member's resolution and we would only move it with his consent. If he consented to amend the resolution in a way that reflected the House's general support for endorsing constitutional change that would ensure an appropriate level of representation for aboriginal people in this House, including an appropriate level of self-government for aboriginal people, I am sure members on this side of the House would be quite prepared to support the resolution. In its present form, Mr. Speaker, we obviously cannot support the resolution because of what it calls for, but I do encourage the hon. member and congratulate him for the general thrust of his position because that is in accord with what has been the Government's position for the last year or so. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to have a few words to say on the private member's resolution so ably put forth by my colleague, the Member for Torngat Mountains, and I join with the Premier in commending the member. I can tell the House that within the confines of our caucus room and, indeed, outside, the Member for Torngat Mountains articulates the concerns of the people he represents, a vast majority of whom are aboriginal people, in his district of Torngat Mountains. But he has the same strong feeling for aboriginal people outside his own district, throughout the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

PREMIER WELLS: Will the hon. member yield to me for just a moment? - not to interfere with his speech, not to deal with a response, in any way, but I have to leave for some meetings and there are a couple of things I would like to -

MR. SIMMS: Is this the '73 versus the '75?

PREMIER WELLS: Yes, there are two -

MR. SIMMS: I understand the answer now.



PREMIER WELLS: Okay. There is one more thing. I can now give the information on the question that was asked about the municipal matter, if they want it, if not I can hold it until tomorrow.

MR. SIMMS: Can you table it?

PREMIER WELLS: No. It is a verbal explanation that I have to give.

MR. SIMMS: Okay, go ahead.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I am advised by officials in the department, Mr. Speaker, that there have been no changes whatsoever in the system of municipal grants, outside of what was announced by the minister last year. The roads component, which is a floating system that will kick in when certain things happen, was announced at the time. Dr. Kitchen's explanation is correct. His interpretation of it is correct, so I just pass that on.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I imagine that issue will be debated further by my colleague, the Member for Humber Valley. I am sure he will pursue that matter.

Anyway, to get back to the resolution. As I was saying, the Member for Torngat Mountains has some very strong feelings on behalf of the people he represents, and it is all the people of Torngat Mountains he is speaking for, not just the aboriginal people who happen to make up 72 per cent, or whatever it is, of the district. And he speaks just as strongly and from the heart about issues affecting our native peoples throughout the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, it was only a week or so ago, a few days ago, that I had the privilege of sitting down with about twenty young people, aboriginal people I don't know if they were all from Torngat Mountains, I think they were. Some of them were students, others were young people working in the City of St. John's or down in this area working, all of whom are highly articulate, highly concerned about their futures, their own personal futures and the futures of the aboriginal people, not only in Newfoundland and Labrador, but throughout Canada. I asked the question of them that we are debating here today. I passed out that question and asked them how they felt about the issue that their Member was trying to have debated in the Legislature. That there be some method put in place so that a seat or representation would be assured in the Newfoundland Legislature. They obviously were receptive to that kind of a proposal as put forth by their Member.

I even asked the question about whether or not they would elect or vote for an aboriginal person who might be a candidate in Torngat Mountains, which is similar to what the Premier was talking about a little earlier. If there was an aboriginal person as the candidate in Torngat Mountains running against the present Member, Mr. Warren, I asked them what they felt and what their voting pattern might be like. I have a very strong feeling that the voting pattern would favour the present Member. That is a bit of irony in it all. I think that is fair. My colleague would support me. When I asked -

MR. TOBIN: He's too modest. That is being unfair.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: When I asked the young people who we met with a few days ago, when I asked the question, they were very supportive of having some kind of a measure taken to assure aboriginal representation in the Legislature. They were very supportive of that. When I tossed out the idea that the Premier just talked about, about having Torngat Mountains - that particular seat - identified and selected as a seat where, because it has 70 per cent aboriginal people -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: - a seat where the aboriginal persons might run to seek election, I asked them - I say to my colleague, I am just getting to my question now - if an aboriginal person ran for the Liberal Party for example, or the New Democratic Party, against the Member for Torngat Mountains who presently holds the seat, of the twenty or so aboriginal young people that I met with - all of whom were of voting age, I think, except for a couple of small children - I think it is fair to say that they would support the present Member for Torngat Mountains. That is the irony in it all.

MR. NOEL: That is more than irony.

MR. SIMMS: Well, the hon. Member for Pleasantville may think it is more than irony but I am saying -

MR. NOEL: It's a great compliment to the member.

MR. SIMMS: It certainly is, and he deserves that kind of support. So under that kind of scenario of course then there would be no assurance that aboriginal people would be represented.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).


AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Oh, I think there is a possibility that there may be an aboriginal person running for the Conservative Party in Torngat Mountains the next time around. That is a possibility. I do not know if the Member for Torngat Mountains has let that out yet or leaked that. I just let slip that there is a possibility there may be an aboriginal person running for the Conservative Party - never mind the Liberal Party.

MR. WARREN: At least for the nomination.

MR. SIMMS: At least for the nomination.

AN HON. MEMBER: Why is Garfield resigning?

MR. SIMMS: Oh, I did not say Garfield was resigning.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: I will let the Minister of Health stew over that one and try to figure that one out. I will let him try to figure that one out over the next little while.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, not to be thrown off track, but I am somewhat encouraged that the Premier is prepared to accept the principle of the resolution put forth by the Member for Torngat Mountains. The principle of trying to find some way to ensure, or to assure, aboriginal representation in the Legislature. He threw out a bunch of scenarios, taking Sheshatshit, or other parts of Naskaupi district, and putting it into Torngat Mountains. He mentioned, although he did not agree with it, the New Brunswick approach, which I do not agree with either, by the way, which is to have non-voting representation. That is not what they are looking for and that is not what they need.

But there are some options, and I think the gist of the Premier's speech is that he was prepared to consider it and he is considering it, he is looking at ways to try to bring about the principle outlined in my colleague's resolution. The principle is that there should be aboriginal representation in the Legislature. Let's find the right way to do it. All we are debating here today, and all we may continue to debate for the rest of the day, is a way to do it -a way to do it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: No, Mr. Speaker, we are not quite ready for the question. That is one of the problems. That is one of the problems with the whole issue of dealing with aboriginal rights. People, particularly non-native people like ourselves, are too anxious to sweep it off, brush it away, instead of standing up and debating it, discussing it, and talking about their problems and their concerns. Lord knows, I was in a government that recognized the rights of native people, aboriginal people, to pursue land claims. We agreed with that, as a government, and got it off the ground I guess. We got it started anyway, many years back when it all began. Now it moved very slowly, but we were the ones who recognized it and gave the approval for it.

