March 18, 1992                HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLI  No. 8

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

On behalf of hon. members, I would like to welcome to the House of Assembly today, 100 high school students from St. George's High School in New Harbour, representative of the districts of Bellevue, and Trinity - Bay de Verde. They are accompanied by their teachers, Mr. Drover and Mr. Smith.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I don't have a lengthy statement to make, and I apologize to the Leader of the Opposition. I have not had time to prepare anything formally but I spoke with him a few minutes ago to let him know what I intended to do. I just wanted to update the House on what has happened in the last few days. I travelled to Vancouver to speak to the Globe '92 Conference, which is essentially an environment-focused discussion used as a preparatory conference for the United Nation Conference on Environment and Development in Brazil in June. There were gathered in Vancouver some 3,000 people sensitive to environmental and sustainable development issues. Now, unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to speak to a gathering of 3,000. They were broken up into different groups and segments. I spoke to a group called the Oceans Forum, which was a relatively small group, in fact, but I delivered a speech that set out Newfoundland's position on foreign overfishing and asked for support across the nation to pressure the federal government to take custodial management of the Northern cod stock, and the fish stocks generally beyond the 200-mile limit on Canada's Continental Shelf. I don't need to detail in this House the reasons for that, and the argument for it, the whole House is familiar. I just want to make the House aware of the position that I stated on behalf of the government, and to make that clear, I intend to table a copy of the speech that I delivered. Prior to delivering that address at 2:00 o'clock yesterday, I had an opportunity to meet and discuss the issue with a number of ambassadors and other people significantly involved and concerned. As well, coincident with the Globe '92 Conference, there was a conference of world parliamentarians from some sixty countries. I participated in a joint dinner they held the night before last, and at that dinner, arranged with the organizers for an opportunity to speak to the group yesterday, and to deliver copies of this text to them. They kindly gave me about five or ten minutes to speak to them generally and I delivered a copy of the text of the speech and some other information so that they would be aware, and sought their assistance, as well. Also, while in Vancouver, I was able to arrange to speak on some four or five open line radio programs to address the fisheries issues, and I have to confess that the open line host and some of the callers wanted to talk about another issue, as well, that consistently consumes the country's attention, the Constitutional issue, but I tried to keep the focus on fisheries as much as I possibly could. I also did a number of radio and television interviews and participated in a press conference of which there was some worldwide representation. So, hopefully, it will make some impact and start the ball rolling, but that is only the beginning.

Mr. Speaker, next Wednesday, the Prime Minister has called a First Ministers' Conference on the economy, to take place in Toronto, and I intend to have the matter fully addressed at that conference and intend, as well, to use the occasion of being in Toronto to give it as much public attention with the Toronto media as I possibly can.

I feel, Mr. Speaker, it is essential that we maintain this thrust across the country with the offered co-operation and support of the Opposition, so kindly offered on opening day in this House. I hope that all segments in Newfoundland that are concerned, instead of going their different ways as they are now, will start to work together to try to focus their energies in a concerted effort - no pun intended - to try to achieve a good solution for those engaged in the Newfoundland fishery. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the Premier for his telephone call just before the House opened to alert me to the fact that he was going to make a verbal statement. I appreciate having a few minutes, at least, to collect my thoughts.

First of all, may I say that I was delighted, frankly, to hear the Premier say what he said, particularly at the end of his remarks when he talked about the need for a unified approach in this whole effort. I could not agree with him more.

I note today on the news, as well, in addition to the efforts put forth by the Premier over the last couple of days out in Western Canada, that the Newfoundland Association of Public Employees, for example, are planning to raise it at their national convention, I believe, in Winnipeg. I note that the Board of Trade are meeting with their counterparts in other parts of Canada today, somewhere, to try to urge the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, for example. I notice, also, that they are going to be writing editors of newspapers across the country. We are familiar with the efforts of all other groups, such as the United Fisherpersons' Group, and the Fishermen's Union Group, and we are doing the best we can, as an Opposition, to give support to the need to draw attention to this world problem, this environmental and ecological world problem that we all so concerned about. In fact, Mr. Speaker, just on Friday past, while the Premier was away - and he probably is aware by now that we introduced a resolution, calling on the House to show its unanimous support for the idea, for the effort, and I am pleased to say, the resolution put forth by my colleague, the Opposition House Leader, gained a considerable amount of success and support, in fact, the House passed the resolution unanimously.

I have to say this, though, in a little bit of a negative vein: I am sure if the Premier had been here and heard some of the non-partisan comments made by members on his own side, in particular, in the partisan approach some of them took, I think he would have been disappointed, because it is not at all in keeping with the non-partisan, unified approach that he and I both want and had both talked about. So, I hope he will perhaps take the opportunity to read Hansard and have a chat with some of his colleagues, because I don't think that is in the best interest of all of us now, at least, on this particular issue.

This is an issue on which we all stand toe to toe I hope. Certainly, when I made the suggestion during the Throne Speech day, it wasn't made with tongue-in-cheek, it wasn't made for political reasons or anything else, I meant it sincerely and we had discussed it in our caucus and we recognized that it is an extremely critical issue and very important for all of us to pull together on it. So, I repeat my offer of that day, two weeks ago now nearly, when I said that we were willing and I am particularly willing to participate and assist in any way that the Premier sees we might be able to help in his campaign or anything else -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. - in the upcoming campaign, and I repeat it here again today and I hope the Premier will take advantage of it as suggested by The Evening Telegram editorial, when I made that comment. I mean it sincerely and I do not just simply mean to be able to stand up occasionally and pat him on the back; I mean, to be able to participate in an active way, and we are quite willing to do so. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I ask the Leader of the House to address the remarks to the Premier.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. member have leave of the House to comment on the Ministerial Statement?


MR. SPEAKER: Agreed.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Because of the nature of the topic being addressed by the Premier, I felt it important that I also add my remarks to this. The Premier will well know that the resolution that was introduced in the House on Friday by the Opposition House Leader was passed unanimously, and all parties endorsed the resolution. I think I already said to the Premier that I regarded his visit to Prime Minister Mulroney recently as being very well timed in respect to this issue; that it is of utmost importance that the Premier, the Government, and all parties show that they are united, in an effort to ensure that Canada as a Government, and the people of Canada, follow through on this most important issue. I am pleased that the Premier has taken the initiative to travel throughout the country and use some of the considerable high opinion in which he is held in other parts of the country to put forth this issue and to bring this issue to the level of importance that it needs, and there will be co-operation from our party in these efforts.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I too have an oral statement which I am sure will be greeted with the same unanimity as the other statement that was just made, namely that on Thursday, March 26 I will be bringing down the Budget.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

From time to time we hear stories emanating from other Canadian provinces, Quebec and Ontario namely, about what is transpiring with respect to the Lower Churchill development project and the discussions that are taking place; and from time to time here in this Province through our own media we hear reports of imminent deals, and then we hear denials by the Minister or the Premier or whatever. Nevertheless, my point is that we hear stories from time to time. Unfortunately, the people of this Province really have no idea what is going on in terms of any details or ideas or topics that are being discussed. They certainly have no idea what principles the Government is basing its discussions or negotiations on, so I want to take the opportunity today to try to ask some questions to the Premier concerning this topic. I will begin by simply asking him if he would give us perhaps an up-to-date status of what is happening with these discussions. Secondly, does the Premier remain optimistic that an agreement might be reached in the very near future - say before the end of this year? Does he remain optimistic that there is a good chance of getting something done in the very near future?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I am sort of pleased to have the question, Mr. Speaker, because it gives me an opportunity to let the House, and through the House the people of the Province, know to the maximum extent that we can, where matters stand at the moment.

As I am sure the Leader of the Opposition will appreciate, discussions of this nature of necessity have to be conducted in, relatively speaking, a confidential manner. As a matter of fact, as I recall the two negotiating teams - I believe at the request of Hydro Quebec, but in fact with the consent of both negotiating teams, the Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro team and the Hydro Quebec team - from the beginning it was agreed that there would be no public statements on any aspect of the discussions in terms of what was agreed or not agreed until it was concluded and both parties were prepared to make a statement. I see the Minister nodding and he confirms that that is in fact what occurred.

I can say to the House that the discussions have progressed I guess quite well, is the way to describe them. They have come to the point now where they will be concluded either with success or failure in the not-too-distant future. They will only be concluded with success from Newfoundland's point of view if the terms of the arrangement are such as will ensure that this Province receives the full benefit of the development of the Lower Churchill, with a fair return to Quebec for any involvement that it has. But the ultimate benefit of the development of the resources must be for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

That is the fundamental principle that we have been following throughout the discussions. I am hesitant to say any more than that on where they are at this moment, other than to say that they are quite close to conclusion. Whether that conclusion will result in a successful negotiation or a recognition that we are unable to strike a deal that is mutually acceptable, I cannot say at this moment. But I am hopeful that the two parties will be able to work out a satisfactory arrangement.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As a matter of fact, I mentioned in my preamble to the first question that there were stories from time to time. There was a story yesterday, I think in The Globe and Mail, that made some reference to the rumours that persist in back room negotiations between Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Now I understand fully the necessity I guess of not saying publicly what items have been agreed upon or not agreed upon. I guess my point is that people out around the Province ask me from time to time as one elected Member of the House if we could get some idea of some of the topics, some of the discussions, some of the principles that are being discussed. I want to throw one out for the Premier. Is the Province in these discussions and negotiations looking for the right to transmit the Lower Churchill power through the Province of Quebec to North American markets, or are we negotiating another Upper Churchill Agreement, for example, where the power goes directly into the Quebec grid for its use or for resale by the Province of Quebec? That question could be answered, I suspect.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: My guess is that answering that question shouldn't cause any harm. I can say to you that the gist of it is a sale of a significant portion of the power to Hydro Quebec, the greater portion of the power to be more accurate, rather than negotiating a right to transmit the power through the Province of Quebec to other markets. It would be a sale to Hydro Quebec, presumably for its own use, which, of course, would also permit it to market power out of the other end of the power bathtub that the Hydro Quebec system is, in fact. That is the general gist of the discussion.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I will just ask one other question for today, but I will probably have more questions to ask on it tomorrow, since the Premier is apparently prepared to be a bit forthright in some of his answers. Because these are questions that people ask, and nobody really knows the answer to. At least now they have some idea.

Can I ask him one other question that I often get asked? Is the Province, during its negotiations and discussions, at all seeking any kind of direct adjustment to the rates presently paid by Quebec for Upper Churchill power through these discussions? Is that topic being discussed at all?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: We would like to be able to achieve an adjustment of those rates. However, when the discussions were undertaken it was agreed that they were undertaken on the basis that the Lower Churchill would be developed on its own merits and we would get the benefit of it, the Province would have the long-term benefit and growth in the long-term benefit. The negotiations have been carried on in such a way as to ensure that the future growth in benefit from it would accrue to the Province. I can say that. There are no specific discussions with respect to opening the Upper Churchill agreement in relation to these discussions. I think it would be safe enough to say that.

I should also say something else, Mr. Speaker. It is the Government's intention not to approve of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro entering into any arrangement for the development of the Lower Churchill without their being a full and thorough hearing of the proposed terms and conditions of the proposed agreement before.

Now we have not yet finalized how that is to occur. We have for some time been thinking about the possibility of revising the Electrical Power Control Act to require such a hearing by the Public Utilities Board. But in any event, if there is not a hearing by the Public Utilities Board, as I expect there will be, because that is a forum in which the proposals can be discussed with great detail and with a higher level of knowledge, with great respect to the Members of this hon. House, with a greater level of knowledge about electrical matters than one would expect to find in this House. But in any event, it is the Government's intention to have a full public discussion of the issue either through the Public Utilities Board or through full discussion in the House, whichever seems more appropriate at the time.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In the absence of the Minister of Fisheries I will pose a question to the acting Minister of Fisheries.

