May 6, 1992               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                   Vol. XLI  No. 31

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Before proceeding with our routine business, on behalf of hon. members, I would like to welcome to the galleries today, students from St. Catherine's Elementary School, Port Union in the district of Trinity North, accompanied by their teachers, Teresa White and Annie Stagg.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform hon. members of the House of Assembly that after June 30, 1992 School Tax Authorities will cease to collect school tax -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: Wait, wait, now the other shoe, - and that on July 1, 1992 responsibility for collecting arrears will be assumed by the Tax Administration Branch of the Department of Finance.

The Department of Finance will on that date assume responsibility for the offices of the School Tax Authorities, including the liquidation of liabilities and the realization of all assets other than fixed assets. The Department of Works, Services and Transportation will on the same date assume title to all fixed assets of School Tax Authorities.

It will be the responsibility of the Department of Finance to collect all school tax arrears outstanding as of July 1. In this connection, School Tax Authorities have for the January to June period billed tax payers for the full annual amount of the tax. Tax payers who have paid half the amount by June 30 will be forgiven the remaining half, or be refunded any amount in excess of half. Tax payers who have not by June 30 remitted all taxes due and payable will not be relieved of the liability to settle any outstanding amounts. Government intends to pursue vigorously clearing up the substantial amount of school tax arrears of this and previous years using the collection policies and procedures available to the Department of Finance.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to thank the minister for providing me with a copy of this statement where he has announced for the fourth time, the abolition of the School Tax Authorities, so I would like to-

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I think the minister is trying to convince himself that it is really going to happen, I believe, because he has convinced most of the Province, but, Mr. Speaker, it raises a number of questions. You know, there is no doubt that the School Tax Authorities will cease to function as of June 30, but I want to ask the minister, where does he get the Legislative authority to do what he is suggesting he is going to do after June 30, as of July 1? Where does he get the authority to go about these measures which he is now telling the people of the Province that he is going to carry out - the legislative authority, I ask the minister? He does not have it as of yet. He does not have it, so I guess between now and then we will probably see something to that effect come into the House.

The other thing is: Will the Department of Finance now be hiring additional people to carry out this extra work, and will some people that will be coming out of the school tax authorities be hired to do this work? Will this tax be collected by the Department of Finance on a regional basis? Will we see it done through various regions of the Province? These are the kinds of questions that the Minister of Finance has not answered in his statement, so I would expect that over the next short while we can expect that by the minister.

The other thing here is that really I think the minister is attempting to - I do not know if he can justly penalize people the way he is saying that he is going to if they have not paid 50 per cent of their tax by June 30. I doubt very much if the minister is going to be able to get away with doing what he is saying he is going to do here today, because it is harsh punishment to say that people are going to be held accountable for 100 per cent of the school tax, if they are not 50 per cent paid by June 30.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. MATTHEWS: To impose some interest charges would have been certainly more acceptable than what the minister is suggesting.

Oral Questions

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. From recent news media reports it is pretty clear, I think, if one watched FPI Chairman Vic Young in his report to the shareholders on Monday, I think it was, it is pretty clear that FPI is planning for and looking at a major downsizing of the company that he represents in order to adjust to declining fish quotas, and I guess to restore profitability to the company.

Assuming the Premier has met with Mr. Young over the last few recent days to deal with this very important issue, can I ask the Premier: Does he know the scale of the cutbacks that are being talked about or being contemplated? For example, does he know how many more fish plants might be closed? How many more trawlers might be tied up? How many more trawlermen and fish plant workers face permanent layoffs? Does he know the answers to any of those questions at this stage?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's assumption is not correct. I have not met with Mr. Young in the last few days. I expect I will be meeting with him very shortly, but in any event I have not met with him in the last few days. I am not prepared to join with the Leader of the Opposition in speculating on fish plant closures or whether they will or they won't, or whether they might or they might not, and where they might or might not be. I do not think that serves the Province or its fishing interests very well, so I don't intend to do it. But I will be meeting with Mr. Young fairly shortly and I will make a statement to the House if there is anything that requires my making a statement to the House. Otherwise the Minister of Fisheries will in the ordinary course deal with the matter.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the Premier for the answer. I wasn't necessarily asking him to engage in speculation. I agree that sometimes can be unhealthy. On the other hand I am sure he would agree that it is important that the people of the Province know what is happening, particularly those who will be affected by decisions that the company might make in the future. So I am asking questions that people themselves are out there asking, and the government is the body that has to provide those answers.

Can I ask the Premier this question: Does he know whether or not a decision has already been made, for example, concerning the closure of the plants in Catalina and Ramea? Does he know if there is any truth to those stories? They certainly are circulating out there all over the place. Does he know if they plan to remove the trawlers which service that plant from the FPI fleet? Does he know anything about those questions?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I have had discussions in the very recent past with Mr. Young about their level of operations and how reductions in cod quotas will affect them, how reductions in other fish quotas might affect them, what their situation might be if there isn't increase fish available in the near future. We have had these kinds of discussions in the very recent past, but, Mr. Speaker, I say again to the Leader of the Opposition, I don't believe that he is serving the interest of any of the communities he mentioned well by causing these kinds of speculations at this stage. I will be meeting with Mr. Young, and I can assure the House that as soon as the government knows anything definitive on the issue it will make it known through the House, if the House is in session at the time.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just in response very briefly, I mean I agree with the Premier that these issues should not be out there hanging over the heads of the workers and the people of the Province. That is precisely why I am asking the Premier if he can clarify it one way or the other. He is the leader of the government and he should be able to provide those answers to the people.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Now, Mr. Speaker, it is clear, I think the Premier would agree from public statements made by Mr. Young, that FPI is obviously working towards a smaller fishing industry in this particular province. I guess it is fair to say, from government's statements in the past, that they share that particular philosophy, and that is what should be worked towards, a smaller fishery.

Let me ask him this question: Is this part of a deliberate strategy by his government to take advantage of the resource shortage, the resource crisis in order to permanently reduce the number of people who are going to be involved in the fishery in this Province in the future?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: There are two things wrong with the leader's question, Mr. Speaker. The Province is not working towards a smaller fishery. The Province would like to see a larger fishery but the Province cannot plant fish in the sea. They grow by natural processes and if the fish are not there and not available to be caught then that is what determines how large or how small the fishery may or may not be, not provincial government policy, or determination or anything else.

So, the Province does not have any such deliberate plan or scheme, as the Leader of the Opposition is talking about. The Province, like FPI, like the Fishermen's Union, like everybody else involved, have to bear the consequences of the number of fish in the sea available to be caught and that is what will dictate the level of fishing activity, either in fishing or processing activity in this Province, and not the wishes of FPI or the wishes of the government.

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

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

I have a question for the Premier. I want to refer the Premier to an article in The Evening Telegram of Saturday, May 2, where it says the Premier urges patience with EEC. I think, more appropriately, after reading the article, it probably could have read, Wells wimps out in Europe. I ask the Premier, did he openly discuss with the European community, a moratorium on fishing both outside and inside the 200-mile limit? Did he discuss that while he was in Europe?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I am glad the hon. member asked a question about that story. I was horrified when I saw the headline in the story. As I told the House yesterday, it is a total distortion, not only a distortion, it is completely the opposite of the position. What I have insisted upon is that our patience with the European community is at an end. I have asked the Government of Canada to display some political courage and take action now, before the fish stocks disappear, to protect the fishing interests of this Province, not to have patience. I have told the European community that we have lost patience with them and I have explained why, that for four years the Government of Canada has tried to negotiate a resolution to this problem through the diplomatic group and it has been totally unsuccessful. I told the European community quite frankly that our objective was to cause the maximum possible level of embarrassment to every community member, and not to have patience with them but to display the maximum possible level of impatience with them throughout the world, to bring the wrath of the world on their shoulders for the grossly irresponsible way they are fishing off the coast of Newfoundland. That is not patience, Mr. Speaker. We have run out of patience, we have no cause to have patience with them anymore.

Now, I cannot accept responsibility for what The Evening Telegram writes that does not reflect the reality, and I greatly regret that they do that. I have expressed it to other news media. Other news media, for the most part, seem to have gotten it pretty well correct. That particular story in The Evening Telegram does not accurately represent the position. So the hon. member's questions, based on that, have no relevance.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I have another question for the most misquoted, misstated Premier in Canada, because that is what it seems to turn into.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: Every time the Premier gets in a corner it is because the news media misquotes him or makes misstatements. The Premier is well aware that - there are no quotas outside of 200, there has been a NAFO-imposed moratorium outside of 200. I am a bit disturbed by the Premier's statements about our losing credibility, he seems to certainly suggest, if we don't impose a moratorium inside of 200; that would seem to lend more credibility to our argument about foreign overfishing.

I want to ask the Premier - there has been a moratorium in existence for years outside. He is suggesting a moratorium inside. Is he suggesting a total moratorium inside of 200, that all Canadian vessels would cease fishing? Is that what he is suggesting?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker. I am trying to solve what is a difficult problem for Canada, because we got ourselves into a bit if a problem in terms of credibility with the rest of the world on that moratorium question.

It is simply this: The minister, when he set the quota this year of 125,000 tons, and prohibited directed deep-sea fishing for cod, should, instead, have said: We have a moratorium inside. Because that is the reality of it. He's for deep-sea directed cod fishing, and he should have admitted to the world what it was. But the real problem may have occurred in 1986 when, instead of trying to get sole access to the entire stock of Northern cod or the sustainable yield of Northern cod for Canada by means of causing NAFO to declare a moratorium outside, we should have told the world: Those are Canadian stocks, managed exclusively by Canada. NAFO considers them Canadian stocks, so Canada should have and should fish the entire sustainable yield.

If that was our argument, that is what we should have done. But what we cannot with credibility do, and I couldn't stand before the people of Europe with credibility and defend, was the concept that we have a moratorium on cod fishing on this side of the line and none on that side of an imaginary line. There is no logic to it, there is no scientific sense to it, no scientific basis, and that, Mr. Speaker, was the flaw in our position that allowed the Europeans to do what they did, because they can then go with credibility to the rest of the world and say, `Look, Canada is abusing this for her own right, so we are going to create our own artificial quota outside. Canada is causing NAFO to put a moratorium outside when there is no scientific justification for treating the outside differently from inside the 200-mile limit. So, therefore, we are going to establish our own quota.' Now, that is the basis on which the Europeans did it and that is the most difficult thing Canada has had to deal with in the last four years.

So I said to the Minister of Fisheries, `Look, the sensible thing to do is if we feel we have a good argument for all of the sustainable yield of Northern cod, then let's make the argument on that basis. Let's not expose ourselves to having our credibility questioned by causing to be created an artificial moratorium outside when there is none inside.'

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The moratorium outside, as the Premier knows, has never been honoured, Mr. Speaker. The European community has flagrantly fished out there.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is that your question?

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, the question I was going to ask the Premier is: Where have the principles of adjacency and historic dependency gone, with the Premier's thinking? I mean, I have to wonder what happened to the Premier in Europe. I made some suggestions a few days ago about what he was doing over there.

Mr. Speaker, again the Premier didn't answer the question. Is the Premier suggesting that all Canadian vessels should stop fishing inside the 200-mile limit?


MR. MATTHEWS: Are you suggesting that the deep-sea vessels should stop fishing inside the 200-mile limit? That is the question I asked the Premier. I want him to explain for the people of the Province, because they are very interested in knowing the answer. We ran into it on the Burin Peninsula in the last couple of days. People are a bit confused by the Premier. Perhaps that is what he is trying to do, confuse the people.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, if there is not enough annual catch of cod, Northern cod, available to sustain the inshore allowance, yes, there should be a moratorium on directed Canadian deep-sea cod fishing. If there is not enough to sustain the inshore fishery, we must do that. We have to protect our future. There is no point in Canada going out there now and fishing the stocks to extinction together with the European community. Who are we helping by doing that? We are certainly not helping Canada, we are certainly not helping the Newfoundland deep-sea fishery and we are certainly not helping the inshore fishery. So we have to look at what is available.

Now, Canada has always reserved an allocation, not a limit, not a quota, an allocation, for the inshore fishery. They have assumed that the inshore fishery would catch about 115,000 tons. If they caught 125,000 tons, nobody stopped them. If they only caught 80,000 tons they didn't give the balance of the deep-sea. That is as it should be to protect that inshore fishery which must, I believe, be a priority, because the offshore, Canadian and otherwise, is a relatively recent innovation. Now, we have to protect that, and if that means putting a moratorium on the directed deep-sea cod fishery for a year, two years, three years, five years, whatever is necessary to rebuild the stocks, then we must do that because we must protect our basic fisheries in this Province, and if that is necessary to do it, then we must do it; but if it is not necessary, then don't do it.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A final supplementary to the Premier.

Have the Premier and the provincial government recommended to the federal Minister of Fisheries and the federal government that there be a moratorium placed on the deep-sea fishery for one, two, five years? And if that recommendation has gone, or if it is going to the federal government, what are the Premier and the provincial government going to do to address the fallout problems that will be associated with more plant closures, more laid-off trawlermen and so on? What plans does the Premier have in case such an event takes place?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, we have not asked the federal government, at this stage, to impose a moratorium on the directed deep-sea cod fishery, but if the Minister of Fisheries is going to set a quota at 125,000 tons, then he might just as well impose a moratorium and get the credit for doing it with the rest of the world, and cause pressure on the European community to enforce the moratorium that is outside the 200-mile limit.

