April 30, 1992                 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLI  No. 27

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, the 500th anniversary of the historic voyage by John Cabot to this Province is little more than five years away. This anniversary of world significance provides a major opportunity to highlight, build and promote Newfoundland's and Labrador's heritage and culture. Because of the significance and anticipated magnitude of this anniversary and the efforts required to maximize its potential, there will have to be a monumental, organizational and planning exercise to ensure optimum success and to provide the opportunity for the entire fabric of our society to fully participate. Only through such a wide participation can we garner the awareness and support to be truly successful. Over the past year we have researched and reviewed various organizational and planning structures of other major national and international events to determine the most appropriate mechanism to maximize the impact of the 500th anniversary of discovery by Cabot on this Province.

Mr. Speaker, it is therefore with great pleasure that I am today announcing the formation of the John Cabot (1997) 500th Anniversary Corporation. This corporation is to be responsible for the planning, organizing and overseeing of the celebrations in the Province during 1997 and to appropriately recognize the significance of the 500th anniversary of Cabot's voyage to our Province. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the corporation is to emphasize the opportunity for increased tourist development and the economic developments associated therewith, to encourage and promote our sense of pride and accomplishment in the Province's rich heritage and to nurture a renewed faith in our future in a rapidly changing world. The corporation will encourage the participation and involvement of as wide a spectrum of the general public as possible including, but not limited to such groups as culture and historical organizations, tourism and economic development associations, the arts community, our youth, our aboriginal people, our educational institutions, senior citizens, civic and sports organizations, service clubs, churches and religious institutions, labour groups, and municipalities, etc. The private business sector will also be encouraged to participate in the celebrations and to benefit from the many and varied opportunities 1997 will offer.

Notwithstanding the importance of this historic event to Newfoundland and Labrador this opportunity also offers the opportunity to be an event of national and international significance. As such, I have already held discussions with my counterpart and colleague, the Honourable John Crosbie, to have this event recognized nationally by our federal counterparts. Mr. Crosbie has been very cooperative and supportive of this initiative and I look forward to a fruitful and positive working arrangement in this regard as we proceed.

To facilitate the corporation's ability to garner private and public sector financial support, the John Cabot 1997 Corporation will be a "not-for-profit" organization and completely arms length from government direction.

The legal documents necessary to formalize the corporation are near completion and I am further pleased to announce that the Chairperson and Board of Directors for this new corporation have recently been approved by Cabinet. The Board make-up ensures broad representation of all regions of the Province.

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that Mr. John Murphy has agreed to chair this corporation and I am confident that with his drive and energy, he and his fellow board members will indeed ensure the appropriate planning, organizing and overseeing of the 1997 celebrations to maximize the benefit to this province. Mr. Murphy brings to the Chairmanship not only an outstanding public profile, but also a successful entrepreneurial philosophy. These attributes will serve him well in this most challenging endeavour. Over the next several weeks the identification of an office and administrative support will be finalized to provide for the ongoing operational requirements of the corporation.

Mr. Speaker, the 500th anniversary of John Cabot's historic voyage from Bristol, England, to Bonavista will provide each of us with a unique opportunity to re-affirm our identities as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and indeed as Canadians. It will be a chance to look to the future, honour the past and take up the challenges of the present for all of us. It will be an opportunity to start fresh and focus on areas of our lifestyle and environment that may have been neglected in the past.

I seek the support of all honourable colleagues in this House and from every corner of the social fabric of our society to seize and be part of this opportunity.

Mr. Speaker, the other board members that have agreed to serve are Mr. Peter Woodward of Labrador, Mr. Sid Blundon, the assistant deputy Minister of Tourism, Mr. Gordon Slade, the vice-president of ACOA in Newfoundland, Mrs. Regina McCarthy who is the past president of Hospitality Newfoundland, Mrs. Joan Whalen of Placentia, Mrs. Barbara Crosbie of St. John's, Mr. Bernard Bromley from St. Anthony, Mr. Peter Gullage from Bonavista, Mr. Aiden Maloney of St. John's, Mr. Roy Oldford of Grand Falls, and Mrs. Gudrid Hutchings of Corner Brook. There are three others, Mr. Speaker. We have not been able to contact them in the last few days, but we hope to be in a position to announce their names shortly.

We think this is a world class celebration, Mr. Speaker. It is a national celebration that happens to be occurring in Newfoundland and I would ask all Newfoundlanders to provide some energy and to look forward to this celebration with a positive view.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As the minister just said, the 500th anniversary of John Cabot's discovery of Newfoundland offers a tremendous opportunity of national and international significance, an opportunity to boost the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador in particular.

Unfortunately, the government has left until dangerously late the start of concerted planning for the anniversary activities. The government has delayed until less than five years from the anniversary year even this announcement of the establishment of a corporation. Now, because this is an opportunity of international as well as national significance, more than five years lead time should have been provided for. The City of St. John's has been urging the government to get on with the preparations for a couple of years now. The City of St. John's has wanted to establish planning activity but has been told by the provincial Department of Development, responsible for tourism, to wait. Wait for us, was the statement from the provincial government.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council last summer recommended to the provincial government that the government establish a corporation to guide the organizing to maximize opportunities flowing from the 500th anniversary. Yet the government has procrastinated and here we are at the end of April of 1992 before we hear even the announcement of the start of a corporation.

Now in the Budget the Minister of Finance announced that there is provision in the estimates for an anniversary corporation, yet a perusal of the estimates document does not reveal any heading for the anniversary corporation. Now I hope the minister will tell us later what budgetary provision there is under some general heading of the Department of Development to allow the anniversary corporation to get off the ground and do its work.

I would also call on the minister to table the objectives of the corporation, as well as the entire constitution of the corporation, so that we may have a chance to examine it. Since the 500th Anniversary of Cabot's discovery of Newfoundland and Labrador is such a magnificent opportunity, an opportunity for the economy of the Province generally, in particular for the tourism, the culture and historic resources sectors, Mr. Speaker, I trust that the minister responsible will provide for maximizing opportunities for those sectors in the formal objectives of the corporation.

In particular, Mr. Speaker, I would like the minister, in his later comments about this, to deal with the specific recommendations of the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council for a corporation to have as part of its mandate, dedicating whatever funds are raised from the federal government, private sources, provincial and municipal sources for a major arts event during the 500th Anniversary year.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the members of the Official Opposition, I would like to offer our best wishes and pledges of co-operation to Mr. John Murphy and the members of the Board of Directors appointed by the provincial government. We regret that the government waited until so late to make these appointments, but we assure the members of the board that we will do our utmost to support them in their efforts to make sure that the 500th Anniversary -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MS. VERGE: - provides a maximum benefit to the people of the Province. Mr. Speaker, we look forward to forming the government before 1997.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, a critical situation has developed on the South and Southwest Coasts of the Province for those engaged in the fixed-gear groundfish fishery.

The virtual collapse of the fixed-gear cod fishery in the area known as 3Pn resulted in a disastrous winter fishery this year for hundreds of fishermen from Burgeo to Port aux Basques. Furthermore, for hundreds more in communities from Belleoram to Ramea, in the area known as 3Ps, there has also been a dramatic reduction in landings from last year's catches for the January to April period.

The current crisis, Mr. Speaker, is particularly serious, but it is not confined entirely to the low landings experienced to date this year. Rather, it is the continuing decline in catches over the past several years that has culminated in the acute situation in which fishermen now find themselves.

Mr. Speaker, longliner fishermen on the South and Southwest Coasts have always been independent and self-supporting. In fact, they have always operated for a longer fishing season than anywhere in the Province, with the winter fishery in the region usually beginning in November and continuing through April.

These fishermen are now in a situation, however, where not only have low landings dramatically reduced their incomes, but they have been judged ineligible for federal government assistance programs. They are voicing a growing sense of frustration, because, while many fishermen throughout the rest of Atlantic Canada received the benefits of the federal Special Ice Compensation program and the Atlantic Inshore Gear-up program, they did not qualify for such assistance, even though the latter program was designed specifically to address catch failure.

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, through its Fisheries Loan Board, implemented an assistance program to support fishermen who are encountering difficulties in making payments on loans for their vessels because of reduced landings. This initiative provides for interest forgiveness and deferment of principal payment in areas of catch failure such as that experienced on the South and Southwest Coasts.

Mr. Speaker, it is incumbent on the federal government to offer parallel assistance to fishermen in this region. I have today written the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans asking that this be done, and to begin by defining the area as eligible for the inshore gear-up program under the Atlantic Catch Failure Program.

I have also asked him to give special consideration to the South and Southwest Coasts for a new income support program, because the Unemployment Insurance program is inadequate to address the needs of fishermen in the region. The resource situation in their fishing areas has reached a point where unemployment insurance will not provide them with the income support that is necessary. In fact, despite their best efforts, many of the fishermen who began fishing in November have to date been able to gain only three to four weeks of insurable earnings.

It is my sincere hope, Mr. Speaker, and that of my colleague from LaPoile, that the federal minister will give this matter his immediate consideration and respond favourably to the requests made.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CARTER: I want, as well, Mr. Speaker, to table a copy of my letter to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, dated April 28.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I first want to thank the minister for providing us with a copy of the statement a couple of minutes before coming to the House. It would be interesting to see the date on the minister's letter, because, surely to God, it must be dated six months ago, Mr. Speaker, not dated yesterday.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: I am sure it is not dated yesterday, it must be six months ago.

Yesterday or the day before, in response to the minister on the fish poll, I said the Premier was over in Europe playing catch-up football. But where has the Minister of Fisheries been, that he stands here today and recognizes that a critical situation has developed on the South and Southwest Coasts of the Province for those engaged in the fixed gear groundfish fishery. Mr. Speaker, it is unbelievable!

Mr. Speaker, is it any wonder that the fishery is in the mess that it is? Is it any wonder that there is such frustration out and about this Province amongst those who are trying to make a living out of the fishing industry, I say to the minister? I mean, this should have been recognized months ago. The minister, himself, and his department should have been putting together a program to help those poor souls to keep body and soul together. But what does the minister do, the minister who should be referred to as the `Minister responsible for Letter Writing', Mr. Speaker? All he has done this past three years is write letters. Poor old John Crosbie must be swamped with letters from the minister. Never a suggestion of what the minister or the government are going to do themselves, Mr. Speaker. What contribution is the provincial government going to make to the program he is calling upon Mr. Crosbie for? If he at least indicated to the federal government that they are willing to make a financial contribution to help those people then maybe the thing would happen a lot faster.

I want to go on record, Mr. Speaker, as saying that I sincerely hope the federal minister takes the provincial minister seriously, as hard as that is going to be this late in the game. But I hope he takes his request seriously and I hope he comes up with some money to help those people who need it so badly. We all know, Mr. Speaker, that those people need assistance, and I can only go on record in this Legislature and call upon Mr. Crosbie to, please, try to find some dollars to put a program in place to address this, because it is very obvious, Mr. Speaker, that this Minister of Fisheries and this government are not going to do anything to help those people.

So, Mr. Speaker, I have to chastise the minister for being so late. I have to chastise him for not having any suggestion whatsoever that the Province is going to contribute.

This reference to the loan board, I want to say to the minister, there are some very, very serious problems with the process in the loan board. Things are not going as well there as the minister would want us to believe. There are some serious problems with the processing of loans and so on and the interest payments. People are experiencing some serious problems.

Mr. Speaker, I don't know what else I can say except that I wish the minister had done this months ago.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I want to rise on a point of order today because something has come to my attention over the last day or so, and it deals basically with the Estimates Committees that have been struck now and scheduling has started. It deals - and I ask Your Honour for your consideration. The estimates committees will be starting soon. We have an nonelected Minister of Justice. The estimates committees are an extension of this Legislature. The Minister of Justice cannot sit in this House to answer questions about the Department of Justice. So it raises the question, Mr. Speaker, and that is why I rise today, to ask the question: what is going to happen to the estimates of the Department of Justice? Will they be dealt with on the floor of the Legislature as are the estimates of the Premier's office and Treasury Board?

Of course, we reflect back a number of years. There were no estimates committees. They were all dealt with in Committee of the Whole here at the House, the Legislature. So I want to raise the question, Mr. Speaker, and ask for Your Honour's consideration. Because it seems to me that the estimates committees being an extension of this Legislature, that the Minister of Justice cannot sit in this House and answer questions, then how can he appear before the estimates committee as the Minister of Justice to answer questions about the estimates of the Department of Justice?

So I -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I consider this to be an important question that I am putting in front of Your Honour.

MR. TOBIN: Your reaction shows you're embarrassed by it!

MR. MATTHEWS: I do not appreciate, by the way, Mr. Speaker, the interruptions. Because I consider it to be very serious. Otherwise I would not have risen in my place today to put this question to Your Honour. So that is the question that I want to propose. It is a serious question. There would seem to be a contradiction in the matter if the nonelected Minister of Justice is allowed to comment before. I know that the Government House Leader is listening, and maybe (Inaudible) resolving all of this, that maybe that will be the end result. That the estimates of the Department of Justice will be dealt with on the floor of the Legislature like -

MR. SIMMS: Or at least an elected acting minister.

MR. MATTHEWS: Well, whatever. But I put that to Your Honour for your consideration because we consider it serious. We think it is something that needs clarification.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I expected this but I regret that the member opposite is using such a serious situation to play silly little political games. The estimates committee -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, if members opposite would listen they would learn something.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

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

The hon. the member who previously spoke asked for order near the end of his remarks. The Chair did not stand to rise. But I think the member did get the order that he was required to get and the House was required to give him. So I ask hon. members to please extend the same courtesy to the present speaker.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The estimates committee provides an opportunity for members of the House of Assembly on the one hand to question on the other hand the ministers. Not question other members of the House of Assembly. To question ministers. Okay? And the officials who come to those meetings and provide the minister with information and so on. So it is a time for members of the House of Assembly to question the cabinet ministers and in the presence of their officials.

