March 17, 1992                HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLI  No. 7

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HOGAN: Mr. Speaker, I had the distinct pleasure of participating in the Labrador Winter Games last week, including the presentation of medals and the closing ceremonies on Saturday and, as Minister Responsible for Sport, I do want to extend a word of congratulations to all involved - the athletes, the organizers and the participants. It was a first class competition and I think everyone present was touched by the warm feelings generated by these games.

Some 450 athletes from twenty-eight of thirty-one communities were represented in these games which are held every third year. The four days of competition included, among other things, Snowshoe Racing, Snowmobile Racing, Cross Country Skiing, Snowshoe Biathlon, Speedskating, Labrathon, Dog Team Racing, Northern Games and Target Shooting.

The traditional camaraderie that exists at such games was certainly evident as athletes from various parts of the region came together in Happy Valley - Goose Bay.

We witnessed tremendous displays of sportsmanship among athletes from the many different communities; however it was evident that something else was happening as a result of this tri-annual competition - a sense of community identity was being developed at these games. Davis Inlet won its first gold medal ever at the 1992 Labrador Games and it was a great source of satisfaction to all residents of this community. Community pride was very evident all throughout these games.

I think as well that the individual athletes gained something special from their participation in these games.

Communities throughout Labrador spent three years preparing for these games, and I think the 450 athletes who participated this year have reason to feel proud of their accomplishments.

The hospitality displayed by the host town of Happy Valley - Goose Bay was exceptional, and everybody was made to feel extremely welcome.

It is worthy of note that over 500 residents volunteered their time and energy, and this contributed in a very meaningful way to the overall success of the games.

An enormous amount of hard work, dedication and determination was required on the part of the planning teams and the organizing committee, and I want to congratulate John Baird and his team on a first class job.

As a Government $400,000 was contributed to these games, and in my opinion it was a good example of public funds well invested.

Thank you Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I want to join with the Minister also in congratulating the committee and all the athletes who performed in the Labrador Winter Games. I think, at the same time, I want to congratulate the four winners, Dean Burden from Eagle River, Alf Parsons from Menihek, Ann Morris from Naskaupi and Charlene Evans from Makkovik, added to that, Mr. Speaker, I want to give special congratulations to a young Indian boy from Davis Inlet, a young fellow by the name of Ben Rich, who performed above any expectations and carried away the top honour as the top athlete in all of the Winter Games.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, it is also good to note that in 1982, the first Winter Games were held in Happy Valley - Goose Bay, under the former administration and it is most interesting that at that time the minister responsible and the minister who opened the Winter Games in 1982 is presently the Leader of our party, the hon. Mr. Simms from Grand Falls -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WARREN: - so, Mr. Speaker, it is worth noting that Government at the time was thinking that this was a lot of money to spend in a region of this Province, but I believe the Minister saw this weekend that it was money well spent and I think from now on, regardless of which government is in power we should continue to support financially the Winter Games in Labrador, as long as we can. Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, my question was for the Premier. Unfortunately, I am not quite sure when he is coming back, hopefully he will be here tomorrow, but it is really then for the Minister of Fisheries, but he is not here. I could ask the Member for Port de Grave, who knows probably as much about fishing over there as anybody on that side of the House, for sure, but I will have to be forced to ask my question of the acting Minister of Fisheries, whomever that may be. Mr. Speaker, we often hear this Government telling others how to deal with the problems in the fishing industry; the Federal Government, the unions, the industry and so on. What we do not hear is what this Government is going to do and we all know, because of the seriousness in the declining stocks, there are going to be thousands of jobs lost, reduced income for thousands of others of our people and, of course, lost revenue for the Government as a result of it. One way to offset some of those losses in part at least, would be to increase significantly our activities and our initiatives towards secondary processing of fish products. I want to ask the acting Minister of Fisheries if his Government has a program and plan ready and prepared now this year to increase initiatives towards secondary processing significantly in this Province, so that we can get greater value both in terms of jobs and income from our fish exports? If you do have a plan, would you be kind enough to table the details of the plan here in this Legislature so that all of us who have a concern in this issue can help promote whatever positive features might be contained in such a plan?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We all know that we are now suffering from twenty years or more of gross mismanagement in our fishing industry and this year the chickens have come home to roost and we are now at a point in time where we have to make some very serious decisions and these decisions have to be taken. The basic decision, of course, is that you cannot harvest more fish than are actually coming into the biomass each year, in order to have a sustainable resource.

Mr. Speaker, this Government intends to get into diversification, it intends to get into secondary processing. At the present time in the sense of dealing with the crisis that is here now discussions have been held with the Federal Government. The Premier has talked to the Prime Minister and so on in terms of what is going to happen at this point in time with regards to the fishery. We have had for a year, or more, suggestions on the table in terms of diversification and sensible planning for the fisheries which unfortunately last year was ignored, but let us hope that this year it will not be ignored. As to the exact details, Mr. Speaker, I would have to take that under advisement and get back to the hon. member.

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

MR. SIMMS: My greatest fears, Mr. Speaker, have now been confirmed because it appears they do not have a program of their own. Let me ask him another question, Mr. Speaker. Many of our so-called underutilized species are presently being harvested by foreign fishing fleets who are licensed to fish inside the 200-mile limit, and the question that must be asked is: if thousands of our fishermen and fish plant workers are going to be affected and lose their jobs from not being able to access the groundfish fishery. Does the minister believe that another way perhaps to increase earnings from the fishery would be to develop for our fishermen and those in our industry here in this Province a capability to harvest and process those same so-called underutilized species, so as to replace some of the jobs that will be lost?

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

MR. BAKER: Essentially, yes, Mr. Speaker, that is a direction that we certainly have to look at. I commiserate with the hon. the Leader of the Opposition. It seems that every day he gets up in Question Period he has another 'greatest fear.' He must be going through an emotional roller coaster with the greatest fears every day.

The member indicates that his greatest fear has now been realized, that this government has no plans to deal with the situation on its own. That is a direct quote from what the hon. member just said. I will say to the hon. member, this is a situation that we would find very difficult to deal with entirely on our own. The situation was created as a result of twenty years or more of gross mismanagement of the fishery by the federal government that controls that management and is supposed to have managed the fishery properly.

Because of that, they have an obligation to put a lot of their resources into a solution to the problem, and I would say to the hon. member, certainly we cannot deal with it on our own. We can deal with it only with the help of the federal government.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, we all understand what the federal government should and must do. We hear about it every day. I am asking this government what it is going to do. That is the question. Can I ask the minister then: Do they have in mind any plans for any incentives that they are going to offer fishermen and processors in this Province to ensure that such a capability might be put in place, such as that I just addressed? Do they have any ideas, suggestions or incentives that they plan to offer our people?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, all these things are under discussion in terms of the diversification of the fishery in this Province. It is just too bad that the hon. gentlemen did not start that process some eight or ten years ago when they knew what was happening to the fishery. We have a forestry industry in this Province that is managed properly. There is a sustainable cut that is allowed. That is the proper way to manage a resource. The federal government has refused consistently to manage our resource properly. Hon. gentlemen opposite knew it. It is too bad they didn't have that plan in place a number of years ago.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, whatever blame there is and whatever responsibility has to be accepted by me as a part of a former government or anybody else, I accept. That isn't the question. We are living in the present now. We want to know what this government has been doing, and obviously, the answer is, nothing.

Let me ask him this final question. We learned, later on today, for example, at a press conference, the federal government through the Minister of Fisheries is going to be announcing details of allocations for the underutilized species pool. I ask the minister, did this Province make any representation to the federal minister to have some of those allocations ear-marked for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians as, I understand, other interests in Atlantic Canada did, specifically Nova Scotia? Did this government make any representation?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, during the last two-and-three-quarter years this government has attempted to have input into every single type of decision that could possibly be made in the fisheries in this Province. We have tried time after time after time. There have been innumerable meetings and letters. I am sure the Minister of Fisheries could provide the hon. gentlemen with a complete list of what has been done. There are a couple of pages of small print here as to the kinds of efforts that we have made to have proper input into every single decision that was made in the fisheries, Mr. Speaker. I would suggest to members opposite that until we get some kind of joint management of what goes on off our shores, then the situation will never be good. Until we can get rid of all overfishing, until we can get rid of foreign fishing period, until we can do that kind of thing, and until we have a say in the management of the process, until we have a say in the management of the resource, a say in what is a maximum sustainable yield for that fish stock, then things will never be right.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I hope government manages the fishery better than they have managed the economy.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: I have a question for the Minister of Finance, Mr. Speaker. The minister indicated some time ago that Budget Day would be this Thursday, the 19th, and we have since been told that will not now be the Budget Day. We would like to know when is Budget Day and why is the minister not bringing down a budget? He is bringing down, today, an Interim Supply Bill of $1 billion - that is what he is asking for - that the Pages have just circulated. When is the minister going to bring down his Budget so that we can deal with the real issues and policies laid down in that document, instead of having to debate the useless Interim Supply Bill?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I don't want to announce the Budget date here yet, because we are not quite ready to do it, but it won't be long now.

MS. VERGE: You should know better than to ask. (Inaudible) 1971.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am recognizing the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Again, to the Minister: Recent enhancements to the federal transfer programs are expected to provide an additional $31 million, I think, this year to government, and we are told that, based on the minister's own projections, because of the low cost of servicing the provincial debt, there should be savings last year and presumably, again next year, of some $31 million. In view of this, Mr. Speaker, is the minister still projecting a large deficit for this year and is he still looking at wage freezes and layoffs, perhaps, in the Public Service to try to balance his Budget?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In due time, all things will be revealed.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister is full of information, as usual. I think, in the last three years, that is about the 400th time he has given me that same answer, zero information.

Perhaps the minister would like to tell me this, Mr. Speaker: In view of recent announcements relating to Hibernia and the fisheries, is that the reason the minister is delaying? Is the Minister totally redoing his numbers and his projections for this year? Is that going to have any impact on any understandings that might have been reached with Labour over the past number of months, or are we now having more meetings with Labour to try to reach an agreement with them? Or is it, as my colleague suggested, because the Premier is out doing his campaigning across the country trying to make amends for the mess that he has made in Canadian unity?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wonder if the member would repeat his question?

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

This is not normal, but if the hon. member wants to précis the question.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: I would be delighted, Mr. Speaker, to repeat that question. It is obvious the minister is very slow at learning and very slow at listening.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WINDSOR: In view of announcements relating to Hibernia and the fishing industry, will the minister confirm that this is, indeed, one of the reasons he is now totally revising all projections of his numbers for this year, has that had an impact on any understandings that might have been reached with Labour over the past number of months, and are we now having more meetings with Labour to try to get a whole new set of understandings with them? Or is it because the Premier is out campaigning trying to make amends for the mess he has made within Canadian unity?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Yes. No. No. No.

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

MR. PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is to the new Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, and, Mr. Speaker, I hope his answers will be more definitive and less arrogant that the answers that were given by his predecessor.

My question is very simple. Does the government believe that the Outer Ring Road around St. John's is needed?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. GOVER: As the hon. member should be aware, Mr. Speaker, the initiatives outlined in this particular aspect of the Roads for Rail Agreement are negotiated each fall between the federal government and the provincial government. Both governments determine their priorities and negotiate there from. The list for this year has been finalized. Negotiations will begin in the fall, and, at that time, decisions will be made respecting the Outer Ring Road.

Thank you Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, that is not the question I asked the minister. I am going to ask him again, and perhaps he can answer two at the same time. Does this government deem it necessary to build that road? Is it needed? That is the question.

Along with that, an environmental impact study, an EIS, was done on the Outer Ring Road about two years ago. Does the government intend to initiate another environmental impact study?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. GOVER: Is the Outer Ring Road needed, Mr. Speaker? The roads needs in this Province are enormous. The question is not whether the Outer Ring Road is needed. The question is, how does it relate in terms of the needs in the rest of the Province and in the rest of the projects identified in that particular component of the Roads for Rail Agreement? Is it the number one priority, or is it the last priority? As I indicated, Mr. Speaker, there is a process for determining the priorities on a year-to-year basis.

With respect to the environmental assessment, my understanding is that the current provincial assessment is good until May of 1993. Therefore, there is no need to undertake any further environmental assessment, from the Province's point of view, until May of 1993. I understand that the federal government is in the process of conducting an environmental assessment on this particular project, and I await of the results of their conclusions with respect to their assessment of the project.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, we all know that the federal government are doing a study because this project was held in abeyance by the government. If this project had been acted upon, then there would be no need for that study. I am asking the minister again, where is this prioritized? He just said that priority has not been given to it. How about all the sitting St. John's members? Do they agree with the minister? Do they agree with the government that this has no priority?