Now, to deal with the second part of the question, the Opposition -I have noticed this a number of times during this session - keep insisting that the taxpayers of this Province take over federal responsibility to pay the consequences of fisheries. I don't know why they keep wanting to put that burden on the taxpayers. They do it day after day after day. Why isn't the provincial government going to pay more money? Day after day after day they ask questions to cause the Province to take on the responsibility of the federal government. For whom are they working, the people of this Province or John Crosbie and the Tories? Who are they working for? Whose interests are they protecting?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, we must properly manage our fisheries. We must properly manage our fisheries, and that proper management includes protection of the fish stocks for the future so that we can maintain our inshore fishery and so that we can maintain our offshore fishery, and maintain the offshore plants and the employment that results from it.

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

MR. WARREN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Environment and Lands.

Approximately two and a half years ago the government ordered Albright and Wilson to clean up the pollution from the abandoned fluorspar plant at Long Harbour. Would the minister advise how this cleanup is proceeding?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MS. COWAN: The cleanup is proceeding, Mr. Speaker. If he wants me to elaborate he is going to have to ask a further question, but it is, indeed, proceeding and, I think, in a very responsible and efficient manner.

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

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

I wonder would the minister try to explain to this House how she could say the cleanup is proceeding when her colleague, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, was on CBC yesterday saying that the cleanup is not proceeding and he is very upset about it? Would the minister confirm what has taken place so far with respect to the cleanup at Long Harbour?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MS. COWAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I did not hear what my colleague had to say yesterday morning on the radio. I would gather that, being the MHA for the area, he is impatient with getting on with the proceedings and may have been reflecting that impatience. However, I have been meeting with the Albright and Wilson management in the last couple of days. They have been with me at a meeting also, with our environmental assessment people, and we feel that the process is going ahead with due dispatch.

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

MR. WARREN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I say to the hon. minister that the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs did say publicly that he is very, very upset, he is very discouraged with the cleanup at Long Harbour. Now, surely goodness, the Minister of Environment and Lands should know what is going on out there. Mr. Speaker, my supplementary to the minister: Would the minister undertake to give this House a full report on the cleanup at Long Harbour?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MS. COWAN: Mr. Speaker, I think what is going in the Long Harbour area is outstanding. First of all, it is the very first time in the history of the Canadian nation that such an environmental cleanup has taken place with the closing of a plant. I am very, very pleased that we have been able to give them certain exceptions under the environmental assessment process, where there are items that are not of great concern. The phosphorus is of the greatest concern to us, and the company informed me yesterday that they are doing a risk study of this and then a risk management study. My department will be involved in that particular process and, again, I am confident that we will meet all the requirements necessary to see that the cleanup is done in an environmentally responsible manner.

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

MR. WARREN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My final supplementary. The minister never answered my question. Would the minister bring a full report of the activity to date on the cleanup of the situation in Long Harbour, and, at the same time, would the minister place financial liability on this company for not cleaning up this mess that is out there? Would the minister kindly do that for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MS. COWAN: I think this is a tempest in a teapot, Mr. Speaker, if you don't mind my saying so.


MS. COWAN: I will be only to happy to take this under advisement and see if there are any legal reasons or whatever, why I should not bring full information to the House; if there is none, then I certainly would be only too glad to bring a written report. However, I say again, as Minister of Environment and Lands, that I am pleased with the progress that is being made to date. The cleanup of that particular site is going to be a long job, and we have to resign ourselves to that because of the nature of the cleanup that has to take place.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Minister of Environment and Lands and it involves the Long Harbour site.

The principals of Albright and Wilson are involved with others in a new project to bring domestic garbage and other things from the New England states to that site for incineration, and I want to ask the minister, because this is a matter of grave concern to many Newfoundlanders, not just in the Long Harbour area, by what process is her department examining this project and what process will be undertaken before this government considers whether or not such a project will be permitted?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MS. COWAN: The same process will take place, Mr. Speaker, that takes place when any business within the Province or without, decides to launch some new industry or whatever here. They will apply to the Department of Environment and Lands for environmental assessment. This has not happened yet in regard to the particular waste to energy project that the Member for St. John's East mentions.

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

MR. HARRIS: Further to the minister, Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the minister can advise the House what confidence people can have in this process, if the Premier has already come out in favour of this project?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MS. COWAN: I find that, really a question that indicates, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. Member for St. John's East has not listened properly to the statements made by the Premier and by other members of our government who have spoken on this particular issue. Let me repeat again what has been said by our government, which I feel is an appropriate and broad-minded assessment of the situation.

Furthermore, to put it in words, Mr. Speaker, that perhaps the hon. gentleman can understand, we are neither for nor against the project; we are exploring the full environmental impact of this. As soon as the thing is registered, we will look into every question that is being asked by the Newfoundland public and even more questions, and once we are satisfied that the thing is either safe or unsafe to continue with. Then the decision will be made. We are neither for nor against it at this stage.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My final supplementary was to be to the Minister of Development, but in his absence I will ask the Premier. Can the Premier give the public some response to the concerns that are already being raised by consultants in the tourism industry, that the image of Newfoundland as the depository of New England and New York garbage is going to have a tremendous and negative affect upon the tourism industry in this Province? The advances that are being made in promoting Newfoundland as a wilderness tourism site, and all of that industry, is going to be negatively affected by this. Concerns are being expressed already. This is not just an environmental issue in terms of the toxic wastes that might be produced there, but also a development issue. Can the Premier comment on that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I am quite happy to do it. It will take a little bit of time, so I warn hon. members, to do it adequately it must take a bit of time. It is an extensive question.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Then the alternative is I take notice of it and give answers later. But, Mr. Speaker, there are two aspects to the question. One is, this matter is not being driven or motivated by New York trying to get rid of it's garbage or find a place to dump it's garbage. This is being driven and motivated by the company out at Long Harbour trying to find an economic means to help it continue the operation that it will have there for perhaps the twenty years it would take to adequately and thoroughly clean up that site, the old phosphorous plant. They know they are going to have to have substantial activity there for twenty years. They know they have substantial electrical assets there. They know they have a substantial port facility there, and they are trying to find some means of using those valuable assets, that would at the same time help them finance the cost, the tremendous cost, millions and millions of dollars that would be involved in cleaning up that site at Long Harbour. Now that is where the impetus is coming from. It is not New York trying to dump it's garbage somewhere else.

Now we have told the company in no uncertain terms that this Province is not prepared to see that built there unless the proposal goes through a complete environmental impact assessment. Now in case members don't know, an environmental impact assessment deals not only with the physical environment, it deals also with the economic, social and political environment. Now if the impact of building such a facility might have the kind of impact on the tourist industry that the hon. member mentioned, then that would make the project unacceptable. But, Mr. Speaker, we are not blindly prejudiced. We don't just put up a blank wall and say no, to anything. We bear in mind that we make the decisions on the basis of what is sound and sensible, and what can be justified. If it can't be justified, then we won't do it.

MR. TOBIN: How come when you were in Opposition you asked us not to do it?

PREMIER WELLS: We never did any such thing in Opposition.

MR. TOBIN: It is in Hansard!

PREMIER WELLS: Well, you dig out Hansard and we will deal with that if and when you dig it out.

AN HON. MEMBER: Another time. Carry on.

PREMIER WELLS: I will deal with what you dig out of Hansard. If you are talking about Bell Island you are talking about a totally different thing.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: That is exactly right.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: That was toxic waste. That is the difference. Bringing toxic waste into the Province.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if this project is not totally acceptable by all of those standards of measurement, not just the impact on the physical environment, the impact on the social and economic environment as well. If it is not acceptable after a full environmental impact assessment, then the project will not proceed. The government will not authorize it to proceed. But, Mr. Speaker, there is a major job to be done in cleaning up Long Harbour. It is going to take millions and millions of dollars and years of activity to see that is done.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: I have a question for the Premier. Six months ago the Premier named Ed Roberts as the new Justice Minister. In January Mr. Roberts took up that position. After all this time, as everyone knows, Mr. Roberts doesn't have a seat in this House of Assembly and there is no prospect of a seat for Mr. Roberts. Will the Premier now take the correct and proper constitutional action by removing Mr. Roberts from the position and appointing an elected member to the Justice Portfolio?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Roberts was sworn in, I believe, on February 12. I had anticipated by this time, on the basis of advice that had been given to me, that a member would have resigned. That was the expectation that I had. He has delayed his resignation, for whatever reason. I will leave that to a later date. That has made it impractical. Now, I have also been advised that two other members opposite are about to resign.


PREMIER WELLS: Two other members.


PREMIER WELLS: Two other members opposite. I am sorry! Three other members opposite. I apologize. It is not two, it is three other members opposite. Two are about to resign, one is not going to run again. I guess that was the answer.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I would prefer not to have to ask another hon. member, either on that side or this side, to resign to accommodate Mr. Roberts. I would prefer to wait a little while longer at least to see if one of those members who have already stated their intention to resign, will carry out their stated intention. There are two opposite and, if the hon. member wishes me to, I will name them.

AN HON. MEMBER: Would you name them?

PREMIER WELLS: Yes, I will, the hon. the Member for Ferryland and the hon. the Member for Port au Port.

MR. SIMMS: Well, you are wrong.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question Period has expired.

MR. SIMMS: The hon. the Member for Port au Port said he was running in the next election.


MR. SIMMS: Make no wonder you don't know what is going on, if you are waiting for that kind of information, depending on that. That is why we are (inaudible) here today.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I don't think what is going on now is in the Standing Orders, so the Chair is moving on to the next item.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I answered a question yesterday, and with the exuberance with which I answered the question I made a slight error and I would like to correct for posterity two dates in my answer. On page 958 of Hansard, May 5, 1992. The dates, September 17. The member asked about September 17, 1991 to October 15, 1991.

In the next column, I think about eight or ten lines down, I did not go to Baie Verte on November 7. The Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, an outstanding member, and I want to take credit for spending a day with him, I went to Baie Verte on October 7. These were the two minor corrections, but for historical purposes I would like for that second date to be corrected.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MS. COWAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again, to the question posed by the hon. Member for Kilbride. No trips were taken by me during the period September 17, 1991, to October 15, 1991, inclusive.

MR. SPEAKER: Before calling Orders of the Day the Chair would like to rule on a -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair would like to make a ruling on a couple of points of order that I have taken under advisement. The Chair would like to make a ruling now with respect to the point of order raised on Thursday, April 30, concerning the propriety, under the circumstances, of the Minister of Justice presenting that Department's estimates before the estimates committee - the rightness or correctness of this anticipated or potential development - members called upon me to make a ruling regarding this procedural matter.

Firstly may I say that I do not think it would be prudent or advisable to make a ruling based upon some possible or future development. That is, to make rulings based upon some anticipated or hypothetical situation which may or may not happen, and particularly when such a ruling is related to the activities of a committee of the House. In this regard I probably was a bit too generous in allowing the debate on the point of order that I did. Members will recall that I said something to that effect but I was not sure what we were into. But I knew we were into some shady area and wasn't able to think of the authority at the time.

I therefore refer hon. members to Beauchesne, page 222, paragraph 760, subsection (3): "The Speaker has ruled on many occasions that it is not competent for the Speaker to exercise procedural control over the committees. Committees are and must remain masters of their own procedure."

Also relevant is Beauchesne, page 232, paragraphs 821 and 822. Paragraph 821 reads: "(1) All rulings of the Chairman may be appealed to the committee; (2) There is no appeal to the House from the Chairman's ruling except by way of a report from the committee." Paragraph 822 reads: "Procedural difficulties which arise in committees ought to be settled in the committee and not in the House."

Now, with hon. members' indulgence I could relate to the members the results of some research that we have done in the matter, but I want to tell hon. members my ruling is substantially - supported by Beauchesne and many other authorities - that a procedural matter of committees ought to be dealt with by committees. Hon. members know the procedure for that. If the rules are unclear then it is the job of the House to make the rules clear. If there are some matters with which members find disagreement, then we will settle them the same normal way as we do with matters of committee, by agreement between the two House leaders, but substantially the Chair is not expected to rule on procedural matters that affect committees. With respect to the research: we have found, and I guess it falls into two categories, first of all hon. members should know that not every House has their estimates done by committees. There are still some houses doing them in the House and with that there is no problem, everybody understands that situation. Even with that some houses still have different rules with their committees so the research falls under two categories.

First of all there is a wide opinion which states the minister ought to be allowed to present the estimates, logically, because he is the one who would know the details of the estimates more than anybody else, but we do not always operate from logic, we operate procedurally. Included in that logic was an authority known as, Mr. Philip Laundy, who spent many years in the House of Commons as a table officer, and who now is being used by several speakers I might add because he is one of the greatest authorities on the role of the Speaker, and if anybody wants to know something about the Speaker they ought to read Mr. Laundy's book, as I have on several occasions.

The BC Legislature is among those that think the minister ought to be allowed for logical reasons, as New Brunswick. The other two jurisdictions, the House of Commons and the UK: in the UK where they run into procedural difficulties, where they run into difficulties with their committees, they normally pass a resolution of the House to take care of that particular situation. I suppose it sort of resembles our 'by agreement' except it is more formalized and it is done by a resolution of the House.

In Ottawa, which is the major one, it is permitted, but a minister under the circumstances, a minister who is not a member, is permitted in the committees by virtue of his executive position by being minister of the Crown and he is there on the same level as the deputy. He is not there as an elected member, he is not there under any particular parliamentary procedure, he is there by an executive procedure and he is regarded in the same way, as I said, as his or her deputy.