This is not a regular proceeding of the House of Assembly in the sense that the only people permitted in here to speak are the officers of the House plus the members of the House of Assembly. This is an occasion when the members of the House of Assembly have an opportunity to question the cabinet and the cabinet ministers' officials.

Now, Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that Mr. Roberts is a cabinet minister. He is not a member of the House of Assembly. As such he will not be - if he were a member of the House of Assembly I suppose he could question - but he will not be questioning. He will not be fulfilling a role, or the part of his role, that comes from him being a member of the House of Assembly. He will be fulfilling his role as a cabinet minister in this Province which he is according to law. So there is no problem here.

The Minister of Justice will answer with his officials for what is happening in the Department of Justice of which he is the minister, legally. So there is no problem here. It is simply the Opposition playing their silly little political games again, but I don't mind that.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to add to the submission made by my colleague, the Opposition House Leader. I am a member of the social budget estimates committee. I serve as Vice-Chair of that committee. The committee is chaired now by the Member for Pleasantville. Yesterday the Chair approached me about scheduling, and mentioned that the Minister of Justice - the nonelected Minister, Mr. Roberts - will be out of the Province for most of the next month and the Member for Pleasantville told me that there were only a few times when the minister was available, thereby indicating to me that the intention of the government is to have the only representative answering for the estimates of the Department of Justice at the sessions of the House Committee dealing with Justice estimates, the nonelected minister.

Now budget estimates committees are committees of this House. They are extensions of this Legislature, as the Opposition House Leader has correctly said, and if a nonelected minister - of course a nonelected minister is a departure from democratic practice - but if a nonelected minister cannot sit in this Chamber and answer our questions, then how can an nonelected minister sit in a meeting of a House Committee and answer questions.

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

I just want to advise hon. members that the Chair is not going to allow this to develop into a full-scale debate.

Hon. members are on a point of order, and when the Chair is ready to make the ruling the Chair will make the ruling. The Chair has the authority to make that decision. When it figures that it has heard enough points on the point of order, the Chair will make the ruling.

I would ask hon. members too, please - it is a discourtesy to the Speaker when the Speaker is speaking to be shouting out, questioning the Speaker's decision when the Speaker is partially through his decision. This may have happened, but I say to hon. members that it is a total discourtesy to the Chair, and the hon. members I know do not want to do that. It might be something that has happened.

I would ask hon. members, in submitting their points of order, to make new points of order and not to keep repeating what has been repeated by a previous member. So if hon. members have new points to make to the point of order, then the Chair will hear them, but the Chair is not going to listen to people repeating the same arguments, and I am not suggesting that the hon. member did that. The Chair is just directing hon. members in their points of order not to repeat other arguments made by other members.

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I will now move on to a new point in my submission, which is that I have no problem with Mr. Roberts, the nonelected Minister of Justice, participating in the scrutiny by this House of the estimates of the Department of Justice. But I submit, Your Honour, that Mr. Roberts is a nonelected official the same as the Deputy Minister of Justice and the Deputy Attorney General; the same as the assistant deputy ministers. If the Justice estimates are to be dealt with in Committee of the Whole House, then it would be quite in order for Mr. Roberts, as well as the Deputy Minister, Ms. Spracklin, and the assistants, to sit in the gallery and pass notes to the elected acting Minister of Justice.

If the Justice estimates are to be dealt with in the committee dealing with Social Budget Estimates, chaired by the Member for Pleasantville, then it would be quite in order for the nonelected Minister of Justice, Mr. Roberts, to be present, flanking the elected acting Minister of Justice along with the deputy and the other members of the department executive. But the point of the submission of the Government House Leader, which I am endorsing, is that it would be quite improper and unparliamentary to have a nonelected minister, a nonelected official, answering for the government estimates of a department. There has to be an elected minister or an elected acting minister heading the government delegation and answering for the government.

We have no problem with a nonelected official such as the nonelected minister, Mr. Roberts, accompanying an elected member of the Cabinet and offering advice to the elected member of the Cabinet, but we consider it to be quite wrong and quite unparliamentary for a nonelected official to be the sole spokesperson for the political arm of the government.

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I thank the Member for Humber East for simply proving my point, that this is a silly political exercise. It was obvious to everybody who was listening to her that it is a silly game.

Mr. Speaker, she mentioned that - and I don't need to reiterate the point that the Estimates Committee is an opportunity for elected members of the House to question Cabinet ministers. Mr. Roberts is a Cabinet minister, so there is no problem there.

The only other point that she mentioned, Mr. Speaker, had to do with the availability of Mr. Roberts and the fact that in private discussions with the Chairman, which she now makes public of course - typical - that she had the impression that somehow Mr. Roberts was unavailable and that maybe there would be stand-ins, and that was not proper and so on, and that Mr. Roberts had some difficulty of availability. I would like to point out to this House that there are four separate occasions already where we have indicated Mr. Roberts is available and we can make more occasions. One of the problems is the Member for Humber East does not want to attend meetings on Fridays and Mondays, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Ah ha! Long weekend Lynn.

MR. BAKER: She does not want to attend meetings on Fridays and Mondays, and I would suggest that if she has any difficulty that she appoint someone else to sit in her place on those occasions.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: Long weekend Lynn.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to have a few words to say on it. Now members opposite may not like to hear this matter being raised, and I can understand why, because they are very sensitive about the whole issue. They will do all the yelling and shouting they want to try to stifle the points being made by this side of the House, but the fact of the matter remains, Mr. Speaker, this issue is a very important and a very significant issue. This issue has not been raised before in this Legislature. It is a new matter for us as a House to deal with. It is precedent setting, and therefore it is a matter that requires some serious consideration. You can't just get up and toss it aside as a silly political game, which the Government House Leader does with every issue that is raised by this side of the House. They can't just shout down the Member for Humber East every time she stands to speak because they don't like hearing her speak. They can't take the criticism. That is invalid, Mr. Speaker.

The fact of the matter is that the issue is a fairly straightforward one. It has never occurred before in this Legislature since we have referred the estimates out to committees. That has not occurred before. We happen to believe on this side that there is room for some argument and some investigation, and we raise it today in advance. It does not have to be ruled on today, but it should be investigated. It should be checked with other sources: Ottawa, the House of Commons. We checked with our own parliamentary legislative council people, but I don't know how far they have gone. I don't know if they checked it out with Ottawa or asked for advice. We have, but we have not got a call back yet. And the House of Commons in Britain. It is a serious important issue.

Now there is no point in arguing it and making a political game out of it as the Government House Leader says we are trying to do. We are not. We are trying to raise a valid issue. He would just hope that we would simply let it go by, forget about it, not even raise it. But, Mr. Speaker, we will not do that. As a responsible Opposition we need to know what the rules are going to be and if it is right or wrong. In our opinion, Mr. Speaker, there is a lot of room for doubt.

With respect to the other point that the Government House Leader alluded to at the end of his last argument, making some reference to some comment the Member for Humber East made about scheduling, I mean that is not the issue. He can use that if he wants because he can't defend the other issue very strongly, so he decided to take an attack on this other issue of scheduling. That is a matter that will be worked out between the Chair of the committee and the Vice-chair of the committee as there always has been. But I will remind him that there has always been an understanding that there would not be meetings on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons. There has always been an agreement on that -- always. So it is nothing new that the Member for Humber East raised, and the Government House Leader is very weak in that particular respect.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I wish to raise a new point on this point of order that has not been raised yet. It has been indirectly raised in the issue of scheduling. It is one of the consequences, of course, of not having an elected minister and not therefore being able to have the estimates discussed in the Committee of the Whole. Having a small select committee means that there are oftentimes scheduling problems. I noticed, for example, that if the problems of the Minister of Justice's schedule are - as related by the Member for Humber East - causing this problem, we see the Justice Committee estimates scheduled for May 11 Monday morning in the House, and that is the day, Mr. Speaker, that the women's lobby annual meeting is scheduled this year in Gander. I know the Member for Humber East, who is also the Justice critic, will be attending that particular event and perhaps other members, including myself, will be attending that event, as is the tradition, to meet with the women's lobby and advise them of positions on various matters. So one of the consequences of using the out-of-the-House Estimates Committee is you only have a very small number of people, instead of the whole House, to be involved in this. I think that is a problem that Your Honour ought to consider, as well, when seeing whether or not it is, in fact, proper to have this particular situation in effect when you have an nonelected Minister of Justice, as we have right now.

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

MR. BAKER: To that new point, Your Honour. It is not really a new point. If he had been listening, the point had already been raised. However, I have indicated to this House that there is no schedule drawn up yet. The committees have not even been appointed yet, that is to come a little later on today. Mr. Speaker, I have indicated to the House that arrangements will be made to have all appropriate ministers attend to the Estimates Committees and provided that there is some degree of co-operation with members opposite - obviously, at this point in time, there is not going to be any co-operation. That is fine, we can deal with that too. But, Mr. Speaker, there are other dates; there are May 8 and May 15 right now, and there may be other dates that we can arrange, as well.

So, Mr. Speaker, as the next few days go on, we will have a schedule in place and we will have lots of opportunities to examine the Justice Estimates, so this is not a problem of scheduling at all. All kinds of allowances can be made. As to members in the Official Opposition saying that is not really the issue, I agree with them, that is not really the issue; however, Mr. Speaker, scheduling is not a problem.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I don't know if hon. members are asking to make presentations. The Chair is standing and about to make a pronouncement when hon. members realize that I am standing.

The points have been made and, as I understand it, the point of order raised by the Opposition House Leader as to whether or not Mr. Roberts, in his capacity as minister, or to use the qualifying word, nonelected minister, be allowed to sit on the Estimates Committees, that is the question.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: Not sit on them - not sit and answer questions?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, to attend the Estimates Committees, in his position, to answer questions put forward. The Chair is going to take that under advisement and I will report back as quickly as I can.

I want to make a further statement, though, to say I believe, because it is new, that it is more appropriately dealt with, through a report from the committee. Hon. members know that the House tries not to make too many rules with respect to the committees and any problems that the committees have, there is a correct procedure for them. They make a report to the House, and if they were now making a report to the House under this circumstance, then the Chair would have to deal with it. But we don't have this situation now. It is a matter of putting the cart before the horse, it seems to me, but anyway, the Chair will take it under advisement and report back as quickly as possible.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Together with my hon. friend from Lewisporte, I would like to beg the indulgence of the House just for one moment to extend congratulations on the occasion of a 100th birthday, to a lady who lives in Lewisporte, Mrs. Dulcie May Garland, who, in fact, is my wife's great-aunt, so I have a personal interest. She will be 100 years old on Sunday coming and, of course, family and friends are coming from all over the globe to share in this. She is a tremendous lady, who spent, I am told, some ten years travelling as a nurse with Sir Wilfred Grenfell, so that is quite an honour, I think, to be able to look back upon.

Her memory, I will say without any hesitation, is greater than my own, and on the first occasion that I met her, on Christmas Eve, two years ago, she proceeded to tell me a great deal about my ancestry and the history of the Windsor family on Exploits Island, where she spent most of her life. She has told me some tremendous tales of that beautiful part of our Province. In fact, she told me on that occasion that the Sceviour home, the home in which she spent a great deal of her life, my wife's grandfather's home, was actually built by a Thomas Windsor, which I found to be quite interesting. She is now residing at North Haven Manor in Lewisporte, and I would like to thank the House and welcome this opportunity to extend to her, together with my friend from Lewisporte, a very happy birthday and congratulations on this very important occasion.

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

MR. PENNEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is, indeed, a great pleasure to join with my hon. friend from Mount Pearl in congratulating Mrs Dulcie Garland on reaching such a tremendous milestone. I have known Mrs. Garland for many years. I can't go back to the time when she lived on Exploits Island, of course, but for many years she has been a close personal friend, and previously, in my life as a pharmacist, she was also one of my customers. I must admit though, Mr. Speaker, her health was such that I never ever had the occasion to sell her any kind of medication, and I believe her health has held her in good stead up to this present day. It is a remarkable feat. Mrs. Garland is, indeed, an absolutely remarkable lady. She has left her mark on Newfoundland, as my friend for Mount Pearl has stated, and she continues to leave her mark on everybody who has the good pleasure to meet her. I will be attending the party that will be held in her honour at the North Haven Manor on Sunday and it will my great pleasure to join with my friend from Mount Pearl in extending congratulations and best wishes on behalf of all members of the House of Assembly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I want to address some questions to my friend, the Member for Windsor - Buchans, the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, who, I understand, had a great tribute paid to him in recent days out in the Central Newfoundland area. If I remember correctly, somebody told me he was hung in effigy, so he joins a long list of hangings in the past, including your's truly, Mr. Speaker, and there will be others, I am sure, who will follow in years to come.

On a serious matter, Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the minister this: A few weeks ago, at a forestry conference in Grand Falls - Windsor sponsored by, I believe, the labour movement out there, while he was a guest speaker at that conference, I understand that the minister admitted, as I believe he has publicly on other occasions, that the Province is only planting a fraction of the trees that will be needed to meet our future forestry requirements. I am told he said that at the conference and I believe he also said that our future in forestry depends on a very vibrant forest resource. I also think he has made comments publicly in the past expressing concerns about a shortage in the resource occurring sometime within the next couple of decades. I want to ask the minister, Does he still stand by those comments? And presuming that he does, can I ask him when is he is going to stop, as the minister, passing the buck to the paper companies and others, putting the blame on them, and when is he going to recognize and fulfil government's obligation and responsibility to ensure that we have a forest resource to sustain future generations?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure whether or not I was burned in effigy but I can assure you of one thing, Sir, if I was burned in effigy in Grand Falls last week it was to answer for the sins of my predecessor, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, a former Forestry Minister.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FLIGHT: Now, Mr. Speaker, with regard to the comments I might have made at Grand Falls, I doubt very much - maybe there are tapes - but I doubt very much if I said that the planting program was going to be less than it was last year. We don't control, as the minister knows, the kind of silviculture program the companies have. We contribute to it but they decide the level of their silviculture program and the number of seedlings they are going to plant.