Let the minister get on his feet. The unemployment situation is desperate here in this area now. The need of the road, he just said, there is no doubt about it. So let's get on the ball and put that money where our mouth is. How about the minister giving us a definite date for the start of construction?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. GOVER: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, it is impossible at this time to give a definite date as to when this particular project will start. The only assurance that can be given is that some time between right now and the year 2002, work could begin on the Outer Ring Road.

With regard to the priority, the hon. member has to realize that these priorities are subject to negotiation between the federal and provincial governments. Obviously, the federal government has not deemed it a sufficient priority up until this point in time because it has not been started up until this point in time, so, to lay all the fault at the Province's door is somewhat questionable.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. MURPHY: You gave the railway away for nothing.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. DOYLE: You should be ashamed, 'Murphy'. You should be ashamed - a St. John's member.

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister responsible for Works, Services and Transportation.

Could the minister tell the House what amount of funding was left under the capital program last year for transportation in the Province? How much was left unspent last year?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. GOVER: I believe the figure is around $1.5 million, but I am not exactly certain of the figure.

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

MR. WOODFORD: I think the minister, Mr. Speaker, is going to have to check his records. But, anyway, the supplementary is to the Minister responsible for Municipal Affairs. Could the Minister of Municipal Affairs tell the House how much of the allocation for capital funding under his department last year was left unspent?

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

MR. HOGAN: To my knowledge, Mr. Speaker, not a jingle.


MR. TOBIN: You must tell the truth in the House!

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

MR. WOODFORD: A supplementary. Mr. Speaker, to the Minister responsible for Municipal Affairs. According to reports that come from fairly good sources in both departments, a total of some $40 million - $15 million in Transportation and some $26 million in Municipal Affairs - of the allocation last year was not spent.


MR. WOODFORD: A total of $40 million.

Isn't this reason enough to consider the capital allocation, municipal affairs, to be put out to early tendering, so that municipalities and construction companies in the Province - and if they are so interested in creating jobs - can complete their construction in the construction season? Does the minister consider this important enough for that to be done?

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

MR. HOGAN: If that were true, yes, Mr. Speaker, it should be reason enough. But there are other good reasons why capital works should come out early, and we will get it out as early as we possibly can.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) January (Inaudible)!

MR. HOGAN: I didn't say January!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have questions for the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. Perhaps he could listen. I ask the minister: Why doesn't Newfoundland and Labrador yet have a federal-provincial cultural industries agreement? Other provinces have such an agreement. Here, civil servants started negotiations two-and-a-half years ago. Would the minister tell us what is going on? Has the Wells Government relegated this to the back burner, as it appears, or does the minister expect to sign a federal-provincial cultural industries agreement soon?

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

MR. HOGAN: I don't know of anything that the provincial government is relegating to any back burner, Mr. Speaker. As far as I am concerned, the negotiations and discussions are ongoing and when both parties, federal and provincial, are ready to sign an agreement, it will be signed. It is as simple as that.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Would the minister give us some specifics? Where are the talks, exactly? How much progress has been made? What amount is the minister aiming for in total? What share is the Province proposing to contribute? When does he expect to conclude the negotiations? When does he expect to have a Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador cultural industries agreement in place and contributing to the arts industries in this Province?

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

MR. HOGAN: With all honesty and sincerity, Mr. Speaker, I would advise the hon. member that the negotiations and discussions are ongoing. They are being done as expeditiously as I can have them done, just arriving in the post.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's not fast.

MR. HOGAN: It's as fast as you are, brother.

As soon as negotiations are completed - they are not going to be done in public, nothing about the negotiations is going to be done in public - the member will certainly be notified.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask the minister has he read the report of the provincial Arts Policy Committee that was presented to his government two years ago, and if so, what does he propose to do about the recommendations in that document?

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

MR. HOGAN: I am sorry, I did not get the first part of your question because of background noise. But I think you referred to the O'Flaherty report? As a matter of fact, the other day, Mr. Speaker, I spoke to my ADM about that and asked him to wipe the dust off it and get it out as soon as possible. I hope to be able to do it very shortly.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. In the capital works expenditure, and that is the one the Province pays 100 per cent for, not cost-shared, what criteria does the minister use to determine what roads would get funding in any given fiscal year?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. GOVER: I am surprised that the member would ask that particular question, Mr. Speaker. As it has been stated many times in this House, the principles the government uses to allocate funding under this particular initiative is fairness and balance, so the principles used to allocate money under the provincial program will be an objective assessment of the roads needs in this Province, based upon fairness and balance, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the minister visited my district this weekend to find out if that was true.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I have recognized the hon. the Member for Fogo.

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, each year for the past two or three years, the members on this side of the House, for sure, I am not sure about the other side, have received letters from the Department of Works, Services and Transportation asking them to prioritize roads that need capital funding. I ask the minister, what was the purpose of this letter?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. GOVER: Mr. Speaker, the officials in my department do not claim infallibility. This was an opportunity to allow the member, who is close to his district, close to the problem, who drives over the roads and see the condition of the roads, to write the department and have meaningful input into the needs as he or she sees them in his or her particular district.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GOVER: Mr. Speaker, not just the members on the government side, but the members on the Opposition side, have an invaluable contribution to make to the assessment of the needs in this Province with respect to road work. That is the reason the letter was sent, Mr. Speaker. That is the reason why the information was requested, and that information will be used in determining the exact configuration of the roads program on the basis of the principles outlined, fairness and balance. If hon. members don't want to send a letter back, they don't have to, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the minister that I sent the letter back on each occasion that it has been requested, and let me further tell the minister that two of the roads I prioritized are, number one, the road to Aspen Cove and Ladle Cove, and, number two, the road to Island Harbour in Deep Bay. In fact, Mr. Speaker, for three years it has been number one. If that is the case, then, your officials know it. I have told you that the roads are number one priorities and why is it that not one nickel in capital expenditure has taken place in the past three years? In fact, Mr. Speaker, not a spoonful of gravel has been applied to these roads. Why would that be if that is the case, if it is done on the basis of fairness and balance?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. GOVER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Now, why has there been no money spent in the district of Fogo? All I can answer, Mr. Speaker, is for the period of time during which this administration has been in power. Obviously, other districts could ask the same question. Why were limited funds spent in the Strait of Bell Isle, in Windsor - Buchans, in Bellevue, and in Fogo? Why was Fogo omitted for seventeen years? I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, if there have been no funds spent in the great district of Fogo for the last three years, there is only one reason for it, and one reason alone, that their roads were lower on the list of priorities than the other roads in the rest of the Province, based upon an objective assessment of the needs, regardless of whether the member sits on that side of the House or on this side of the House.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the President of Treasury Board. The minister will know that the premiums for the Blue Cross Insurance and the benefits have decreased as a result of discussions between the government and the involved unions. Will the minister confirm that these deteriorations in this plan also affect the government pensioners, in fact, imposing greater hardships on these government pensioners who have been subjected to the ravages of inflation for the last several years with no increase from this government. Will the minister confirm that this is causing further hardships to those on fixed incomes, particularly those with low fixed incomes?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, once every three years, I believe it is, we tender for insurance. We did that a year-and-a-half ago. The tenders received were examined by a committee made up of union, government and so on - government, itself, does not do it - and we accepted the Blue Cross bid. At the end of each year, the premiums are assessed based on the previous year's experience and this assessment again, is an actuarial assessment.

This year, when the assessment was done, we were informed by Blue Cross that the process showed that there would have to be a fairly large increase in premiums. In discussions with the unions involved, a conclusion was reached that there would be a change in the benefits, so that there would not be a big jump in the premiums paid, primarily because of the freeze year and some other considerations. Mr. Speaker, that was then implemented.

I know of no other, more democratic way involving the unions, their total input, their total agreement - I know of no other more democratic way to handle that problem.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Before moving on to other routine business, I just want to bring to hon. members' attention again, some of our rules relating to questions. I bring hon. members attention to Beauchesne's, Clause 409 and Section 2 which says: "The question must be brief. A long preamble on a long question takes an unfair share of time and provokes the same sort of reply. A supplementary question should need no preamble." I again carry on, on 410 page 121, Sections 7 and 8 in particular: "Brevity both in questions and answers is of great importance.", and: "Preambles to questions should be brief and supplementary questions require no preambles." I wanted to bring that to hon. Members attention because it sort of drags out Question Period. As the rules say, it promotes a long answer, and sometimes it gets us into debate. The Chair did not make the rules. The Chair's job is to try and interpret them, and I ask for hon. members co-operation.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to table the annual report, 1991 of Newfoundland and Labrador Computer Services Limited.


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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, on Friday I presented a petition on behalf of some people from my district organized by a lady from Red Harbour. At that time I stated that I had the petition and there were more signatures that were going to follow regarding the same petition. Basically it is an appendix to the petition that was already presented. I have spoken to the Government House -

MR. SIMMS: It is not a petition, it is a point of order.

MR. TOBIN: Okay, a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I have spoken to the Government House Leader and the Minister of Transportation regarding it. But in any case it is basically the same thing that the employees of FPI International in Marystown are strongly opposed to the Department of Highways policy on snow clearing from the Burin Peninsula. Our shift ends at the plant at 2:30 a.m. and we feel that the roads leading from the fish plant to our community should be cleared, salted and sanded so that we could travel home safely.

What is happening, as I explained the other day, Mr. Speaker, is the roads - the shift doesn't go on until two and a half hours after the employee shift change at the fish plant and as well on the shipyard which has created a tremendous hardship and concern, and indeed it has placed the safety of the people who use these roads in extreme jeopardy. So I have spoken to the minister, and as I said the other day, I am satisfied that he is working on the project, and today I want to basically table this, Mr. Speaker, as an appendix to the petition that I presented on Friday. There is an additional (inaudible) 1,200 names.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. GOVER: As the hon. member has indicated, Mr. Speaker, he has discussed the matter with me. I agree with him that there is a problem identified there in the sense of the shift changes with respect to the Marystown Shipyard and the FPI plant at Mooring Cove, and that these employees are experiencing some inconvenience on the highway due to the scheduling of work. I have instructed the regional director to meet with representatives off the shipyard and fish plant to determine if we can mutually resolve this particular problem.

I did read the hon. members comments in Hansard of Friday when he tabled the first part of the petition, which I was happy to receive. I am also happy to receive the remaining portion of the petition today. I just would note that in his remarks on Friday the hon. member indicated that these problems were due to cutbacks instituted by this particular administration. However, I would like to point out to the hon. member - and the hon. member is well aware - that in the heyday, when there were no cutbacks, when money was in abundance, when money was being spent left, right and center and led us to the catastrophe we find ourselves in today, that the member had to write the former Minister of Transportation under the former administration dealing with the exact same problem.

AN HON. MEMBER: That right?

MR. GOVER: Yes, that was right.

The hon. member indicated to the hon. minister at that particular time that: The union are not at all pleased with the performance of the work force of your department. That was under the previous administration when there was plenty of money and lots of resources and lot of equipment, when there were no cutbacks, the exact same difficulty, Mr. Speaker. This is not a new problem, but it is a problem we will endeavour to rectify.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I want to rise today to support the petition presented by my colleague, the Member for Burin - Placentia West, who presented a similar petition on Friday calling upon Government to have a look at this serious situation, as it effects hundreds of employees on the Burin Peninsula who travel to Marystown for employment, namely at the FPI Plant, mostly and mainly, and the shipyard. A lot of these people, particularly the people at the fish plant who come off work at two o'clock in the morning, have had to wait on occasion until the highway crews went on at four-thirty or five o'clock before they endeavoured to go home to rest after working for most of the night.

So, that is the situation. The Minister has alluded to the fact that he is taking initiatives to having it looked at, which I commend.

MR. TOBIN: His Deputy Minister, really.

MR. MATTHEWS: Regardless if the Minister's Department is doing it, I think that is commendable. It is a serious problem. I say to the Minister, he can rant and roar all he likes about problems with cutbacks. I said on Friday that a lot of the problems, Mr. Speaker - even when the depot superintendents and the district supervisor and the people who run the ploughs, particularly the flyers that go back and forth the area, even a lot of times when they are willing to go to work, they have been on the road so long that they, themselves, have to go home and rest, I say to the Minister.

