December 6, 1991             HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS           Vol. XLI  No. 86

The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am honoured to lead the House today in recognizing December 6 as a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, in commemoration of the fourteen women who were killed at École Polytechnique in Montreal just two years ago today. Although an extreme example of the violence against women that exists in our society, that event was a stark reminder of the women and children who are battered, sexually assaulted and live with the threat of violence every single day.

Throughout the Province, women's groups are commemorating this day in a variety of ways. Public vigils are planned in Stephenville, St. John's, and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and a meeting and discussion in Labrador City-Wabush. Port aux Basques and Corner Brook will hold public forums to debate the issue of violence against women, and Gander will hold a public meeting at the Women's Centre to view the film 'After the Montreal Massacre'. In St. John's, the Interagency Committee on Violence Against Women is sponsoring a conference on 'Working Together To End Violence'.

It is important now that this day become not only one of remembrance, but one of action. This past June, in St. John's, Status of Women Ministers from across the country endorsed and publicly released the document entitled, 'Building Blocks' which proposes a framework for a national strategy on violence against women. Newfoundland is pleased to be part of that strategy, and will continue its own efforts to deal constructively with this important social problem.

I am pleased to announce that an executive level committee with representation from Social Services, Justice, Health, Education and the Women's Policy Office has been established to develop a Provincial Strategy on Violence. Three sub-committees on violence against women, violence against children, and violence against the elderly and dependent adults will consult with community groups with interest or expertise in these areas and work together to propose a plan to the executive committee. A co-ordinated approach will strengthen our efforts to deal with this problem in an effective manner.

A workshop called 'Wife Battering-Understanding What it is and What to do about it' has been developed by the Public Service Commission in conjunction with the Interdepartmental Committee on Wife Battering. It has been offered throughout the Province to police offices, social workers, public health nurses, Crown attorneys and other public service staff who encounter battered women in their normal work. It has been so successful that a follow-up course on 'Crisis Counselling for Victims of Wife Abuse' will be offered early next year. Staff development has long been a concern of those who operate the five transition houses and the shelters around the Province. I am pleased to announce today that Government has decided to make spaces available for these shelter workers in the Province to attend the Public Service Commission courses free of charge.

Government recently gave money, through the Women's Policy Office Grants Program, to two groups whose projects deal with violence; $2,500 was given to a Gander group, Women Survivors of Sexual Assault, to provide assistance for members to attend self-help meetings. The Women's Committee of the Justice Association of Newfoundland and Labrador received $1,500 to do research on the needs of families of sex offenders. The Women's Policy Office is also conducting research to evaluate the aggressive charge-laying policy by the police in cases of wife abuse.

In addition to providing services to survivors, Government is interested in work on prevention. Over the past few years, Government has sponsored a number of public awareness activities. An example of one of these is the brochure on Dating Violence, published by the Women's Policy Office, in conjunction with the Department of Education, and distributed to schools in the Province. This particular brochure has raised awareness about violence in young people's relationships, and has resulted in many, many requests for further information and follow-up.

At the Women's Lobby, this spring, women's groups expressed a need for training for facilitators of support groups of survivors of violence. In direct response to this request, the Women's Policy Office, after consultation with representatives of the Women's Centres, is in the process of working with consultants to design, develop, and pilot test a workshop for volunteers who are willing to facilitate support groups for survivors. I am pleased to announce today that $15,000 will be added to the Women's Policy Office's 1992-93 budget to offer this workshop in six locations across our Province.

Canadians are becoming increasingly aware of the need to address violence in our society. The Women's Lobby raised violence as an issue of concern to women in this Province, and emphasized the need for a co-ordinated approach. I have demonstrated this Government's commitment to addressing the issue, and look forward to continuing to work with service agencies, community groups, and individuals throughout the year to effect positive change.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the PC Opposition and as the only woman now present in the House of Assembly, let me say that I am glad the acting Minister for the Status of Women has made this statement to mark this National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

I believe it is fitting that he has devoted much of his statement to paying tribute to the efforts and the effectiveness of volunteer women's groups throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. It has been feminists who have led the drive to recognize the pervasiveness of violence against women, and to prompt governments, at all levels, of all political stripes, to begin to recognize the problem and do something about it.

Mr. Speaker, any objective onlooker listening to the statement and hearing the indications of plans for spending and action, however, would have to conclude that the Government strategy is woefully inadequate. After all, all the minister announced was a plan to form yet another committee and to spend $2,500 for one volunteer group, $1,500 for a second volunteer effort and to increase the Women's Policy budget by $15,000. Mr. Speaker, this is in a budget year when the Government reduced the Women's Policy Office overall budget from what it was last year.

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to detract from the potential usefulness of these measures, all I am pointing out is that, given the gravity and the extent of violence against women, these measures are very, very inadequate. Finally, Mr. Speaker, I cannot help but contrast the words of the acting Minister for the Status of Women, which I regard as eloquent and heartfelt on his part, no doubt drafted in consultation with Women's Policy advisors, a very valuable office in the Provincial Government - I cannot help but contrast the acting Minister's words with the behaviour of the Premier in this House yesterday. Mr. Speaker, I have no idea why the Premier has such personal difficulty acknowledging violence against women.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member, in a Ministerial Statement, to keep her remarks to the statement please. Ministerial Statements are not for debate, but are to comment on the remarks made purely in the statement by the minister. I would ask the member to remember that, please.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I will conclude by suggesting that the Premier and his Cabinet attend a special workshop on violence against women. The acting minister has said that the Public Service Commission has offered a workshop on violence against women, a workshop developed in consultation with the former interdepartmental committee on wife battering, and he has mentioned plans for a new course. I would like to suggest, on this national day of action, that the Premier arrange to attend such a course, perhaps one designed specifically for the Cabinet, for the policy makers, for the men and the one woman in our Province who decide on the provincial Budget, and who make allocations for addressing the problems of violence against women, for providing services and supports to the women who are victimized, and for dealing with offenders.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the House is prepared to give unanimous consent to allow me to address the Ministerial Statement?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, sure.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to hear the minister responsible for the status of women give this statement in the House today to recognize, as all Legislatures across the country now do, December 6 as a national day of remembrance and action on violence against women.

We were all most shocked, of course, at the events of December 6, 1989, and it brought home to all of us the terrible problem of violence against women in our society, and has caused since then a ground swell, I think, of support for programs to eliminate violence against women and also to help victims of violence and also, I think, a new phenomenon, one that the minister did not address, support groups, prevention groups, and assistance for men who are themselves involved in battering situations. The minister talked about assistance for survivors groups, and that is certainly important and has been a focus of much attention. But the problem, Mr. Speaker, and I think all the men in this House who wear these white ribbons, are doing that to recognize that the problem is what men do. Not what women do.

The women's lobby and the women's groups in this Province have recognized that violence against women is the single most important issue facing women in this Province today. That is a fundamental problem to do with the relationship between men and women in our society. That is something that we all have an obligation, and particularly the men who sit in this Legislature. I think the programs announced by the minister in terms of research for victims, the $2,500 and the $1,500, will do something to help, but really only touch the surface. The additional $15,000 for the women's policy office again is a little bit more of a help.

But I want to contrast that in terms of priorities, I suppose, with the news we learned yesterday, that the Province anticipates obtaining an additional $6 million to $7 million in this year alone in revenues from slot machines in bars. To contrast that kind of revenue from that source with the kind of efforts that have been announced today -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, it must be Christmas.

For the benefit of hon. members and the general public I would like to clarify Government's intentions regarding Provincial tax reform.

Government has been examining a range of tax reform options, focusing on whether it would be in the best interest of this Province to retain distinctly different Federal and Provincial sales taxes or whether the differences should be reduced, up to and including full harmonization with the Goods and Service Tax. We have concluded that if we are to move significantly from the status quo, GST harmonization appears to offer the most potential benefits to the Provincial economy. Harmonization and the provision of input tax credits would enhance our competitive position internationally and within Canada, providing a tax environment conducive to business expansion and economic growth. The simplification of the tax system resulting from harmonization would reduce compliance costs for small businesses and improve the efficiency of tax administration.

While there are many and great advantages to harmonization, there are also possible negative repercussions on at least certain sectors of the provincial economy and on our fiscal position.

A key element in any decision has to be the effect of change on the Province's fiscal position. To achieve our goals of a lower sales tax rate and full input tax credits for business would require us, in the absence of offsetting measures, to endure about a $100 million shortfall in provincial revenues. Each of the range of offsetting measures to restore the fiscal balance has other ramifications which make the assessment of any tax reform package a complex and time-consuming undertaking. GST harmonization could be a severe constraint on our fiscal maneuverability at a time when our fiscal position is already strained.

In sum, the complexity of tax reform, and our desire to ensure that the economic and fiscal effects are fully understood, require us to defer a decision on implementing change at this time. Before making a final decision, we intend to continue the consultative process initiated earlier this year, which has been valuable in assessing the impact of harmonization. We will be preparing a detailed technical paper on harmonization for release in late 1992 seeking further public input.

On the issue of the school tax, there has been no change in our position that this tax is unfair and inefficient.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: It was our view that the deficiencies of the school tax could be overcome only by either completely abolishing the tax or substantially reforming it. After much study and discussion we have come to the conclusion that reforming the school tax regime is not a satisfactory solution. Therefore, I am pleased to announce today that the school tax will be abolished as of June 30, 1992.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DECKER: The end of the fiscal year.

DR. KITCHEN: That is the end of the -

MR. DECKER: School board fiscal year.

DR. KITCHEN: A Committee under the direction of my colleague the Hon. Minister of Education will be established to co-ordinate the wind up of the school tax regime. Details will be forthcoming over the coming weeks as consultations between Government, school boards and school tax authorities are completed. However, it is Government's intention that the school tax authorities will, for the January to June period, bill taxpayers for the full annual amount of the tax. Taxpayers who have paid half the amount by June 30 will be forgiven the remaining half, or be refunded any amount paid in excess of half. Taxpayers who have not remitted all taxes due and payable up to that point will not be relieved of their liability to settle any outstanding amounts. Government intends to pursue vigorously clearing up the substantial amount of school tax arrears, and will be announcing measures to address this issue when plans are finalized.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to assure every school board in the Province that they will receive no less funding in the year commencing July 1, 1992 than they would otherwise have received.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: Moreover, Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that it is Government's intention to enhance the financial position of the vast majority of school boards by fully equalizing board funding.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: These decisions to provide equal funding and to eliminate the school tax will overcome many of the current inequities in school board financing and are valuable steps in creating a better education system as well as a more efficient and equitable taxation system. The revenue measures required to replace the school tax and to provide the additional funds for school boards will be made known in the 1992 budget.

Mr. Speaker, merry Christmas to you and to every Newfoundlander and Labradorian.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, we are delighted the hon. gentlemen opposite find him so amusing. The people of Newfoundland have known the Minister of Finance as the 'Grinch who stole Christmas' for many years, and he has proven it once again today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, this is a realization of Newfoundlander's worst fears, that the minister now is confirming that it is Government's intention to move towards full harmonization with GST. Now, group after group have warned the minister that would be absolute economic disaster for this Province. It would be absolute disaster, Mr. Speaker. If the Government is intending to move forward in this manner, then this Province is going to pay dearly. But more seriously here, we are now finding that the school tax - I say to the hon. gentlemen, I came in late, but as I read the highlights of this paper - the school tax is now going to disappear and we are now going to have to be totally dependent on this Government for financing of education.

The school trustees authorities have expressed grave concerns about this matter. This Government's record, Mr. Speaker, as it relates to funding of education has been dismal. They came into power with all kinds of promises of additional funding for health and education, they implemented a payroll tax which was called The Health and Education Tax and we have seen funding for health and education decrease over the past two years since that tax was implemented -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: -so, Mr. Speaker, what guarantee, what protection do the school boards and the school trustees have against this Government further decreasing funding for education? What guarantee will they have in future years that the funds that they have committed for capital expenditures over a period of time, for which they must meet those commitments, will be met by the funding for education? Mr. Speaker, this is indeed another Christmas present from the grinch who stole Christmas.

MR. SPEAKER: Before moving on to the routine business of the day, on behalf of hon. members, we would like to extend a warm welcome to sixty Grade XI students from Vaters Collegiate, here in St. John's, accompanied by their teachers, Mr. Winston Wall and Mr. Fred Halfyard.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, before you call Question Period, maybe I can have one minute to inform hon. members that the father of one of our colleagues, the Member for Terra Nova, Mr. Greening, died yesterday and I would ask the Speaker, on behalf of hon. members, to send condolences to Mr. Greening and his family and I would like hon. members to know that the funeral services will be held in Musgrave Town on Saturday at two o'clock.

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

MR. BAKER: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we would endorse that message from the House of condolences to Mr. Greening and the whole family.