So, Mr. Speaker, there won't be any difference in the number of seedlings planted this year, the amount of money spent by the Province in silviculture.

The question, Mr. Speaker, was: Do I remember in Grand -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FLIGHT: Well, okay, I'll concede. I'll defer and let the member ask the question again.

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

MR. SIMMS: I asked him, Mr. Speaker: Did he admit at the conference that the Province is only planting a fraction of the trees that will be required to sustain our forestry resource for the future, and did he also say that it is very important and very well known that the future in forestry depends on a vibrant forest resource? That was the question.

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

MR. FLIGHT: In answer to the question, Mr. Speaker: No, I didn't say that we would be only planting a fraction of what we need. But it is a fact of life, Mr. Speaker, that we have been harvesting trees in Newfoundland for 100 years and we have been planting and practising silviculture for twelve years. So, Mr. Speaker, there is lots of room for silviculture in Newfoundland. We can't hope, Mr. Speaker, with the kind of budget we have, to plant all the seedlings we could plant. We have been cutting for 100 years and we have been planting for ten or twelve years.

So, Mr. Speaker, it is no problem to go out into the forests of Newfoundland and find areas where, if the government had the funds, they could plant. We have a limited budget, Mr. Speaker, and the Department of Forestry is using every cent this year, as we did the year before and the year before that and the year before that, every cent in planting and doing silviculture around this Province. So, Mr. Speaker, we need to do five times as much but we need five times as much money.

Mr. Speaker, I did, indeed, say that the future of forestry in Newfoundland depends on a vigorous silviculture program in this Province.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would love to stay on that particular topic, because I am not sure if he understood the question yet. But I think he admitted at the end that, yes, we are not planting as much as we should be planting. That is what I asked him at the beginning: Is that what he said, that we are not planting as much as we should be planting? Because, given that fact and now admitting, as well, that the forest resource is the future and in order to make it vibrant we have to plant more trees, essentially, I have some other questions that I want to ask him.

Last week, I understand, publicly or in an interview with the news media or somebody out there, Mr. Speaker, the minister dropped a bombshell when he said that the government was considering privatizing the Wooddale Tree Nursery operations. Now, I want to ask him, Mr. Speaker, if that kind of an idea simply wouldn't put the responsibility for ensuring that there is a strong future supply of resource in the hands of somebody who is simply only interested in making a profit, as opposed to somebody who would have other obligations, i.e. the government? Secondly, doesn't he think it would be fairer, probably, for him to stop inflaming the situation that exists out there by dropping these kinds of hints and rumors and be more straightforward with the workers and the people of the Province by telling them exactly what the government's plans are, not hinting at what they might or might not do, taking into account they have been considering it for the last three years?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, I never said anywhere that government was considering, for the past three years, privatizing Wooddale. What I did say is that the government, in trying to get a handle on the mess that was left to us by the previous administration, in looking at the financial situation of the various Crown corporations and what was or was not being accomplished, was that it was suggested that Newfoundland Farm Products be privatized. It was suggested that other Crown corporations be privatized. Wooddale is not a Crown corporation. But it was suggested, and I saw the recommendation, Mr. Speaker, it was passed for consideration, that we privatize Wooddale.

I might tell the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Speaker, that he might well know that all seedling production in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick is done by the private sector, and they have just as big planting programs as Newfoundland has. So, Mr. Speaker, it is possible - I don't intend and I have not considered privatizing Wooddale but, Mr. Speaker, there are some people in Newfoundland who suggest that maybe Wooddale might very well be considered for privatization.

MR. SIMMS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I wish the minister would be more straightforward. Is he considering it, is he going to consider it, or is it not an issue with him? That is the question. I would like him to address that.

Now, he mentioned as well in passing that Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are owned by private operators. But he should be aware, as I am sure he is, that they have been planting a lot longer than we have. We only started back in the early 'seventies, I guess it was, mid-seventies, when a Progressive Conservative government with some foresight came into office in this Province. So you cannot compare us with other jurisdictions.

I want to ask him specifically this question. What plans does the minister have to deal with the plight of those people who are affected - I think it is somewhere, total of fifty, who will get some weeks work, up to six, and others who will not get any. I want to ask him, what is he going to do to get enough work weeks for those fifty or so people who will be affected, won't get any work, so that some of them will have a chance to put some bread and butter on the table?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, Wooddale started around 1979. The employment figures were staggering. It started at about 120 and in 1987 peaked at 175 people working in Wooddale. There was some question in the department whether ever that number was required. The hon. member of the Opposition knows better than anyone else why in 1987 there was 175 people working in Wooddale when no more than probably two-thirds of that number would have been necessary.

Now, in 1980 the government decided -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. FLIGHT: Now, Mr. Speaker, in 1980 the previous government made a decision that Wooddale was going to go to container stock production and bought thirty greenhouses. Knowing that they were going to go into container stock production and knowing that container stock production is not nearly as labour intensive as bare root production. Yet they let the greenhouses sit on the ground from 1980 to 1985 before going to - to maintain the employment levels. When the companies wanted container stock.

Now as a result, last fall to make sure that all the employees in Wooddale qualified for UI I authorised and permitted work that would normally have been done this year, this spring, now, I authorised that it be done last fall. So that in excess of between twenty and twenty-five people would qualify for UI. Well now we pay the price. The spring is here. There is roughly thirty people, as the hon. member knows, who will not be recalled. We are going to do for those thirty people what we - we have the same concerns for the people who have lost their jobs.

Two hundred and fifty people lost their jobs when number six closed down in Grand Falls. The government has concern for providing employment for those people. I have a concern for providing alternative employment for thirty -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member please to -

MR. FLIGHT: - people in Wooddale. And we will do what we have done, Mr. Speaker, and what we are trying to do for everyone else who has lost their jobs. Look at trying to put together alternative employment programs through employment generation (Inaudible) -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Final supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Final supplementary. I'll make this one short and hope the answer might be just as short, Mr. Speaker. Since the minister has alluded to having to look for make-work projects and things like that, can I ask him to confirm then, is it true that he told workers at a meeting last week, publicly, that indeed: we are going to have to try to find some make-work projects for you and for others during this summer because it is an election year? Did he say that?

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

MR. FLIGHT: No, Mr. Speaker, but maybe the reason the employment went to 175 in Wooddale in 1987 is there was a by-election in Windsor - Buchans at just about the time when it would have been nice to have that number of people working there. But no, I did not say we were looking to provide employment for people laid off all over this Province because it is an election year. I told them as I have told them since 1989 that this government is concerned about providing employment for people who lose their jobs through no reason of their own. We are doing that. We will probably find alternative employment for the people of Wooddale. We will use every effort to do that, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture. The minister who just criticized the Leader of the Opposition for creating jobs and is proud as punch that he is putting the people out on the street again, Mr. Speaker.

In his answer to the Leader of the Opposition he did mention the close-down of paper machine number six in Grand Falls a couple of years ago. At the time of the close-down, Mr. Speaker, there was what was referred to in this House of Assembly as a high powered team put together to go out and see what the effects of the closing of the machine would be in central Newfoundland.

Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to ask the minister was there a report prepared by that team? I believe you were the Chairperson of it, and the Minister of Development and others were on it. Was there a report prepared, Mr. Speaker, and will the minister release that report to this House of Assembly and to the public? If he will not release it, Mr. Speaker, why would he not release it?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Yes, Mr. Speaker, there was a report completed and submitted to Cabinet. Mr. Speaker, I will take it under advisement. I am not aware of any reason why that report can't be released.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. He told the Mayor of Bishop Falls last week that he was not going to release it, so I am glad that he did change his mind, and I would appreciate a copy of that report to see what the committee did.

Mr. Speaker, another time in this House of Assembly, one time last year I believe it was, the minister made an announcement that there would be an experiment take place in providing Labrador wood to the Stephenville mill to see what the expenses of that would be, and that there would be a report prepared on that.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I know that the wood has been delivered and the report probably prepared. Will the minister release to this House of Assembly that report and maybe give us a quick run down on whether it was a successful experiment or if it was a failure?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, I think it was a successful experiment. There was, I think, 5,000 cords of wood delivered to Stephenville so it was successful in that sense. Again I see no reason, Mr. Speaker, not to submit or provide to the members of the House of Assembly the results. The purpose of the experiment was to determine whether wood could be brought from Labrador, whether it was economically feasible to bring wood from Labrador, and the government contributed to part or most all of the cost of transportation. Mr. Speaker, there is no reason why the status of that particular experiment can't be delivered to the members of the House of Assembly. I will see that it is done.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. This is my final supplementary.

Mr. Speaker, my understanding of the experiment is that, yes, it did get 5,000 cords of wood to Stephenville, but it was not very successful in that it was totally impractical to bring the wood from Labrador to Stephenville because of the cost and the price of newsprint at the time. So in that sense it was a failure, Mr. Speaker.

The minister at the time when he was -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary and should ask the question. I have reminded the hon. member of that before, so the hon. member should get to the question.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, the question is: the minister will remember that when he started this experiment he said that if there is a shortage of wood on the island some time in the future this experiment will show us if we can bring wood from Labrador to Newfoundland to substitute for that shortage for a short time.

Mr. Speaker, with him laying off people at the tree nursery now, and I believe it has been proven that Labrador wood cannot be delivered to the island practically, will the minister tell us does he not consider it to be very short sighted that he closed down our tree seedling nursery and our silviculture programs, and would it not relate to what has happened because of the poor planning in our fishery that we have no fisheries now, Mr. Speaker, and the silviculture program, by closing that down or reducing it we will have no trees for the future too?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, we are not closing down the Woodale Tree Nursery. We are running the nursery on an economic cost efficient basis. We will produce as many seedlings this year, Mr. Speaker, as we produced last year. We will probably be producing five years from now as many seedlings. Because of the technology, because of the number of people needed to produce the same number of seedlings, Mr. Speaker, we can produce 10 million seedlings in Wooddale with seventy-nine employees. We could probably do it, if we wanted, Mr. Speaker, with less.

So, it is hogwash, Mr. Speaker, and hypocrisy for the hon. member to indicate that because we are not recalling thirty employees - there will still be seventy-nine employees at Wooddale. All that is needed to grow and produce the seedlings required for the silviculture programs that we have had in the past and we envision in the near future, will be the employees that are there. And no, Mr. Speaker, we are not closing Wooddale. We intend to support Wooddale and continue the level of seedling production that we have had in the past and, hopefully, Mr. Speaker, increase it.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I was at the speech that the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture gave in Grand Falls the other week, and he gave a speech which he hadn't read before. So I want to phrase my question in a very particular way, because I want to know whether the minister, in fact, knows the answer to it. Now that he has admitted that we are under-planting the replacement for our forests, can he answer now the question which I asked several weeks ago? He has had lots of time to think about it. Does he know whether any studies have been done by his department as to what percentage or how much valuable sawlogs from Crown Lands and from paper company-owned lands are not being turned into lumber but are, in fact, going into the paper mills for fiber or are being turned into wood chips for fuel burning? Does he know what studies his department has done and what the extent of that problem is?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, I can confirm that the hon. member was at the meeting. I can also confirm, Mr. Speaker, that he wasn't very visible at the meeting either, skulking around, Mr. Speaker, trying to play politics with the union types who were at the meeting. Mr. Speaker, he had the nerve to announce that it was just by coincidence that he arrived in Grand Falls at the same time as a meeting sponsored by the Newfoundland Federation of Labour was going on. The Member for St. John's East just arrived at that meeting by coincidence. What a coincidence, Mr. Speaker!

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that we know that the sawlogs or lumber produced from sawlogs - it doesn't matter where they are cut, whether they are cut on Crown land or on company land - have got more dollar value than sawlogs turned into pulp. We know that and, Mr. Speaker, we are making efforts now to make sure that as few sawlogs as possible are converted into pulp in Newfoundland. You don't need sawlogs to produce pulp, Mr. Speaker, and sawlogs are more valuable to the economy of Newfoundland, provide more dollar value, than pulp.

So, Mr. Speaker, we know that and it doesn't matter where the logs come from, from company limits or Crown limits, there is more economic value in lumber produced from sawlogs than in pulp produced from sawlogs.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, on a supplementary.

I guess I have to ask the question again: Does the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture know how many sawlogs from Crown lands or from company-owned limits are, in fact, being wasted and are not going into lumber production? Does the minister know what the extent of the problem is? Has his department done any studies to determine how much valuable lumber, valuable work, value-added employment and boost to the economy, is being lost by this failure to adequately use our timber resources?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, up to this day we know, because up to this day every sawlog produced on company lands by company employees was turned into pulp. No sawlogs off company limits were turned into lumber.

Now, Mr. Speaker -


MR. FLIGHT: Off company limits. I obviously did not ask my staff to count the number of logs.

There is major, major, wood production off company limits to feed those two mills - or the three mills - and every sawlog cut on company limits to this day has been by and large turned into pulpwood. As the hon. Minister of Development pointed out while the question was being asked, it has not been possible for my staff to count every log that has gone into the mill yards in Corner Brook, Grand Falls and Stephenville up to this point in time.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am afraid the minister betrays his ignorance. I know there is certainly a proportion of company limit lumber going into sawlogs because I have had people tell me that this happens, but the minister obviously does not know the extent of the problem.

Can I ask the minister: What specific programs does his government have in mind, or what does he intend to do to require that valuable sawlogs be turned into lumber as opposed to pulp, whether they are on company limits or on Crown lands? Now if the minister wants to say we cannot do anything about company limits, tell us that he does not know anything about his own Forest Management Tax Act, but tell us what is the government doing to ensure that all sawlogs, or sawlog valuable timber, is in fact going to that purpose and being replaced perhaps by fibre? What specific programs does his government have, and what is he going to do about this very serious problem which he does not even know the extent of?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the hon. member is asking those questions on behalf of the major sawmilling industry in St. John's East, and his constituents will be waiting with bated breath for the answer.

