May 8, 1992                  HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                Vol. XLI  No. 33

The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Before proceeding to our routine business, on behalf of hon. members I would like to welcome to the galleries today students from Seamen's Elementary School, Garnish, in the district of Grand Bank. These students are accompanied by their teachers, Mr. Riley, Mrs. Nolan, and Mr. Marsh.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, a couple of days ago, on Wednesday, I met with a group of citizens from the Goulds, who, as everybody knows, have had their property taxes increased from 6 mils to 11 mils. Nearly doubled. That has come about as a result of being forced into amalgamation with the City of St. John's by this government.

Now, since the government members are meeting today, as I understand it, with the city council of St. John's, and since it was the government that caused the problem in the first place, I want to ask the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, will he authorise his city colleagues today to give a commitment to the city council to at least provide transitional funding to the City of St. John's to allow those higher mil rates to be phased in over a period of, say, up to five years?

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

MR. HOGAN: I apologise to the hon. Leader of the Opposition. I did not catch the first part of his opening remarks. But the gist of it was, I think, consideration of alleviating the burden in the Goulds area. The Minister of Agriculture and I have met with the representation, the Federation of Agriculture, and we have set in motion a mechanism that would review this and get back to the minister and I in short order, so that we can address this particular problem.

The municipality of St. John's has not, to my knowledge, put any proposals forward to the department to assist in any way with the introduction of higher taxes or the increased burden of taxes to the area of the Goulds.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)!

MR. HOGAN: Any proposal that might come forward, I can assure the Leader of the Opposition, we will entertain it.

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

MR. SIMMS: I will have to repeat the question, I guess, because obviously the minister did not hear it. I know it is Friday morning and a bit early and all that stuff. I will try it again. What I have said is that I met with a group of Goulds residents on Wednesday. It had nothing to do with the issue of the land freeze, that is a totally separate issue. They did not meet with me on that. It was on the issue of their property taxes having been raised from six mils to eleven mils as a direct result of being forced into amalgamation with the City of St. John's by his government. So what I asked him was, since the city members are meeting today with the city council to discuss this particular issue, and since it was the government who caused this problem because of forcing amalgamation, will the minister give a commitment to his city members to allow them to give a commitment to the City of St. John's today, when they meet with them, to provide for transitional funding to allow for a phasing in of those additional tax increases, over say a five year period? That was the question. I wonder if he could respond to that?

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

MR. HOGAN: I did not miss as much of the question as I though I had but that is the answer that applies. The meeting that we had with the people representative of the owners of farm land in the Goulds, part of the discussion was on taxes. We did address it and it is going to be addressed in that fashion. Yes, I would invite city members that are meeting with the city today to entertain any proposal from the city in that regard, in fact invite them to put forward something for our discussion. I personally am very concerned about it and I would take any position that comes to me and present it to government and to cabinet, for their consideration. It is a hardship and it is a burden on the people of the Goulds and I would like to be able to address it.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My understanding is that the City of St. John's has already made a request for transitional funding and they were rejected. According to the Mayor on the news this morning she said they had already been turned down once for transitional funding. I understand the request had in fact been made in the past but I am only listening to what was said on the news this morning. I want to ask the minister this: in reality why should there be any difficulty with this kind of a request because other areas amalgamated with the City of St. John's, for example, in the past, Kilbride and Airport Heights have been given transitional funding to allow a phase in of increased taxes? So, I want to ask the minister does he not believe therefore that the residents of the Goulds deserve the same treatment, fairness and balance, as other residents have received in the past, so could he be a bit more specific and give a firm commitment? That is the question.

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

MR. HOGAN: I would suggest to the hon. Leader of the Opposition that in fact the city was reimbursed, or the city was in some way alleviated for the annexation of Airport Heights and other sections of the city and it would only strengthen their case if they came forward looking for such alleviation in the case of other sections that have now come into their possession because of recent amalgamation. I might also add, Mr. Speaker, that I am not trying to avoid the issue, I am trying to be as straightforward as I can. If we get a proposal from them and I will encourage the city members to invite it and bring it forward and I will run with it.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to hear the minister make that commitment. We could not get a similar commitment from the former minister in the debate all last year on amalgamation. He absolutely rejected such suggestions.

My supplementary to the minister is this. Dealing with funding for capital improvements to the former Town of the Goulds: now this government has precedence for that, they provided funding to the new town of Grand Falls-Windsor for example, to help those towns by providing capital funding over a period of three years to upgrade the services on the Windsor side in the Windsor ward, but the Goulds got nothing in the transitional amalgamation issue, so I will ask the minister: Would he be prepared to make a similar commitment - as he just made, I think, a fairly strong commitment in terms of transitional funding for taxes - would he be prepared to make a similar commitment to the City of St. John's to provide some capital funding to help up-grade services in the community of the Goulds?

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

MR. HOGAN: No, Mr. Speaker, I cannot make the same commitment there. As the hon. member is aware, capital funding is done at a specific time in the year, it is done under specific circumstances and it is almost a one shot deal, and I am not aware of any deal with Grand Falls for capital funding.

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


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is also to the Minister for Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

According to the former Minister for Municipal and Provincial Affairs, the intent of the new municipal grant structure was not to save money but to redistribute grant funding more fairly. Is it not true that the government will save $5.4 million a year when the new system is fully incorporated in 1993?

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

MR. HOGAN: The hon. member got it all right, I think, but he put it in the wrong format, Mr. Speaker.

It is true that the municipal operating grant will be shortened by $5. some-odd million this year. That is because of the restraint program, and that the grant funding was capped with last year's Budget, as I understand it. The distribution and the theory and the philosophy behind it came out of this being distributed more fairly or more equitably. There is just less being distributed.

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

MR. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, I say to the minister that the smaller communities who did not have an adequate commercial tax base were to get more from the new structure. In fact, they are the people who have suffered. Will the minister confirm that funding for smaller municipalities was reduced by 13.3 per cent from 1990-1991, and they have lost again this year to a greater extent?

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

MR. HOGAN: I don't know if the member's calculations are correct or not. I will accept them on the surface. If he says they are reduced by 13.3 per cent, I would say it was his calculation, not my figures. I will accept his calculations that this is so. There is no plan to change that at the moment, but it is under review by a committee that government has set up in co-operation with the Federation of Municipalities and the Administrative Association.

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

MR. PARSONS: I say to the minister, all municipalities are losing, but those losing the most are the least able to help themselves. How will those small municipalities survive, and is this a way or means to squeeze and force those small municipalities into amalgamation?

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

MR. HOGAN: There is no squeeze play underway at all, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I want to ask the minister a specific question. In Flatrock they received $505,000 for water and sewer funding this year. They turned it down because they could not afford it. Seeing that was the only money that was allocated to St. John's East Extern, I ask the minister, could he divvy that up between the other applications that were received from the other municipalities?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: That was the only money that we received down there. Could he divvy that up between Torbay, Outer Cove, Middle Cove, Logy Bay and Pouch Cove to extend the services that are already there? Where is the money, and could he divide it up among the other communities?

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

MR. HOGAN: No, I can't make that commitment either, Mr. Speaker. It is not within my jurisdiction or authority as minister to divide it up. To my knowledge - and probably it is in the mail from Flat Rock - the money has been declined by Flat Rock in their capital funding. It has not been made known officially to the department yet.

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

MR. WARREN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Fisheries. This year there will not be a commercial salmon fishery on the Island portion of the Province, however, it will continue in Labrador. Already, I understand, there are some potential buyers planning to move into Labrador and purchase salmon at probably an extraordinarily high price. Would the minister bring in some safeguards to assure that the salmon fishermen on the Labrador Coast will have the opportunity to sell their catch to the fish plants on the Labrador Coast so that the people there can get employment in processing this particular fishery?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I understand the question. We know there is a salmon license buy-out. We know that Labrador is on a voluntary basis and there is no moratorium in Labrador as there is in the rest of the Province. Is he talking about the fishermen who will have no market for their salmon? There was too much noise and I couldn't hear. Would you mind repeating the question?

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

MR. WARREN: I agree with the minister, there is some noise. Would the minister assure that there will be an equal price per pound for salmon from the fishermen of the Labrador Coast? At the same time, would he assure that other companies from outside the Labrador Coast don't come in and pay an extraordinarily high price for the salmon and take it away from the Coast? The people of Coastal Labrador want to have the opportunity of processing it in the fish plants on the Coast.

MR. CARTER: Yes, I can understand his concern, Mr. Speaker, in the question, but I don't know what the Province could do in a case like that. Certainly, we wouldn't encourage it, but I don't know how we could prevent, say, a company from going into Labrador and paying, maybe, or offering a higher price for the salmon than the local processors. That is what you are saying, isn't it? If you have any ideas as to how we can address that problem, we would be quite willing to sit down with you.

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

MR. WARREN: Yes, I have ideas.

Mr. Speaker, I have a particular, direct question for the minister. The minister owns and operates the fish plant in Nain. The minister sets the price per pound for char and salmon each year. For the last number of years, going back ten or fifteen years, the price has been much lower than on the Island portion of the Province. Could the minister advise us now what price per pound his department will be paying the fishermen in the Nain area for salmon and char this year?

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

MR. CARTER: No, Mr. Speaker, I can't provide that information. I will certainly take it as notice and, on Monday if I am able to, I will certainly provide the information to the hon. gentleman then.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is for the Minister of Social Services. On CBC radio this morning, Mr. Speaker, the minister was complaining that the increased awareness of child sexual abuse was causing problems for his department because many more cases were being reported. I wonder, Mr. Speaker, could the minister tell us whether that is the reason why the government is being slow in implementing changes to Section 49 of The Child Welfare Act which requires and causes penalties for people failing to report child sexual abuse or child abuse that they are aware of?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, I was not complaining this morning of the increased caseload, I was answering a question. If I recollect, my comment was that increased awareness has contributed to the demands on our social workers and the caseloads they have to handle. I think that is a very factual statement, Mr. Speaker. For anybody to suggest that we have been in an environment over the last few years where child abuse has not been very much in the press and we have not had an increase in awareness, I wonder where the gentleman has been living. Certainly, we have had an increased awareness of child sexual abuse and other abuse over the last few years and that has contributed to the reporting of cases by the public, certainly, an awareness by staff, whether it be police staff or social services staff, and the caseloads have consequently increased. I think that was a very factual statement on my part.

Mr. Speaker, as to dealing with sections of the act and changes in the act, we are, as I again said this morning, dealing with amendments to the existing act. Those amendments will have to be looked at now in the light of the Hughes report. We have some thirty-five recommendations as the House knows, many of which have been acted upon, as I said yesterday. The remainder though have now to be dealt with by staff. We have given the two deputy ministers responsibility to work with staff in the departments and seek any advice they choose to, and to report back to us with recommendations as to where we should go with those thirty-five recommendations of the Hughes commission.

So we will be making changes, Mr. Speaker, in the act, and changes that are necessary, but only after due deliberation and consideration of Hughes' recommendations.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In the ministerial statement yesterday the minister indicated that this review of the Child Welfare Act has been going on for several years and that Section 49 was one of the sections that there had been recommended changes to.

Now why should there be an awaiting of the full review of the Child Welfare Act and a full new act to be brought before this House before this specific change can be implemented? Would the minister be prepared to introduce that section, that change and that amendment, to the House? I am sure it will get speedy passage this Spring. Perhaps the official Opposition might respond to that. But that particular section I understand is ready to be changed. Would the minister commit himself to introducing that change this session?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, I do not think you could have acted any more quickly than this government did in asking our deputy ministers and our other staff to look at these recommendations.

It may very well be that the section of the act that the member speaks of will be acted upon more quickly than other sections that we have to deal with, and more quickly than dealing with the entire thirty-five recommendations. But that is something that we have to await advice on from our officials. We want to give them the time to consider the recommendations. It has only been a matter of a week or so since Hughes' recommendations were made public. Those recommendations were acted upon immediately in terms of staff looking at them and giving us subsequently their advice. We may very well, Mr. Speaker, act more quickly on some recommendations than others, but we have to see the advice first from our officials.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I guess I have to ask the question again. How can the minister say that it still requires further deliberation when the considerations of this particular section of the act have been going on for several years? The knowledge of the inadequacy of Section 49 of the Child Welfare Act existed before the Hughes Commission Report was given to the government. The report was given to the minister and his predecessor more than a year ago. Why can't we have an amendment this session to fix that problem with the act?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, we are not going to act with the sort of haste that the member is suggesting and quickly make changes to the act and probably regret it later. We are going to take the time necessary to review all thirty-five recommendations, to consider the advice of professionals on our staff, deputy ministers and the committee that we have struck. We are going to take that time. I can only repeat what I said in answer to the previous question. That it may very well be that they will recommend that we make changes more quickly on some recommendations than others. If that is the case, Mr. Speaker, we will do so.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. Last October the Government of Canada announced approximately $700,000 to improve the Winterland airstrip, which would benefit the entire Burin Peninsula and which would give a boost to the economy of the entire Burin Peninsula. This was one of the key factors in Kvaerner wanting to purchase the Marystown Shipyard as there was a connection to the Burin Peninsula by air.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the minister if he can tell me what has happened to that $700,000 which was needed to upgrade the Winterland airstrip and which the Government of Canada made available to the Government of Newfoundland to use for that purpose?