Oral Questions

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

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. As we politicians debate the fine points of the recent decision of his Government to double the daily food and entertainment allowance of senior Government executives, does the Premier realize that his Government is providing for the battered women and children at Libra House in Happy Valley - Goose Bay an average daily amount for food of less than $2.00 per woman and child?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, there is no connection between the two and furthermore the first is totally inaccurate. It is difficult to believe that a member of this House, who should be knowledgeable about it, could make that kind of representation. There has been no doubling of any allowance, no increase of any expenditure, not $1.00 more will be spent on entertainment in this coming year than was spent last year, and probably less for all I know. All that has happened, Mr. Speaker, is that the level at which prior Treasury Board approval has to be obtained has been changed, the same as hon. members opposite did in 1984, when after setting it in 1980 four years later they doubled the level at which prior Treasury Board approval had to be obtained. Now, there was no change in the last seven years, so to avoid the unnecessary expense and effort, the paper work through which Treasury Board and officials were being put, we altered it as the hon. members did in 1984 with no additional expenditure. Now, for the hon. member to stand and misrepresent it in that way is inexcusable.

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

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, the Premier completely missed the point of the question and failed to address the glaring inequity. Whether senior civil servants spend $100 a day or $200 a day on food and entertainment without Treasury Board authorization, from the point of view of a battered woman at Libra House in Happy Valley - Goose Bay who is expected to live with a daily food budget of $2.00, there is an unacceptable inequity. Will the Premier recognize this inequity and will he act immediately to increase the Provincial Government grant to Libra House to provide a decent amount of funding for food for the residents of that shelter?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I say again there is no connection between the two. There is no more connection between those two than there is between the $40.00 a day that the member gets as a food allowance, none. There is no more connection between that and what is paid. Now, is she going to talk about that, too? This is utterly ludicrous. I just want to point out, Mr. Speaker, that the average expenditure per executive, as the President of Treasury Board just pointed out, was $287 per year. That was the average expenditure. Now, Mr. Speaker, as to what the Government will do, or does not do, with respect to battered women I will let the minister responsible deal with the question.

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

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, this is another appalling display by the Premier of terrible insensitivity to the plight of the poor -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! The hon. member is on a supplementary and I ask the hon. member to ask the question.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Premier, as head of the Government, is responsible for setting Provincial Government priorities and for divvying up the Provincial Government pie. I say to him there has to be a connection between the portion of the pie given to -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Hon. members know that supplementary questions are not to be given long preambles. They should ask the question and the Chair is not about to permit debate. I ask the hon. member to ask the question.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I know I have touched a raw nerve with the Premier. Let me ask the Premier whether he will have his Government supplement the resources the Government provides to womens' groups in this Province as he indicated at the womens' lobby in the spring that he would consider doing? Specifically, let me ask him whether he would arrange to have Provincial Government social workers and counsellors seconded to women's centres? The women's centres at Gander and Corner Brook specifically asked me to make this request to the Premier. At the women's lobby the Premier told them he would look favourably at this request.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

If the hon. member does not get to the question I am just going to move on to somebody else. The Chair has intervened a couple of times.

The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: In terms of shelters in the Province since this Government has taken over we have opened one more shelter and are actively considering another shelter to cover another area of the Province that we feel has a very great need, which happens to be the Burin Peninsula, and consequently funding for these shelters has been increased. We are now providing more training and experience for the workers in the shelters and for the volunteers who deal with victims of violence, we are now providing more help for them, and more assistance so that they can do a better job, which is what they have asked for essentially.

So, Mr. Speaker, we have progressed, and we will progress. I say to the hon. member that decisions as to extension of shelters, decisions as to expenditures of large sums of money will be made in the budgetary process, and all of these things are considered in the light of everything else. Mr. Speaker, we are keeping these needs in mind, and we are trying to fulfil these needs the best way that we can, and as quickly as we can.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A supplementary to the acting Minister for the Status of Women. What is the acting minister and the Government going to do to provide Libra House with an adequate food budget so that the residents, the battered women and children who are being sheltered there, have more than $2 a day for food?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I have not had a request from Libra House of the nature that the hon. member talks about. I will certainly discuss the issue with the Women's Policy Office. My understanding is that the level of funding that is being provided is sufficient to carry them through the year. That is the only communication that I have had about that, so I will certainly look into the matter. But, Mr. Speaker, I will not automatically assume that I have to run off and do something because the hon. member asked the question in Question Period.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health.

As the minister is aware chiropractors have spent a number of months -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) about the $200.

MR. DOYLE: Yes, I remind the minister that I had my facts straight yesterday as well.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health.

MR. HODDER: What does the Speaker say about this?

MR. DOYLE: As the minister is aware, chiropractors have spent a number of months drafting regulations at the request of the minister's department, as a matter of fact, and these regulations were submitted to the minister about a month ago. Could the minister indicate what the status of these regulations are, and when the regulations might be approved?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, it is the prerogative of the Department of Health, the Government through the minister, the minister through the Government to proclaim the regulations under the Chiropractor's Act. Now this Government always operates in a spirit of co-operation where we talk back and forth with people who will be affected. Therefore, after we announced the Chiropractor's Act last year we went out to the chiropractors and asked them to make some suggestions to the Government as to what they would want to have included in the regulations, notwithstanding the fact that the Chiropractor's Act belongs to the people of the Province. It is not the chiropractor's, it is not the teachers, it is the people of the Province who owns the Chiropractor's Act. Nevertheless we were courteous and asked the chiropractors to give us some recommendations.

Now, Mr. Speaker, as I understand it there was some delay on their part. I think they had some misunderstandings among themselves as to what they were going to recommend, and not too long ago we finally did receive from the chiropractors - after I notified them and gave them a deadline and said: if you do not have your suggestions into us by such and such a date, then we will go ahead and do it anyway. So we finally did receive some suggestions from them. These suggestions, Mr. Speaker, are now being analyzed and reviewed, and in due course we will be making the regulations so that the people of the Province can receive the protection, and so that the chiropractors can be protected. The spirit of co-operation as usual, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. DOYLE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In the last session of the House, Government passed legislation governing chiropractors. Can the minister tell the House when the act is going to be proclaimed, or is there a problem with the Act, or is proclamation of the Act also contingent upon approval of the regulations?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I think that question was answered in the first question. As I said, the regulations are now being examined and it will be proclaimed as soon as we are satisfied that all the information has been gathered.

MR. DOYLE: A supplementary to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

MR. DOYLE: As the minister is aware, the majority report, and the minority report, as well, on Workers' Compensation, recommended that chiropractic services be covered under the Workers' Compensation Act. Is it the Government's intention to have these services covered under Workers' Compensation, as was mentioned in the majority and minority reports?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think, as the hon. member knows, in asking the question, we are not in a position yet to state publicly what any of the responses of Government will be to the recommendations of the Workers' Compensation Review Committee report. We have indicated when we release the report publicly that we would take the remainder of this calendar year to allow everyone with an interest in that system and in the report to respond to us as to the direct recommendations in the report. One of the groups that have indicated they will give a response are the chiropractors. We will consider everything dealing with Workers' Compensation, including their position, when we make decisions relating to the Workers' Compensation Commission, early in the new year.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, a final supplementary to the Minister of Health.

MR. WARREN: Minister of Health, wake up!

MR. DOYLE: When he is ready. Chiropractors have been given X ray privileges, I believe, under the Act that will be proclaimed. They have also requested that X ray services be covered under MCP, as they are in some other provinces in Canada. Not in all provinces, but in some provinces, these X ray privileges are covered under MCP. Can the minister tell the House if that is going to be the case for chiropractors? Will these X ray services be covered under MCP when the Act is finally proclaimed?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, when the Act was being drafted, chiropractors wanted to have the right to have their X rays in their own offices, and there was some discussion as to whether or not MCP would pay for the use of these X rays in their offices. Government have decided that we will not be paying for the X rays. I don't know what some future government will do, I don't know what this Government will do at some future time, but there is no provision, no plan, at this time, for Government to pay for X rays in chiropractors' offices.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Social Services. The minister is no doubt aware that the Consumer Organization for the Disabled announced yesterday that they might have to close their doors because of a lack of funding. Now, this morning, another organization, the Association for Community Living, have informed me that they, as well, did not get adequate funding, that they are in an overdraft position at the bank, and that they must lay off their executive director of the organization today, December 6, this afternoon, thereby severely curtailing the activities of that organization.

My question for the minister is: does the Minister support those organizations, and, for the sake of $47,000 for both of those organizations, is the minister about to sacrifice them?

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

MR. HOGAN: Mr. Speaker, I am totally supportive of those organizations. They are doing some very fine work in the Province. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the year, they were allotted a certain amount in the Budget and, as everybody does, we have to attempt to live within the Budget. We have revisited on a number of occasions and have addressed it accordingly.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to point out to the minister that the Association for Community Living requested $112,000, they got $100,000, and then $20,000 of that was taken away from them and given to another group - not another group, but a branch. The umbrella group did not get that money.

I want to ask the minister a question specifically concerning the Association for Community Living.

The Association for Community Living is now more important than ever, because Government is closing group homes and integrating more individuals back into the community. I ask the minister to reconsider the request, in view of the important work that the Association does in helping families to support mentally disabled children and adults in the home.

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

MR. HOGAN: As stated, Mr. Speaker, the department will always revisit these requests for funding. We have more than one group out there to provide core funding, and there are x number of dollars to be provided to all these groups. We just cannot deal with one request when all the groups are under the same fiscal restraints.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, is this not a penny wise and pound foolish situation? If families do not have the support they need to keep mentally disabled members at home, then Government will have to care for them in institutions at much greater cost. Is this not so? Could the minister not confirm this or deny it?

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

MR. HOGAN: I do not have the exact figures in front of me, Mr. Speaker, so I will neither deny nor admit it, but I do recognize the great work that these groups are doing out there, as all people associated with the department.

MR. TOBIN: You can't do it (inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Can you stay quiet?

MR. HOGAN: Could I have the protection of the Chair before I boot the hon. member across the way, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the minister.

MR. HOGAN: As I was saying, Mr. Speaker, we address the concerns of all these groups. We do recognize the work they are doing publicly with people less advantaged than we are, and we will continue to recognize that and supply the funding as we have it.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my final question to the Premier. I ask the Premier: In view of the fact that only $47,000 is needed to support those two organizations, the Consumer Organization for the Disabled, and the Association for Community Living - one, the advocate for all disabled people, the other, integral to the rehabilitation of mentally handicapped in the Province; one, about to close its doors, the other having to lay off an executive director - can the Premier tell me what are his priorities and the priorities of the Government? Is this Liberal philosophy, and is this not an attack on the weakest, most vulnerable people in society?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the Government has an overall responsibility to the people of the Province to manage all of the affairs of the Province in a sound and proper way, and you cannot let any one group dictate what the Budget is going to be and make the functioning of this House totally superfluous. The Government has to lead the way in bringing its proposal to the House and manage the budgetary expenditures for that group, what it makes available to that group, amongst all others.

Now I have seen the press release. The first I heard of it was when I saw a copy of the press release relating to it, so I spoke with the President of Treasury Board, who has assured me that they will have somebody from Treasury Board go and look at what is happening, and see if the position is, in fact, justified or if they simply decided that they are going to run their own budget anyway, without regard to what the Government or the House does. We will take a look at it, and if there is genuine need there the Government is not insensitive to genuine need for the people of the Province. The President of Treasury Board already has the matter in hand, and he will attend to it, I have no doubt.

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

MR. PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. Three years ago, the Town of Flatrock received its last provincial grant for water and sewer. At that time the Town of Flatrock was very highly prioritized. This Government is now saying that Flatrock's priority rate has dropped, and the town is not even in the running for water and sewer funding in the near future. This small town is being assessed at $40,000 per annum, and with this previous funding there is still half a mile to go to put the pipe to the first house. Does the minister think that this is fair? Now their priority is gone, there is nothing in the foreseeable future, and they still have to pay the $40,000. If there were some inkling that there was something in the future - but does the minister think it is fair for this small town to pay that $40,000 for nothing, and if he does not think it is fair, will he do something about it?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, we are in the process now of looking at water and sewer, roads, and other servicing needs for municipalities throughout the Province, including Flatrock. As to whether or not Flatrock will be prioritized in this year's capital works is much too early to determine. As I said, we are in the process now of examining, community by community, and looking at the recommendations from our regional offices. So it is much too early, Mr. Speaker, to answer the question.

MR. PARSONS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. PARSONS: I want to remind the minister that Flatrock's mil rate is now 5.5 with no services whatsoever, none. How can the council raise the mil rate?

Mr. Speaker, I do not know if the minister is aware of it or not, but officials from his department have already told the Town Council of Flatrock that what they should do is dig artesian wells in troubled areas. So, Mr. Speaker, it seems as if the minister's officials have already decided on what the minister is talking about, looking into the situation in Flatrock.

I want to ask the minister again: If this is right, and it is, what is in the future for the Town of Flatrock? Will he erase this $40,000 and give the people the chance, if it is necessary and if there is nothing there for the future, to dig the artesian wells? Will the minister do that?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, I will certainly commit to examine the recommendations from the regional office. The hon. member is probably talking about some discussions between the Town Council, no doubt the officials of my department, possibly the regional office, and the town officials regarding possible solutions to the problem that exists with Flatrock. So, I will certainly commit to examine those recommendations and see whether or not solutions can be found within the parameters of capital works. Whether or not it will be this year is difficult to determine because, as I said, we are just in the process now of examining the priorities, community by community, and establishing the amount of money that will be spent this year.