Coming off Crown lands, we have now implemented a program whereby no sawlogs - no sawlogs - cut on Crown lands will go to the paper mills - none; to the extent that we can control it; to the extent that we have the enforcement; to the extent that the companies will co-operate - none.

Now in order to make sure that no sawlogs cut by company employees on their limits, to make sure that theirs go to lumber production, it is a laudable goal. It would be a great thing if you could achieve it. The problem is finding a mechanism to have the company take all of the sawlogs they cut and have them delivered to sawmills or turned into lumber.

Number one, we have to compensate them either financially or certainly we have to compensate with fibre which will come off Crown lands, and there is some question if that can be done. But we are working with the companies to try to find a way to utilize the sawlogs that are cut on company limits, even by company employees, to be turned into lumber as opposed to being turned into pulp.

The hon. member need not expect that to happen tomorrow or the next day. There are a lot of negotiations, there is a lot of co-operation going to be needed. We think it is possible. I do not know how long it will take to accomplish it, Mr. Speaker.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Social Services.

During the past few days I have had the opportunity to talk to several social workers who were extremely concerned about being overworked in this Province. I want to ask the minister directly: Will he make a commitment today, on behalf of the Department of Social Services, that the recommendations in the Hughes Commission Report as they regard his department, particularly the Child Welfare Department, that these recommendations will be implemented?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, I think it is common knowledge that the demands on our social workers throughout the Province have been greater than ever before, and that is of course due to the very difficult economic times in which we find ourselves. But as to the Hughes Report, as I said yesterday in the House, we will take the time necessary as a government to look at and deal with the recommendations that are made in the Hughes Report, so I cannot say to the House now how we will react to any particular recommendation. I can only say that we will promise to, as quickly as possible, examine all thirty-five recommendations and decide what course of action we would take as a government.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the minister has now admitted that his staff are overworked, that they are overburdened, and they cannot do the work that they are supposed to be doing, and people, and particularly children, who are the responsibility of the Child Welfare department in this Province, are suffering as a result. Let me ask the minister then. Will he make a commitment today that the social workers, the BSW graduates, the professional social workers who are coming out of University this month, that they will receive employment? - that the forty of them will be gainfully employed in this Province? Will he do that?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, irrespective of the fact that we now have the Hughes Report to deal with, we have been addressing for some time now the difficulties, if you like, in the field offices as far as the work load is concerned. That would have happened in any case. Because the work load is there.

But solving a problem does not necessarily mean hiring more people every time you have a problem. We are already reacting to the problem in the field and the demand on our social workers. A demand, by the way, which is not going to lessen unless economic times improve dramatically and quickly. We are going to have the problem with us for some time. So we are reacting.

We are computerizing, for example, all fifty-two district offices and regional offices, and the head office itself. Full computerization, a program that has already commenced and will take a couple of years to complete. That computerization, along with support mechanisms that are being put in place in all regional offices, will ensure that our field workers, social workers, financial officers and others will have the support necessary to help them with their ever increasing, really, work load.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I can say to the minister that the process for computerization started back some years ago, back when I was minister as a matter of fact.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: Now, Mr. Speaker, the minister would not confirm that they are going to implement all the recommendations of the Hughes Report. He would not confirm that he is going to provide assistance to the staff by providing additional staff and help them get out from under the burden that they are under.

Let me ask the minister this: that since Beaton Tulk - this should be familiar to the minister - for whatever reasons left the Department of Social Services, since he left, he was the ADM responsible for Child Welfare in this Province. While there has been a re-alignment in this Province that position is still vacant. There are two ADMs doing the work of three ADMs for far too long. Now, because of the crisis situation that exists in this Province, will the minister stop balancing his books on the funds that he is saving from having an ADM, balance his books on the children and the poor of this Province, and immediately put in place an ADM who is responsible to carry out these programs?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, the ADM position of course is vacant at the present time.

MR. TOBIN: How long!?

MR. GULLAGE: Having a position vacant is not unique. We have some four or five other senior positions that are vacant at -

MR. TOBIN: And put a professional social worker in the position this time! A professional social worker!

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, we have some -

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

The hon. member has asked the question and I believe the Member for Burin - Placentia West was given a fair amount of leeway in asking the question, and he is still insisting on another question. So I would ask the hon. member to let the minister answer the question, please!

The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, as I was about to say, the position is indeed vacant and has been for a while. We have other positions vacant as well, senior positions that have to be filled. That is not to suggest that the work is not being done because it certainly is being done. As quickly as possible. Incidentally the social workers, in the main, the vast majority of them, are in the district offices in the field delivering service in the field. The position he speaks of that is vacant is a programming and planning position, which is not a delivery position. So I fail to see the connection between the two supposed problems that we have.

As quickly as possible we will be filling the ADM position that he speaks of. It is indeed vacant at the present moment. We recognise the need for filling that position with a person who has training and background, if you like, and able to deliver management in the area of programming and planning. As quickly as possible, Mr. Speaker, we will be filling that position.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Shops Closing Act."

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Newfoundland Registered Nurses Act."


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

MR. HODDER: I beg leave to present a petition on behalf of sixty-two residents of the community of Piccadilly/Abrahams Cove in the district of Port au Port. The prayer of the petition, Mr. Speaker, is: we the people of Piccadilly/Abrahams Cove water committee petition the provincial government for funding of a much needed well, pump and waterline to service the people of the area. The old line freezes every winter and over twenty homes are without water. The petition is signed by sixty-two residents.

These are two areas of the district which back about ten or twelve years ago formed themselves into water committees and I do believe that it is now a local service district. I have spoken to the minister on this matter, and I have also followed that meeting with him with a letter. As well I have spoken to the engineering department on the west coast of the Province in Corner Brook who support me in this petition and feel there is a need for these people. The water system we are talking about here is a water system that was first designed for sixteen families and at the present time there are thirty-two families on that water system. I should tell you, Mr. Speaker, that this is all the more important, and I am sorry the minister is not here because I gave him prior notice that I would be presenting this petition, but what makes this more important is that back about fourteen or fifteen years ago the family called me -

MR. SPEAKER: I just want to interrupt the hon. member for a minute. I will not take it out of his time. I want again to emphasize the importance, from the Chair's position, of having petitions in the right format. I have said to hon. members that if they are not in the right format that we check with the clerk and the clerk would then tell hon. members whether or not it is in the right format. We can provide hon. members will all kinds of these in the right format. This is not in the right format and I will just bring it to the attention of hon. members. I know that hon. members generally approve this kind of thing because it is again petitioning with respect to water, a pump and so on, etc., but I thought I would point that out to hon. members. It is not in the right format so I ask hon. members to try and get these petitions in the right format because it is not difficult. We will provide them with the forms if they want them. As I said to the hon. member I will not take this out of his time.

Does the hon. member have the consensus of the House to proceed?

The hon. the Member for Port au Port.

MR. HODDER: On that point, Mr. Speaker, I have been presenting petitions of that nature in this House for some sixteen years. I do not write the petition, the petition comes to me, but nevertheless I will try to inform people. This is quite an urgent thing. The Budget is being passed and the funding for this, I suspect, the water component, will come under the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. Before my time elapses I want to point out, and I only have five minutes, that some fifteen years ago I had a call from a family who thought their children were sick because of the water. I had the Department of Health go out to Piccadilly and whereas .4 points of coliform per millilitre is the limit for permissibility, for contamination of water, some of these people had as high as 40 to 60 points of coliform per millilitre of water. Now, Mr. Speaker, that is highly contaminated water. So these people do not have the recourse to go back to a well system which they had some ten years ago. What has happened in this particular community, and it may sound like little things to members opposite, but it is not a little thing, because what has happened to this community is that it has grown and that is good, but the thing is that the water system there - and they have been paying for their water system - the problem is that the water system is too big and they have had a lot of problems with their pumps. They are a rural community, with high unemployment, and they are asking for just a small amount of money, as I told the minister in the letter. They are asking for $25,000 to drill another well and provide the facilities for this well.

So, Mr. Speaker, I would ask the government to look at this petition and to take it in the light from which it comes. It is not the type of community where they can go back to their wells. The water is contaminated. The ground water throughout all of Piccadilly, the whole of Piccadilly which stretches some three miles, its ribbon development, all the water is contaminated. So if this water system is not fixed, then all winter they have to drive miles and miles and miles to get fresh water. So, Mr. Speaker, I would ask the government and the minister when he reads my comments to please accede to this request because it is very serious.

There is a convent on that water line as well, and I have had representation from the Sisters in the area who also asked me to bring this to the Legislature. I do hope that the department will accede to the people's request. Thank you.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will make a few comments in support of the petition presented by my colleague on behalf of his constituents of Piccadilly/ Abrahams Cove.

Mr. Speaker, I have in my district some local service districts, especially in the White Bay area, that use and are always dependent on the community water services committee. I believe that is what it is that is looked after by the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. I always found that the allocation of funding under this particular program is always late, very late in the season. It is late, for one thing, for the capital program. Why not all come together? Whether it is a community council, a town council, a city council, or a local service district, the same thing is applicable. The need is there. The time for announcing the project should be done pretty well at the same time as the announcement of the capital program.

This particular local service district is in dire need, no question. I am of the understanding that it is a drilled well now in the community.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, they need another one.

MR. WOODFORD: And the community has outlived that particular well. It is very inexpensive - I have said it here in the House before - way to provide water to communities in this Province. It can be done also, Mr. Speaker, in larger communities and not only in local service districts comprising of twenty to thirty-five families.

This particular local service district has its water contaminated as well. That is questionable too. I always question the Department of Health on that particular thing, and I am sure other members have ran into that as well on what they call contaminated water. We can see a city or a town in this Province with coliform counts of probably 300 to 400, and we have local service districts and smaller municipalities in the Province that are on a well system, not only drilled wells but local dug wells, that are turned down by the banks for mortgages. It is ludicrous and hypocritical, Mr. Speaker. I just thought I would get that in here now. They will turn it down if it is over fifteen coliform, if the count is over fifteen, which is ridiculous, yet you can go to a city or town and get a mortgage and the banks and lawyers will put it through without any problems.

Mr. Speaker, those two particular communities are asking for $25,000 if I am not mistaken. Members opposite, especially the Cabinet ministers, should take that into consideration because this program is not announced. It looks after a whole community and a community comprised of some thirty-odd families. I think, Mr. Speaker, that the minister in his wisdom, while looking at the programs will make that recommendation to his Cabinet colleagues and I am sure that the results will be positive.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Development and Tourism.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to rise and discuss this petition briefly. It is dealing with local service districts and I am familiar with the hon. member's area having campaigned for him a number of times up and down that particular strip. In fact, I think I had to haul three dogs off his right leg one day to make sure he survived, but he raises some good points.

There is some difficulty in this area with water; there has been for a long time and it is not just that particular area of Port au Port, but as I recall there are some other small communities as well - Fox Island River organized its water since ?... no. So there is a number, Mr. Speaker, but we have to look at it in the bigger, larger picture, that there are, I believe, some 200 local service districts throughout the Province. I know in my own district, Castors River North particularly, people still go to a local community spring to get buckets of water even throughout the winter and summer to just -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: - I know, what I am saying is that we have to look at the bigger picture and look at the 200 communities, as the minister and his officials do and rate them; and unfortunately in my own district, even though it is a very severe problem, Castors River has not come in for funding over the last number of years. Even those areas which do come in for funding, little areas like Brig Bay and Bear Cove in the northern tip of my district, the money is so small because we are limited by the amount of budgeting.

I think you have $1 million for local service districts, $1 million, and when you try to spread that out, it is so small that you really do not even put a dent in it, so what we have been trying to do in those little areas is, for example Brig Bay, when we have $10,000 or $15,000 we marry it to job creation dollars, use the provincial money for materials and apply the other monies for labour, so it is a difficult problem, but now that the minister has arrived back in, with the hon. members' concurrence, I will ask the minister to conclude so that he can speak as minister directly to this petition.

MR. SPEAKER: I am sorry, are the hon. members agreeing with this?

The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. HOGAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise in support of the member's petition, insomuch as it is a subject which I brought to the minister's job and had been discussing with my predecessor previous to serving this present ministry. I will just have to deal with all these smaller communities on the supply of this type of infrastructure to them. I am delighted that he has brought it forward, as it adds fuel and ammunition and justification to the need for us to develop new and innovative ways of delivering these services to these communities.

I have also talked to my hon. friend, the Minister of Development and Tourism and the Minister of Health in visiting these areas on the Northern Peninsula particularly, and I have been out in the member's district and concur that these services are much needed - it is even needed in my own district as a matter of fact. I have one community in my district, Fox Harbour, with 101 families and they need $2.4 million worth of water and sewer work, which they will never be able to get, they cannot afford it, and these kinds of infrastructures are needed in these small communities and we will just have to deal with it and find new and better ways of doing that and I support the member's initiative in this regard.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you. Mr. Speaker.

I rise to present a petition on behalf of twenty-five residents of Little Bay Islands and the prayer of the petition is as follows:

We, the undersigned residents of Little Bay Islands petition the hon. House of Assembly to instruct the hon. Minister of Fisheries, not to approve, transfer temporarily or permanently, the crab processing licence of S. T. Jones and Sons Limited to any other area in the Province.

Mr. Speaker, there is in process or just about done, except for I guess some legal technicalities or papers to be signed, a sale of the crab operation at Little Bay Islands. The new owners have approached the community, its council and the citizenry in general, looking for the concurrence or the agreement of the islanders to transfer the license on a temporary basis, I believe to the Community of Fleur de Lys in the district of Baie Verte - White Bay.

Obviously, Little Bay Islands being a one-industry town with the crab plant being their main employer, the words `temporarily tranferred' is a matter of great concern. Being an island, forty-five minutes steam from the mainland of the Island of Newfoundland, there is tremendous concern that if a license is transferred on a temporary basis it will never come back. The license cannot be routinely transferred, it requires the authorization of the minister, himself, and people are concerned that if the minister does make such an authorization, they will never get it back.