Still, I confess that I do not understand everything there is to understand about aboriginal peoples. I confess that. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, I suspect there are many people in this Province, and indeed in this country, who do not have a good understanding of what it is all about; how they live; what it is they want to do with their lives. Therein lies the problem. That is the question that we are trying to address, and that is the question that my friend from Torngat Mountains is trying to address, because he understands it better than any of us. He understands it better than anyone in this Legislature. In fact the Premier himself, when he was in the Naskaupi area - Goose Bay, Garfield, I think it was -and met with some of the aboriginal groups and native peoples up there, he admitted, if I remember the news stories, the Premier admitted and confessed that he had had a change of heart in dealing with this whole question and this whole issue.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes, and his own constitutional proposals addressed that issue. So the Premier made the point that it is ill-timed. Well, he was not listening to the Member for Torngat Mountains, because when the Member for Torngat Mountains introduced the resolution, he himself, the Member for Torngat Mountains, suggested that rather than lose this resolution, let us put it to a committee. Let us try to put a committee together. Let us let a committee involving the aboriginal people, maybe predominantly involving the aboriginal people - maybe the majority would be aboriginal people with some elected representatives of the Legislature - let them discuss this matter and bring back something to the Legislature in the spring and give us some ideas. It does not have to be done today. It does not have to be done tomorrow, but let us give them the opportunity; let us give them the opportunity, and that is all that the Member for Torngat Mountains was really saying, Mr. Speaker.

I also do not want to leave the impression that this is not a difficult issue to deal with. It is an extremely difficult issue to deal with, as is the case with most issues that are hard to deal with, mostly because there is a lot of misunderstanding; mostly because there is a lot of misinformation; mostly because people do not quite follow what is going on, or they do not exactly know what it is the people are looking for in this case, and that is the case with any issue that is hard to deal with, and this is an issue that is hard to deal with. We make no bones about it. Even the Member for Torngat Mountains would admit to that, I am sure, and he knows.

Mr. Speaker, what is encouraging I think, is that the Premier said he is considering this resolution, and considering finding a way to accommodate the principle contained in the resolution put forth by the Member for Torngat Mountains. He threw out the olive branch, suggesting that maybe an amendment could be put forward. I have not talked to the Member for Torngat Mountains to know how he feels about it. I know he strongly feels there should be representation in the Legislature for aboriginal people. I know he strongly feels that. But rather than lose it, he might be prepared to consider - I do not know; if I have a chance I will talk to him before it is all over at 5:00 p.m. today - he might be prepared to consider some way to ensure that this is kept going, kept alive, get the aboriginal people involved themselves; show, on our part as legislators, some compassion and some understanding at least for the plight and the problems that these people face, and hopefully in the process educate ourselves, because therein lies the biggest problem, the lack of education, knowledge, and understanding that we have ourselves.

I believe that and I do not know everything there is to know, but I do know there are a lot of people around who have difficulties with it for some of the reasons outlined by the Premier. Maybe that is wrong so why not take the approach suggested by the Member for Torngat Mountains, and I think alluded to by the Premier in some way, shape, or form, let us take the approach of finding a way to accommodate the resolution or at least the principle contained in the resolution put forward by the Member for Torngat Mountains. I as one member of the Legislature would be quite prepared to support that approach.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I want to have a few words about the hon. member's resolution. Again, I am pleased to see it there as an initiative that will certainly serve well to bring about a shift, I suppose, in the thinking here in the Province. I want to let everybody know and not give the impression that I am extremely well versed in the native affairs of the Province. I, as most, would be informed partially by one of my colleagues here, the hon. Member for Eagle River, and also through my own following of current affairs in the news as to what the native people of the Province, and also of the country, are desirous of, what they as a people see as their right to, as they would call it, inherent self-government, this is the term that is used nationally, albeit here in the Province they have yet to come to the point where they have yet to deal with it in a manner in which we are speaking of now. I guess they have had their ideas themselves in the past. I do not know if the Legislature in the past has gone to a point of discussing it and debating it to this point, to this extent. I would think not, but it is certainly something that we have to have some inward looking people, like the hon. member, who will certainly attempt to do something on behalf of the native people in the Province. The words, 'on behalf of', is something that, as the hon. member mentioned in his speech first when he started off, that is what we have to get away from, acting on behalf of the native people of the Province. We would like, as people here representing the whole Province collectively in the Legislature, to have the native people act on behalf of themselves. This is certainly something we have to look at. We have to see to it that somehow or other, through a process of allowing them to come up with some proposals to the Legislature, of allowing them to come up with some manner of shifting the way that Government now operates, be it through a change to the House of Assembly Act sometime in the future, or some kind of other method where they could possibly be well represented within the decision making levels here in the Province, some manner for them to have their issues heard regularly, to have their issues dealt with, issues they deal with normally in the course of the various groups and associations they are a member of, and the groups and associations they have started and have gotten to.

I wanted to draw a bit of an analogy to other parts of the Province. We have in a lot of the smaller areas of the Province a similar situation. I say similar and I have no right to determine that what has happened in some smaller areas of the Province is the same as the native situation. I am sure that it is not but there are similarities. In the smaller areas of the Province, say for instance a small town, a small outport community, or what have you, the people there, without the general leadership required, I guess, to make representations on their behalf without the solid educational background in these smaller communities throughout the years, they in turn were not always very well able to make representations on behalf of themselves.

They had to look to others who would represent them in Government, others who would do things for them in the preparation of small presentations that had to be made to governments, be made to visiting government officials and what not, and these things that had to be done are changing as society becomes better educated, as we get a higher level of education in given areas, notwithstanding the fact that illiteracy is still something that plagues us throughout the Province, but the people are improving in their ways of dealing with the systems that we have in place. Likewise, as I see throughout the last number of years that I have been following native affairs in the news, that they are getting to a point where they finally have people in decision making capacities within their own organizations, and within national and area organizations that make good representations on their behalf.

They are much more able now to represent their own desires and their own wants and needs as a people to the decision making authorities in the country, and also here in the Province, than they have been in any time in the past. Apparently there are approximately 7,000 native persons, aboriginal people here in the Province, as I understand. That in turn would put them as a community on par with one of the largest municipalities in the Province. There are ten, I think, in excess of 4,000 people here in the Province - ten different communities - correct me if I am wrong. The 7,000 people represent almost the size of my own native town of Port aux Basques, so a very solid sizable group of people, albeit spread somewhat throughout a variety of areas of the Province.

Now they do need a collective voice. I am sure they are ably represented by the hon. member to this point in time. Maybe some variation in the way that his district is represented, and there are a lot of 'maybe's' at this point in time because for us to pass the resolution as it is written here, of course, hopefully we can come up with some kind of accommodation to vary it somewhat, and make it acceptable to all parties here in the House, but I do also feel that passing it in its current form would be nothing really other than - the intent is good, but the proclamation of this as a resolution by the Legislature could possible be problematic, and cause some difficulty.

