May 12, 1992                 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS               Vol. XLI  No. 35

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Oral Questions

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask a question of the Minister of Labour about reports of a very serious accident that occurred on the Bull Arm site this morning. I want to ask him if he can provide the House with details. A number of hours have passed, apparently, since the report. Is the Minister investigating the matter perhaps with a view to conducting an inquiry into the incident?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, I will confirm that there has been an unfortunate accident and fatality at the site. In fact, through the implementation just recently of the twenty-four hour accident reporting line, a call did come in this morning at about 8:30 - 8:37, and immediately it was relayed to the director responsible for Occupational Health and Safety. They have immediately sent people to the site to begin the investigation at the earliest possible opportunity. We do have limited preliminary details that I prefer not to discuss in terms of this point in time. The individual has unfortunately passed away. The family is suffering the immediate effects of the trauma. The investigation is ongoing, and I think, in large part, a very little time lapse because of the implementation of the twenty-four hour response line some time ago.

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

MR. SIMMS: No, Mr. Speaker, I have a new question.

I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Forestry, Mr. Speaker. On April 30, if you check Hansard, when I asked the minister in the House to confirm reports that the government was considering privatization of the Wooddale Tree Nursery operations he said, and I quote, "I never said anywhere that government was considering, for the past three years, privatizing Wooddale." A day later, he said to a local newspaper, the Advertiser, that he was speaking off the top of his head the week before, when he told the same paper, 'It has been suggested by people, and we have considered the situation of looking at privatizing the nursery. That is a possibility. It is a possibility.'

Now, Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is this: How can people trust the statements of this minister when they change so radically from day to day? Will he now tell the people of this Province and the workers at Wooddale once and for all, is privatization of Wooddale on the list of areas being considered or being studied by either officials or any ministers?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I stand by what I said when I recently answered the question. The hon. member quoted Hansard, and I think I said that this government is not considering privatizing Wooddale. Now, the fact of the matter is, Mr. Speaker, when I became the Minister of Forestry in one of the first two, three or four Cabinet meetings, I saw a document that was sponsored by the hon. member, the Leader of the Opposition, by the government of the day, and the title of the document was a report by the Senior Expenditure Review Committee that had identified and recommended to the previous government that Wooddale be privatized.

Mr. Speaker, I say now to you, Sir, to the workers of Wooddale and to the members of the House of Assembly, that this government has not been considering - we saw that report, I don't know how long anyone spent thinking about it; but we saw the report, saw that it was a target in the mind of someone among the senior civil servants appointed by the previous government, Mr. Speaker, who believed it should be recommended to privatize Wooddale.

This government, at this point in time, do not believe we should privatize Wooddale. We haven't given it any consideration and we haven't paid much attention to the recommendation made by the previous government that Wooddale should, indeed, be privatized.

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

MR. SIMMS: Ah, Mr. Speaker, the minister can try to practice the antics of the Premier and try to use trickery and verbal allusion to fool the people and it is not going to work. It is not going to work, Mr. Speaker. The difference is that we rejected that recommendation that came up from officials. We rejected it, that is the big difference.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me ask him this while we have witnesses here in the gallery today. I have another question to ask him.

Will the minister confirm that he told workers, during a meeting, in Central Newfoundland, that we are going to have to try to find some make-work projects for you and for others this summer because it is an election year? Did he say that to those workers?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, I said to the workers - as a matter of fact, I only met with, I think, three or four or five representatives of Wooddale, and I said to them today, as I have said on many occasions, as I say every chance I get, that we are going to try to create jobs. We know thirty people will not be recalled at Wooddale, which concerns me very much and, as a government, we are going to try to do everything we can to provide jobs to replace that lost income. At no time, Mr. Speaker, did I say that we were going to try to create those jobs because it was an election year.

MR. SIMMS: You never said that?

MR. FLIGHT: No, I did not say that.

MR. SIMMS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, the minister now, suddenly, has found something to lead him to suggest that they will provide jobs or find jobs for these thirty people who are laid off. What about the other people who are going to be short of work weeks? Has he covered all of that ground? And let me ask him this: Since many of these people - some of them now, by the way, do not receive any income. Will he tell them, will he tell the House when can these people expect to hear from him and the government as to what they are going to do to help those people, when can we expect to hear that?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, we are pursuing all the options. The hon. member refers to people who will not receive enough work weeks to qualify for UI. That number now is about fifteen - it originally was twenty-five. As a result of looking at all options we reduced that from twenty-five to about fifteen. I am in the process, working with my officials, to try to make sure that we can identify work that will guarantee that the seventy-nine people recalled at Wooddale qualify for UI.