That is the evidence we have come up with that I wanted to present to hon. members, and I might also say as a distinction again with Ottawa, with the parliamentary right and the executive right, in Ottawa the committee has the right to order a minister who is not a member before the committee, but it does not have that right with a member who is elected. To distinguish between the parliamentary it is only the House who can order a minister before the committees. I just offer these guidelines and the benefit of the research that the table has found re. this matter, but as I said, it is a matter for the committee and not a matter for the House.

The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I followed with great interest your rather lengthy dissertation on that particular point and I am very pleased with the obvious depth of your analysis and so on. If I understand correctly what Your Honour is saying is that it is the committee who decides, that is the essence of Your Honour's ruling, and if Your Honour verifies that is so we could solve the problem right now by me simply asking for unanimous consent of the House to allow the Minister of Justice to appear before the Estimates Committee of the House. Mr. Speaker, that would avoid all kinds of procedural wrangling and so on in committee, if we could get the unanimous consent of the House to allow the minister to present his estimates to the committee. Mr. Speaker, I would like to request the unanimous consent of the House.

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

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I am speaking now partly in my capacity as Vice-Chair of the Social Services Estimates Committee. Mr. Speaker, there was never any question about anyone on this side of the House wanting the nonelected Minister of Justice, Mr. Roberts, to appear before our committee. We wanted Mr. Roberts, along with the other nonelected officials of the Department of Justice, to appear before the committee.

The question we raised is: Whether it is not necessary for an elected minister to lead the justice delegation with Mr. Roberts as well as the Deputy Minister, Ms. Spracklin, sitting at the acting minister's side and serving as advisors to the acting minister and elected minister, the same as in this Chamber. It is only an elected minister who may speak for the government in answering for the Department of Justice.

MR. SPEAKER: Again the Chair has made its ruling, and I will allowed a couple of submissions. I want also to advise hon. members - advise is not the correct word, I am just looking for another one - just to get the co-operation, I should say, from hon. members, that when they are rising on points of order - I am not requiring that for today but it is an appropriate time to say it - hon. members will know if we are on a point of order or a point of privilege, the job of hon. members is to assist the Chair with making the decision. So I would ask hon. members to quote authorities where they can.

I noticed the last day when I was going through this, I had very few quotes from hon. members, and hon. members should remember that because when the Chair makes it's decision it has to substantiate it by the authorities. So in the future if hon. members would remember that, it would help the Chair much more if they came up with authorities.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. BAKER: With all due respect, Your Honour, I was simply asking for unanimous consent of the House.

MR. SPEAKER: Precisely.

MR. BAKER: There are no authorities required. I am not so sure whether we have unanimous consent or not from the answer of the hon. member.

MR. SPEAKER: I don't want the hon. the Government House Leader to misunderstand. I made an exception to this. I said this was a bit different. I just gave hon. members that advice for the future when they are dealing with points of order and points of privilege. I understand quite well what the Government House Leader has done.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thought I was rather clear the first time. My point was that to avoid unnecessary waste of time at the committee level and procedural wrangling and things like that, that we could settle the matter here now simply by unanimous consent that the Minister of Justice could appear before the committee to defend the estimates of the Department of Justice.

The answer that I got from the hon. member opposite was simply a lot of political nonsense, diatribe and no answer to the request. So I ask again, to the Leader of the Opposition, who I assume is the leader, whether we have the unanimous consent of the House to allow the Minister of Justice to appear before that committee.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thought Your Honour had clarified the matter for us in that it is up to the committee, it is left to the committee.

MR. SIMMS: Exactly, that is his ruling.

MR. MATTHEWS: That is the Speaker's ruling. That is His Honour's ruling, that it is up to the committee.

AN HON. MEMBER: The committee will (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: The committee will. One other way, of course, Mr. Speaker, to simplify it and clarify it is one of two things, for the Premier to fire the Minister of Justice and appoint an elected member of the Legislature or for the acting Minister of Justice, which we have seen time and time again, to come before the committee.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Now, you want to resolve it in a simple way, there it is.

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

MR. BAKER: It is my understanding now that the Opposition has said, no, they do not accept the Minister of Justice appearing before the Estimates Committee, they do not accept that. That is my understanding, we do not have unanimous consent of the House, Mr. Speaker. That is my understanding.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I will recognize the hon. the Member for St. John's East because he has not made a submission.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I guess for clarification of the Chair, by way of a point of order, my understanding was that the Government House Leader asked the House for unanimous consent to do something to the rules of a committee. It is my understanding that committees of this House are masters of their own rules and procedure and that the House doesn't tell them what to do in terms of that. That has been the Speaker's ruling on the issue and I think that the Government House Leader's request for unanimous consent here in this House about something that a committee would do is not proper and appropriate. I would like your honour's ruling on that.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Government House Leader is deliberately misconstruing what we are saying. I will reiterate it. There is no objection to the nonelected Minister of Justice, Ed Roberts, advising the acting Minister when the elected acting Minister sits in the House and answers for the Department of Justice. There is no objection from the Opposition to the nonelected Minister of Justice, Mr. Roberts, attending Estimates Committee meetings, and advising an elected acting minister, who will head the Justice delegation at the Estimates Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair, again, has been fairly flexible because the hon. the Member for St. John's East raises a question whether or not it is permissable. The hon. the Government House Leader was asking for agreement from the House. Of course by agreement from the House we could do anything and since I am not sure what the agreement was, it is not for the Chair to decide. The Chair can decide that the matter is over with. The Chair has made the ruling, and it is up to others what they interpret from the explanation given by the Official Opposition.

Orders of the day.

Private Member's Day

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burgeo - Bay D'Espoir.

MR. GILBERT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GILBERT: Mr. Speaker, this is a very important resolution that I put forward today because it affects the lives of several hundreds of people in the District of Burgeo - Bay D'Espoir. I have narrowed it down to the first, 'WHEREAS the inshore fishery has been a complete and utter failure this year on the South Coast, west of the Burin Peninsula.' Because the federal government, when they look at the South Coast fishery they take from Cape Race to Cape Ray. In that area this year I understand that part of the fishery has been a very good fishery. As a matter of fact in Placentia Bay this year, I think the bottom part of Placentia Bay around Southern Harbour and places like this, I understand that the inshore fishery has been exceptionally good this year, and as it was last summer in Placentia Bay - the inshore fishery. So it distorts the statistics when you ask the federal Department of Fisheries and point out the suffering that is going on in the inshore fishery on the South Coast west of the Burin Peninsula, particularly in the District of Burgeo - Bay D'Espoir, and west.

Now I understand that my colleague from Fortune - Hermitage says that there are areas there where the fishery is very good. But I intend, as I carry on in this debate this afternoon, to point out the figures, and show the figures that have been presented to me, particularly by the fishermen in my district, and the fishermen in McCallum, Francois, Grey River, Ramea and Burgeo. That will point out in very graphic detail what has happened.

As I have said before in this House, Mr. Speaker, nothing dramatic has happened to the fishery on the South Coast, but it is a gradual decline in the fisheries, and I have the figures that I will present this afternoon to see what has happened in the South Coast fishery over the last five years.

Now because of this gradual decline those fishermen that I represent in the District of Burgeo - Bay D'Espoir claim nobody has listened to them. They feel that they are the forgotten people. They have made their presentations and their concerns about the decline in their fishery to the federal government, to their union, to the provincial government.

So over the last two or three months I have taken it upon myself to make people aware of what is actually happening in the inshore fishery west of the Burin Peninsula, as I said, particularly in my area.

Now over the last few weeks since the figures were available for the first three months I have been through the district, and I have been in the communities of McCallum, Francois, Grey River, Ramea and Burgeo, and had meetings with the inshore fishermen. We have discovered that indeed this year the failure is complete, and it has reached a stage now where those people will find that on May 15 their unemployment will be expiring and they do not have enough stamps to make another claim.

Now you must remember when we are talking that we do not know what is going to happen to the total inshore fishery in Newfoundland this year, because the fishery along the South Coast is different than the northwest coast fishery or the northeast coast fishery, for the simple reason that the one thing we know for a fact is that the inshore fishery along the South Coast is now over for this year. You have a couple of more weeks, but June, July, and August were never great months for the fishery on the South Coast.

Traditionally, in the old days, the fishermen east of François would come down and fish in Cape St. Mary's and Cape Pine, and the ones west of François, Burgeo, Ramea west, would go over and fish in Cape Breton in the summertime. So the South Coast fishery in the summertime is closed, but the fishermen fished the full eleven to twelve months of the year. It was a different fishery than anywhere else because they did spend the full year involved in the fishery, albeit some of it not right off their coast, so they moved to be involved in it.

The reason for the first part of this resolution is to point out that there is a very serious problem, and it is in a certain area of the South Coast. This fishery is different that anywhere else in this Province, and we know for a fact that it is a failure. We do not know what is going to happen in the northeast coast. We do not know what is going to happen in Labrador, but we do know that the fishery on the South Coast is a failure. It is for this reason that I ask that it be resolved that this House go on record as asking the Department of Employment and Immigration to extend unemployment benefits to these South Coast fishermen as was done for the northeast coast fishermen and women in the 1991 season.

The question that I am asking, or the solution that I am asking for those people right now is not new. There is tradition. There is history for what I am asking. Why I narrowed it down to what I did was to point out to the federal government that if they were to take the area from Cape Race to Cape Ray the statistics would be different. It is for this reason that I intend to give the statistics for the area, the district of Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir.

I ask members, as sometimes happens with private members' resolutions, we have people who want to play politics with it so they get up and change it by adding to it or deleting from it. So I ask, because this is a very important one for the people who are going to be affected, the ones who are going to have to go to social services offices after May 15 unless something is done, I ask that we do not play politics with this resolution today and do not ask to make amendments to it, but to accept it as it is, a serious resolution on behalf of the people who live in my district, and the inshore fishermen in that district who make their living from the inshore - totally from the inshore - and are twelve months of the year fishermen.

As I have said, on the South Coast the inshore fishery is basically a fall and winter fishery, but I am going to give some statistics now as to why I am asking the federal government to extend the unemployment insurance to the people affected, and I am going to take it from my district particularly. I am sure that other members, as they speak this evening, will be able to provide the statistics and justify why they are supporting this petition, the ones that represent the South Coast districts.

I will take the communities now as I go along, and I will take them from east to west, so I will take McCallum. McCallum is a community in the first starting of my district. It is on the coast, it is a coastal community. The only way you can get there is by boat or helicopter. There are about 180 people living there and there are forty-five inshore fishermen.

Now in that area - I just have a figure that I would like to talk about for a minute. In the community of McCallum in the year 1991, for the first three months of the year, there were 178,000 pounds of all species landed. The fishermen in McCallum are different than they are in François, Grey River, Ramea and Burgeo, because they mostly fish with gill nets. So we have in this area that in 1991 for the first three months they caught 178,000 pounds. Now in the first three months of 1992 you will notice that there were some dramatic changes. The fishermen in McCallum caught 61,000 pounds in the same three months in 1992. So this again bears out why it is important that this area be looked at differently than, say, the areas in Placentia Bay or St. Mary's Bay, because the fishery has not been as extremely bad as it is on this area of the South Coast.

Now just for comparison's sake I will go a little east of McCallum, because I have the figures here for Hermitage too. I know the Member for Fortune - Hermitage will be talking about it. Just to tell you that it is not only in the district of Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir, but I do have the Hermitage figures. In 1991 there were 633,000 pounds of all species sold to Conpak Seafoods in Hermitage. So that was the 1991 season. In 1992 there was 343,000 pounds caught by these fishermen in Hermitage, and I do not know how many fishermen are in Hermitage, but I have the total weight. So what I am saying is that in that area there is certainly a rather dramatic decline this year over the gradual ones that I will talk about as I go along in this. But you can see that the people in McCallum are going to be in a desperate situation this year, as many of them have not qualified for their unemployment, although some of them have.

As we move on westward and we go to François, François again is another coastal community. Its only reason for being is that it is involved in the inshore fishery. One hundred and eighty people live there, twenty seven inshore fishermen. The only people who would live in François who are not making their living out of the inshore fishery would be the three or four teachers that are in the school and the one man who works in the bait depot. Everybody else in that community, men, women and children, are dependent on the inshore fishery, as is the same in McCallum. In McCallum we have the same thing only we have a federal fisheries officer in McCallum instead of a fellow who works in the bait depot. But when you talk about, it is teachers or federal government employees, one way or the other. The rest of them are depending for their living on the fishery.

We then go to Grey River. In Grey River you have twenty full-time fishermen, population is around 200. Again, statistics are equally as bad. I was talking to the chairman of the fishermen' committee there this morning, Ephraim Warren. He tells me that there are only about two fishermen out of that twenty who will qualify for their unemployment now on May 15, unless the unemployment is extended. So you can see the serious problems that are now facing the people.

These are the three communities that have no other reason for existing other than the inshore fishery. They do not have a plant for processing. The fish is taken out, sold and processed elsewhere. So we are talking about the livelihoods of the people in those three communities. Unless something is done and the federal government listens to the pleas that have been made by the fishermen and by myself, by the provincial Department of Fisheries - which has recognised the problem and have already written the federal Minister of Fisheries pointing out what has happened on the South Coast this year - there is going to be a real problem and those people will have no other choice but to resort to welfare in a few days time when the unemployment runs out on May 15. Now we go to Ramea and Burgeo, the two biggest communities on the South Coast and as we listened to Question Period today we heard some of the doubts that have been raised by members of the opposition and I do not want to digress from that to talk about the plants because there is a lot that could be said, but I will talk about the inshore fishermen at this time just to point out that the problem is equally as bad in Ramea and Burgeo.