I wanted to bring a little something that came to me recently in the way of a story, and it is maybe the kind of thing that we have to look at as far as changing our mind-set, and changing our way of dealing with things like this. We, sitting in this Legislature, see the native issue as being dealt with from the perspective of the Legislature itself. We see us in our various positions that for someone to represent native people, they would have to arrive, be sworn in as we are, and become part of the same process. Now that has its merits, I am sure, because you have a process in place, but the question of course is, is that the right way? We look at it, and the hon. member did mention a couple of things like the lack of understanding on the part of the white man, to use a phrase, in understanding native people's wants, desires, and this sort of thing, and you speak of the things associated with the building of houses, and how that became a real black eye for the efforts of the Department of Native Affairs, I guess, in not listening to what those individuals wanted as housing, and therefore as soon as they were built they became a problem, and they did not suit the needs.

I have a friend who is an architect in the Northwest Territories who often does design of facilities and houses for native people, and he has often told me of the problems in making sure that your design of the premises suit the culture and lifestyle of the people that you are designing it for. It would be useless to assume that a two bedroom bungalow is going to be useful for the native individual who is still very much tied to the land, is a hunting person. He or she as a family who live off the land, to put them in a two bedroom bungalow with electric heat and all these sort of things just does not really make a lot of sense and is possibly something that should have been better thought out before it was attempted, and that has then been taken and twisted I guess within some people's minds, as meaning that the people for whom they were built were ignorant and the people for whom they were built were not capable of living like the white man so therefore they shunned the idea of these people as if they were not grateful for what was being done for them. I am sure they had as much gratefulness as anybody, but of course if it did not suit their lifestyle it was not unlike trying to take a fish out of water and hope that it can swim. It was not unlike trying to make someone acclimatize himself to the manner in which the white man deals with things in having a comfortable two bedroom bungalow with electric heat.

Now what I was going to get into is the idea of changing our perspective as Members of the Legislature. e. Well I, as one of the younger members and Danny as well, I suppose, the hon. Member for Eagle River, maybe we are a little less tried in our ways, we are not as prone to see things from this chair and this chair only. We possibly see that there can be changes made, we see that maybe we have to come up with different ideas and hopefully accept different ideas from native peoples as to how they might best be able to integrate into this Legislature, integrate into Government decision making. Maybe there is a wholly different manner in which we can approach it in concert with them in making the decision.

That would be I suppose, looking at our Legislature here, is somewhat of a paradigm, and I use that word because it is the point at which or the way that we see it is based on the paradigm of the way things currently are, the benchmark by which the current situation be judged. Now, to shift that somewhat, and again I will use a little story as an analogy. The story is that of the Swiss watch making companies.

The Swiss, as we all well know were the watchmakers, they had the Swiss watch movement back in the late 60s and they used to do things a certain way. They were the ones who had the technology and the expertise to build the Swiss watch and along came this little thing called the Quartz Movement, and the quartz movement came along and it was a fantastic thing, although it was developed by, not the Japanese who are now the world leaders, it was developed by the Swiss, but that group of people could not see past their typical swiss movement watch, so they held on to their technology, and gave no trouble in allowing the licensing for quartz watch technology to go all over the world. Their market share went somewhere from about 70 odd per cent I think down to 16 per cent in the course of about ten years, so they basically were just levelled, that is a business type analogy but, the thing was they could not see past the way things were done. They could not see past - well I would not say the end of their noses, it is not that kind of thing but again, they were tried in their ways, they wanted to maintain things as -

AN HON. MEMBER: Beyond their risk.

MR. RAMSAY: - yes, beyond their risk is a good way of putting it and lo and behold, they were bypassed by others, they were left in the cold and they were unable to meet the need. Now of course to look at it here in this Legislature, we could I suppose do it as the hon. member stated, and it may work very well, it may be the best thing, but without the effort on our part to consult with the native people, to allow them to be part of the process and to allow them to be the decision-makers I guess in this case, offering as much accommodation as is possible, by the Legislature, we would be doing, I would think, a disservice at this point in time.

Mr. Speaker, I want to clue up just by saying that I, a native Newfoundlander myself, a person from the mainland part of the Province, and my family having a long background in Newfoundland, but yet we were not here before the current Newfoundland and Labrador native people were.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: They were here before us. They were here before us and of course I do feel strongly that we have to make some accommodation for the native people in allowing for their representation within the decision making bodies here within the Province, and do whatever we can in a cooperative and constructive manner to shift the paradigm somewhat. To open our minds and not think of things within our own perspective. To think of things within the perspective of an overall view in accommodating all of the people of the Province, including the native people especially.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise with pleasure to endorse the initiative taken by the hon. Member for Torngat Mountains in bringing forth this resolution. I say that I disagree strongly with the Premier when he says that the resolution is untimely. The principle contained in the resolution is more timely now than it has ever been. Because we are in a time when at long last the people of Canada - that is, the non-aboriginal or non-native people of Canada - are finally recognizing that they have a duty to provide some affirmative action to ensure that aboriginal people have a rightful place in the Constitution of our country, in the Government of our country, and in the government of their own communities and people.

That is particularly so in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, where up until a very short period of time ago native people were given very little recognition, and in fact were treated with prejudice and treated with a constitutional ignoring, and ignorance in the real sense of the word, which was a scandal and a shame.

I may relate some of my own experiences in terms of coming to some level of consciousness about not only the presence of native people in our Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, but my own experience in coming to realize what a terrible fate had befallen the native people in this Province. Not just the continuing historical shame that we all must share, or we all do share as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians - although we do not have individual fault for it - the shame that the race of Indians known as the Beothucks became extinct on the very land of Newfoundland and Labrador in the 19th century. Now I am not going to rehash that particular problem. But let's face it, Newfoundland and Labrador throughout the world is know as the location where became extinct a people that had a culture, a history which is unique to them, and a people who no longer share this earth with the rest of us.

But my own experience of this consciousness of native people in this Province arose from meeting a number of representatives of the people of Conne River in the early 'seventies who very articulately put forth the position and the problems of being a native person in Newfoundland and Labrador. It was one that I had great concerns about, knowing that the rightful place of aboriginals in Newfoundland and Labrador had not been recognized. I visited Conne River in the early 'seventies and stayed for several days with families there and listened to what they had to say about their experience of life in Newfoundland and Labrador.

I was told stories about the people of Conne River going across the river to get their freight, as they called it, or get their goods. They would go to a town, I believe the town was called Morrisville, across the river from Conne River, and (Inaudible) to go to the general store in Morrisville, if there was anybody else there to be served, they had to wait. If there were three or four people from Conne River in this store and a white person came in, they had to stand back and wait till all the white people were served before they were served in that store. Now that is what happened in Conne River to native people in this Province - not two centuries ago, not 100 years ago, but in the lives of people who are now living in this Province.