Inasfar as When will I tell the people who do not have any income when they can expect to be recalled to work? - it will be done as soon as I have an option, as soon as we find a means of providing jobs for those people.

I suggest to the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Speaker, that I would feel a lot better if he were to help me solve the problem, as opposed to grandstanding in front of workers who know they will not be recalled.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, if we could wake this minister up I would be happy to help him. The problem is we cannot wake him up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Let's see how smart he is with this question, Mr. Speaker. Will he tell the people in Central Newfoundland, the people of this Province who have a concern about the forest resource becoming seriously depleted, like our fishery resource, and assuming that the minister has some foresight into the future and some plan for the future, what is the plan for Wooddale next year?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, if we can continue, and we know of no reason why we cannot continue the level of silviculture - I should say now too, that the level of production in Wooddale this year is as high as the average of any year. It is higher than last year. Only seventy-nine people will be recalled. It is higher than last year. The average production at Wooddale since 1981 has been just in excess of 5 million seedlings. The average. This year it is close to 8 million seedlings. So, in as far as next year is concerned, I will do everything I possibly can. My staff, the Department of Forestry, feel that if we maintain the level of silviculture that we are doing this year, for the seventy-nine people, hopefully, those jobs will be permanent jobs - permanent seasonal jobs.

Now, one other thing I would want to say while I am on my feet, that is, that close to 90 percent of woodlands in Newfoundland forest lands regenerate naturally - natural regeneration. The silviculture treatment you provide to those lands is thinning. Even if you had 300 people working in Wooddale, or if you had triple the production of seedlings, only roughly 10 per cent of the forest lands that are harvested in this country are planted. The rest is by and large natural regeneration. The Department of Forestry and Agriculture, as the ex-minister knows identifies areas that are not regenerating naturally, identifies it, scarifies it and seeds it. Mr. Speaker, we are not even coming close to planting that 10 per cent so as soon as we can find the monies that are necessary to employ more people, to put them out into forestry planting trees, we will do that but now we are going to run the nursery as we agreed.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Social Services but I notice he is absent again today. Yesterday I raised some questions and the Government House Leader tried to respond on behalf of the minister so probably he might try to give it his best effort again today. I raised the question yesterday about a very disturbing incident that took place in the remand centre the other night. Yesterday I asked the Government House Leader about that incident. When listening to the news reports this morning I understand there was another incident that took place last night and I wonder if the minister would tell the House about that incident?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the minister was away yesterday, as the hon. member knows, to the Women's Lobby in Gander. The member asked a question about incidents that happened on Sunday night and I believe I answered the questions. The member says there was another incident last night that I am not aware of.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, is there anyone over there aware of it that could answer the question? It is difficult getting answers.

I understand from reports within the department that there is a large increase in the number of youths being taken into secured custody. This year there is an increase of somewhere between 30 and 40 per cent. Let me ask the minister if he believes this has placed a strain on the facility and the staff at the correctional centres in this Province?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, there is an increase in the number of youths sentenced or judges that insist on secured custody for young offenders. The facilities are beginning to get to near capacity however the particular situation that the member refers to had nothing to do with the incident that happened Sunday night at the Pleasantville centre, nothing at all.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I say to the minister that these incidents are warnings of problems, indeed serious problems at the youth correctional centres. What steps has government taken to find out the reasons for these incidents and to make sure they never happen again, besides cut the Budget by -

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I suppose if I had fifteen minutes I could discuss with the House and the hon. member, and anybody who wants to, the details behind the particular incident that happened on Sunday night. It was not because of what the hon. gentleman says it is.

I pointed out to the House that there is an inquiry under way right now involving the Department of Social Services, the Department of Justice, and the RNC, to have a look at that particular incident on Sunday night, which was a very, very serious incident and we take it very seriously. I would remind the hon. gentleman that a couple of the individuals who were involved have previous records of such incidents and such kinds of behaviour, and that the incident was handled in a superb manner by the RNC and was resolved without danger and without damage to any of the individuals involved, which is the prime objective in any situation like this - to resolve the situation without people getting hurt and injured. The RNC did a superb job in that regard.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have questions for the Premier.