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

MR. GOVER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, with respect to that particular agreement and that particular amount of money, the government is well aware of the need for the expenditure of those funds on the Burin Peninsula, given the state of the economy in that area of the Province. One of the concerns that we had with respect to that particular agreement and that particular facility was that if that quantity of funds was to be expended on the airstrip in Winterland, then in order to adequately service the residents of that particular area from that airstrip there would have to be an improved access road from the airstrip to the main road. Negotiations are still ongoing with the federal government to have that access road constructed up to a suitable standard to allow the residents to avail of these improved facilities, and those discussions are still ongoing, Mr. Speaker, with respect to that.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the minister is not being honest and forthright. The fact of the matter is that the federal government has told the minister of the department that they are responsible for roads. In case the minister doesn't know, in this Province the provincial government has the responsibility for provincial roads.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: Now, Mr. Speaker, the road from the Grand Bank highway to Salt Pond branches off to the Community of Winterland. That has been, still is and always will be, I would suspect, the responsibility of the provincial government.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary.

MR. TOBIN: Can the minister tell me, Mr. Speaker, and tell this House and the people of the Burin Peninsula when he is going to accept his responsibility, when this government is going to do something for the people of the Burin Peninsula and when are they going to say yes to the federal government, take the $700,000 and let the Burin Peninsula have the same types of benefits as the other parts of this country have, Mr. Speaker? When is he going to do it?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. GOVER: Mr. Speaker, it is trite to say that I recognize that roads are a provincial responsibility. However, Mr. Speaker, when is a road a necessary adjunct to an airport? If the federal government was to build an airport in this Province fifty kilometers from any access road in the Province, would it then be a provincial responsibility to build an access road to an airport that was constructed by the federal government? You know, you just can't clearly define roads as being a provincial responsibility and airports as being a federal responsibility, because in order to access an airport you need a roadway. So in some cases the roadway can be considered part of the airport, which is a federal responsibility, Mr. Speaker.

As to when the money will be spent, I would like the money to be spent as quickly as possible to improve the economy of the Burin Peninsula and to let people go to work down there. Therefore, I urge the hon. member to get in contact with his federal colleagues to apply some pressure on them so we can resolve this outstanding difficulty, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West, on a supplementary.

MR. TOBIN: What a bluff, Mr. Speaker! What a bluff!

Mr. Speaker, is the minister stunned or does he not want to know the difference? Doesn't he realize that there is presently a road connected to the Winterland airport, that there is presently a road there, Mr. Speaker, that has been used for the last twenty years connecting to the airport? The airport is there. What is happening is the federal government are going to extend the airport and they need road improvements made. They need a commitment, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to get on with his question, please.

MR. TOBIN: I am asking the minister, Mr. Speaker, does he realize the federal government are only looking for a commitment from this government that they will upgrade the road that is there? If they say yes to that, then the airport can go ahead.

So, Mr. Speaker, let me ask the minister this: Did he not meet with a group of councils from the Burin Peninsula and did they not tell the minister that the present road needs some upgrading? Will you, Mr. Minister, and will your government accept your responsibilities and upgrade that road? If you cannot spend the $200,000 that is needed this year, will you do it over a period of three or four years? Make that commitment. We are not asking to build a major new road. Take the road that is there, upgrade that and make the commitment to provide the economy of the Burin Peninsula with the type of air services that they need, Mr. Speaker. For the past three years they have been abandoned on the Burin Peninsula by this government and it is now time -

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

MR. TOBIN: I ask the minister, Mr. Speaker: Will he confirm that that was the request of the Burin Peninsula residents?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I remind the hon. member for Burin - Placentia West of the rules. The member ought to know them. He knows very clearly that when he is asking a supplementary that it must be a question - not an expression of opinion, representation, argumentation, nor debate. The hon. member knows that, and there is a responsibility on him to follow the rules.

The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. GOVER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, I am aware that there is an existing roadway there, but the hon. member's question indicates that even the existing roadway, if it is to adequately service that particular airport, would have to be upgraded. Once the airport is upgraded there has to be an improved road network to access the airport. Whether that is an upgraded road or a new road, there has to be an improved access road to access the airport.

The airport is a federal responsibility. Why is there a need for an improved access road?... to service the airport, which is a federal responsibility.

Mr. Speaker, in this particular case all I can suggest is, as in the case of the fisheries crisis, the members opposite are trying to protect the federal treasury and alleviate the federal government of their responsibility of coming forward with money to discharge their responsibility in this particular matter, as they are seeking to evade and avoid the federal responsibility with respect to the fisheries crisis.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the minister responsible for cultural affairs, the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. Would the minister please give the House an update on the long talked about Federal-Provincial Cultural Industries Agreement? When will that agreement be signed, and how much money will the Province contribute over what period of time?

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

MR. HOGAN: Mr. Speaker, the agreement is just about ready to be signed. The amount of monies that has been negotiated in that regard is still of a confidential nature and I am not at liberty to disclose this to the House.

MR. SPEAKER: The time for Oral Questions has elapsed.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

MR. FLIGHT: In answer to the question on the Order Paper by the hon. the Member for Kilbride, I want to table and indicate the answer, Mr. Speaker. Trips taken during the period as requested, Corner Brook, September 18, 1991 for the signing of a silviculture agreement and I was accompanied by the Assistant Deputy Minister; Harbour Grace on September 19 for the official opening of the Fall Fair, again accompanied by the Assistant Deputy Minister of Agriculture; to Grand Falls on December 20 to attend the Exploits Valley regional recreation facility announcement, and the next day, to officially open the Fall Fair in Green Bay. Mr. Speaker, on October 9 - it says here, one day, but I obviously overnighted - on October 9 in Baie Verte, I am pleased to tell you there was no charge on that particular trip.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FLIGHT: On October 10, Mr. Speaker, I attended a Resource Policy Committee meeting and I was accompanied by my executive assistant as I was on the previous trip.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where was that?

MR. FLIGHT: To Bonne Bay, Wiltondale in particular.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. FLIGHT: The Liberal Party. I must say it was a very successful trip to Baie Verte. It paid off handsomely.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I wish to table my answers to the same question.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, the information is provided in this particular Answer to Questions. I think, we need to have some kind of a guideline because some ministers could have very lengthy answers to give and presumably -

AN HON. MEMBER: It could be embarrassing.

MR. SIMMS: There is no embarrassment, Mr. Speaker, we don't mind asking questions because we want the information, but there has to be some kind of an understanding. Should the answers be lengthy or should the same rules apply as would apply in the ordinary Question Period which is what I understand it to be. For example, the Minister of Finance, I think, did it properly. He just got up and tabled the answer. It is available to the press and everything. You do not get anything out of it other than a little bit of showmanship in the House, but it wastes the time of the House.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr Speaker..

I agree with the Leader of the Opposition that where answers are lengthy, the lengthy answers should simply be tabled under Answers to Questions. But I think it is customary in this House that a brief period of time be allowed for a member to explain the answer to the question as long as it isn't lengthy and doesn't take up the time of the House, Mr. Speaker.

However, I wonder if the comment by the Opposition goes a little deeper than that, in that they don't like the answers to the questions and therefore, they don't want to hear them.

MR. SPEAKER: To the point of order. If we go by practice and precedent in this House, there have been some mighty long answers given under this item, but this Chair has asked ministers to regard it the same as the Question Period and that they be as brief as possible. We could get into some very lengthy answers and it is not supposed to be that way, so I ask for the co-operation of hon. ministers.

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Order 10, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 10, the continuation of the debate on Bill 17.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The amendment to Bill 17 that has been proposed by the Member for Harbour Main is to refer the matter to a committee of the House that would travel, to hear comments from the public on this legislation. Mr. Speaker, I don't think the government is going to support that amendment. I have a very strong feeling that the government is not prepared to support the amendment to the legislation that would defer consideration of Bill 17 to allow the people of Newfoundland to have some input into the decision that this government has made to attack collective bargaining in this Province.

Mr. Speaker, this doesn't come as a surprise to me, because the government doesn't want the people of Newfoundland to have any say in any matter that is one of controversy. I am quite happy to see committees of this House travel around the Province to discuss signage on highways. I know the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island had a road show going around the Province for a couple of years to talk about signage on the highways; what colour the signs should be, how big they should be, how many should be put up and how many should be allowed to be put up. I am quite happy to see the people of Newfoundland have some say in that, Mr. Speaker, because that is not a matter of great importance to the Province, a matter on which public input is necessary, particularly from a committee of elected politicians who are highly paid, compared to the average Newfoundlander, to travel around the Province and talk about that.

They are prepared, Mr. Speaker, to have a committee of this House spend government money to travel around and talk about whether the constitutional name of the Province should conform to the actual name that the Government uses when it talks about itself so that we should call it the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador so that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, which it calls itself, can be the Government of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, something that it seems everybody in this House supports. So that is not controversial. Let's have a committee. Let's send a committee all around the Province. Go to Labrador. Make the Member for Eagle River Chairman of it so he can get a bit of a profile. We will do that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I voted against it. I voted against wasting the people's money, Mr. Speaker, to travel around this Province to profile the Member for Eagle River on a proposition that every member of this House said they agreed with. Yes, Mr. Speaker, I voted against that. I voted in favour of changing the name of the Province to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. I voted in favour of that, Mr. Speaker, as did every single member of the House, but I voted against wasting the taxpayers' money having a committee to talk about something that everybody agreed with.

Mr. Speaker, when I moved the Private Member's resolution in this House some weeks ago to set up a committee to consider ways of implementing a system that would guarantee the representation of women in this House, the government to a person, Mr. Speaker, each and every one of them, stood up and voted against it.

So, Mr. Speaker, the government is not prepared to have committees when there are matters of controversy, when there are matters of important government policy such as the representation, the very basic elements of democracy in terms of representation of people in this House. They don't want to have a committee for that. They don't want the public to have input in that. They don't want to stimulate public discussion on that kind of issue. They don't want to have the voice of the people participate in a progressive measure to improve democracy in this Province.

So, Mr. Speaker, it is not surprising that they are also going to vote against the amendment by the Member for Harbour Main to have the people of this Province have some input into whether or not this government ought to be permitted to destroy collective agreements and to destroy the foundations of labour legislation and labour peace in this Province. They don't want, Mr. Speaker, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to make the connection between what this government is doing in destroying collective bargaining, fomenting an anti-union attitude and the activities of certain private sector employers, who are going about this Province now attacking unions, attacking collective agreements, holding demonstrations, organizing demonstrations, trying to undermine collective bargaining. They are not seeing the connection. They don't want the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to see the connection between what this government is doing in collective bargaining and the private sector attacks they are encouraging.

Mr. Speaker, what is happening is that this government's commitment to collective bargaining is not dying, this government's commitment to collective bargaining is dead and that is why it is not surprising that the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations - he may say now that he was joking, but it is not surprising that the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations would say that collective bargaining is not just in jeopardy, collective bargaining is dead.

So I suspect that when the time comes for a vote on whether we would have a committee to examine Bill 17, the government members opposite are going to vote against that resolution because they don't want the people of Newfoundland to have a say in what happens to Bill 17. Because, Mr. Speaker, they have been putting it forth as if it were a revenue measure, as if it had something to do with any financial measure the Minister of Finance might propose, why we are going to impose this tax or impose that tax, we are going to cut out this program or add that program.

They are suggesting that Bill 17 is just another financial measure and has to do with restraint of compensation in the public sector. They have great euphuism, Mr. Speaker. If they were serious about that, if they were serious about restraint, we would see them removing the $8,000 a year ministerial car allowances. We would see that as a gesture. I don't know how often the President of Treasury Board needs to have a personal car or a chauffeured vehicle or $8,000 car allowance to drive around to meetings to do his business as President of Treasury Board. I don't know if the Minister of Finance needs that, Mr. Speaker, I understand when people want to see the Minister of Finance they come to see him.

We would expect to have seen that if they were serious about restraint. If they were serious about restraint and about the necessity of a freeze of wages in the public service, they could have imposed that without Bill 17, they could have tacked on a wage freeze at the end of a collective agreement. I am not suggesting that they should do that, but they could have done that if that was the purpose of this measure. We all know that collective agreements have a short life, it may be one year, or maybe two or three years. They don't all end at the same time either, Mr. Speaker. So, over a period of three years we would expect every single collective agreement in the public service to expire at one time or another. Many of them had already expired when Bill 16 was introduced last year. Not only that, the government knew what it was doing when a week before it introduced Bill 16 it signed collective agreements, thus creating agreements that they knew they were going to tear up within a matter of days.

So it would be very useful to have these issues brought to the public of Newfoundland and Labrador, giving the people of this Province a chance to see exactly what this government is doing in terms of the principles that it says it espouses, in terms of its high principles; whether or not it can be trusted; whether or not agreements that are made with the government can be relied upon; whether or not agreements in every other sector are declared to be final and binding on the employers and employees, and the unions; can be enforced by arbitration, and arbitration decisions enforced by the Supreme Court; whether those collective agreements, declared to be binding by law, can be torn up by the government that signs them.