I know people very well, Mr. Speaker, who spend too long ploughing snow. They are a hazard themselves by being on the road. They are a hazard to themselves and to the safety of people on the highway. So, I say to the Minister, it is a big problem. I know many of them who work too many hours when they should not be on the road. But having said that, I think it is something the Minister can have a look at and there could probably be some changes or alterations made to the scheduling that can accommodate the people who are employed, particularly at the Marystown FPI Fish Plant and at the shipyard.

So I support the petition, Mr. Speaker.

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Motion 4, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader, on a point of order.

MR. MATTHEWS: A point of order, Mr. Speaker. I just want to try and clarify a point with the Government House Leader. Yesterday being a holiday, ordinarily we would have notice of what Private Members' resolution we would be debating on Wednesday. It would have been dealt with yesterday. So I am wondering if we can come to some agreement or if we can get notice as to what Private Members' resolution members will be debating tomorrow so we can prepare accordingly?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, this kind of catches me by surprise, because I thought there was an understanding in place. However, I wonder if the hon. gentleman could wait and, after we get into Orders of the Day, we could have a conversation about that, and then I could inform the House. I thought there was an understanding, and now I am beginning to wonder if there is an understanding. So I would prefer to wait now, Mr. Speaker, until after I have had a brief meeting with the hon. gentleman, once we get into Orders of the Day.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I am quite willing to discuss it after, but basically I was trying to get an understanding from the Government House Leader last week, and really I did not get one, because it was our Private Members' resolution last time. The Government has a number on. The Member for St. John's East has one on that has been talked about for a period of time. So, there really was not an understanding, Mr. Speaker, and I just want it sorted out so that people can prepare themselves for whatever Private Members' resolution we will be debating tomorrow, that is why I want to get an answer. We can discuss it afterwards.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: I would just like to add something to it. The understanding the Government House Leader alludes to, I suspect, is the understanding we had with respect to the resolution put forth by the Member for St. John's East, and certainly, we had agreed on this side, to allow him to present his resolution at the next opportunity. That would have been last week, but he kindly gave way to us because we had a resolution dealing with the economy and jobs. So, the reason the Opposition House Leader is asking, is that normally, the next week's resolution would go to the government side, then back to this side, in which case, that would be the Member for St. John's East Extern. That's the way we were understanding it, but we didn't know if the government is intending to forgo its opportunity tomorrow and give it to the Member for St. John's East Extern, or not. That is the purpose of the question.

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I don't know if I should do this in public, but what the Leader of the Opposition is now doing is pulling a nasty little trick, and I think that's all I will say. Perhaps I would like to discuss this with the House Leader, after we get into Orders of the Day. I hesitated when I was asked the question because I sensed that something was happening, and that there were certain arrangements made - and the hon. gentleman knows what they were - That are now being gone back on somehow. So, I would like to discuss this with the House Leader in private first, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair will entertain one more submission. The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I just want to go - I mean, I can't let the Government House Leader go unchallenged on that point, because that is not the case at all. As a matter of fact, I am caught completely off guard, Mr. Speaker, because I was left with the opinion that the Government House Leader wanted to have one of his Private Member's resolutions done tomorrow, so that is why I want to clarify it. We have no problem, we just want clarification and we feel that this is the opportunity to clarify that, that is all, we are not trying to pull any tricks at all, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair understands that Orders of the Day was called; I didn't get which order or motion it was.

MR. BAKER: Motion 4, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 4. The hon. the Minister of Finance.

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform you and Members of the House, that I have received a message from His Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor.

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

`I, the Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Newfoundland, transmit estimates of sums required for the Public Service of the Province for the year ending March 31, 1993 by way of Interim Supply, and, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution Act, 1867, I recommend these estimates to the House of Assembly.' Signed, His Honour, The Lieutenant-Governor.

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I move that the message, together with a bill, be referred to the Committee of Supply.

On motion, that the House resolve itself into Committee of Supply, to consider the said bill, Mr. Speaker, left the Chair.

Committee of the Whole

MR. CHAIRMAN (Snow): Order, please!

Bill No. 5. The hon. the Minister of Finance.

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I am very pleased to be able to introduce Bill 5, the bill that requests Interim Supply of the House. As members will note, if you look at the bill, we are asking for an amount of $990,196,700, which, as you see in the schedule, is roughly a third of our normal expenditures of government. That will take us over three months or so, while we debate the main Throne Speech, and hopefully, it will be passed before too long so that we can have sufficient funds to operate after the new year commences. I won't read the amounts that are there, members can read them for themselves, but I would like to make reference to a few points. There is included in this bill, besides the normal operating amounts that we would need, very few new items. There are several that I would like to mention though, because it is appropriate that they be mentioned now. One is the new current account programs and capital account projects totalling $77.9 million. These represent the 1992-93 cash flow requirements for new initiatives. The new initiatives comprise federal/provincial road-bridge programs, $44.8 million; provincial road-bridge programs, $25.5 million; and an amount of $7.6 million for the Atlantic Salmon Management Agreement. The agreement is not yet signed but I understand that will be the amount we will be paying off. So that leaves a total of $77.9 million in new current account and capital account projects that would be included in the $990 million total amount. The remainder of that amount is just the continuation of ongoing programs.

Mr. Chairman, I have no hesitation in asking for this rather modest amount. Last year we asked for somewhat more in our Interim Supply, but let me have a few words about the fiscal position of the Province as we debate Interim Supply. A few months ago, Newfoundland was highly touted by all the people who write about the Canadian economy, as going to lead Canada out of the recession, and the main engine for that was the expected expansion of the Hibernia project, which would be expected to peak, not this summer, but next summer. We were on this great road leading Canada out of the recession. And, as you know, since that time, while Hibernia is continuing, it continues at a slower pace, and there is some uncertainty out there in the general public about the operation. Looking at it from the point of view of people in other countries -in the United States and other parts of Canada - who do not know the situation as well as we do, but whom we expect to buy our bonds. As you know, we finance Government largely through our own taxes. That is our chief source of revenue, and then secondary through Federal Government transfer payments, and then from borrowings - borrowings to make up the current deficit and the capital expenditures. Very important in that is the borrowing that we do on the market. I might say that with the recession that Canada has been in, and the effect that it has had on some provinces, that particular factor looms quite large as we approach financing government.

I am pleased to say that this Province's reputation - this Government's reputation - in the financial markets is quite firm, and we hope it is firm enough to be able to withstand these downturns in the economy.

Members will realize that the strongest province in Canada - Ontario - last year, last fall, had its credit rating dropped by both major bond rating agencies in the United States, Moody's and Standard and Poor's, and Ontario was placed on credit watch because of the elaborate program of expenditures that their Government embarked upon.

Saskatchewan also last fall had its credit rating lowered by the Dominion Bond Rating Agency from A(low) to BBB, and by Standard and Poor's from A to A-. Newfoundland's is A- with Standard and Poor's. Saskatchewan was downgraded and also put on credit watch. So these bond rating agencies don't fool around. If a province is not fiscally prudent, the credit rating gets slashed, and that means that it is more difficult to borrow than before, and you usually have to pay a bit more money.

In our case in Newfoundland, where we are rated in the B's by three of the four bond rating agencies, and with A- by one only credit rating agency, namely Standard and Poor's, if we lose that A- it is all B's and it becomes very, very important for us, because with all B ratings many of the financial institutions, the insurance companies who buy bonds and the pension funds, many of these are prohibited from putting their funds into B rated bonds. That would mean for us, if we lose that A-, greater difficulty in borrowing, and higher rates of interest that we would have to pay. It is very important for us to maintain that credit rating.

I might remind hon. Members that in 1984 our credit rating, which had persisted in A with Standard and Poor's for a number of years, was dropped to A-. We take no great pleasure in that, but it was a result of inordinate spending by the Government of the day.

I might also remind hon. Members that - I do not need, I guess, to remind hon. Members - what happened to this part of the world, this Province, in 1932. So we are being carefully looked upon by the credit rating agencies - the people who advise the bond purchasers as to whether or not they should buy our bonds. In this period of recession it looks no longer that we may lead the country out of recession. But the one thing that this Government has going for it is its prudent fiscal management.

What I want to read to you briefly here now, if you do not mind, is a comment that was written by Standard and Poor's in their Credit Week International last November: 'Newfoundland's Liberal Government has demonstrated its firm commitment to fiscal consolidation since its election in May 1989. Deficits in the operating balance, prior to the 1990 economic slowdown, were eliminated ahead of the Government's own schedule and within its first year in office. Recent economic difficulties however have put operating balances out of reach. Future improvement in the overall fiscal account is expected to be achieved over the coming three years, primarily through expenditure restraint, the involvement of the private sector in program delivery and improved cost recovery. Limited flexibility exists in raising own source revenue in the short run, given that key Provincial tax rates are already high. However, municipal tax rates are low and Newfoundland only began to collect payroll taxes and health insurance premiums in fiscal 1991.' They go on, and so on.

But the point that I am making is that the credit rating agencies view this Government, particularly its prudent fiscal management, as being a major asset. In my view, given the economic times in Canada, we are on our way out of it, thank goodness, because of low interest and low inflation rates and other factors. Canada is out of it, is coming out of the recession slowly, but it is coming out of it. We may not be leading the parade this year, but we will be coming out of it. It is the strength of our fiscal management that protects our credit rating and enables us as a province to forge ahead through these difficult economic times and even such setbacks as what is happening in the fishery and the slowdown in Hibernia, and some of the other things that are also happening.

So, Mr. Chairman, we are asking now for a modest amount of interim supply that will take us over the period until the Budget can be presented and can be adequately debated, and hon. Members decide how much money you are prepared to give us. Thank you.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman, the first thing of course that we can say is, as I said during Question Period, why the delay in the Budget? Why hasn't the Minister come forward now with his Budget so that we do not have to waste time debating interim supply. There is very little information here. There are no policies announced here. The Minister would have us believe that it is simply a continuation of programs for last year.

That being the case, what is the holdup with the Budget? Why is the Minister's Budget not before the House? Why does the Minister not put the people of this Province - particularly the financial community and people in business - why does he not put their minds at ease? Why does he not put the minds of labour, and particularly the public service, at ease by letting us know what the policies of this Government are going to be for the next fiscal year?

How can there be such a holdup? Two weeks ago the Minister and perhaps the President of Treasury Board indicated to this House Budget Day would be the 19th. The question is, what has happened in the interim period to change that? Yes, we had an announcement relating to Hibernia, and I can recognize that that would cause

some adjustment, but it does not take two weeks to make that kind of adjustment.

There has been an adjustment needed to be made because of the fishing industry, no doubt, and I for one believe that will have a bigger impact on us than any slowdown in Hibernia, because it effects every community in this Province and touches the lives of tens of thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, so that will be a problem for us. Surely, God, it does not take that long to revise the estimates for this year. The Minister is asking here for $1 billion. Quite, honestly, Mr. Chairman, it is a blank cheque the Minister is asking for because there are no financial details, there are no detailed estimates. How do we know what this money will be spent on? We do not even have a reasonable breakdown. The Minister gave us a list of $77.9 million, in current and capital, he said, of new programs. He does not give us a breakdown. He does not tell us what these projects are, this $78 million he wants to spend over the next two or three months, but he is asking this Legislature to give him carte blanche approval to spend $1 billion. Why could we not wait? We have two weeks yet before the end of March. Are we receiving an indirect message here that the Budget will not come in between now and the end of March? If not, then we have to ask, why not? What could be such a holdup? Has it something to do with the constitutional debates? Has it something to do with the Premier spending time out of the Province and not being here this week because he is off trotting across the country trying to gain some public support for the fishing industry? That is a good thing for him to be doing, if that were indeed what he was doing, but I suspect he is making more speaking engagements on the Constitution, trying to make up his own case for constitutional accord, a whole process which has consumed the minds of our political and business leaders, and thousands of Canadians across this nation for the past year and a half because our Premier scuttled the deal that was in place. He broke his word to the other provinces of Canada. He broke his word to the people of Newfoundland and to this Legislature by refusing to allow it to be voted on, and he and he alone has caused this nation millions of dollars for this whole constitutional process, millions of dollars in his exercise of trying to reach a new accord. He has set Canadian unity back twenty years. Certainly he has set relationships between French and English Canada back twenty years, maybe more. There may be irreparable damage. The Premier and the Premier alone can take responsibility for that. I would suggest to you that he is spending more time now trying to make amends, and trying to improve his image across Canada. I do not know what political agenda he might have in the long-term. It is interesting. What political agenda could he have? It would not have anything to do with appointing a new Minister of Justice from outside of Cabinet. That would not indicate that the Premier is not going to be around very long. I wonder. Maybe the new Minister of Justice is being anointed as the new leader of the party. That must make hon. gentlemen opposite feel good. That is an interesting concept, Mr. Chairman.