Last week, answering questions put by the Member for Humber Valley about Lundrigans' financial difficulties, the Premier told the House of Assembly that the government: "Will provide whatever level of help it is proper to provide." Since then the Premier was in Corner Brook and met with people associated with Lundrigans.

I would like to ask the Premier to report to the House of Assembly on what transpired since he last addressed the Lundrigans crisis in the House last week. Will the Premier tell us what requests for assistance were made by Lundrigans' employees, by Lundrigans' principles, by Lundrigans' creditors, and what offers of assistance were made by the Premier or any other representative of the government? Will the Premier indicate to the House of Assembly, with as many specifics as he can now provide, what the government is prepared to do to maximize the economic activity and the jobs associated with the Lundrigan operation, and when I say jobs I mean both operating division jobs and head office jobs.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I lost count of the questions. There were probably thirty there. I do not remember. I suppose I could get Hansard and check it when it comes out, but it is obvious that it is not possible to keep track of that.

A couple of other things should be obvious as well. As the hon. member is aware I have met - I think I met, in fact, on three occasions while I was in Corner Brook - with Lundrigan representatives, I met with an organizer of one of the unions, I talked with another organizer, I appeared on an open line radio program, and I have had discussions as late as this morning in relation to the matter.

Government's position is essentially the same as it has been in the past. We will do everything that we possibly can that is within reasonable and acceptable bounds to try and make sure that, to the maximum extent possible, the economic and employment generating activity of the Lundrigan Enterprises will continue. What the government cannot do is use taxpayers' money to interfere in the normal competitive business process. We cannot do that. The Lundrigan people know that, the representatives of the employees, the unions of Lundrigans, are aware of that. I talked to them about that. I have explained the government's position.

I can say that some discussions are underway at the moment. Whether or not they will be successful is more than I can say. But there are some sincere discussions underway that have some possibility of trying to find a solution. This kind of a discussion of all of the detail that the hon. member asked for now in the House of Assembly would probably make sure that they won't work. So it wouldn't be in the best interest of the Province, the Lundrigan Enterprises, the employees, the creditors or anybody else concerned for me to get involved in that kind of detailed discussion in the House today.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to ask the Premier whether he would agree that the Lundrigans organization is greater than the sum of its parts. Specifically, would the Premier agree that a piecemeal sale to various concerns of the operating divisions of Lundrigans would result in an economic loss, specifically to the Corner Brook area but also to the Province? If the Premier believes that a breaking apart of the various operating divisions would result in a loss, will the Premier undertake to do whatever is reasonable to keep together the operating divisions and the administrative office, either by facilitating a sale as is, a sale of the whole unit, or by working with Lundrigans and their creditors to see that Lundrigans are able to continue in business?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I guess, Mr. Speaker, you could take a look at this House of Assembly and say: it is greater than the sum of its members. Indeed it is. It is more than the sum of its members. It has other characteristics beyond being a totality of membership. Any major entity I suppose is in a way like that.

But I cannot and will not undertake that the government will cause all of the various operating divisions of Lundrigan's enterprises to be kept together. I think it would be an unwarranted interference with the normal commerce and competitive operations in this Province for the government to undertake to do anything to cause Avis Rent-A-Car to remain under Lundrigan control, to cause City Motors to continue to be involved or kept under this one umbrella together with other operating divisions. Or Atlantic Concrete, or Atlantic Building Materials. That would be a totally unwarranted interference into the normal business operations of the Province, and the government cannot do that.

I agree that the Lundrigan construction division has an engineering and construction capability that is very significant to this Province, and of great value to the Province. I would like to see that continue. I would like to see if there was some means that we could find of ensuring that would continue. But it would be most inappropriate for the government to interfere in normal commercial competitive operations.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Premier indicated last week, responding to questions put by the Member for Humber Valley, that the gypsum plant in Corner Brook, one of Lundrigan's operating divisions, does not have any competition from other businesses within our own Province. He said he knows of at least four significant expressions of interest in purchasing the gypsum plant, and indicated that round the middle of last week a major gypsum operation had engineers in Corner Brook examining Atlantic Gypsum.