Now the people of this Province have really failed to recognize the rights of native people. The Premier has only recently, in this very House several weeks ago, recognized that in his own responses to the constitutional proposals in the Meech Lake round of constitutional affairs, only recently acknowledged that he was wrong by failing to recognize the position of aboriginal people as an important element of constitutional reform in this country. That is an indication of the failure, not only of governments historically, but this Government in the last twelve months, in the last year in dealing with the Meech Lake Accord did not recognize that the native and aboriginal people in this Province and this country had to play a significant role if constitutional reform was going to be acceptable.

I also in the mid-seventies visited Labrador and spent several days in the community of Davis Inlet in the summer of 1976. Now I heard our colleague, the Member for Torngat Mountains, talk about the attitude of certain Newfoundlanders, and I say "Newfoundlanders" because I do not mean Labradorians, towards the native people in Labrador. Let me tell you how shocked I was to hear it said - and I will not tell you the name of the vessel - but I was on one of the coastal boats run by the Canadian National Railways at the time. I told the people who were the crew on this boat that I was going ashore in Davis Inlet. There were men who had worked on that boat, and worked on the Labrador coast, for twenty years and more, who had never been ashore in Davis Inlet. Never had gone ashore and gone and seen the village and the community of Davis Inlet, and never saw how the native people had lived.

But they had an opinion. They said: you're crazy to go ashore there, you'll be scalped! In 1976, to go ashore from a coastal boat, the Bonavista was the name of the ship, and on that ship I was told by the crew: don't go ashore there, you'd be crazy because you'll be scalped, they're savages. Now that is the kind of attitude that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who are alive today have had about native people, and that is the level of ignorance and intolerance that we have seen in our own lifetimes.

So what we have here with this resolution is an opportunity for all Members of this House - and I suppose it is appropriate that it is a Private Member's Resolution. I know the Premier is irritated when somebody other than he takes some initiative on the constitution, or on matters of great import, as this one is. We heard his irritation in his reaction. But even though there may be some difficulties with the wording of the hon. Member's resolution, that would make it difficult for the Government to support it as it stands, there is a great principle involved, and I would hope that all hon. Members are able to endorse this principle.

In the current round of constitutional debate the proposals that the Federal Government has put forth have been met with a strong negative reaction from native people, because it fails to recognize that aboriginal people have the inherent right to self-government. Not one granted by us, but one that they have. What the principle of this resolution asks - and this goes beyond self-government - because self-government is something that I think we do have to recognize and allow native and aboriginal people to work out what they mean by that. We will sit down and negotiate how that is brought about. But what we are saying, in this place where all of us have a collective responsibility to make the laws for this Province within our constitutional mandate, that we want to assure that there is at least one - and I say "at least one" - aboriginal person here.

That is a very simple resolution. How do we do it? We are not here to answer that today. That is something that must be discussed with aboriginal people not just in Torngat Mountains - because as the Premier said, if the people of Torngat Mountains wanted to kick out the hon. Member for Torngat Mountains and elect one of their own, they could have done it before.

AN HON. MEMBER: They never would, though, never will.

MR. HARRIS: They may not, because he may be such a fine fellow that they would not want to. But that is not the point, Mr. Speaker. The point is, and I think the Premier spoke about difficulties in finding native people to run, I agree with that. That is because the native people that I talk to who support the kind of things that our Party speaks out for do not want to get involved in party politics. They do not want to be divided amongst themselves. If native or aboriginal leaders would chose to run for the NDP or the PCs or the Liberals, they might fear that they will be divided amongst themselves, and that the Parties will try to manipulate and divide them so that they can represent them in this House.

It may be that the most appropriate form of representation for aboriginal people will be to have a district that is similar, I suppose, in effect to what might come under proportional representation in other Legislatures around the world. That the aboriginal people of this Province, all of them, not just in Torngat Mountains but those who live in the districts of Naskaupi, Port au Port, Bay d'Espoir or Fortune - Hermitage, which Conne River I think is in. Or in the district of Gander, or the other districts of this Province that have aboriginal populations that are recognized as such by whatever details and formulas are worked out with the aboriginal people themselves. That they will choose whether to be involved in partisan politics as we know it, or they will choose to have someone here in this House to speak as an aboriginal person. And to inform us of what is wrong with the kind of things that we may be doing or what we are doing to aboriginal people.

Well, I have taken a great interest in the problem of aboriginal people in this Province and so much so - I remember being quite concerned hearing years ago that for some reason, when the Terms of Union were entered into between Canada and Newfoundland, that the aboriginal people were left out. Not even mentioned. So when I became a Member of Parliament I decided that I would try and find out something about this. As a result I commissioned two studies: one done by the Library of Parliament in Ottawa by a lawyer by the name of Wendy Moss, who did a very remarkable paper outlining the constitutional position of native and aboriginal people in Newfoundland and Labrador, a very interesting study; and another document done by a private researcher engaged by me, a Mr. Edward Thompkins, who wrote a report which he called Pencilled Out.

The reason he called it that was because there was in one of the versions of the Terms of Union provision for services for native peoples. There was provision recognized in the constitutional proposals at one time. They were in the next version taken out, and this researcher was able to find documents in the archives of Canada which in fact, had those provisions pencilled out. Provisions which would have provided and guaranteed that the Government of Canada provide to, what were then called Indians and Eskimos in Newfoundland and Labrador, the same services as were provided to Indians and Eskimos in the rest of Canada under the Indian Act. That was pencilled out and not done. As a result, the native peoples of Newfoundland and Labrador have not, to this day, received the same level of grants and subsidies, support for health care, housing and the amenities that were provided for the rest of Canada. That was done in the negotiations leading up to Confederation.

Mr. Speaker, I don't want to see these people pencilled out once again by the failure of the members of this House on this day to ignore an opportunity to hold out to the aboriginal people an offer - an offer, that's all! We want to say to the aboriginal people of this Province: We want you here - not on our terms, on your terms. We want you here on your terms. We will take the time to work it out, we will allow you to tell us how you want to see that happen.

That is something that can be done, not tomorrow, or the next day, but it can be done over a reasonable period of time, taking into consideration the ongoing discussions that are happening with the federal Royal Commission, the ongoing discussions with our own provincial Constitutional Committee, the ongoing discussions with the First Nations at the national level, and any other things that are going on at the moment in terms of discussions of what is going on. But I would like to see an initiative by the members of this House - not the Government, not the Premier, not the constitutional advisor to the Premier, whoever that might be at the moment - but an initiative by the members of this House, all of us.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: The Member for St. John's North, I am sure, would want to be seen as saying: Yes, we hold out to aboriginal peoples the principle that there ought to be in this House at least one aboriginal person, and we want to assure that. The details we will work out, but the principle we will support. Because I think hon. members opposite should be able, unless they have been told otherwise, to support that principle.