If the minister does entertain the particular request, assuming it is either in his office or on the way to his office, then I would only hope that the minister would work with the company and the community concerned to obtain some level of guarantee of the return of the license to that particular community. Because without that particular license, Little Bay Islands is, essentially, economically dead and will join the list of many resettled communities in this Province.

Now, when I raised this matter in the Assembly yesterday, the hon. the Minister of Health flew off the handle with me, Mr. Speaker, and accused me of making a political football of this particular situation, this particular serious situation. Mr. Speaker, I attended a public meeting of well over 100 people, one of the largest public meetings ever held on Little Bay Islands, by invitation of the council and the citizenry, and by resolution passed almost unanimously, if not unanimously, in that public meeting, I was given that political ball, Mr. Speaker. I was asked, Mr. Speaker, to inflate that political football, I was asked, Mr. Speaker, to run with that political football, I was asked, Mr. Speaker, to kick that political football, and, above all else, Mr. Speaker, I was asked to do my best to score with that political football. So I make no apologies to the hon. the Minister of Health, who has relatives on the island and is somewhat embarrassed by the conundrum in which he personally finds himself. My only comment to the hon. the Minister of Health is that if he can't stand the heat, he should get out of the Clyde Wells kitchen.

So in summation, Mr. Speaker, Little Bay Islands is a one-industry town. There is going to be, if it is not already, on the minister's desk, a request for a temporary transfer. The word `temporary' is very suspect on the island and people want assurances and guarantees that, if, indeed, the minister does entertain and eventually grant such a transfer, that the license would return posthaste to Little Bay Islands with minimal disruption to the local economy. Without such, Mr. Speaker, the island will certainly die and end up being resettled.

As I indicated yesterday, it is not a matter of robbing Peter to pay Paul in terms of the communities involved. If we rob Peter here without guarantees, then we kill Peter to pay Paul, and nobody, I don't think, on either side of this House, would, in all conscience, want to see a community with a long and vibrant history in the fishery of this Province go down the tubes over a license transfer.

So I support the prayer of the petition, Mr. Speaker, and I seek assurances from the administration, particularly the minister, that particular sensitivity to the ongoing presence of a crab processing operation in Little Bay Islands be uppermost in his mind when he deals with this matter.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wasn't sure if the minister was going to rise to respond or not. He gave some indications, but I was afraid that the Speaker was going to call time and we couldn't get this petition supported. I feel it is quite necessary that this House of Assembly go on record as supporting the petition put forward by my colleague from Green Bay on behalf of the people of Little Bay Islands. I have a great lot of sympathy for the Member for Green Bay because, like his district, I too have island communities in my district that have a crab plant. I know how important it is to the economy of Fogo Island, and I am sure, to the economy of Little Bay Islands, in having that crab plant there.

The one area of fisheries jurisdiction that the minister has exclusive control over is the licensing of onshore processing facilities. I urge the minister to be extra cautious when giving licenses or transferring licenses from one area of the Province to the other, albeit at this time it might be temporary. But I can certainly sympathize with the people of Little Bay Islands when they see their only potential source of employment going from their area to another part of the Province. While, indeed, it might be welcome news for that part of the Province, it is certainly not welcome news for the people of Little Bay Islands.

Mr. Speaker, in this particular area, what we are seeing is a kind of unusual twist of fate. Because, last year, I think a crab license got transferred from the area that this one is presently proposed to go in. One has to question, why would they transfer one year out and now the next year be trying to transfer in?

So I have no hesitation or problems in supporting this petition on behalf of the residents of Little Bay Islands. The crab plant they have there is the lifeblood of the community, an island community. It has only one source of employment, and that being that sector of the fishery. I want the minister to look long and hard at any idea of transferring that license to another area of the Province which, in effect, would mean the death of the community of Little Bay Islands, and I ask the minister not to do it. To consider very carefully what impact this would have on the people of Little Bay Islands.

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, I apologise to the hon. member for not being here yesterday to answer his question. I was in Clarenville speaking to the Chamber of Commerce. I understand he asked the question.

I should point out at the beginning that I have heard stories that a certain company is going to be applying to my department for a transfer of license, but up until about 9:00 this morning, no such application was on file. That surprises me, because certainly, there is a process to be followed, a process that requires people who wish to transfer licenses to advertise through the public news media their intentions. After a certain time has elapsed, then, of course, if there are any objections, they will be sent in to the Department of Fisheries to our licensing committee, and then that licensing committee will look at all aspects of the application and the number of people who may be opposed or support the proposition. Then a decision is made.

I can assure my hon. friend opposite that no action will be taken to transfer a license from Little Bay Islands to Fleur de Lys under any circumstances unless and until it has gone through the process and then it will be dealt with by the officials on the licensing committee in the Department of Fisheries.

Now, it is interesting to note that the plant for which this license is being sought, that of Fleur de Lys, is the same plant that in 1989 had a crab license. The government of the day in 1989 also had a policy similar to what we are following now, to the effect that a moratorium was placed on the issuing of new licenses, and in cases where applications were received to transfer licenses, the process we now follow would have to be followed, that of advertising and going before the committee and justifying what was done.

It is rather strange that four days before this government took office -

AN HON. MEMBER: Four days.

MR. CARTER: Four days. In fact, I believe it was on May 1. I believe we took office on May 5? Four days before that date the then-minister, Mr. Peach, took it upon himself, without reference to -


MR. CARTER: Mr. Peach, who was then -

AN HON. MEMBER: Where is he from?

MR. CARTER: - short-term Minister from the district of my friend from Carbonear.

AN HON. MEMBER: That was after the election.

MR. CARTER: After the election.

AN HON. MEMBER: When they had no mandate.

MR. CARTER: This is an interesting story now. You should listen to it.

Four days before the Wells administration was due to be sworn in, this gentleman, who was then Minister of Fisheries under Mr. Rideout, issued an order that at least four licences be either issued or transferred - a blatant contradiction of their own policy, of their own regulations.

One of the licences that Mr. Peach ordered to be transferred was the one from Fleur de Lys to Old Perlican. There were others, as well. I put a stop order on some of them, as you would.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Fleur de Lys.

MR. CARTER: Yes, Fleur de Lys. I have evidence of where it was moved from Fleur de Lys to Old Perlican.

At the time, I should point out, by the way, that the then Premier, or the Premier-elect - he was campaigning - was very generously using Mr. Quinlan's helicopter in order to campaign around the Province. In the process of that then, it was agreed there and then that that licence would be transferred from 'A' to 'B'.

It is rather ironic that now the controversy is -

AN HON. MEMBER: And the Premier was going around in 'B's' helicopter.

MR. CARTER: Yes. Now the issue has raised its head, but I can only tell my hon. friend that we will be more considerate -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CARTER: - and we will operate within the guidelines that we have established.

AN HON. MEMBER: What about the one from Red Harbour?

MR. CARTER: The one from Red Harbour, if the hon. gentleman would ask me that question tomorrow I shall answer it, but now I am running out of time and I want to set my hon. friend's mind at ease and tell him that this government does not act the way the previous government acted.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. minister's time is up.

MR. CARTER: I should point out a very interesting point.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. CARTER: May I have leave to -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. CARTER: May I have leave, Mr. Speaker, to -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. the minister to take his place, please, and it might be the right time to remind all hon. members that when the Chair, or the person in the Chair, says that the time is up, then hon. members should proceed to take their place. I know that hon. members would like to finish their last phrase, and I am generally flexible on that manner, but sometimes members go on and get into the second and the third sentence and that ought not to happen. I gather that the hon. minister was not given leave.

I don't want to delay the House. I just wanted to comment again on petitions so that we know where we are going in this in the future. I called the Member for Port au Port up here, as hon. members would notice, because he was leaving the House and I told him that I wanted to say something in reference to him, although the Chair is not allowed to enter into debate. The member did say that he presented lots of petitions that were not in accordance with our rules and regulations. I know hon. members do that, but I ask hon. members, please, to abide by the rules as much as possible because sometimes we can get into trouble if we allow one and then we don't bring it to the attention of hon. members another time. If we are sort of going all over the place it is going to get us into problems. All hon. members ought to know what the standard format is for a petition.

I just wanted to conclude by saying that I was going to say to the hon. member, I don't think he would have presented that petition in 1975, first when we arrived on the scene, when we were so particular not only about its format but also the way we ended. We thought we had to end them the right way. If we didn't, we didn't think the petition would get acted upon, and the petition always ended with: 'I ask that it be laid upon the table of the House and referred to the department to which it relates.' Today, we hardly get to that line.

I thank hon. members.

Is there another petition?

The hon. the Member for Fogo.

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a petition to present on behalf of some residents of Island Harbour, a community on Fogo Island. Some time ago I wrote to the former Minister of Highways who was acting at the time, the President of Treasury Board, about a section of road in the community of Island Harbour. There are seven households on this particular piece of road. Presently, Island Harbour is an unincorporated area. It does not have a council and thus the Department of Highways have assumed responsibility for roads in that particular community. These people have been petitioning and asking the Department of Highways in the local area for a number of years now to develop that section of road so that it is passable. Presently for about five to six months of the year these residents have no access to ambulance service, and are unable to get fuel to their homes in the winter. They have to pump it off into barrels and drag it in on a skidoo. Mr. Speaker, that is just not adequate.

Highways have the equipment in the area that could easily do this piece of road. There are seven school children who have to walk considerable distances through snow drifts so that they can get to bus stops. It is a piece of road that would be approximately 1000 feet. Two of the children who live in that area suffer from diabetes and in winter they frequently have to go to hospital by ambulance and have to be dragged out on a sled. In this 20th century, in 1992, that is certainly not an adequate mode of transportation. The department has known, the former minister, the President of Treasury Board indicated in writing to me last year that every consideration would be given to doing that portion of road during this coming construction year. To date we have seen very little evidence that it is going to take place. I ask the present Minister of Transportation to give some consideration to having this section of road made to a condition where traffic can drive over it. Normally it is a policy with the department that if three households are on a given piece of road it will be brought to an acceptable standard. What we have in this case is seven houses, a number of children who have to go to school each day, we have some senior citizens there, this area has no access to fire protection, and I call on the minister to use the good graces of his department to bring that road up to an acceptable standard so that people who live in that section of Island Harbour will be able to have the services provided that other communities and other people of this Province have.

AN HON. MEMBER: How long is it?

MR. WINDSOR: It is about 1000 feet of road.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I just want to very briefly support the petition presented by my colleague for Fogo. It is indeed a sad reflection when in this day and age you have a situation whereby there are people living in a community that do not have access to a road only 1000 feet away. I support the petition, Mr. Speaker. It is only fair that the provincial government provide adequate fire protection to these residents. It is only fair that these residents have access to school buses. It is only fair that these residents be treated the same as all other people in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. I urge the minister to do whatever needs to be done to ensure that that 1000 feet of road is put in place and that the people from this area of Island Harbour have the same fair access to the transportation system as other people of this Province have enjoyed.

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

MR. GOVER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

With respect to this particular matter I will have the officials of the department review this particular matter to determine, in fact, what condition the road is in and what can be done with respect to maintenance to improve its condition. I will have them have a look at it with respect to expenditures under the capital program for upgrading and perhaps the paving of this particular road. As the member is aware every year the roads in the Province are assessed and the funds are allocated on the basis of need. I guess in this year's program that particular road was assessed and found to be less needy that the other roads.

MR. WINSOR: There is no road.

MR. GOVER: There is no road. Like I said, Mr. Speaker, I am not totally familiar with the exact facts of this particular road which is the reason why I am going to have my officials investigate the situation and make a report to me before I pass any more detailed comments on the road. I am prepared to commit to the hon. member that I will have the officials in the area go out and have a look at the road and provide me with a report on the road to see into which category of consideration this road should fall. Mr. Speaker, unlike perhaps previous administrations we all know there is a great need on Fogo Island, and elsewhere in Fogo district for road work that has been neglected for seventeen years of Tory administration. The needs have built up, built up, and built up. Mr. Speaker, we do not intend to treat Fogo District in that particular way even though it is represented by an Opposition member. Therefore I commit to have this matter investigated and see what can be done. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I want to call motions 6, 7 and 8, but before I do I would like to point out an error in motion 6. In the document that I tabled when I made the motion the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs was included in number 6 and it was inadvertently left out in the printing, so I would like to make that correction for hon. members. I would also like to point out that the committees referred to are the committees as tabled in this document that was tabled in the House.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to call motions 6, 7 and 8.

MR. SPEAKER: We will move them together. Hon. members agree to that, all of them. It has been moved and seconded that motions 6, 7 and 8, and that is with reference to certain heads of expenditures being referred to the appropriate committees.

It is moved and seconded that this motion be now adopted by the House. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion? All those in favour, please say aye.


MR. SPEAKER: All those against, please say nay. Carried.

MR. BAKER: Order 10, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 10, Bill 17. We are resuming the adjourned debate.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to have a few comments on this Bill that has been introduced by the minister. He should leave the chamber. He should hang his head in shame leaving the chamber with the hardship he has inflicted upon Newfoundlanders, particularly as it relates to this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: I just wondered if before the hon. member gets into his speech I could inform hon. members of the Late Show?

On the Late Show the topics raised will be a matter raised by the Member for Kilbride with respect to questions asked the Minister of Provincial Affairs about the cost of amalgamation. The second matter is the matter raised by the Member for Fogo who raises a question with respect to responses given by the Minister of Labour on the Workers Compensation Board. The third matter is raised by the Member for Green Bay with respect to questions asked the Minister of Development re: crab processing licence in Little Bay Islands. These are the topics.

The hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I want to speak to this bill that has been introduced in the Legislature. I had hoped to have an opportunity the other evening to speak after the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations spoke. He got up and praised this bill as a great thing for Newfoundlanders. Convinced Newfoundlanders, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations said he would go all across this Province singing the praises of Bill 17.