I would like to ask the Premier if he has any concerns that a major gypsum operator might purchase Atlantic Gypsum in Corner Brook, and because that Corner Brook plant represents competition, quickly close it down? Generally, I would like to ask the Premier what he and the government are prepared to do to see that the gypsum plant in Corner Brook is kept open and operating and maintains its competitive position.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: If I am not greatly mistaken, if any company purchased a gypsum plant to close it down, that might constitute an offence under the competition act. I would have to check that out. I think that is unwarranted interference with competition, and any company that did that may well find itself on the receiving end of rather more trouble than it expected. So I do not have a great concern that that is a problem.

I do have a great concern that I would like to see the gypsum plant continue. The government wants to see that continue, continue to provide the employment opportunities and the economic contribution that it makes. So yes, we are endeavouring to do our best to act responsibly within proper bounds to try and see what we can do to help ensure that the gypsum, and perhaps other aspects of the Lundrigan operations, will continue.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is also to the Premier. During the campaign of 1989 the Premier made some very elaborate suggestions and promises with regards to post-secondary education in the Province. I would like to make one quote from that manual: post-secondary facilities will be expanded to allow more students in rural areas to participate in career development without being penalized by high costs of accommodation and transportation. To achieve this we will expand the curriculum of Grenfell College in Corner Brook to include third and fourth-year courses so that in time bachelor level degrees in the basic arts and science disciplines can be obtained at Corner Brook and Grenfell can become a degree granting institution in its own right.

Mr. Speaker, would the Premier now tell the House what his government's plans are for Grenfell College in Corner Brook?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the government's plans remain the same. That is still our dedicated purpose. In these difficult financial times you cannot do everything you would like to do overnight. I should hasten to add, Mr. Speaker, that here I am not blaming the former government solely. They contributed significantly to our financial problems, but we are also facing the difficulties of a national economic recession. We are facing the difficulties of substantial cutbacks and actual reductions in transfers for education and health purposes from the federal government, actual reductions in dollars. So the government just can't simply do that which it desires to do overnight.

It is still our dedicated purpose, Mr. Speaker, to ensure that Grenfell College is developed and promoted so that third and fourth year courses will be granted and, hopefully, in reasonable time it will become an independent degree-granting institution. Mr. Speaker, we don't foresee that happening overnight. We don't foresee coming to the House of Assembly and asking suddenly for $30, $40 or $50 million, whatever it would take to achieve that overnight. I see that as building over a period of time.

Mr. Speaker, I had the pleasure of attending the first convocation held at Grenfell College when twenty-three graduates in fine arts graduated this weekend, and it was good to see it happen, good to see that kind of development take place, and it is good to see that kind of a focus build up at Grenfell College. Now, Mr. Speaker, lest people think that twenty-three is not very much compared with the main campus, I would remind hon. members that the first convocation ceremonies of Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1950 graduated five, and look at what it has built to today. I have no doubt that in due course Grenfell will build proportionately.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WOODFORD: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

The Premier didn't say in his campaign manual - if he had enough money or if the federal government helps. It was an outright promise, Mr. Speaker, in 1989.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, Grenfell College is now experiencing some very serious short-term problems, especially when it comes to lack of lab space, lack of library space and lack of classroom space and, Mr. Speaker, trying to educate 1100 first and second year students in a space that was built to accommodate 650 students.

I ask the Premier today: What are his plans now to address the immediate short-term critical problems with regard to Grenfell College in Corner Brook?

PREMIER WELLS: I will ask the Minister of Education to provide the detailed information.

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

DR. WARREN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

These are difficult times in education, but we have been moving ahead, Mr. Speaker, in the area of elementary and secondary education. This government is putting together the first long-term capital plan in the history of this Province, long-term to look at the needs over a period of time. Very shortly, when the Royal Commission Report is released, we will move forward with that initiative. We are doing the same thing in post-secondary education.

Mr. Speaker, it is not a matter of simply putting things on hold. We are looking to the future. We have provided this year, for Memorial University, an extra $2.5 million, $2 million to upgrade the buildings. They got $4 million last year. We, this year, in these difficult times, provided $2.5 million extra, $2 million to upgrade and $500,000 for labs and libraries, for labs in particular. We are going to do that with all the post-secondary institutions in the Province, including Grenfell College.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is also to the Premier.