At the end of the day, Mr. Speaker, whether Flatrock will be prioritized in this year's capital works will have to be determined. Certainly, I will commit to talk to my officials to see what their recommendations are and to see whether or not I am in agreement.

MR. PARSONS: A final supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. PARSONS: The minister will know that the City of St. John's has refused to take septic waste from the surrounding area. A place to dump this affluent has become a major problem for all the surrounding communities. With the ground frozen, the problem is even greater for dumping because there is no seepage.

Will the minister tell this hon. House what is being done? We were told that something was ongoing three months ago, but nothing has materialized. Will the minister now tell the House if there is some place where this affluent can be dumped?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, I will take that question under advisement. I understand that Environment and Lands and my own officials have been working on a solution to the septic waste problem, sites that might be available. I will take that question under advisement and report back to the House as to which sites have been designated.

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

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

My question is to the Minister responsible for Municipal and Provincial Affairs. It concerns the Labrador Travel Subsidy Program, a program implemented to subsidize the travel of athletes and cultural groups to participate in events here on the Island portion of the Province. Mr. Speaker, $310,000 was allocated last year to assist these groups in travel, and that budget had all been spent or allocated about a month ago.

Now, the minister responded to my question in the House and said a decision will be made soon with regard to increased funding in that particular program. Mr. Speaker, groups in Western Labrador have to make arrangements to travel to the Island portion of the Province to participate in provincial figure skating competitions and if they do not have word within a couple of days, Mr. Speaker, they will not be able to participate because they have to outlay funds with regard to accommodations and their commitment on the travel portion.

Mr. Speaker, can the minister tell me now whether or not a decision has been made with regard to the extra allocation of funds in the Labrador Travel Subsidy Program?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is correct, we have been having discussions with the people affected by the Travel Subsidy Program. I have also met with the Mayors of Happy Valley - Goose Bay and Labrador City just recently. Both of them came in to see me. We are examining the program, attempting to find a solution to a very difficult problem, I must agree. But, Mr. Speaker, we have not as yet made a decision as to what we are going to do with the Labrador Travel Subsidy Program.

The matter of the figure skating clubs and the competition that is coming up on the weekend, I believe you said, I will address that today to see what difficulty is there. But, Mr. Speaker, we have yet to make a decision on the Labrador Travel Subsidy Program. I realize the seriousness of it, the lateness in the season, and the fact that several events are forthcoming. We will deal with this matter, Mr. Speaker, very shortly.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture and responsible for Environment, but in his absence, I will ask the Premier.

The Federal Government has just announced new pollution controls and pollution control regulations on pulp mills. Can the Premier advise the House what the consequences of these new regulations will be on the three pulp and paper mills in Newfoundland, and can the Premier tell the House what prior knowledge the Provincial Government has had of these matters and what plans have been made to ensure that compliance with these new regulations will not cost jobs in this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I cannot give the House the detailed information today that the hon. member requested, but when I heard the announcement made by the Federal Minister, Mr. Charest, I asked the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture how it would affect, particularly the older mills at Corner Brook and Grand Falls, and he told me that his understanding of the situation at that point in time was that the liquid effluent from both those mills was not the greatest problem, that the greatest pollution problem was in the air in Corner Brook. Also, the mill at Corner Brook, he told me was, and I have heard from others in the industry there, they are moving out of the sulfite pulp altogether and moving into thermo mechanical pulp, which would eliminate a good deal of the effluent problem. So, exactly what the impact will be, I do not at this moment know, but the minister is doing an assessment of it and will probably be able to advise the House as to what the circumstances are next week.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, a news story last night on the CBC, indicated that officials at Kruger indicated that the cost of compliance might be as much as $40 million and $20 million in Abitibi-Price in Grand Falls. It strikes me, Mr. Speaker, as being a rather serious amount of money to comply with these regulations and not really consistent with, apparently the minister's advice to the Premier as to what the consequences are. I wonder, Mr. Speaker, does the Premier have confidence that his Department of Forestry and Agriculture and Environment is really up to speed on this?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I saw the news story too and I have learned from very sound experience, not to run off and make decisions on the basis of what I see in the television media, hear on the radio or read in the newspapers, so I will still await the minister's assessment.

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

MR. HARRIS: Just simply, Mr. Speaker, on a supplementary, would the Premier commit to requesting the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture to make a ministerial statement to the House next week on this issue, so that we can all know and particularly the people who depend on these industries know what the consequences might be?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I am not going to commit to any such thing. I have told the House I have asked the minister to find out the information, and I just told the hon. member in the answer to the last question that we would advise the House next week. Now whether the minister does it or I do it, I do not feel that it is necessary for me to commit that it will be the minister who will do it. I may do it or somebody else may do it, but I restate again what I said in answer to his first question, that the minister or I or somebody else will advise the House sometime next week I hope, as soon as we have the information as to what the consequences will be.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains. There is time for a very brief question, with a correspondingly brief answer.

MR. WARREN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Social Services. A couple of days ago I asked the minister about the possibility of keeping the group home open in Happy Valley - Goose Bay. Yesterday, a former cabinet minister, the Member for Naskaupi, went public and also is demanding the Government keep that particular group home open. Would the minister now reconsider his position and keep that group home open? That could be of benefit to those people who definitely need that kind of service.

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

MR. HOGAN: No. Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Before moving on to other routine business, on behalf of hon. members -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Before moving on to other routine business, on behalf of hon. Members I would like to welcome to the galleries today another group of students from Queen Elizabeth High School in Foxtrap, accompanied by their teacher, Mr. Ross Senior.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Notices of Motion

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Department Of Mines And Energy Act, 1989." This is Bill Number 60.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to draw Your Honour's attention to an error in the Order Paper today, dealing with Motions 4 and 5, which in fact should be second readings. Sometimes this happens on Friday because of the short turnaround time in printing. So I would just like to draw hon. Members' attention to that inadvertent error in the Order Paper.

Mr. Speaker, Motion 6.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 6.

Motion, the hon. the Premier to introduce a bill, "An Act To Establish An Advisory Council On The Economy," carried. (Bill No. 61).

On motion, Bill No. 61 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow, by leave.

MR. BAKER: Motion 7, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 7.

This is the third reading of Bill 50. Hon. Members will know that Motion 7 states the conditions for the debate, the time limits, which is commonly referred to as closure.

Motion 7, carried.

MR. BAKER: Order 4, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 4.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I think it is highly unusual indeed that we debate third readings of bills. It has not happened very often in my sixteen years in this House. In fact, I am not sure that we have ever debated third reading of a bill since -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: We have had a couple?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Several times the last couple of years, Mr. Speaker, and I would suspect each time was on the closure motion.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No? But that is the first point that I want to make, Mr. Speaker, that this is the third closure motion forcing this piece of legislation through the House of Assembly.

MR. TOBIN: That's ten in two years!

MR. WINDSOR: Ten in two years. I think there were three in the history of this House of Assembly since Confederation, three closure motions used prior to this Government coming into power, and we have had ten closure motions in the last two years. That says something, Mr. Speaker, about this Government and the respect - or the disrespect - that they have for the House of Assembly.

Now I am not going to speak at great length this morning. Hon. gentlemen opposite will be glad to hear that. I see no point, and I say that out of absolute frustration for this whole exercise. I say it out of disgust for the process that we have gone through. I say it out of a feeling of shame for this House of Assembly and for the process that we have seen take place on this particular piece of legislation. I take no pride in participating in this particular debate except for the honour that I feel of representing my constituents. It is sad that hon. gentlemen opposite are not feeling the same pride and are not representing their constituents in the same manner.

Mr. Speaker, one matter of detail I did want to address was the statement the minister made yesterday as it relates to the regional services concept. The minister made the statement, I think, that most municipalities in the northeast region did not favour regional services. Now there are unparliamentary terms that I cannot use, of course, to apply to that statement.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs on a point of order.

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is misleading the House. I did not make any such statement that municipalities on the Northeast Avalon were not in favour of regional services. I made no such statement.

MR. SPEAKER: That is not a point of order. The hon. member is making a point of clarification.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I have no intention this morning of arguing with the hon. minister. Hansard will show very clearly what he said.

Now, Mr. Speaker, last evening in discussing that statement with a gentleman friend of mine, he said: there are certain parliamentary terms you cannot use. Why don't you use the one that the former Prime Minister of England, Sir Winston Churchill, used to use when it is not parliamentary. I say to the young people in the galleries, it is not parliamentary to call a member a liar or to say that a member lied, so we would not use that term. Sir Winston Churchill said: 'the hon. gentleman is the purveyor of terminological inexactitudes.'

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, it is also well known that you cannot do through the back door what you cannot do through the front door, and the member has, I believe, abused the rules of the House and the intent of the rules of the House by the way that he approached his previous statement.

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

MR. WINDSOR: To that point of order, Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary terminology is what we are speaking about here, the term I cannot use. The facts speak for themselves.

MR. SPEAKER: To the point of order, hon. members all know the rules with respect to parliamentary language, and the hon. the President of Treasury Board is also correct when he says we cannot say indirectly what we cannot say directly, yet in the meantime the Chair would be in a very difficult position to rule unparliamentary the statement made by that great parliamentarian, Sir Winston Churchill. I would still advise hon. members to be circumspect when using the phrase, and not to use it in the sense of trying to say something that one cannot say directly. So I advise the hon. member, please, to watch his use of that language.

The hon. Member from Mount Pearl.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. BAKER: Just to clarify, Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member for Mount Pearl to take his place. I have recognized the hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: To clarify my comment, Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl on a point of privilege.

MR. BAKER: I am on a point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: But he is on a point of privilege.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I just rose on a point of privilege to clarify what just took place. Your Honour did recognize me. The hon. gentleman opposite stood and started to speak. He did not say that he was on a point of order, and I proceeded to speak. Until Your Honour recognized him on a point of order I think I was totally in order to continue with my address to the House.

MR. SPEAKER: I assume when hon. members stand they are on a point of order. Hon. members view the rules that they are not supposed to stand when an hon. member is speaking. I apologize if I made a mistake. Is the hon. member on a point of order?

MR. BAKER: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I said point of order, but my microphone was not turned on, and Your Honour did recognize me, so things were done properly.

Mr. Speaker, just to clarify my previous point of order, my point of order was not about the topic that Your Honour ruled on about Winston Churchill's use of terminological inexactitude. That was not my point of order. My point of order was concerning language used previous to that, so if Your Honour could check the transcript at some point in time and see what I am talking about.

MR. SPEAKER: To the point of order. I simply advise the hon. Member for Mount Pearl my position, and just advise him to be cautious with his language knowing, as he does, the rules regarding the conduct of members of the House on parliamentary language.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Did I do? Once again, Your Honour, has displayed the wisdom of Solomon in his rulings. I accept Your Honour's ruling.

The point I want to make this morning, very briefly, and I have taken more time already than I had actually expected to spend on this this morning. As I said in my preamble I think this is the fifth time I have spoken in this debate. I think I have said all that needs to be said. I think I have covered all of the details of the various aspects of this legislation and the ramifications of it, and it is clear that hon. gentlemen opposite have no intention of listening to what is being said, and that I am having absolutely no impact on hon. gentlemen opposite.

I did want to point out though the inexactitude of the minister in dealing with statements relating to groups or municipalities as to whether they did or did not favour any kind of regional services. Of the briefs that were submitted to the commission established by the minister let me very quickly outline the municipalities that did or did not relate to it. The City of St. John's made no reference to a regional board or authority. In fact as I recall the City of St. John's requested that they be the regional board or authority which is exactly what the minister has made them. The Committee of Wedgewood Park recognized that a regional authority can best provide services such as water, fire protection, animal control, and so forth. They recognized that concept. When I say, Mr. Speaker, that municipalities recognize that concept, they recognize it in relation to the structure that the minister had brought through this House in legislation a year ago, the Regional Services Bill which provided for a democratic structure of administering regional services. Let us not confuse that kind of a structure with the autocratic approach that the minister has taken with his particular proposal in Bill 50. It is not a regional service we are talking about. It is a municipal service being foisted on other municipalities. The community of St. Phillips made no reference to it, Mr. Speaker. Portugal Cove stated that the town feels there is a need for services of a regional nature. Petty Harbour -Maddox Cove made no reference to regional services whatsoever. The Goulds made no reference. St. John's Metro Board states that a regional services authority should be established. Torbay supports a form of regional authority. Pouch Cove made no references. Bauline made no reference, and Flatrock made no reference to regional authorities. Logy Bay, Middle Cove, Outer Cove recommended that establishment of a regional services body be considered. Mount Pearl, 'supports the concept of regional government'. Paradise, a regional authority would be responsible for all water sheds, pumping and treatment facilities, and so forth. St. Thomas, no reference. Mr. Speaker, that covers all the municipalities. If the minister cares to challenge that I refer him to the report of the commissioners which provides in them copies of the briefs from the municipalities. Those references were taken from his commissioner's report, clearly documented and tabled in this hon. House, so when the minister stood in his place yesterday and said that municipalities in this region did not want regional services, then obviously he is expressing an inexactitude very clearly. I just wanted to clean up that point, Mr. Speaker.