Therefore, I move, seconded by the Member for Kilbride, the following amendment: That the resolution be amended to remove the words, "Act be amended," in line two, and be replaced by the words, "endorses the principle that appropriate legislative or constitutional change be made," so that the resolution would now read as follows:

BE IT RESOLVED that the House of Assembly endorses the principle that appropriate legislative or constitutional change be made to assure the Election of an Aboriginal person to the Legislature of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I think that reformulation of the resolution does not force the Government to bring in an amendment to The Elections Act or The House Of Assembly Act immediately, but endorses the principle that we can then, as a Legislature representing all the people of Newfoundland, go to the aboriginal leaders and the First Nations in our Province and say to them: We have endorsed this in principle, and we want to work with you to find a way that makes it practical for this to take place within a reasonable period of time.

Mr. Speaker, that resolution, as reformulated, allows for an all-party resolution, or an all-party support, in this House, to allow all-Party support. I urge them to do so, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: I wonder if the hon. member could provide us with a copy of his amendment?

The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

AN HON. MEMBER: Eagle River.

MR. SPEAKER: I'm sorry, Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I know that the hon. the Speaker has probably heard that there have been persistent calls for me to represent the riding of Torngat Mountains.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: But I have to dedicate myself solely and wholly to Eagle River, Mr. Speaker.

Today, I am pleased to rise and speak to this particular resolution, as a native Labradorian, the first native Labradorian to be elected to the Liberal party in forty years. I am very pleased, of course, to stand here and speak to the resolution put forward today by my colleague from Torngat Mountains.

Again, as many members have pointed out, this is an important resolution, an important initiative, and I believe that the time has certainly come, as all of Canada has now appreciated, when native affairs and native issues have to be taken more seriously. Indeed, tangible steps have to be taken in our constitution to ensure that the dignity of native people and native self-government is an absolutely essential part of policy for the next few years. Only when the native people of this country get their rightful place in our constitution, can we be comforted that we have lived up to our responsibilities as landlords of this nation.

Mr. Speaker, in the next few minutes that I have to speak on this resolution, I would like to talk particularly about the process that has been undertaken, and the process that is required.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I wonder if the hon. member would mind if we just recessed for a moment to look at the amendment that has been made to the resolution, and to make a ruling on it before we continue with the debate?

MR. DUMARESQUE: Surely, Mr. Speaker.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair has looked at the resolution put forward by the hon. the Member for St. John's East. It meets all of the requirements for an amendment, therefore, it is ruled to be in order.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, as a result of some consultations, it appears that one word needs to be changed in the resolution. With the concurrence of the seconder, the hon. the Member for Kilbride, I would seek to change the word 'person' in the last line, or 'aboriginal person', so that it would read 'aboriginal representative'. The word 'person' would come out, and the word 'representative' would go in, and that subamendment or change would be incorporated into the amendment, with the concurrence of the seconder.

MR. SPEAKER: Okay, fine. No problem.

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to indicate from the start that we, over here, would be supportive of that amendment, and therefore, supportive of the resolution.

Mr. Speaker, in the time that I have remaining, I want to talk about the process that is undertaken, and one of the most important principles involved in all of this. I guess I would be remiss if I also did not indicate this Government's record, to date, in dealing with the aboriginal people, and the native people of Labrador in particular, and would conclude on some of these notes.

I know hon. members have made note of it earlier today, but one of the fundamental principles involved in dealing with the issue of aboriginal representation, and aboriginal self-government, is the issue of whether we should be imposing our values on the native people of this Province, and, indeed, this country, whether we should be in any way seen to be putting forward what we see for the native people, and that it is up to them whether they should accept it, Mr. Speaker. It is very important that the initiatives for greater integration into our system or, indeed, the eventual self-government of the native people, should be coming from the native people, themselves. That is very important to keep in mind, because if we do not, then we will just be keeping the old process going as it always has been.

Mr. Speaker, I might also note, though, that while we have a process like this in place, and it is commendable to see it in place, it is obvious, as the record indicates, it is not absolutely essential to put any kind of affirmative action or any particular specification into our Elections Act to assure aboriginal representation in our parliaments.

Mr. Speaker, as all members know, we have with us today, two very, very reputable members of the federal Liberal caucus, Miss Ethel Blondin, and Mr. Anawak, from the Northwest Territories, who are very, very good members of the House of Commons, and have come there, not by virtue of a specific recommendation and amendment to the Elections Act, but by virtue of showing to the people of their respective federal ridings, that they are, indeed, the best people to serve these areas and these people. Certainly, they are doing an admirable job, and I believe the Liberal Party record would speak for itself there.

As I indicated, we would also have to make sure that the people of the Province understand that this Government has nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to dealing with the aboriginal people of this Province, and, particularly, the people of Labrador. Mr. Speaker, the land claims issue is one that has been very, very prominent on the agenda of our Premier. He has undertaken to be involved in such a meaningful way that he has a significant watershed proposal now on the order, now on the public agenda, that will see land claims settled in two years as opposed to the ten, fifteen and twenty years in place previously. I think the people of this Province would acknowledge that the process in place under the previous government was little more than lip service to the whole problem.

I remember distinctly, an incident in Happy Valley - Goose Bay, when the former Premier of this Province was down there to a party fund-raising activity, when the native people of Sheshatshit wanted to meet with the Premier - they made quite a vocal representation outside the hall that evening - but, Mr. Speaker, they did not get the opportunity. Our Premier is definitely not of that mind-set, as we have seen. He has gone to their home territory and met with them in their own quarters, only a few months ago.

I guess, another significant step forward has been the initiation of the land claims negotiations with the Innu of Labrador, another milestone, Mr. Speaker, for which this Government can take full responsibility. We initiated the talks, they are ongoing, and we have a process in place that will see them to completion. And involved in all of this, is eventual self-government for native people. As we know, the present constitutional proposal is the recognition that the aboriginal peoples were historically self-governing, and recognition of their rights within Canada. That is all part of what has been put forward, and certainly, what has been supported by this Government and, indeed, many people across this country.

It would also be important for the people of this Province to know the steps that we have taken in education with respect to the native people. And I must take this opportunity to commend the Minister of Education, 'Mr. Liberal' as I like to refer to him, Mr. Speaker, Liberal in the traditional Liberalism of Newfoundland and Labrador. It was the present Minister of Education who initiated the talks and the process of education, and the responsibility for education to getting more meaningful input into the education system of Sheshatshit. It was this minister who did that, who has been living up to that particular initiative, and has been received quite well by the people of that community.

Again, I cannot help but also point out the Minister of Social Services. After his being in the portfolio for only a few short months, Mr. Speaker, I had the pleasure of attending a meeting with him and the leaders of the Innu community just a week or so ago, where, again, he gave the same kind of hope and accountable leadership to the Innu relative to what could be done with Social Services. He showed how this Government is determined to see that more services and more things are done and delivered at the local level, and, indeed, the Innu or the Inuit of our Province will be treated no differently from any other people with respect to these responsibilities.