Mr. Speaker, the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans has been soliciting proposals from Atlantic fish companies over the last number of months to harvest and process silver hake. I think if there is one species out and about our waters that is underutilized it is silver hake.

Only one proposal, from my understanding, came from the Province of Newfoundland. Now the Province has complete jurisdiction over developing harvesting capability and processing. I am wondering, could the acting Minister of Fisheries inform the House if anything was done whatsoever to encourage Newfoundland companies, Newfoundland interests, to submit proposals to harvest and process this silver hake?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Minister of Fisheries I have to confess that I do not have detailed knowledge of what was done. I know that there was only one Newfoundland company, I believe, involved. Atlantis was involved and awarded a relatively small quantity. I think it was 500 tons or something of silver hake. But most of it was focused on Nova Scotia companies because I believe most of the area is on the Scotian Shelf if I am not greatly mistaken, but that is subject to correction.

I do not know whether or not the Provincial Department of Fisheries was in any way involved with processors in Newfoundland, but I will undertake to find out and advise the House.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the Premier for his answer. Indeed he is correct. There were 500 tons allocated to Atlantis of a total of 37,000 metric tons. It seems to me that there was a concerted effort on the part of Nova Scotians to get involved in this fishery, and I suspect that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador did very little to encourage the development of this fishery for Newfoundland recognizing, as the Premier said, that silver hake is probably located closer to Nova Scotia than it is to Newfoundland. Of course we know the debate that goes on about our groundfish stocks, Mr. Speaker.

So, I am wondering, why hasn't the Government done more to encourage Newfoundlanders to get involved in this fishery? And isn't it our concern right now that this silver hake fishery for all intents and purposes has become a Nova Scotian fishery because they are now first-in, and that is going to have implications for later on when Newfoundlander interests may want to get involved?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, those are initiatives that are normally undertaken by the processing companies that are involved, and I expect that is exactly what happened in Nova Scotia, but I will undertake to find out what, in fact, happened and what discussions occurred between the Provincial Department of Fisheries and processors in Newfoundland, and what level of interest there was in silver hake in fish processors in Newfoundland. I do not know, there may have been 50 other companies who applied for it and none were granted by the Federal Department of Fisheries. I just do not know, but will undertake to find out and advise the House.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Federal Government and particularly the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans has called for proposals now within the next few weeks. I think the deadline is April 15 for companies that may be interested in harvesting and processing northern turbot and mackerel.

I ask the Premier: will this Provincial Government take action to ensure that Newfoundland companies submit proposals so that Newfoundland is not shut out and left out of the turbot and mackerel fisheries as, for all intents and purposes, it has been in the silver hake fishery? And what really are Government's plans for the fishing industry? Is it committed to developing the industry for the maximum benefit of the people of the Province, because with the downturn in the groundfish industry and what is happening to our processing plants, to our trawlermen and our inshore fishermen, certainly Government must take some action now to ensure that we can derive benefits from what is commonly referred to as underutilized species. Can the Premier tell us what the Government's plans are?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I can assure the House, Mr. Speaker, that the Government will do everything possible to assist any company or processor in Newfoundland who wants to access these fisheries to do it. We will do everything within reason to aid them. We will not bring a law before this House to compel them to do it. They have to want to do it themselves, but anything that the Government can do to aid them we will, of course, do. We cannot force private enterprise to get involved in it if they do not want to, nor should the Government itself be the agency that gets involved in this. This is a private enterprise activity.

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

MR. DOYLE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the Minister of Health. I am sure the Minister of Health will remember a promise that he made to the people of Baie Verte - White Bay during the by-election campaign, and if the Minister does not remember, I am sure the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay will remember that promise. The Minister was asked to approve and acquire an ultrasound machine for the hospital at Baie Verte. His answer at that time was that there was a 75 per cent chance that it would be approved within a six month period. Now, the election was on October 15 so we are moving into the sixth month. Is the Minister on target and will the ultrasound machine be in place in the health care facility in Baie Verte?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member has some of his facts right which is unusual actually the way the hon. Member usually asks questions. During the by-election I was in the Baie Verte area and I was asked about the ultrasound. The people in one of the service clubs out there have raised approximately $50,000 to provide an ultrasound for Baie Verte. Now, it would have been so easy for me to pull off a Brian Peckford, or to pull off a political game and say: you have your ultrasound, we are going to fund it. That would have been so simple to do right in the middle of a by-election, but I did not do that, I stood up and told the people the truth.

I said, look, the Province is looking at where we are going to put ultrasounds in various places around the Province, looking at the whole concept of providing ultrasounds. The cost of an ultrasound is not the mere $50-odd thousand to buy the piece of equipment. If that is all it was we could put them in every little nook and cranny in the Province. You have to have people to use the machines, and you have to have a radiologist to read the results. It is not just a matter of putting a machine into a hospital. The Province has indeed been looking into where we are going to put these ultrasounds. We have gone to various other provinces to see what their policies are with the distribution of ultrasounds. Over the past month or two quite a bit of work has been done by the Department and we are trying to develop a policy. When we decide to put an ultrasound in Baie Verte we have to decide to put one in Port aux Basques, we have to decide to put one in Port Saunders, and we have to decide to put one in Burgeo, because we treat all our people fairly, Mr. Speaker. The policy is not yet ready to be announced but hopefully over the next weeks we should be in a position to say to the people of Baie Verte that the 25 per cent of my statement is correct and they will not be having an ultrasound, or the 75 per cent of my statement was correct and they will have an ultrasound. I am not in a position today, Mr. Speaker, to say absolutely, yes, or no.

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

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, he should have told that to the people of Baie Verte - White Bay during the by-election campaign.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DOYLE: What the Minister did say, and I am sure the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay will confirm it, what the Minister did say is that there was a 75 per cent chance that that ultrasound machine would be approved within a six month period. Now, can the Minister, in light of his remark, shed any light, can he confirm or deny the fact that a new policy is about to be put in place and that in fact a Cabinet paper is in circulation that no institution, except a major one, a major facility, is to receive approval of such a unit, that no small hospital will receive approval for ultrasound machines? Because the rumour is going around Baie Verte - White Bay, and the Member I am sure probably knows it, the rumour is going around Baie Verte - White Bay, so will the Minister shed any light on that? Will he take the opportunity now to tell the people of Baie Verte - White Bay that the ultrasound machine is not going to be approved?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay has left no stone unturned in this issue. The Member for Baie Verte - White Bay has been continually after me on this issue and on many other issues, as he is after all other ministers in the Government, because it is the best representation that Baie Verte - White Bay has had in years, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DECKER: It is the best representation they have had in years. Mr. Speaker, the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay is insisting that we open the chronic care beds there, that we renovate the building out there and put in place a service which is fitting for the 21st century which we are about to enter. The Member for Baie Verte - White Bay is doing his work.

Now, I will repeat exactly what I told the people of Baie Verte - White Bay and what I just said in the House. We have done extensive studies into what we are going to do with ultrasounds, whether or not we are going to put them in various places throughout the Province. The cost of an ultrasound is not merely the capital cost. The cost of an ultrasound, like most equipment that you find in hospitals, is the operating cost. We also have to consider whether or not it is in the best interest of health care delivery in the Province to have ultrasounds dispersed throughout the Province.

That is well in hand, it is being examined, and in due course an answer will be given to the good people of Baie Verte, and to their Member, who is doing such an excellent job for the people of that great district.

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

MR. DOYLE: Mr. Speaker, I hope the Minister, and I hope the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, are aware of how much that unit means to the people on the Baie Verte Peninsula.

Now is the Minister aware that on the strength of the promise that he made - and he made the promise that the people would get that ultrasound machine; 75 per cent sure, is what he said - the Baie Verte Kinsmen have raised $43,000; the La Scie Kinsmen have raised $7,000; and the United Church has agreed to match this dollar for dollar, which will be $100,000 that has already been raised for that machine on the Baie Verte Peninsula? Is he aware that the people are waiting for that and they want that machine badly? Is he committed? Will he say to the people of Baie Verte - White Bay that he is committed to providing that machine for the people? Or was he simply playing politics with the lives of the people of the Baie Verte Peninsula?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

The hon. the Minister of Health.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I thought it was too good to be true, that the hon. Member would have his facts right for all three questions. He has his facts totally, absolutely, categorically wrong. What happened in Baie Verte, as the hon. Member knows, is the Kinsmen went out and raised money for the ultrasound long before there was a by-election in Baie Verte - White Bay. They went out and raised money far in advance. After the money had been raised for the ultrasound then they came back to the Government of the Province and said: will you operate this machine?

Now, as worthy as the efforts are that the people put in - and this Government appreciates the work that health foundations and Kinsmen and Lions' Clubs do around the Province, Mr. Speaker, we appreciate the work.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DECKER: Because without the contributions and the work they do we would not have a lot of equipment, we would not have an MRI for the General Hospital which we are about to have; we would not have a CAT scan, Mr. Speaker, for some of the hospitals in central Newfoundland which are being raised. So we appreciate what they are doing.

However I have to caution groups that the Department of Health has a plan - unlike the previous administration for seventeen years - of where we are going to deliver our primary care, where we are going to deliver secondary care, where we are going to deliver tertiary care, what we are going to do with chronic care facilities. Mr. Speaker, it all fits together like a neat puzzle.

Now, when a group raises money for a piece of equipment which does not fit the plan, we have to review the plan and see: is it in the interest of the delivery of health care in this Province?... not pacifying someone who wants to do something. Is it in the interest of delivering health care to put an ultrasound in Baie Verte, Port aux Basques, Port Saunders, Conche, wherever. If the answer to that is yes, then the good people of Baie Verte will have their ultrasound. If it is not in the interest of the delivery of health care, then I am sorry to say, as I told the people up front during the by-election, we will do it based on health care, not on what is politically expedient. We have had seventeen years of that and that is what got us in the mess we are in today!


SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WARREN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. My question was to the Minister of Environment and Lands. However, the acting Minister who answered my question on November 14 probably could answer the question now. To quote from the Minister on November 14 when I asked him the question concerning the mines at Kitts-Michelin, inside of Postville, and also expressing the concern: "that the Atomic Energy Board had expressed concern and advised people not to go camping or travelling near the site". The Minister at the time answered me and said that radioactive cores and other radioactive materials are stored in buildings on the site and his Department is working with agents responsible for that site and are presently looking at what they will be doing to address it.

I wonder could the Minister tell me now, four months later, what has the Department of Environment and Lands done with respect to these dangerous chemicals at the site at Kitts-Michelin?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for his questions, and I do, indeed, recall the questions back in November and I recall the answers at the time. I cannot tell the hon. Member today what the exact status is, but if he is prepared to give me the option to take it under advisement I will provide the information tomorrow.

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

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

It has been estimated that it will cost between $500,000 and $600,000 to clean up this particular site. Is the Minister now aware that a British consortium company has contacted people in the Makkovik/Postville area and have advised them that they can go into these particular sites to tear down the buildings and take whatever they want from those particular sites?

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

MR. FLIGHT: No, Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of those circumstances. Although I accept the hon. Member indicating that it is so, I will determine whether or not that is indeed so in the next few hours and if it is so, we will deal with it.

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

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

I say to the Minister that it is true. In fact, a few days ago, Mr. Speaker, it was discovered that none of those sheds have any locks on them, the windows are beat out of them, and also dynamite caps have been found on this site. Mr. Speaker, this can be confirmed by students in the gallery today from Postville.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member is on a supplementary.

MR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, let me ask the Minister: What is his Department doing to save the people in Postville from these dangerous chemicals that are stored in this area?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, there are obviously other parties with responsibilities in this particular area. However, I take what the hon. Member has just indicated as being very serious and I assure him and this House that I will have my officials determine exactly what the situation is and, if there is something happening in Postville or in the Kitts-Michelin area that should not be happening, to the extent that we have control over what may or may not be happening, we will deal with the issue.