MR. GULLAGE: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. GULLAGE: I do not know, Mr. Speaker, how long the Chair is going to tolerate the hon. member's inaccuracies. Everything he is saying is untruthful and certainly was not said by me yesterday.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would advise hon. members again of the necessity of adhering to the rules of this House, in the interest of decorum. I would ask the hon. Member for Mount Pearl please to cautiously use the term that he is using. In the meantime, the Chair will look at Hansard and see in which context it was used before I make a ruling, but it was indeed unparliamentary in this particular case.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have no intention of continuing with any kind of a trivial argument with the hon. minister. The hon. minister is so insignificant that I really have no concern for whether he is upset or whether he is not. I can appreciate that the reception he got in Mount Pearl last night leaves him a little uneasy this morning.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: I said, I think, in this House that I did not know if the hon. gentleman had courage or lacked sense, Mr. Speaker. I think that the second was right. I think the second was right, because I would not have done what he did last night.

I just want to conclude my remarks once again by pointing out that the key factor in this whole debate is the lack of a democratic process here. Once again let me say that this House is being manipulated to allow the minister to break the existing law. He is not changing the law. He is using this House to allow him to do what he cannot do legally. I spent some time yesterday in this debate pointing out that hon. gentlemen opposite clearly are not listening to their constituents. I spoke at some length yesterday as well about the philosophical question of whether or not members have a responsibility here to represent the feelings of the majority of their constituents. When does a member's right to stand and speak in this House supersede the clear voice of a majority of the constituents?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Of a majority. It is very clear that the majority in this case do not favour this legislation - clear, Mr. Speaker. If hon. gentlemen opposite - it is an option I gave the minister yesterday which was voted down by hon. gentlemen opposite - the clear opportunity, if they feel so strongly that the majority of people favour this particular piece of legislation, let them put it to a plebiscite. Let the people speak. They refused to do that. Each of them stood in their place and was counted, and it is recorded in Hansard that each of them refused to let the people speak on this issue.

As I said yesterday, I do not favour governing by plebiscite, but there are times when governments, in their wisdom, feel that a particular course of action is appropriate; but when the expression of thousands of people directly involved is contrary to that, then a plebiscite is a very valid mechanism to hear the people. It may not be bound by it. I suggested that Government be bound by it. Hon. gentlemen opposite chose yesterday, in voting against my amendment, not to give the people a voice. Well they will eventually have a voice. As we all know, every four years or thereabouts the people vote in the greatest plebiscite of all - a general election - and I suspect the people will speak, and we will find out how the people of this region feel.

I am concerned about the illegality of the process, the fact that feasibility studies were not carried out on this particular proposal in accordance with the existing legislation. I have pointed out, as hon. members are aware, that the City of Mount Pearl today were to be in court, in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland, challenging this particular piece of legislation purely on legal grounds - a very strong legal challenge, Mr. Speaker. I am aware also that the Department of Justice is doing everything to defeat that move on technical grounds. The Department of Justice, no doubt directed by Government, clearly do not want to have this matter debated by the courts. So we have seen debate in this House stifled by three closure motions. We have seen this House, or the Government majority in this House, stifle the people's voice by voting against a plebiscite; we see the Department of Justice doing everything possible to stop this matter from coming before the courts. I do not know what this Government is so afraid about, Mr. Speaker, but it is an extremely cowardly approach. To refuse to let - or try to stop - the City of Mount Pearl from having their day in court. I was just passed a note by the way, as I was speaking, that the hearing has now been deferred until Monday at the court's request.

Amazing, the courts have now requested it be deferred until Monday. I will not cast any aspersions on the court as to whether or not that was a legitimate logistical problem or whether it was as a result of some trickery by the Department of Justice representatives on this particular case. Time will tell.

But I am particularly concerned about: the legality of the process; I am particularly concerned about the lack of concern for the wishes of the people; I am particularly concerned about the undemocratic approach that is being taken; the incredible powers that are being given to this Government, being taken by this Government, over municipalities. It marks the death of any kind of autonomy and self-determination in municipalities in this Province. It is a very serious piece of legislation, and I think it is a very serious day in this Legislature that this will be forced through the House of Assembly.

So there are not many avenues available to us. This Government has control of this House, they are using their majority in this House to force this legislation through, as we will see it today. But there is one final hope I suppose. His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor has to give royal assent -

AN HON. MEMBER: No he doesn't.

MR. WINDSOR: He has to give royal assent before it becomes law.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, before it becomes law.

MR. WINDSOR: Before it becomes law the Lieutenant-Governor must give royal assent on behalf of Her Majesty. The Lieutenant-Governor's role, of course, is to protect the people, I suppose. He is the final protector of the people against a dictatorial government, or a government which is doing something that is totally against the good of the people. That is his role. He is there to safeguard our basic democratic principles.

So, Mr. Speaker, I want to advise this House that this morning on the way to this Chamber I visited His Honour. I visited His Honour because I feel so strongly that what is taking place in this Chamber is so much against the democratic principles on which this House is founded. I delivered to His Honour a letter -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No, Mr. Speaker, the Premier will be well advised to visit His Honour and submit his resignation. The Minister of Justice might just as well, because he is going to be fired out shortly anyway. I delivered to His Honour a letter. I ask Your Honour's guidance as to whether I should read it into the record or simply table it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I will read it, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I do not need His Honour's permission. I asked His Honour's guidance because I have respect for His Honour.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!


MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the letter reads:

May it please Your Honour: the hon. House of Assembly in this present third session of the forty-first General Assembly has passed a certain measure, Bill 50, "An Act To Facilitate The Amalgamation Of Certain Municipal Authorities And Municipal Services In Relation To The Northeast Avalon Region." This Bill in essence facilitates the amalgamation of certain municipal authorities and municipal services in accordance with the resolution respecting the Northeast Avalon region as adopted by the House of Assembly on May 24, 1991.

I am gravely concerned that the present proposal was not the subject of a properly conducted feasibility report in accordance with Section 9 (1) of The Municipalities Act and similar sections in The City Of St. John's Act and The City Of Mount Pearl Act. Further, the City Council of the City of Mount Pearl shares these concerns and has petitioned the Supreme Court of Newfoundland to rule that Bill 50 is ultra vires and should be declared invalid.

Additionally, an abnormal measure of public reaction has clearly shown that an overwhelming majority of the residents of the region disagree with the provisions of Bill 50. An amendment to Bill 50 which would have provided an opportunity for the people to exercise their democratic rights by way of a plebiscite was defeated by the Government majority in the House, therefore denying the people this opportunity to be heard.

I am particularly concerned that section 10 (3) of Bill 50, confers on the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, abnormal powers over municipalities which are clearly contrary to accepted democratic principles and contrary to the objectives of the Commonwealth Heads of Government, who at their mid-October meeting in Zimbabwe, re-affirmed the 1971 Singapore Declaration which included and I quote: 'Inalienable right to participate by means of free and democratic political processes in framing the society in which he or she lives.' Accordingly, I beseech Your Honour to refuse Royal Assent on behalf of Her Majesty, in the name of Her loyal subjects.

Mr. Speaker, I table that letter for the benefit of the House of Assembly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: Now, Mr. Speaker, this is an unusual measure -

MR. NOEL: Maybe Mount Pearl (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I am not aware that it has happened before, there may have been one or two other occasions but I doubt it very much. The President of Treasury Board feels that there probably was not, but it is the final avenue open to the House of Assembly, when an injustice is being forced through the House of Assembly. His Honour is the Queen's representative, His Honour is the representative of the Commonwealth and Protector of Democratic Principles, Mr. Speaker -

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Do not interrupt.

MR. WINDSOR: - and this is the final appeal available to us and I have taken that action this morning. So with those few words, Mr. Speaker, I will now take my seat. Let me simply assure this Government that this day is not the end of this debate. This debate will live on. The City of Mount Pearl will not stop, the hon. minister must know that well, we will continue to fight in the courts - we will continue to fight in the courts. We will continue to fight in this Chamber with every avenue that is available to us, Mr. Speaker, and let me assure this Government that we will fight them in the next election and we will fight them fiercely and they will pay, Mr. Speaker, the price for their actions in this House of Assembly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

On motion, a bill " An Act To Facilitate The Amalgamation Of Certain Municipal Authorities And Municipal Services In Relation To The Northeast Avalon Region." read a third time, ordered passed and its title be as on the Order Paper. (Bill No. 50).

MR. BAKER: Order 20, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 20, second reading of a bill "An Act Respecting Colleges of Applied Arts, Technology And Continuing Education", (Bill No. 37). I think this is an adjourned debate, it has already been introduced, so the second reading of Bill 37, Order No. 20, "An Act Respecting Colleges of Applied Arts, Technology And Continuing Education".

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am not sure how much time I have left. The clerk may - six minutes?

Six minutes. Mr. Speaker, last night we had a fairly good discussion on Bill 37. Hopefully during the points made, Government had the chance to perhaps have second thoughts about some of their plans. One of the things we are seeing about this Government is that they make moves in haste. Here we have the Minister of Education setting up a number of Colleges of Applied Arts, Technology and Continuing Education, and as we said we have no problem with this to a great degree, but it is the omissions that we worry about. What is going to happen with the Fisher Institute? What is going to happen to all the smaller colleges throughout the Province, colleges where students in the small rural areas could attend to get their first year university and pick up other courses. Are they going to continue? Are the courses going to be cut back?

Just this morning, I had a call from an instructor at the Marine Institute who is extremely worried about courses that are being dropped, some of the courses that the field, the industry, is pressing to have reinstated. There is a shortage of people with the courses involved and, apparently, these courses are going to be dropped because of changes occurring at the Marine Institute. So I wonder how much thought -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HEARN: That is factual. It comes from an instructor at the Marine Institute, and it is a real concern. Once again, we have the great addition to the debate by the former president of the NTA when he says: 'No, that is not right.' Hansard will show that the member certainly has a record for the number of times he says, That is not right, that is not correct. And, as time goes by, somebody could look at the member and say: That was right, that was correct.

Being a junior minister in Cabinet, he has not been told very much, and maybe, with his background in teaching, he should be a lot more concerned about what is going on with the people who were away from him. When he was out there working in the trenches for x number of years as a teacher, and as the President of the NTA, he was there plodding away, hand in hand with the people in the field, and you had the two scholars hoarded away at university - the Minister of Education, and the Minister of Finance - in there for centuries, I suppose, completely and utterly out of touch with what is going on, and all of a sudden they come into elected life and they want to change everything. But are they changing everything to coincide with the needs of today? No, they are changing everything to coincide with the theories that they spouted forty years ago when they were then senior members in the faculty of education.

So, Mr. Speaker, we have some real concerns about the haste in which the minister is moving, and the lack of planning in the overall educational program in the Province. This morning, we saw a combination of efforts of the two ministers who sit so closely there together. They are inseparable, they have been for years. But the statement made by the Minister of Finance, this morning, about the elimination of school tax, as you delve into the statement - and it certainly has an effect on the financing of education, in case somebody is wondering about relevancy - as you look at the abolition of school tax, from then on it is extremely vague how the minister is going to address making up the funding. He says there will be nobody with any less money than they had last year. That is not the aim. The aim is to make sure that they have more money. He goes on to say, but without dating it, as they have been doing for these last two-and-a-half years, that 'it is our aim to equalize.' Now the big question there is, equalize to what? Does it mean to the top board in the Province? If that is the case, that is great, but, then, on top of that, the question is, as costs escalate over the next few years, is that amount of money - over which the boards have no control now, absolutely no control - is that amount of money going to continue to escalate? What the minister did not tell the people of Newfoundland, who are now breathing a sigh of relief because they heard school tax is abolished and we will not have to pay $100 to $130, whatever, next year - unknown to them is that the minister must find some way now, because he says he is not going to rush into tax reform because it is too complicated for him to figure out. What the minister has not explained to them is how he is going to come up with the $60 million that he is going to need to offset the loss of $40 million in school tax revenue plus the amount of money needed to equalize, a minimum of $60 million. Where is the Province going to get $60 million? The answer is simple - where the Province gets all the rest of the money, from the pockets of the taxpayers. So how are we going to get it from the pocket of the taxpayers? - by taking off one tax and putting on another tax. So the people out there who are now breathing a sigh of relief because they do not have to pay the $125, will find that they are going to have to pay a lot more. The unfortunate thing about it is there are a number of people out there who do not have to pay school tax who will now, undoubtedly, have to end up making up the lost money by paying taxes on their bread, milk, and everything else. Mr. Speaker, it will be extremely interesting to see how the Minister of Education and the Minister of Finance will get their heads together to come up with a funding program for education that will make sure that the students in the field benefit, that the boards are not left hung out to dry, that the local authorities have some say in the expenditure of education, and that they are not left to the whim of this or future governments in the Province. That is the real concern, and I do not know if the members have addressed that in their long-term plan; if they have, it will be extremely interesting to hear it down the road. But, as we see here with the applied colleges, we see the minister, rushing full steam ahead, dig out the old theories and dust them off, and full steam ahead, not realizing at all the consequences and fallout that will occur.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I will just conclude by saying that I hope the minister, when he responds, will assure that the smaller colleges will not be wiped out and, with respect to students in rural Newfoundland, in particular, that their future in the Province and their right to education will be looked after as he moves full steam ahead.