Well I find it somewhat ironic, Mr. Speaker, that this minister was the same minister, this minister who was going to sing the praises of Bill 17 from one end of the Province to the other was the same minister who put the teachers of this Province on strike. There is another minister, a former President of the NTA in this chamber today who attacked government vehemently. She could not stop attacking government, and now she sits in a Cabinet that has put the blocks to the labour people in this Province, in particular the teachers of this Province and who has heard a word?

Now, Mr. Speaker, if a wage freeze was bad for the teachers a couple of years ago, what is this bill? How can someone have an about face so quick? How? How can a minister of the Crown - there are two, there are two ministers of the Crown in this House today who have been involved with the NTA, and both of them have since turned their backs on the NTA, make no mistake. There is a minister in this House who put the teachers on strike in this Province, and yet he comes in and brings in a piece of legislation that is worse than the teachers of this Province have ever seen before.

We have the present Minister of....

MR. DOYLE: Employment - not Employment, Environment and Lands.

MR. TOBIN: Environment and Lands, who was president of the NTA. Mr. Speaker, you should hear her. You should hear how bad the government was because they were going to freeze the wages. The government did not negotiate and tear up the contract, for whatever was put in place was honoured. Then there was the wage freeze. Yet, these two ministers would like the teachers to believe that they are still friends of the education profession.

There is no wonder that the people of this Province are saying: we got hoodwinked with promises from the Liberals in the last election campaign. There is no wonder that the people of this Province are saying: we can no longer trust this government. What teacher can trust the Minister of Environment and Lands or the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations? What teacher in this Province can trust either one of them?

The Minister of Employment got up the other day and he said he was prepared to sing the praises of Bill 17 from one end of this Province to the other. I do not know a whole lot about Judas but I read a little bit about him one time. I read about the nine cents.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, Mr. Speaker, I am serious. The hypocrisy we have seen. I mean, we see them out on the steps of the Confederation Building. With all the teachers in front of them talking about this big, bad government. Yes, it did not take him long to change his mind when he became a minister of the Crown. When he became worse. When he became part of the worst government, the worst record of labour relations in this Province, it did not take long for the two of them to hightail it in the corners. We saw the reception that the Minister of Education got from the teachers. We have seen it. We saw it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Pure ignorance!

MR. TOBIN: That's not ignorance!


MR. TOBIN: That's not ignorance.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: It is not ignorance, Mr. Speaker. I say to the minister that if you corner anyone they will fight back. If you push anyone far enough and if you punish them enough, and people see that they are being betrayed - there's nothing as bad as being betrayed. I can tell you that. It happened to me once and I will never forget it. There is nothing as bad as someone betraying you.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)?

MR. TOBIN: Yes. There are two ministers in particular who betrayed the teaching profession. Those are the Minister of Environment and Lands and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, that have betrayed them. There are other ministers, Mr. Speaker, like the President of Council. There is the Minister of Education. There are other ministers who were involved in the education profession who went out and got elected promising to get greater labour relations for the teachers of this Province.

But teachers were not betrayed the same as being led by people who put them on strike. That is betrayal of a fine order and it should not be tolerated in our society. The Member for Fortune - Hermitage, I went down and helped get him elected.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I was down to help get him elected, Mr. Speaker.

MR. MATTHEWS: You did too.

MR. TOBIN: Yes I did so, spent two or three times down there for rallies, speaking on his behalf to get him elected. Hearing him on the stage, Mr. Speaker, one would have to wonder -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes. And I can tell you something else, he won the polls I campaigned in too.


MR. TOBIN: He won the area I campaigned in too. Probably the first time ever.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is that right?

MR. TOBIN: The next candidate for this Party will win it, Mr. Speaker. Make no mistake about that either. I can tell the members opposite, particularly the people from the teaching profession, that you have betrayed your constituents in the teaching profession, you have turned your back on them. Today I had reason to ask questions of the Minister of Social Services regarding social workers in this Province. I can tell the minister that what has taken place today and over the past few months in that department is a total lack of leadership on the part of the minister.

I know when I was minister, and I say when the Member for Port de Grave was Minister of Social Services, that we both increased the staff of social workers in that Department, and I can tell you something else. In the past few months in particular, probably within the past year, there has been more pressure put on the social workers of this Province than ever before. Make no mistake about it. In the past year there has been more pressure put on the social workers of this Province than ever before.


MR. TOBIN: I can tell you why - because this government has no economic plan whatsoever. People are being thrown on the unemployment roles day in and day out; because you will stand and vote for a Budget in this House which will do nothing but throw people on the welfare roles. That is why social workers are overworked - because this government has no direction as it relates to the economy; because the caseload in the Department of Social Services has never been as high as it is today. That is why the social workers are overburdened. Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Cabinet you have to accept part of the responsibility, because you have no plan. You have done absolutely nothing.

On Friday Mr. Crosbie will be on the Burin Peninsula to open up a new fish plant in Grand Bank, and this government has done absolutely nothing to support the people of Grand Bank. It was the federal government who opened the plant. Now you have the federal government in Trepassey - Mr. Crosbie again in Trepassey. What did this government do for the plant workers of Trepassey? They turned their backs on them. That is what they did. What did they do for the plant workers of Gaultois? How much money are they putting up to assist the plant workers in Trepassey?

AN HON. MEMBER: Who? This government?

MR. TOBIN: This government.

AN HON. MEMBER: Nothing.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, they are out doing absolutely nothing.

NatSea on the south side is closed today because this government did absolutely nothing for the employees of NatSea plant. That is why it is closed today. I talked to them, and they do not know where their member is. They do not know where the government is. They do not know. They do not know. That is what is taking place in this Province, and until such time as this government gets a direction -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Well Mr. Speaker if there is anyone who can speak, and someone making a fool of himself, it is the Minister of Forestry because I said to some of my colleagues today, and some of his, I only wish we could get him on television. I only wish we had cameras in the House. I only wish we had cameras in the House.

This government, as it relates to the fisheries, turned their back on the people of Trepassey; turned their back on the people of Grand Bank. Not a nickel is going into the construction of that plant in Grand Bank that will be opened on Friday - not a nickel from this Province gone into that operation - not a nickel; nothing going into Trepassey, except criticism.

Now there are a lot of things that have to happen. I see Mr. Crosbie is on the move again today, but there is nothing happening in this -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What is that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I can tell you one thing. If it comes to closing dockyards, this Province does not need anyone to teach them, because when we left government there were 500 people working in the Marystown shipyard. Today there are fifty, and if it had not been, in the last two years for the federal government, Mr. Speaker, works from the federal government that the Yard bid on, got by bid, there would be no work at the Marystown Shipyard at all.

This government is using Kvaerner. I have never seen the tactic before. This government is using Kvaerner as a deflection of their responsibilities. Kvaerner does not own the Marystown Shipyard, never did own the Marystown Shipyard. This government owns the Marystown Shipyard and this government has the same responsibility to the Marystown Shipyard and its employees as the previous administrations did for twenty-five years.


MR. TOBIN: Well, Mr. Speaker, give it away, do what you like with it. Put people back to work, that is what I want in the Marystown Shipyard. If the Member for St. John's South wants the Marystown Shipyard, and for the next twenty years can do as well as the former government did when they owned it for twenty years, let him have it. I have said before that I have more confidence in the Norwegians, in the people of Norway, to look after the economy of this Province than I have in this administration. I have more confidence in the people of Norway to look after the interests of the Marystown Shipyard and the employees of the Marystown Shipyard than I have in this government.

MR. HOGAN: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Old pork barrel, Mr. Speaker, municipal grants.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: That's what I'm talking about.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Now, Mr. Speaker, what an attack on my district! They are going to pay it back, though.

So, Mr. Speaker, we are talking about people. They say they are going to put in a wage freeze for the employees of the Marystown Shipyard. What employees of the Marystown Shipyard? There have been no employees in the Marystown Shipyard since this crowd came to office, none. They have turned their back on rural Newfoundland.

When I think about the President of Treasury Board - you know, today, I listened to the news and I heard the Member for Gander - Twillingate. Gander - is that what they call it? Grand Falls - Gander?

MR. SIMMS: Grand Falls - Gander.

MR. TOBIN: Grand Falls - Gander.

MR. SIMMS: Gander - Grand Falls.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Baker, Mr. Speaker, talking about the big federal government going to reduce the pensions of people in this Province by three dollars.


MR. TOBIN: Nine dollars. Well, Mr. Speaker, what is he going to say about what his brother is going to do to the people of this Province? When is the Member for Gander - Grand Falls going to tell us about how he feels about what his brother is doing to the employees of this Province?

MR. SIMMS: He is not going to.

MR. TOBIN: When is he going to stand up and tell us what he thinks of his brother and what he has done to the people of this Province?

MR. SIMMS: All politics, he's not going to do it. He is playing little political games.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, I don't know his brother. I know one of his brothers, I was -

MR. SIMMS: You don't?


MR. SIMMS: Oh, worse than him.

MR. TOBIN: I met him once, Mr. Speaker. I know one of his brothers well because myself and my colleague for Fogo, and his brother, and some other people, were involved in our university days in the PC Party, back in the 1970s.

MR. SIMMS: He was a PC, too?

MR. TOBIN: No, one of his brothers. We were fairly actively involved, Mr. Speaker, on campus in the PC Party, and some other people around.

AN HON. MEMBER: You were involved in other things, too.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I was. As a matter of fact, at one time I even received the Executive of the Year by the Newfoundland Sports Federation for being executive of the year in this Province for Newfoundland and Labrador. I was involved in a lot of things. But I was never, unlike the Member for Placentia, involved in another party. Unlike the Member for Placentia, I never ran for another party.

MR. SIMMS: What party did he run for?

MR. TOBIN: Placentia.

MR. SIMMS: For whom?


MR. SIMMS: Ran for us?


MR. SIMMS: When? No, he didn't, he ran for the nomination and couldn't get it.

MR. TOBIN: Well, he ran for the nomination.

MR. SIMMS: Oh, that's a big difference.

MR. TOBIN: Well, that's for our party.

MR. SIMMS: That's why he became a Liberal, he got mad. Sooky.

MR. TOBIN: No, Mr. Speaker, it's not. And if he keeps up interjecting I'll get Mr.... Sparrow, is it?

MR. SIMMS: Patterson.

MR. TOBIN: No, Mr. Sparrow, the Independent. Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I want to get back to this bill, because I have to point out the hypocrisy of the Minister of Employment and Labour. I have to point out how he stood on the steps of this building and went to the teachers because the government was bad. And that same minister, that same teachers' leader who is now a minister of the Crown has turned his back on the teachers, has betrayed the teachers, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is that him there?

MR. TOBIN: Yes, that's him, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Say it again. It doesn't make sense. I don't understand what you are saying.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: We are talking about how 'Roger' cried on the steps of Confederation Building with our government.


MR. TOBIN: That is what I said. I said he betrayed the teachers. He turned his back. The Liberals, for some reason, went out and got him. He was attracted to Liberalism. The biggest conservative government that this Province and this country has ever known, that is what he was attracted to. He got in, and what did he do, Mr. Speaker, together with the Minister of Environment? What did he do? He betrayed the teachers. He turned his back on the very crowd that he lead to the picket lines in this Province. That is what he did, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) on the street.

MR. TOBIN: He should have left you on the street, too.

Mr. Speaker, I don't want to be interrupted because this is a serious piece of legislation. Ask the nurses, ask the teachers, ask the Public Service Commission, ask the crime-fighting organizations what they think of this government, Mr. Speaker, and what they are doing to the people of this Province. Ask them, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: No, that is not accurate.

AN HON. MEMBER: We never backed the 'Black Maria' in here.

MR. SIMMS: We will see.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, they were talking (inaudible) so the Member for Placentia must be talking about size.

AN HON. MEMBER: Waistbands.

MR. TOBIN: What we are talking about here is the employees, all of the employees, Mr. Speaker, all of the employees in this Province. We are not talking about them in any other way, Mr. Speaker, or any other shape or any other fashion except as employees of government. I don't know, Mr. Speaker, what the Member from Placentia was trying to talk about. Size 64 - I don't know what he is talking about.

But, in any case, Mr. Speaker, there are in this Province today thousands and thousands of people who are dissatisfied with what this government is doing. Make no mistake about that. And they are in your district, too, I can tell you that. I can tell the member that there are some great people who worked on his campaign the last time that will not be working on it next time, and I know one, in particular.

AN HON. MEMBER: There is no relevancy here.

MR. TOBIN: What was that?

AN HON. MEMBER: Your cousin.

MR. TOBIN: My cousin? I never said my cousin, Mr. Speaker. Why does the member think it is my cousin?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I will pass that on to him.

AN HON. MEMBER: That will surely make up their mind.

MR. TOBIN: That will surely make up his mind.

AN HON. MEMBER: Ridiculous! Shame!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I can tell the member that I have a lot of relatives in Placentia because that is where my people came from. My father lived there for a little while, from Merasheen Island, originally, but lived in Placentia, in Dunville for a little while, and I have a lot of relatives out there.

But in any case, Mr. Speaker, I believe we should all be very concerned about this regressive piece of legislation. We had better all be concerned. Mr. Speaker, what about all the people, the men and women? I talked today about the Department of Social Services. I spoke today, Mr. Speaker, about the need to have additional social workers in this Province, and there is a desperate need to carry out what needs to be done in that department. There is a need to have more social workers employed for the government in this Province. There will be - I don't know, Mr. Speaker, this month, I suppose, this month they graduate from university. What comes out? About thirty-five or forty social workers in a graduation class? - something like that.


MR. TOBIN: Forty, Mr. Speaker, there will be forty graduates coming out this month, and the Department of Social Services needs every single one of them. They need every single one of the professional social workers, Mr. Speaker, to carry out and do what needs to be done. I will say it, Mr. Speaker. I will say it. The minister is not here, but I will make the appeal on his behalf because I know, or at least I believe that minister will ask Cabinet to hire them, to hire additional positions, because I know - I say to the President of Treasury Board that if he is not prepared to listen to what I have to say, then leave.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, he should, too. I say to all the ministers that when the Minister of Social Services goes to Cabinet to have additional employees, additional social workers hired, for God's sake, support him, because I know of no Minister of Social Services who has not tried to get additional staff.