That, Mr. Speaker, is the fundamental question dealt with in Bill 17. It is not surprising that the government doesn't want the public of this Province to see what the real issue is. They would rather have it disguised in terms of fiscal restraint, in terms of budgetary problems, in terms of the legitimate concern that is out there now for people who don't have jobs, who might think that a person who has a government job or a public sector job is on the pig's back, because at least they have a job. They would rather disguise what they are doing by trading on the insecurity that exists amongst members of the public who are hurting and who are not getting any relief from this government, instead of going out there up front and allowing the people of this Province to participate in a meaningful discussion about the alternatives that might exist.

Now, one of the government members sent me over a copy from The Globe and Mail today talking about the measures that had to be taken in Saskatchewan to improve their financial picture as a result of the enormous debt that province has. I appreciate whoever it was who sent it over. I already have a copy of The Globe and Mail, thank you very much. I don't quite see what the relevance is except this: Yes, every province is dealing with fiscal problems, dealing with serious concerns about the level of public debt, serious concerns about the ability of governments, particularly provincial governments, to respond, when the Government of Canada has removed revenues to the province from transfer payments. I see that in this Globe and Mail report the Finance Minister of Saskatchewan has noted that $517 million was taken out of the budget of Saskatchewan by cuts in transfer payments.

Five hundred and seventeen million dollars that the Province would have had if the federal government had paid its bills, Mr. Speaker. If the federal government had kept to the commitments of the federal governments of the past in instituting programs and their established programs financing, and the transfer payment plans and the Canada Assistance Plan, that government, Mr. Speaker, would have been $570 million dollars better off. And they said they could have balanced their budget if that had been the case. Similarly, Mr. Speaker, this Province has had problems of that nature where the federal government is not paying its bill.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, Saskatchewan had had up until the Tory government in 1982, thirteen years of balanced budgets, and some of the best social programs in Canada under an NDP government. When the Conservatives got in in 1982, Mr. Speaker, they ran up the highest per capita provincial debt in the country, higher than Newfoundland's. And Saskatchewan is worse off than the Province of Newfoundland when it comes to having to deal with a budget.

What did they do, Mr. Speaker? Did we see the Government of Saskatchewan ripping up collective agreements?... No. Do we see the Government of Ontario, with enormous fiscal problems again, larger by about twenty times than this Province, did you see them rip up collective agreements, Mr. Speaker, and destroy collective bargaining in the Province of Ontario?.... No, Mr. Speaker, you didn't.

So, Mr. Speaker, there are ways of dealing with financial fiscal problems without destroying your integrity as a government and the integrity of agreements that the government signs, particularly with working people in the Province. This government, Mr. Speaker, exercised its choice to tear up those agreements.

I see the Member for Baie Verte looking very intently at me and showing great interest in this debate, and I am pleased that he is because there is a man who has a tremendous amount of experience in the real world of doing business, of operating by agreements. I would say, Mr. Speaker, that if I made a deal with the Member for Baie Verte and shook hands on that deal, if we made an agreement as to the purchase or sale of fish or any agreement of that nature, that I could count on him as an individual following through on that. I see him nodding his head, and I believe that because I believe, Mr. Speaker, that the Member for Baie Verte knows that if you are going to operate with integrity and have a reputation for integrity you have to meet your deals.

I would say, Mr. Speaker, that when you are dealing with the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay you are dealing with a man of honour. I can't say that, Mr. Speaker, about this government, and I think that the Member for Baie Verte is ashamed of what this government has done in this legislation, because what this government is doing, Mr. Speaker, is not only countenancing, it is doing the very thing that the Member for Baie Verte as an individual would not do, and that is break an agreement that is made. I would not even have to sign an agreement with the Member for Baie Verte. I could shake his hand, and as a man of honour and a man of integrity I would know I could count on it.

With this government, Mr. Speaker, a signature is not enough, a signing ceremony is not enough, legislation, Mr. Speaker, that makes it binding and enforceable is not enough. That is not enough because they are prepared to turn around the next week or the next year, rip up those agreements and say: We don't care. We will change the law. This is how we bargain. We will sit down and make a deal with you and the next week, month or year we will tear it up by legislation.

Not only is it dishonourable, Mr. Speaker, it is unfair, because in order to get the compensation that is included in collective bargains, those who are negotiating give up other things. If you have three things on the table, Mr. Speaker, one of which is a wage increase, another which may be a benefit, another which may be some language changes, and the government negotiators say on their side: Look, if you give up your demands for an extra holiday, your demands for an extra language change that is important to you, if you give up these three or four things we will give you an extra 2 per cent or 1 per cent on your wages. That is one way that negotiations take place. You give up certain things to get others. It is the spirit of compromise. It is the ongoing collective bargaining process where the democratically elected representatives of workers sit down and negotiate with the employer and the employer's representatives. When you do that you are consciously giving up some things to get others. Now the government has gotten the benefit of that deal. They agreed with it, and then they take away what they had put on the table to get those concessions.

The government negotiates to get the concessions, and gets an agreement signed by the employees that is binding on them, so they get all the concessions out of the employees, and then they turn around and take away what it was the price that they paid to get those concessions. That is what they are doing. You sit down. You make a deal. We will ask you for concessions and we will give you a wage increase to get those concessions. Then we will turn around and take away the wage increase. That is what they are doing. It is fundamentally wrong. It is immoral. It is dishonourable, and it is totally unprincipled.

I am not surprised that this government does not want this legislation to shine in the light of public exposure. I am not surprised that the government does not want to parade this legislation around the Province and show it off, and let people see what they are doing, because if we went out to Baie Verte and the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay was there he would have to hang his head amongst his own people when they became aware that the government that he was elected to serve with was doing this dishonourable thing. That is why they do not want to have a committee. That is why they do not want to go out travelling around the Province. They do not want to see hon. men like the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay have to hang their head in shame amongst their people when they see what the government is doing.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: The Member for St. John's South says that I am losing my audience. Well this government does not want an audience for this legislation. They do not want the people of Newfoundland to have a close look at this. They do not want people to know what happened last year when Bill 16 was introduced and government members and the President of Treasury Board got up in this House and said: We are not destroying collective bargaining. We just have a one year freeze. Anyone who got a wage increase during the freeze period in their collective agreement, that is no problem. They can extend it. Section 6 of Bill 16 says, all you do is give notice to the Government of Newfoundland that you wish to exercise your option to extend your collective agreement for a period of a year.

AN HON. MEMBER: More lies, that is all. More lies.

MR. HARRIS: More lies, yes. That is all you have, Mr. Speaker. All you have to do is sign here, send us a note, drop us a line by a certain date and your collective agreement is extended, and if you have a 3 per cent increase, or a 4 per cent increase, or a 5 per cent increase, or an 8 per cent increase in this freeze period, you'll get it. You won't get it this year, you will get it next year. You can extend your collective agreement for a period of one year and the total integrity of collective bargaining is maintained. That is what they said, Mr. Speaker. No lies! That is what they said. There were, Mr. Speaker, believe it or not, after what they were doing and despite the `Clyde lied' campaign, there were a number of bargaining units that actually believed in the government and they sent notification to the government by the deadline that they intended to exercise their option to extend their collective agreement, in the full expectation, Mr. Speaker, that the government, despite what it had done, would honour its own legislation.

I see the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay looking at me in shock because he wasn't here to see that, but have a look at Bill 16, look at Section 6. People in this Province, Mr. Speaker, unions in the public sector, sent a note to the government exercising their option to extend their collective agreement for a period of one year, in total reliance, in good faith, Mr. Speaker - the word that is so often used in collective bargaining, in good faith they went and told the government that they wanted to exercise their option under Section 6.

So what happened, Mr. Speaker? Could they rest in their beds secure in the knowledge that the wage increases they had negotiated were going to come through, albeit a year later? Could they go out and buy a new car, Mr. Speaker, or replace the car they had or renew their mortgage? Could they do that, Mr. Speaker, secure in the knowledge that the wage increases they had negotiated would come through? Could they make decisions about their economic future based on the signed collective agreement, legal and binding, which this government, through its legislation, had said was extended for one year by Section 6? Could they do that? Some of them did, Mr. Speaker.

MR. RAMSAY: It is totally legal.

MR. HARRIS: What did they get, Mr. Speaker? Another response from this government, "Totally Legal." That is what the Member for LaPoile says, "Totally legal."

I know, Mr. Speaker, that some members of this House don't like lawyers. They don't say that when the Premier is around. They don't attack lawyers when the Premier is around, but they don't like lawyers. Let me tell you one thing: The Member for LaPoile says, "It is totally legal." Sure, it is totally legal, but do you know why? Because you guys make the laws, so you can make any law you want. But that doesn't stop it from being immoral, that doesn't stop it from being wrong and that doesn't stop it from being dishonourable. So go ahead, you will make it legal all right, but you will also build a reputation for dishonour and for lack of integrity. The Member for Baie Verte - White Bay will go back to Baie Verte - White Bay and hang his head with his people and say: I am sorry, I became part of a dishonourable government that is not prepared to stand by its agreements. That is what he has to do, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did you see him rushing out of the House a couple of days ago? He rushed out of the House.

MR. HARRIS: I saw him rush out of the House a couple of days ago. I don't blame him for rushing out of the House a couple of days ago. If I were him, I would have rushed out of the House even faster, when I was being called upon to vote against my own people, called upon for cheap, political reasons to vote against my own people.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HARRIS: That is what is happening over here, Mr. Speaker. They do not want the people of Newfoundland to find out about this. They do not want this Bill to be taken around the Province because they are afraid that the people of Newfoundland are starting to catch on. I would not be surprised if they'll rush out and have an election sometime in the next six months or so before the people of Newfoundland have time to realise to a person what is wrong with them. But I think people are catching on at a faster rate than they imagine.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. K. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I was not going to get up this morning. But while I was sleeping last night I had a dream. The dream was that I woke up, I went to work one day and I came into the House of Assembly, and that there was an NDP government in Newfoundland and Labrador. It was a dream. Now I can tell you. Now I'm going to tell you.

Then I looked on the other side of the House and I saw the new government there, sometime in the year 2500, somewhere around there, I do not know. But it will never happen now. In the dream I came in and I looked across and I saw Roy Romanow as the premier of the Newfoundland. Or it was some kind of clone, anyway, of Roy Romanow. It was a really bad dream because I had been reading all of these reports from The Globe and Mail, all the reports in our national newspaper, which had been talking about all the difficult decisions that the New Democratic Party, the left wing-party of Canada, the responsible party of Canada, the social conscience party, the party that would never, would always - I mean, it is for the people. They would do everything the people would want them to do. They would never do anything to harm the people.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: Pardon?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: Yes. So I had a dream, Mr. Speaker, and I have to tell you, it was a bad dream. I woke up and I was sweating, there were beads of sweat coming off me. It was a pure panic. But when I woke up anyway there was reality. Thank God there was reality.

But you know, in Saskatchewan today they woke up and they have to live with reality. The hon. Member for St. John's East talks about principles. Well, in Saskatchewan this morning, I do not know what they are talking about, but it is not exactly principles. You have the NDP government that have gone more right-wing than Preston Manning, as a matter of fact, in what they have done there in one budget. This is their first budget!

MR. TOBIN: Preston Manning (Inaudible)?

MR. K. AYLWARD: Boy oh boy. Go on, go on. Mr. Speaker, it is just unreal. I was reading some of this this morning. Punishing, it is more than punishing. This is just outrageous. At least this government when it comes in with its budget, tells exactly what it is going to do. This one, they decided: well, about five weeks ahead of time now we are going to slide this and that in. We are going to reduce health care, but we won't announce that in the budget, we will just tell them ahead of time that we will ask them to see what they can do. We're going to see what they can do.

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

MR. GRIMES: Oh, we're going to get the explanation now, oh yes!

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

MR. HARRIS: Would the hon. member permit a question, Mr. Speaker?

MR. GRIMES: State your point of order, never mind the question.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Would the hon. member permit a question?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Would the hon. member permit a question?

MR. K. AYLWARD: No, thank you. I was up here last week and I said, when the members opposite get up, what they should try to do in their twenty minutes or half hour, is to give us ten minutes of what they would do, that is what I would like to hear. I would like to hear ten minutes of what they would do and you know, still after all those speeches from the other side, we have not heard anything that they would do, hardly a think and I think it is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous that somebody can come in here, criticize this government knowing the financial position that we are in, and you know we hardly had anything to do with, and get up and criticize us and not even give us a suggestion as to how to fix it, and then the same person for example, the member representing the NDP Party -

AN HON. MEMBER: He said borrow more.

MR. K. AYLWARD: - yes, borrow more; and Roy Romanow and Bob Rae are saying, boy, we cannot do that anymore and this is the same political philosophy, so I am having a really hard time trying to put all of this together. I just cannot understand it. Maybe it is just that I am missing something here or I am missing the boat or something because I cannot understand it, Mr. Speaker. We all have to face reality so when we are going to say something and present a position, then why don't we do that and be clear and be fair. I think that if you have criticisms let us make them fair criticisms.