These are milestones, Mr. Speaker, that I think have to be recognized. The Premier, as I noted earlier, has taken significant steps to see that the barriers between the native population and the rest of this Province are broken down, and that we put in place a process where there is a fast track to having a final solution on the land claims, and one that will see our native people continue to live, work and prosper with the other people of Labrador.

I have to say, Mr. Speaker, that we must be careful when we talk about having our own mind-set, our own ideas put upon people of Labrador. We all are aware of the opposite argument, I suppose, to affirmative action, that people get the feeling they are being singled out, that they are being made tokens in the public eye. That is one thing that has to be approached with caution, and is why, I think, the Government here, today, have appreciated the amendment put forward by the Member for St. John's East, because it allows for the aboriginal representative. If, by some chance - not much chance, I would have to say - the Member for Torngat Mountains will ever be returned to this Chamber again, but if by some chance the electorate of Torngat Mountains decide they want some other person other than their native brothers or sisters to be their representative, carrying a much brighter flag I would think, then certainly, that is their right to do so. As I said, I don't hold out a lot of hope that the present member will be endorsed the next time around, but again, I have to leave that up to the people of Torngat Mountains and see what their decision will be.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: No, I cannot be convinced, I would say at this point in time, that that will, indeed, be the case. Mr. Speaker, I may have had, sometimes, I guess, different interpretations of the sincerity and dedication of the hon. member when it came to some of the issues in Labrador. All of us remember the issue of the Labrador flag, and whether that was the right thing to do at the time, or whether when he was in the Cabinet of the day and signed the Roads for Rail Agreement and got the little minuscule percentage of funding for Labrador. I mean, things like that have caused me, I guess, to wonder about the tremendous dedication that one has towards his particular role in this hon. House.

Mr. Speaker, I would have to concur with the Premier today and say that this particular issue is one that I know the hon. member has advocated on a number of previous occasions and, certainly, there is no doubting his sincerity in seeing that an aboriginal person of the native community in Labrador sits in this hon. House at some point in time.

However, Mr. Speaker, I guess, as one of the great American First Ladies once said, Eleanor Roosevelt, "It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself." I would think, given the overwhelming representation of the native people in that particular riding, and maybe a new boundary around that particular riding will have a greater preponderance of native people, that the hon. member will live up to his commitment. Far be it for me to say that he will ever take the chance on running anywhere else, but certainly I would think that the next time around, Mr. Speaker, that hon. member will be out there actively supporting a member from his native community for the leadership and candidacy for his party. I am sure that that is the kind of intention that he has and I am sure that is what he is going to be living up to. I do not know, maybe he will seek the nomination for his party in some other riding, but, Mr. Speaker, he will, I am sure, pursue this idea and pursue the fact that there has to be an aboriginal person in this Legislature from Torngat Mountains.

So, Mr. Speaker, today, as I said, I am pleased to support the resolution as amended by the Member for St. John's East. I am pleased to see that this hon. House, as all of this country, has come to appreciate that we have not been dealing well enough with the aboriginal people of this country and, indeed, the aboriginal people of Labrador. I see this as another significant and good step forward for an eventual self-government.

I guess, if I could conclude on a note, Mr. Speaker, and differ a little bit with the hon. member, I am more inclined to believe that they have an inherent right to self-government, and not just the acknowledgement that self-government is a thing to come. I think they have an inherent right. It is self-explanatory, Mr. Speaker, and I think anybody who would interpret it differently is being remiss. I am sure that we, on this side of the House, will be here to see the day when the native communities will be delivering their own programmes with their own people and certainly reflecting their own values and culture, Mr. Speaker, and I look forward to that day.

So, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity. I hope that all hon. members will support this particular resolution.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I just want to have a few brief words on this amendment. We were doing pretty good here with fairly non-partisan debate, up until the last speaker. Mr. Speaker, I could make a few comments on that but this issue is much too important to bring any partisan issues into this debate. It would be better for all members of this House of Assembly to treat this issue with the seriousness that it deserves.

Mr. Speaker, I am very delighted to be standing here supporting the resolution of the Member for Torngat Mountains this afternoon, and I was delighted because the Member for Torngat Mountains wanted to make his resolution as acceptable as possible in this House of Assembly. I was also delighted to second the amendment made by the hon. the Member for St. John's East. I believe this to be, Mr. Speaker, not only electoral reform but I believe it to be historical electoral reform for this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. R. AYLWARD: I would say that in years to come this will be considered the same as today it would be considered ridiculous for women not to vote, whereas fifty or one hundred years ago it was the other way around. The elected people at the time never put a great importance on it until somebody fought for that right and they convinced people to get that right and they won the right. I find it hard to believe that it could ever be the case that any person, in any part of our country in particular, did not always have the right to vote. Mr. Speaker, this type of electoral reform we are trying to deal with here today, in the next fifteen or twenty years, will seem just as ridiculous, I would say.

That is why I am very glad that everyone in this House can find this amended resolution acceptable and will be able to vote for it. I would say that when I came into this House of Assembly twelve years ago my feelings on this matter would probably have been completely reversed to what they are today. I did not understand what the issues were and most people in Canada, and most people in our Province, do not understand the issues that the native people are trying to express in this Province and right across Canada. I consider myself to be very fortunate, because in 1985 I was made Minister of Northern Development and I was put headlong into all of these issues. When I was a minister of Cabinet I had the opportunity to meet with all the aboriginal groups in this Province, the Conne River aboriginal groups, aboriginal groups on the West Coast in the Flat Bay area. Gander Bay in the Fogo district has a sizeable native group. All the aboriginal groups in the Labrador region I met with many times. I visited the hon. member's district many, many times and had a lot of meetings. The day after the election in 1985 at 5:00 o'clock in the morning I was on an airplane to Ottawa to be a representative for Newfoundland at the First Minister's Conference on a conference on aboriginal rights. I not only had an opportunity to get to speak to the Newfoundland representatives for aboriginal issues, and I did not understand them very well at the time, I have to admit that I did not understand them very well. I would be the same as any Newfoundlander, any person who grew up in Kilbride for forty-seven years. For the first thirty-five of them, I would say before I came in here, I had very little dealings with any aboriginal issues other than what I saw in the paper, what I saw in the media, or what I saw on television which is usually, as I understand now, you get the wrong impression from them.