MR. NOEL: We do not deny the Premier (inaudible)

MR. WINDSOR: The hon. gentleman is right. I will agree with that, Mr. Chairman. They do not anoint leaders. The Leader anoints himself over there. The Leader does not even consult the hon. gentlemen opposite. Nobody anoints a dictator, Mr. Chairman. A dictator takes absolute power onto himself. So I would suggest that he is travelling across Canada trying to improve his constitutional and political image. He is testing the political waters across Canada to see if he can patch up his difficulties with French Canada enough that he might be able to run for the national leadership. That will be an interesting contest.

But let's get back to this interim supply Bill. Aside from the fact that we should not be debating interim supply, if we had a budget document on the table now we could pass interim supply and say to the Minister: yes, now we see your plan, take your interim supply and carry on until the Budget is approved. Probably be approved in the next two or three weeks anyway. There is a limitation on how much time we can spend. We could have our Budget estimate committees at work giving a detailed study of the Budget and asking some questions of the officials.

But there are a few obvious things in this particular Bill. A few things that are painfully obvious. One thing is painfully obvious is that the Minister has sneaked out again. The Minister does not like to stay around when his Budget is being debated. But the Department of Works, Services and Transportation has asked for 63 per cent of their budget. Now I think that requires some explanation. The Minister of Finance stands up and says: we have asked for about one-third of our Budget to get us through the first four months. Well, he must know it is not going to take four months to debate and approve the Budget.

But that is a standard procedure - to ask for one-third of the year in interim supply. But he is being very misleading. Because out of consolidated fund services, which had a total bill last year of $590 million, the Minister has only asked for 0.4 of 1 per cent. Less than half of 1 per cent of that $580 million. So then when you look at other departments you will see that he has asked for a percentage far more than 30 per cent. Sixty-three per cent of Works, Services and Transportation. Perhaps the new Minister - temporary Minister or whatever he is - can tell us what he proposed to do with $185 million over the next three or four months.

I could understand it if I thought this Government had such control over the Department of Public Works, that the Minister had such control, that he had the $100 million worth of highway construction projects ready to call tender and to award when the frost comes out of the ground. But we know that will not be the case. We know we will see the same thing we saw last year, where highway construction - and even worse, water and sewer and municipal affairs - contracts will be awarded in the fall when the best of the construction season is over.

Or maybe what happened is that work was so late getting started last year, by design.... It is a good way, by the way. The Minister made an announcement not long ago that his capital account is down by $15 million. That had nothing to do with the economy, with a recession. That is not something you can blame on Ottawa. That is because this Government has not spent the money that this Legislature approved. It is because they have not carried out the projects that they asked to carry out and received funding to do. That is $15 million of construction activity that was not available in this Province last year. That represents quite a number of jobs in this Province. Why did the Government not spend the money that was allocated to them?

MR. TOBIN: They never had any intention (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: That is right. My hon. colleague for Burin - Placentia West is exactly right. They had no intention of spending the money. They put it in the budget under capital account - which is all money to be borrowed - they project a deficit of $54 million or $57 million on current account, which was money to be borrowed, and then last month the minister comes and says, our borrowing is way down. Why? Because we didn't spend all the money on capital account, and because we had a little bit of luck, you know, we happened to get more money from Ottawa than we thought we were going to get. Interest rates are low. The Canadian dollar is low, and so are costs of borrowing. The cost of servicing the long-term debt is down, so we saved $30 million there.

So, now, at the end of the year, the minister will come in, in the next couple of weeks, whenever he comes in with his Budget, and he will announce proudly that we don't have a $57 million deficit, we have a $63 million deficit. He had told us it was going to go up to $95 million. Now, he has it back down to $63 million, but we are better off because we saved $15 million on capital, so we are actually $9 million less on our total borrowing program than the government had asked for. But where did that $15 million go? It wasn't spent. How many more of those contracts, because of the lateness of the season, are contracts that are committed, but the money will expire at the end the fiscal year, of course - has not done so yet, so the government can't show savings yet, but at the end of the year they will. They will project in their Budget even greater savings on capital account, but because those commitments are there, they will have to carry over to next year, as the President of Treasury Board knows well.

Is that why we are asking for all of this money up front in the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, because of commitments from last year being carried over on work that is not completed because this government didn't invite tenders on a timely basis? They deliberately delayed them, knowing the work could not be done - knowing the work could not be done.

Environment and Lands has asked for 45 per cent of their annual budget, as has Fisheries, and Forestry 40 per cent. Why do these departments need 40 and 45 per cent of their budget for the first portion of the year? I know full well that there are some capital expenditures up front. There are some contracts that have to be signed. There are leases that have to be entered into. Why are we not given such information by the minister?

What control does this House have over this $1 billion? We don't have the detailed estimates here. We don't know which programs will continue this year, which ones will not. We don't know where this money is going, because we don't have any details. If we had the Budget document we could then intelligently look at these numbers and decide whether or not this government should be given approval. Let's not kid ourselves. They will be given approval. They have to be given approval or the Province grinds to a halt at the end of March. So we can debate this for two weeks if we choose, but, in the end, government will be given this billion dollars to proceed, and, as traditionally, the Opposition will attempt to find out when the Budget comes in what this money is allocated for, where it is going, what the government is going to do with this $1 billion dollars and another $2 billion or $2.5 billion that will be included in the overall Budget.

That is the basis under which a billion dollars should be approved to taxpayers - in the knowledge of the policies this government proposes to follow, in the knowledge of what expenditures they are proposing to make, and in the knowledge of what tax burden this may cause to be imposed on Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

You are asking us to say, yes, you can take $1 billion of taxpayers money and spend it, but we don't know what the implications are. We don't know what that does to an overall budget. We don't know what tax level you will have to impose, in view of commitments that are there that you have no flexibility, because hon. gentlemen may not know - I suspect a lot of hon. gentlemen opposite don't know that 95 per cent of the Budget is committed before you sit down, maybe even a little higher. Ninety-five per cent of your Budget is committed, locked in, and you don't have any flexibility. So when you are talking about balancing a budget, you are talking about very little flexibility. Alright?

The Minister of Education nods his head. He knows what I am talking about, that that is true. The teachers' salaries have to be paid; grants to school boards and hospitals have to be paid; salaries to public servants have to be paid. Now, we can freeze salaries to public servants as we did last year. Instead of giving them the 7 per cent increase on the average that is proposed to take effect this year for all public servants, or basically all public servants, we could freeze that again. I am told that would save just under $80 million. That would certainly make a big dent in the projected deficit. One hundred and fifteen million dollars, I believe the Premier was talking about a couple of months ago. We are facing $115 million, he said. Then I believe he revised that down to just under $100 million. That is the problem we are faced with now. As I have said many times through the news media, and, I believe, in this House just before we closed for Christmas, that is a lot of smoke and mirrors.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. WINDSOR: My time is up. I will have another opportunity, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.

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

MR. NOEL: Mr. Chairman, the hon. member criticizes the Premier for working for parliamentary reform in this country. 'What good,' he asks, 'will constitutional change do for the economy? What good will it do for the fishing industry? It is the same old line that the members on that side have been using ever since the last election, ever since the Meech Lake debate began. Remember, the former Leader of the Opposition went on endlessly about there being no fish in Meech Lake. Just last week, the present House Leader of the party said that he supported the Triple E Senate, but what good would it do? We shouldn't be spending any time on it.

But, at the same time, all members of this House know that if we are to improve economically, we have to get more control over our economy.

AN HON. MEMBER: Do away with the Marketing Board.

MR. NOEL: Do away with marketing boards. This might not be - I am glad to have the member's support in my efforts to deal with marketing boards. Thank you. The Member for Menihek, that was. I am in the process of recruiting a small army for this endeavour and I am glad to have him join.


MR. NOEL: But to get back to what I was speaking about, Mr. Chairman. If we are to improve this economy, if we are to improve our fishery, we have to have more say in how Canada operates.

Now, what ideas do we hear from the other side of the House about how Newfoundlanders can have more say in how this country operates? What better ideas do we have from the other side of the House or from anywhere else than the proposal for a Triple E Senate, which would give us an effective, elected and equal number of senators from every province in this country? Then, the House of Commons, which is controlled by the two provinces with two-thirds of the population and two-thirds of the seats, will not be able to do what it wants as easily. Then the Parliament of Canada will only be able to act when it has more support right across the country from the ten provinces. They would have to do what could be approved by the Senate, and they would not be able to do what would not be approved by the Senate. Every Newfoundlander knows that we are suffering in our fishery today because of the failure of the federal government to properly manage the fishery, and because of their failure to act in time, as we have seen the situation deteriorate, particularly over the past year.

The government of our Province has advocated lowering the catch each year in keeping with what the resource can handle. Instead, the federal government has allocated far more than the resource can handle. We, and all the interest groups in this Province, the fisherpeople, the fish plants, the fish companies, the unions, everybody has been advocating that the federal government act on overfishing, act on the sealing issue, act on persuading countries elsewhere in the world to co-operate in proper protection of this renewable resource. But they had failed to act, because we don't have sufficient clout in Ottawa.

Our minister, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Mr. Crosbie, has probably done a pretty good job in trying to draw attention to our problems and trying to have them solved, but he is only one person in a Cabinet of forty that is controlled by Central Canada, and Central Canada is not being any more enlightened on this issue - it might be waking up a bit now, but it hasn't been - than it has been throughout history. They don't understand the extent to which the failure of the fishery in our Province will cost Central Canadians money. But this is the reason we need to have more influence in Ottawa, so that we can continue making that case, so that we can continue persuading the Government of Canada to pay attention to the needs of the provinces with the smaller populations. Now, some of us are making progress in this regard. I think we are closer to having a Triple E Senate created today than we were any time in the past.

One major step of progress we have made was at the national Liberal convention in Ottawa, last month, when we persuaded the Liberal Party of Canada to adopt a resolution calling for the establishment of a Triple E Senate - the Liberal Party of Canada, a national party, the first national party to endorse the concept of the Triple E Senate, persuaded to do so as a result of a resolution from the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Well, why didn't you do it?


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. NOEL: Your leader was up earlier today, saying the time has come to stop talking about the past. What is to be gained by talking about the past? What is important is what we are going to do from here on. And what is important for this Province to do is to get more say in how Canada is governed. If somebody else has a better idea about how we can do that, then let them suggest it and we will all work on it. But, in the meantime, the kind of constitutional reform being considered seems, to me, most promising.

I think it is time we had more support from the Progressive Conservative Members of Parliament from our Province, and from the Progressive Conservative Party in our Province in this regard. Instead, we have the Member for St. John's East participating in the deliberations of the parliamentary committee now, but not pushing this one major item which could do so much for our Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: Which is -

MR. NOEL: The creation of a Triple E Senate -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. NOEL: - which you said you favoured last week, and then you said you didn't think it could accomplish anything. If you had been in the House instead of out -

MR. TOBIN: I favour abolishing it.

MR. NOEL: Naturally, you favour abolishing it, because you don't understand how the Canadian Government operates. If we were to abolish the Senate, then Ontario and Quebec would have even more say in how the country is run. You don't have any answers.

MR. TOBIN: I would still abolish it.

MR. NOEL: Yes, you would still abolish it. Too bad somebody doesn't abolish you; that will probably happen before very long. It is no good sitting there -


MR. TOBIN: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West, on a point of order.

MR. TOBIN: I wonder, Mr. Chairman, if the language of the Member for Pleasantville is parliamentary?

MR. CHAIRMAN: I wonder what the hon. member is referring to. I didn't hear the hon. member saying anything unparliamentary. I may have missed something.

MR. TOBIN: Basically, what he said is that the members of this House should be abolished.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The Chair doesn't believe that what the hon. member said is - I am not sure of the context in which he said it. I will have to go back and see Hansard, check on it and come back later with a ruling on that.

MR. NOEL: Just for clarification, Mr. Chairman, and your consideration. I didn't say that the members should be abolished, I said the member should be abolished. Of course, I didn't mean physically, I meant, as a member of this House, and, of course, that is something that is about to happen before too long, anyway.

AN HON. MEMBER: I know I would (inaudible) if you would.