Everybody knows that this Province has financial problems just like every other province in Canada, so if you are going to be in opposition and you are going to say, well, don't do this and don't do that, then give us some options that we can deal with but so far, I am sad to say that there has hardly been an option. The Leader of the Opposition tried the other day to present a few options and the government can consider some of the options that he talked about, but at least that was some constructive criticisms on the wage bill.

But when I hear the extremism coming from the Member for St. John's East, I do not know what to think, it just boggles the mind. He can read, as I can, and when you see what is going on in other provinces of which his party is the government, so when I had that dream, I must say I woke up, Mr. Speaker, and it was not too pleasant. We have some major financial problems in this Province. We have pension funds with which we have to deal, we have to get workers compensation back in order, I mean, there is a whole range of serious financial problems. You know, I was reading an article this morning and one thing of interest which really hit me was that, the Government of Saskatchewan, the previous government had implemented a program, a Saskatchewan Pension Plan, which was established five years ago to help provide homemakers with pensions, which was pretty innovative.

This government, the new NDP Government have now cancelled that plan because it has a deficit, they have cancelled the pension plan of homemakers in Saskatchewan, wiped it out because it has a deficit -

AN HON. MEMBER: Did they make any commitment?

MR. K. AYLWARD: I don't know what they did, I am not sure what commitment they made, all I know is that they have cancelled it. Here it says 55,000 people were signed up for the pension plan in Saskatchewan for homemakers, 80 per cent of them were women, they have now wiped out the pension plan because it has an unfunded liability. So, does that mean that if the NDP takes over in Newfoundland and Labrador, that they are going to wipe out the teachers pension plan, does it mean that they are going to wipe out the other pension plans that this government has, because they have unfunded liability? I am going to try to get more details because-

MR. HARRIS: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: Well, I mean we are trying to get the others back in order, hon. member. Give us some time here, we are trying to get indexing done for the first time ever. Give us some time boy, give us some time, but this is what-


MR. K. AYLWARD: - your cohorts in the other provinces are doing, but sir-


MR. K. AYLWARD: - why don't you face up to the fact, don't come in here preaching to us, saying: well, now, Mr. Social Conscience -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. K. AYLWARD: - I am Mr. Social Conscience -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!


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

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order, but I find it difficult that the member is criticizing another government outside of the jurisdiction of this Province, for bringing in a budget, and who has been in government for less than three months, and they have been the government for three years and he is saying give us time and yet he is only prepared to give them three months! Well, Mr. Speaker, he cannot have it both ways.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Stephenville.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Thank you for the comments, the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West. I say to the Member for Burin - Placentia West, I have great sympathy for the hon. Premier of Saskatchewan, I have great sympathy for him, as a matter of fact, he has some major problems, but then when you hear his other cohorts across Canada saying exactly the opposite of what he is having to do, that is what drives me a little bit batty, Mr. Speaker. It drives me kind of crazy actually because he has to face reality just like the Member for Burin Placentia West had to face reality when he was in government when they had to have their wage freeze, when they announced they were going seven, five, six and four, and then in the middle of that had to change it to three and two. Even after they announced the restrictions they changed that down to three and two. Then they came back in and said we are going zero, zero, so let us at least be a little bit real here. The pension plans in this Province, if we had let them go, would be bankrupt. The former Premier Peckford said so as a matter of fact. The Opposition as a matter of fact knows it, they saw the books and knew it, so let us get a little bit real. These things have to be fixed up folks and if they are not going to get fixed up we have some problem in the future. Yes or no.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member feels he has to get up every time I speak but perhaps the relevance of what the member is saying on the amendment as to whether or not this legislation which tears up collective agreements should be taken around the Province. That is the amendment, Mr. Speaker, should that be done? Now, can he say something that would help out the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay in the moral dilemma that he is place in by his government, lacking in honour and integrity with respect to agreements that he signed? That is what we would like to hear. That is the relevancy that is required to make this on point.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Stephenville.

MR. K. AYLWARD: The financial position of the Province has no relevancy to this bill, Mr. Speaker? The financial position of the Province, the NDP critic for everything over there says the financial position of the Province has nothing to do with the wage restraint bill. I know of all kinds of collective agreements in the private sector that are not being honoured. Do you know why they are not being honoured, Mr. Speaker? The reason they are not being honoured, Mr. Speaker, is because some of the companies have gone bankrupt. A number of companies in this Province have gone bankrupt, unfortunately, because of the recession so their collective agreements cannot be honoured because the workers are out of work. That is what happened. We have to face some realities. All across Canada there have been companies, especially in Ontario, the economic engine, they have been leaving, going bankrupt and going under.

Olympia and York, it is unreal the restructuring they have to go through, companies which affect hundreds and thousands of workers, so all the collective agreements they had with their workers are null and void once they go into bankruptcy proceedings. What we are trying to deal with is a situation where we are trying to get this Province's financial position in order. A number of members of the Opposition understand that. When they were in government they had similar decisions to make and they are not easy, they are pretty tough, and when you are there trying to figure out what you are going to do with less money and trying to stimulate the economy at the same time it is not easy. It takes a fair bit of ingenuity to come up with some programs with little, or less funding to be able to stimulate an economy, especially when you have a rural based economy like we have.

They did some things when they were in Opposition which were positive in some areas of the Province, and some programs. A number of them have been kept by the government and have not been changed, so obviously they have worked out pretty good. The thing is these circumstances dictate difficult times and they dictate some difficult decisions to be made, so I think what we are trying to do is to get everybody to understand the situation. Not everybody is going to be happy, Mr. Speaker, nobody is jumping up and down at the thought of a wage restraint or limiting increases, or limiting spending, but there is a reality to deal with.

Her Majesty's loyal Opposition has been there before. I appreciate it when they get up and give some criticisms because at least they have been there and they understand - or most of them do - the position of government when you are in power trying to deal with an enormous problem.

The Member for St. John's East just bothers me a little bit, Mr. Speaker. I shouldn't let him get to me a whole lot, but just a scatter time he does, because if we are going to talk about this in the House of Assembly we should be relevant. We should speak to reality, not to what we might do - I wouldn't do this if I was there - when you know from their cohorts elsewhere that they are doing it and not only are they doing it they are wiping it out in a number of places.

So when I hear that, Mr. Speaker, it is just troubling. That is all. The dream I had was of waking up and seeing an NDP Roy Romanow government in Newfoundland. I don't think we will see it for a long time unless way down the road, years down the road, they swing back from either the right wing position they have right now in Saskatchewan and Ontario, or they become a reality party, which is really a party of dealing with the problems that we have to face. So there is no easy solution, Mr. Speaker. There is no easy solution.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: There is no easy solution, Mr. Speaker. But we have to work to resolve some of the problems ahead of us. For this Province we are dealing with those things head on. You know, when it comes to dealing with all of the employees of the public service who are getting funds from the public purse, I think everybody out there is working to do their best to make sure the government can keep on track and provide services to its people. I think that is the important part. We have to keep providing a good service to people for all of the services that they pay taxes for. The government is trying to make sure that continues through our different portfolios.

You know, looking at the financial position we have been able to do some major things in education, major, major things in education. I mean really other provinces are cutting back to school boards across Canada and we are increasing to school boards in this time of recession. What it means for my school board out in Stephenville, I will tell you, is very much.

I saw a letter from the school trustees of the Province - I think it was sent to the minister and to the Premier - saying thank you for raising monies for the school boards of this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: School trustees?

MR. K. AYLWARD: The School Trustees Association of Newfoundland and Labrador wrote a letter to the Premier saying: We appreciate the commitment that you made and were able to keep when it came to the school boards of the Province.

Rural school boards of this Province are getting a big shot in the arm, Mr. Speaker. They are getting an influx of funding to help bring up the level of schooling in and around the Province. That alone is a major initiative for a government in a term of office as far as I'm concerned -- a major initiative, and we are not finished yet. A lot of reform is coming. The Royal Commission on Education is coming down shortly with all kinds of recommendations, and the minister and the Cabinet are going to consider those for the coming few years.

Again the hon. Phil Warren, minister, was able to get the government to come up with the Royal Commission on Education which I think is going to now provide a map for us for the future. That is important in dealing with our financial position, and in doing that we still have to look at how we are spending our money. I think in some areas it is a matter of not so much increasing the funding to solve the problem, but how you spend the money and the areas you spend it in. That could help us more effectively deal with the problems that we have to face.

It is not a question of more money in some cases, Mr. Speaker. It is not a question of more money, it is a question of how you use your money. This government has not only been trying to, it is being forced to, and by being forced to I think it has been a decent exercise because we have been able to get more effective use of every dollar that we spend.

I look forward to seeing some of these reforms coming forward. There have been a number of major initiatives. The increase in scholarships alone by this government in this term has meant a lot to hundreds of students in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: Distance education.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Distance education. I mean the Member for LaPoile was telling me about distance education in his riding, about what is happening down there, down in Port aux Basques which is 600 miles away, Stephenville and the Port au Port Peninsula, a number of excellent things there to deal with drop-outs and trying to get people back into school. I mean there has been a tremendous number of initiatives costing different dollars, and we have been able to find them and work with the school boards to bring them in.

DR. WARREN: The school boards recognize it, too. The school boards realize now (inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: They do. The school boards do. I think so, minister, and I believe they now see it. They have a good working relationship with government and they know that we are looking at trying to resolve some problems out there, and they can come in. There is an open door, and if they come in with a decent proposal on how to better educate, it is getting considered. It is getting considered by the Department of Education. That, I think is excellent, and I know out my way it is paying off. We have a new primary school going to be opened some time this fall, $3.3 million, one of the most beautiful primary schools you will ever see; a big improvement for our 400 students out there. Again the government was able, even in these difficult financial times, to improve funding again for capital for schools in the Province.

So even throughout the recession and throughout the difficult times, and we are coming out of it, and we are going to be one of the first ones out of it, we have been able to do some very, very positive things, and I think people out there are realizing it.

When you look at wage restraint, everybody across Canada is in wage restraint. It is not just Newfoundland and Labrador. We are not the only ones out there, pushed out in the middle of the Atlantic, surrounded, and all with a zero per cent increase. We are not the only ones like that. Everybody is. It is not just us. The other provinces are looking at this Province and saying: Now there is leadership. Newfoundland and Labrador has leadership. It has direction. It is facing the problems head-on. It is not easy medicine. Nobody said it was easy. We never got elected to make easy decisions.

AN HON. MEMBER: No. Some people did, though.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Yes, some people did.

AN HON. MEMBER: We are not going to give up.

MR. K. AYLWARD: That is right. We are going to deal with it. The very least they will be able to say about this government is that we faced up to the tough decisions. We have been trying to face up to them, and we have been trying to make it easy on our people - not tough on them - easy on them, especially for the future.

I think the Member for Harbour Main understands that. The member for Harbour Main would know this. He was a minister of government. The Member for Harbour Main has a social conscience. He understands that. It is not a great time to be elected in politics. When you are elected in politics you want to bring in programs and you want to be able to change things. Sometimes you need money to do that, in some cases. In other cases you do not, so it has not been easy. It is not the best of times, but then again it is going to get better, and we want to be there and make sure that when it is better we have the programs ready to go.

I also say that in other areas we have been able to use the money more effectively, and I think that has been an exercise that governments all across Canada have had to go through. They have had to go through this exercise and look at every dollar being spent, and where it goes, and how much is spent on health care, and how is it being used, and do we have the right programs? Our population demographics are changing on us. We have an older population. They will require different services than an acute care hospital located in every town. They need different services. So we have been trying to face and plan for the long-term. Given the financial situation, and keeping those circumstances in mind, we have been able to at least try to deal with that also, because governments have to plan to meet the needs of their people. Even in difficult economic times we have to plan and do that, and we have been trying to do that.

Nobody is saying that every decision you make is the right one. Governments are elected. They make mistakes. They are only people. Everybody here, we are all people. You make a decision. Sometimes maybe you should have gone further, or you should not have gone as far, but these decisions are taken with the best interests of people in mind in this Province. So at the very least, what we are attempting to do is deal with the reality of lesser funds at this period in time; but we are also planning for when we come out of this recession, which is not too far away, and hopefully very soon, again we will be in a better position.

Nobody predicted the fisheries crisis. Nobody predicted that. All along the fishermen have said it, and maybe enough people did not listen to them over the last number of years. The inshore fishermen were saying it for a long time and so on, but the thing is that we now have to deal with the fisheries crisis and I see this as an opportunity this time around for all of us to get an understanding of how important the fish resource is to this Province, and also to push for the case of joint management for our fish resource. It is time now. Now that we are in the desperate straits that we are in the fishery, it is time that the federal government come a little ways and sit down and talk about joint management so that the problems that we have now, the major problems that we have now, that we do not have to experience them in the future. I believe that if the fishermen of the Province were listened to years ago we might not have the problem we have now. We have to find a way to get their opinions around the table when decisions are made because they are our resource, they are economy in this Province. The fishermen in this Province bring in a resource, they farm a resource, and they create an economy. We have to listen to them when they see a problem on the horizon. It is easy to have hindsight in hindsight, but we should have listened and we have to find a proper mechanism for the Government of this Province to have its say when decisions are being made in the management of our fishery. The whole House of Assembly, including the Opposition, are now on side with the provincial government when it comes to joint management.