I was fortunate when I was minister; we got 100. The Member for Port de Grave was fortunate. But it is time that the Cabinet listen to the minister of that department, because one of these days it is going to be serious. The social workers cannot - it is humanly impossible for social workers today to do what needs to be done in that department. Beaton Tulk's job - there was a big rush to appoint Beaton Tulk, but since he left there is no rush to replace him with a professional, and I emphasize that - a professional social worker.

Mr. Speaker, I want to conclude, and say to the ministers responsible - I will tell you, what I probably should do is ask the backbenchers if they voted against the government. The backbenchers, the Member for St. John's South and the world who were criticizing the Peckford administration, I will ask them if they will vote against this Bill 17 because -

AN HON. MEMBER: How much time do you have left?

AN HON. MEMBER: I don't know. (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Okay, Mr. Speaker?

In conclusion, let me say that I sincerely hope this government will change their mind. I sincerely hope that the Minister of Employment and Labour and the Minister of Environment will let their conscience take over for a little while; let them realize the injustice that they are doing to the profession that they at one time at least made people believe they so proudly represented; let their conscience invade them for a little while; look upon the crass decision that they are taking, and I would ask the backbenchers, in particular, some of the rebel backbenchers, to reject this Bill 17. Let the collective bargaining route take its process, and let the world unfold as it should.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Mr. Speaker, I was going to wait until later in the debate, but I think I am going to have a few minutes now, because I was listening to the hon. member - and I think we have another doctor in the House, actually. We have a new doctor, I think. He is called Doctor Spin. Yes, Doctor Spin I think it is, because the spin that he puts on things when it comes to talking about consciences and budgets and what we should do, and how we should let our conscience follow us and do the right thing - do the right thing. There is an expression that Newfoundlanders use a lot. It is 'the pot calling the kettle black' or whatever. In this case, it is beyond me. It really is beyond me. I went back and said, is this the first time a Government of Newfoundland had to put a wage freeze in? Who likes wage freezes? I don't like them. Does anybody like them? I don't think anybody likes them, but sometimes they are a necessity if you want to save the financial credibility of the whole government and of the whole operation. Nobody really likes them but sometimes they are a necessity.

I said, 'Aylward, go back and check it out. See if anybody else had ever done this before, as a government.' I said, 'Well, let's go back and do it.' So I went and did some research. Not only did the other government, the PC Government, of which a number of them who were in the Cabinet are now in the Opposition today, voted, approved in their Cabinet, a two-year wage freeze. Not only did they do that, they froze the pension increases - froze those, also.

AN HON. MEMBER: They were rebels then.

MR. TOBIN: They were rebels then, I tell you. They were real rebels then. They were with Mr. Peckford then. There was no problem with that. And the financial problem they had then was a Mickey Mouse problem compared to the one that this Province has inherited and has gotten mostly because of the federal government in Ottawa which has been nailing us with federal cutbacks. It was a small problem compared to the one we have now, because of your colleagues, the ones you're going around with all the time, saying: Mr. Crosbie, save us, Mr. Crosbie.

It is beyond me. If they are going to criticise us, Mr. Speaker, let's get a little bit more credible. If I had to read out some of the same words that your old government said to the people of the Province, it would be a joke. It's a joke. Be credible at least when you are going to criticise us and say how to solve some things or bring in some solutions. You were shutting down everything you could find when you were the government, when you had these types of financial problems. You were shutting it all down. You were freezing wages. You were doing it all.

I am going to read out a few things: Brian Peckford's statement, the former premier, the hon. premier of Newfoundland, February 29, 1984. Oh boy! Let's see what they did: With these lower than expected revenues we didn't limit our efforts to only restraining wages. No we didn't. We reduced programs in government, as well. Here are some of the cuts in expenditures we have made. Reductions in hiring - What was that? - 'reductions in operating expenses, closures of institutions, including cottage hospitals - hospitals? They closed hospitals. I don't believe it - including Northwest River in Markland, that was shut. Program reductions, elimination of student allowances, introduction of tuition fees in vocational schools - Who introduced that?

AN HON. MEMBER: The former government.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Reduction in financial assistance to municipalities - Who is criticising us now about municipal funds? The other side. The same group that did it before are now saying: 'Boy, how can you do that now?' Big social conscience. They inherited a social conscience. I would say: 'Way to go.' The financial assistance to school boards was reduced. Now, what did we do this year with our Budget?

AN HON. MEMBER: Twelve million more.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Twelve million more. School boards have gotten more money from this government in three years in increases than they got in fifteen from the other side in education, and here we are, getting nailed to the wall for something here where are trying to deal with a financial problem. And half of it or three-quarters of it, we can't - hardly any of it was our fault. Some of it is. We will admit some of it. But three-quarters of it is coming from the federal government in Ottawa for all the cutbacks we are dealing with. We have the worst recession in the world's history in fifty years to deal with. And what are they saying across Canada now about health care and how to deal with health care, folks? What are they saying?

They are saying: Do what they are doing in Newfoundland and Labrador. Try to deal with it in that way. Be realistic about what you can spend. When you put the money out there make sure it is effective. The Globe and Mail was saying: Do what they are doing in Newfoundland and Labrador. So if we are going to get - if they want to nail us and have these wonderful social consciences, if you want to have them, that's fine. I have one, too, just like every member on this side has. But if you are going to do that, then let's get a little bit more realistic about the criticism, that's all. Give us some nice suggestions, give us some decent ones.

Because when you are only going to suggest: Go out and borrow another $100 million...Let me put it to you in the words of Mr. Peckford, the former premier. He said: 'Well, we can't do that. Do you know why?' he asked? - 'Because that is spending on your meat and potatoes account. That is your operating expenses. We cannot go borrow $100 million,' he said, 'we cannot do that.' The Member for Green Bay was in his office. He probably wrote it, probably assisted in writing it, I would say. As a matter of fact, we should check that out. We had better check that out and find out who the author of this was.

MR. MURPHY: There's the culprit! There's the culprit!

MR. K. AYLWARD: This is only two pages of it. The other 'Aylward' wrote it. I take no credit for that. But anyway, he wrote it.

So, I mean, we all have social consciences. Bob Rae in Ontario has a social conscience, and look what he is going to do with his budget today, folks. What is he going to do today, I wonder? Well, gosh, let me see.

Here is another headline: 'Bad news as far as the eye can see.' That is what they are saying in Ontario: 'Bad news as far as the eye can see.'

MR. MURPHY: What kind of a government is up there?

MR. K. AYLWARD: Don't have a clue. What kind of a government? It is supposed to be the biggest social conscience government you ever saw. Now, when you hear them speak, you sound like the biggest right-wingers you ever saw. So I have never seen quite such a transformation, at least -

AN HON. MEMBER: Saskatchewan.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Oh, Saskatchewan? Watch out, Medicare. I clipped it out. I was home last night, Mr. Speaker, I clipped it out -

AN HON. MEMBER: What, no?

MR. K. AYLWARD: Yes, I clipped it out. Gee, I clipped it out.

MR. GOVER: Saskatchewan is not going to tamper with (inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: Yes, The Evening Telegram, our local great newspaper: Government hints Saskatchewan no able to afford health system it pioneered thirty years ago. Now what is the Saskatchewan government? NDP, right?

AN HON. MEMBER: Who led them there?

MR. K. AYLWARD: And who led them there, well, who put them there, yes. So they have to face the proverbial words call reality and this government, I am happy to say, has done that very well as a matter of fact, and the hon. Minister of Finance is trying to get our finances in shape so that we can provide effective services and bring in increases in pensions and bring increases in all kinds of other things that we need, but the only way that we are going to do that, Mr. Speaker, is if we get our house in order and that is what this government intends to do and will keep doing, and I think the people are with us, folks, myself, I do believe that they are and I believe that when we go to the people the next time that they will see this and they will understand it. At least we hope so anyway.

But in our great democracy, at least we can present what we have done and let them choose the alternative that they want, so, Mr. Speaker, when I hear the other members opposite speak and in particular the Member for Burin - Placentia West, I say to him and suggest to him that I think he doth protest too much, Mr. Speaker, because I think if we go back and look at the record of where we are and where we are going, that what we are trying to do is trying to be realistic and deal with the situation, but the thing is when you know and when you have been there before, what the situation is and you get up and you criticize the government, let us be realistic, that is all we are asking, so, a number of members are on the other side, some of them are, I have to give them credit, they are realistic, but some are not, and I would ask that we all get credible in our criticisms of the hon. government.

Seeing that it is approaching 4:30, Mr. Speaker, I am going so well, I would like to be up a little longer but I am going to wait until tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, because we have I think, some questions coming up.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I adjourn the debate.

Debate on the Adjournment

[Late Show]

MR. SPEAKER: It is now approaching 4:30, I will ask the hon. the Member for Fogo for his question.

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yesterday, I think it was yesterday, I asked the minister some questions with respect to activities of the Workers' Compensation Board and the minister was very evasive, he refused to give any answers as to what is going on, instead he tried to divert the attention from the real issues that are facing the board today by going back and looking at a board that was struck in 1986 and said that nothing had been implemented, and after being caught by the fact that the former minister had said that most of the recommendations had been implemented, he went on to say that none of the serious ones were implemented.

Now, Mr. Speaker, what we find the minister has done in the last few days is, he had a report for several months now dealing with activities or planned activities or proposals for the Workers Compensation Board, the minister has failed to implement any but during the early part of this month, April 9, at least is the date that we have been able to determine, some policy changes came back, one with respect to the retraining program for injured nurses. Under the old regulations, nurses who were injured on the job and who proved that they would not substantially be able to participate in meaningful nursing activities again, bedside nursing, that they would be allowed to embark upon a three year retraining program that would allow them to get into some other area of medicine or perhaps into administration work.

Unknown to anyone, on April 9 this program was cancelled. The minister says that he does not have anything to do with the ongoing activities of the board, they are responsible only to themselves. I remind the minister that that is not the case as it is the minister to whom they are responsible and the minister in fact gives directions, that is why he had the Legislature to strike a committee or he informed the Legislature or the previous minister did of a committee that was struck because legislation provides for the appointment every five years of the review committee, so Legislature does have some say in it and the minister is going to, as I understand, introduce legislation during this sitting to make some changes.

We also had some changes that occurred in the ease back program at work, God only knows how difficult it is out there to get work for workers, under this program workers were supposed to make under rehab program three contacts a day for a number of days, and I think it lasted up to ten weeks. Injured workers have been going out and telling employers of this program that workers have had in place. A constituent of mine as a matter of fact, last Friday, after seven weeks of trying to find employment, successfully found employment last Thursday; Friday afternoon he was getting his tool box out and getting his tools all in order when he got a call from his worker in Grand Falls telling him that, sorry, the program he had previously thought was in place was no longer in place. You will have to go back to your potential employer now on Tuesday morning and tell him what was going to be a six month program is now only a six week program, and it has been adjusted accordingly.

Mr. Speaker, this worker spent seven weeks telling employers the virtues of this program, to only on the day before he was suppose to go to work, have it taken away from him. It has been two years since this particular worker has been able to pursue a meaningful activity and when he finds an opportunity to go to work on Friday his hopes are dashed again because of the callous and indifferent treatment of the Workers' Compensation Board. Mr. Speaker, the minister cannot hide away from it. The board is under his jurisdiction and the minister knew in advance that this policy was coming down, and I fail to believe that the minister had not been informed that this policy change was coming to Workers' Compensation and that this suddenly came on him. He said he was not aware of the program but the minister was well aware of the program and what the minister is doing is having changes occur, as many as he can, at a policy and regulation level without bringing legislation to this House. The minister has had this report now for a number of months. He knows that the injured workers in this Province have not been pleased with it and the minister is going to do through the backdoor what he does not have the fortitude to do through the front door and that is bring the legislation in, put all the things on the table so we can see what is happening at Workers'. The minister keeps delaying. He is going to bring in, bit by bit, some minor policy changes that he thinks are impacting significantly on injured workers in this Province. What he is doing through this program is attacking the most vulnerable people in this Province, the injured workers. Shame on the minister for doing it, and the minister should address the wrongs that are taking place in Workers' Compensation. What the minister has failed to do -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I must say I appreciate the opportunity to spend a few minutes discussing again the whole issue of Worker's Compensation. I find it hard to believe though, in the very instance we are discussing, that the hon. member would suggest he knows completely the exact opposite of what he is proposing in his short few minutes address there is occurring. What he has spelled out about a minister doing a little bit of this through the backdoor and being afraid to bring in that and so on, is exactly what did happen when the previous administration was charged with responsibility for Workers' Compensation.

What they did - and I will take this opportunity to commend the board of the commission at this time, because it is this board that was put in place after this administration took office in 1989 that finally recognized, and went through it with their financial advisors, their agents and their auditors, and said we have to put the books of the Workers' Compensation Commission straight, we have to show exactly what the assets are, we have to show exactly what the liabilities are, instead of just showing to the public the current year's funding.

Boards before that, with the advice and direction and encouragement of a CEO appointed by the previous administration took a conscious decision not to put into their annual reports any reference to ongoing, unfunded liability. Now, they were advised it was not a requirement so they were not doing anything illegal. There was nothing illegal about what they were doing, but was it right, proper, and so on to mislead people into thinking for years that the Workers' Compensation system was in pretty good shape when in fact they had the numbers themselves, showing that they were running deficits on an annual basis and were incurring an increasing unfunded liability. It is only because there was some real honesty and straightforwardness put into the presentation of the accounts that people in the Province for the last couple of years now have know there is a serious funding problem at the commission. The statutory review that presented its report to myself as minister and ourselves as government last October does that review at least once every five years by legislation, once every five years at least. We have already indicated that in the changes we will introduce into this Legislature, and it has been indicated as well probably before we close for the spring and summer. We are hoping to do it now in the next few weeks or so, that we will bring in whatever legislative amendments are necessary to make the required changes to put Workers Compensation on a sound financial basis so that it will serve the needs of injured workers for the foreseeable future because the analysis is that if some changes aren't made, it will be completely bankrupt by 1997 or 1998.