This administration has had three years and four budgets brought in here, Mr. Speaker, and there is not one dollar in capital construction for the Grenfell College of Corner Brook, I say to the minister and the Premier, not one dollar.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: Now, Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that Grenfell College seems to be, so-called, lost in the shuffle when it comes to funding through Memorial University here in St. John's, and because Grenfell is located so far from Memorial University in St. John's, would the Premier consider giving Grenfell College a separate budget, the same as is now being done for the Marine Institute in St. John's and the medical school? Would he consider that and act immediately on some of those programs?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I am rising instead of the minister because of the opening remarks by the hon. member opposite. We have had three years and four Budgets. That is right - four Budgets.

The first Budget had to cope with their failure because they let the whole year end go by and did not have the guts to bring in a Budget because they could not meet it! That is what they did!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: At the end of May, when we came and saved the people of this Province from the wreckage created by the former government, we had to bring in a Budget three months later because they had failed to bring in a Budget, because they could not cope with the responsibility. They did not want to answer to the people before they called an election. They put their own political interests ahead of the interests of the people. Yes, we brought in that first Budget with no provision for Grenfell.

Then we brought in our next Budget. That was at the time, as hon. members will remember, when the minister put forward his green paper, or his white paper -

AN HON. MEMBER: White paper.

PREMIER WELLS: - white paper on education that dealt with those issues. So there was nothing in really what was the first formal Budget of this government, after taking care of the mess that the former government created.

Then, in the next two Budgets, we had our restraint measures.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: We had our restraint measures in the next two. Now how in heaven's name could a responsible government in those circumstances provide for $20, $30, or $40 million capital for Grenfell College? No responsible government could do it, and no responsible opposition could suggest it should be done.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber Valley, time for a short supplementary.

MR. WOODFORD: A final supplementary, Mr. Speaker, and also to the Premier. It is nice to be able to see they can bounce back and forth. It is obvious that we have a problem.

Could the Premier tell me this then. He was in long enough before the first Throne Speech in 1989 to analyze and see what was there with regard to public spending, with regard to the public treasury, and indeed there was a surplus. Could the Premier now explain to the House why he again, not only in the campaign manual but again in the Throne Speech of 1989, promised the same thing - identical -as what he did in his campaign manual previous to taking over the government?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I just answered the question, but I would remind hon. members that I believe we opened the session of the House so that we could deal with the budgetary mess by the end of May - about the 27th or 25th of May. I have forgotten when the Throne Speech was - maybe the 25th of May or something. We were sworn in on the 5th of May - twenty days to bring together the mess that they left, and try and make some sense of it. We did a pretty good job in the first year, I would say, and we brought in then -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: There was not, in fact, a surplus. There was, in fact, a deficit. It was a small one, but it was a deficit - a small deficit of about $5 million or so, I think. It was a small deficit of about $5 million.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would advise hon. members please to ensure that members answering the question are given the courtesy of the House. I would ask the hon. Premier to finish up very quickly, please.

PREMIER WELLS: Yes, I am pretty well finished now, Mr. Speaker.

The answer to the question is essentially the same as the last question because it is essentially the same question, but I assure all hon. members that we will be here for a long time and we will have ample time to meet those commitments.

The time for Oral Questions has elapsed.

MR. SPEAKER: Before moving on to routine business on behalf of hon. members I would like to welcome to the Speaker's gallery today two young ladies from Alberta, Terri Smith and Allison Lockwood who will be bicycling across Canada speaking out on child sexual abuse. The two ladies are accompanied by representative Mr. Horwood Guzzwell, first vice-president of the Kiwanis Club of St. John's and Julianne Le Graff public relations person for the Break the Cycle Foundation.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