Ramea is a community of 1,400 people and there are thirty-two inshore fishermen. Now the statistics for Ramea, I had them here and they are rather interesting too because when I get to Ramea I can go from 1986 to 1992 in the first quarter just to give you basically what we are talking about. I can give you the cod landings for 1986, for Ramea, which was 137,000 pounds in January. In February it was 504,000 pounds and in March it was 277,000 pounds for a total of 936,000 pounds for the first quarter of 1986.

If we go to the first quarter of 1987, you will find that the total landings was 949,000 pounds for this same period in Ramea with these thirty-two fishermen. In 1988, it started to drop off, there were 774,000 pounds. In 1989, now you see here is where the problem started to come in. In '89 there were 144,000 pounds; in 1990, 149,000 pounds, in 1991, 156,000 pounds and this year 1992, 50,000 pounds, so you can see, Mr. Speaker, this is a real serious, serious problem and it is one that follows all along the South Coast .

I have some statistics here that the fishermen at Burgeo got for me and they put it in a graph form. I intended to table all those statistics that I am talking about, but we have for the figures for 1986 for Burgeo for the cod landings, approximately 550,000 pounds. In '87, it was down to 330,000 pounds, in '88, it was down to 220,000, in '89, it was down to a little over 150,000; in '90, it was down to 50,000 pounds and this year about 20,000 pounds was landed in Burgeo, and in Burgeo you have fifty-two inshore fishermen so, Mr. Speaker, you can see that this is the thing that has followed all along the South Coast and it has happened over a gradual decline, as those fishermen have been saying to everybody who would listen to them and they feel that a lot of people have not listened to them, and this is where their problem comes in. They feel that they are neglected and nobody is listening and yet they are forced into a situation where they are possibly going to be faced with going to the social services offices after May 15.

Now I have here, a letter that was written by William Bowles, he is the chairman of the Fishermen's Committee in Burgeo and he wrote it to the editor of one of the papers on the West Coast, I guess it is the Gulf News, and it starts off: the fishermen in 3P and 3Ps areas, during the past number of years have experienced a total failure in the fixed-gear inshore fishing, and he says: in the fall of 1991 in the years before us there is nothing to be joyous about, fishermen have doubled and trebled their efforts and they do not get enough stamps to qualify for unemployment. This is basically what has happened. He says: less than ten years ago, a fisherman's take home pay was about 75 per cent of his earnings. Today, this percentage has decreased to 40 or 45 per cent of his earnings. In other words, his fishing income is less than what he is getting from unemployment.

When I talked to George Durnford in Francois and we were talking about the landings and the fish, what has happened is the trawl fish that they are getting right now, the few they are getting in Francois - I just quoted the statistics - are sixteen to eighteen inches long. In other words, it is tomcods they are getting in the trawls. There is no size to them. So, it has been a total failure. When they go and pay for their bait and their fuel, it is not really worth their while to fish. So they have a problem. They have heard all kinds of reasons as to why it was a failure, and we can talk about some of them here today, I suppose.

When we talk about the things that caused the failure, the one we talk about mostly is foreign overfishing. Everyone knows about foreign overfishing on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks. So naturally, if that had an effect on the total fishery in Newfoundland, it would have some effect on the South Coast. However, on the South Coast, in this particular area, they didn't have catastrophes like ice and then rebound back, this thing has been a gradual thing over the last five or six years.

So in 1987 - 1988, the big thing that was talked about on the South coast as the reason for the failure was the French overfishing in 3Ps. Now, that is still going on and it is supposed to be resolved sometime during the next year or so when the world court gets a chance to settle it.

The other thing the inshore fishermen on the South Coast are talking about is the sixty-five footers. They talked about the side draggers that were used from the plants there at one time. There were thirty-odd of them. They have been replaced by the sixty-five footers. There are about 200 of them. They feel that they have had some effect on it.

Of course, the big problem that they see on the South Coast now is a new phenomenon to the South Coast, seals. Never in the history of the older fishermen there did they ever see any seals. Now, when they go out to haul their gill nets in Francois or Grey River or McCallum, they are hauling up eight or ten seals every day. So it is not the traditional grey seal that we asked about, but it is the hoods and the harps. Certainly the increase in the seal population must be having some effect on this gradual decline.

So these are just some of the problems they talk about. Some of them are concerned about the fact that the moratorium on the salmon season has now been forced upon them. So they are losing two or three stamps a year which they were normally getting to help them in their fishing income. That is gone because of the enforced closure of the salmon fishery by the federal government and, I suppose, to some extent by the Province who shared it. But these are the points that they make for the decline in the fishery.

However, Mr. Speaker, it is not my intent here today to debate what is causing it. I just want to put them out, as this is what is causing it. I am, in the first part of this resolution, talking about asking the federal government to extend the unemployment for the fishermen along the South Coast who haven't been able to get enough stamps over the last three months to qualify when their claims run out on May 15.

Now, we could go on and have a great debate about the unemployment for fishermen, why the fishermen have to file twice where everybody else can get ten stamps and file once. But these are things that the federal government - everybody says that the fishery is going to rebuild, with the moratorium and the cutback in quota of the offshore everything is going to rebuild. But those causes have to be looked at, every one of them. Those people don't want unemployment for the sake of unemployment, and they don't want the programs that were given to them before where they were building fences around cemeteries and stuff like that. These people want to be in the fishery when the stock is rebuilt. They want to be in their boats while they are waiting, the three of four years that we are waiting for it to rebuild. We are talking here today of a temporary measure of extending the unemployment from the 15 of May for a couple of months this year to see how the thing is going to go. But what they are asking for in the long run is for the federal government and all governments and the union to get together and offer a solution. Those people are full-time fishermen, they don't fish for six weeks or three months, or four months, they fish twelve months of the year in this area. And they are asking that while we are waiting - if everybody is right and we are going to solve all those problems and what caused the failure in the inshore fishery on the South Coast - they are asking that they be given the opportunity to be there when the fishery has rebuilt, and they will have the opportunity to be in their boats and be able to carry on the inshore fishery and provide a living for their families, and to keep their communities alive.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I will be saying a few more words on this later on. My time is up.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. gentleman's time is up.

MR. GILBERT: So I will sit down and let someone else talk about it. I will be cluing up later on this evening. But the point is, this is a plea from the inshore fishermen on the South Coast of Newfoundland, particularly in my district, asking for immediate help and asking that the governments look at the long-term solution while they are waiting for the stock to rebuild.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I would like to participate in this debate on this Private Member's resolution put forward by the hon. the Member for Burgeo - Bay D'Espoir. I might say it is an important and serious resolution, one that should be brought to the floor of the Legislature, there is no question. There has been an ongoing problem with the inshore winter fishery for the South Coast, the Southwest Coast, particularly, as we all know; we have all been aware of it for months. The people up there have a very serious situation where they are wondering how they are going to survive. So I think a call for an extension of unemployment insurance benefits for people in the areas affected is a very legitimate one, and one that I think we, as provincial legislators, should support.

I want to say to the minister very seriously and sincerely that I am proposing amendments to his resolution. It is not to in any way water down his resolution or to take away from the seriousness of the resolution. It is just that there are a couple of other areas that I want to incorporate in the resolution.

So, Mr. Speaker, I am proposing the following amendments: After the first 'Be it resolved,' that paragraph, I want to insert another 'Be it resolved' - 'that this House call upon the federal government to extend the unemployment insurance benefits to fisherpersons in Labrador and other areas where they cannot or will not be able to fish because of ice conditions. I want to include that because we are soon going to be into that situation again where we know in Labrador and areas on the Northeast Coast, people will not be able to fish.

So that is another problem, Mr. Speaker, that our people are going to be faced with very, very shortly, and we thought that this was an opportunity today to incorporate that in the hon. member's resolution - as I said, not to take away from the seriousness of the issue that the member is talking about, but we have these other problems.

The other thing I want to amend is in the final 'Be it further resolved,' Mr. Speaker. I want to delete all the words after 'March of 1992' to read, 'to all fisherpersons who experience catch failure and were omitted from the original payout of this allowance.' That is referring to the $800 gear-up allowance which was paid to certain fishermen, as the member said, in the Province of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in March of 1992. That is correct, and people in the hon. gentleman's area in the South, and particularly the Southwest Coast area, certainly should be included in that program. But the reason we wanted to include that amendment is that there were people in other areas who had catch failures where on one side of the line people got the gear-up program and some people on the other didn't, even though there was a catch failure. It's all tied into, I guess, the maze and the mess there was in the fishery. We all know the bit of controversy there has been about this $800 gear-up allowance, where some people who were very justified in receiving it have received it.

So those are the reasons for the amendments, Mr. Speaker, that I am proposing.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, I have given a copy to the Clerk prior to my standing, and he is going to get copies for members to have a look at them.

So those are the reasons for the amendments, not to take away from the seriousness of this issue, because it is a very serious issue, you know, one that I don't see any member of this House having problems supporting, because we all realize the seriousness of the fisheries crisis in the Province and what is going to be the end result. I guess we are all a bit afraid to guess what is going to be the end result.

Now, I know, Mr. Speaker, that the federal minister met with a committee, I believe, of fixed-gear fishermen some time ago and had discussion on the matter. My understanding is that there were no commitments made at the meeting. I know the federal minister has under consideration this serious area that the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir is talking about. I hope, as I said a number of days ago, that the federal minister does come forward with some aid package for those fishermen to take care of their problems, the plant workers and all those affected. I hope he does. But having said that, I am a little disappointed today with the hon. member's resolution which is a common occurrence here in the Legislature. It seems that members of the government, particularly, government members for the most part, almost to a person, call upon the federal government for assistance, which I support, and I think the federal government should participate, but it is almost like they have shirked their responsibility as members of a provincial government.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not everybody.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, not everybody. I said almost to a person, so that left those out who legitimately should be left out, but having said that, the majority of government members who -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member has placed a couple of amendments so we should now rule on them if the hon. member doesn't mind. To make sure we have it done correctly, does the hon. member have someone second his resolution?

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. SPEAKER: Just so everybody understands, the amendment was in two forms. First of all, it was the addition of another resolve and then there was an amendment to a further resolve, and the effect of both really is to broaden the scope of the amendment, so I rule that it is in order. I just want to say again to hon. members that they might want to look at this. Our Standing Orders are very lax with respect to private member's resolutions. In other Houses they are much more stringent and they would not allow any more than one resolve, but we don't do that so it makes it difficult sometimes, as hon. members know. We don't do that so it can't be ruled out of order. And, of course, as to the amendments, the effect of both is just to broaden the scope, so I rule both in order.

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I think the Member for Carbonear has some problem.

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, I ask the member for one minute to speak.

MR. TOBIN: No, you will lose your time then.

MR. MATTHEWS: It is going to be taken from my time then.

MR. TOBIN: The answer is, no.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member doesn't want to.

The hon. member may continue.

MR. MATTHEWS: It is not that I don't want to be co-operative, Mr. Speaker. I am just trying to get my few remarks out in the time that I have, having broadened the resolution to include those other -

MR. HEARN: (Inaudible) let him speak.

MR. TOBIN: Let him get up and make his speech for the Liberals.

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I was saying it seems to be a shirking of responsibility by members opposite. Every time they rise on an issue, a crisis, in Newfoundland and Labrador about Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, the people they were elected to the Legislature to represent - of course, as I said, I have no difficulty with them calling upon the federal government for assistance, but they never propose that their government, themselves, the government most and first responsible to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, ever contribute to any kind of an assistance program. It is kind of hard to follow that kind of thinking and that kind of logic because they are the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. The government in Ottawa is the Government of Canada.

DR. KITCHEN: It is a foreign country.

MR. MATTHEWS: It is a foreign country, the Minister of Finance says. The only thing foreign in this country to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians is the government that the Minister of Finance is part of. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are wondering really why they exist. What are they all about? What do they do for us? I see the Minister of Fisheries smiling. I don't know if he is smiling in agreement or if he is smiling with amusement. There he is nodding. I don't know if he is nodding with approval or nodding in dismay at my statement. People all over the Province are asking the question, What is this provincial government responsible for? Why don't they do something for us?

AN HON. MEMBER: Fairness and balance.

MR. MATTHEWS: Fairness and balance. The fairness and balances do nothing, Mr. Speaker. That is fairness and balance. I suppose it is hard to be off balance when you don't do anything, I say to the Minister of Finance. It is hard to be off balance when you don't do anything day in and day out. I am sure when the members opposite try to tell their constituents what they have done for them since they became the government, they must have a nightmare trying to come up with it. They must get their ideas from nightmares, because they don't propose to do anything.

The Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir and the Member for Fortune - Hermitage have some very serious problems in their areas. We all have problems in our areas. Their area, the Southwest Coast particularly, has a serious problem - the Member for LaPoile. But do you ever hear them stand in their place or say anything publicly that they feel that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador should develop an assistance program to help those people in their areas who are hurting so badly? Never will you hear it. Never. Why? Why? Why?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) from Ottawa (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: You are waiting for everything from Ottawa. There you go again, Mr. Speaker. You are waiting for everything from Ottawa.


MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, everything from Ottawa! You kick Ottawa, and you kick Ottawa, and you kick Ottawa, and, at the same time, every day you are asking Ottawa for more money.

AN HON. MEMBER: We were not waiting for the (inaudible) to do the environmental impact in Long Harbour.

MR. MATTHEWS: You were waiting on them for everything. That is another story, Long Harbour. I know what happened in Long Harbour in 1989. I can still remember the television coverage of the Premier out there shaking hands with them when he told them coming off work: 'You take care of me and I will take care of you.' I remember it all too well. I am sure that within the next twelve months we will see it on television again, I say to the hon. member, with the caption underneath: Now, really, what did Clyde do for you after you took care of him? I am sure we will see it. I am sure the people of the Province will be reminded, the same as a lot of the things the Liberal Party said in their campaign document, what they were going to do for fishermen, and catch failure - insurance, I say to the Minister of Fisheries. He hasn't implemented one bit of it.

We do have a serious problem here, in other areas of the Province. That is why I amended the resolution to include that 'Further be it resolved' because we are going to have a problem in Labrador and areas of the Northeast Coast,where people are not going to be able to fish.

MR. WINSOR: The ice moved in today.

MR. MATTHEWS: The ice moved in today, the Member for Fogo says. So you know the problem we have there.

The other problem we have, of course, is that if they could get out to fish are they going to catch any fish? Will there be any there to catch? That is the other thing.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) know for sure what we are asking now (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Exactly.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: No, I am not changing anything, I say. It is still in there: 'Be it resolved that this House go on record as asking the Department of Employment and Immigration to extend the unemployment insurance benefits to these South Coast fishermen, as was done for the Northeast Coast fishermen in the 1991 season.' We have not changed that, and we agree with calling for that, so we are not weakening it. But we are also recognizing that we are going to have another problem in Labrador and other areas of the Northeast Coast with ice, so why not incorporate that into the resolution, as well?

We could have waited for another week and have another member on this side get up and do a private member's resolution on Labrador and the Northeast Coast, I say to the member. We would have done that, but we don't see where we are taking away from the hon. member's resolution. We support it, I say to him. We support it strongly and hope that the federal minister and the federal government come up with a few dollars. They may be able to come up with a few dollars even more quickly, I say to the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir, if he can convince his counterpart, the Minister of Fisheries, to put in a few dollars, as well, to a package of some sort. Maybe he will. It is always easier to get something from someone else if you have a few dollars in your pocket and say, 'We are willing to do this.' But when it is consistently one way, you have to ask the question: How much longer will it continue, or can it continue? That is the question.


The member should do some lobbying with his minister, and his ministers over there, the Member for Fortune Hermitage, the Member for LaPoile. They should all be doing that. But it is so popular these days to blame it all on the feds, to slap it all in their lap. You blame them for the failure. Then you knock them for some money and if they don't give the money you knock them, but you never say what you are willing to do about the situation - never a suggestion of what this provincial government is going to do for anyone. I don't know.

Today, Mr. Speaker, I want to go on record as saying that, in essence, the position of this provincial government as espoused by the Premier today is that he supports a moratorium, by the way, inside the 200-mile limit, by Canadian deep-sea offshore vessels. He supports that. We pinned him down today and he supports it.

So can you imagine the fallout there is going to be if that fishery is eliminated? Can you imagine the plant workers and the trawlermen, and all the other businesses in those communities where offshore plants are located, if the Premier's suggestion is accepted? I believe very strongly that the Premier is advocating and recommending to the federal government the elimination of the deep-sea fishery. But, I asked him today, if his suggestion, if this moratorium is imposed, what plans does the Premier have for those people in rural Newfoundland? What plans? I didn't ask him how much money he was going to put in. I asked: 'What plans do you have? Do you know what the fallout will be, how many plants will close, how many trawlermen will be unemployed, how many fish plant workers will be unemployed, how many other small businesses will go bankrupt, if there is a moratorium placed on the deep-sea fishery? So what plans do you have to deal with that, Mr. Premier?' And he had no suggestions. What did he do? He attacked me -

MR. TOBIN: Asking him what plans he had.

MR. MATTHEWS: - for asking what plans he had. The Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador got upset because I asked him what plans he had as Premier, as Leader of the Government of the Province, to deal with that crisis.

MR. TOBIN: And he attacked you.

MR. MATTHEWS: He attacked me, got upset, accused me of all kinds of things. I am only asking for the people out and about the Province who are asking me on a daily basis: 'What is going to happen to us?' Two days, down in our area of the Province, my colleague and I, last Monday and Tuesday, twenty-five or twenty-six different groups made presentations to us. They are asking the question: 'What is going to happen to us? Who has a plan to keep body and soul together?' Those are the questions they are asking, very legitimate questions. They are very concerned about what might happen to them, fearing the worst, thinking it is all going to come down around their ears, particularly in light of the statements by the Chief Executive Officer of Fishery Products International over the last few days. They are very, very concerned.

It is incumbent upon the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to have a plan for those people, I say to the Minister of Fisheries, who is listening and making notes, and I am sure he is going to respond. It is incumbent upon this Minister of Fisheries and this provincial government to have a plan for those people. They are very suspicious, frustrated, out and about this Province. They feel abandoned, I say to members opposite. They are very cynical of politicians of whatever stripe, whatever level, whether it is municipal, provincial, or federal. They are very cynical people out and about today about politicians and politics. They question our motives, our sincerity. It is all because they don't feel that anyone is paying enough attention to their problems. That is the reason. They don't think we are taking our jobs seriously enough, I say to members opposite.

So it is time that members opposite - they are the government of the day. The people elected them to be their government, to look after their problems, to find solutions, to assist, where necessary. But what have they done since they have been elected, except throw up their hands and say: 'It is Ottawa's problem. You deal with it, Mr. Ottawa.'

So I want to say to the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir that it is a very serious resolution that he has put forward, one that I totally support. We have broadened it a bit to include other areas that are having or will have problems. We are asking that the $800 gear-up allowance, which was paid to a number of our fishermen, be expanded to include all of those, including those on the South and Southwest Coasts, who were omitted for some reason, unjustifiably omitted from that program. We are asking that they be included, and others.

All over this Province there were pockets of catch failure this year. And how they came up with the decisions on who got it and who did not is mind-boggling, Mr. Speaker. It is mind-boggling how some people were omitted and others received it. There are accusations that people received the $800 gear-up allowance who didn't deserve it. There are claims that there were a lot of people who were legitimate, really should have received it, and didn't receive it. So that is the question that has to be addressed, and the hon. member is correct in that.

But I want to say to him, there are other areas of catch failure around the Province that did not get addressed either and we are calling on this resolution, we are asking this resolution, amending it to ask that those people be included as well -

MR. TOBIN: Labrador.

MR. MATTHEWS: -yes, Labrador for the ice, and other areas of the Province where there are catch failures that were omitted for some reason or other, that they be included, so it is a very, very serious resolution.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) amendment.

MR. MATTHEWS: Well, that is up to him, they can vote as they feel free on the amendment.

MR. TOBIN: If they want to vote against Labrador, they can.

MR. MATTHEWS: Well I think Labrador should be included, if not we will be back here next week with another resolution, as I said earlier, calling for an extension because of the ice problems. Not only Labrador but other areas, so -

MR. TOBIN: Well if they do not want Labrador, let them vote against it.

MR. MATTHEWS: I want to conclude, Mr. Speaker, by saying to members opposite that it is a very serious resolution, it is time that the provincial government decided to help out in areas of great need, of which there are many in the Province and start putting a few dollars back. Your fiscal strategies have backfired on you, your financial position has worsened, you cannot blame the financial position of the Province on that, that you have spent all this money helping people out with work generation, employment generation, you have done very little of that, so why don't you change your strategies, and this is one area now where you can start the change. Give the Minister of Fisheries the authority, have Cabinet give him the authority to go up and have discussions with the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and say: Mr. Minister - well this minister would say John, and he would call him Walter because they are fairly good friends, they go back a long way, I have a couple of million dollars that I want to put into a program with you -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MATTHEWS: - and I would say that if that is the case -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. MATTHEWS: - Mr. Speaker, in concluding, the federal minister might be far more receptive to helping the problem that the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir, so rightfully identified.

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

MR. CARTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I take some pleasure I guess, in taking part in this debate this afternoon because it follows up some initiatives taken by the Province recently when we wrote the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and pointed out to him the seriousness of the situation and asked that he do something about it.

Now the hon. gentlemen opposite seem to get a little charge out of the fact that we write letters to the minister. I do not know what other means there is of communicating. We could, I suppose try to bring back the carrier pigeon or maybe the jungle drums or maybe smoke signals but given the fact, Mr. Speaker, that the federal minister is operating in an office a couple or 3,000 miles away, I suppose the most effective way of trying to communicate with him and to get something on record would be by way of a letter.

Mr. Speaker, the history of the fishery on the southwest and south coast of our Province is a shameful indictment against the managers of the resource, namely of course the federal government, because whether or not my friends opposite, who are now obviously acting as the agents of the Mulroney government, agents of Mr. Crosbie, the defenders of the government in Ottawa, they appear to be more interested, Mr. Speaker, in protecting their federal bosses than in doing something to help the Newfoundland fishing industry and fishermen. I think the Premier today, summed it up pretty well when he posed a question to them: who are they working for?... is it for the people who elected them to sit in this Legislature and represent their interests or are they working for Mr. Crosbie and Mr. Valcourt and Mr. Mulroney and Mr. Joe Clark and others in Ottawa?

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the history of the fishery on the south and southwest coast of our Province, the way it has been allowed to deteriorate over the years, is a terrible indictment against the federal government and one that I am sure even the gentlemen opposite, in their enthusiasm to defend Ottawa, must find extremely difficult to do. It is obvious - and I must again repeat what the Premier said this afternoon, when he talked about their behaviour and how almost on a daily basis they are on their feet trying to put the Province on the spot, trying to point the finger at the Province and to ask: what are we doing about it?

Mr. Speaker, it is obviously their intention not only to defend their federal bosses but to deflect some of the blame from where it rightfully belongs. That is, of course, on the shoulders of the federal government.

The gentleman from Grand Bank, the House Leader, today made a great fuss over the fact that the Premier is maybe suggesting that a moratorium be placed on the deep sea fleet within the 200-mile limit. Now, Mr. Speaker, if the member is on top of things, as he should be, he must realize that what his federal boss, Mr. Crosbie, did a few weeks ago was in effect impose a moratorium on the offshore fleet, but he did it under another guise. But it would have been far more beneficial for Canada, and it would certainly have strengthened Canada's hand had the federal minister gone the extra mile. In effect, what he has done is placed a moratorium on the offshore fishing fleet, certainly in terms of the northern cod, yet he has done it in such a way that Canada will get no credit for it.

As we all know, the hon. gentleman, when he came down to the Province a month or so ago and announced his revised management plan, stated that the allocation or the quota for the offshore fleet would be reduced just enough to cover that which is required as a by-catch quota, just a very few thousands of tons. The Premier has been saying, and I of course agree, that it would have been much more effective and would have had a far greater influence on the European community, for example, had the minister gone all the way and announced a moratorium on the Canadian deep sea fishing, certainly in the short term. What we have done now is we are inflicting the pain on the companies concerned, but we are not getting any credit for it. Again, that is regrettable.

Mr. Speaker, the problem on the south coast - I has senior people in my department during the past week or ten days visit the areas concerned on the south coast and parts of the southwest coast of the Province, to conduct meetings with the fishermen and fishermen's committees and to see first hand what was happening up there. Of course my colleague, the Member for Burgeo - Bay D'Espoir pretty well took us through a tour of the district in his speech and gave us a rundown as to precisely what has been happening there in terms of the fishery catches.

Mr. Speaker, it is quite obvious that there is a very serious crisis facing the people, the fishermen in that area. In the community of Francois, for example, the winter fishery has been a total failure with only about 30,000 pounds taken in the January to March period. That is considerably lower than that which was caught in other years. Mr. Speaker, I have gone in most of these communities, and I must agree with my friend opposite, these are good, hard working, independent people who, given a chance, will survive. But thanks to the bad management of the fishery resource by the federal government these people have not been given a chance. Now, of course, the federal government is turning its back on the people concerned, the innocent victims of this bad management policy of the present government in Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, that was what prompted me to write the minister on April 28, where I outlined the problem in the communities affected and requested that the minister extend to these people the same benefits that he has extended to people in other parts of Atlantic Canada for, of course, the obvious reason, that these people have experienced the same kind of failure as had the fishermen in other parts of the Atlantic area, and there is no reason at all why they should be denied the benefits that have already been accorded to fishermen in other parts of the Atlantic area.

I have not received a reply yet to my letter to the minister but I am hoping that he will give it a lot of thought and respond in a positive way, because the people concerned are looking forward to that kind of a response. I do not know what other choice they have. Gentlemen opposite, as I said, try to put the finger on the Province and to attribute blame to the Province and ask what are we doing about it. Well, Mr. Speaker, again the answer to that silly question is obvious. That the responsibility for managing the fishery, responsibility for establishing the total allowable catch, responsibility for designating who is going to catch what where, and how much and when, that responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the federal government. Now they must be prepared to accept responsibility for some of the problems caused by their bad judgement and bad decisions.