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

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

I want to have a few words on this important bill dealing with the structure of community colleges throughout the Province. It was interesting to hear the minister, last night, in his introductory remarks on the bill, and my colleague for St. Mary's - The Capes who, being a former Education Minister, as well, has a good grasp of the issue; because, when he was Minister of Education, I happened to be minister responsible for post-secondary education in the Province.

When we were in Government, we were quite proud to establish the community college system in the Province. We thought it was a major step forward in education and we still do. We knew when we put the community college system together initially that like anything else there would need to be furthering restructuring and further reorganization of the system.

Some of the things we have witnessed the minister do since he became Minister of Education has not pleased some of us, particularly in the area of the Province where I come from, where we have a campus of Eastern Community College at Burin, the Burin campus, where the headquarters of Eastern Community College was established at Salt Pond. The other campuses at that time were Clarenville and Bonavista, a three-campus community college system.

We had established a full-fledged headquarters for Eastern Community College at Salt Pond. Of course, what did the minister and the Cabinet do? They decided they would relocate the headquarters of Eastern Community College to Clarenville. And I said at the time when Government decided to do that, that if it was going to improve the educational value for students serviced by Eastern Community College, I would have had no problem with it whatsoever. I would have had no problem with it if there had been some educational value to the move that was being undertaken by the minister. But what he was doing was taking the headquarters of Eastern Community College from Salt Pond, a well-established, efficient headquarters, and putting it in Clarenville. What he did, in essence, was cost the Government and the Board of Governors of Eastern Community College money for nothing. At a time when we find dollars in the Province very tight, particularly educational dollars, I thought that it was an unnecessary expenditure of scare dollars. And I still consider that it was a waste of educational dollars to relocate a well-established headquarters from one campus to another with no educational benefit whatsoever to the students and the people in the area that that community college system serviced. I know the Member for Carbonear had some problems, as well, with his headquarters established at Carbonear.

MR. TOBIN: He did nothing and said nothing.

MR. MATTHEWS: Well, he might not have said anything but he is not too happy about it. I want to go on record and say to the minister that I still think that was a bad move. I still think it was a very bad move and an unwise expenditure of dollars.

Now, with the reorganization of the community college system, I guess I have to say to the minister that for most intents and purposes it is a positive move. It is a positive move, for the most part. Like I said, in doing so, I think he spent some dollars that he should not have spent, that the boards of governors of these community colleges could have used more wisely than in sending a bunch of people down the highway from Salt Pond to Clarenville; had to rent more space - had a lease on office space in Salt Pond for five years - had to go down to Clarenville, re-establish, enter into new lease-rental arrangements. It was very unnecessary and I think it was politically motivated, I say to the minister, with all due respect. I think he was under great pressure from colleagues opposite who represent some of the districts that - in Bonavista and Clarenville. I think that is the only reason it happened, I say to the minister.

If the next government were of the same mentality as this one, then we would see, after the next election, all of them being moved back down to Salt Pond again. So the poor people would be sick and tired - they would probably go up and down the Burin Peninsula highway as many times I do, I say to the minister. Because, you see, once they are well-established now in Clarenville, there will be no educational value in moving them back to Salt Pond, any more than there was in moving them in the opposite direction. So I think it was an unwise move by the minister and he should not have given in, I say to him, to members opposite who pressured him to relocate that community college from the Burin Peninsula to Clarenville.

I am surprised the minister did it. But, then, when I look at what he did last night, when he introduced the amendments to the University Act, incorporating the Marine Institute, that was a result of direct pressure from his officials in his department, as I told him last night. They had the same notes written for me when I was minister, but I told them to file the notes in the inactive file. Put them in the inactive file. But the minister was pressured by his officials in gobbling up the Marine Institute and putting it in with the University, the same way he has done now, with this Act.

AN HON. MEMBER: He did not stand firm.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, he did not stand firm.

AN HON. MEMBER: You did.

MR. MATTHEWS: Oh, I stood firm. Oh yes, I told the officials who was the boss, who was running the department. That was the difference between me and this minister. That is the difference really with this Government. That is why they are getting into so much trouble. It is because the elected representatives sent here by the people are not governing the Province, I say to the Minister of Finance. That is the reason! You were sent here to govern, you were elected to come here and govern this Province, and you are not doing it. You have bureaucrats over there building up their own little empires that would put in all kinds of recommendations to the minister and give him all the reasons why this is better than what is, and why you should do this, Mr. Minister.

But early in your tenure as a minister, you have to lay the conditions down to the officials and let them know that you are the boss - not that you don't want good advice, because that is what you are paying them for. But you always have to be careful of those people and particularly the people in the executive ranks of the departments, I say to the Minister of Education.

MR. NOEL: Down with bureaucrats!

MR. MATTHEWS: I do not say 'down with bureaucrats.' Down with too many bureaucrats, I say to the Member for Pleasantville.

MR. TOBIN: Don't blame it on the bureaucrats!

MR. MATTHEWS: So you have to govern.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) criticize bureaucrats!

MR. MATTHEWS: Oh, when they need to be criticized I criticize bureaucrats, the same way as I criticize ministers when they deserve to be criticized, the same way as I will criticize colleagues when they deserve to be criticized.


MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, the same way. If they need to be criticized, I will criticize them. But I must say, Mr. Speaker, I have great difficulty in finding any reason to criticize any of my colleagues. I find it very difficult. But Members opposite, they have to govern, that is what they were sent here for, to govern.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: No, I did not say anything about him last night. The member, last night, was out looking after his district and trying to get the Marystown Shipyard re-established, I say to members opposite, with the new company, a facility that this Government let go down to forty workers from 600.

MR. TOBIN: Twenty.

MR. MATTHEWS: Twenty, now - six hundred, two-and-a-half years ago, down to twenty workers, I say to members opposite. That is when this member was in the government. Six hundred workers! Today he has twenty up in the Marystown Shipyard, so is it any wonder he was out last night meeting with the new Norwegian company trying to get some benefits?

Getting back to the bill, Mr. Speaker, and I suppose it is somewhat related that we are talking about the community college system and the Marystown Shipyard, and technology transfer, and whatever else is incorporated in the community college system, because with the training now that these workers are going to have to undergo - about 150 of them are going to be expected to go off to Norway to be trained, to get ready for work that hopefully the new company will get - I am sure there will be an involvement by Eastern Community College, because there has been a great working relationship between Eastern Community College and the Marystown Shipyard. There has been. That is one thing that we have been fortunate with. I have to say this, in the area of the Province that I come from, that the Eastern Community College, in particular the Burin campus, has been a very, very aggressive-

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) education and everything.

MR. MATTHEWS: Everything. They have moved out into the communities on the Burin Peninsula. They are doing extremely good work - extremely good work.

MR. TOBIN: Thanks to Ray Kavanagh.

MR. MATTHEWS: Really, I say to the minister that I am rather pleased that Dr. Marsh has moved into the Department of Education as assistant Deputy Minister, but-

AN HON. MEMBER: He is a bureaucrat. (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: He is a very good bureaucrat, I say to the Minister of Finance, a very good bureaucrat.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: No, I did not say they were all that way. I am sure Dr. Marsh will give very good advice to the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: I am sure he will.

What I was saying is that I was rather pleased, and I congratulated Dr. Marsh when he got the appointment, but I was somewhat saddened, or had a little bit of mixed emotion in a sort of way, when I knew that he would be leaving as president of Eastern Community College, because I happened to be minister when he was about to be appointed there. He did a fantastic job, an excellent job -

AN HON. MEMBER: One of the best.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, one of the best in the system, but what I was saying is that that tied into the Burin Peninsula area with the Marystown Shipyard, that we have received some wonderful benefits from Eastern Community College, in particular Burin campus. My colleague from Burin - Placentia West mentioned Mr. Kavanagh, the principal of the Burin campus.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes he is, and Dr. Marsh and Mr. Kavanagh work very well together. If you look at the enrolment at the Burin campus - I suppose the minister would have a better grip on the enrolment in the community college systems than I have - but I would say to the minister that my guess is that the Burin campus probably has one of the largest or highest enrolments of all the campuses in the community college system, so it has done very well, fulfilling a great purpose.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Well that is another thing that I am pleased the minister brought up, because I happened to announce first year university courses for the Burin campus of Eastern Community College when I was minister of post-secondary education. I was quite relieved when the minister became minister that he did not cancel that, Mr. Speaker. He continued with it, but it has gone very well. It has gone very, very well.

I visited there when students have been doing their courses. I have students from my own communities, even the community across the street where I live I have one or two students who are doing first year at Eastern Community College, Burin campus, and they find it extremely good, I say to the minister. At first there was some apprehension. At first a lot of the young students I know from Fortune where I live, when I asked them, what are you going to do? Are you going to university? Are you going to Burin campus, or St. John's? A lot of them wanted to go to St. John's for some reason. They thought, I guess, it was better and bigger, but -

AN HON. MEMBER: They were good reasons.

MR. MATTHEWS: Well, yes, it probably was for the right reason in their mind at the time, but I say to the Member for Pleasantville that now by far the majority, because of the reputation that has been established in the first year courses at Burin campus, that by far the majority now go to Burin.

AN HON. MEMBER: And the grades are (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: - and the grades are better. They are better, I believe, I say to the minister. Of course, the convenience of going to Salt Pond - they can drive, and go back at night and stay with their parents, or they can stay at the campus, but most of them drive back and forth - it reduces the cost on their parents and them. So that is another positive aspect to getting this stuff out and about the Province.

Overall, Mr. Speaker, I think it has been a very positive move, the community college system in the Province. Like I said, I have a few concerns but they are more localized, I say to the minister, pertaining to the headquarters and relocation; but overall I think this bill is a positive bill, and I commend the minister for bringing it forward.

MR. WINSOR: The first good thing he has done since he has been a minister.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In addressing this bill, I will focus my remarks on the effects of this legislative measure on post-secondary education in Western Newfoundland. This bill has the effect of downgrading post-secondary education in Western Newfoundland by dispensing with the autonomy of Fisher Institute of Applied Arts and Technology which is located in Corner Brook, and subordinating the present Fisher Institute to Western Community College. In keeping with the Government's penchant for amalgamating and merging, this measure brings together the Fisher Institute of Applied Arts and Technology with Western Community College under headquarters at Stephenville.

Mr. Speaker, as I have said when I have spoken about municipal amalgamation, amalgamation in and of itself may be good or it may be bad, it is necessary to evaluate each individual proposal. In positive instances, amalgamation has the result of harmonizing, of bringing about economies of scale, of reducing the unit cost of operating, of eliminating duplications and of avoiding conflicts. There are examples where this Government and previous Governments have presided over amalgamations where there have been beneficial results.

However, amalgamation may be negative. Bigger is not always better. Centralizing and urbanizing is not always better. Often, in our Province, with our preponderance of rural population, centralization has negative consequences. Now, Mr. Speaker, in this particular instance of the Government moving to combine Fisher Institute with Western Community College, although the minister has used glib platitudes such as the three education Es - equality, excellence and efficiency - and although he has talked about 'more scholar for the dollar', and although he says 'this is all calculated to streamline and rationalize', he has not provided any specifics.

He went through what I consider to be a sham consultative exercise more than a year ago - he published a White Paper on post-secondary education in February 1990. Now, Mr. Speaker, some parts of that Paper had some merit but the particular section dealing with the Government's thinking about 'revising institutional structures in Corner Brook,' was sadly deficient. After a very short preamble, the document jumped to a conclusion which amounted to a non sequitur. The document jumped from the statement that: the existence of both Western and Fisher within this city - meaning Corner Brook - cannot be justified when their overall mandates are similar.... to the conclusion: therefore Government plans to create one community college for the entire West Coast of the Province, Fisher will become the Corner Brook campus of the new college. That was it.

In the months that followed, when the minister was inviting citizens to respond to the White Paper, there was quite a bit of response from organizations, agencies and individuals in Western Newfoundland. Several important agencies rejected the White Paper proposal of subordinating Fisher Institute to Western Community College through a merger. There were formal representations made by municipalities, chambers of commerce, by individuals, by the Fisher Institute Board of Governors, faculty and staff. Many of these submissions showed considerable care and concern, indicated thoughtful analysis and put forward constructive reflections.

The Fisher Institute submission addressed the concern with administrative cost. The Minister, although never clearly stating how combining Fisher with Western would result in economies of scale, intimated that the merger would result in the elimination of some administrative jobs. The statistics indicate that the spending on administrative positions as a proportion of the overall salary and operating budgets at both Fisher and Western are considerably below the Ontario community colleges model. But the figures also show that the spending is proportionately lowest at Fisher Institute. That reality does not seem to be reflected in the Government's decision, and the Government has craftily avoided ever spelling out specifics for people in Western Newfoundland, for people involved in post-secondary education, for elected representatives at the municipal and Provincial levels, and for the citizens at large.

After the White Paper consultation sham in October of 1990 the Minister of Education announced that the Government was going to proceed to implement the proposals in the White Paper. As I mentioned last night, the legislation now before the House reflects that resolve with the exception of what the Government is doing to the Marine Institute. But that was the subject of last night's debate. In the case of Fisher Institute the minister indicated back in October of 1990 that the Government would be proceeding to implement the White Paper idea. He did not provide any more rationale than the White Paper had laid out. All he gave once again were glib platitudes.