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

MR. WARREN: A final question, Mr. Speaker.

Would the Minister now undertake, with the Minister of Environment and Lands, to ask officials from the Departments, from Government, to immediately go into Postville, go into the area, and see for themselves what is exposed to the general public in that area? Would the Minister kindly do that immediately?

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

MR. FLIGHT: I think that is exactly the undertaking I just indicated, Mr. Speaker. I want to tell the Member we take the issues he raises very seriously. We will have them investigated and, if the facts are as he says they are, then we will do whatever is necessary to deal with that situation.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the Minister of Mines and Energy. I am wondering if he would give us a brief update on the Hopebrook situation, as to whether or not the current Administration is going to solve the problems surrounding that, save that PC mine and the 300 jobs associated with it?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, there has not been any change in the status of our negotiations relative to Hopebrook since I spoke in the House last week.

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is to the Minister of Education. Government, in its wisdom or lack thereof, has decided to abolish School Tax Authorities by the end of June. I wonder if the Minister will tell us how the Government intends to replace this means of revenue for the school boards throughout the Province?

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

DR. WARREN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I think I will leave the answer to that to the Minister of Finance, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I would say now we are really in trouble.

Will the Minister responsible for Education then guarantee that the boards will not suffer any financial losses due to these Government-imposed changes?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. The government indicated that when the school tax is replaced, all school boards will receive at least what they would have gotten from the school tax and, of course, that date is July 1, 1992.

Meanwhile, Mr. Speaker, some of the school boards have indicated that they are having some difficulty raising funds. We are in the process of monitoring that. We have asked School Tax Authorities how much is being collected and it is our understanding that, in many cases, the amounts now being collected are comparable to the amounts collected last year.

In fact, in St. John's I am told that last year in the months of December and January the amount was about $1 million and it is my understanding that this year, the same amounts have been collected. So we are monitoring what is happening in the interim between the announcement of the government to replace the school tax, which I would add, has been very well received by the public of this Province, Mr. Speaker. We are monitoring what happens between that announcement and July 1st when the new system will be put in place.

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

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I have questions for the Premier. When the Premier spoke at the Constitutional Conference in Ottawa, he prefaced some of his nice-sounding phases with the words: 'It is unthinkable that'; Mr. Speaker, it is unthinkable to many of us that the Premier and his government would suspend democracy in the community of Cox's Cove, yet that is exactly what the Premier did this winter.

The Premier reneged on his commitment to have an independent enquiry into matters in dispute between the government and the council; the Premier fired the entire community council just before New Year's Eve; the Premier prevented the municipal elections set for February 12 from proceeding on that date; then, the Premier banned all the former councillors, regardless of their different individual records -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is giving a speech, not asking a question. Get to the question, please.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

- from seeking re-election.

My question, Mr. Speaker, is, How can the Premier square this glaring discrepancy between the democratic virtue he preaches on the national stage, and the crass interference with democracy he practices in the Bay of Islands?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, it is really difficult to believe that any member of this hon. House could either be so ill-informed or could so mistake and misrepresent reality as the hon. member just did. It is almost inconceivable that it could happen, it is 'unthinkable', to quote the word she referred to earlier.

Just let me tell the House, Mr. Speaker, that for a year, I tried my best as the Member for the Bay of Islands to help deal with the problem in Cox's Cove, only to find that we had an irresponsible, intransigent person sitting in the office of mayor, who was going to run the Province in the way that he saw fit. Well, the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs cannot let an individual in a community, be so irresponsible and so mismanage community funds, so mistreat other people who have rights, as that mayor did.

Now, Mr. Speaker, every opportunity was given to the individual to correct these wrongs. As a matter of fact, they even went out and had several meetings with him; on one occasion, they had representatives from the Federation of Mayors and Municipalities there, who sat and listened in detail as the thing was discussed. The Federation has no criticism of the government's action. To the best of my knowledge, and I got it directly from the Federation, they think the government had no alternative but to take the action that it did. The government's action was entirely correct in the circumstances.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me deal with the rest of it; just let me deal with the rest of the comments. I didn't do anything, personally, except try to help the community. The Minister responsible for Municipal and Provincial Affairs, did that which the law requires him to do. The council was suspended, the members of the council were dismissed because they were acting contrary to the Municipalities Act. They were breaching the laws of this Province and I believe it was the former government, of which the member was a part at the time, that brought in the legislation prohibiting former members who were dismissed from running again. That is a requirement of the Act, not a dictate of mine.

Now, how any member, who was a Minister of Justice and a lawyer, who is as experienced as the hon. member is, could stand in this House and make those kinds of statements and make those kinds of allegations, you have to wonder what kind of personal animosity must provoke it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question Period has expired.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave! By leave!


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I want to bring to members' attention again, the same sections that I read from Beauchesne yesterday, the necessity of questions being brief, because if the question is not brief, it normally provokes a long answer, the same as the question, itself. As I said yesterday, the Chair doesn't make the rules, the Chair's job is to enforce the rules, so I ask hon. members for their co-operation in this regard.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

MR. GOVER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I hereby table the Report of the Public Tender Act Exceptions as required under Section 10 of the Public Tender Act for the months of November, 1991; December, 1991; and January, 1992.

In tabling these reports, I would note that included in these reports are thirty-seven leases which should have been reported in previous exception reports, but were inadvertently omitted. These leases have now been entered into these reports, and the thirty-seven leases that were entered occurred between 1988 and 1991.

I wish to assure the House that action has been taken and is being taken to prevent a repetition of this particular event.

MR. SPEAKER: There being no petitions and today Wednesday, Private Member's Day, and the resolution agreed to being that submitted by the Member for St. John's East, I call on the Member for St. John's East to proceed with his resolution.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is with great pleasure that I rise today, as the Member for St. John's East, to present this resolution, a resolution with a most important purpose. That purpose is to bring about true representation and true democracy to this House of Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, men and women, all men and women in the world, are brothers and sisters, but these brothers and sisters do not share equally in the opportunities of life, the joys of life, the burdens of life, and the responsibilities that go with the operation of a democracy in a modern world.

It was not, in this Province, until the year 1925 that women were permitted to run for political office, or, in fact, even to vote. An amendment was passed on April 3, 1925 in this House which repealed a section of the previous Act called 'of the election of members to the House of Assembly. It repealed a section -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I wonder if the hon. the Member for St. John's East would permit an interruption. I do this with great hesitation. This notice came to me a little late. There are students in the gallery and they will be shortly leaving. I apologize for doing this, and would suggest that hon. members try to get me notes early so that I can get through them without having to do this.

We are very glad to welcome to the galleries today, seventeen students from Levels I, II, and III from Postville, in the District of Torngat Mountains. They are students of the B. L. Morrison Pentecostal School, with their chaperons, David Newman, Deidra Newman, Terrence Hicks, Scott Short, Roberta Edmunds, and Maurice Jacque - I hope I got that pronunciation right. On behalf of all members we welcome these students here today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: I thank the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I don't mind the interruption at all. In fact, it drew my attention to the presence in the galleries of so many students who are here this afternoon and may find it quite interesting to listen to the debate about this very important issue as to representation of both men and women in the House of Assembly.

The legislation I was about to quote, Mr. Speaker, was an Act called the Election Act of 1913, and in that Act, it says, in this chapter being the Act, the expression 'person' means a male person. That, Mr. Speaker, was repealed in 1925 to say that the expression 'person' means any person, male or female. That, Mr. Speaker, was a recognition by the Legislature of a simple fact that we all know, but up until that time, the law did not regard men and women as being equal; in fact, members of this House may well be very familiar with the famous persons case which eventually went to the Privy Council in Great Britain, brought by a number of women who were determined that the law ought to be changed, and that recognition of women as persons was something that ought not to be tolerated.

Even then, Mr. Speaker, in 1925 when the Electoral Act was changed, the vote was given to both male and female persons, but not equally, Mr. Speaker. Not equally. Males could vote if they were twenty-one. Women had to be twenty-five years old in order to vote. So even at that time, Mr. Speaker, when the vote was obtained by women they were not treated as equals. We know, Mr. Speaker, that since that time very few women have been elected to represent the districts of this House of Assembly.

There was one other reason, I suppose, in the early days, why women and men were not equal in the electoral system, because, in addition to the qualification of being twenty-five years of age in the case of women or twenty-one in the case of men, there was also an income or property qualification. In order to be eligible to be elected to the House of Assembly you had to have a net income of $480 from whatever source or have the possession of property exceeding the value of $2,400 clear of all encumbrances. Mr. Speaker, in this Province in 1925 that eliminated, I would estimate, 99 per cent of the women and perhaps a great number of men. An income of $480 per year in 1925, in this Province, was a fairly large sum of money.

So, Mr. Speaker, although women were technically eligible for election to the House of Assembly, practically speaking, this was not a realistic alternative or opportunity for women.

MR. HOGAN: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: The Member for Placentia gives us some information on that, that the pay for police officers in 1932 was $480 a year, and the former Minister of Justice tells me that women were not eligible to be police officers in 1932. That will give you some idea, Mr. Speaker, of the possibilities for women in 1925 of being candidates for election in the House of Assembly. And, indeed, they were not, Mr. Speaker, with one exception in the pre-Confederation era, that of the spouse of the Prime Minister of the day, Elena Squires, who sought and was elected in the District of Twillingate in 1928. Since that time, Mr. Speaker, there have been forty-eight women seek political office, and that is since Confederation with Canada.

I am proud, Mr. Speaker, to present this motion as a Member of the New Democratic Party because of those forty-eight women who sought electoral office in the Province of Newfoundland since Confederation with Canada, twenty-two of these forty-eight were members of the New Democratic Party for a total of 46 per cent of those candidates.

Few of the women who sought political office were elected. As we all know, since Confederation with Canada only six women have been successful in being elected to the House of Assembly. The first woman to be elected as a member of the House of Assembly since Confederation, after Helena Squires, was Hazel McIssac, elected as a Liberal in St. George's in 1975. Prior to that, Mr. Speaker, in four general elections, no women ran at all.

In the first general election, on May 27, 1949, Grace Sparks ran as a Progressive Conservative and ran again in 1951. In each case, she was not elected. Members will know, of course, that Grace Sparks now sits as a member of the Constitution Committee, which is wondering what happened to its mandate. But the history of the elected - and for members who are interested, I can pass along a copy of the research that has been done on this since Confederation.

AN HON. MEMBER: Table it?

MR. HARRIS: I can table that list, Mr. Speaker, for members, if we can get copies of it made.

But that notion of women running for election to the House of Assembly has been a very difficult road and a not too successful one for many reasons. I have talked about the inequality that the law recognized even in 1925 when the vote was granted to women and the right to run in the House of Assembly. The two kinds of discrimination that occurred, even then, were discrimination in age and discrimination that is indirect, discrimination based on a property qualification which excluded, by virtue of that qualification, more women than men.

These were effective barriers to women running for political office. Today, sixty-seven years later, there are still effective barriers to prevent women from seeking election and from being elected to this House of Assembly. It is not something in the nature of women, it is something in the nature of the system. If we look at our own Legislature today, only two of fifty-two members are women, in the House of Commons in Canada only forty out of 295. If we go to the United Kingdom, we see that only 6 per cent of the Members of Parliament in Great Britain are women.

Mr. Speaker, it is, I suppose, some coincidence that shortly after this resolution was introduced to the House of Assembly in December of 1991, on January 21, 1992, a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons in Great Britain, Teresa Gorman, a Conservative MP, introduced A Bill To Amend The Representation Of The People's Act in order to produce a better balance of men and women in the House of Commons. In her speech on that day, it was she who said: 'It will not have escaped your eagle eye that the Mother of Parliament is largely made up of fathers, and although women are over half the electorate, women make only 6 per cent of this House, and that is after sixty-four years in which women have had the vote.'