To expect the Province to do it is not only unfair but it is absolute and utter madness. Because the problem is so severe, and would cost so much to remedy, that the Province could not possibly find the money to do it. So therefore they perform a grave disservice to the Province and to the people who elected them to come to this place and to represent them when they try to shift the blame and to take the heat off the federal government. I am sure their federal soul mates in Ottawa must be very grateful to them every time they do that.

The entire fishery, as I see it, on the south coast of our Province has all but collapsed. My friend and colleague here gave some figures. For example, concerning Ramea, which is an old historic Newfoundland fishing community, where in 1986, as he says, the fishermen there harvested 936,000 pounds. Almost a million pounds. In 1991, 156,000 pounds. But lo and behold, in 1992 the same community, with I suppose probably an increased effort, certainly no less effort, the total harvest in that community, for the same period this year, now is roughly 50,000 pounds. That has been the story in pretty well all the communities on that coast.

The winter fishery, for example, in François, in the January to April period in 1991, saw 201,204 pounds of codfish landed. In the same period this year, 60,000 pounds. Sixty thousand pounds this year against over 200,000 pounds last year. Of course, last year was not that good a year either. In Burgeo, another long-established historic Newfoundland fishing community, January to April of 1991, inshore fishery in Burgeo saw a yield of 333,000 pounds. In the same period this year, less than half that much, in fact, 160,000 pounds, and that included redfish and cod.

MR. GILBERT: Twenty thousand pounds of cod (Inaudible).

MR. CARTER: Twenty thousand pounds of cod, my friend tells me, and 140,000 pounds of less valuable and less labour-intensive redfish. So you can see that town has been devastated, been actually devastated by virtue of the reduction in landings.

In the community of Ramea, last year there were landings of groundfish of 157,000 pounds. This year, a little over 50,000 pounds. More devastation. For a community that has survived I suppose for the past 200 years, and whose economy is based solely on the fishery, so that is the way it goes on that coast, every single community.

Grey River, another small isolated Newfoundland community. I have gone there several times, as a matter of fact, and I suppose there is not a more independent or harder working group of people in this Province than you will find in Grey River. They are totally isolated, people who live by their initiative and get very little help from anybody. This year in Grey River the fishery has again been a total flop and they are like most other people on the southwest coast, and the south coast, they are not getting any help whatever from the federal government even thought the policies of the government that has caused the problem, the responsibility for that rests solely on the shoulders of the federal government.

Mr. Speaker, the members opposite can squirm all they like, they can try and deflect the burden for what has happened from their federal friends to the Province but it is not going to work. I think the fishermen in those communities know this very well. They are not stupid, they know very well who is responsible for the management of the resource, and they know that the Province is doing the right thing when we look to the federal government for the kind of help that is going to be necessary to enable them to keep body and soul together during this critical period.

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how much longer it will take the federal government to respond to our request for assistance but on the basis of information I have, and conversations I have had with the hon. gentleman who has visited the area quite frequently in the past couple of months, the people there just cannot hold out much longer. Things are really tough, they are finding it difficult to make ends meet and without some kind of federal help they will have no choice but to seek help from the Department of Social Services. I suspect, Mr. Speaker, knowing the people of that coast like I do, and while there is nothing wrong with being forced on social services, on welfare, that certainly for those people it will be a foreign experience because very few of them have ever had to do that.

Mr. Speaker, I support the hon. gentleman's resolution and I hope the House will support it, and I hope the Opposition will support it without trying to muddy the waters by introducing amendments just to score maybe a cheap political point - and that is what they have done, in order to make themselves look good and to try and jump on the bandwagon they have offered an amendment to the resolution which really is quite different from the body and the intent of the original resolution.

I am hoping that they will cut out their nonsense and do what needs to be done, support the resolution presented by the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir and next week, if the problem still exists, then why not introduce maybe another resolution having to do with the other problem? Certainly, I do not think they should try to water down what is the intent of this resolution and muddy the waters, all of which will have the effect of just giving their federal friends in Ottawa an alibi not to do anything. Maybe that is the purpose of it, maybe that is the purpose of their amendment to the resolution because in so doing, in introducing the amendment and broadening the area that we are now seeking help for, there is less chance that the federal government will respond. Maybe that is the real reason why they saw fit to introduce the amendment, knowing very well that in so doing they would, if not kill the original motion, then they would certainly water it down to the point where the federal government would not come to the rescue.

Mr. Speaker, again I support the resolution presented by my colleague and respectfully request that all members present do likewise.

Thank you, very much.

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

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

First of all let me say that I support the resolution. I also support the resolution as amended. Unlike the previous speaker who apparently has not read the amendment very clearly, the amendment does absolutely nothing to water down the resolution. It does a tremendous amount to strengthen the resolution and to take care of some people who were affected by the resolution.

The resolution itself has not been changed. The body of the resolution is exactly the same as it was when it was submitted by the member. The resolution as amended does absolutely nothing to change the resolution as submitted by the member. The member, being a private member, in submitting the resolution to the House, asked all of us to support his request to the federal government to assist residents within his own area. That is fair and proper, but what we as members of the House must realize is that also in other areas of the Province, and we must look after the Province generally, there are people who are affected in the exact same way. As we discuss this resolution in the House, there are parts of the Province today where the fishery cannot start because of ice moving into the area. So if you are going to extend benefits for one reason because of the failure of a fishery, which is right and fair and proper and legitimate, then it is only right and fair and proper and legitimate that you ask the feds to extend benefits also to people in an area where they cannot fish.

The BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED section, where the House asked the federal Department of Fisheries to pay $800 dollar gear-up allowance which was paid to certain fishermen in the Province and in Nova Scotia in March, to all fisherpersons - not just in the area for the member. There were people affected in other areas, legitimate fishermen who were affected just as much as the fishermen in the area from which the member comes, the area which he represents. Let me give an example of that, because I was perhaps the one who suggested the amendment.

The $800 gear-up allowance which was given to skippers could not be given to every fisherperson because what would have happened then, it would have been a complete and utter disaster, because the Department of Fisheries made a mess of it as it is. The whole thing was a complete and utter mess trying to decide who deserved it and who did not. They admit themselves that it was extremely complicated. It is like all gear replacement programs of the past and everything else. You take a list of names from a computer or something, with nothing checked out, and send out cheques. Some of the people had not fished for years, and others who were legitimately involved and should have received the benefit did not receive it at all. If they had given the $800 to everyone, or $100 to everyone, they would look at a list of people registered as licensed fishermen, or fisherpersons, and one of the major problems we have today in the fishery in Newfoundland, especially when it pertains to looking for assistance, whether it be from the federal government or the provincial government or CEIC or anyone else, one of the biggest problems we have is that nobody knows who is fishing and who is not. All they can go by is who is listed as having a licence and who has been involved in the fishery.

There are many people in this Province today who hold fishing licences who never get in a boat, who do not own a boat, who would not know a boat if they saw one. We have a tremendous amount of people on the list holding licences who do not fish. The unfortunate thing about that, to carry it further, if they say: Well we will only pay it to those who drew income from the fishery and received UI benefits, once again, unfortunately for those who are truly hardworking legitimate fisherpersons, there are many who receive, on paper, benefits from the fishery, who show landings and sales and who receive UI benefits, who did not catch the fish, sell the fish, or benefit from the fish in any way except to receive the income on paper, and receive UI because of it. That is having a disastrous effect on the legitimate people who are involved in the fishery, because it is costly and it is time-consuming to try to sort all of that stuff out. It plays havoc with any programs that are brought in, and it causes all kinds of disturbances.

So the first thing the Department of Fisheries has to do is clean up its own act and determine who is a fisherperson and who is not. That does not eliminate those who are not full-time fisherpersons. If you eliminate in Newfoundland the part-time fishermen, you are eliminating some very solid worthwhile contributors to the economy of this Province who in many cases without them it would be impossible for the local fishing facilities, the plants, the processing facilities to operate.

The big question to ask anybody is: if you really had to say that the only full-time legitimate fisherman is one who does nothing else but fish and he obtains all his income from the fishery, how many really truly legitimate fishermen or people in this Province would fit in that category? In Newfoundland you always scrabbled to make a living. If it meant fishing, farming and picking blueberries, you fished, farmed and picked blueberries and you made a living. That is not to say that we can tolerate perhaps in the days of scarce resources people who have a steady long-term year round job and who get their holidays and go out and set cod traps perhaps and take large amounts of fish from legitimate people or take their cod berths. But it doesn't say either that a fellow who gets a few months work carpentry or something during the year or gets a week in the winter doing a part-time job can't go out in the summer as they always did and catch a few fish and try to make up a living by gathering together every dollar he can scrape up. So these are things we have to consider.

So consequently when it comes to the $800 dollars, the people who received it - the skippers who received it, undoubtedly it was a benefit to help them gear-up for the spring. But there were people in other parts of the Province, including the area on the southwest coast, which because of its uniqueness has experienced all kinds of problems in the fishery, who legitimately deserve that $800 and should get it. I have no argument with that. But I also say that there are other people in other parts of the Province who deserve it just as legitimately. Let me give you an example.

Down the northeast coast and down the east coast right to Cape Race people received the $800 start-up allowance. Now if you ask DFO why did they get it they will tell you they got it because their fishing season last year was affected by the lateness of the season starting, because of ice. I am having problems because of ice now too, speaking of ice. But what happened last spring, because of the severe ice conditions that we had, a lot of fishermen, certainly on the Labrador Coast, down the northeast coast, and as far south as Cape Race could not set their traps or put out their gill nets. They couldn't do anything perhaps except jig (inaudible) for jigging, hand lining, or trawling. That time of the year it is basically a gill net and cod trap in particular along our shore. But you can't very well set a cod trap in your berth if there is a bloody big iceberg there, and that is what happened.

You drove down around Pouch Cove, Flat Rock, Portugal Cove and up the Southern Shore through Witless Bay, Bay Bulls, Ferryland and Renews and all those places, all cod trap fishing areas. Up until the end of June parked in every prime fishing berth you had one or more icebergs, so the fishermen couldn't fish. But also during that time, those who could test the possibilities of going fishing in those areas, related the fact that there were no fish anyway. It wasn't just because of the icebergs. It was because perhaps of the effect of ice on the water and everything else, but there was very little fish around.

So what happened right around the turn off Cape Race? The water temperature was the same. The fishery started exceptionally late. There were a few icebergs, enough to deter some people from setting. But they were told they did not qualify because really they weren't prevented from fishing because of ice, but because of the cold water temperatures and the type of weather we had, they also had a delayed fishing seasons, and even when they could put their gear in the water all they got was slub. Because of the cold temperatures and the lack of fish. There was no fish in the area either.

But they got no benefit. The DFO, CEIC, refused to extend benefits to these people because: you were not affected by the ice and our decision was only those who get extended benefits are those who are affected by ice.

So what happened, Mr. Speaker? Well, as it happened, on parts of the east coast, the northeast, east coast in particular and the southeast coast, it wasn't a bad fishing season once they got started. They did relatively well. There were trap crews who did better than they have done for years and years. Late starting, but high volume once the fishery started. So these people got their UIC extended, and legitimately so, because they could not fish, from the middle of May up until the middle or the end of June. So they received extra benefits. Then they had a good fishing season, or at least most of them did. They did very well in the fishery.

But because of the program that was brought in the same time as the extended benefits, because they were affected by the ice, and because they were late starting, overlooking how well they did, they were now given this $800 gear-up for the following year. You were late starting last year because of ice, not because of anything else, because of ice conditions, so you get extended benefits up front and you get $800 on the tail end. In between, many of them had a good fishing season.

Now right around the turn, even though, like I say, they were just as much affected, not as directly affected by ice to a great degree, but affected enough to throw off their fishing season, but the affect of the ice on the water and so on, which kept the fish away anyway, even if those on the southern shore could fish they would not have gotten anything, it wasn't there. But in St. Mary's Bay they were late catching fish, and in parts of the Bay, the north end in particular, the fishery was a complete and utter failure.

So number one, these people did not get the extended benefits. They were beyond the line, even though the seasons coincide perfectly. They were not eligible for the $800 now, because they were not affected by ice last year, and they had a poor season. So they ended up with nothing at all, while others ended up with extended benefits, good summer, and $800 to boot. So therein lies the reason why we suggest that the $800 be paid not only to the southwest coast, where they legitimately deserve it, but also to the specific areas where they were affected by the type of season we had last year, and where their season was just as big a failure or worse than the southwest coast.

So that is the reason for it. I do not think anybody can dispute that. Whether that be in - I was going to say Port de Grave, but these people qualified - it would have to be around the turn off Cape Race. Because people in St. Mary's Bay and perhaps part of Placentia Bay had poor fishing seasons and like I say qualified for either extended benefits or the $800 gear-up. So that is why we have made the amendments.

Let me refer to a few of the remarks made by the Minister of Fisheries. The Minister of Fisheries in supporting - question mark - the resolution apparently did not read the amendment, as I said. Because as a Minister of Fisheries he should be all for supporting this. What did he do when he got up? He just berated the Opposition for defending the federal government. Now, how in God's name can you say we are defending the federal government when we are going above and beyond the request made by the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir in asking that they spend more money?

We are not asking them, say: oh no, you can't ask the feds, you can't ask our friends the feds to pay out money to the southwest coast. We can't do that. We not only did that, we not only said, yes, they should pay the people on the Southwest Coast, we are also saying they should also pay others in need that they neglected to cover when they brought in the program last spring. That is certainly not defending the feds, that is calling upon them to do what they should do, what is just and fair.