Now at that point in the debate a group of municipalities in the Bay of Islands - Humber Valley region, called the Great Humber Joint Council, had been seeking a meeting in the area with the minister. Months had passed since their first request to the minister and finally after the political heat was turned up the minister agreed to come to Corner Brook for a meeting. Most people here will remember the infamous meeting at Corner Brook City Hall. The Member for Humber West, the Minister of Education, and the Mayor of Corner Brook had a meeting with representatives of area organizations supposedly to explain the Government's decision.

I was barred from that meeting. I was blocked at the front door of Corner Brook City Hall by a uniformed municipal police officer.

AN HON. MEMBER: Tell the whole story (Inaudible).

MS. VERGE: I am telling the whole story, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not half a story.

MS. VERGE: I am telling the whole story as I know it, Mr. Speaker. I tried to go to that meeting one October night last year and I was blocked at the front door of Corner Brook City Hall by a uniformed municipal police officer. I made a second attempt to get into that meeting later that evening by specifically asking the police officer to go upstairs to the meeting and let the mayor know that I was downstairs trying to get in.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, the Minister is behaving in a very defensive way, as well he should. The question I asked after being blocked from that meeting was: what is the Government trying to hide? Why are they afraid to subject their decision to combine Fisher Institute with Western Community College and in doing so to downgrade Fisher Institute and to shortchange education in Western Newfoundland to the light of public scrutiny? Mr. Speaker, there are still many doubts, concerns, fears and unanswered questions in the minds of people in Western Newfoundland, including the administrators, faculty, staff and students at post-secondary education institutions in Western Newfoundland.

Let's go back to the minister's platitudes about streamlining and rationalization. It is not good enough to hide behind these buzzwords. The minister has to demonstrate through facts and figures, by referring to the actual instance, how there are going to be economies of scale from this merger, and how the cause of educational quality is going to be enhanced. The minister has totally failed to do this. What the Government is doing is combining within one legal entity an institute located in Corner Brook - with physical facilities concentrated on O'Connell Drive in Corner Brook, which is now delivering programs to 650 full-time students - with a community college concentrated in Stephenville but with campuses in three or four other places. In addition to Stephenville, Stephenville Crossing, Port aux Basques, until - for a couple of years in between - Corner Brook and St. Anthony.

Now the possibilities for economies of scale - given the distances separating these campuses, these educational buildings - I would suggest are minimal. How is it possible to achieve economies of scale in serving students located more than sixty miles from each other, in the one case centred and concentrated on O'Connell Drive in Corner Brook, and in the other case concentrated in Stephenville?

I mentioned that some of the people who responded to the White Paper showed a willingness to examine some modification or a change. The Fisher Institute Board of Governors' submission suggested that Government, instead of pursuing the option of subordinating Fisher to Western and putting it under a headquarters in Stephenville, sixty miles away, instead look at the idea of facilitating linkages and sharing between Fisher Institute of Applied Arts and Technology on O'Connell Drive in Corner Brook with Grenfell College of Memorial University, located a very short distance away on University Drive in Corner Brook. Less than a half mile away, perhaps only a quarter of a mile away.

Apparently there are many opportunities for sharing facilities for academic purposes - classrooms, libraries, labs - and also student residential accommodation facilities, dining and recreational facilities. Disappointingly the Government did not even pause to think through that alternative, to address it or respond to it. I can only conclude that the real motivation for this alteration in post-secondary education in Western Newfoundland does not have to do with educational objectives but, instead, has to do with petty, partisan political ends. I think education is far too important to be tampered with in this narrow, destructive way.

Mr. Speaker, what I am talking about is the downgrading of post-secondary education in Western Newfoundland. I am talking about the shortchanging of the educational and economic needs of the Bay of Islands and Humber Valley area, in particular. I am talking about the avoidance of the exploration of an opportunity, instead, to facilitate linkages and sharing between two post-secondary institutions in Corner Brook, very close to one another, Fisher Institute of Applied Arts and Technology, and Grenfell College.

MR. BAKER: Grenfell College (inaudible).

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, the President of Treasury Board is saying Grenfell College is headed in a different direction. How, then, does he rationalize what the Government is doing with the Marine Institute and Memorial University in St. John's? Last night, he came over and had a private conversation with me, which I think was quite sincere on his part, in which he told me that he really believes that putting Marine Institute under the umbrella of Memorial University, and expecting the University to deliver short, skill-specific courses, training courses for the labour force requirements of the fishing and other marine industries, is a positive move.

Well, how can he rationalize that on the one hand with an outright rejection of the proposal put forward constructively by people in the Corner Brook area of considering, of exploring, linking Fisher Institute with Grenfell College? Fisher Institute has, for the past several years, been concentrating on three-year and two-year high level technology diploma programs. The Fisher Institute Board of Governors, since they have been in place, have developed, with the assistance of a plan put together by consultants, some of whom are now working with the Government's Economic Recovery Commission, to establish at Fisher Institute a centre of excellence in forestry and environmental technology and research.

Now, that orientation, I say to the members opposite, is quite compatible with the present thrust of Grenfell College. I am not suggesting a legal merger of the two. I am not suggesting that Grenfell College take Fisher Institute under its wing, but what I am advocating is that the Government explore the possibility of sharing of facilities. When you stop and think about it, these are two facilities, within view of each other, both of which have to provide for libraries, cafeteria and dining facilities and housing needs for students, and both of which have classrooms and research facilities.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Education deserves a prize for putting on a happy face in the midst of adversity and disaster. The minister glibly smiles and mouths platitudes as education is falling down all around him.

AN HON. MEMBER: Boy, oh, boy!

MS. VERGE: It was just a short four or five years ago that the Provincial government reorganized non-university post-secondary education by decentralizing it, by establishing autonomous institutes and community colleges with, in each case, a board of governors and a president. Those institutions had just been up and running and functioning well when the Liberal 'real change' administration took office.

Mr. Speaker, they seem to have embarked on change for the sake of change. They have upset well-functioning satisfactory institutions and agencies. I have always been an advocate of reform and change when that is demonstrably needed and justified. This Government did not pause to consider properly the strengths and weaknesses of post-secondary education. Instead, after a few months in office, it put out this White Paper, which is really only a superficial examination of post-secondary education structures and programs. There is a philosophy which sounds wonderful. It uses the words of motherhood and apple pie. It uses the slogans and sayings so often repeated by the minister. I assume these are buzz words that developed in the United States twenty years ago or so, which the minister is using here in Newfoundland and Labrador, today.

But, all of this is masking a terrible deterioration in the functioning of our post-secondary education institutions. Ironically, this is happening at a time when more and more people are recognizing that education is the key to our economic development. More and more people are seeing that Newfoundland and Labrador is but a small part of a world that is becoming smaller and smaller, of a Province that increasingly is having to compete in the fishery, in the newsprint industry, in the mining industry, in knowledge industries, with people, not only next door in Nova Scotia, but in every continent.

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, the move to combine Fisher and Western is being done without a rationale, without documentation to support the claims of streamlining and rationalization, without the provision of any specifics about how economies of scale will result. On the one hand, the minister insinuates that this combination is going to streamline a top-heavy administration but, yet, when he is pressed for specifics, when he asked by people in Corner Brook, he says, 'Oh, no, don't worry, you are not going to lose here in Corner Brook.' When he is asked in Stephenville, he says, 'Oh, not to worry, you will have a bigger and better headquarters.' This is a minister who smiles through all this turbulence and tries to be all things to all people. Many of us would prefer to see a minister who demonstrates a realistic appraisal of what is happening, and who will indicate honestly what is happening that is positive, but equally, who will admit the very genuine and real deficiencies.

Let me deal with some specifics of this bill. I have mentioned that Fisher Institute of Applied Arts and Technology, in the few short years that it has been an autonomous institution with a board of governors, has developed a plan to concentrate in certain areas of technology and research. This bill, from what I have seen, makes no reference of a research mandate for any of these new combined, amalgamated, re-organized community colleges.

Mr. Speaker, in Clause 3, the purpose of the Act is set out. There are five subclauses which have to do with the economy, with employers and with students.

Then we go on to Clause 5, Mr. Speaker, which outlines the mandate of colleges. Now, the mandate listed includes: Operating facilities, in order to meet the needs of the persons in the region; providing programs leading to a certificate or diploma from the college; more about courses and programs; identifying the educational needs of persons in the region; identifying education and training requirements of the labour market of the Province; and more about courses.

I do not see anything in this, Mr. Speaker, to authorize the new enlarged, merged, streamlined, rationalized community colleges, under the banner of the three Es, from carrying out research. Now, Mr. Speaker, is this an omission of the minister and his officials or is this a deliberate change to strip Fisher Institute, to strip the future branch of the Western Community College in Corner Brook from pursuing its objectives of carrying out research? If it is an omission, Mr. Speaker, I would call on the minister to move an appropriate addition to the bill.

MR. GOVER: (Inaudible).

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, the Member for Bonavista South, the new acting Minister of Justice, I suppose, at the prompting of the former Minister of Justice, is asking how did it get the name Fisher. Mr. Speaker, for those who are not aware, that is a snide remark directed at me.

MR. GOVER: That was an innocent question.

MS. VERGE: No, it is not an innocent question. I would like to take this occasion to explain, because I am afraid that is behind the Government's move to remove the autonomy of Fisher Institute and downgrade education in Corner brook. I think it all comes down to the small-mindedness that can't tolerate an institution carrying a name which happens to be my family name.

Mr. Speaker, I happen to be one of hundreds of descendants of a pioneer family of the Humber Valley and Corner Brook by the name of Fisher. A couple by the name of Christopher and Janet Fisher came to that area more than 100 years ago to engage in logging. They owned and operated a sawmill there. Mr. Speaker, because of our patriarchal naming system, I ended up being born with the name Fisher. Hundreds of other descendants, one of whom is now married to the Executive Assistant of the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs and another of whom is the Executive Assistant of the Minister of Health, have different surnames. There are hundreds of us in the Province who are descended from that pioneer family.

Mr. Speaker, the Smallwood Administration named the former sanatorium in Corner Brook after that pioneer settler. In the mid-1980s, when the Government was making the former Corner Brook District Vocational School a college and moving to decentralize it, there was a public exercise of choosing a name. Now, Mr. Speaker, I suggest to the Member for Bonavista South, the Acting Minister of Justice, if he is so interested in this, that he research it by referring to the old newspapers. What he will find is that there was a citizen's petition in Corner Brook advocating that the name be for the pioneer family, for the pioneer logger and sawmill owner, Christopher Fisher and, in particular, for one of his sons, Dr. Franklin Fisher, who was a medical doctor in the Bay of Islands in the early part of this century. The citizen who initiated the petition is an individual I know only slightly, who felt that if Grenfell College -

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

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MS. VERGE: With leave, Mr. Speaker, I will finish my explanation.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Does the hon. member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member does not have leave.

AN HON. MEMBER: Let her finish up, sure.



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Does the hon. member have leave?


MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member does not have leave.

MS. VERGE: Well, too bad, Mr. Speaker. I guess some of the members opposite are happier without knowing the truth, and are more content -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. VERGE: - relishing in their -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! The hon. members time has elapsed.

MS. VERGE: - partisan vindictiveness -

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

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: An historic day, this is.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Yes, and that is the way I will start it, as a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker. What this bill does is it brings back - not only brings back and makes improvements to, but it gives back and gives to the colleges of the Province, a proper mandate, a wide open mandate to deal with community education and education in this Province. What it does is it enhances the education system in this Province, the post-secondary side, it does not downgrade at all. It is a big improvement, as a matter of fact, and I believe it is a bold move and a big move for this Province.

When I hear the Member for Humber East talking about downgrading Fisher in Corner Brook, I have to wonder if that is being said for just partisan political purposes, or because she really means it about education; the Fisher Institute, the Western Community College in Stephenville, and campuses in St. Anthony and Port aux Basques, for example, on the West Coast. That institution - the Western Community College - has been one of the longest-standing institutions in Newfoundland and Labrador. As a matter of fact, it is one of the first community colleges in Canada, and one of the leaders in programs, and has been for many years.

The former Government, under its direction, changed and restructured education a few years ago. When they changed it, Mr. Speaker, they took the mandate of the colleges' programs from three years down to one year, and they said: You are only allowed to develop one-year programs from now on. So, in essence, it very much so struck down their mandate of being able to establish programs and then build on those programs, in those regions, and this was for all of the Province, Mr. Speaker.

So, what they did was they limited the mandates. What we have done is enhanced the mandates, and we have also said we are going to try to put some organization into it by also looking at and evaluating transfer of credit, which would allow for people who take courses in colleges to be able to transfer credit to the universities or other institutions in the Province which, right now, you cannot do. You could not do it before, and now we are going to try to change that, which makes sense. Because you had students taking one year of community college and then going to university or going to an institute and finding that none of their courses were any good to them, which was a waste of money for them and a waste of the system. So we are going to organize the system and do it right. I commend the minister for his initiative. I commend the Department of Education for coming forward with this bill, and for the changes that it will bring. It makes sense to the system.