Mr. Speaker, the system, and the alternative that was proposed to the British House of Commons, was a very similar proposal to that contained in this resolution. What the Member of Parliament in Great Britain proposed is what I propose here. That each district be joined with the neighbouring district to make up a single district represented by two members of the House of Assembly, that each elector shall have two votes and two ballots, a ballot containing women candidates and a ballot containing men candidates. By that method, Mr. Speaker, we would have, after one election, an equality of representation in this House of both men and women. We now have fifty-two districts represented by fifty-two members of the House of Assembly. The result of this change will be that there will be twenty-six districts still represented by fifty-two members, two from each district.

Now this, Mr. Speaker, is not something that is foreign to our political history, neither is it foreign to the political history of democracies that come out of the British parliamentary system. There were in this House of Assembly since Confederation, three seats that had dual members. After Confederation, in 1949, 1951 and 1955, the district of St. John's East was represented by two members in this House, the district of St. John's West was represented by two members in this House, and the district of Harbour Main was represented by two members in this House. I have no reason to doubt that the system involving two members was at least as good, if not better, than being represented by a sole member.

Mr. Speaker, each constituent would have two members in the House to go to to seek assistance if one were busy, if one were somewhere else, if one was perhaps in the Cabinet and busy, if one were less willing to help than the other or if one were of a different political stripe than another. That, Mr. Speaker, would provide for better representation in this House, not lesser representation.

In the past, Mr. Speaker, it has been said that the dual riding systems we have had since Confederation were there for the purpose of, and provided for, a balance between the denominations, and that a political convention existed within the parties to provide for each party running candidates of the major denomination in that district. So the Liberal Party would ran a Catholic and the major Protestant denomination. The Conservative Party would do the same thing, and that prevented dissention between religions in this House and amongst the electorate. Mr. Speaker, the need for that or the dissention caused by religious fervour and partisanship, sectarianism, has ceased to be of relevance and importance. But, Mr. Speaker, that same system can be adopted to ensure that both women and men are able to be represented fully in the House of Assembly.

Now, I only have a few minutes left, Mr. Speaker, to say a few things about why, aside from the general notion of equality, it is important that this be done. I will have another speech later on and respond to any remarks that might be made by others in this debate, which I understand has evoked a certain amount of interest amongst members of the House. I know it has amongst the members of the public. I have received, in fact, a number of letters in relation to the proposal, and I want to read from one of them sent to me by the students of Beothic Collegiate in Baie Verte.

This was discussed in a Canadian issues class with twenty-eight students of mixed sex. It says: We the students of Beothic Collegiate agree with the proposal to be presented to the House of Assembly. We support this proposal for the following reasons. One reason would be that there would always be at least one representative in the House of Assembly. Another reason is that the work would be shared between them. The third reason we decided on was that there would be many new and different ideas, including a women's point of view. In conclusion we feel there would be less controversy between males and females in our society if this were adopted.

Mr. Speaker, that is a young person's view of how the House of Assembly might work better if the House was more representative of men and women. I can be certain, Mr. Speaker, that not only would the House work better if there were an equality of representation by men and women, it would be very, very different. It would be very different because if there were an equality of women and men in our society there would be significant changes in the barriers that women face as citizens of our society - barriers to employment, barriers to support of their families, barriers that are inherent in a society in which violence against women is, I have to say, ultimately tolerated. It is tolerated because it is not stopped, and I believe, Mr. Speaker, that if there were an equality of women represented in the House of Assembly, that policies of Government, laws that are tabled in this House, would reflect a point of view that is more representative of the needs of people. I believe that the kind of politics that we have, and the nature of political debate, the nature of political contests, is one in which there is a high degree of competitiveness, aggressiveness, and seeking to demonstrate ones greater force, ability, and determination. I see, Mr. Speaker, and I am told this by women who are active in politics and in the seeking of political change, that the approach might well be different with an equality of women and men, that the approach in seeking solutions to the problems that we face would perhaps be more people oriented, more oriented to the needs of families, more oriented to the needs of people who we see suffer in our society, and perhaps greater working together in order to find solutions to the problems we all face.

MR. SPEAKER: Time is up.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I look forward to the rest of the debate and to responding once again, at the end of the debate, to the comments of hon. Members.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Government House Leader and President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

First of all I would like to thank the hon. Member for St. John's East for bringing up this topic for discussion at this point in time. I think we all realize that in at least some segments of society, and perhaps in society in general, there are real problems that should be tackled, problems that attempts are being made to solve, and that perhaps it is an opportunity to think about, and reflect on, the kinds of things that perhaps should be done to change some of the inequities in our society. I think we all recognize that wife abuse is a problem that is perhaps becoming more significant. Some people say that the incidence in cases is simply a result of more reporting and better enforcement and whatever, but I am not so sure I believe that. Perhaps there is more of this kind of atrocity happening. There have been over the years many barriers to women becoming equal in our society. The hon. Member mentioned a few of them. Certainly the original barrier in not having the right to vote was significant, and the attainment of the right to vote was a very significant milestone.

There are many physical barriers like that in our society. The perhaps, attitude that physical strength - there is a tremendous difference in physical strength and therefore certain areas and certain occupation areas are not open to females the way they are for males, this kind of incorrect perception and really physical barriers that exist. There are also a lot of psychological barriers. Barriers that are purely psychological, and perhaps when we think of the election of women to elected bodies we are perhaps thinking more of a psychological barrier, but it is not a simple situation.

As an active member of a political party for quite a number of years I know that it has been very, very difficult to persuade women to actually run in an election. It has been very difficult. And attempts have been made, I believe, by all political parties. I know that my association with political parties (plural), my experience shows that there is not only an openness, but an effort made to try to get women to run in elections. It is very easy to get women to become campaign managers, it is very easy to get them involved in that part of the process, but for some reason the step beyond - it has been very difficult. So what are the reasons for that? What are the reasons? I am not so sure I know what the reasons are. Perhaps experience has shown that the process we have in place as political parties did not allow a great deal of success. I am talking now about the nomination process and all that kind of thing. Perhaps that is one of the problems. But whatever the problem is, it is a complex problem.

There are many other types of barriers that one would like to see disappear, and attempts are being made now. Through education, I believe, lies the answer if we start early enough in our school systems, and if we portray the equality of men and women in our educational system, and if we as individuals decide to portray it in our homes and so on, then at some point in time a change will take place, but it will be slow.

So, Mr. Speaker, I do not believe that there is anybody who doubts that there is a situation that perhaps should not be. Fifty-two per cent of the population, therefore 52 per cent of the voters of this Province being women, being female, and only two members in the House. How do you solve that problem?

Well, Mr. Speaker, I do not believe that the solution put forward by the hon. gentlemen is the solution. I do not believe that this is the thing to do to ensure equality. I do not believe that by us simply making a change and passing a law or whatever that you will ever, ever legislate any type of equality. I believe that there has to be a more fundamental change than that, a much more fundamental change because you see, if we try to legislate it and it is not generally accepted in the population, then we will run into perception problems afterwards, because, it is the basic perception that has to be changed.

Now there are those who would argue that if we were to enforce a rule which says we must pick twenty-six women to sit in this House and we must pick twenty-six men, and from area A in the Province there must be one male and one female, even if you cannot find a male to run or a female to run, there must be one male and one female from this area A. Even if we do that, and we see here sitting in this House of Assembly, fifty-two members, half male and half female, I am not so sure that that would have an effect on what is happening in our society; we would all have to deal with the same problems we are dealing with now. There may be a slightly different approach on some of the problems which we deal with, but I really do not believe that it would make a tremendous fundamental change. I really do not believe it will make enough of a change to create an attitude change in our society, but that is my point of view personally.

With regards to the specifics of this proposal, I believe that rather than being democratic, it is perhaps one of the most undemocratic proposals that I have seen, one of the most undemocratic proposals that I have seen. To specifically legislate; to specifically legislate that in a district in this Province there must be one female elected and one male elected, is undemocratic. That is not the process that we have. That we would have female candidates and male candidates and let the democratic process decide who gets elected, that is democratic. There are some of us in this House who ran against female candidates, some males, and we won and they didn't. The Member for St. John's East is one of them, I am another one. But the choice was there and I believe once we go one step beyond that kind of a choice, we get into a real mess.

For instance, who would dispute that most of the people in this Legislature and most of the people who have been sitting in this Legislature are not representative, let us say, of the young - and we have tremendous problems with our youth and tremendous unemployment problems and everything else - using the same logic, you would say okay, if we made sure that a proportion, let us say half, because we are talking about half the population, that half the Members of the House be under the age of thirty-five, because then that would allow us to focus on, not only the older segment of our population, which most of us fall into at this point in time, but allow us to focus to try to solve the problems of the youth in our society, and that could be a logical argument. There is no doubt about that because they are now running into a lot of barriers as well in terms of employment, in terms of the catch-22 situation where you cannot get a job unless you have experience and you cannot get experience unless you have a job and how you overcome those problems. I think it is self-evident that there is nobody in this Legislature from the category of families who earn less than $40,000 a year, nobody, and yet most of our people are. Most of our people are. There are very, very serious problems there as well.

I am not trying to trivialize the proposition put forward by the hon. gentleman. All I am trying to point out is that once you get beyond the idea of a choice - a democratic choice for each section of the Province - once you get beyond that and start restricting that choice, where do you stop? There are a lot of good arguments that can be made. I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that this would be the easy way out. I would suggest that we have to, as political parties - as individual political parties - work harder. We have to work harder to make sure that we have equal representation. We have to do that, but the representation still has to be the choice of the people, 52 per cent of whom are female. It has to be the choice of the people.

The reason the New Democratic Party is not represented by any more than one member here is not because they ran a certain number of females. That is not the reason. It is because for some reason the party has not yet caught on. It had nothing to do with male/female representation. It is not that the electorate won't vote for females. The St. John's City Council has a fairly large representation of females on it. The Mayor is a female. People, if given the choice, -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Three. Maybe there should be a couple more, but anyway there are three. People should be given choices, and if they are given the proper choices then they will choose wisely. I believe it is up to the individual political parties to control that - to make sure that within their own domain there are efforts to ensure that there is adequate representation.

I do not believe it should be imposed in this type of manner, which I view to be totally undemocratic - to be imposed in this manner and without thought to what the electorate would want. Maybe at some point in time, and we may get into the circumstance where we will have a female Premier, that maybe of the fifty-two members in this House, fifty of them will be female. That possibility exists now. But I would suggest to you that the only proper way to do it is to ensure that the political parties play their role, and this type of legislation would give them the easy way out.

There is a lot more. I could go on for hours, actually. I had some notes made, and I haven't got beyond the first line yet, but I am told that my time is up.

Yes, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: The Member, I think, was given the wrong time. He still has a few minutes left. We made a mistake. You still have some time left.

MR. BAKER: Oh, thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

The political parties can remove roadblocks. The political parties can make sure that in the nomination process, in any instance where parties actively go out to look for candidates to run - and I know what it is like - you go out and go to an area and say, look who would make a good candidate to support our party in this area, and you go look for it. Make sure that you actively pursue some excellent female candidates to run for nomination.

In the nomination process, make sure that the same opportunity is there. Make sure that the support, the psychological support and the encouragement and so on is there, and it is not just a wink, wink, nudge, nudge, we have a female going for a nomination in this district. That it is a sincere effort - make sure that it is.