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

MR. NOEL: You will if you hope to get back here.

The problem I have with the federal MP for St. John's East is that he is trying to intimidate his own people into playing the game that his leader wants played in this country. He is representing the interests of his party, his national party - and I don't necessarily mean the provincial one, to his constituents in this Province - rather than representing the interests of his constituents in the Parliament of Canada.

Just the other day, he was speaking to the students down at the Cabot Institute. He must have done quite a job, I must say. The reports were very impressive. 'Our constitutional future,' he said, 'is very bright.' He was very optimistic about what is going to come out of the report of the Parliamentary Commission. Well, he is the only person in the country who believes that. Even the Prime Minister doesn't believe that, the Prime Minister, who is now trying to co-op the provinces into the failure of his process, trying to make sure that responsibility for what happens from here on is shared with the provinces so that the federal government alone doesn't have to take responsibility for the failure of the process of the past two years.

Then, the Member for St. John's East said to the students of the Cabot Institute -

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

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to have a few words on this Supplementary Supply bill. First of all, Mr. Chairman, I wasn't going to get into constitutional debate or anything like that today, but the Member for Pleasantville sort of touched on it; he seems to touch on a lot of things that he seems to be advising his leader on. He was the advisor to his leader on the Constitutional debate and the Meech Lake debate, and now he seems to be the advisor for agriculture to the Premier and to the Minister responsible for Agriculture in the Province. On both occasions, I might add - the Meech Lake debate failed. Now, what is going to happen to the agricultural one with regards to the Marketing Board?

Mr. Chairman, I want to comment on one of the things with regard to this great invention we have come up with with regard to Senate reform and what it is going to do for the stomachs and souls and hearts of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Mr. Chairman, if someone could convince me that a Triple E Senate or a Quadruple E Senate is going to do for this Province - granted, I am in favour of reform, no question - but if someone can tell me what a Triple E Senate is going to do, that it is going to be the answer to all our problems here in this Province, then someone should get up and tell me.

I will give you an example, Mr. Chairman, of what is going to happen. We are talking about our representation in Parliament and how we only have seven seats in this small Province of ours. Yes, and we have no say, I agree, absolutely none, as far as I am concerned. It is a good thing, Mr. Chairman, that we do have a strong minister such as Mr. Crosbie to try to stand up for us. Granted, he is not going to get it all, but at least stand up and be counted. Mr. Chairman, if we do get a Triple E Senate tonight, if it was announced tonight when we left the House that we had a Triple E Senate, what is it going to do? It can become equal, it possibly can become more effective, and, yes, it will be elected. Now, if someone can give me some names of people in Newfoundland and Labrador who are going to run for the Senate who do you think is going to run?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. WOODFORD: That is true, that is true enough. Who do you think is going to run for the Senate in this Province?

MR. SMALL: (Inaudible)

MR. WOODFORD: That is right, the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay said, himself. Probably so, probably other members on this side of the House right now, and probably some members included in the House here this evening. Who is going to run for the Senate to make it equal in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, British Columbia and so on? Who is going to run? If we had ten from each Province for argument sake who do you think is going to run for the Senate? We could quite possibly end up with eight Liberals elected from Newfoundland, ten PCs from Quebec, six NDPs from Ontario, and when they all get in the Senate, elected, equal and supposedly effective, how are you going to make it effective when the vote comes to that? It is in their blood, it is in their system, what they were before they were ever elected to go to that Senate. How do you think they are going to vote?... along with their brothers and sisters that are in the Parliament of Canada?...or are they going to vote along the lines that will give them equal representation and be fair to the Province which they represent? They are not going to do it.

MR. NOEL: They will vote to represent their constituents.

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, you hope. That is what we hope when we send people to Ottawa, and that is what we hope when we send people to the House of Assembly, but the hon. Member knows as well as I do that there is no way in the world - they have not come up with it in the past, they have not come up with it today, and they will not come up with it tomorrow, to make the Senate, or the Parliament of Canada, effective. You will have them elected, you will have them equal, but if you can get them effective, I guarantee you, whoever does it will get elected forevermore.

Mr. Chairman, the past is a wonderful place to visit but I do not think any of us would want to live there.

AN HON. MEMBER: Do you agree with provincial equality?

MR. WOODFORD: I agree with provincial equality, but does the hon. Member know where we are going to get it under Senate reform? Tell me where we are going to get it under Senate reform? We are not going to get it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)

MR. WOODFORD: There is no question. Like I said to the hon. Member just now I agree with Senate reform but I am questioning the effectiveness of it, how it is going to be effective. If someone can come up with the answer to do just that then I will be on the bandwagon tomorrow morning, but it is not so.

Mr. Chairman, getting back to the Bill on Supplementary Supply. The economy is another example of how we stray and get carried away by the constitutional debate. We have been for the last three years now talking about Constitution, Constitution, Constitution. The only constitution we should be talking about today, and I sincerely believe that, is the constitution of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, the one they have to sleep with every night, the one they have on their minds and in their hearts when they wake up in the morning, and the hurt that I see every day as a member, every day of the week. I have spent ten years, Mr. Chairman, in municipal politics and seven now, come April 2, in provincial politics, and it is the worst year I ever spent as a member in public life, the very worst. I have never been so frustrated, I have never had so many calls, I have never been called on to do so much since I have been in office these seventeen years in public life. Now, granted all the blame is not from members opposite, it is a sign of the times as well, but a lot of it, Mr. Chairman, is attributed to some policies that were instituted in 1989 and continued on in 1990. I will tell you one of the biggest things, and I do not think there is a member of the House today that would not agree with me, is the negativity that seems to come - well, naturally it is going to come every time you turn on television, pick up a paper, or turn on the radio, but members opposite, especially cabinet ministers and the Premier, are just going to have to be more positive because perception is reality. You are going to have to be more positive and more optimistic, you can try to be, as a member, no matter what side of the House you are on, but there is only so far that can go when you are preaching policy.

Mr. Speaker, I see it every day of the week, and members opposite see it with children in the morning going to school with empty stomachs, not because the parents do not want to work, it is because the parents cannot get work. Calls everyday from people who will not go to Social Services. There are certain people who will not go to Social Services, period. They have to be down pretty, pretty low. They will not go and that is it.

Mr. Speaker, only for I heard a lot of members over the years on the other side of the House complaining about the ACOA program, any members on this side ever hear that complaint?... the ACOA program was no good. I heard it from the Premier himself. Mr. Speaker, if you pick up the paper or turn on the television or turn on a radio and hear about all the grants and funding that is coming out through ACOA and other Federal/Provincial agreements, and this one is federal.

Only yesterday I looked at the picture of the hon. Member for Stephenville, a great thing coming with the Holiday Inn construction job or hotel in Stephenville. Great stuff. I am not knocking any of it. We need it. The more, the better. I do not care if it is in Stephenville, Port aux Basques, Deer Lake, or wherever it is, we need it. God knows today. As the old fellow said to me the other day, maybe members heard, he said: We have 90 people working with ACOA giving out money and grants, and we have 262 over at Enterprise Newfoundland taking the credit for it. So this Administration is going to have to start putting some money into something. You are not going to have all permanent jobs. You cannot have it. You have to start somewhere and try to put some money in. Go back to what we had a couple of years ago with regards to make-work projects or whatever they may be and give it to some communities to try to let people keep their own self esteem, keep them working and keep their pride because that is the last thing they have. Whether it is a federal problem, a provincial problem or a municipal problem we are all here to make sure that those individuals in our constituencies can -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: - at least keep their pride because that is the last thing they have, Mr. Speaker.

The fishery is one of the greatest travesties that ever happened to this Province as far as I am concerned. Now we can go on casting blame forevermore. We can go back five years, ten years, fifteen years, twenty years or what have you, but we have to address that problem whether it is us as a province or the feds as a Federal Government and responsible for the management of that stock. But this is the time, as far as I am concerned, when you come to the crossroads. Something has to be done now. There is no tomorrow when it comes to the fishery. None. And if all hands don't work together now we are going to miss the only opportunity we ever had to address this problem once and for all in this country.

The hon. Member mentioned that it is not important in Ottawa. That is right. You are dead on. Do you know why? One per cent of the GNP in this country comes to fish. One per cent. Make no wonder we have no clout in Ottawa. But to bring it back in relativity with the Province pertaining to agriculture that the hon. Member talks about, the same thing is applicable to this Province when it comes to agriculture. That is why it is always behind. That is why it has never gotten up on the top rung of the ladder in this Province. We have the same thing happening to the fishery nationally as we have to agriculture in this Province provincially. And we are not going to have it unless we can convince the rest of Canada - not only Canada now, but certainly North America and the EEC members who are over there sitting pretty getting the biggest kind of subsidies. I was just looking the other day, and just the twelve EEC members alone when it comes to Agriculture, $48 billion last year just on programs not counting export subsidies.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Never mind about Canada. We can go on to the U.S. The hon. Member gets up and talks about the fishery. How much is going to the fishery? We could use that for everything.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Ask the hon. Member for Stephenville how much of a grant ACOA will be putting in to try to put a hotel in Stephenville? How much money was put into Abitibi-Price to try to keep it alive, and Kruger in Corner Brook? How much money is going to be put in through ACOA to put an 80 megawatt mini hydro generating station in Stephenville to keep the mill going?

Does the hon. Member want us to keep talking about subsidies? Take any member from that side of the House today and take out the guts of the industrial sector in his community, and take it and see that it has no subsidy and brother you are going to be some mad if there is nothing in it. Just about everything we have in this Province today - just about everything we have in this country today - is subsidized somehow or else has some protectionist element in it. That is even doctors; that is even lawyers. You cannot practice in this Province unless you are admitted to the Bar or write an exam in this Province. You can keep on going. You have protection. So the hon. Member, if he is going to start plucking straws out of a basket, he had better start getting his facts straight, because if you want to use that analogy, sir, we won't do anything in this Province - absolutely nothing. It can always be produced somewhere else. Just remember that. The one that comes to mind most is especially our paper mills. If you wanted to use that analogy and say that we could not do it here because it costs too much, we are in trouble. We are in real, real trouble.

Pertaining to the Supplementary Bill again, I can go on to the fishery especially. The fishery, especially in the White Bay area of the Province, in my particular district, is very, very important. So members might look over sometimes and say, what does it do for you? It does a lot. It means the life or death of communities in my district. It means the life or death of communities in districts on both sides of this House. It has to be addressed, and it has to be done in consultation and communication with whoever is speaking for us in Ottawa, whether it be John Crosbie, whether it be Brian Tobin or anybody else. We have to get off this thing about blame. Every time we get up - blame. We are going to have to put our heads together and do something about it in that particular sector of our economy. Now there are other particular sectors of the economy that we can do something about. We certainly can.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

MR. NOEL: I don't know what case the hon. Member was trying to make. Is he trying to say that we have to build our economy on subsidies? That is what we have to realize in Canada - that you cannot build a country on subsidies. That is what got the country in the state that it is in. We have such a fabricated economy in Canada, such a subsidized economy, that we are not competitive with the world. That is being demonstrated by what is happening in Ontario today. The manufacturing industry in Ontario has been decimated because it is not competitive. It cannot even sell to its own people who are going across the border to buy goods in the United States, which is not one of the cheapest countries in the world either. We have a Free Trade Agreement with the United States, and free trade is a good thing in lots of ways, but I would like to see it with countries that produce more competitively, more cheaply than the United States does. So Canada has to be looking at getting away from subsidies.

AN HON. MEMBER: Why didn't you stay up in Labrador for another couple of days, boy?

MR. NOEL: We want to build our economy. We want to create a better standard of living for Canadians. We have to realize that in the world that is developing today, we have to get away from subsidies. That is why I have gotten into this debate over agriculture, because the mouthpiece for marketing boards from Kilbride a couple of weeks ago, in the interest of the agribusinesses in this country, the big agribusinesses who are trying to intimidate politicians and the Government of Canada into backing down, backing away from reaching a new agreement in Geneva, a new general agreement on tariffs and trade, are threatening to make it impossible to reach a new agreement in order to protect the farmers of Canada - the overly subsidized farmers of Canada - the $22 billion industry, half of which is accounted for by subsidies and fabricated prices - what are essentially consumption taxes being imposed on the consumers of this country so that a few wealthy farmers can get even wealthier. I know that there are farmers who have a bad time - have a difficult time - and I know there are different kinds of farmers in different segments of the industry, but the fact is that we are living in a world that is becoming more competitive. The fact is that Canadians will be better off if we have increased access to cheaper imports -

AN HON. MEMBER: What do you think of Free Trade?