When the Member for Humber East speaks about Corner Brook - before this bill, these changes, Western Community College was renting space in Corner Brook, looking for classrooms and trying to establish programs; Fisher was in there offering programs, some of them very similar, and then we had the regional college in Corner Brook, plus you have a private training institution in Corner Brook. So you had all kinds of competition with programs that were not even rationalized, and with no organization to them. What we are saying is that we are putting some organization in. We also had Western College and Fisher both competing for funds to set up programs, to do different things and to do some of the same things, and we are not organized with proper mandate. Now, we have a fully re-organized and structured system which allows a set of goals for the Fisher campus, the Stephenville campus, the Port aux Basques campus, and so on.

I mean, when the Member for Humber East talks about research - there is no mention of research in this bill, she says. Well, I have to correct her because there is. As a matter of fact, section 18 (i) it 'provides facilities and grants, enters into agreements for research and prescribes the terms and conditions under which research may be conducted at a college;' therefore, Fisher can easily go out as a campus and get research grants and do want they want. As a matter of fact, some of the reports that I have heard, and I have talked to a number of people both at Western and at Fisher, this is going to be a time for them, now, to organize, see their mandate, and go clearly ahead, so that they do not go clashing and worrying about what Fisher is doing, what they are doing at Western, are we doing the same program, do we have to compete with the other crowd, and have everybody nervous about education. That is going to end. We are going to have one organization to deal with that, and I believe with the proper mandate, an expanded mandate. Many people have said, why should one campus, Fisher Institute, be allowed to develop a three year program and Western Community College, or Central Community College, not be allowed to develop their three year programs, which they were allowed to do up until the former Government changed it. Why did they change it? That is another question. When they set up the institute on the West Coast why did they not set it up in Stephenville, for example? Here was Stephenville with Western Community College with a big campus, and all kinds of available facilities, had been there for twenty years and been committed, by the way, from the previous Government back in the mid 70s for an institute status for Stephenville, and they never even looked at it. They did another one and set it up in Corner Brook. We in Stephenville said, what can we do? We will go and build a college as best we can. They did, and it has been very successful, but why was that done before? Was that done for the betterment of education?

AN HON. MEMBER: Or do you think it was political?

MR. K. AYLWARD: Yes, it was. As far as I am concerned it was political. What the minister is trying to do is say to the people of Corner Brook, who are going to benefit from this, they are getting their four years, their regional college, and the four year program is going to be there. The people from Stephenville are going to go into Corner Brook and get their education, and the people from Port aux Basques and St. Anthony are going to do the same thing and support Corner Brook. They are also saying that Stephenville was the centre for community college education in the Province on the West Coast, and we are saying, you are the headquarters. We are going to give you back your mandate and you are going to be able to develop the Fisher campus as you wanted it developed, plus we are going to let you develop in Stephenville, and let you develop everywhere else. What we are saying is we are going to give you your mandate back, and not only are we giving you your mandate back, we are expanding it and allowing for transfer of credit which brings some sense to the system. It was not there before and we are trying to get some sense into it. I heard the Member for Humber East talk about when this change was made, and talked about how the institute diplomas are now going to be called Community College Certificates. The people of Western Community College, Central Community College, and so on, the certificates from their programs are good, they are very good. As a mater of fact the programs at Western College are extremely good and have developed over the years so there is no downgrading at all. As a matter of fact in Ontario, and the minister can confirm this for me, in Ontario the community college system is a gigantic system, well organized, well structured, and the community college is deemed to be the way to go in Ontario and in other locations across Canada. When I hear that, I wish the Member for Humber East would go back and recheck what is happening in education in Canada because what we have done is something that has been researched. It is well done for the future and it means the wise use of dollars. It means a whole range of benefits that we will be able to get from this. I commend the minister for straightening out something that should have been straightened out a long time ago, and for taking the politics out of it, and doing the best for education.

MR. RAMSAY: Was that not a recommendation back many years ago?

MR. K. AYLWARD: Oh, they were given a lot of recommendations. I welcome this initiative. I think it is great for community colleges in the Province. They are excited about it. The minister had done a good job of bringing it in.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. K. AYLWARD: I believe that with the Federal Government, the Tory Federal Government cutting back on educational transfers, we have to try and find a way to re-organize the system and make the best use of it. We are not only doing the right thing, we are doing the right thing for the future as long as the Tories are in Ottawa, which hopefully will not be much longer. We are doing the right thing. I commend the minister. From the people of Stephenville we say thank you for trying to straighten out this and give a mandate back which was taken away so that the college can now grow like it should. I am sure the people of other areas of the Province feel the same way. I commend the minister, commend the Department, and the Government for its initiative.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I want to have a few words on this bill as well. Number one, I want to say that I fully support and endorse the concept of community colleges. I think the community colleges, Mr. Speaker, are a tremendous benefit to rural Newfoundland.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. TOBIN: What is the weeping willow saying?

It is a tremendous benefit, particularly to the rural parts of Newfoundland. As a matter of fact my colleague for Grand Bank, who was the minister responsible for that program as well as my colleague for Ferryland, and others, did a tremendous job in putting in place the community college system in this Province.

A tremendous job. Mr. Speaker, it was done strictly for the benefit of rural Newfoundland. There were people who went there, and then I had the opportunity to attend a press conference in Burin when my colleague from Grand Bank was minister, when we announced the first year university program for the Burin campus. I can honestly say that it was a great day for the Burin Peninsula when we announced that the headquarters would be established on the Burin Peninsula, and that was done based on all the consultation that one could have, and the recommendations from the officials that -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the Member for Trinity North is shaking his head and saying 'no'. He was working part-time washing cars when that was done.

Let me say that it was done based on the recommendation of the officials who said there was no advantage or disadvantage educational wise as to where the headquarters was placed. Is that right?

AN HON. MEMBER: That is right.

MR. TOBIN: There was no advantage or disadvantage to anyone where the headquarters was placed, and with the Burin campus being the larger of the three campuses, the decision was made that it would be put where the largest campus was.

MR. MATTHEWS: It will be the last one standing of the three, too.

MR. TOBIN: That is right.

Now, Mr. Speaker, what happened then is that this Government got elected, and the Minister of Education, who wants everyone to think that he is Mr. Nice Guy and does everything right and honourable and all of that, who is a sheep in wolf's clothing, is that what they call it?

MR. MATTHEWS: A wolf in sheep's clothing.

MR. TOBIN: A wolf in sheep's clothing, Mr. Speaker. What did he do? What did the old wolf do - the wolf in sheep's clothing?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes. Wait now just a minute. There is such a thing as a sheep in wolf's clothing, too. There is such a thing as sheep in wolf's clothing too.

MR. WINSOR: Yes, and he is both.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, he is both, Mr. Speaker. He is both a wolf in sheep's clothing, and a sheep in wolf's clothing.

MR. MATTHEWS: He is like a reversible raglan.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, my colleague from Grand Bank called him a reversible raglan. Well that is not a bad description of the Minister of Education either. But what happened is that he played politics - the first time ever that an Education Minister played politics with the education of the people of this Province. The first time ever that a Minister of Education - what is that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) politics.

MR. MATTHEWS: Tell him he is in enough trouble now, (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Well, Mr. Speaker, I think the Member for Port de Grave played a little bit too much politics. I think he played a little bit too much politics.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, that is right, and where is he now?

MR. TOBIN: That is right.

Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that the headquarters was taken from Burin, together with the jobs, not because of the Member for Trinity North - he had very little or nothing to do with it, and I will not blame it on him -

AN HON. MEMBER: Who had to do with it?

MR. TOBIN: I will tell you who had to do with it. The Member for Bellevue. The Member for Bellevue had all to do with it. Yes, he can pound his desk. He comes down to the Burin Peninsula and makes out he is the great saviour of the people of the Burin Peninsula, never tells them the truth. It is the Member for Bellevue who took the - what is that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: He wanted it put in Come by Chance.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, he wanted it put where he could get the jobs. That is what he used to tell the Minister of Education. He wanted to get the jobs for people from his district and from the Clarenville district, because at that time I believe the member was not a Liberal who represented Clarenville district at the time. Now that is what happened. It is the Member for Bellevue who convinced -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker (inaudible) you cannot find that word anywhere in the English dictionary that you can put into the sentence that you just used it. Now if you want to talk about the species of fish, I understand there was one caught off Labrador recently that resembles you. The draggers brought it in, and it took us ten days in the lab (inaudible).

Mr. Speaker, this is too serious to get distracted by the Member for Placentia. This issue is far too serious, because this Government has to be exposed for the way that they are handling the community college system, and I have to say, Mr. Speaker, that the people of the Burin Peninsula, right now they are being beaten, the economic conditions on the Burin Peninsula have been beaten to the ground by this Government, there are twenty people working in the shipyard because of the inaction of this Government, because they have done nothing for the Marystown-Burin Peninsula, nothing for the whole area.

My colleague's district in Grand Bank, hospitals closed in Grand Bank, hospitals closed in St. Lawrence, fish plant closed in Grand Bank, that is what this Government has done for the Burin Peninsula and in order to drive the final nail into the economic conditions of the Burin Peninsula, along comes the Minister of Education, who lacked the courage to come down and meet me at a public meeting, he hid, he lacked the courage to come down and stand in front of the people. You hid in St. John's, that is what you did. You can get up if you like, you hid in St. John's, you did not have the courage -

AN HON. MEMBER: Who (inaudible) in Corner Brook?

MR. TOBIN: -you made your decision and you went down to the Vocational school but when you were invited for a public meeting in the gymnasium of the Burin District Vocational School, you hid in St. John's, that is what you did.

MS. VERGE: You could not get a police guard to keep him out.

MR. TOBIN: That is right. Like a coward, Mr. Speaker, he made a decision and sent out the word and went and hid.

MR. WINSOR: He posted guards in Corner Brook. In Corner Brook he posted guards on the yellow (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, in Corner Brook he had armed guards at the door -

MS. VERGE: They were not armed.


MS. VERGE: They were not armed, (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: They were unarmed, yes, but they had night sticks, same difference. They had night sticks, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yellow belly, yellow belly (inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: The Member for Placentia -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) or (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am reminding -

MR. TOBIN: Well, Mr. Speaker, listen to the Member for -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am reminding the hon. member that we are on Bill No. 37 and ask him to keep his comments relevant to that bill.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much for making my colleagues aware that they should not be interrupting me and getting me off track, but I want to say that that piece of legislation, to take the headquarters from Burin, is part of the legislation and the fact that the Minister refused to come to the Burin Peninsula to meet with the public group -

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Education, I will repeat again, refused to come to a public meeting when it was called at the Vocational School, where people wanted answers he was not there, but he is a great fellow to find going around the primary schools and he should. He will go to the primary schools every time he gets a chance, but when the public wants to talk to them you cannot find them.

MR. MATTHEWS: He sings Ring around the Rosy to the youngsters and all that stuff.

MR. TOBIN: He sings Rings around the Rosy, probably he does. But I want to say -

MR. WINSOR: Well teachers in the Province do not want to talk to him and half the students because they are so disillusioned with him.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, there are two educators here on both sides. Two former teachers and they are saying to me - what if - Mister, I can tell you there is not one over there in your place. You should never open your mouth in this Legislature when you lacked the courage and the decency and the integrity to present a petition on behalf of your constituents, you should bury your head -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: - crawl home, stay in the house and not come out any more.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: That is what a man would do.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I remind the hon. member again, that we are on Bill 37 and he must keep his remarks relevant to that bill.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I agree with you and again, that the members opposite are trying to get my attention away from this bill and at times you have to respond to that type of attack which comes from the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island. Probably I should ignore him like his constituents do and I apologise to You, Your Honour for not doing it.

But the fact of the matter is, that this piece of legislation is a desperate piece of legislation in terms - no, I should not say that, the bill, I agree with, The Community College (inaudible) it is a good bill. There is no doubt about that, that is a good bill. The fact that the Minister of Education used politics, like it was never used before, in taking away the community college headquarters, is wrong, and there is no educational value in terms of moving it because the officials of the Department have told me so, Mr. Speaker. If the Minister denies that the officials told me, Mr. Speaker, probably the ones who gave us advice when this man here was the Minister should be brought before the House. I do not believe the Minister, like the majority of Newfoundlanders, when he talks about these issues. He is the worst Minister of Education the Province ever had. He should do the hon. thing, Mr. Speaker, and resign.

Now, before I sit down, I want to say that my colleague from the Burin Peninsula and I have stood up and fought against the attack by this administration on our area. The Member for Carbonear is coming in now, Mr. Speaker, and I expect and hope that he will do the same thing on behalf of his constituents. I also hope that the Member for Humber West, Humber East -

AN HON. MEMBER: Humber East.

MR. TOBIN: No, the Member for Humber East has spoken. I hope the Member for Humber West will stand up and let the people of the West Coast, and particularly the people of Corner Brook, know where he stands on the way they are being treated out there, as it relates to the callous attitude of the Minister of Education and the post-secondary institutions.

Mr. Speaker, I have no problem with this piece of legislation. I have problems with the way the Minister has treated -

AN HON. MEMBER: Call him a yellowtail.

MR. TOBIN: No, I won't call him a yellowtail. The President of Treasury Board, I think it was, said, 'Call him a Yellowtail', but I will not, Mr. Speaker. It came from over there, Mr. Speaker, I am not sure who said it. I thought it was - I shouldn't say him because I am not sure. It was one of them.