The minister didn't leave it at that. The minister goes on to say, 'Oh, they were the managers of the resource and it is all their fault.' Let me ask the Minister of Fisheries, who should be the leader in the fight to preserve what we have in Newfoundland and what we have built on the fishery, the minister who is known internationally, nationally, and certainly provincially as a complete and utter wimp when it comes to fishing matters, says -

It is hard to be nice when the minister gets up and berates the Member for Grand Bank for defending the feds when he is asking the feds to put in more money and look after the people in Newfoundland who deserve it. But the provincial government has responsibilities which they have completely and utterly shirked.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HEARN: They are the managers of the resource. Yes, they are the managers of the resource, and why was it allowed to deteriorate? Because it was managed poorly, but also because not only has government management and mismanagement or whatever, based upon scientific advice as good or bad as it was, but because of the companies that did not give a hoot about the fishery, who went out there to get everything they could get in any manner in which they could catch it, and we cannot take the blame off individual fishermen, the skippers and the crews and everyone else, who will say to you, 'We were just as much at fault as anybody else because we just went out there and caught what we could catch. We threw away what we didn't want, and we didn't worry about counting or accountability or anything else. So we are all to blame there. We just cannot blame the government.'

What has happened, I wonder, during the time when all of this big rush was on, when the government ignored what was happening and when the companies went out after everything they could get? What did the Province do, and who was the Minister of Fisheries during some of these years? The Minister of Fisheries happened to be the very hon. gentleman who is now complaining about what went on. What did he do? He ran around the Province giving out fish plants like they were bubble gum. Every little nook and cranny that wanted a fish plant got it. We have eight up in St. Mary's Bay, in every community, a plant here and a plant there - 'If you want a plant, here is a plant,' and they all got fish plants. What do you do if you have a fish plant? You have to try to get fish to put in it. Then everybody goes out and catches fish. A lot of people said, 'Sure, we cannot get enough fish.' What did he do then, as Minister of Fisheries? He said, 'Go get bigger boats.' And they said, 'Well, we can't afford bigger boats.' 'Well,' he said, 'I am running for the leadership, so I will give you bigger boats.' And many fishermen around this Province got into big boats that they will tell you they should never have gotten into, convinced to get into them by the provincial Department of Fisheries, by the present minister who is now doing all the wimping about mismanagement of the resource. If starting up fish plants all over the Province and giving out bigger boats to fishermen to pursue the resource is not encouraging people to go out and catch fish, then how can you say they didn't have a part to play?

AN HON. MEMBER: Two for a dollar, he told them.

MR. HEARN: I will not talk about prices. That is for somebody else who might know more about the matter.

The fact is that a number of boats were given out at that time, and fish plants were started all over the place during the very reign of this present minister. Now, who is responsible for that, the feds? Who is responsible for licensing fish processing facilities in the Province?

AN HON. MEMBER: The Province.

MR. HEARN: The Province, through the Minister of Fisheries. Who is responsible for licensing boats? You might say the feds. But who encouraged them to get into the boats? The Province - to bring in fish to keep all of these little plants going. So who is just as responsible as the feds, and as the companies, and perhaps as all of us for the mismanagement? The Province, the Minister of Fisheries, and especially, at that time, the Minister of Fisheries, who is now the pontificator of fairness and balance and proper management. How the world turns, Mr. Speaker!

Let us tell the hon. member that he is the government now, and let's hope that if the Southwest Coast - if conditions are just as bad this year as they have been, and we are familiar with it; we have been over there and talked to the fishermen, and, yes, they are going through a hard time, in an area where the fishery was good for years. Maybe I can ask the member if he wants to think back to his own days in the area when the fishermen fished, what kind of technology did they use? Is it not, as we have said before on many occasions, the major reason why we have depleted fish stocks? Is it not because of technology rather than anybody who operates that technology, whether they be inshore fishermen, offshore fishermen, or foreigners? Foreigners always fished, and offshore fishermen fished, and inshore fishermen fished, but the fish wasn't destroyed because of the technology we used. But if you go out there with vacuum cleaners and take everything in front of you, then it can't last, and that is exactly what has happened. And I suppose there is no better example than the Southwest Coast and the Gulf area, where it was completely wiped out by technology more than anything else.

So there are a lot of things, Mr. Speaker, we can talk about. But in relation to the resolution, and I might be (inaudible) the fact, there are people in the Province who are looking for help. They need it, they deserve it. I hope that if the federal government, whether it be through an extension of UI or through a special salary supplement that has been looked at and talked about - there is a committee set up, as the member knows now; the head of the union and some other companies - to look at possibly -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HEARN: It is long-term, and I agree, that is not putting bread and butter on their table tomorrow which they need and deserve. So whatever is brought in to help them, let's hope that the federal government, as they did in other areas, as they did in Grand Bank and in Trepassey - at least what help was given, was given by the federal government.

AN HON. MEMBER: And Gaultois.

MR. HEARN: And Gaultois. The only bit of help was given by the federal government. The Premier of this Province stood on the stage in Trepassey and he said to them: 'We have asked the companies to extend notice for another year.'

Now, the Province did not extend it for two years, as many think. The companies were going in for a year, twenty weeks. The Province decided to pick up the bill for the other twenty. Why? Because they said: 'We are not prepared to do anything for you. You have to diversify and we are not ready for it, it will take us time.' They have had over two years now, and what have they done? - not one iota. They didn't even bother to go into the areas affected to try to do anything. The only thing that was done in relation to programs, assistance, development, encouragement for somebody to come in, was done by the federal government and the local people involved.

The Province completely washed their hands, including St. John's South. They did absolutely nothing. What have they done for National Sea operation, Southside? - absolutely, positively nothing, the same as for Gaultois, Grand Bank, or Trepassey. Some of us have come out of it because we worked hard enough and had vision enough to try to picture what could be done, and went out and got it done. But the Province, through all its highly funded agencies, has done absolutely nothing.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HEARN: So I hope that the residents of the Southwest Coast will receive benefits, and I hope the others who deserve it will, but I hope they won't have to depend upon the Province to get it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

With regard to the resolution, Mr. Speaker, this is a very timely resolution. As we all know, May 15 is the deadline under which the fishermen on the Southwest Coast who are currently receiving UI benefits will no longer be receiving any benefit on into the future.

What the hon. member's resolution is calling for is for the federal government to respond to this continuing crisis situation. It is a situation that has repeated itself over the last number of years. I must say that in hearing some of the comments of the Opposition, I can see why, in the past, there was no provincial response when they were in office, because it is obvious that they have not even taken note of the fact that this government has responded at times in the last three years.

When they were in office, the fishery throughout the Province was provided with, to use one example, an interest-free loan program for gearing up their vessels for the fishery. At that time, the Southwest Coast and the South Coast of the Province were excluded from that program, and only upon the arrival of this government did we implement such a program for the South and Southwest Coast. It was a program of interest free-loans. Granted, I think these loans were provided - and with the situation that had developed in the fishery there over the next number of years following that implementation, the situation deteriorated to a point where the people possibly had as much trouble repaying those loans as they might have had with other Fisheries Loan Board matters. That is the reason why this government has seen fit to start forgiving some interest and assisting fishermen throughout the Province with their situation as far as the financing of their vessels and equipment that they have.

The Opposition is talking about the response from the federal government in the past. They speak of us as a provincial government not doing anything to help the people on the South and the Southwest Coast. Now, sure, it would be politically - I suppose, the right thing, if I were able to go down into my district and say: Look, here is what the provincial government is going to do for you. The Minister of Health has given me x amount of dollars to re-open these beds at the Port aux Basques Hospital so that we can look after your short-term income needs.

Or, go to the Minister of Education and say: Minister, why don't you cancel this new initiative in lighthouse schools projects for the Southwest Coast? And we will take that money out of our provincial budget allocation and we will use that money as the basis for a short-term response to the fishery problems on the Southwest Coast, caused, no doubt, by federal mismanagement. But because the federal government have not responded, because the federal government have chosen to ignore the fishermen and fish plant workers who are so affected by this problem, and because the federal government have selectively decided that we are the ones who have to come begging, the people on the Southwest Coast are the ones who have to come with hat in hand.

The people who are suffering the problems in the fishery over the last number of years, the fishery failure as was documented so ably by the hon. member, over the last number of years, and outside of his district and into mine, the inshore fixed-gear landings are no different. They are no different whatsoever. The problem with that, of course, is that the -

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, back again to where I was. Speaking about the problems associated with the fishery on the Southwest Coast, the interest-free loan program which I mentioned that this government put in place, was one. Of course, it was totally inadequate, because we do not have the financial resources here in the Province to deal with such a problem. The number of fishermen affected by the catch failure that has been experienced over the last number of years, is just catastrophic and it has to be looked at.

Now, the Opposition has decided that if they were in power they would empower their Minister of Finance to finance the whole of the fishery crisis problem with provincial funding, and to consider that as something that reasonable people - given the fiscal responsibility, I suppose, that a government has to encounter in looking after the finances of the Province, to think that they would even entertain the thought of addressing the problem created by federal mismanagement, without any consideration for the fact that the federal government does have to respond, is certainly something that has to be looked at. I think the actions and the comments of the Opposition in that regard are the kinds of things that show the reason why the finances of the Province are probably in the state they are in.

Now, where does the responsibility lie? I submit that it lies entirely with the federal government although on the south and southwest coast, we have been dealt a double blow because last year, in spite of the fact that the winter fishery the previous year was also a failure insofar as the fixed gear landings were concerned, the federal government chose to ignore the problem, the federal government chose to selectively omit the south and southwest coast from the gear-up program and also from any response program that would be needed.

On top of all that, I think the opposition along with this government should be aware that make-work is going to be a thing of the past. Make-work projects as we know them these days will become totally something that is just gone, it is not going to be the same, the Department of Employment and Immigration will not, I do not think, in the future implement make-work projects and they are at the point now where they are in a big quandary over trying to decide how to respond to this problem.

The changes to the Unemployment Insurance Act will, from what I am told, mean that make-work will be a thing of the past and any kind of income support program that may be considered, will have to come out of some of the commissions that have been established by the federal government or they may also have to come from initiatives undertaken through the efforts of the unions and whomever, because the monies that are paid into the UI fund, the monies from employers and the employees entirely without any accounting for monies that may be used to shore that up by the federal government, will be the only monies there.

I do not think the federal government will continue to support the unemployment insurance fund in the future. I think the federal government is going to say: it is user pay; those who utilize the fund, labour and the employees will be the only contributors to it and therefore the make-work social aspects of using make-work type programs and response programs for the fishery and other industries is certainly a thing of the past and I predict that it will be something totally different that they come up with, it will have to be something that has a bit of creativity in it to see that it is something that is going to be good for the people of the Province and especially we hope that the people on the south and southwest coast can be included in it.

Now the hon. members opposite also wanted to muddy the water a bit I think, in the way that they decided to amend the resolution, they decided that they wanted to add certain parts to it to make it more of a broad scope resolution. Well, I submit that if John Crosbie had used the same kind of logic, this broad scope logic, then he would have included the south and southwest coast in this overall response program, but the problem with it is, that Mr. Crosbie and the federal Department of Fisheries and the Department of Employment and Immigration decided that the broad scope was not there, they were going to isolate the south and southwest coast as a different area, because of the fact that the winter fishery is carried on there and the summer and other fisheries throughout the rest of the Province. So there is faulty logic in placing these extra initiatives in this single resolution, the problem is that their intent I think, is to muddy the water so that we do not come forward with a solid voice from this House of Assembly and to justify the actions of their federal friends in Ottawa.

I am sure some of the hon. members opposite do have the right intent, they intend to do the right thing, but, when they sit in the back room and judge just how poorly they are perceived in the public eye as far as their leadership and other issues relating to the opposition here in the Province, maybe they say: well, we have to play some politics with this, so let us muddy the water a little bit so John Crosbie will be pleased with us and maybe after we do not win the next election, he will have some little rewards for us as well, as he has had for Richard Cashin. That is the kind of thing that comes into play, even though the intent was good at the beginning, maybe the hon. opposition members are deciding to play the petty little politics with this kind of resolution and see to it that the matter at hand is going to fare well for them in their dealings with their federal buddies in Ottawa.

Now, another point that I do want to make. The idea of a moratorium spoken of by the opposition. Surely to goodness, these people over there are thinking only for their own select interest to be able to say: no, no, no, no. We would not dare say that we wanted a moratorium even if there isn't a fish left in the water, they would stand up and say: oh, but we were against that, we wanted the fish to be there.

We would like the fish to be there too, Mr. Speaker. But the problem with it is: is it going to be a moratorium by design, or will it be a moratorium by accident? I would say that according to what the hon. Member for Port de Grave has mentioned about the fishermen from his district going out and scouring the Grand Banks and finding nary a fish, that there is not going to be a moratorium by design. It will certainly be a moratorium by accident. The accident of poor management practices of the federal government, and the management practices of the federal government in buckling under and kneeling down to the NAFO countries, in giving away the fishing resource that has sustained Newfoundland for hundreds of years.

The federal government has given this away with respect to international trade issues, for automobiles that we export, for the grain that we export out west, for the many products and goods and services that Newfoundland does not really play much of a part in, because we have sustained ourselves on the fishery over the years. The Government of Canada has seen fit to keep other interests paramount in their plan to run the overall Atlantic fishery. Now maybe the other things that we have to look at insofar as the fishery goes, we could look at the west coast fishery with the problems associated out there. it seems like they have a bit of a better control on it.