A matter related to your welcome to the Speaker's gallery for those people here, I would like to ask members if they would be so kind as to provide unanimous consent of the House to pass the following resolution: BE IT RESOLVED that members of the House of Assembly unanimously endorse and support the efforts of the Break the Cycle Foundation to raise public awareness regarding child sexual abuse.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: I have spoken with the Government House Leader about this and we would certainly like to go on record with the resolution from all members. As the Speaker so rightly pointed out we have the two women in the gallery who are going to bicycle across the country to speak and raise public awareness about this ever increasing problem. As well we have the representative of the St. John's Kiwanis Club and there are also representatives of another sponsoring club in the gallery, that of the Kiwanis Club of Grenfell. I would like to move that resolution and ask members if they would be so kind as to pass it unanimously.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, we would agree to forego the normal process of such a resolution and give consent of the members on this side of the House to passing that unanimously now. It is a need in our society all across Canada and we are pleased there is such interest in the trek across the country to make the point of child sexual abuse. That cycle of abuse has to be broken so we would give unanimous consent.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have no hesitation in rising to support unanimously the resolution presented by the Opposition House Leader. I had the pleasure of meeting the two women who will be undertaking this task of riding across the country and to in fact ride with them on Sunday from city hall to Bowring Park in their pre-takeoff trial run on Mother's Day Sunday afternoon. It is, of course, a resolution that we all have great concern about, and to pass a resolution in this House, I think, will underline our commitment to raising awareness and concern about the issue, and also assist in kindling our concern to take whatever legislative measures might be necessary in the near future to assist with this problem and the reporting thereof.

MR. SPEAKER: I take there is unanimous consent with this resolution. Agreed.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

MR. GOVER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to table the annual report of the Pippy Park Commission.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Human Rights Code, 1988."

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I did not give notice that I was going to do this but I would like to request time to give an answer to a question that was asked earlier today in Question Period. I just got an answer for it and it has to do with an incident that happened last night.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the minister have consent to answer a question?


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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, there was an incident around 9 p.m. at the St. John's Centre, last night, not at the Pleasantville Centre. It seemed as if several residents tipped over tables and chairs, started breaking up chairs, using pool cues and so on to threaten staff. It was an attempt to incite other residents to join in a general riot, or an uprising. There were twenty-two residents in the centre at the time. There were four individuals associated with this particular incident. It seemed like it was a copycat incident from the one the previous evening.

Mr. Speaker, because of the expectation or the fear of a copycat incident of the one at the remand centre the previous night, there were several extra staff already there and the staff handled the incident before the RNC, the one car arrived at the scene. I believe a couple of the staff did receive some blows from pool cues and so on, but the four young men were handcuffed and taken care of by the staff so, Mr. Speaker, that is a general summary of the incident for which the member asked.

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

MS. COWAN: Thank you. Mr. Speaker, I have here the answer to the question asked by the hon. Member for Grand Falls, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, when he asked me, a while back now, on the current status of the Greenwood Hydro Electric Development proposed by Abitibi, I will table that and he can look at it at his convenience and if he has any further questions, certainly do not hesitate to call me or ask me in the House or whatever.

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Motion 6, Mr. Speaker, a first reading.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands to introduce a bill entitled " An Act To Amend The Provincial Parks Act". (Bill No. 23).

On motion, Bill No. 23 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. BAKER: Motion 7, Mr. Speaker.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy to introduce a bill entitled " An Act To Amend The Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation (Newfoundland) Act". (Bill No. 24).

On motion, Bill No. 24 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. BAKER: Order 3, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Pardon?

MR. BAKER: Order 3.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act Respecting Elections, Controverted Elections And Election Financing." (Bill No. 1).

MR. SPEAKER: Before recognizing the hon. Member for Kilbride, it has been brought to my attention that, I do not know whether they have arrived or not but I have been told in the public galleries, at about this time, there should be ten members from Kiwanis of the Grenfell Club. If they are here, please extend a cordial welcome to them.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: I should point out to hon. members that there was a bit of an irregularity yesterday with the second reading of this bill. We are now operating by leave of the House and the Member for Kilbride had adjourned the debate.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I only have a couple of minutes to continue but before I do speak on this bill, I have a special welcome to the House of Assembly. One of the members of Grenfell, a former teacher of mine, Mr. Sexton, and I am very pleased to see him in the gallery. He had a tough time trying to get me through school, but he was a fine example of a good teacher and what teachers should be and I have always admired him and I am glad to see him here today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.

MR. TOBIN: He has more hair than you.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Pardon?

MR. TOBIN: He has more hair than you too.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Yes, he has more hair than I have and he looks younger than I do so maybe -

MR. SIMMS: What is his name?

MR. R. AYLWARD: Chuck Sexton we called him. Mr. Charles Sexton is his name.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, in the couple of minutes that I have, I just want to say to the Government House Leader that the report presented by our Elections and Privileges Committee should be accepted by the government. There are very good recommendations coming from that committee. I think the way this committee worked on the Elections Act, which is good legislation anyway, is a fine example of how the committee system should work in this House of Assembly. We worked hard, we had differences when we started, and we found compromises to make our committee recommendations work.