AN HON. MEMBER: Said what?

MR. TOBIN: Call the Minister a yellowtail. I will not call him a yellowtail, Mr. Speaker.

I want to say in closing, I hope the Minister will do the honourable thing when he stands up now, and that is announce to the House that he will table the resignation he had in his pocket a few weeks ago over the school tax issue.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. MATTHEWS: Table a resignation.

MR. TOBIN: Table his resignation.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

If the hon. Minister speaks now, he will close the debate.

The hon. the Minister of Education.

DR. WARREN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, it is easy to smile when you are doing good things for education and for the young people of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. WARREN: It is easy to smile, Mr. Speaker.

I indicated to the House some weeks ago that if they continued to offer criticism I would put together a brochure of all the good things we have done in the past two years and, Mr. Speaker, I think we are going to do it for the new year.

I want to address the few comments, quite seriously, Mr. Speaker, made by the Opposition in their discussions of this bill. I want to say, quite seriously, that there are a number of building blocks that provide a basis for Canada's future prosperity. I think if you were to look at all the building blocks they would include: Certainly, trade with other countries - that is a building block for Canada's future prosperity; a competitive domestic market; financial investment; and science and technology. All of these are buildings blocks for Canada's future prosperity.

I think, Mr. Speaker, one of the most important building blocks is education and learning. Of all the building blocks for Canada's future prosperity, education and learning are perhaps the most important ones. It is within that context, Mr. Speaker, that we introduce the changes that are in this bill. We want to make Newfoundland, the people of this Province and this country, more competitive. Our people must compete with the world. We cannot (inaudible) ignorance anymore, Mr. Speaker. Years ago if a person was undereducated or uneducated that person would stay in that community and perhaps not have to compete. They must be educated, to compete with the world. That is the first point.

Mr. Speaker, the second point is that I want to pay tribute to the former administration for their work in the college area. I want to be fair. One thing I try to do as minister is to be fair. I acknowledge the work that was done on the college system by the former administration. The Member for Grand Bank played a major role in that, and I appreciated his comments today. His very positive comments, not only about this bill but about education and about what is happening on the Burin Peninsula in education. I appreciate his kind comments about the bill, about education generally and how important it is, and what is happening in the area that he knows best and he represents. I am proud of the quality of education that is being provided in that area and in many other areas of this Province by the college system.

The college system was a good basic system but it needed reform. The Member for Grand Bank knows that when he was the Minister he discussed some options for reform. He made some (Inaudible) - but it took this Government to move. The point is, it is not enough to plan, you have to act. This Government has decided to act on a whole host of educational issues. We have to act, we have to change, we have to do things. The time for planning is past, the time for action is here, and that is what this Government is doing.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. WARREN: Now more specifically - and I only have another three or four minutes - Mr. Speaker, what this bill does is create a two tier system rather than a three-or four-tier system in post-secondary. I am opposed to this idea that the University as I said last night is way up there and the colleges way down here. The colleges and the institutes and the University all contribute tremendously to the education of this Province. You should not rank them and say one is of lesser importance than another. They do different things but they are all vitally important. What we are doing here is reforming and rationalizing the non-University sector in the post-secondary system.

We have made some boundary changes. In changing boundaries it was difficult for certain Members. We changed boundaries, we moved some headquarters. We moved the headquarters from Salt Pond to Clarenville. I was told that Clarenville was always the logical centre. For whatever reason - and I do not want to attribute motives to anybody - but for whatever reason, instead of putting the centre in Clarenville, because they had a campus in Bonavista and a campus on the Burin Peninsula, instead of putting it in Clarenville they put it in Salt Pond. Now I do not want to speculate about the reasons. I am just saying that we were told that the right thing to do was to have the headquarters for the new college in the centre, in the geographical centre in Clarenville, and that is what we did. Mr. Speaker, we want to do what is right. We want to do what is educationally right. Sometimes it is politically favourable to us, sometimes it is not. We try to do what is right educationally, and what is right in the long-term. We are not interested as a Government. We are not interested in the Government just doing what is right for next year and the following year, or for the next election. We want to do what is right for the long-term, and this, we believe, is right for the long-term.

One or two other comments, Mr. Speaker. We are examining the role: the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes raised a very good question: what about the underutilized campuses? Well I tell you, we are concerned about that, Mr. Speaker, and we have appointed a former president of a college, an excellent person, to review the mandate of the college in Baie Verte, which has a tremendous future, I believe. It has a tremendous future - Bonavista, Bell Island - and we have a president examining a new mission, a new mandate. There is no intention, Mr. Speaker, of closing any of these campuses. We believe -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. WARREN: We believe, however, that we must rethink the mission of these campuses, and I thank the hon. Member for St. Mary's - The Capes for raising that issue. I might say also that the Member for Stephenville made a very interesting point, and that is that this trend that we have started, I suppose, two years ago is a Canadian trend. We are beginning to see this happen in Nova Scotia, we are seeing it happen in Saskatchewan, and we are seeing it happen in other provinces where colleges are coming together.

Now in conclusion, Mr. Speaker - by the way, I believe the hon. Member for Humber East, I am tempted to review her term as minister. Perhaps I do not have enough time, perhaps I can do it in two words or so, but I do not want to do it. I do not want to go back to the cuts in student loans, and the cuts in staff, and the teachers strike, and all the things that happened when she was the minister. I do not want to do that. I do not want to get political. She is often very political with me, but I do not want to be dragged down to comparing ministers. I am trying to do what is right, and I do not want to get up in the House and tell what happened when she was the minister. I am not going to do it. I am not going to do it, Mr. Speaker.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, the White Paper process is an excellent process for change. You announce the change, you consult, and we consulted widely, we met students all over the Province. I went to the Burin Peninsula to meetings. I met students up there. I met faculty up there. I met the public up there. We went all over the Province. We now have legislation in place. We have interim boards. This process, Mr. Speaker, is an excellent process for change, the White Paper process. Now with the other system we are using a royal commission as a way of examining. This process is very successful. I think that we are building on what the former administration did in the college system. I thank the hon. Member, the hon. Opposition House Leader, I thank him for his comments. Because I think this is going to make our college system more efficient and more effective in meeting the future needs of this Province and the country.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I move second reading of this Bill.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

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

On motion, a bill, "An Act Respecting Colleges Of Applied Arts, Technology And Continuing Education," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow, by leave. (Bill No. 37).

MR. BAKER: Order 8, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 8.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act Respecting The Office Of The High Sheriff Of Newfoundland." (Bill No. 27).

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GOVER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This Bill has been a continuing item of concern ever since 1976 when a Sheriff's Act was passed through this particular Legislature.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)?

MR. GOVER: Yes, it was passed in 1976 but never proclaimed into law. I do not know the reason why there was such a delay there in proclaiming that particular Bill into law. Obviously the Sheriff's Office needed reform. What my predecessor - the Member for Humber West, when he was the Minister of Justice - found was that given the passage of time since 1976 until the present day, it was just as well to redraft the whole statute and begin again as to try to amend and modernize the 1976 statute. So that work was commenced in consultation with the Sheriff's Office and the Sheriff's Office does require this particular statute to modernize the legislation under which it operates.

Currently the Office of High Sheriff is governed by several provisions of The Judicature Act, 1986. This legislation as it currently exists does not provide really effectively for the day-to-day functioning of the office of the Sheriff. The main functions of the Office today are to properly serve and execute documents arising from proceedings in the courts; to seize, store and sell goods, and sell real estate, pursuant to execution orders and other orders issued by the courts; to administer the jury system; and as a Marshall of the Federal Court of Canada to arrest ships.

The provisions in The Judicature Act, 1986 do not really adequately address these concerns, or at least not to the extent that they are addressed in the current Act. I intend to be very brief. I would just like to highlight some of the major new sections in the Act for the information of Members opposite and Members on the Government side.

Section 6 (4), provides that: "No person, corporation, partnership or association may hold themselves out as sub-sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, or bailiffs except those appointed under the act. Recently a number of private process firms have sprung up in the last two or three years. The use of a designation such as the ones mentioned beforehand causes confusion in the public's mind as to who is acting under the High Sheriff's office and who is not, so Section 6 (4) includes the prohibition for private companies to use these designations. Section 9 provides a prohibition that relatives of the sheriff or his officers cannot purchase goods -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. GOVER: - at sheriff's sales. I would indicate to members opposite that in the current bill the language is somewhat antiquated in Section 9 and during the Committee of the Whole stage I will be bringing in an amendment to simplify that particular provision and to update it into plain language as opposed to using the language currently contained which deals with the first and second degrees of consanguinity. We will update that and bring it into plain language, but I do propose to bring in that amendment in Committee of the Whole Stage on this particular bill.

Section 11 provides for an annual audit of the Sheriff's Office. The Sheriff feels this is a necessary statutory requirement given the past history of audits at the office. Apparently, there has not been an audit done at the St. John's office for twelve years and there was never one done at the Corner Brook office, so the Sheriff feels that in order to ensure timely audits of the accounts of the office there should be a statutory requirement and that is contained in Section 11. Section 15 gives the Sheriff discretion to refuse to provide for the service of execution orders and other documents unless he is reasonably assured that the costs associated with such service or sale will be forthcoming. At the present time there are some difficulties with this recovery of expenses. Obviously, when a seizure occurs there are some expenses associated with advertising the sale and the actual seizure itself. The costs are not always forthcoming so this will give the Sheriff discretion to refuse to act where the costs cannot be reasonably expected. It is a discretionary section.

The final section I would like to bring to hon. member's attention is Section 19 which is a provision which allows the Sheriff to deal with funds he is currently holding, where it is unknown who the funds should be paid out to or it cannot be ascertained where the known person is. This is a provision similar to the one which governs the estate office at present and is just really a housekeeping measure to allow the Sheriff to deal with these funds under those circumstances.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. VERGE: On behalf of the PC Opposition let me express support for the principle of this bill. I would readily agree that it is high time that we had a new act for the High Sheriff of the Province. The Sheriff's Office is one of many justice and legal institutions which has lagged behind the times. The effort to reform and modernize the Sheriff's Office began when I was minister. This legislation is needed. When we get into clause by clause examination I will have some specific questions. Unfortunately, I missed the Social Legislation Review Committee's scrutiny of the bill. I understand that the Law Society has been informed at least, I do not know about involved, about the drafting of the bill, and the minister might indicate definitely, but it is my impression that the Law Society agrees with the specific contents of the bill.

I gather, from one of my colleagues who attended the Legislation Review Committee meeting, that the fees provided for, or authorized in this bill, will lead to a gigantic revenue increase. Now we have seen huge revenue increases from the Government actions with regard to the Registry of Deeds, Companies and Securities, and with regard to lotteries. I would like the minister to comment on the result for the Government's revenue take from the fee authorization provisions of this bill.

Finally, the minister mentioned a Sheriff's Act that was passed back in the mid-seventies which was never proclaimed in force. I am aware that that is the case. I have no idea about the reason. I think that by the time I became minister the act was somewhat obsolete. I have habitually questioned delayed proclamation provisions in bills, and I see there is such a provision in the final clause of this bill. Unless there is a clear, obvious reason for having a delayed proclamation provision, I would urge the Government to have a definite commencement date, because by leaving it indefinite we open ourselves up to the risk that there will be an undue delay, or maybe a repeat of the experience with the mid-seventies Sheriff's Act.

MR. SPEAKER: A point of order. The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. BAKER: I wonder if we could agree to stop the clock at 12:00 noon?

MR. SPEAKER: Are hon. members agreed to stop the clock at 12:00 noon? Agreed.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, just to wrap up, I would like the minister to address the question of the commencement date of this bill, and if possible I would suggest that he amend that final clause to provide for immediate commencement, or a date specific.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: I rise to indicate my support in principle for the passage of this bill. Mr. Speaker, I do not have very much to say at this stage other than, that I do support the principle of the bill and that it is proper that there should be a piece of legislation governing the High Sherrif's Office and that it is all contained in one place and there are a number of individual sections that might need some discussion at the Committee stage, but I think that, that is probably the appropriate stage at which to deal with the specifics of it. The principle of course, is merely that we have the regulations contained in one act and that it be modernized and consolidated and that principle I support. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: If the hon. minister speaks now, he closes the debate.

The hon. the Minister of Justice.

MR. GOVER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. With respect to the questions raised by the Member for Humber East, I will take those questions under advisement and when the bill is being debated in Committee stage I will undertake to provide the answers to the three questions that were raised ,and with that I will move second reading of the bill.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act Respecting The Office Of The High Sheriff of Newfoundland," (Bill No. 27).

On motion, a bill, "An Act Respecting Colleges Of Applied Arts, Technology And Continuing Education", read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to indicate my intentions in terms of legislation over the next four or five days. It is my intention to call some of the Committee stages next, starting with Bill 22, I believe the Lands Act, then I intend to, at some point in time get to the various Justice bills, so I do not know how long that will carry us, maybe two or three days whatever, so that is the intention for the next few days, to get to these particular bills.

Mr. Speaker, I move that the House at its arising do adjourn until 2:00 p.m. Monday, December 9 and that the House do now adjourn.

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