There has been some view expressed that perhaps part of the problem is the money side of running for office. We are bringing in an Elections Act which would solve part of that problem. Which would solve part of this fear about financing election campaigns. That would provide a certain amount of money. But the political party has an obligation too. To make sure that funds are in place to overcome this particular barrier. The Liberal Party has started that, as all Members know. I do not know if any other party has started that, but we have.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: I do not want to trivialize what I am trying to say here by trying to respond to a question like that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: That's right, and I believe it should be done. But I am trying to do it without getting into an 'us and them' kind of confrontation with people opposite. However, I would welcome that. I can handle that too.

Once the election process is in place, and once the election is on and the assistance has been provided, then it is up to the political parties to throw as much weight behind the candidates they have chosen as possible. Everyone knows what I am talking about. During an election campaign there are some areas where you perhaps concentrate a little more emphasis than others. You can make sure that to overcome any reluctance and to send the message loud and clear that the full support be thrown behind the female candidates who are running, to ensure adequate representation.

But, Mr. Speaker, the main point I believe is that when given a choice the electors of this Province and of the country and of other countries will vote for female candidates. No doubt about it. So I believe as long as we ensure that there is enough emphasis placed on the process, as long as we ensure that we have enough of the candidates running who are female, as long as we put some kind of an effort into it - and I am not suggesting either that we go out and pick and choose, but it has to be part of the process -, as long as we ensure that enough candidates run for office, then I am absolutely certain that we will have equal representation in the House. Because I think that is the way the people will vote.

The district that I represent had a female Member for two terms before I was elected. As a matter of fact, she ran against me both times and beat me. Okay? An example. The next two elections I ran against female candidates and beat them, but that is fifty-fifty. The last four elections it has been even in Gander district.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is now up.

MR. BAKER: And I believe that other districts in the Province would do exactly the same thing providing that the political parties played their part. I am not prepared to dictate to them that they must vote for one female and that they must vote for one male. So, Mr. Speaker, I cannot support this resolution.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a few words to say on the resolution put forth by the Member for St. John's East. I commend him for putting forth the resolution because it is a sensitive issue for men, particulary, and I think it is thought-provoking. It is important that those of us who are elected Members speak our mind on the issue.

Now I regret that the Premier was not able to stay, because I am sure the public would have been interested in hearing the Leader of the Liberal Party's views. I realize he is tied up, but I am just saying, I regret he was not able to participate. Secondly, I regret that the Minister responsible for the Status of Women is not in the House for this particular debate. That is unfortunate. Whatever the reason. I am sure she is on Her Majesty's service. But it is rather unfortunate. Maybe we will get an opportunity to hear from them both on the issue some time in the future.

I have to say to the Member for St. John's East just quickly in passing that he should update his research. I made a quick glance at the general election of 1989 and those listed included one Myrtle Vokey, for Mount Scio - Bell Island.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: Dr. Vokey wouldn't appreciate that.

MR. SIMMS: While we had, as a Conservative Party, six women candidates, we can't accept Myrtle as being one of them. Myrtle would have been seven. The NDP had four and the Liberals had one, one in the last election.

MS. VERGE: Two candidates.


MS. VERGE: Two candidates and one elected.

MR. SIMMS: I am looking at two candidates. Two candidates, sorry!

MR. MATTHEWS: And one elected.

MR. SIMMS: One elected. Two candidates.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, first of all let me point out to all and sundry that this is a private members' motion. It is a view of an individual, in this case, the Member for St. John's East. I say, as one elected member of the Legislature, thank God we have the opportunity to put forth our individual views. I also say, Mr. Speaker, that we also have the opportunity to be answerable to ourselves, to our own consciences and to our constituents who elect us. It is good that we have this kind of a forum, a Private Members' Day, in order to put forth those views.

I also want to be honest and say upfront, Mr. Speaker, that this resolution, as it is worded and stated, does not meet with unanimity all throughout the Province. No question! I am certain it does not meet with unanimity among members of the House of Assembly. I can tell you upfront that it does not meet with unanimity among members of our caucus, but neither did I expect it to at this stage. It is a new concept, a new idea, but I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, we spent a good deal of time discussing and considering it. There is considerable support for the concept at least, or some idea of finding a way to better improve the balance of men and women in elected politics.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I encouraged my caucus colleagues in this debate to feel free to express their own personal views on the issue and to feel free to vote as they see fit on this resolution. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, we will be following, in this particular resolution, the principle of a free vote among members of our caucus. We can speak and vote as we wish.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Which, incidentally, I happen to think is a principle that the public and the people, not only in this Province but all across Canada, more and more would like to see members of legislatures follow. So, we will be pursuing those thoughts and ideas.

I also want to say, Mr. Speaker, at the outset that I do not dismiss the idea put forth by the Member for St. John's East. I believe it has merit and I think it needs to be looked at and considered in more detail. I think it needs to be fully aired, I think it needs to be debated, and I think it needs to be discussed. So it shouldn't be simply tossed aside as some people, no doubt, would be prone to do. Because I think we owe it to the people of this Province, on such an important issue, to give them the opportunity to tell us what they think of the idea and somehow indicate to us whether they favour this particular reform or some other ideas that would be reform-minded. There is no question about it, this particular reform, resolution as stated, would be a major change in our process.

To keep the idea alive and to allow a lot more consideration and to allow more public input, I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that at the end of my remarks I will be proposing an amendment asking the House, particularly the majority, the Government side obviously, to agree to give this whole issue and this topic further time through the use of a House committee of some type, an all-party House committee, utilizing the two women that we have sitting in the House, for certain, to be people to sit on the committee, and to give it more study, to do some research on the whole topic and, most importantly, to have public hearings all around the Province to give people the time and opportunity to have input into it.

I cannot say that I strongly support the resolution as it is worded and as it is stated. There are many questions that arise, Mr. Speaker. But I do believe that there is a lot of support among the general public, certainly among women, I am certain, for us, as the elected representatives of today, the present elected representatives, to come up with some way to correct the imbalance that does exist. Thus far we have to confess. I do. I have only been a leader of a party for a short period of time, but I have to confess that we have failed. We have failed miserably, frankly. And I heard the Government House Leader talk about how parties need to go out and encourage women to get involved. We have been doing that. We have done it, but it has not worked and that is the bottom line.

But there are questions, Mr. Speaker, that are on people's minds, and we cannot hide our heads in the sand and we cannot duck the issues because they are questions that are legitimate questions. The Government House Leader alluded to some of them. The implication for the democratic principles that exist here, the principle that you can vote for the person of your choice, the principle that anyone may run as a candidate, the principle that the candidate with the most votes wins an election. Then there is the question of whether it could be seen by some women as maybe this whole thing may be some what of a backwards step for women considering all the work that they have put into their efforts over the last couple of decades.

On the issue of voting for the individual of choice, that is, Mr. Speaker, obviously a very basic principle of democracy, and we all know that. A voter may choose by voting for whichever candidate they wish to represent them. And there are those who might say this kind of resolution and the wording of this resolution might somehow be a violation, I suppose, of that particular democratic principle because it limits the choice of the voter in a democracy, because in a democracy the grounds for representation is that representatives are chosen by the people they are to represent. So to tell people whom they must choose or to restrict their choice in any way in the eyes of many may be viewed as some kind of a compromise on democratic rights.

Mr. Speaker, the principle that anybody who wishes to seek office may run as a candidate is another basic principle of democracy. As long as he or she, as a candidate in our Province, is a resident of this Province and is not disqualified because of age, incarceration or some other reason - gender not being one of them - and in this particular scenario, Mr. Speaker, on the principle of anybody can run, that principle would be called into question anytime there was a by-election, for example. If one member was to resign their seat or lost their seat through death - God help us - or whatever, then that particular principle could be violated because what would happen, obviously, is that the voters would be voting for a person of one gender or the other only during a by-election. So that is a legitimate question and a legitimate concern.

Mr. Speaker, the other principle is the principle of the candidate with the most votes wins the seat. That is a basic and key democratic principle. Let's face it, if you have men running in one seat and women running in the other seat, it is conceivable that the second woman candidate could have more votes than the lead man, the lead male candidate, and that basic principle of the person with the most votes or the persons with the most votes would somehow be twisted in the minds of some people. It would be questioned, because the person who has the most votes for one gender only, and one of the seats might have less votes than the runner-up in the other seat, if people will follow what I am trying to say.

So my only point is, and I want to make it quick because I hope to be able to give some time to some other people to speak in the debate, but I want to make these points. There are legitimate concerns, and it can quite rightly be argued that this resolution could affect these kinds of basic democratic principles, and people have the legitimate right to ask those questions, and people have asked me this question because I have tried to get some direction whenever I can in talking to people as I travel around the Province to see what the feel is for this particular idea. Now I am talking about this specific idea, this specific resolution as it now is worded.

Mr. Speaker, I do want to say though - and I mentioned, by the way, about how it can be seen by some as perhaps a backward step for women, and I briefly alluded to the fact that some people would say women have done a tremendous amount of work over the past number of years to have themselves recognized as equal partners, of equal capabilities, capable individuals, regardless of their gender, and all of that work could somehow be lost simply by allowing a system such as this to be used in elected politics. Some will say that.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, having said all those things and having raised those concerns and questions - and I know they are debatable, my point is in case anybody misunderstands me that these are questions that people have raised. But having said it all, and having raised all of those questions, Mr. Speaker, I have to say this, as one who has been involved in elected politics for thirteen years, and I think I speak for most of us who have been involved in politics, we have always thought, and many still believe, that the key to having more women in positions of elected office would be by educating people more about women's concerns, educating people about the need for representation by women, encouraging women to run, as the Government House Leader just said, and providing services to women that would make it easier for them to run. That is what we have always thought. We have always said it, and we heard it being said here again today. We have always said that government, politicians, and the media have a major role to play in trying to educate people about women's special concerns. We have also, Mr. Speaker, always thought that educators and the media have a key role to play in changing people's attitudes about the capacity of women to handle responsibilities traditionally handled by men. That is what we have always believed. We have always said that political parties and governments must do more to encourage women to seek elected office, and women who have succeeded in elected office would make great role models for public relation campaigns.

Mr. Speaker, if we were honest with ourselves, the honest to God reality today that exists is that all of these words, and all of those beliefs, are not working. That is the honest to God reality. We are really not much further ahead today than we were two decades ago, as pointed out by the Member for St. John's East. In 1975 there was one woman member in this Legislature, and in 1992, nearly twenty years later, we have two, so where is the progress? There has been some slight progress but not very much. That is the honest to God reality, Mr. Speaker. So while there are lots of questions that can be asked, and lots of concerns that can be expressed, it does not mean that answers cannot be found. It does not mean that we should be afraid to look at the idea and to consider the idea. It does not mean that we should shy away from bold political reform. These are the 90s, Mr. Speaker, and not the 70s, and it certainly does not mean that we should simply cast this idea to one side, cast it away, forget about it, vote against it, and hope that it never rears its ugly head again. It does not mean that we should not give the people of the Province a chance to say what they think about this idea, because we should, Mr. Speaker, we should. So, I would welcome the opportunity to obtain answers to those kind of questions. I would welcome the opportunity to see more details, to hear more ideas for the mechanisms that could be used, for more ideas and comments that could come forth. I would like to hear what other people have to say about the idea, therefore, rather than reject the resolution outright I want to suggest the idea of submitting the issue to an all party House committee for further research, to keep the idea alive, and for the purpose of giving people, the people around the Province, a chance to have their say and their input. We should not be afraid to air the issue. So, I am going to move the following amendment, Mr. Speaker, seconded by the hon. the Member for Grand Bank, and the amendment will read - and I will try to whip through it fairly quickly. I have given copies to the House Leader and the Member for St. John's East.

"That the first resolve be amended by deleting the word 'support' - in other words, supporting this specific idea - "and substituting the words 'strike an all-Party Committee to consider' the concept and the idea of getting more women involved in politics.