MR. NOEL: - and if we have increased access to export markets for our products and it was interesting that the Leader of the Opposition today, brought up the question of: what are we doing to ensure that our fish can be shipped out of the Province, more fully processed?... and that is a very important thing for this country to be doing. That is where the jobs are and that is where the profits are, but the reason we have not been able to do much of that is because we do not have access to markets for these products.

We have not had access to the markets in the United States because of tariffs they have against our fish exports. We had to ship most of our fish over the years out in blocks, shipping away jobs from this Province and jobs from our people. We are pretty well closed out of access to the European Community altogether for our fish export, closed out altogether -

MR. PARSONS: Go way out of that; there was more shipped to the United Kingdom last year than (inaudible), about half as much as there was to the United States.

MR. NOEL: The hon. Member does not know what he is talking about when he uses those figures. We ship a certain amount but none of it processed to the extent it could be. We cannot ship processed fish to the United Kingdom or to anywhere in Europe, and that is why we need to have a new International Trading Agreement in order to open up markets for our exports and that is why we cannot stick with these subsidies that the agricultural industry of Canada is trying to intimidate the Government of Canada into imposing, and of course, the Government of Canada is playing a cute little game over this.

They put out a report last year saying that the agricultural industry has to move more in the orientation of market competition. We have to get away from subsidies. The GATT team put out a report saying that last year. Our own agricultural task force, in its report last year, said that we have to get a more market oriented agricultural industry and that is what we have to do, but the Federal Government of Canada and now I think, according to certain members of the Opposition who have been speaking lately, the Provincial Conservative Party is pretending that they are supporting the farmers saying: we are going to fight like hell to ensure that marketing boards and supply management are preserved, at the same time, hoping, hoping that the GATT talks will do away with it, because they know that is the only way we can survive in the world of the future. It is the only way we can survive but they will not come out and say that because they are intimidated by politics.

They are intimidated by the fact that 40 per cent of the dairy industry in Canada is located in Quebec, they are trying to appease Quebec again. They are intimidated by the fact that commentators believe that up to twenty-five of the seventy-five federal seats in Quebec are determined by the farming industry. The outcome, the results, who is elected in twenty-five of the seventy-five seats in Quebec can be largely influenced by the agricultural industry. So because they do not have the guts to stand up to these interests, all Canadians are being forced to pay the price and our people cannot afford it today.

Our people are having trouble putting food on the table. Just yesterday a new report indicated that there are now seventeen food banks in this Province. Imagine, seventeen food banks where people have to go out and beg for food in order to keep their families together. We had one food bank a year ago, we have seventeen today. 40 per cent they say, of the people who use the food banks are children, one in nine children in Canada depends on food banks, they cannot afford to put food on the table and one of the reasons they cannot afford is because the price of lots of foods in this country is much higher than it needs to be, than it would be if we do away with a lot of these subsidies. The price of milk, butter, eggs, poultry, and cheese is twice as much in Canada as it is in the United States, twice as much! Why are we putting up with that?

Now this is what we have to do something about. One way to do something about it is to reform the way the Government of Canada operates. That is why I cannot understand why the hon. Member says he cannot see how an effective Senate would do us any good. Well, the four Atlantic provinces are interested in the fishery, for instance. The four Atlantic provinces now probably have about 7 or 8 per cent of the seats in the House of Commons. If we had an equal Senate we would have 40 per cent of the seats in the Senate. Forty per cent of the seats in a reformed Senate. Don't you think you would have more influence if you had 40 per cent of the seats in the House than if you have 7 per cent? Can't you understand that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. NOEL: Why not?

They have an effective Senate in the United States.

AN HON. MEMBER: No they don't!

AN HON. MEMBER: Who said?

MR. NOEL: You do not think the Senate is effective? You guys have to get your act together. One of the arguments you have been making against an effective Senate is that it would stagnate Government because it would be too effective, it would not allow Government to operate, like in the United States. That is what you people said in the Meech Lake debate a couple of years ago. That is what some speakers for your side said.

The fact is, they have an effective Senate in the United States and they do not vote along party lines all the time. And in other countries. In Germany, Switzerland, and in Australia. Because we all respond to our constituents before we respond to our Party, or we should do so. My first responsibility as a Member of this House is to represent the interests of my constituents in Pleasantville, before the interests of our political party or any other political party.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I find it interesting to note that the hon. Member for Pleasantville said that the primary purpose of an elected Member in this House of Assembly is to protect the rights of the electorate whom he was elected to represent, mainly those in Pleasantville. I find it passing strange that he was one of the advocates of foisting the huge municipal tax increases, because of the downloading of the Provincial Government, upon the residents who now live and own property in his district.

MR. NOEL: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for Pleasantville on a point of order.

MR. NOEL: The reason that taxes have gone up in St. John's this year is not because of the amalgamation reform. It is because of the poor administration of the St. John's Municipal Council. Once we get amalgamation done properly we will make sure that the residents of Pleasantville get the kind of fair municipal taxation that they deserve.

MR. CHAIRMAN: No point of order.

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: Good ruling, Mr. Chairman. There is no doubt that there is no point of order. The hon. Member very seldom makes any sense when he stands, anyway. Of course, we all know that if the tax increase that came about this year was not because of the amalgamation bungling by this administration, then next year it will be because of that. Because we know that that is what he was articulating for months.

Now we see that the Member, this former socialist, has now gone so far to the right that he has become a right-wing zealot. The man now is going to do away with the subsidies. He wants to shut down the breweries, shut down the farms, throw out the chicken and hog farmers - there will not be a person left in this Province who is in any of these industries. And the fishery. He is to the right of Ronald Reagan, George Bush, you name them and he is over there.

MR. MATTHEWS: He's right in Clyde's pocket, that's where he is.

MR. NOEL: Who do you think pays for subsidies now? Do you think (Inaudible)?

MR. A. SNOW: Ah. So now he is saying that the huge tax increases that this Administration brought in were all because of the subsidies. Sure, you are taking away the subsidies from people, this Administration is. (Inaudible) votes it. And he talks about doing away with party line politics in an effective, elected and equal Senate. Here is a prime example of what people are against when they say politicians should change - that we should reform our political process. He stands up when the economy of this Province - some people have been suggesting that they use the common phrase, 'the arse is out of her', and he is up talking about reforming the Senate. Can you imagine? With the unemployment in this Province, he is going to solve the problems by this electoral reform, or this reformation of the federal institutions in Ottawa? How ludicrous. How silly.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: I do not have all the solutions, but I know that some of the things that have been proposed by the hon. Member are wrong. I do not believe that the breweries here should be shut down because they cannot compete with the big breweries in the central United States. I do not believe in that. I do not think that we should shut down the breweries, and I am glad that we have this Minister of Development against that too, and that the hon. Member for Pleasantville is not the Minister of Development, because the Minister of Development agrees with me when I say the breweries should not be shut down. And the Minister of Agriculture does not believe that all of the hog farmers should be shut down, or at least I don't think he does. I don't think he does. I think he has a bit more compassion than that.

It is strange, when the economy is so rough in this Province, that the hon. Member gets up and talks about how we can change things in Ottawa just by having an equal number of senators in the Senate. I am not necessarily against having a Triple E Senate. What I do believe though is that I do not believe it will answer all the economic woes of this Province, as this hon. Member seems to think.

I think it is wrong to be misleading the people of Pleasantville and the people of this Province, and the people in this House, that all our economic woes are going to be solved - all the economic woes of this Province will not be solved. So we should not be just guided over from attempting to solve the problems ourselves by saying we are going to reform the process in Ottawa. Why don't we start reforming some of the processes here in this Province where we have a direct opportunity to do things?

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible) election now?

MR. A. SNOW: One of the things that one of the hon. members over there, I believe, from St. John's South, asked about some of the things I would do if I had the opportunity of being able to propose something within Cabinet rather than what is happening now. I believe I could come up with some things that could help our economy.

I live in the district of Menihek, Labrador City and Wabush, and we are attempting now to stave off the attack of this Administration on the consumers of electricity in western Labrador. I think it is fundamentally wrong to guide a Crown Corporation - Newfoundland Hydro - to the benefit of the tax coffers of this Province, and that is exactly what is going on in Menihek now. We are seeing this Government direct a Crown corporation for a public policy purpose. That is not particularly strange. A lot of governments direct their Crown Corporations for public policy purposes. Witness the Province of Quebec. The Province of Quebec directs Quebec Hydro to sell - make contracts - with multinational aluminum companies and establishes long term rates for electricity at a stable and cheap price in selected areas of that province, to attract the aluminum industry to the Province of Quebec.

We saw Ontario Hydro, after the election of the NDP Government, establish a multimillion dollar diversification fund to ease the burden of the massive layoffs in the mining industry in northern Ontario. Why did they do it? What was the policy function that this Crown Corporation was going to be administering, or delivering to the people of northern Ontario? They were going to be diversifying the economy in northern Ontario. That is what that fund was going to do.

What do we see in this Province? We see our Crown Corporation, Newfoundland Hydro, attacking the people of western Labrador and increasing the rates by 300 per cent - 300 per cent, Mr. Chairman - that is what they are going to do. We are talking about shutting down the Physiotherapy Department in our hospital because they cannot afford to pay the electricity when these rates go up.

MR. NOEL: You want more subsidies for Menihek, is it?

MR. A. SNOW: No, Mr. Chairman, the people of Menihek do not want subsidies. The people of Menihek have been the cash cow for this Province. Unlike some of the people from other districts. The people of Menihek have been paying handsomely over the years.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Chairman, they pay more per capita than any other electoral district. They are tired of being the cash cow. They are tired of this Administration making hamburger meat out of this cash cow, because that is what they are doing to them.

MR. NOEL: You shouldn't have gone up there and exploited them. Why didn't you leave it to the natives?


MR. A. SNOW: Oh, my! When I presented my brief to the Public Utilities Board it was on behalf of the consumers in Menihek. I was not up there attempting to suggest that they shut down the brewing industry or shut down the dairy farms, like the hon. Member from Pleasantville wants to do.

But that is one of the things that I would ask. If I were in Government I would not be suggesting that the Crown Corporation would be taking huge tax increases. Because that is basically what they are, when they ask the consumer to pay 300 per cent more than what they are paying today, rather than using that - the cheap electricity that is generated by Churchill Falls, now given to Hydro Quebec, with practically no gain whatsoever to this Province, what do we do? We allow that to continue on. We can take it back. We can get 100 megawatts of power back. We should be using that to influence industry to come to our Province.

We shouldn't be just saying: leave that aside for the Province of Quebec. We should not do it. We should take that 100 megawatts of power back and offer it to an industry to locate probably somewhere close to the resource. Which might be to some people's gall -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

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

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

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, the hon. Member for Humber Valley was wont to mention about the negativity. I can understand that, of course, with the preponderance of news, both Provincially and Federally, that espouses the negative aspects of everything. Also with the course that has been undertaken by many a different news media, that the sensationalism of negativity seems to be the part that sells newspapers, that attracts listeners and viewers to the airwaves, both radio and television. So with that in mind I would want to bring forward, in response to Bill No. 5, and what initiatives the Government is undertaking, some of the positive initiatives that have been undertaken by this Government, and some general positive initiatives that have sprung forth from a variety of groups, associations and organizations throughout the Province that I am associated with as a representative of the district of LaPoile.

One thing I noticed when I first was involved in activities in the Port aux Basques area and throughout LaPoile district was the initiative to do with business planning. I found that when constituents would come to you requesting information, they wanted to know: how do I do a business plan? I want to start this up but I just have this big problem with trying to develop a business plan that will be appreciated by those who have to look at it, be it a bank or a financial or lending institution of the Provincial or Federal Governments. So I need some information on how to do this.

Now, as far as the business planning and that went, I undertook to get a computer program and offer this to my constituents through my own computer, a business planning program. This was a bit of a help to some, although not with the resources that were available at the time. It did not work out as well as I would have liked, not having all of the time to spend on helping people develop businesses.

So I am very pleased to note that the Minister of Development's Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador has worked extremely hard in this area, and now is offering to the entrepreneurs and budding entrepreneurs of the Province business planning assistance.