MR. GOVER: Are they?

MR. K. AYLWARD: Yes, they are.

MR. GOVER: They are? Two of our buddies are saying no.

MR. K. AYLWARD: But they are with us on this one.

MR. GOVER: I think that is a sham.

MR. K. AYLWARD: I think when it comes to the fiscal situation of the Province, when we talk about the fiscal situation and where we are going in the future, the fishery is so important to this Province that in order for us to have a long-term future in making sure that our economy, and that our revenue from the Province's people is going to be at the right level for us to keep doing the proper services we need to have a fishery and be able to have control or have a say over how we do that. I think the plan that the Province, the Premier, the Cabinet, and the government have presented to the federal government when it comes to joint management is the way to go. It has been developed over the last three or four years and it is time now for the federal government -and I hope it looks back and has some hindsight also, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, I think after the experiences we are now going through - I mean, the Prime Minister has to now go to Rio de Janeiro for the environmental conference and we have to have fisheries as one of the lead issue now because our fish stock is in such poor shape. It is becoming a world issue and the reason is because we just have not managed the resource right. Given diplomacy and everything, I think there is a lesson to be learned and we have to plan for the future.

The entire House of Assembly supports our proposal and we look forward to seeing the federal government come on side, hopefully in the next year, because it is time they did when it comes to that one. If we had some say in the management of our fishery - and the Member for Trinity North will agree with this - if we had some say in the management of our fishery, we would not have to bring in a wage restraint bill probably because our economy wouldn't be in such dire straits. If we had more say and we had some more power in the decision-making side, at least sitting around the table and being able to have our say, and being able to plan out with the resource and the policy-making side of things, I think we would not be into governments every ten or fifteen years having a financial crisis on their hands in this Province. Because it is going to continue. Every ten or twelve years a recession is going to hit somewhere along the line and this government is no different from any other government which has to deal with this situation.

I think we have to take the opportunity while we are into a difficult economic time to look at the root problem of how we are here. The reason we have a wage restraint in the Province is because we don't have enough revenue to pay everybody, unfortunately. Whose fault is that? Maybe it is everybody's fault. We are all to blame, but let's find a way to resolve it so we don't have this type of problem in the future. I think a number of these problems can be resolved if we have our economy back on the right track.

Mr. Speaker, as I said, I had a dream about the NDP, waking up and reading the Globe and Mail this morning. No wonder the Member for St. John's East has left us. I wasn't finished but he didn't want to listen to me anymore.

All I say is that members opposite, when they get up and speak, I enjoy their speaking and I ask them to present us with options so that we can deal with the problem. That is all I ask. I don't ask more than that. Give us the gears and all that, but let us ask them to be a bit real in their criticism, give us a few suggestions in their twenty-five minutes as to how they would deal with this and then maybe government will look at these options and try to deal with them in a different way. The government is open to any suggestions that can be made. Nobody here has all the answers and that is freely admitted, because I don't think there are any masters of economy here, masters with economics degrees, and even they can't advise us on how to resolve it, Mr. Speaker. Every bit of advice that government can get as to how to deal with this problem would be appreciated.

Understand one thing, we have a major financial problem and it is not just the revenue right now. We have pension plans and a number of things to fix up and they are going to be done, but it is going to take a little bit of - we have a little bit of minor pain but we have to do it for the long-term gain. We look forward to trying to deal with this problem. It is not easy, but we will face up to it.

I see, as The Globe and Mail - I keep talking about The Globe and Mail, I don't mean to. But they are talking about how Newfoundland has led the way in rebuilding health care and trying to fix the health care system, dealing with the people's needs out there. Other provinces are now calling the Department of Health in this Province asking: 'How have you done this, and how can we have a look at what you've done?'

I know it's not easy, and I know that in some cases it may not be working as well as it should be, but maybe down the road it is going to. At least, that is what they are telling us. It is a pleasure to rise, Mr. Speaker, in the House.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a few moments to address this issue. I have to say that the debate I have listened to the last two or three days has had a minimal amount of relevance to the particular bill that is being debated. Your Honour has provided a tremendous amount of freedom in the debate. It is Your Honour's prerogative. I suppose, in talking about a bill that deals with wages or finances, it could be construed as being a finance bill to a greater or lesser degree, although it is not seeking funding. Perhaps in that category, Your Honour feels that he can provide that kind of freedom.

Nevertheless, I would like to deal a little bit more with the issues. Because I think it is a very important issue facing not only the government of the day but facing the Province of the day. That is the cost of labour. The question is, why has the government found itself in the position in which it now finds itself? That is the first issue that I think we should look at.

I think we have to look back to the early days of this administration. Perhaps through inexperience or political expediency or whatever, this government provided a couple of settlements with bargaining units which I think were generous, overly generous; not to say that those bargaining units didn't need or didn't deserve - certainly they wanted - those types of increases. I don't think the government appreciated, I do not think the President of Treasury Board appreciated, at that point in time, the precedent that was being set. But he soon learned, I think he learned very quickly, that once he had given that kind of an increase to one group that he was setting the stage for other groups to come forward with similar types of demands, and they now had a precedent on which to rest their case. So he soon learned that: 'I think I have made a mistake.'

But he made a second mistake. Instead of standing firm at that point in time, he decided to take what was, in the short-term at least, the easy way out. He agreed to refer several matters to binding arbitration. He has learned now, that in binding arbitration, government invariably loses. Because the unions negotiate, and government negotiates, I believe in good faith -

AN HON. MEMBER: You're half right.

MR. WINDSOR: I'm half right. I said unions negotiate and governments negotiate in good faith.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: The hon. gentleman now agrees with me. But the old trickery, Mr. Speaker, is for unions to negotiate with government, get them as far as you can get them, and when you have come to the end of the road, then you ask for binding arbitration. Governments are aware of this, and wary of this. I suspect the hon. minister, the President of Treasury Board, was advised by his negotiating staff always to hold back just a little bit. You always have to have a face-saver in the event that you get into a dispute, and then try to reach a settlement. There always has to be a face-saver for the union executive. They cannot put the union out on strike for six, eight, or ten weeks, and then reach a settlement which is no better than they had been offered prior to the strike. You have to offer them a face-saver.

Someday some government will have enough public support and courage to bury one of these union leaders by standing firm and saying: no. What we have offered you is fair and just. You chose to take your troops to the streets and you will stay there until you are prepared to accept this. Unfortunately, it gets back to the old problem that governments are dealing with public services. I say that I believe, from that point of view, labour negotiations in the public sector are unfair to government, because government has to go be elected again. And the average person out there, the average taxpayer, who has no concept that the money that government is trying to negotiate with is their tax dollar, that concept has not gotten out yet, invariably preached to students who come in here. As hon. members know, I get perhaps more students visiting than any other member. The district of Mount Pearl seems to be very interested in bringing students here.

AN HON. MEMBER: Suburbia.

MR. WINDSOR: Suburbia. But because we are close and because the schools in there are politically active, teachers are politically aware, I think, perhaps more than anywhere else, more than in any other district. I believe hon. members will agree that we get more students coming in from that area.

Anyway, I meet lots of students and I invariably preach to them the fact that all the government is doing is redistributing their tax dollars. When I hear people putting more and more demands on governments for services, and at the same time saying, but you are charging me too much taxes, how do they believe the governments are going to be able to do that? Of course, government is always a whipping boy. I will reduce your costs, cut your salaries, reduce the number of public servants.

I think studies could show there is always room for improvement, I guess. There is always room to save some money, but I believe in government, particularly in this Province over, certainly, the last ten years, we have been continually cutting in the public service. Now there is probably still some room. There is always room. There is room in the private sector, as we are finding now in this recession, that private companies are, on a regular basis, reducing their costs and finding out that they can, indeed, operate with much lesser costs, if they tried to. It is not done easily. It is not done without some pain. You have to reduce some unnecessary staff positions, you have to reduce some frills, some fringe benefits, some luxuries. Private enterprise has had to do that in this Province. They have been doing it very much over the last couple of years. Unfortunately, they have done that and they are still suffering desperately today. I will predict to this government that you are going to see more bankruptcies in the next six months in this Province than you have in the last six years, or any six-year period, unless something changes very quickly, unless this government can find some ways and means of helping private enterprise, particularly the small business in this Province.

Mr. Speaker, the point I am trying to make is that there are limitations on how much you can cut, and I believe government is getting very close to that limitation today, as it relates to simply trimming the fat. If government is to effect any amount of saving in their expenditures this year, or in future years, they have to start eliminating programs. Because you can only cut a program so far, you can only trim it so much before it becomes noneffective, and the administrative cost of the program exceeds the benefit that is being received from the small amount of money that is left in that program.

I believe that the government, therefore, doesn't have a lot of options there, and I don't have a lot of time for those out there who say, 'Oh, you have to reduce the cost of government.' I think you will find if you compared, on some sort of an equitable basis, the operations of government with the operations of most private enterprise, that government is, indeed, fairly efficient. Again I qualify that by saying there is always room for improvement and change, both in government and in private enterprise. So that is not the answer. It is not the cost of government, unless we want to reduce services, and is that acceptable to the taxpaying public today? That is not what they want. They want more services. They want better facilities. They want more schools. They want better roads, and these are all legitimate needs in this Province. It is very difficult for us, as politicians, to stand in this House and say these are unreasonable requests, because they are not. But I sympathize with government today, because I see so many specific interest groups coming in here one after one. Not day after day, but one after one, in the same day, a constant barrage of groups that have a specific interest and a specific purpose. They are all in with their hands out looking for more, but none of them say, 'We want more, but we are prepared to pay more taxes in order to get more. We want more, but we are prepared to do without this.'

AN HON. MEMBER: What is the (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: We don't hear that. The pensioner is a case in point, and the pensioner is probably one of the greatest needs facing this government, because they have been almost forgotten for the last three or four years. They were given 2.5 per cent in the first term of this government and not a cent since. But you have to realize that they are on fixed income. They have no other means, generally speaking, to help themselves deal with the problems they are faced with because of the recession. The rest of us can do some other things. Many others can do other things to try to make an extra dollar. It can cut back on cost. Many pensioners today are fixed in their income. Many of them are in a housing accommodation, the cost of which is going up.

That is an issue I wish to get into with the Minister of Social Services in due course, particularly those hundreds of senior citizens and single parents who are living in housing owned by government, either social housing or economic rental units. But either way - the economic rental units, now, the cost of those has been increased to market. Economic rental units were built to stabilize the market, to keep the market cost down. But the policy of the corporation today is to increase the cost to market. We have units in this city through which the Housing Corporation is actually making a profit, in some cases, a very handsome profit, being used for other housing purposes, but those specific units are now no longer a bargain.

Government units were always reasonably priced and stable, and you knew you had some protection, that you weren't dealing with a landlord who was trying to take unreasonable profits out of it. But now, today, they are no more beneficial than any other unit on the market because House Corporation has adopted a policy of meeting the market. Another issue. I didn't wish to get into that, particularly this morning. I bring it up only because it is indicative of the problem that seniors, single parents and those with low incomes are having today where costs are rising regularly.

So what can government do, Mr. Speaker? The hon. the Member for Stephenville said, 'Tell us what we can do.' I have told them on many occasions what they can do. Not only I, but my colleagues here, have suggested many things that government should be doing. We could take the easy way out that this government took when they were in Opposition. Whenever we said, 'you tell us what you would do,' the answer always was, 'You are the government, you are being paid, you are elected to govern, you do it. When we become the government we will show you.'

MR. K. AYLWARD: You remember that?

MR. WINDSOR: I remember it well, and you have showed us well. You have showed us what you would do and we are sadly disappointed in this government.

So, Mr. Speaker, let's get back to the point I tried to make in the beginning, and I have broadened it out tremendously.

AN HON. MEMBER: You digressed a little.

MR. WINDSOR: I digressed a little bit, but I tend to do that when I get excited.

The point I am trying to make is that the options are only two: increased taxation or increased revenue. Simple. You are trying to balance a budget. I have said that government programs cannot necessarily be cut without cutting services. I think that not this government but this Province is at the point in time when we have to evaluate the programs. We can no longer afford to be providing programs that may no longer be necessary. I would encourage this government to do a thorough examination, department by department, of programs that are no longer filling the need that they were designed to fill, or where the need is no longer there, perhaps we just don't need them anymore. We would like to have them, in a perfect world we keep them but this is not, these are difficult times, so I think we have to look at that and we have to perhaps spend our money, earmark our money for the greatest needs. In doing that, we always have to be cognizant of the returns on that investment.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: That is right, that is exactly what it is supposed to do, but I think government in doing that has to be cognizant of the returns on that investment and I believe the return on education makes it a good investment -

DR. WARREN: Streamline the system (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: We can streamline the education system. I agree with some of the things that the minister has done and I disagree with others but I do not want to get into that today, but the point that I think the minister raises is, yes, we can streamline education -

DR. WARREN: And put the money into other things.