"And that the second resolve be amended by deleting all the words after 'legislative seats;' and substituting the following:

"AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the all-Party Committee of the House of Assembly also consider other means of achieving more balanced representation by men and women in the House of Assembly;

"AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Committee hold public hearings and otherwise seek the views of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador;

"AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Committee report its findings and recommendations at the 1992 fall sitting of this House of Assembly."

Mr. Speaker, I so move that amendment. I will send a copy up to Your Honour if there is a Page or a Clerk who perhaps could give Your Honour a copy.

I will just conclude my remarks - if Your Honour wants to have a look at the amendment - by saying my real fear is that this resolution could be totally defeated and then that it is the end of it, it is squashed. I am offering an opportunity to members of the House to perhaps give it some more consideration, because I think the idea merits more consideration, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BAKER: Just a very brief point of order, Mr. Speaker. I didn't want to interrupt the hon. member in his speech. I wanted to get up earlier but I didn't want to interrupt him. I just wanted to point out two things that he brought up in speech. As usual, he tries to sound like a nice guy but gets in his political shots.

The reason the Premier is not here is because he had previously arranged meetings on the fishery, had no idea that this was coming up today. The Minister responsible for the Status of Women is not here because she is in British Columbia on environmental matters. This resolution was supposed to have come up last week, but the official Opposition insisted on taking that day, because we had an agreement that this issue would be debated as early as possible in this session. The Leader of the Opposition wanted to debate his issue so it couldn't be held last week. So this is the first opportunity. It so happens, that is the very week that the conference is on in British Columbia. So there was a whole series of circumstances whereby the minister responsible could not be here today. I would not have felt that I had to point it out if the member had not so obviously pointed out the absence.

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

MR. SIMMS: To the point of order. Mr. Speaker, it is worthy of lengthening the debate on that point of order. It is just obviously an opportunity for a partisan crack. I made it quite clear I regretted that the Premier and the minister were not here but I understood they were probably on -

AN HON. MEMBER: You said it!

MR. SIMMS: So it is very small-minded of the House Leader to bring such (inaudible) -

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

There is no point of order. It is a point of clarification, at best.

The Chair would like to take a look at this resolution. If hon. members - we can recess, or we could carry on with the next speaker. I don't think it would change substantially. The Chair will be back very shortly to give a ruling on the amendment.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I don't mind sort of just continuing on with debate except that the amendment doesn't do what the hon. Leader said it did. So members should be aware that what it does now is delete all the words - sorry.

First of all, say: deleting the word 'support' in the first resolve. So it then reads: "that the House of Assembly" - and you delete 'support', and you substitute the words: 'strike an all-Party Committee to consider'. Then he said something about consider methods of improving representation. But that is not what it would read. It would then read: that the House of Assembly strike an all-Party Committee to consider representation by two members per district, one woman, one man, without increasing the number of seats.

So it says nothing about what he indicated was a general thing, to consider ways of balancing representation. As long as members are aware of that.

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

MR. SIMMS: Maybe the best thing for you to do is to retire and judge whether the amendment is in order. I don't know what the hon. member is talking about, I have no idea what he is talking about. It is in writing, so it is pretty straight.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes. Well, it is in writing.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

For the clarification of the Chair, I wonder if the hon. the Government House Leader would make that point again, too, because I am not sure the Chair got the point that the hon. member was making.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, because this will never appear as a whole resolution, or as an amendment to the resolution, and we will never see exactly what the resolution would read - the Leader of the Opposition, said that the first resolve would be amended by deleting the word 'support' and substituting the words 'strike an all-Party Committee to consider', then he went on to say, 'methods of obtaining more equal representation', whereas, in actual fact, that is not correct. We would be then considering the specific proposal by the member for St. John's East; in other words, it would be considering the double-district idea, one female, one male and that is not the impression I had from what he said in his speech. So, as long as all hon. members are aware of what the amendment is, I believe the amendment is in order.

MR. SIMMS: Very quickly, really, I cannot answer for the impression that the Government House Leader gets from my speech. I was trying to, in my speech, pass forth thoughts and concerns and questions that other people have raised. But I think the amendment is quite clear, I am suggesting that you delete the word 'support' and you put in the words, 'strike an all-Party Committee to consider', so that means then, that we are asking the House of Assembly to strike an all-Party Committee to consider the principle of representation by two members per district, one man, one woman without increasing the number of seats, so to consider that idea, but not to adopt it here today, and secondly, go on to also get this committee to consider other means of achieving more balanced representation by men and women. So I think it does what I suggested I wanted to have done, Mr. Speaker. Anyway, it really has not much (inaudible) .

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair will recess just briefly.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I will read the resolution as amended so that hon. members will know precisely what it is that we are dealing with. We come to the first resolve and the amendment is that the first resolve be amended by deleting the word 'support' and substituting the words 'strike an all-Party Committee to consider', which means it would now read: 'And be it further resolved, that the House of Assembly strike an all-Party Committee to consider the principle of representation by two members per district, one woman and one man, without increasing the number of Legislative seats'.

I think we could get the hon. Leader of the Opposition to concur that is the first. The other, is just eliminating the other resolve and replacing it with the three that he read out, and we shall have these passed around to hon. members. We have ruled that the amendment is in order.

The Leader of the Opposition's time was up so we are now waiting for another speaker.

The hon. the Member for LaPoile.

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, with regard to this motion of the hon. the Member for St. John's East, and also the subsequent amendment to which I am speaking now, the amendment itself is, in a way, I would say - and I don't mean it in a political manner - but it certainly avoids dealing with the matter as brought forward by the hon. member. It is, I suppose, a way out of dealing with it. Now, as was noted with what was stated by the hon. the President of Treasury Board a little earlier, in the way that this is currently worded, without any of the investigations that have been done, and without any of the situation as it is now understood by government, we just cannot support this motion as presented.

The principle that the hon. member espouses in his amendment to the motion, in my mind is, of course, a way out for something that makes some hon. members extremely uncomfortable within the idea of legislating the right of women to possess 50 per cent of the seats held here in the Province through this method. I see that as the way out, and I think it is better to be up front and honest with the public in stating, look, we are very supportive of all efforts to improve the situation as far as representation for women here in the Legislature and throughout all of government, through board appointments and through the various tools and methods that we do have. But, again, I just want to say about that specific amendment, I guess it probably adds some comfort to the hon. members who are sitting there.

The few things I did want to speak about, the matter in general, basically, I guess, overall it has a lot to do with the problem itself, a societal problem, with women having been held back through the years, a problem that is ages old with respect to the oppression of women in society, in general. I note in some of the information that I gathered to speak on this matter that the right to vote, as mentioned by the hon. the Member for St. John's East, was gained in Newfoundland in 1925, I think you stated. I made notes here, also. In 1916, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta gave the right to vote to women in those provinces; in 1917, Ontario and British Columbia; in 1918, Nova Scotia; 1919, New Brunswick; 1922, Prince Edward Island; and 1940, Quebec. Again, it is a matter that is Canada-wide, and, of course, it does show that it is not just isolated here in the Province of Newfoundland.

The situation with regard to this motion - it is an honourable effort, in my mind, and I would be very interested in participating in whatever the future holds, the Legislature directs, or the government directs that we do insofar as examining this matter in the future, with respect to coming up with ways and means to develop policy through our political parties, to develop governmental policy if government has directives in the future that would send us in that direction, and see to it that we do communicate further with the public to find out what the public's idea is, as opposed to a motion that is brought forth by the hon. member and subsequent amendment by the Opposition. I don't feel that this method through a Private Member's resolution does, in effect, give the proper manner for us to address this problem.

I do support some of the principles of the amendment. I support, I suppose, the prayer of your motion, as such, the idea that women do need better representation here in the House of Assembly, but the problems I have with it, as I have stated, are such that I don't feel exactly as your wording is there. Maybe it is something that all hon. members can entertain somewhere down the road, that this matter can be revisited, not to a point of deferring it and continuing to defer it - it is a matter that has to be addressed - but I do feel that at this time, coming out of a member of the Opposition, and in the form in which it has, if it were more general, possibly there would be a lot more support for it. It is a very good piece of work on the part of the hon. member in that I am sure he has twisted a lot of hearts and minds here inside out in trying to decide how best to approach the situation created by having this motion stimulate debate and bring to light the problem and plight of women that has happened over the centuries. I feel that I am very open, I feel it is good that it has been brought to this point, and I, again, am very open to participate in whatever future direction government may bring about on this matter.

I, personally, have a strong opinion on proportional representation by virtue of party politics. I look at the Irish model as a very good model, although a lot of people probably would highlight the fact that the Italian model is a model that is sort of ranked with chaos because of the proportional representation features, but along those lines, philosophically, I think the model proportional representation by party vote and also by sex is something that should be considered in the future and that we should take a closer look at, and bold political reform may need to be undertaken and maybe in the upcoming election, if it is this summer or this fall, maybe this will be a case where the parties will undertake efforts to field more women candidates in districts that women are interested in running in, or through the provisions under the new Elections Act providing certain financial stability to the situation in allowing the parties to use the situation to their advantage with the women concerned.

The whole premise of the hon. member's motion is, of course, the current school of thought that we have to do something to legislate away the plight of women in society through this kind of method. Now, it is a possibility that through a referendum or something like that, or a plebiscite made through the legislative process during the next general election, that is a possibility. It was sort of mentioned by the hon. Leader of the Opposition and maybe that is the kind of approach we should take. Again, these are the things that would have to be discussed on this level and then possibly brought forward for further consideration later. Again, I do have to stress that this motion, as written, I do not agree with as it is placed, and likewise, the amendment as put forward by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to be seated now to allow someone else on this side to speak, in view of the time constraints we are under given the ruling you had to make.

Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I am glad that, at long last, a woman gets a chance to speak in this debate, and off the top, I want to say that I enthusiastically support the motion made by the Member for St. John's East. His proposal is bold, it is ingenious, it offers a simple, fast and effective way of improving our political system. Our form of democracy is not the only type of democracy in the world. It originated in Britain. It is essentially the British parliamentary system of government involving political parties; involving geographic districts; involving members constituting a legislature or a parliament who get the most votes in each geographic riding. There are other types of democracies. In many European nations there is a type of proportional representation. There are several varieties. I have not had a chance to do extensive research, but I think in other parts of the world there are measures for ensuring representation of women, or representation of other groups.

As the Leader of the Opposition said, after many years of practice we have to conclude, looking at the evidence, examining the results, that our type of democracy is not working well for our citizens. In particular, our form of democracy is not adequately serving the interests and needs of women.

Women make up more than half our population. Too often when people talk about the underrepresentation of women, or about the lack of power and wealth possessed by women, people apologize as though women are an insignificant group. Women make up more than half the population, yet look around us. We have two women in a fifty-two member House of Assembly.

When I got elected first in 1979 I do not think I was naive. I did not expect instant improvement. I thought gains would be made only through concerted effort by women for women, but I thought, using the system that was in place, that we would be much further ahead than we are here today. I feel that we have actually regressed in the last few years. Back in the early eighties there was a sense of momentum. We had two women in the Cabinet for one term; between 1982 and 1985 we had three women in the House of Assembly, and look at what we have here today.

I said clearly that I support the motion made by the Member for St. John's East. I would like to read that in its entirety:

BE IT RESOLVED that the House of Assembly support the principle of representation by two members per district, one woman and one man, without increasing the number of legislative seats.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a Committee of the House be established to report to the House on the methods and timetable to be adopted to implement the new form of representation.

Mr. Speaker, given the chance I will vote for that motion. Given the chance I will also support the amendment proposed by the Leader of the Opposition, which would keep alive the idea of the Member for St. John's East by referring it to a Committee of this House of Assembly for consideration, for airing at public hearings, with a timetable - with a requirement that the House report back to the House of Assembly by this fall.