You see the problems mostly, you see a drinking problem in the media, or you see a housing problem in the media. You do not understand the issues, you do not understand why these problems exist. I consider myself to be very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be able to sit down and be able to discuss the issues with them. I must say that after these discussions, and by the end of the time I was Minister of Northern Development, my thinking on these matters was probably 180 degrees changed around because I could understand them a bit better. This resolution in this House of Assembly today will go a long way in recognizing some of the problems, maybe, maybe even helping solve some of the problems. I do not know that this is the answer and it certainly will not solve all the problems of the native people. What I tried to do as minister, and what I will try to do today as a regular Newfoundlander, if native people's organizations say there are many, many problems, and they keep saying there are many problems, I would ask them how I could help solve them. One of the suggestions that they made - not a suggestion that came from this Legislature or from elected people - one suggestion that they made is that probably guaranteed political representation in Canada or in the different provinces might help. Well if that will help - I do not know that it will - but if that will help, I am very willing to go along with that representation, that guaranteed representation that we are discussing in this. The exact format of that representation, I guess, is going to be a matter of future discussion. The method that I would prefer to see, which again is not necessarily what the native people would prefer to see - you would have to talk to them about it - but the method that I would prefer to see would be a floating seat, and I do not mean a fifty-third seat in this Assembly. I do not care what the numbers are, but there could be a floating seat - maybe an extra seat if that is what is necessary, maybe we could cut back to fifty-one and then have that floating seat - but a seat that aboriginal people and native people all over the Province could elect their representative.

AN HON. MEMBER: That makes a lot of sense.

MR. R. AYLWARD: If we want to pass this resolution as it reads now, that native people be guaranteed to have a representative, or to elect a representative in this House-

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Well they have now. They have a representative in this House now from Torngat Mountains. They have a representative from Eagle River. There are some native people in that district.

MR. MATTHEWS: Naskaupi.

MR. R. AYLWARD: They have a representative from Fogo, and Naskaupi, and Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir.

AN HON. MEMBER: Bay of Islands.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Bay of Islands? No. St. Georges.

AN HON. MEMBER: St. Georges.

MR. R. AYLWARD: So they do have now what this resolution could be interpreted to mean, and I hope that is not what we are trying to do in this House of Assembly. I would like to have the resolution a bit clearer, to make sure that native people being guaranteed representation in this House will not be interpreted to mean that they have representation now, from Eagle River or from other districts. I hope this amended resolution will read that there will be a 'native seat', if that is what it has to be called - a seat in this Legislature that is guaranteed to be a seat that will be representative of the native community in this Province. I hope that all native people in the Province will have an opportunity to elect that representative, not just the native people in Torngat Mountains. I do not think that would be any fairer than what exists today. So whatever mechanism has to be put in place, I hope will be. My suggestion on that mechanism would be some type of a floating seat so that all native people in this Province could have a chance to vote.

The Premier said that he is concerned about the constitutional principle of one person, one vote. Well, he said he always is concerned about it. He did mention it, because I made a note of it. This floating seat would not interfere with that principle. It is still one person, one vote. No matter what district the native community happened to be in, they would vote for their representative. They would not necessarily have to vote for any other representative in that seat. That floating seat concept would protect the one person, one vote constitutional concept in our district, and I am sure it could be accommodated.

Mr. Speaker, I know the Member for Torngat Mountains. I would like to give him as much time as possible. You could speak on this for quite some time. I just want to say that, as it seems now, we are all in favour of this concept. I believe that this debate some time in the future will be looked back upon, and for those of us who did speak in this House of Assembly, we will, I hope, be held accountable for our words. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to take a couple of minutes. I am sure the member does not mind. He will still have his twenty minutes or more left.

I would just like to very simply point out, in response to the previous speaker, that we support the principle of native self-government, of native representation in the provincial houses and so on. We support that principle, but we would hesitate to tell the native people or attempt to tell the native people how that should be done and that is why we are willing to support a resolution that on the surface may look vague. But we have to be very careful that we are not perceived as dictating, saying how it should be done, saying whom they should elect. Because, if the choice is eventually, after we get through all of the constitutional discussions that are ongoing as well as the Royal Commissions, after we get through all this, and there is a lot of active input from the native community across Canada, the aboriginal people across Canada, after we get through that process, if the process that they want is to elect somebody, then they will elect somebody but we should not say to them: you must elect a certain type of individual, that should be entirely up to them, who they elect under those circumstances, so that is why the resolution is vague.

It is vague not because there is some attempt to get away from the principle, that is not the reason that it is vague, it is vague because we recognize the rights that exist and we recognize that there should be representation, but the nature and the timing and everything else, has to be up to the individuals involved, the aboriginal peoples of the country. So, Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to explain why the vagueness of parts of the resolution, deliberately so, but I believe the only way is to state our objectives clearly. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WARREN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I want to begin by saying how pleased I am that a number of Members of this Legislature spoke on this particular resolution today. I am quite appreciative of the Premier making his remarks; the Leader of the Opposition; the Leader of the New Democratic Party, the Member for St. John's East; -

AN HON. MEMBER: Not leader, no, member.

MR. WARREN: -well, I call him the Leader, it is up to you to interpret it, the Member for Eagle River and also the Member for LaPoile and my colleague, the Member for Kilbride. Mr. Speaker, this resolution and amendment: the Member for Kilbride and the Government House Leader, also our Leader, went through the amendment and I have no problem. If this amendment is going to do what we as Legislators want it to do, then this is a good amendment, but if this is just taken, and I am a little bit concerned as is my colleague, that this is going to be taken and be interpreted to mean there are no changes.

But there is a major change. There is a major change that developed in this Legislature today, and as my colleague said, twenty or thirty or forty years from now, the children going to school will be asked, probably in a Newfoundland and Labrador quiz: when were the aboriginal people recognized in the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador?

Mr. Speaker, it will come back to November 27th, 1991 which will go down in history as the day that we recognized the rights and the aspirations of the aboriginal people in Newfoundland and Labrador, and that is the least we can do. My hon. colleague mentioned just now when he spoke, about two of the members who are on the committee for Aboriginal Election Reform. He mentioned Jack Anawak and Ethel Blondin.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me just quote some of the comments those two people said in their report: The Committee cited an Angus Reid public opinion poll. A public opinion poll by Angus Reid showing that two-thirds of Canadians support the idea, and believe the time is right for aboriginal election reform. Now, Mr. Speaker, that is from the committee.

Further, Mr. Speaker, it is evident to us, the aboriginal leaders across Canada view self government as a number one priority issue. However many see lack of aboriginal representation in parliament as a long-standing injustice which must be corrected. Mr. Speaker, that is the report of the Aboriginal Election Reform. It has been recognized that there has been injustice done, and it is up to us to undo that injustice.

Mr. Speaker, a number of months ago the Premier appointed Mr. Dickson - Judge Dickson - to come up with a number of people all across Canada to go on a committee of aboriginal people.

AN HON. MEMBER: The Prime Minister.

MR. WARREN: Yes, the Prime Minister appointed this particular person, Mr. Dickson, to go around the country and select a number of people who would do a fair job on this particular commission. I think Mr. Dickson needs to be given a pat on the back for coming up with such a group of intelligent, hard working, committed and dedicated people to come up and address those issues. In his report - and I want to quote what he said because it is most interesting. In his report on page seven he said: 'after meeting hundreds of natives and non-native Canadians, and studying hundreds of written submissions in the last few weeks I have found two very strong impressions. The first: that the majority of Canadian natives - and I mean Canadian natives - not just their political leaders, are deeply frustrated and profoundly disappointed with the way they perceive they have been, and are today treated by Canadian non-native people.' That was the perception that he saw going across Canada meeting with native and non-native people.