MR. WINDSOR: - let us get the maximum benefit out of education. The problem with education is, that it is a long-term investment, it does not give you returns tomorrow, and unfortunately in this Province today the employment situation is so weak that we are not getting returns for our education, because the people cannot find employment here. They are not able to stay here to contribute to the economy and they are being forced to go elsewhere, so what we are doing now is pouring more and more money into education, to educate our young people, to give them an opportunity to earn a living elsewhere. That in itself is good.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is why Ottawa should fund them.

MR. WINDSOR: That is exactly why Ottawa should be involved. Education is universal and benefits accrue to Canada as a whole and that is a rationale for government providing a measure, and they do, they provide funding for education, but unfortunately we are not getting the benefit out of it anymore.

Now we can build roads, it is infrastructure, it helps business and industry, it reduces transportation costs, that provides a benefit. We can provide assistance to industry but have to be very careful in doing that, we have to be very careful in providing assistance to industry. The Premier, I thought, was quite accurate yesterday when he said we cannot put a lot of money into the Lundrigan corporation, because they are competing with somebody else, and neither should we, unless they are competing with somebody from outside of the Province. If it is the only business in this Province and you are not competing with somebody else in the Province, that perhaps, in certain circumstances might be an exception, but generally speaking government programs are designed toward resource based industries.

But what opportunities are available in resource based industries, Mr. Speaker? I have been seventeen years in this House talking about resource based industries. The hon. Minister of Fisheries and I, back in 1976, went to Europe to see what we could do with the fishing industry. We are still talking about aquaculture, we are still talking about secondary and tertiary processing but we have not made a lot of gains in those areas, with some exceptions, we are now producing some finished products but not nearly what we should be producing.

When we talk about resource based industries, we have to sit down and say what do we have left to work with and the fishing industry is probably one of the best examples. I think that this current crisis in the fishing industry will cause us to realize that the fishing industry cannot expand on the basis of an increased catch, we in fact have to decrease the catch, we have reached and surpassed the sustainable yield, foreign fishing aside, that is one fact and is certainly a problem that has to be dealt with, but nevertheless there is a sustainable yield and that has to be identified and identified accurately, and we also have to realize that regardless of all the scientific information, it is still a cyclical resource and there will be good years and bad years regardless of how much you catch, so you have to find a sustainable yield and we have to utilize that resource. So there is where our money should be going, directly into moving the fishing industry from a harvesting industry, which is what it effectively is, to a processing industry. We have not had great success in that area. Even though we have been aware of it for a long period of time, we have not had great success in moving the industry from harvesting to processing. The harvesting we will always have. We are here. We will harvest.

But that is not where the value added is. The value added is in the processing. With free trade we should be benefiting more than probably any other province in Canada, because we should now be getting our fish products into the US market in a consumer package, not in the hundred-pound frozen cod block that is primarily being sent down to Danvers, Massachusetts. More jobs created in Danvers, Massachusetts, on that fish than there is in Newfoundland. We have to stop that.

The pulp and paper industry, I think we send a world-class product out of here. Can't do much with that. I think we can utilize the timber that is there, that could be utilized to produce lumber a little more effectively. I think we could be a little more creative in utilizing the waste. My friend will remember the same visit, we visited Bergen, I believe, where they were processing the seal skins that came from Newfoundland.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: That's right. I have told this story in the House before, but I will tell it again for those who have not heard it. The minister and I toured that plant and we watched their operation. One of the things they used to clean the oil from the skins was sawdust. Common, old, everyday sawdust. In great wooden vats that rotate. The seal skins go in there. The sawdust is abrasive and also absorbs the oil, the fat, from the skin. That is the first process, really. It goes down through three or four bins. At the end the skin comes out with a tremendous amount of oil removed. At the other end the sawdust comes out, totally saturated with oil. All of that sawdust went into a hopper with a screw mechanism that fed it into the furnace that completely heated a building five times the size of this chamber. The total source of heat was the oil that they were removing from the skins, and the sawdust they were using to remove the oil.

That was their form of energy efficiency, utilizing every dollar that can be extracted from the process. These are the kinds of things they do. What do we do? We burn the bark and create environmental problems. Or we dump it out in the harbour as they do in Corner Brook. In another life I am doing some investigating of the mill in Corner Brook. I think I have mentioned before, twenty tons of fibre a day goes into the harbour in Corner Brook from that mill.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: Did you see the article on t.v. last night?

MR. WINDSOR: I was just about to mention it. I saw the article last evening and I was very interested in it. Because it makes so much sense, if it works. I do not know if it works. But some research has been done on combining bark and sawdust with fish offal, and some other chemicals perhaps, and it produced something that they are going to ship to Saudi Arabia to create arable land in Saudi Arabia. It has been proven very effective as a fertilizer here locally.

That is the kind of thing that I would like to see. Why are we dumping fish offal back into the ocean? Hundreds of thousands of tons of biomass going back to the ocean, when it can be utilized for these types of purposes. Why are we burning all of the bark and all of the sawdust, and otherwise creating environmental problems for ourselves, instead of utilizing that?

Well, I am getting off my subject, Mr. Speaker. How much time have I used? Could the Clerk tell me?

MR. SPEAKER: Twenty-five minutes.

MR. WINDSOR: Twenty-five minutes gone. I have five minutes left. And I am only in my preamble yet. If the House will give me leave for about two hours I will carry on.

MR. CARTER: Tell them about our trip to Spain.

MR. WINDSOR: Spain was very interesting. A very productive trip. The minister makes light of it, but I believe that particular trip, as pleasant as it was, was also very productive at the time. Unfortunately it was not followed through. We are back there now dealing with the same people, asking them to stop overfishing. Our purpose at the time was to form an alliance with the Spaniards but unfortunately there were things that took place that prohibited us from doing that - but had we been successful in that - and we went to Germany and Portugal as well, and each time we were talking about jointly managing and jointly utilizing the fisheries resources, had that been followed through, had we been as successful as we would have liked to have been, I suspect we probably would not have the problem we have today, at least not to the same extent. We are back now after the fact, now that the fish are gone saying: now you realize what we said was true, and that is effectively what the minister is saying there now, I am sure.

Mr. Speaker, I only have a few moments so I will try and clue up by saying something about labour negotiations. I started to say you had all these demands and I got sidetracked on these other issues. The point of the matter is I think government made some mistakes early in the game and now they find themselves in a very, very difficult position, so they now have to bring in a piece of legislation which is undemocratic. I have just given the government all of the reasons why they find themselves in it, and I sympathize with them in all the problems they face in spending government money today, but they have a piece of legislation now which is undemocratic.

The teachers said in a document that was circulated to me yesterday - there are a number of very good statements in here - at issue is a lost of confidence, confidence in the value of a signature. Confidence in the value of a signature, that is the point they are making and the point that I agree with, that this government, rightly or wrongly, entered into an agreement not so long ago, they put their name on a piece of paper. I know circumstances change but they did not change that quickly. Government should have known when they signed that piece of paper, and I will not suggest that they did know, there are those who are suggesting that government knew full well.

AN HON. MEMBER: With some of them we did.

MR. WINDSOR: Some of them he did. The minister admits that when they signed some of the contracts they knew they were not going to be able to honour them. Now, that is a shameful admission. I was generous enough not to even want to suggest it but it is shameful that the minister admits that. If there was one contract that this government knew when they signed it they could not honour then I think my friend for St. John's East is right, that was immoral. Their promises broken - this dispatch from the NTA goes through that in some detail and I think it makes some very valid points. I do not have time to deal with it all today.

AN HON. MEMBER: They are off base a little.

MR. WINDSOR: Some are off base. Invariably any person bringing forth a position colours it to their own best advantage, and why not? You do not go in negotiating something and give all of governments points. I do not stand here, I did this morning, and felt like I was defending government. It was not what I started to do. My thoughts when I rose were to deal with what I am getting into now more so. I will say dishonesty - the President of Treasury Board now gives me reason to say it, the dishonesty of signing agreements that you knew you were not able to honour, and the reason you were not able to honour them was because of weakness in the first instance early in the term in providing settlements which were too generous, seconded by another mistake of referring issues to binding arbitration. I cautioned government early in the term. Hon gentlemen can go back to Hansard and you will find I cautioned you then to stay away from binding arbitration because you will lose. I learned a lesson as well in a binding arbitration over which we had no control. It was a binding arbitration that was there by statute. If an agreement could not be reached then the matter must go to binding arbitration. It was a group that did not have the right to strike, and a particular arbitrator said: 'This arbitrator does not feel bound by the ability of government to pay.' In other words, it was not necessary even to consider whether or not government had the ability to pay, and that is frightening. I think it is irresponsible - absolutely irresponsible. I immediately said: 'That will be the last time that person will do an arbitration, as long as I have anything to say about it,' because how can you have an arbitrator who says: 'It doesn't matter how much money government has. We have to look at what these people need. We have to compare their needs and what other people in other provinces of Canada in similar positions are getting, or in private enterprise. It does not matter if we award something and it bankrupts government. So what? That is not my concern.' I think that arbitrator totally missed the responsibility with which he had been entrusted.

So I say to government, whenever you go to binding arbitration, it is going to cost you dearly. Not only that, when you get an award from an arbiter then the next group that comes in to negotiate has a precedent, and they are buoyed up by the fact that an arbitrator gave a large arbitration award. Therefore, they constantly hit you over the head with, 'Well, look what they got.' 'Oh yes, but they got that through arbitration.' 'Well, I guess we will have to go to arbitration, too, as quickly as possible.'

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair must advise the House that the hon. member's time is up.

MR. WINDSOR: Two or three minutes by leave?

MR. SPEAKER: By leave, the hon. member.

MR. WINDSOR: Just to clue up. I don't have time to get into all I wanted to do, that would be asking too much.

So when you get those groups coming in with that, then they are armed with a lot of ammunition. They have strong arguments to make.

To get back to what I was saying earlier, the real weakness is in government's vulnerability, that governments do have to get elected. Union leaders do and they don't. The union leader's objective is to get as much as they can for their union. As long as they do they will get reelected, as we are seeing, and paid well for it, I understand. But governments do have to get elected. At the same time, they have a responsibility to maintain public services. How do you leave 15,000 government employees on the streets when those streets have not been cleared of snow? When hospitals are - pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I mean, how can you do that when hospitals are not being properly operated? When people are having difficulty - I won't say being denied medical care; there is always emergency care available. But we have had cases in the past when people have had serious difficulties because various medical groups were on strike. We have had problems negotiating with the unions in the past, essential services that were called for under the agreement that had to be provided in the event of a strike.

So it is a very difficult position in which the government finds itself, and government will never resolve it on its own unless the people of this Province are prepared to support the government in their efforts; unless the people are prepared to say, enough is enough. It does not happen very easily. The hon. gentlemen opposite like to make reference to the strikes we had in 1985 and 1986, in which I was very much involved. It wasn't a lot of fun. That is perhaps why I can sympathize with hon. people opposite. It wasn't a lot of fun driving in through 300 or 400 people every morning. It wasn't a lot of fun having to step over bodies on the step of Confederation Building. It wasn't a lot of fun listening to yourself being called some of the things that I was called. It wasn't a lot of fun going out and seeing the side of your car destroyed, the paint job destroyed, not a lot of fun having threatening phone calls at home so that the police had to patrol your house twenty-fours a day. It is not a lot of fun, Mr. Speaker.

Anybody who doesn't think that took place in 1985 is hiding away form the truth, because it did happen. It's not a lot of fun having constituents come to you, members of my provincial executive come to me, saying: 'I can't cross the picket line anymore. It is too tough. You know, I support you, but I cannot refuse to go on strike any longer. I have to go back to work. It is costing me too much, it is costing my family.' It's not a lot of fun having your kids come home from school telling stories of what other kids have said to them in school, because their mother or father is on strike. But that is what you have to deal with.

You can't do it unless you have public support, you can't do it unless you have a lot of support within your own caucus. I was very fortunate. I was very fortunate I had a premier who was very strong. I give him full marks. Never once did he fail to support any action that I took. But you have to have a strong caucus and a strong Cabinet. I have to say that if there are things that I probably wanted to do a little differently, but that the caucus or the Cabinet held us back a little bit, you have to listen to your colleagues, obviously. You try to find reasonable compromise on all things.

Government is not like private enterprise. If you are the president of a private enterprise, you simply call in your staff and say: I am the president, here is what you will do, and be quick about it. In government you don't do that. It is government by consensus of Cabinet, to a large measure. As long as you agree with the Premier, particularly in this particular case. But generally speaking, of course, the Premier will finally decide. Generally, if the Premier wishes to stay a Premier for very long, and wishes to retain the loyalty of his Cabinet, he will listen to them. If he chooses not to, he should have a good explanation of why he is choosing not to.

I will say without any hesitation, the premier that I served for the longest time certainly listened and was fair. There is not always agreement in caucus or in Cabinet. Sometimes you have ministers who are personally involved in something, so there is a lot of pressure to do something you don't want to do - a lot of smiles opposite; I am sure that has happened once or twice in the past couple of years. So there is not always unanimity in Cabinet, by any means. Sometimes there are very strong arguments across the Cabinet table. I would hope there are strong arguments across the Cabinet table.