I mentioned that ours is but one variation of democracy. There are other models. Ours is not a definitive model. It is not the best. In my years of serving in this House of Assembly I have certainly thought long and hard about where we are going wrong; why the results are not better; and how our system can be reformed to improve representation. I have not come up with a better idea. I think this idea is practical. It can be implemented easily without cost. It has that beauty of simplicity, and it will generate instant results. If this idea is implemented, we will have instantly half women and half men in this House of Assembly. What an improvement!

Now, Mr. Speaker, there are many who say that since women were eligible to run, since women have the right to vote, there has been equality of opportunity and there is some fault on the part of women in the imbalance in representation. But as the previous speakers on this side of the House - the Member for St. John's East and the Leader of the Opposition - have said, the fault lies with the system, and it is the system that we have to change.

Among others I have been involved in efforts to work within the system to bring about equality for women and men, to see that the interests of women were properly addressed, to try to bring about a more fair distribution of power and wealth, to generate, on the part of women, a greater sense of self-worth, to include women in more activities in our society, to value the input of women in decision making, especially decision making in government, which looms so large over the lives of all of us. But when you measure the outcome, any objective observer would have to say that we have fallen far short of the mark of true equality. If we keep going the way we are going, if we stick with the present system, I can't imagine any significant improvement in my lifetime. And I am impatient. I want progress. I want to be able to see some improvement for women when we start the next century.

So I do not have a better idea than the Member for St. John's East. I have not heard anyone here suggest anything that is going to lead to an improvement in our system of government for women and men. I have not heard any other idea. I like the idea of the Member for St. John's East. I congratulate him for putting it forward and making a case supporting it. I also congratulate the women and men in his Party who helped him devise this idea.

There are some people who think that the current arrangement is perfectly acceptable, who think that the needs of women are being addressed quite adequately by the representatives we have. There are some people who think that way. There are some people who think that the proposal for reform to guarantee half women and half men is an insult to women. Well, let me say, as a woman, I am not insulted by this proposal. I am encouraged by it, I am inspired by it.

But with the current type of representation, many of our constituents are not being properly served. When you look at the big picture you see different patterns to the lives of women and men. Women generally have different life experiences, have different practices, habits. Women have a different perspective on life. All those experiences and that perspective is largely missing from government, it is largely absent from this House of Assembly. The society as a whole is the loser. If we were to harness the talents and experience, energy and passion of the half of the population who are women, all of us, men and women, would be better served.

We have only two Members who are women, two out of fifty-two. There are other legislatures and parliaments in the British parliamentary mode which have a little better representation of women. But none has anything approaching a balance. The Member for St. John's East quoted the statistics for the so-called Mother of Parliaments in Westminster, and those figures show that there are only 6 per cent women MPs there. This indicates that the problem is with the system. So we have to be prepared to admit the deficiency in the system and to embrace a reform of the system.

Now I see widespread public acceptance for this kind of reform. In this instance, as is so often the case, the people are far ahead of this institution. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are far ahead of this House of Assembly and this Provincial Government. People usually see far ahead of institutions. Look at any institution, whether it is a legislature, a government, a bureaucracy, a university, a church, a union, a business, and you will see vested interests. You will see resistance to change. I have a theory that the bigger and more powerful the institution the greater the resistance to change.

So looking around here I see many Members who are comfortable in their positions and who are not willing to relinquish any of their power, wealth, perks, to women. It is a comfortable arrangement. I am not suggesting that there is a conspiracy of men to exclude women. I am not suggesting that at all. But I am suggesting that the men who control this institution, the men who dominate this House of Assembly, suffer from inertia. We are all subject to inertia. We are creatures of habit. We are more comfortable allowing things to continue as they have always been done. Change is difficult, change is painful. So it is human nature to hold on to what we have and to resist change, and that is present here.

But if we canvass our constituents, if we go out and talk to the women and men we are supposed to be serving, we will hear some very different ideas and notions. Those people are not happy with the current political system. They do not like the results. People want more women in politics; women and men want more women in politics. Now in theory there is equality of opportunity but that is not the practice. Political parties are a major hurdle. Political parties are dominated by men and are not truly reaching out to women, are not truly trying to bring in more women.

Now I made the point that our type of democracy is not the only model, it is not the definitive version. The current Premier has been innovative. He went outside his caucus, he went outside the group of Members elected to this House of Assembly to choose a Minister of Justice; he appointed the unelected Ed Roberts to be Minister of Justice. If he was going to deviate from democratic principles by going outside the elected Assembly, why did he not choose a woman? Now he said he wanted a lawyer, he wanted somebody with some constitutional experience, well, Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Premier has not noticed, but there are lots of women lawyers in Newfoundland and Labrador today, there are several women lawyers with constitutional legal experience, so why did not the Premier, if he was going to depart from normal, Canadian, democratic practice to choose a Minister of Justice, why did he not choose a woman? Well, Mr. Speaker, he probably did not even think of it, that is my point. He is a creature of habit, it would never occur to him to choose a woman Minister of Justice.

Now, Mr. Speaker, in supporting this motion, and enthusiastically supporting it, I want to say that I would expect that this reform leading to instant equality in numbers of women and men in the Legislature, would very quickly change the psychology of political parties, of groups and individual citizens, and that after several years of experiencing that reformed political system, women might be so integrated in the processes of governing and politics, that we would not need this measure beyond the transitional period.

Mr. Speaker, I was part of the Peckford administration, which started out with a commitment to equality of opportunity for women and men, but after a couple years we noticed that not very many women were getting appointed to government boards and commissions, so Premier Peckford took a bold initiative, he decided with the Cabinet, that we would from then on, have half women and half men; there was initial squawking but it was very quickly accepted, in the first few weeks, there was some complaining about the difficulty of getting women for this board or that board, but lo and behold, after a couple months, all kinds of women's names came forward.

Women were appointed, women served, women did well and then Cabinet Ministers, on the advice of their officials in some cases, came back to the Cabinet table two or three years later with glowing recommendations of women for re-appointment. Mr. Speaker, I would expect that the same dynamic would take place, if we, in the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly adopt this reform measure, to ensure that we have half women and half men serving here in the future.

The innovation as I say is practical, it can be easily implemented, there is no cost, it even conforms with some of our tradition, the tradition of having dual ridings to accommodate the religious denominational differences. It is interesting isn't it, that years ago, those dual ridings were in place. There was no great debate, PEI still has all dual ridings so, Mr. Speaker, I support the motion as being a very effective way, in a short time, of improving our system of government by making it inclusive of women and men, of ensuring that women's perspectives are present to achieve the end of better government for all our people. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Eagle River. The hon. Member has about seven minutes.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I just have a few minutes to make a few remarks about this very important resolution. I might say at the outset that I enthusiastically endorse the principle of the resolution, but certainly the process that is being proposed here is not acceptable. In the next few minutes I would like to enunciate on why it is not acceptable.

First of all, on the principle of women's participation in parliament, I sincerely feel that the present situation is unacceptable. I believe to have the representation of women that we have here now in the House, is totally unacceptable. That is one thing, and I think that there are opportunities to see that improve. I note that last time, in 1989, twenty-six new people entered the House of Assembly. Certainly I believe that if there had been more women successful it would change the nature of Government, and change it for the good. I believe that the legitimacy of the institution would be upgraded in the public's eye because there would be greater reflection of itself, and that is what legislatures should endeavour to do.

Apart from the representation being a reflection of society, I believe we would also see the policy thrust, the policy development, and indeed the policy implementation, a greater representation of the public feelings. Certainly I think we would get greater sensitivity shown to a number of areas of the social agenda that I think is highly remiss in our process at the present time. However, as I indicated right from the beginning, whether this process is the right one, I do not believe it is, and also whether in fact women want this process to be in place.

I note with interest the Member for Humber East said that people out there are asking for this - are crying for this. Only a few weeks ago at a legislative hearing for the Elections Act we had the President of the Federation of Students show up to make a presentation, and it was at that time that the Member for St. John's East posed the question of how she felt about having the proposal as it stands. I quote from Ms. Smith: As a woman I think that women should be voted on their merit, and not on the fact of their sex. So If you can get in on the basis of being a man or a woman - if you are good for the job and you get voted in, women in Newfoundland have the opportunity to run, and if they can do that job and they deserve to get elected, they will.

That is coming from a leader of women in this Province, and a very, very credible leader who represents a lot of students - thousands of students in this Province. Indeed, I am sure that her statements are not alone in our society as to how other women feel.

Certainly again I might point out that the Elections Act that we are reviewing now is a way of seeing legislative reform to try and counter the problems and hurdles that women have had in gaining electoral success. I think that all hon. Members would be pleased to know that it is this Government that for the first time since 1949 is looking at the Elections Act and reviewing the Elections Act, and setting out specific spending limits so that women in particular will not be at an economic disadvantage, whereas before there is no doubt that women generally did not possess the economic ability to be able to seek public office. Certainly this is a way that this Government is taking a real effort at being able to assist women in gaining electoral office.

Also there is no doubt that the committee will seriously consider day-care expenses and see if we can incorporate day-care expenses as a legitimate election expense - when a candidate runs for election that this be a legitimate expense towards their election. Again that is another way that we can, through legislation, reach out and see that women participate in the political process, but Mr. Speaker, I think that legislation as it stands or as it is proposed in this resolution would be inherently undemocratic. It would be, I think, taking something to its extreme when there is not right now the reason to take it to its extreme.

Now hon. members have pointed out before that certainly the process has not resulted in a lot of women being elected, but neither have the political parties taken the kind of meaningful steps that should be taken, and neither has this Legislature taken the amendments and proposed the changes to the Elections Act that are necessary to overcome some of these hurdles. So I think that we have to look towards these types of initiatives before we get carried away into something different.

I close, Mr. Speaker, by saying that it is not good enough to raise this issue as a way to score political points, because you have to be credible. And for the Member for St. John's East to stand in this House and be the sanctimonious one and say: I have the utmost sincerity in seeing that women are elected to the House, Mr. Speaker, when it was that hon. Member who ran and defeated a very good, credible candidate for his own party nomination in the federal election some time ago. I think that was also followed up in the subsequent federal election when he ran against another very credible lady for the Liberal Party, and certainly the same thing was repeated in the last by-election in the provincial election.

So here we have, Mr. Speaker, somebody who is standing up saying that this is what I am prepared to do, and at the same time the record is clear, when there was an opportunity to see good credible women candidates elected to the House of Assembly and the House of Commons he personally defeated them. So, Mr. Speaker, I thing that is worthy of peoples attention, and I think, in closing, that what we have seen here is somebody who is hoping to capitalize on some kind of a political straw, Mr. Speaker. But there is no doubt that the process will not be enhanced with this kind of extreme action. This government is taking meaningful action, and this party is instituting meaningful reform to see at the end of the day we will have more women candidates, and I am quite confident, Mr. Speaker, that come the next election after the next results are in and with the process that we have in place that we will have members of the House of Assembly on the government side certainly making up a significant part of our candidates, and indeed the members of this House -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time is up.

MR. DUMARESQUE: - and we hope with everybody's encouragement that will happen. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As usual the Member for Eagle River gets carried away with his partisan hyperbole. He exaggerates the facts and makes up others, and tries to get in a few partisan political digs about a matter of great importance. Arguing against the individual and not on the principle at all.

The Member for Eagle River has offered no solutions other than some suggestions that what is already being done in the Elections Act for general electoral reform are supposedly now ex post facto, after the fact. These are now reforms to advance the cause of women in politics. Mr. Speaker, that is news to the people who drew up the new Elections Act, I am sure. I am not sure we know exactly who they are yet. I know the Member for Kilbride has been trying to find out, but I do not think that any of them had to do with the election of women to the House of Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Members for participating in this debate because it is one of great importance and great interest, and it is one that I think all Members have made some contribution to in this debate, even the Members for that side. Because the contribution that I have heard from the Members on the Government side, Mr. Speaker, were ones that caused me very grave concern, and to be even more adamant about the need for reform to the representation system of the House of Assembly because, Mr. Speaker, what we have heard are accusations that proper representation by women in this House would be undemocratic. Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth.