Now that is the reality that was tabled in the annual report just a couple of weeks ago. That was the kind of information that the previous administration chose not to disclose to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and now the hon. member opposite has the nerve to get up and make a presentation suggesting that we are going to do by the back door in dribs and drabs some little things, and don't have the gumption or whatever and are not going to be straightforward enough to address the issue.

We have indicated that we will address the issue. We have taken the time, Mr. Speaker, since October to meet in extensive, exhaustive meetings with all of the stake holders, all of the employers representatives who pay for the system. We have met with all of the workers representatives, we have met with the nurses, we have met with all of the different interest groups, and we have gone over and listened carefully to what they had to say. We are now in the decision making process whereby with all of that input, Mr. Speaker, we have indicated that we are about to make some decisions and introduce them into this Legislature, those that need legislative amendment. That will be done very soon, and I think everybody, if they are not pleased with the results will be at least pleased with the fact that this administration recognized the problem, studied it extensively and exhaustively and will make some definitive decisions as to what is in the best interest of injured workers in Newfoundland and Labrador, and to put a system in place that guarantees that they will not be disadvantaged and disenfranchised for the foreseeable future. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I did put in yesterday a Late Show question saying that I was not satisfied with the answer given by the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs to my question on amalgamation. Now, Mr. Speaker, that was the only opportunity I had to raise the issue again, I am not doing this to criticize the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. He is trying to get the answers. The only problem I had when asking the questions was that there was not enough time to give detail of the questions that I wanted answered, and basically, what I wanted to get out of the minister at the time, and he is considering it, is to have someone in that department designated, so that a person who is adversely affected by the amalgamation that has happened in the northeast Avalon, would have someone to contact.

Now I do not mean individual tax payers who are upset with their assessments, that is being dealt with by the city. I mean legitimate problems and legitimate problems that are covered in the act that we passed when we brought in this legislation and when we brought in amalgamation. Problems such as where the act said that the existing staff of those municipalities going out of business have to be given meaningful, permanent jobs for the same salary that they have.

I know of four cases now that this is not happening. I know the minister is reviewing one in particular and he will be making a precedent setting decision as a matter of fact on this one person. I spoke to his deputy minister today and he will give him the name when he goes back to the office, but there is a decision that the minister will be making very soon on one person who had a very responsible managerial job in one of the municipalities and who has now been offered a foreman's job with the City of St. John's maybe until September, and that is not good enough. Our legislation said he had to be guaranteed meaningful permanent employment and whatever decision the minister makes to tell the City of St. John's that they have to live up to the terms of the legislation - I hope that is what he will say, but I am sure he will have other considerations, but whatever decision he makes, I know of four others it will affect. Four other people are being affected, some of them in Paradise, some of them in St. John's who will be affected by this decision, so this will be a test case. Some of them work with the Metro Board, some of them work with others, but, Mr. Speaker, what happened with the amalgamation, was a down loading of expenses to the municipalities.

I would like to know what savings different government departments will have after the amalgamation process is finished, particularly the Department of Transportation, the staff placements that we agreed to in this House of Assembly to make sure that the staff were looked after. That has to be addressed and we need a person there in the department that these staff people can contact.

We have to, somehow, address the problem of drastic increases in taxes in places like the Goulds - 85 per cent this year; a reassessment next year, which will probably mean up to 100 to 108 per cent increase. I could not do it. If my taxes were increased tomorrow 108 per cent I would not be able to pay it. I am not being an alarmist or anything. I think a lot of us in this assembly would feel the same way if we had such an increase in our expenses from one day to the next. So the phase in of taxes has to addressed somehow. The costs have to be at least identified, and some way to help the people.

If we do not do that, what we are going to do now, there are servicing problems in the Goulds. There were water and sewer problems. They became that way because a lot of people moved out of the city into the Goulds because they had a fairly good tax rate, but more importantly the land prices were cheaper. They could afford to build a house. They could afford to live there. Now what is happening is it is becoming more unaffordable, if there is such a word. They cannot afford to live there anymore, so what is going to happen is there is going to be in influx of people up the Southern Shore a bit further. Probably Bay Bulls will be next to be hit, and there will be some planned and some unplanned development. It will not get as far as Tors Cove too quickly, but there will be some planned and unplanned development, and what will happen is that in five years time we will need millions of dollars in Bay Bulls to start putting in water and sewer. We still will not have the Goulds finished. Kilbride is still not finished from 1985. They are still trucking water to people in Kilbride and putting it in buckets, which they started to do in the Goulds now.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

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

If we do not address the problems now we are going to bump it on up to Bay Bulls so I think we should try to address the problems.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HOGAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I welcome the member's questions and remarks concerning the initiatives and innovative actions that were taken by this government in reforming municipal government over the last couple of years. As a result of these innovations and reforms, which are brand new, there have been a number of things which require review, and a number of things which require a second look.

One of the matters that really needs to be addressed is something that I have been addressing over the last week or so. It is the very problem that he brings up about the earing of problems or a group dedicated to the transition periods of councils from one group to another, or from singular municipalities into a collective group of amalgamation. His recommendation in that regard is not that farfetched. I have been discussing it with officials of the department and we are indeed having a second look at it to see if not in fact we should probably take a senior person to deal with all the groups involved, or a number of senior people and dedicate them to different areas that are encountering these transition problems and work it through to people, on committees with people, or on a team with people, from the municipalities and from that area to see that it is worked through and solved to everybody's satisfaction, so that is in motion.

In regard to his questions yesterday there were so many and they poured forth so fast from his lips it was like he was after getting into the rivers out in Corner Brook and getting an awful dose of beaver fever. I had to wait until Hansard came out today to get all the questions so I could have the department read down through Hansard and we will address them in the days coming. There are also a number of problems that have come up regarding the placement of persons. One in particular is in the management case and the others are in the areas of labour. Hopefully, these can be resolved through normal labour relations or regular labour union management channels, and let it take that procedure. When the day comes if I have to get involved I will try and deal with it the best I can. The particular case he wants resolved, I am sure that when the time comes it will be brought to my attention and I will deal with that one. I think I have covered most of the points that the hon. member has brought up.

The phasing in of taxes is a very difficult one. There has been a noticeable increase in some areas but I do not know if it is because of amalgamation as opposed to increased debt or the increase in payments on the debt load, the lessening of MOG grants, municipal operating grants, or whether it has been because of increased services. If he is referring specifically to the Goulds and the Goulds having to come in under St. John's taxes, I am not sure the wherewithal is there in municipal law for the minister's office, or the Department of Municipal Affairs, indeed to deal with the lessening, or the discount on taxes, or for a phase in of the taxes. It is certainly something that a transition team, or the person that he mentioned earlier, could work out with the newly created municipality, and if St. John's wants to come forward, or anybody wants to come forward, I guess, it could be addressed. But all these matters that he has brought to the floor this last couple of days have not gone without notice, and the department is on top of them. Hopefully I can get back with answers which, if not to his satisfaction, at least address and resolve the issues that he brings forth. This side of the House is very much for resolving these particular issues, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Mr. Speaker, earlier in Question Period this week I put a number of questions with regard to a proposed licence transfer at Little Bay Islands before the House. The Minister of Fisheries was not present. The Minister of Development took them under advisement.

In dealing with a petition on the same subject matter an hour or so later, the Minister of Health responded for the opposition not by dealing with the issue but by basically attacking me for practising my profession; for being a politician, and for politicizing an issue which the residents of Little Bay Islands, in a town hall meeting, had asked me to do just that - to politicize the issue; to bring it to the forefront.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HEWLETT: No, this is a Late Show debate.

What we have, Mr. Speaker, is a bunch of new owners, prospective new owners. It is not exactly sure when the deal as such is actually consummated, but they have met with the council. Council were put under sort of a pressure cooker of speedy deadlines for replies. The council felt pressured. If Little Bay Islands were the type of community where everybody went to Florida for Easter, I think they would have had the feeling that having come back from Florida they would have found that their fish plant had already been moved to Fleur de Lys because the few remaining residents had been quickly bundled into a town hall meeting and their agreement quickly gotten and a licence quickly transferred. That was the general feeling throughout the community.

The Minister of Fisheries today gave me some assurance that due process will be followed. He indicated as of yet he has not received a formal request for licence transfer, either temporary or permanent. That is I suppose a positive statement. However, the community has every right to be concerned. There have been problems with regards to its transportation system last summer that nearly killed the plant with regard to the ferry services. Having backed off on that particular matter now we have this problem of a licence transfer.

With the general centralization tendencies of the Wells' administration, with the impression that one gets that the Wells' administration regards rural Newfoundland as a luxury we can no longer afford, I think the citizens of Little Bay Islands have every reason to be concerned. Due process, Mr. Speaker, is a two-edged sword. It can lead to possibly a temporary transfer of licence and a transfer back to Little Bay Islands in short order, or it could possibly lead to a temporary transfer of licence which through an additional application of due process could lead to a permanent transfer of licence, and thereby the death of the particular community concerned.

So I would say to the ministry that the onus is now on government. You were elected to govern. The onus is now on government to bring a level of comfort to the citizens of Little Bay Islands that there is a future for them in the long term in the crab processing industry on their island. My office has passed on a request to the hon. Minister of Fisheries to meet with the council delegation of Little Bay Islands and I do hope the minister will agree to that request. That would be a good first step in allaying some of the fears, clearing up some of the confusion that surrounds this issue, and would hopefully make people feel a little more comfortable that they are not being railroaded here into something that will cost them the viability and even the existence of their community in the long term.

They asked me, much to the chagrin of the Minister of Health, to politicise this issue. I have so done. I have dealt with the local papers that are circulated in the Green Bay area. I did interviews with the Grand Falls radio stations, all three of them, with provincial CBC radio. I have been on Bill Rowe's open line. I have been on in Question Period.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HEWLETT: I have done my duty, Mr. Speaker, and I do hope the government will do its. Thank you very much.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, three ministers have answered this question now for the hon. member, the Minister of Development, myself, yesterday I explained we would take the thing under advisement and do what is right. Yesterday, as well under a petition, the Minister of Health laid out the case and the facts. He knows that area very well. The hon. member ran into Bargain Harolds and bought a jacket he was so frightened of him. The Minister of Fisheries, of course, spoke of it today as well. The hon. member is a new member of the House but he sat in the gallery long enough with the Peckford administration to know that the Late Show is a time where you ask ministers questions when you are dissatisfied with the answer. Now, how can you be dissatisfied with the Minister of Fisherie's answer, that if and when a request comes from the community dealing with this particular subject he will do everything in his power to give a proper and fair adjudication to the matter at hand? Now, the hon. member thinks he is living in the Peckford era. It is over. That era is dead. We do things differently now.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. FUREY: Now, be nice or I will limerick you right into the back wall over there.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FUREY: I got a limerick for you. Have I got a limerick for you?... and do not tempt me to throw it at you.

AN HON. MEMBER: Save it Chuck.

MR. FUREY: The hon. member understands that you ask a question in the Late Show when you are dissatisfied. The minister gave a very satisfactory answer, as much as he could. He has had no requests from people in Little Bay Islands. The issue has not even appeared before him so the hon. member may be hallucinating slightly. Or maybe he is like the Member for Humber West, if Flaubert had his Madame Bovary the House has its Madam Negative. I have never heard so much pessimism and negativity spill forth from one set of lips in so short a time as I heard today in the House of Assembly. We come in and talk about something positive, something good, about people feeling good about themselves, about the 500th anniversary, a golden opportunity to have a legacy of positive and something good. And what vomits forth spewing from the lips of the Member for Humber East? Beaver fever I think - all negative. What a whiner. I have never seen such a whiner in all my life. You should not be hanging around with the hon. Member for Humber East, maybe that is your problem. You are not normally a negative person, you are normally a logical, rational, thoughtful -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I am getting attacked on this side. Could you protect me? Could you protect me from my own side? The member is normally logical, rational and thoughtful, as he was last year in the estimates, and positive -

AN HON. MEMBER: A bad influence.

MR. FUREY: You are. You are a terrible influence, and I am getting suspicious of the hon. member for Humber East and the hon. Member for St. John's East. I expect at any time that one of you is going into the other's party, because you seem to be together on so many issues. The two East's are eye to eye, nose to nose, and bum to bum on so many issues, and that is shocking!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FUREY: I retract bums.

MR. SPEAKER: I remind the hon. member again about the rule of relevancy, and I am just not able to see the relevancy right here at the moment. There may be some, but I do not (inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Okay Mr. Speaker, I will get back to the relevancy.

The hon. member is normally positive and he understands the rules of the House, both as being a member and sitting in the gallery as Premier Peckford's assistant, so when you ask a question in the Late Show, it is because you are dissatisfied with the answer. How can you be dissatisfied with an answer given by the Minister of Fisheries that says clearly: when this issue arrives before me, I will adjudicate the facts. There will be no political interference. The Peckford days are over. It will be dealt with in a fair and balanced and proper way. How can you be dissatisfied with that? The issue has not even arrived on the minister's desk, so perhaps the hon. member is dreaming in technicolour, hoping for the (inaudible).

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to inform this hon. House of a couple of things. First of all, tomorrow we will be continuing with the rather enlightening debate that we had today on Bill 17.

There has already been a change in scheduling in terms of the estimate committees. The first estimate committee meetings will be Monday evening, where the estimates of the Department of Health will be examined here in the House, and the estimates of the Department of Mines and Energy will be examined in the Colonial Building. So we will be starting with the estimates on Monday.

I believe on Tuesday in the morning, in the House, the Department of Fisheries, and in the evening in the House the Department of Education. I think that is a tentative schedule for Tuesday.

Mr. Speaker, I would like for all hon. members to make note of that.

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Friday, at 9:00 a.m.