But unless you have the support of your caucus, colleagues, and the House, I would say - because it is very easy for us, as an Opposition, to stand here and try to make political brownie points over a labour situation, to try to get a labour group to support us. It is easy to hop on the bandwagon when you haven't got to pull the bandwagon. It is easy to do politically, and I think I can say I have never done that. I will put forward a position on behalf of a group, because that is our role as an Opposition, but I will do it only if I believe in it. I will not do it for political purposes.

So I think the House, itself, is going to have to be strong. The government will need the support of Opposition to be fair. But the government must be seen to be fair if they expect support, that is essential. Unfortunately, this government does not have a lot of freedom anymore. They have put themselves into a box that is going to be very difficult for them to get their way out of. So their only hope is to improve revenues.

It goes back to the whole thing I was talking about, and I don't have time. I have said most of it before, so I won't go into it. But government has to look at creative ways of improving the economy of this Province. It may mean taking some unusual steps this year. I was disappointed with the Budget, as I said during the Budget Debate. But I think, in order to deal with the labour situation, the government has to improve its revenue situation. That may mean making some unusual expenditures and it means borrowing in the short-term to start generating some economic activity, not necessarily new economic activity, but saving some of the businesses that are in grave danger of going bankrupt over the next six months.

I suggested last week that why not, since we gave people with loans from the Fisheries Loan Board, or the Department of Fisheries - since we have forgiven their interest for this year; I don't know how much that cost the government, no doubt it was substantial - why can we not give that same consideration to private companies that have funds from the Newfoundland and Labrador Development Corporation? They are still paying 15, 16 and 17 per cent on loans that they received two or three years ago, yet they are going bankrupt.

That is something that government could do to help these companies. Because if one small company with ten employees goes bankrupt, government has ten more people on their rolls to pay. I think that would be a small amount of expenditure. That is only one example. Now, I could give a hundred examples, and will, in due course, probably.

So I urge government to think about that. Because the answers are not in Bill 17, that is a cop-out; that is admitting failure, and it is admitting mismanagement of the economy. We can talk about all of the cuts from Ottawa, and all of the recession and everything else. Government had the tools, and has the expertise available to it, to be able to predict much more accurately than they have the situation with which they would be faced.

They could have known and they should have known that they could not honour these agreements, and I think they are to be faulted for getting themselves in this position. Whether or not there is any alternative now but to introduce this piece of legislation, I don't think I am in a position to judge. Where else would you find the amount of money that you are saving here? Perhaps they have chosen the least painful route. It is either that or cut some other services, or raise taxes. We realise all of that. God knows, in this Province raising taxes is not an alternative. This government has stepped beyond the border now. People of this Province are overtaxed. Small business in this Province is overtaxed, and the individual is overtaxed.

I think government has to take some very drastic action to relieve some of that tax burden and relieve it quickly to provide a measure of support for those businesses that are failing, to give some relief to the consumer, so the consumer can start spending again, start to move the economy so that government's revenues will increase. Then the government will be in a position to deal with their labour problems.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. gentlemen opposite for allowing me to go past my time. There is so much more I could say on this bill. I'm really only starting to get into the labour side of it. Because I believe it is all so directly tied together. But we cannot support a bill which effectively wipes out the signature that a government willingly and knowingly put to paper.

This particular bill also wipes out a bill that this same government brought to the House of Assembly last year when they asked for a one-year freeze. Now they are saying: Eliminate Bill 16; Bill 17 asks for a two-year freeze, and restrictions in the third year. So it is a three-year restriction on salary increases in the public sector. It may be necessary - necessary because of government's mismanagement in the earlier years, necessary because they have failed to stimulate the economy and to provide themselves with the resources to deal with the public sector fairly.

I leave it at that, and I thank again the Opposition - or the government. I still think of them as the Opposition. I thank the government for their leave, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I had no intention of taking part in the debate at this point in time. However, in light of the comments from the previous speaker, the Member for Mount Pearl, I felt a desire to get up and make some comments, because I think that there is a very serious problem in the Province that nobody has come to grips with, and that is the collective bargaining process. We hope that somehow that can be sorted out. I have my own views on that that I do not particularly want to express here today.

However, I would like to go back a couple years and say to the Member for Mount Pearl, and to the House, that I believe I made a very serious mistake at the beginning of the collective bargaining process. It is not the mistake that the hon. member thinks it may be. It was not, for instance, the nurses' settlement that everybody keeps coming back to and saying that this was a large settlement that should not have been, therefore it would not have triggered other demands. But the nurses' settlement I stand behind 100 per cent for two reasons.

Number one, the nurses in this Province were paid at a rate far below the Maritime average. Number two, we were having extreme difficulties getting enough nurses to keep the hospital beds open that we could afford to fund. The hon. Member for Mount Pearl knows that summer after summer there were a lot of hospital beds closed in this Province that need not have been closed because of finances - many times he got up in this House and explained that - but had to be closed because of lack of nurses available to provide care for the beds. So we had a serious problem.

So I was very proud of the fact that we could reach an agreement with the nurses that would bring their salaries more closely in line with the Maritime average, but still far below it, and to see if that would help alleviate our problem in terms of the supply of nurses, or partially alleviate the problem. I believe we were in that instance right on both counts. We did stop the erosion in terms of numbers of nurses. There are more nurses working now in the hospital system in this Province than there were two and three years ago. So maybe this is one of the factors that contributed to that better situation in the health care system.

So the very serious mistake I made was not the settlement with nurses, which was justified in all fairness, and in terms of the functioning of the system, it had to be. The mistake I made was in assuming that I knew how collective bargaining would go, the process. That is the mistake. That is why I interjected at one point when the hon. member was speaking, when he talked about good faith bargaining, and I said: well, he's half right. Because I assumed that the process would go something like this. Whereby both sides would sit down and exchange positions, that bargaining would occur, and obviously the union position would be higher than they are willing to settle for; the government position would be much lower than they are willing to settle for; eventually you would reach the point where the union was as low as it wanted to go, government was as high as it could go, and that then somewhere in between there would be some kind of an agreement and a settlement. In other words, I expected that there would be a normal collective bargaining process in place.

What I found when we got into it was that this is not what is happening in the system. It is not what is happening for the very reasons outlined by the Member for Mount Pearl. The fact that government has to provide service. There is no doubt about that. Government - he puts it another way - has to get re-elected, but that is a secondary concern, I hope. Government has to provide service. If, for instance, the adversarial relationship between a private sector employer and a union, if there is that type of adversarial relationship, and the unions push and push and they end up going on strike, there is a settlement that is possible, but that private sector employer has the option of the number of people that he or she can employ, that private sector employer has the option to move somewhere else if the cost gets to high, to move the factory somewhere else.

The Member for Mount Pearl is quite right. Collective bargaining in the public sector is not at all like that. The employer, government, does not have these other options. We reach the point where we don't have the option to lay off more people, and we never have the option to close down and go somewhere else. We have to provide the services.

So, Mr. Speaker, the process in the public sector is very unfair to government, and it is slanted very much the other way. So the process that happens then is that the union leadership, recognizing that, goes through a process so far and you play that game out. Government has a little bit left in reserve, and the unions perhaps have a little bit left in reserve, and you reach the final points where you sit down and a compromise is there. In the private sector that is what happens.

In the public sector we get to that point and the union says, the Member for Mount Pearl is right: we will go on strike. The settlement is never there, so they go on strike. Mr. Speaker, my mistake was in not recognizing that early enough, and that we tried to bargain as the process should be. We tried to do that.

I can remember what should have been the final meeting, Mr. Speaker, where both sides had come to the end of their mandate. At that point in time there was a meeting between Fraser March and a couple of his people, myself and some of the Treasury Board people, and we were going to settle. That was the agreement, that was the intention of both sides. I can remember it well. So we had a meeting. I believe it was at Holiday Inn as a matter of fact.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: I don't know. Not very long.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I can remember that night well. We sat down in good faith - this is why I mentioned the good faith thing and reacted to it - across the table, and we in essence reached an agreement. The union said: Look, if we can get this particular salary level and deal with nine items, then we have a deal. So we looked at it and it was within what we were prepared to do, so we said all right. This salary level which was 3-3-3-3, I believe, plus the nine items - we can handle that.

So we left the room that night assuming that we did have a gentleman's agreement, that this was it. So I went back and we did some work the next day on the nine items and came up with a resolution that would be satisfactory to the unions and got the negotiating teams together to finalize what I was assured would be an agreement. When our negotiating team went back to the table there were another 160 items back on the table, Mr. Speaker, and then the strike resulted. So that is why I responded to the good faith statement of the Member for Mount Pearl by saying that he was half right. Because we tried to proceed with good faith bargaining, that is what got us into the arbitration. All of a sudden there was a strike.

Now, Mr. Speaker, something else I have to say about the public sector bargaining in this Province is that it is very, very difficult to have a collective bargaining process when you have a union leadership that is not prepared to obey the law or not prepared to obey the House of Assembly. What constraints do you have? How can you do anything in terms of collective bargaining when that is the situation?

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, we were into a strike. The hospitals were closed, they walked out of the nursing homes, the areas where they knew it hurt most, and we were notified by the Hospital and Nursing Homes Association that in 48 hours there would exist a state of emergency. So, Mr. Speaker, we triggered the provisions in the legislation that we had to, accepting the fact that there would be a state of emergency in those institutions. That is how we got into the arbitration.

But, Mr. Speaker, the Member for Mount Pearl was quite right. Once you get to the arbitration you lose control. You have lost control, total control, and somehow we have to work out a better and fairer system in this Province.

So that is the first thing I wanted to say in response to the Member for Mount Pearl. I admit there were mistakes that were made, and that was the mistake that we made, assuming that collective bargaining would be normal collective bargaining, good faith bargaining on both sides.

Some of the other comments he made I would like to respond to as well. I would like to point out to the Member for Mount Pearl at least - and there isn't anybody else who seems to be listening around, so (Inaudible) get anywhere beyond this.

MR. WINDSOR: I'm listening.

MR. BAKER: I know you are, yes. We did sign a couple of contracts knowing full well that they would not be honoured. But this was done also by the president of NAPE, knowing full well that we had told him that they could not be honoured, by agreement with the president of NAPE. By agreement.

The contracts were sent over, and I picked up the phone and phoned him and said: Fraser, I cannot sign this contract because we cannot honour it. His response was: no, well, we will both agree to sign, we both know that it cannot be honoured, but we will sign because we are going to want to challenge your legislation in court, and just in case we still want it, we want the numbers in there in case we beat you in court. So we did sign. Maybe if I had my time back I never should have done it. But it was with the full agreement and understanding of the president of NAPE.

So that was one agreement. There was a CUPE agreement as well. The other agreement was the teachers' agreement. I am glad the hon. member mentioned the teachers' newsletter that I suggested was off base a little bit. The teachers' contract was signed knowing that it could not be honoured - well, no, let me go back. The teachers' contract was not broken in any instance, let me put it that way. We have broken - using the Legislature - contracts, but we have not broken the teachers' contract. I just want to explain that for the sake of the Member for Mount Pearl.

Number one, the teachers' contract was not signed till two months after Bill 16. So everybody in the world knew, at that point in time, what the situation was. But the teachers wanted their 6 per cent for the first year. So they got their 6 per cent for the first year. They had zero for the second year, and that is what they have gotten, zero for the second year. Now in the contract there is a clause which says that if restraint is going to be extended beyond that, that they have the right to re-open the contract. As soon as we indicated to them that the restraint was going to be extended they re-opened the contract. So in actual fact what they got - and this is what was signed in the contract - was 6 per cent for the first year, zero the second, and a re-opened contract immediately after the second year. Which was in full agreement with every part of the teachers' contract. So the teachers' contract has not been broken.

That is one of two that has not been broken. Right now we are into negotiations in terms of that third year plus whatever comes after, however long a contract they want to negotiate. So the teachers' contract has not been broken at all, and we signed that after Bill 16. So that is another one that was signed in full knowledge that the amounts - but the reason the amounts were in there, and again there was a special notation made in the teachers' contract recognising that they would not get the amounts - but anyway, the reason the amounts were there, is because they said they were going to challenge Bill 16 in court, and if they overturned it in court, could they have the right to what everybody else has? Of course, believing in fairness, we said: yes, if you overturn it in court, then - we will put the amounts in there so if you overturn it in court, then you can revert to what we agreed with everybody else.

So I just wanted to straighten out this situation with regards to the teachers' contract. We did not break one single clause of the NTA contract.

The other, I suppose, mistake, that may have been made was the acceptance of parity. Once there was a big battle fought over parity, and the Member for Mount Pearl was part of that battle. That was a big battle in 1985 and 1986. Parity, the fact that there should be - The comparison between groups should remain the same, that people doing the same job in one part of the public service get paid as much as people in another part of the public service doing the same job. This is parity. That was a very important concept. When the arbitrator came down with the decision he came down with, and I have already explained the process and what happened there, it came after the schools and nursing homes were closed down in the state of emergency, after the arbitrator came down with his amounts, then if you believe in parity you must say: okay, then that settlement forces us to offer the same amounts to other parts of the public service. We accepted the principle of parity, that members opposite accepted and everybody had accepted in the public service, and that resulted in the same numbers being used in all of the other collective agreements. Now, maybe in retrospect that was a mistake and we should have said, an arbitrator gave one part of the public service this amount but we are not going to give it to anybody else. Maybe we should have said that and fought it out then and there, but we did not because we believed in the parity. It is as simple as that.