Maybe some of the problems that have risen out of it were not so much Ottawa problems as much as local problems. I note that hon. members opposite mentioned the issue of fish plants, and why all these fish plants were handed out so easily. These fish plants that they blame the hon. Minister of Fisheries for being so politically astute in handing out at the time. Why?

The thing was, the federal government and the scientific data at the time were suggesting that there is enough fish out there to have tons of plants. There is going to be a plant in every community. Everyone needs bigger boats because there is this huge amount of the total allowable catch that we are going to use to sustain Newfoundland and modernize it into the fishery. We will put a plant in every community. This was because of the information at the time that the cod stocks were going to grow. We would have fish, everyone would be employed. If only we could get back to where we were and manage to get some of these foreign interests to land their fish locally, maybe we could have every Newfoundlander who wanted a job in the fishery employed.

But the problem is that the federal government has seen fit to use us as a bargaining chip and now, as has been said, the federal government has seen the folly of their ways. But yet, they are not the kind that are willing to admit that they have made a mistake. There is no admission of having been at fault in any way, shape or form. Until they are ready to acknowledge some of the things that they have caused - not only to the people of their own country, but to some foreign nations - through the placement of a moratorium on the offshore deep-sea fishing, with the proper kind of response program that is necessary.

Because the horse is out of the barn. Now you are going to have to find some way to get him back in there. You are not going to do it by going around and catching the babies. The little horses, I mean. You are not going to be replacing the horses in the barn with little ones if they have already left. The problem with catching all of the small fish that are out there is tantamount to that.

I submit that we vote against the amendments proposed by the Opposition. Although, giving them the benefit of the doubt, I would say that their intent is right, but it does muddy the water with respect to the resolution put forward by the hon. Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir. I think it just shows the lack of vision of the Opposition, the lack of vision for any good alternative to the government here. The Opposition is proving to the people of the Province that they are willing to succumb to political influence from their own Party in Ottawa, and do the dirty work that John Crosbie had them do in the past.

We also have to wonder. There is a biblical quote, and it speaks of this, it says: "Where there is no vision, people perish." That comes from Proverbs, xxix. 18. To think of the way in which the Opposition is trying to deal with the fishery and the misery of the people of the Province, I think we could say there is no vision. The vision will come from the government of the Province here now, the vision that we have for the future, in spite of the difficulties that we will have to experience, in spite of taking the bitter pill that we have to swallow, which is a pill that is not easy to swallow. It is a tough one, in saying: No, we cannot help because we don't have the financial ability to help.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. RAMSAY: Mr. Speaker, I submit that we defeat the amendment and support the resolution.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burgeo - Bay D'Espoir.

MR. GILBERT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GILBERT: When I stood to present the resolution and the Private Member's bill, I pointed out that, no doubt, the Opposition would play politics with it and try to water it down. I pointed out that this is the situation we are in right now on the south coast, there is a failure, unemployment will run out on the fifteenth, and we know for certain that the fishery on the south coast of this Province is a failure this year. We don't know what is going to happen on the Labrador coast, we don't know what is going to happen on the northeast coast, but if there is a problem with ice I will be happy to stand in this House and support anything to help the people that are affected by it. But at this time we are talking about hypothetical situations.

I want right now to zero in, so that the department and their friend, Mr. Crosbie, will have no way to get out of this. This is a situation that is now. It is not a hypothetical situation, there is a failure on the south coast. If there is a problem with the $800 gear-up program, that it wasn't paid in certain areas of St. Mary's Bay, I suggest to the member that he acquaint the Minister of Fisheries with it.

In the few minutes that I have left, I want to point out why I feel that it is a travesty of justice that these people on the south coast didn't receive the $800. They were entitled to it. There were some strange things that went on on the south coast and some things I want to point out here this evening that I have only found out about in the last couple of weeks, as a matter of fact. The gear-up program: you know, the people along the south coast want to know why they didn't receive it. In the first part, when I introduced this motion, I pointed out that they were certainly entitled to it. Because if you look at the figures that I presented, there is no doubt about it that there is a failure, Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) people in Burgeo?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GILBERT: - that there is a failure, Mr. Speaker, in the south coast inshore fishery. That was the reason that this program was supposedly introduced, to help the people.

Now, I will go through the communities again just to see why they should have been paid this gear-up program. Take the Community of McCallum, now, McCallum traditionally used a gill net fishery, and they were using a five-inch mesh until this year. The federal government came in and told them, Mr. Speaker, that they had to replace all the five-inch mesh gill nets with five-and-a-half inch mesh. So in January of this year all the fishermen in McCallum, every one of them, had to go and change the size of their nets. So that was a cost of about $1,000 to each of them. Now, they didn't get paid this gear-up program, even though they had a catch failure and they had to change their gear.

Now, what happened along the rest of the south coast, in Francois and Grey River and Ramea and Burgeo? They were traditionally a hook and line fishery but gradually they had seen that the hook and line fishery was failing. So in 1989 most of those people had to switch to gill nets to supplement their hook and line fishery. So they were put through an additional expense to catch fish. What has happened is, now we find that by changing to the gill nets they are catching a different species of fish which is red fish which is fourteen cents a pound compared to the hook and line cod fish which is about 52 cents a pound. So you are seeing a drastic reduction in their income in a failed fishery.

So as I talk to the fishermen there now they are trying to obtain more gear to broaden the type of fish they are catching. They are trying to get money to buy lumpfish nets. But, Mr. Speaker, again nobody is listening to them. The federal government in this gear-up program refused to admit that there was a problem on the south coast.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. GILBERT: You know, the fishermen and the presidents of all the locals there have written Mr. Crosbie. They have requested him to come down and have a talk to them about the failed fishery and about the fact that he didn't pay the gear-up program.

I have here a letter, which I will table, from Bill Bowles who is talking for the southwest coast fishermen as the president of the Burgeo local. He says: 'To Mr. Crosbie, the hon. minister; We, the fishermen, of the southwest coast of Newfoundland feel cheated by your department's policy to limit gear-up programs to only certain communities in the Province. Sir, as your department's records will show, the traditional hook and line fishery on the south coast of the island has been a complete failure for the past three years. The utter collapse of this once thriving hook and line fishery, be it for reasons of seals, overfishing, or mismanagement in quota allocations has left our area fishermen frustrated and fearful of their future. The catch failure over the past few years has stretched our area fishermen's ability to maintain or replace their fishing gear. Thus we request that the full-time fishermen in the communities of Burgeo, Ramea, Grey River, and Francois be included in your department's gear-up program. The failure of the fishery is beyond our control, however we request that should your department's management plan work and the fisheries turn, our gear will be fit to fish with, and this is the reason for the request.'

Now I have a couple of other things here that I quoted from earlier. I will give them all to you and table the whole works of it because I think it is worthy of putting it there.

So that is the reason, Mr. Speaker, that the fishermen along the south coast are concerned that they didn't receive the payment. The effort that they have put into this fishery in the last five years as they saw it decline, they have increased the type of gear, they have changed the type of gear, they are fishing three to four times as much gear now as they were five years ago and catching a third as much fish. There is the problem.

Now it was bad enough, Mr. Speaker, when they felt that they were left out in Newfoundland. But quite by accident we discovered that fishermen in Cape Breton were getting paid this $800, and it was by accident. I happened to be in Ramea and Reg McDonald who lives in Ramea now, but one time fished in Nova Scotia, has a brother who is a lobster fisherman in Cape Breton. He said: Look, my brother got $800. He did not ask for it. He made $60,000 in the lobster fishery last year but he has a groundfish licence and he got a cheque for $800. He phoned the Department of Fisheries in Nova Scotia and was told it was because he had a fish failure last summer. I then went to the Department of Fisheries in Newfoundland and asked one of the civil servants there what was the reason? He told me the reason that the people in Cape Breton got paid and the people in Port aux Basques, Rose Blanche, Burgeo, Ramea, Grey River and MacCallum did not get paid was that they had an ice problem in Cape Breton and they could not fish the previous year.

Then I checked into that and I found that the people in Cape Breton do not fish in the winter time. The people traditionally on the south coast, the people from Burgeo west, used to go to Cape Breton to fish in the summertime. It was the summer fishery in Nova Scotia when they went there. So there was no fishery. I called back again and then I was told the reason they did not get the $800 on the south coast and they got it in Cape Breton was that the fishery in Cape Breton had failed last summer. So that is not acceptable.

This is when I decided the proper place to bring this was to the House of Assembly so that we could ask Mr. Crosbie to have his people once again review this in view of the fact that they paid fishermen in Cape Breton this $800; fishermen who I might add made $60,000 in a lobster fishery but had a groundfish licence, and they refused to pay the fishermen along the south coast, who are starving to death, in a legitimate traditional fishery they have carried on all their lives.

A more interesting thing came to light. There were some people from the provincial Department of Fisheries who went down the coast last week. I was with them when they went through François, Grey River, MacCallum, Ramea and Burgeo, but they went on further up and went to Grand Bruit and LaPoile and Petites, and they had an interesting story told them in Lapoile about the $800 gear-up allowance. A fisherman from LaPoile had gone to Nova Scotia last fall and bought a groundfish licence from someone in Cape Breton, intending to go back to Cape Breton to fish this summer. One of the interesting things that happened is that his wife went to the mail early in March and she received a cheque. There was a cheque made payable to him from the Department of Fisheries for $800 because he had a groundfish licence in Cape Breton. Now there seems to be something wrong with this logic.

It is for this reason that I am asking this House to go on record and to ask the federal Department of Fisheries, and Mr. Crosbie as the minister, to review how this $800 payment was made to fishermen in Newfoundland, and particularly along the south coast where we have this drastic failure right now. It is one that should be looked at, and why anyone can justify how come a fisherman in Nova Scotia who made $60,000 from fishing one species can get an $800 payment? Another fisherman from Newfoundland who goes to Nova Scotia and goes to Cape Breton and buys a groundfish licence intending to go fishing in Cape Breton this summer can get $800, yet the same fisherman who lives next door to him in LaPoile who has had a failure can't get this $800. Now that tells me, Mr. Speaker, there is a serious problem in the way this program was handled. It is one that should be reviewed, and the federal Department of Fisheries should at this time pay this gear-up allowance to the people along the south coast of Newfoundland.

Now, Mr. Speaker, this is a serious problem. It is one where I don't want to get involved in the partisan politics that the members opposite want to play by trying to water down this by suggesting that we extend it to the ice problems in Labrador. We don't know if there are going to be ice problems in Labrador, as I said to start off. We don't know if there is going to be a failure in Labrador this year. We don't know if there is going to be a failure on the northeast coast. We don't know if there is going to be a failure on the northwest coast. The one thing we are sure of is we know that the fishery has failed on the south coast of Newfoundland. We know that those fishermen were discriminated against in the payment of the $800 gear-up program. For this reason, Mr. Speaker, I am asking that this House support this resolution. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West on a point of order.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I know that the member just concluded the debate on it, but there are still seven minutes left for the (inaudible).

MR. GILBERT: I can go on and debate if you want me to.

MR. TOBIN: I was just wondering, Mr. Speaker, if I could speak to the resolution.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am not sure what the rules of the House say on this. I believe when the hon. member finishes debating the issue, then that is the end of the day. That is the way it goes. I am pretty certain that is the way it is.

Is the House ready for the question?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes it is.

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


MR. SPEAKER: Those against, please say nay.


MR. SPEAKER: I declare the amendment defeated.

AN HON. MEMBER: Division, Mr. Speaker.


MR. SPEAKER: Call in the members.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Pardon?

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) and the member arrived when the bar was down.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair would not want to get into that delicate a call. I think the member was pretty much out through.

All those in favour of the amendment, please stand.

Mr. Matthews, Mr. Tobin, Mr. Doyle, Mr. Woodford, Ms. Verge, Mr. Hearn, Mr. S. Winsor, Mr. G. Warren, Mr. Hewlett, Mr. Harris.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against the amendment, please stand.

The hon. the President of the Council, the hon. the Minister of Health, the hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, the hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy, the hon. the Minister of Fisheries, Mr. Gilbert, Mr. L. Snow, Mr. K. Aylward, the hon. the Minister of Finance, the hon. the Minister of Education, the hon. the Minister of Social Services, Mr. Reid, Mr. Ramsay, Mr. Penney, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Dumaresque, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Short, Mr. Langdon.

CLERK (MR. J. NOEL): Mr. Speaker, 10 'ayes' and 20 'nays'.

MR. SPEAKER: I declare the amendment defeated.

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


MR. SPEAKER: Those against, 'nay.'

I declare the motion carried.


All those in favour of the motion, please rise.

The hon. the President of the Council, the hon. the Minister of Health, the hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, the hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy, the hon. the Minister of Fisheries, Mr. Gilbert, Mr. L. Snow, Mr. K. Aylward, the hon. the Minister of Finance, the hon. the Minister of Education, the hon. the Minister of Social Services, Mr. Reid, Mr. Ramsay, Mr. Penney, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Dumaresque, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Short, Mr. Langdon, Mr. Matthews, Mr. Tobin, Mr. Doyle, Mr. Woodford, Ms. Verge, Mr. Hearn, Mr. S. Winsor, Mr. G. Warren, Mr. Hewlett, Mr. Harris.

MR. SPEAKER: I declare the motion unanimously approved.

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