So they would sit down with a person who would come in with the interest in starting a business, they would sit down with that individual, assist them in developing the business plan, researching some of the component parts that needed to be researched, finding out just what is necessary for them to develop their business plan in order to get financing either from Enterprise or some other agency, bank, or other financial agency. This has been extremely successful to date. As well, Mr. Chairman, this is the kind of thing that will help us develop an entrepreneurial culture here in the Province.

Now you would speak of an entrepreneurial culture. Well, we have a bit of an advantage over some of the other -

AN HON. MEMBER: What about (Inaudible)?

MR. RAMSAY: You just wait. The other part that we are looking at is in an entrepreneurial culture. What do we have that other areas do not have?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: Clear of noise from the Opposition, we do have a certain element of creativity. Newfoundlanders, by virtue of our geography, weather, and the adversity that we have faced over the years are possibly some of the most adaptive individuals. They can adapt to the situation, they rise to the occasion, they can find their way home in a storm when others may not be able to. It is through this initiative and ability, inherent in the background and history of most Newfoundlanders, that will allow us to develop a very strong, solid entrepreneurial culture for the future.

Now, in looking at entrepreneurs and those who are successful in business throughout the world, often we think of Japan and how Japan has managed, with the assistance I might add of the Americans, assistance through the war effort and following the war, the infrastructure that was put in place by the US government following World War II. Drawing also on the American expertise in developing their automobile industry and other manufacturing industries to what they are today.

Now the disadvantage of Japanese society is the fact that in Japan they are a very rigid, structured type of society that functioned with very little in the way of initiative and entrepreneurial spirit. It is done along a very solid framework. This has assisted them in getting where they are today. But for new ideas it is often that the world turns to America, Canada, for the new ideas. We are the ones the new ideas develop from, and this is the kind of thing that Newfoundland can take a very strong pride in, I guess. Because we know, if we think really hard about it, that we can do it.

Now how has Japan gotten to where they are and how can we get to where we want to be? Well, Japan, as a point, they have gotten into very strong quality improvement initiatives, something that all of us should take note of and try to determine that the best possible way of improving our fortunes as Government, improving our fortunes as anyone involved with business or associated, is in improving the quality of not only the product but the quality of the service that is offered to the public. Also, in improving the quality of the overall approach to business. The approach, the method of business operation. This quality improvement can mean the bottom line improvements that we speak of.

Now the hon. Member for Pleasantville speaks of ways to cut costs. Well, there are many different ways for businesses to cut costs. Through a quality enhancement program of any business activity that is supported and developed through the efforts of Enterprise Newfoundland, in assisting the individual business people, and also through the business people themselves, in undertaking quality initiatives, developing a product at a lower cost, that is more cost competitive in the world market.

Another thing I wanted to draw on. if we wanted to use examples of quality initiatives, we only have to look as far as the local McDonalds hamburger restaurant. A fast-food chain where the constant idea to improve the bottom line is based on: how can we better serve the customer? How can we improve the bottom line? Every day these initiatives are undertaken by management of the individual stores and by the corporate management of the company involved.

These are the kinds of things that will allow that company to survive, as their is less money as sales may decrease, to improve the bottom line situation, so that essentially that enterprise will succeed. Now, that might be a large type business idea and not something that the average Newfoundlander may draw on. But, of course, it sits as an example of what can be achieved by an idea of an individual who is interested in getting involved in business, something that can be achieved by someone who has the initiative and drive, as an individual, to take the bull by the horns, start something off and eventually work it into a very successful enterprise.

Also, Mr. Speaker, I note Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador; I remember looking through a document that they prepared just a number of months ago that was a quality program for the improvement of quality in the hospitality industry. It was a very interesting document and it was an initiative that they had undertaken that is one of the first initiatives of its kind across the country. I understand that that program they developed is now being used province-wide and also nation-wide to assist the hospitality industry across Canada in developing a quality program for its service industries, and that is very important. Possibly it will grow internationally if it has not already.

This is the kind of thing that this Government has tried to support and encourage through Enterprise Newfoundland, through the establishment in the Department of Education of quality initiatives and entrepreneurial initiatives. It is very exciting when you get a group of students who are so enthused about going to school because of the entrepreneurial program in a given school. That is the kind of thing - the positive approach. You know, get rid of the noise, get rid of the constant criticism and just go ahead with a positive initiative. That is the way that we, I think, as people who are the custodians of Government, who are the trustees who look after the public's interest in Government -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want to say a few words in this debate as well, or on this Bill that was introduced today by the Government. I have listened, Mr. Chairman, to most of what was said here this afternoon, and I listened in particular to my colleagues from Menihek and Humber Valley, and I believe that if anyone in this House was listening, they would come to the conclusion -

AN HON. MEMBER: Are you saying that (inaudible) get our attention?

MR. TOBIN: No, Mr. Chairman, I am not saying anything about your attention. As a matter of fact, I know that your attention span is not that great.

In any case, Mr. Chairman, I want to say a few words on this particular issue as to how it affects my own district and the money that has been borrowed. When I heard the Member for Humber Valley today asking questions in this Legislature about how much capital funding was not spent last year, Mr. Chairman, and when I think of the hardships of people throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, the people who have no water and sewer, people in my own district, in several communities, but in particular in the community that we mentioned, the Community of Port au Bras, for example, where last year they tried to dig a well, an artesian well - there was no money - and in the end Government saw the need, the critical situation that existed there so they went down and they tried to dig an artesian well. They went 300 feet below sea level and still could not find any water. There is not a well in the community that does not go dry in the summertime.

Mr. Chairman, all of that is the problem. It is a problem for the people of Port au Bras and it is not to be laughed at by the Acting Premier, the Member for Gander. It is a serious problem that has been experienced in the community of Port au Bras and, I am sure, in many, many other communities.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) could not reach (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Three hundred feet below sea level and they couldn't reach water, and this government -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: In municipal affairs - $20-odd million announced and not spent, and yet, the people of Port au Bras had to do without drinking water as a result of the government playing a charade game, a PR game.

Transportation again, $15 million not spent, and roads in my own district and in this Province are not fit to drive over. What is the government trying to prove when they come out with the grandiose Budget and say we are going to spend all this money on water and sewer, X millions of dollars in roads, and today we find out that there are $26 million not spent in water and sewer and $15 million not spent in road construction in this Province. What a charade!

Then, the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs gets up and says he dusted off reports in his department. What an insult to his former colleague, his predecessor, saying he dusted off reports.

MR. R. AYLWARD: 'Glen', 'Eric' could be on the radio tomorrow saying there is no dust on that report.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, that would not surprise me. You know what happened a few weeks ago, when they tried to take credit for which one of them decided there was going to be no amalgamation in certain towns, yet the present minister is calling out: 'Look, what I did since I became minister,' and the former minister is denying that the new minister had anything to do with it, he did it all. Mr. Chairman, I don't care who does it, but I hope this minister is more effective than the former minister. I really do.

AN HON. MEMBER: Whatever is not parliamentary.

MR. TOBIN: No, Mr. Chairman, but that is about the extent of the vocabulary of the hon. member and you wouldn't expect much more from him.

AN HON. MEMBER: Come over here and advise him.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, and you probably would be a good person to advise him, because there is not much difference in either one of you.

Mr. Chairman, there were millions and millions and millions of dollars in capital funding last year not spent in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is a lie.

MR. TOBIN: Does the Member for Trinity North support that? Does the Member for Lewisporte support it? Does the Member for Bellevue support it? - the Member for Fortune - Hermitage? when the roads could be done now. I know that area fairly well and I know there is a need to spend billions of dollars, but what did the government do? they turned back $15 million in one department, $26 million in another department and not a squeak from the Member for Fortune - Hermitage, or the Member for Trinity North, or the Member for Lewisporte or Bellevue or anyplace else. That's what is going on in this Province today.

Then, you heard the Member for LaPoile up that time talking about over in Japan. What happened to the announcement you made a few weeks ago on the radio, about the big fabrication you had for LaPoile, and then you delayed it for a few days. Talk about hoodwinking!

MR. RAMSAY: What are you talking about?

MR. TOBIN: I heard you on the radio making the big announcement, and then it was going to be delayed for a couple of days. Were you being honest with the people when you made that statement? Yes, Mr. Chairman, indeed he was being honest with the people when he said that! That's what is going on! Hitler, Mr. Chairman! Now you have a situation in this Province that is desperate.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: When you talk about funding, in my own district of Southeast Bight - I want to bring that to the attention of the House, as well, Petit Forte and Southeast Bight, and I see the former Minister of Works, Services and Transportation and the former Acting Minister of Works, Services and Transportation - the new minister is not here. Mr. Chairman, the former Minister of Works, Services and Transportation lied to the people of Southeast Bight.


MR. TOBIN: The former Minister of Works, Services and Transportation -


MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I understand that is unparliamentary and I withdraw the word. I withdraw that.

The former Minister of Works, Services and Transportation was not honest with the people of Southeast Bight - that is a parliamentary word.

MR. WALSH: Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island.

AN HON. MEMBER: Parliamentary authority.

MR. WALSH: Mr. Chairman, it is a custom in this House that you cannot say through the back door something you wouldn't say through the front door, and he can twist the language all he wants, he is still trying to leave the same inference. He is deliberately trying to do it in Hansard so that he can mail it out to his constituents who probably know what he is made of, Mr. Chairman. We are not supposed to make statements through the back door the way he is doing. It is totally unparliamentary, totally uncalled for.

MR. TOBIN: To that point of order.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I said earlier that I probably made a comment that was unparliamentary and I withdrew the comment, but I have to say one thing, that if there is anyone in this House who can be an authority on coming in through the backdoor, it is the hon. the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

To the point of order, the Chair realized that the point raised by the hon. the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island is that you cannot say indirectly what is not permitted directly, and I ask the hon. member to withdraw the remark.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, as I said earlier, I have no hesitation in withdrawing any comment that I made in this House that is unparliamentary.

Now, I want to get back to the problem -

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir on a point of order.

MR. GILBERT: I was talking and didn't get the gist of the conversation that the hon. gentleman for Burin - Placentia West was making, but it seems he indicated that I, somehow, as Minister of Transportation, lied to the people of South East Bight. I can assure you, Mr. Chairman, that my dealings with the people of South East Bight were forthright and straightforward. I told them exactly what the situation was and I didn't say anything to the people of South East Bight that I could not stand in this House, or stand outside of this House and defend, but when I see someone stoop to the tactics of the Member for Burin - Placentia West, I can assure you right now, it is only what you would expect from him. But, Sir, if he has specifics, let us put them on the table right here and let us defend them here.

MR. R. AYLWARD: To that point of order, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for Kilbride, to the point of order.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Chairman, I heard what the hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West said in the debate. He referred to a former Minister of Transportation.

AN HON. MEMBER: He did not say former.

MR. R. AYLWARD: He did.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. R. AYLWARD: A former acting minister is what he said. He didn' say anyone,specifically, Mr. Chairman, but if the hon. the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir has a guilty conscience and has to get up and raise a point of order, sobeit.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The point raised by the hon. the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir is probably more a point to clarify the matter rather than a point of order.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Now, Mr. Chairman -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island.

MR. WALSH: I also ask for a retraction of some comments he was making about back doors and front doors. It is not my fault that the individual's personality is that of a dial tone on a telephone. The only front door I would keep him away from is the one without the mother-in-law steps. If he wants to make comments about front doors and back doors I ask him to withdraw the statements made referring to myself, as well.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

There is no point of order raised by the member.

The hon. the Member for Pleasantville.

MR. R. AYLWARD: To that point of order.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Are you speaking to the point of order? The Chair has ruled that the point raised by the hon. member is not a point of order.

MR. TOBIN: My time has expired?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes, your time has expired.

The hon. the Member for Pleasantville.

MR. NOEL: The hon. member's time is well up.

Mr. Chairman, I was just speaking about subsidies. I have here a copy of the report of the task force on Atlantic fisheries, the Kirby Report.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. NOEL: The hon. member didn't realize he didn't get the floor when he stood, I guess. The quote is, 'The business leaders who clamour for government to let business alone would die of fright if any government took them at their word.' I think that is a good example of the way the economy in this country has developed. We have become so dependent on government assistance, government help, government subsidies. We have created such overhead.

MR. R. AYLWARD: It is their own money, isn't it?

MR. NOEL: Pardon?

MR. R. AYLWARD: It is the taxpayers' money, so spread it around to everyone.

MR. NOEL: It is the tax payers' money that is being wasted on those people who -

MR. R. AYLWARD: (Inaudible). What are they going to do, put it in a stocking?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. NOEL: Is the hon. member trying to make a case?