Mr. Speaker, if I may quote from a study done for the Electoral Reform Commission of Canada which recently produced a report, it says: the voice of Government, as the Royal commission on the Status of Women observed twenty years ago, is still a man's voice. Women remain governed rather than the governors, legislated rather than legislators. Without representation, economic, political and social decisions are taken with little attention given to, or even awareness of, the special impact that the new policy initiatives have on women.

The report goes on to say: that the persistent under-representation of women in Canadian politics raises fundamental questions about both the legitimacy of our democratic institutions and the bias of electoral politics. Few doubt that this under-representation is directly related to women's subordinate status in society as a whole.

Mr. Speaker, that is the state of representation by women in political institutions in Canada today. No one can deny that. But what we have is a suggestion from hon. Members opposite, and (Inaudible) by the Government House Leader in particular, that to correct that situation would be undemocratic. It would be undemocratic to ensure that women who represent 50 per cent plus of the population are guaranteed to have 50 per cent of the seats in this House of Assembly. What is needed, and what is not recognized by Members opposite, is that there is a need for affirmative action. Affirmative action.

Now perhaps hon. Members do not know the meaning of the words.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Well, Mr. Speaker, in 1925 women were first given an opportunity to vote. By 1928 there was one woman sitting in this House of Assembly. Now, in 1992 there are two. That's progress. In sixty-seven years there has been progress. There are now two Members of the House of Assembly who are women. In order to achieve one-half - twenty-six out of fifty-two - do you know how long it will take, Mr. Speaker, at that rate of progress? Eight hundred and seventy-one years! That's the time it would take, with the rate of progress that we have had since 1925, to have equal representation of women in this House. Now hon. Members opposite seem to be prepared to wait.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MR. HARRIS: Now, Mr. Speaker, I am not prepared to wait. I do not think the hon. Member for Humber East is prepared to wait either. I think something has to be done to bring about this change. The mere removal of the legal barriers to running is not sufficient. With all due respect for the woman whom the Member for Eagle River was so happy to quote, the President of the Federation of Students, who by the way indicated she was speaking for herself, and not for her organization -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: She did so. With all due respect for her views, her views are not supported by those who have studied the issue and reached a conclusion after a formal study of all studies of representation of women, that formal equality, the removal of legal barriers to women's participation in political life, has not and will not lead to gender parity in political representation. More is required to compensate for women's historical disadvantage in liberal democratic policy.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it is not until, in fact, affirmative action programs are undertaken that the representation of women becomes closer to equality. The report of the Federal Electoral Reform Commission, the recent report, states, after outlining the representation by women in the houses of the legislatures internationally, that: in Norway, for example, the number of female legislators jumped from 15.5 per cent in 1975 to 34.4 per cent in 1985 after the Norwegian Labour Party adopted a rule in 1983 requiring that at least 40 per cent of each sex be represented in all nominations and all elections.

So the adoption of that particular affirmative action proposal by one party in the country of Norway resulted in a jump to 34 per cent in a matter of three years after adopting that policy. Now as it happened the Labour Party of Norway was a very popular party in electoral office and managed to get a substantial number of seats. Similarly, Mr. Speaker, the Province of Ontario, in the last provincial election, 1990, 27 per cent of the NDP Members elected were women, double the percentage of women in the House of Commons in Ottawa.

So political parties can do some things. By insisting as much as possible, by supporting women candidates, by trying to make their nomination contests less of a battle of the buses and Kentucky Fried Chicken, less a battle of free beer and more a battle of substance. Political parties can do that. They can do it by placing limits on financial expenditures for nominations and other kinds of things, by having affirmative action programs within their own party. There are many ways that political parties can do it. But are they?

The Leader of the Opposition was honest enough to admit - and I think all parties have to admit - that we have not done enough. No party has done enough to be able to guarantee that there are more women in this house.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MR. HARRIS: They have a lot of complacency, Mr. Speaker, about the representation of women in this House. They seem to get excited. When I get up and speak they get excited but they do not get excited about the issue of the representation of women. They are happy to attack me but they are not too happy to get up and support a resolution that is going to guarantee that women have equal representation in this House. They are not too happy to support that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: At least, Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition had enough courage to get up and say that his Party has not done enough. Now, it is easy for the Member for Eagle River to get up and try to attack me personally because I happened to run against a woman in the last election.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible), three times.

MR. HARRIS: Three times, okay, here we have three times. In the last election that I ran in, Mr. Speaker, the St. John's East by-election, I ran for election against a Liberal -

MR. WALSH: Unopposed Liberal, a woman that we wanted to have running, unopposed.

MR. HARRIS: And I ran against a Conservative. I put forth the policies that I believed in, and my Party believed in, and I was elected. The fact that the Liberal candidate was a woman is a part of the political process. The political views -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: That is why my solution is so good. I want the Member for Eagle River - at another time he will get the opportunity to do this - to explain what the problem is with having a man and a woman be certain to be elected. You would not have to have a contest between men and women for nominations, a contest between men and women for a particular seat. Because for a period, Mr. Speaker, because there would be equality, there would be guarantee of equality of representation in this House.

Now, the political process itself - and I know the Member for Gander, the hon. the President of Treasury Board - is aware of this as well. As long as you have single constituency seats you are going to have contests between men and women. You are going to have contests within parties for nominations. It is very difficult - and I think any Member who is prepared to be honest about this -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)!

MR. HARRIS: It is very difficult, Mr. Speaker, if Members are prepared to be honest, to have a proper program within a party that will guarantee that there will be an equal number of men and women candidates. The New Democratic Party is trying on the Federal level but it is very difficult. Because what you find is it is no problem in a seat that you do not have a chance of winning. Now, if the New Democratic Party was running in Port de Grave for example and felt that they did not have a chance of winning, I would say we would have no trouble in getting a woman to run. Because you would not necessarily have a big contest. Perhaps it might be easier to get a woman to run. What happens, Mr. Speaker - and members who think about this will know - is that it is very difficult; in seats where your party has a very good chance of winning, there is always a big contest for the nomination.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to take his place. It might be the appropriate time again to point out to hon. members, the appropriate way to interrupt a member - if there is any appropriate way - to ask a question, is for the hon. member to stand in his or her seat and ask the hon. member if the hon. member would permit a question. If the hon. member does not permit a question, then it is all over. The Chair doesn't mind the odd interjection, but it objects rather strenuously to people shouting out in unison and shouting out different questions.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, would the hon. the Member for St. John's East permit a question?

AN HON. MEMBER: There's democracy!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, there are only a couple of minutes left in my remarks and I would not want to be diverted from them by a potential question from the Member for Port de Grave.

The point I was making, Mr. Speaker, was that hon. members who are honest will be prepared to acknowledge that it is very, very difficult to achieve equality of representation if we have the continuation of single member constituencies. And this solution, as the hon. the Member for Humber East has suggested, is practical, is consistent with our political history of having multi-member constituencies. It is workable. It guarantees gender equality quickly. It is affirmative action. It is affirmative action, Mr. Speaker, there is no denying that. In fact, the Constitution of our country and the Charter of Rights recognizes that affirmative action is necessary in order to achieve and guarantee equality in this country - equality of men and women, equality of underrepresented minorities of society.

So, Mr. Speaker, a fundamental part of our own democracy is to have affirmative action where necessary to achieve equality. And, Mr. Speaker, as I pointed out, the rate of progress that we have had so far is abysmal. Affirmative action is necessary. There is, Mr. Speaker, a necessity and a greater good at stake here than the formal concerns that the Government House Leader has raised about forcing people to vote for one man and one woman. That is what is necessary to achieve equality.

If the government and the Government House Leader were serious about their concerns about democracy with respect to one man and one woman, a very simple amendment to the resolution, if the government were sincere - and this is where I take issue with them - if they were sincere about achieving a system of equality, they would have amended the resolution to maintain the dual member ridings as part of it. They would maintain that and then say, well, let the parties run a man and a woman just like before in St. John's East, in Harbour Main and in St. John's West and other districts that previously had multimember riding, that the parties by convention ran a Protestant and a Catholic or a Methodist or whoever the dominant religion might be. If that was what the hon. members opposite and the Government House Leader believed, then we should have heard an amendment from them to allow a system to develop that was, in their view, democratic but yet, at the same time, could achieve the results of equality.

Mr. Speaker, my time is nearly up, and I want to end with a quote from the British House of Parliament, that was made by the British Conservative MP, Teresa Gorman, on January 21, 1992. In ending her remarks on that occasion, what she said was that Parliament should mirror the whole population - their ambitions, their aspirations and their concerns - and women have half the population. We only have a foot in the door. We want a seat at the table.

We, as a society, proclaim the equality of men and women. We proclaim the partnership of men and women in the leadership of families who, together, work to support a family and create the next generation. Women should be full partners in the institutions of our government which make the laws and make the rules that govern us all.

This resolution is a simple, practical, and easy way for equality to be achieved. I ask hon. members to support this resolution and to guarantee the equality of women in this House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment to the main question? All those in favour, please say 'aye'.


MR. SPEAKER: Those against the amendment please say 'nay'.


MR. SPEAKER: I declare the amendment lost.

AN HON. MEMBER: Division.

MR. SPEAKER: Division. Call in the members.


MR. SPEAKER: The bar is across.

All those in favour of the amendment to the main question, please stand.

CLERK (Mr. Noel): The hon. the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Simms), Mr. Matthews, Mr. R. Aylward, Mr. Doyle, Mr. Woodford, Ms. Verge, Mr. Hearn, Mr. S. Winsor, Mr. A. Snow, Mr. Warren.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against the amendment to the main question, please rise.

CLERK (Mr. Noel): The hon. the President of the Council (Mr. Baker), the hon. the Minister of Development ( Mr. Furey), the hon. the Minister of Health (Mr. Decker), the hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture (Mr. Flight), the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs (Mr. Hogan), the hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations (Mr. Grimes), Mr. L. Snow, Mr. Barrett, Mr. K. Aylward, the hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation (Mr. Gover), the hon. the Minister of Finance (Dr. Kitchen), the hon. the Minister of Social Services (Mr. Gullage), Mr. Ramsay, Mr. Crane, Mr. Penney, Mr. Efford, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Dumaresque, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Short, Mr. Langdon, Mr. Oldford, Mr. Small, Mr. Harris.

Mr. Speaker, the 'ayes' have 10 and the 'nays' have 24.

MR. SPEAKER: I declare the amendment lost.

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


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


MR. SPEAKER: I declare the 'nays' have it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Division.

MR. SPEAKER: Division. Call in the members.


MR. SPEAKER: The bar of the House can't be up now. The bar can't be across now.

Is the House ready? Hon. members?

The bar is across.

All members in favour of the motion, please rise.

CLERK: Mr. Matthews, Mr. R. Aylward, Ms. Verge, Mr. Warren, Mr. Harris.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against the motion, please rise.

CLERK: The hon. the President of the Council, the hon. the Minister of Development, the hon. the Minister of Health, the hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, the hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr. L. Snow, Mr. Barrett, Mr. K. Aylward, the hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, the hon. the Minister of Finance, the hon. the Minister of Social Services, Mr. Ramsay, Mr. Crane, Mr. Penney, Mr. Dicks, Mr. Efford, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Dumaresque, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Short, Mr. Langdon, Mr. Oldford, Mr. Small, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Doyle, Mr. Woodford, Mr. Hearn, Mr. S. Winsor, Mr. A. Snow.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

CLERK: 'Ayes', five, 'nays', thirty.

MR. SPEAKER: I declare the motion lost.

This House stands adjourned until tomorrow, Thursday, at 2:00 p.m.