The Member for Mount Pearl indicates that there has to be a different approach and a better approach and I agree 100 per cent. You cannot have collective terrorism replacing collective bargaining as has happened in the public service in this Province. You cannot have it, where collective terrorism replaces collective bargaining, where there is no possibility with part of the public service - I am not saying all unions but at lease one union, there is no possibility of having proper collective bargaining. They will do exactly what the Member for Mount Pearl says and get the maximum they can and then close down some hospitals and nursing homes, force an arbitration or whatever, force public pressure to give them more, knowing full well that we do not have the options that private enterprise has.

Collective bargaining was made primarily for private enterprise in the first place. We do not have the options that private enterprise has. Beyond a certain limit we do not have the option of laying people off, we do not have the option of closing down the system and going somewhere else. We do not have these options and these are very important safeguards in the private sector to prevent unions from being unreasonable. The safeguard is always there in the private sector that when a union decides to be unreasonable they know in the back of their minds that if they become too unreasonable that fish plant is going to close down or that factory is going to close down and go somewhere else. They know that, therefore that is a safeguard to prevent the unions from becoming too unreasonable. In the public sector that is not there. We cannot take our hospital system and bring it to Nova Scotia. We have to keep it here and it is this fact that has turned, used by unscrupulous people, has turned collective bargaining in the public service in this Province into collective terrorism and somehow there has to be some reason brought to it. The best way for reason to be brought to the system, I suppose, is for there to be a recognition, not necessarily within the ranks of the public but within the ranks of the union because if the union does not care about the law, refuses to obey the law and refuses to obey the legislature and so on they do not really care about the general public.

There has to be a recognition within the union that somehow there is something patently unfair about the process we have gone through, where there is no resolution other than closing down the system, where the process is automatically brought to the extreme. I was worrying about this before we even got into it, that that was where it was going to end up, that the process automatically ends up in the extreme. I regret very much a number of things that have happened but we find ourselves in a position now where we can do nothing other than what we have done.

The wage freeze had to be imposed. We cannot close the system down. Our revenues have deteriorated. The fish have disappeared. All kinds of things happened. There has been a recession not only in Canada and not only in North America, but in the world. The first time in fifty years that the world economy has shrunk was last year. So we find ourselves in that situation. We can do no more except try to keep the system going as best we can under difficult circumstances. But it is not going to get much better when the economy turns around unless there is some recognition in the public service of this Province that collective bargaining has to be brought back to a fair basis, and we have to get rid of the terrorism that has imbued the system so far.

We have several very crucial things coming up now. We are bargaining with the teachers - collective bargaining - and already there are signs that this collective bargaining is going to be pushed to the stage of collective terrorism.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: They are already signed.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: At a meeting recently that was supposed to be a professional development day where teachers get together. Substitutes are in and take their place, and teachers get together to do in-service training that is wholly professional. Do you know what topic the President of the NTA dealt with at that wholly, totally, professional day? The way to defeat the government; the way to defeat Bill 17, and the possibilities of action that they could take - in a professional development day. So there are signs that the collective terrorism is taking over again. All I can say is that if and when it comes we will deal with it in what we feel is the best way possible.

Anyway, we feel that putting the bill out to a committee, which is really the topic of this particular part of the discussion now, will serve no useful purpose. We know the views of the unions about it. We have heard enough about the views in terms of this particular bill. The people in the Province realize that in this point in time, whatever the causes that led up to this, that this has to be done, and I want to get on with it. That is why we are going to vote against the amendment to send this to committee.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Grand Bank. The Opposition House Leader.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: They are awful enthusiastic over there.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, the Member for St. John's South is question, question. He wants to get this over with so quickly, and I suppose I can understand why.

AN HON. MEMBER: We don't want you to be embarrassed.

MR. MATTHEWS: Don't want me to be? Well why are you concerned about me being embarrassed? I would suggest to the hon. member that it is him and members opposite who are being embarrassed because of this infamous extension of Bill 16 now Bill 17 that more than likely will go on to become Bill 18. But that is as far, of course, as this government will get with it, Bill 18 for sure. That is when their mandate will run out. Their mandate will run out, Mr. Speaker, if they get a chance to bring in Bill 18, that will be the end of it all for them. Then we will have a more compassionate conciliatory government in power in the Province that will honour agreements that it signs with public servants.

The big problem here, Mr. Speaker, is the mistrust that this government has developed and portrayed with collective bargaining in the Province. It is quite interesting to hear the President of Treasury Board actually. The Member for Mount Pearl gave what I thought to be a very responsible and very good speech. The President of Treasury Board, for the most part, gave a responsible and good speech except towards the end when he started to talk about collective terrorism. Is it any wonder, Mr. Speaker, that collective bargaining has gone the route that it has in the last three years when you hear the chief negotiator for government, the President of Treasury Board, using such terms? And then to hear members opposite calling the President of NAPE different names and referring to, Fraserism and Fraserites, in referring to the members of NAPE and so on.

AN HON. MEMBER: He was a wonderful fellow on the campaign.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes. The Member for Humber Valley, Mr. Speaker, brings up a very good point. During the last election campaign he was a most wonderful person, the President of NAPE, when he was in Mount Pearl sitting up and having his picture taken with the Liberal Candidate of the day, one Mr. Seabright. He was a wonderful person then because he was working against the government of the day and the Conservative Party.

Now it will be most interesting to see where Mr. March has his picture taken the next time. It would be most interesting to see. I don't think it will be out in Exploits with the Minister of Labour. I don't believe now. It might be Grand Bank. It just might be Grand Bank I say to the Minister of Labour. That is very possible.

MR. GRIMES: No it's not.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, it might. He was down there, you know. He comes down on occasion. Maybe Mr. Seabright might be down in Grand Bank next time, and he might be down having his picture taken with him again, so who knows. You don't know that stuff you know.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: What are you talking about? Candidates for President of NAPE?

AN HON. MEMBER: No, the next election.

MR. MATTHEWS: Oh, the next election. That's a while off yet. Don't worry, Mr. Speaker. I say to the Minister of Forestry, he will find out about candidates soon enough, and I am sure that in the campaign literature out in Central Newfoundland with Foot in Mouth Flight will be used. See the big editorial: Foot in Mouth Flight. Oh yes, that will be used.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Tory editor.

MR. MATTHEWS: He says it is a Tory editor. The Member for St. John's South is back there trying to prod me now to bring up other things from the past. I am not going to do that, Mr. Speaker, because I am here to have a few words on the amendment to this main motion to this Bill 17. Really, we are asking the government to refer Bill 17 to the legislation committee because, as we know, during the last election campaign again, the government espoused the establishment of those legislation committees, that all legislation would be referred to and scrutinized, and if need be, go out to the public of the Province. It was a great campaign promise, but what has happened to Bill 17? To what legislation committee has that been referred? To what legislation committee was Bill 16 referred? To what legislation committee will Bill 18 be referred? That is the question, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not one.

MR. MATTHEWS: There we get the answer; talking about collective terrorism. But one thing the President of Treasury Board did admit early in his speech when he talked about making a mistake, I believe he said. He made a mistake.

AN HON. MEMBER: No, no. He said a mistake was made.


AN HON. MEMBER: No he didn't.

MR. MATTHEWS: Well, he has to take the responsibility for the mistake because he is the chief negotiator for the Province. I wanted to say to my colleague, my former teacher colleague and now House of Assembly colleague, that he made many more mistakes in teaching Biology at Bishop's College. You should hear the poor students tell stories about him when they used to go to write their public exams. They still run into him occasionally around town, and they say: 'Mr. Baker, how is he doing?' - this one and that one. Yes, he made more mistakes - now, he has made enough mistakes since he has been in government and President of Treasury Board, but I tell you, he made a few up at Bishop's College. They are still trying to recover from it.

It has been quite an extensive debate on Bill 17, and quite an extensive debate now on the amendment as was moved by the Member for Harbour Main, I believe it was. We have great concerns and great reservations about what has happened. It has all been said a thousand times before, last year and this year, that a government should not enter into collective agreements with bargaining units knowing full well that it couldn't honour the agreements that it was signing.

My colleague from Mount Pearl made a very good point, because I remember a few years ago when he warned the government, he issued the warning not to resort to arbitration because he was saying - and he has been proven right, because you turn the purse strings of the Province over to nonelected people, and that is what we have seen with the case of some of the arbitration rulings, that they were too expensive. The government and the Province could not afford it. The Province could not afford the arbitration rulings. Now, we all realize that we are a financially strapped Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: I ask the Minister of Forestry to relax for a minute now. He will be in a bigger hurry next week when the group from the Wooddale Nursery arrives at Confederation Building and they come to visit him. They are coming to bring in a few gifts for the minister, to come see him, to visit him. So, if he is in a hurry today he will be in a bigger hurry next week, I say to him. He probably won't even be here.

MR. FLIGHT: Oh, yes, sir, I will.

MR. MATTHEWS: He will arrange another trip.

MR. FLIGHT: No, sir.

MR. MATTHEWS: It is too bad my colleague, the Member for Lewisporte, is gone. I had a few things to say to him. I told him I had a few things, and he left the Chamber, I don't know why. He is sensitive about something.

Mr. Speaker, I just want to go on record once again as saying that we thought government would consider the amendment and refer this terrible, regressive piece of legislation to the legislation committee for review but they didn't see fit to do that. They must be terribly embarrassed. I know members opposite are getting a lot of heat from the public servants who live in their districts, many public servants who supported them in the last election.

MR. MURPHY: Not one call.

MR. MATTHEWS: The Member for St. John's South says not one call. Well, let me tell him he is not being honest with me now. People have told me they have called him. There have been calls come into his office with telephone numbers left but he has not returned the calls, I say to the member. That's what has happened to him.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to welcome the Member for Lewisporte back and just want to tell him that he need not be - I was only carrying on with him and I have nothing to say to him, by the way.

Mr. Speaker, now that Bill 17 has been brought into the Legislature and it is becoming law, I just want to say to the President of Treasury Board, let's not come back next year and have a Bill 18, let's not come back next year and tell those public servants who are anticipating that huge 3 per cent increase in wages and benefits, that you are not going to give it to them.

MR. MURPHY: You will not have to worry about Bill 18.

MR. MATTHEWS: Well, I may have to worry about Bill 18, I say to the Member for St. John's South. This government may bring in, as I said, Bill 18, but it will not be around long enough, Mr. Speaker, and I am sure that you agree with me, that they should not be either, that they will not be around long enough to bring in Bill 19, I say to them. Bill 18 will be the last chance for this government to impose this regressive legislation on public servants because then there will be a more compassionate -

MR. CRANE: What?

MR. MATTHEWS: - more trustworthy group running the Province. The Member for Harbour Grace says, what?

MR. CRANE: A good dream.

MR. MATTHEWS: Somebody was talking about dreams earlier today. The Member for Stephenville was talking about dreams.

AN HON. MEMBER: And you are having one right now.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, I am very much awake right now. I might have a good dream later on, I tell the member, if I get home. The Member for Stephenville was talking about dreams and I say that flicked out, imagine what kind of a dream the Member for Lewisporte was having. That is just a little bit of a private joke. The Member for Eagle River, by the way, I want to tell members, is having a great dream, too, a great dream of going to Ottawa.


MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, of being a Member of Parliament.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: It is like Premier Peckford said many times, 'you can dream but not make dreams your master,' I say to the hon. member. Yes, he is having a great dream of going to Ottawa. He spends a fair bit of time in Ottawa now, you know. It is no trouble to go to Ottawa now and look across the Commons up in the gallery and see the hon. member there smiling back and waving at you. He had a picture taken with the Prime Minister and Mila.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: I don't know if members are aware. Yes, a lovely picture.

MR. R. AYLWARD: You will have to make another copy for him.

MR. MATTHEWS: He said the Prime Minister is really a wonderful person.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: No, you did say it. And I knew that would bring a reaction from the Member for St. John's East Extern. I said to him earlier how nice it was. I wished he had stayed there to see the two right wingers sitting together. He and the Minister of Finance were sitting together this morning, the two right wingers. But the furthest right winger, the Premier, is not here with us this morning. We understand he is on government businesses.

MR. PARSONS: Isn't the Prime Minister sending a copy of that photograph to our Premier?

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, the Prime Minister is sending a copy to the Premier, and he is sending copies around the district of Eagle River. With that, Mr. Speaker, I conclude my remarks.

MR. R. AYLWARD: (Inaudible) especially when he runs for the federal election.

MR. BAKER: The question, Mr. Speaker.

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


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


MR. SPEAKER: I declare the amendment defeated.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I intend on Monday to continue on with the same thing we continued with today. I look forward to more stimulating debate. I have already announced the committee meetings for Tuesday, so I will just remind hon. members to contact the committee Chairman if they are unsure as to exactly when the meetings are.

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

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