Mr. Speaker, the second thing, which is most interesting, is that the frustration and disappointment felt by the many natives have not given away to cynicism. In only one meeting did he meet one native person who believed there was no chance of improvement. Of all the people who he met across the country, only one person believed there was no chance, and he said the reason for this absence is, I believe, that most Canadian natives are remarkably decent, they are fair, they are tolerant and compassionate people. Mr. Speaker, I have lived and worked with the native people for the last twenty-five plus years, and I have to agree that these are the kind of people I represent. That is the kind of people who I represent. I think they have put up with it so long, they have put up with the white man's philosophy, the white man's ideas so long that - you know, if we had to, why don't we place ourselves in their position? Why don't we place ourselves in their position. I am sure there is not one of us in this legislature now who would be as tolerant and as compassionate as these people are to us.

Mr. Speaker, those are the facts. Just put ourselves in their position, and all of a sudden see those people coming in where we are living and deciding to do something for us that we do not want done. All the indians wanted in 1967 was a tent for $200. That was all they wanted, a tent from Government for $200, but instead of that the Government spent $7,000 on a house, and three weeks later some of them took the beds out of the houses and took the boughs in which they were used to sleeping on before because that is their nature. All of a sudden they had to live in this House. You had to have that bed. You had to have that table. Again, Mr. Speaker, it just shows that the biggest damage that is being done to our native people in our country is by the white man, the white person, the white woman, the white man. We go in there and look at them as a minority group, so we are going to do what we think is best which I think, Mr. Speaker, is very, very unfair.

John Amagoalik was the former President of the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada. I know John personally. I met him on several occasions and I just want to read what John said about the native people. He said: I feel the aboriginal peoples of Canada are at an important crossroads. Things can either begin to improve or else the aboriginal citizens of this country will sink further into despair and hopelessness. Now, Mr. Speaker, that is coming from a former president of the large native association of the Inuit of Canada. If he has that concern there is only one reason, and the reason is we do not respond, from Newfoundland to British Columbia, we do not respond to one of the biggest issues facing our country today, and that is aboriginal government, Mr. Speaker, aboriginal reform. We have not given those people a chance and all I am asking you today is to let them be in here. What a day for an aboriginal person to be in here debating this particular issue. If we go through with this we are going to give that opportunity to that person, whoever he or she may be.

I do not want to get political in my comments, Mr. Speaker, but once in awhile you have to. When the Premier spoke he said he had spoken to five aboriginal people before the last election to have them run against me. That was entirely up to him, that is politics, and I have no qualms about who the other party gets to run against me in any particular election, but those five aboriginal people had told the Premier why they did not want to run. It was quite obvious that the only thing the Premier failed to tell today was the reason they had given.

MR. SIMMS: What was that?

MR. WARREN: Everyone knows the reason they had given.

AN HON. MEMBER: Tell us.

MR. WARREN: No, Mr. Speaker, I leave that to the educated and elected members in here who understand why the Premier did not tell the rest of the reason why those five aboriginal people did not run in the last provincial election in Torngat Mountains. It is quite obvious. Look at the results. In fact it is surprising that an aboriginal person did run for the Liberal Party.


MR. WARREN: Yes, in fact he got, I think it was something like 140 votes.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who was that?

MR. WARREN: Mervyn Linstead.

AN HON. MEMBER: For the Liberals?

MR. WARREN: He was not their preferred candidate.

AN HON. MEMBER: What did you get?

MR. WARREN: About 78 per cent but that is okay

However, he was not their preferred candidate. I do not want to get into politics, because this is too important to get into politics.

Now, Mr. Speaker, tying into this resolution, I say to my hon. colleague, the hon. House Leader: Sister Ann Campbell - I mentioned this earlier today, and I would like for my colleagues to be a little bit quieter because I want to get this message across to my colleagues on the other side, and I think it is very, very important - Sister Ann Campbell of the Presentation Sisters of Newfoundland and Labrador wrote a letter to Mr. Dickson. Mr. Speaker, maybe this is where I can clue up.

In her letter she said, "This is the most crucial time with relations between First Nations and the Canadian Government. The climate within the Canadian non-native public, as a whole, was seen to be highly in favour of addressing the injustice suffered by the native people." Now, that is from a Sister of the Presentation Sisters of Newfoundland and Labrador, who wrote that to Dickson when he was compiling his report. "The Royal Commission must take this crucial opportunity to offer concrete solutions for a real social and political change that will translate into a more just and equitable standard of living and preferred future of our native people."

Mr. Speaker, I would say to Sister Ann Campbell and to all others in this great country of ours, that that is what we have to do, that is our challenge. Our challenge now is to go forward. Our challenge is to make sure that we do not just - I say this in all fairness to my hon. colleague, the Minister of Fisheries. There a number of years ago he said, "We should not just bring private members' resolutions into the House of Assembly, that is not enough." He said, "If we bring it in and we pass it, then let's do something about it." I would say to the hon. House Leader and the Government, it is no good to take this resolution and just put it on the shelf to gather dust, because that is not what the aboriginal people want in Newfoundland and Labrador or across Canada.

Now we have to take action. We have done the talking, we have spoken for the last two hours. The first thing we should do is put a committee together comprised of the aboriginal peoples and, if necessary, some members of the Legislature. But the aboriginal people are the people who should decide how they want it. We have gone through this country, through this world, too long telling them what we are going to do. Let us let them tell us what they want to do. That is the message that I want to get through, to give them the opportunity to tell us how they can best serve their Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to close by again saying thank you to all those who supported this resolution. However, I always like to close with a quote, because I think the two quotes that I am going to use in closing now are very, very appropriate - very, very appropriate.

Mr. Speaker, on August 20, 1940, and I think those words can be used today as pertains to this resolution. On August 20, 1940 Winston Churchill said: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." Mr. Speaker, today, as people of Newfoundland and Labrador, we owe that much to the few aboriginal people in this Province, to the minority group, and there is quite a lot we owe them. I would say what Winston Churchill said back in 1940 is very applicable today.

On November 10, 1942 he said something else, and I want to close by using this quotation, because it is very, very appropriate today: "This is not the end."

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, on November 10, 1942 the late Winston Churchill said, and I want to conclude with this because I think we can take a message from this: Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning, because now, from this day hence, we shall go forward. And go forward in doing something that we were elected to do, and that is to give support to the first people in this great country of ours, and that is the aboriginal people.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: All those in favour of the amendment, please say 'aye'.


All those against, 'nay'.


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


All those against, 'nay'.

Motion, with amendment, carried.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we will be carrying on with the debate that we have had for the last couple of days on Bill 50, I think it is.

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