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

I remind hon. members that no questions are permitted or interjections allowed during the debate unless the member speaking permits a question. I have not heard the hon. member say that he was entertaining questions.

The hon. the Member for Pleasantville.

MR. NOEL: Is the Member for Kilbride trying to make a case that it doesn't matter how we use money? The government collects the money from tax payers, and borrows money, and it doesn't matter how it's spent, or how it's used?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Mount Scio.

MR. NOEL: What has happened is that we have created a business culture in this country that has become dependent -


MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. NOEL: - a business culture in this country that has become excessively dependent on protection and subsidies, and now that trade barriers are being dismantled throughout the world, Canada finds itself in a tough position, a very tough position. I agree with the members who said today that we are in sad shape in this Province, and we are in sad shape in this country. I think a lot of people do not properly appreciate how sad a shape we are in. Things are going to get, I think, even worse in this Province and this country this year than they are now. I don't even share the degree of optimism that the Minister of Finance indicated today about what is going to happen, about how quickly we are going to come out of this recession. I don't see where the reason is for believing that we are likely to very soon.

The disaster in the fishery is going to do untold damage to our economy this year. If Hibernia remains slowed down, or if it slows down even more, it is going to have very serious effects. The Canadian economy is not coming back from the recession. What is happening in Canada is not just a normal business cycle recession, it is a recession that is due to structural changes in our economy - in the world economy, in the North American economy, and in the Canadian economy in particular. Jobs that have been lost, companies that have gone out of business, industries that have been decimated are not going to come back very easily. So we fool ourselves if we think that we are just into an ordinary recession that we are going to come back from soon, and you can see it, as the member says, every day in dealing with your constituents.

There are, for example, the new people who are becoming unemployed, new people who are having to go to Social Services, I have had people in the past couple of months in my office, who have always worked. Some people have never been unemployed before, people of middle age, who have to go to Social Services, who are running out of unemployment.

We are in a very serious situation and it is not going to be cured by doing what we have done in the past, by carrying on as though the world is not changing, because the world is changing, and it has to change for Canada. It is no good for us to say we want to have the kind of Canada that we have dreamt about. We have to realize that the kind of country we have been living in for the past generation is a country beyond our means to maintain, so certain economies have to take place. Certain economies have to take place, and they have to take place particularly in the interest of this Province. I have been making the case that we have to look at the cost of food, because we can improve the standard of living for our people as much by reducing the cost of living as we can by increasing their level of income. And because it is becoming very difficult to increase our level of income in the world today, we have to look at any opportunities there may be for reducing the cost of living. That is one of the reasons that I felt we have to look at food prices.

Mr. Chairman, I was speaking a little while ago about the address of the hon. Ross Reid to the students of the Cabot Institute.

MR. TOBIN: They said he was good.

MR. NOEL: They said he was good?

MR. TOBIN: Yes, they did.

MR. NOEL: Well, I will have to go down and speak to them, myself.

Mr. Reid told the students that Newfoundland would be finished if the country falls apart. This is the kind of strategy - he is one the Prime Minister's closest advisers, apparently, in the ongoing constitutional debate - and this is apparently the kind of Meech Lake strategy they are going to use again this time around. Newfoundland would be finished if the country falls apart, he says. What reason is there to believe that Newfoundland would be finished?

The only reason to believe we would be finished is if we are the welfare case of Canada, as if we are being kept by the rest of Canada today. That is not the case. That is not the case. We pay our share of taxes in this country. We keep people employed in Central Canada. Everything we consume in this Province that we buy from Central Canada, we could buy more cheaply elsewhere. We could have the same standard of living in this country today, with far less income, if we were not Canadians, and that was well-illustrated last week in this Province by our visitors from Iceland.

Iceland is a country that has a smaller population than Newfoundland, half the size, about quarter of a million people, I believe, compared to our half a million people. Over the past year they have had an unemployment rate of about 1 per cent. They are concerned about the state of their economy today because they are afraid unemployment might go up to 2 or 3 per cent in the next year - 2 or 3 per cent compared to 20-odd per cent in Newfoundland, and 10 per cent in Ontario, and people say Newfoundland is too small to do anything for itself, Newfoundland doesn't have the resources. Well, compare our resources with the resources of Iceland. We have a lot in common. The fishery is 90 per cent of the economy in Iceland. They don't have as many resources, mineral and forestry, and the other things that we have in this Province. They don't have as many resources as we have. We also have an advantage in that our language is English, and we are living on the Coast of North America, right next to a market of some 280 million people. Iceland is right out in the middle of the Atlantic, close to nobody, but as an independent country, they have prospered. They have a much higher standard of living than we have in Newfoundland.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

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

MR. PARSONS: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

I wasn't going to say anything today, but when I heard that rhetoric from the Member for Pleasantville, especially when he had the audacity to bring in that Kirby Report. Every copy of that report should be burned, and the man's name forgotten. He is one of our Senators. It should be put in the archives as one of Newfoundland's worst documents ever presented. When the man said in 1986, he looked into all aspects of the fishery; he looked into the TAC; he was talking about biomasses; he was talking about the abundance of fish out there; he was talking about one-year fish, two-year fish, three-year fish - all on paper. He said, by 1986, we would be able to take 600,000 pounds. How much could we take?

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

MR. PARSONS: - (Inaudible) how much are we going to be able to take, how much could we take? About 140,000 tons. And last year, 127,000 tons. And he gets up here, personified, the Senator, Senator Kirby and his report. It was a disgrace.

MR. MURPHY: We get the same data.

MR. PARSONS: The hon. Member for St. John's South said he gets the same data.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. PARSONS: I said that here the other day, Mr. Chairman. The same data was used by the Feds, by the Province. All we did was utilize the best information that we had at hand, supposedly from the experts. There were no experts. There's a man who was commissioned to do a study, Senator Kirby, and comes up with this kind of blarney, what can we expect from our professionals? Those people should be able to come up with something better than that. What they were doing, they were talking to people down in DFO. They were talking about paper fish. We know there is no paper fish there now.

But I also want to touch with the hon. Member for Pleasantville when he espouses to the Triple E Senate. That is his biggest beef. Trying to stay on the side of the Premier. The Premier is up espousing now about the Triple E Senate. The Premier now is coming back again on the distinct society clause. He says: we have to watch it, Quebec should not have a distinction in some matters. He said: law, culture and language. Right?

If he is not careful of what he is doing, and the hon. Member for Pleasantville is not careful of what he is doing, we are not going to have a distinct society, but an extinct one. We will have no society left!

MR. NOEL: If we keep going the way we are (Inaudible)!

MR. PARSONS: What was wrong with Canada before Meech Lake?

MR. NOEL: You guys (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: What was wrong with Canada before 1982, when Trudeau brought home the Constitution? What was wrong with us since 1846? They survived, it's a good country. I want to tell the hon. gentlemen that there was a census taken.

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible)!

MR. PARSONS: Look, peoples of the world. Canada is their second choice when it comes to living. Second choice. Topped only by Australia. Australia was first and Canada was second. And now we are finding all kinds of fault with it! We find all kinds of fault with this great nation. One of the greatest nations on earth. We have the Member for Pleasantville getting up now, saying: we are subsidizing our people too much, we are giving them too much. He is not for free trade. Because he cannot be for free trade, because his Party was sort of wishy-washy on it. I asked him today: are you for free trade? No! Then he is talking about subsidization.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: Let me remind the hon. Member that we have one of the greatest trading countries in the world. We are the envy of all the rest of the world to be so close to that trading partner. We may not be able to compete with the Germans, we may not be able to compete with the Japanese, but we can compete with the people in the United States, the Americans. We can compete with them, but it is people like you who are going around this country with a negative point of view on everything.

MR. NOEL: How come food costs twice as much in Canada?

MR. PARSONS: We can afford it better because we are getting better wages. We can afford it better.


MR. PARSONS: What do you mean?

AN HON. MEMBER: It doesn't cost twice as much.

MR. PARSONS: Housing costs twice as much.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

I wonder if the hon. member would take his seat for a minute?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

I want to remind the hon. Member for Pleasantville that he is not permitted to interject. I ask him to restrain himself and to help us to maintain some level of decorum and dignity in this House.

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

MR. PARSONS: Thank you, very much, Mr. Chairman. Thanks for your protection.

Mr. Chairman, I want to say something today that I found - I am not going to be specific. I am going to make a little presentation to the Minister of Development. He is always praising what ENL has done, Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, since they came into being. The Sunday night before last I was watching television. In fact my wife said: look, we have to watch this program. The program was called, 'Fresh Fish.' Mr. Chairman, the hon. Minister came on during the interlude, or at intervals, and he spoke very well, in fact, extremely well.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did he look good

MR. PARSONS: Yes, he looked exceptionally good, off-the-cuff and relaxed, you name it. The performance was excellent. But, from my point of view, that was the only excellence there was. If that is our culture, parts of it now, I say parts of it, if that is our culture we are in trouble with Canada, we are in trouble here with our own culture, and we had better start straightening up our act. Because if you want to see real Newfoundland culture, I suggest to some of you out of town members that if you are not doing anything in your apartments go down to Torbay or Flatrock, or Outer Cove, and you will see culture. Go down and watch a concert down there, go down and listen to a concert. Get off your butts and go down. Forget about the few hours sleep and go down and see a real concert where you will see real culture, and not that tripe that was on that night.

I am going to make a suggestion to that hon. Minister, who, I said over and over in this House, has the capabilities. It is too bad that he is being overshadowed since he went into this department by Mr. House and the ERC. The man, as far as I am concerned, has the ability to bring in some new programs and be positive for this Province.

I say to the hon. Minister now, we have had a lot of problems as far as our seal fishery is concerned, and I for one believe now that we are in a no win situation.


MR. PARSONS: I think we are in a no win situation.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: No, by no means. But our tactics have to change, and I suggest to the Minister now that what we should do is first of all he should get together with the Minister of Fisheries and suggest to the Minister of Fisheries of Canada to allow all Newfoundlanders over sixteen a licence to kill a seal for food consumption and for other necessities of life because things are hard in Newfoundland, and we need the food, we need the shoes, we need the handbags, the coats, or the caps that can be made from that animal. I suggest that they bring out a brochure from ENL outlining first of all how to kill the seal in a humane way.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: To kill the seal in a humane way first of all.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: I remind the hon. Member for Pleasantville, just listen to something with a little bit of sense. I do not expect him to have too much, but a little bit. I say to the Minister, bring out a brochure explaining how to kill the seal humanely, how to utilize all the rest of the seal foodwise, carcass, flippers. Even in the brochure he could have a little recipe of how to cook the meat for anyone who does not understand. He could also have in there ways of making fur boots, fur caps, mitts; utilize the skin in some areas for leather products. I mean I think that perhaps we could have - we cannot use the word cull because that is a bad word as far as those people are concerned, but we will use the word utilize all the seals because the need is so great within this Province to do just that.

I ask the Minister now: Would he give some consideration in bringing out that little brochure? Send it to different places, to tourism chalets, any place to just get it out in public - saying why we want the seals; what we are going to do with them; how many seals we could take out of the seal population just by doing this, and I am speaking about perhaps 100,000 seals just for food purposes and for other necessities of life that we need in Newfoundland and Labrador. I throw it out for what it's worth, but I think there is some potential in it. Again, with his influence with the other Members of Cabinet, he could suggest to the Minister of Fisheries that each person have a licence.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

MR. PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

There are only a couple of minutes left, and I had a couple of things that I wanted to bring to the attention of the House. In concluding what I started off with a little earlier, I implore the Minister of Education to accelerate the overall progress of the entrepreneurial education programs that have been developed throughout the Province's high schools. I think it is through this kind of initiative that we can make solid changes to the educational system.

I also applaud the efforts of the Minister of Development in the $27 million that has been injected into the Provincial economy through commitments made by Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador over this past twelve months. I think in spite of the difficult times that this is money well spent that will go into creating private sector employment throughout the Province.

As well, I do want to bring to the House's attention, in the last minute, an initiative undertaken by the Port aux Basques Integrated School Board. It is a very interesting initiative, and it concerns an approach that they have taken to try to develop what they call a Vision 21 for the twenty-first century. I will speak a little more on that later.

I move that we rise and report progress, Mr. Chairman.

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

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

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

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

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is my intention on Thursday to call the same order of business, the Interim Supply Bill, and tomorrow we will be debating the resolution put forward by the Member for St. John's East.

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

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