I just want to say that it was a pleasure working with the members of that committee, and there was one other committee that I worked on since this session of the House started that was also just as pleasurable but we didn't accomplish as much because the recommendations that we made weren't accepted by the government at the time. I found that to be unfortunate because we made all of our recommendations in good faith.

I just want to say to the government in this instance that the recommendations are made in good faith. I think they are good recommendations. I would hope that the Government House Leader, when he concludes the debate in a few moments, or maybe in a half hour I hope, that he will give us an indication of how many of these recommendations the government will consider so that when we go to the committee stage of this bill we can be prepared to debate, support, or not support some of the things that the government wants to do.

Mr. Speaker, if we have an indication that some of them are not going to be accepted, I would certainly be willing to move the proper amendments to have some of our committee report recommendations accepted. I am sure the committee members on that side of the House will support it because we didn't make any of these decisions lightly. We gave them all a lot of consideration. We took into consideration the possibility, I guess, of ease for the people of the Province to be able to vote. That was our main concern. We had a concern about expenses. We had concerns about different areas of the Province. We had a lot of concerns about accessibility for people who had disabilities and weren't as fortunate as the rest of us.

But our recommendations are made in good faith, Mr. Speaker, and I hope that they will be accepted by government. Even though I say this Elections Act is good legislation anyway, it is time for reform for our Elections Act. It is time for all members of this House of Assembly to be accountable, especially financially accountable to people who are giving donations during elections. It should be full disclosure, and that is generally one of the reasons why I support this act. I think I was the only member of the House of Assembly during the last election who did give full disclosure of all monies collected and all monies spent.

The Member for St. John's South says no. Mr. Speaker, he is not correct because I am the only member of the House of Assembly who did that. There was one other member who ran in the election who did it. He was a former judge and ran in Mount Pearl. Mr. Speaker, he was defeated. I believe in that method. I believe we should all have been doing it voluntarily, but maybe for some reasons some people might have given to members of this House of Assembly and requested that it would not be made public. I don't know why they would. Certainly, I would not accept that money if somebody said that to me.

Mr. Speaker, that is why this legislation is good, it can be made better if the recommendations of our committee can be included in the act before we pass it through second reading. With those few words, Mr. Speaker, thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board. If the President of Treasury Board speaks now he closes the debate.

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

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As Your Honour knows, yesterday when the debate resumed, the Member for Eagle River spoke until it was discovered that it was not proper for him to speak. All hon. members, including myself, in order to accommodate the Chair of the committee which reported to the House to hear what he had to say permitted him to speak, and after that all hon. members permitted the Member for Kilbride to speak.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is only appropriate that hon. members be asked to give leave to me to speak on behalf of my party on this piece of legislation which is generally supported by all parties on the principle of fairness and balance.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, to the point of order. He is only going to speak for - he is not going to speak forever. He might speak for ten or fifteen minutes maximum, maybe. In view of the fact that it is important to have all party support for this legislation - I remember when it was first introduced, last - when was it? Fall or the spring or sometime. The Premier and I both spoke to it, and then - that was last fall, actually. We talked then about the necessity to have all party support for the initiative.

So in keeping in line with that, and in view of the fact that we have precedent by giving the Member for Eagle River I understand yesterday some leave, and my colleague for Kilbride leave, then I think in all fairness - I know how much the government likes to beat up on the NDP and the Member for St. John's East. But I think on this occasion the Government House Leader should show the generosity of spirit that he often shows in trying to cooperate.

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition as usual has it all confused. It was introduced in a previous session of the House. I believe that the Premier spoke to it, the Leader of the Opposition spoke, and I believe the Member for St. John's East spoke to it at the same time. So he has had one opportunity to speak to the Bill. Then, because the Bill died on the order paper, it was reintroduced, this time again -

AN HON. MEMBER: A new bill.

MR. BAKER: - just wanted to straighten this out, reintroduced as a new bill. The same Bill with a different number. Exactly the same with a different number. Mr. Speaker, I introduced the Bill and we had some debate, and the Member for St. John's East also had opportunity during those couple of days debate, whenever it was, to speak. I guess he probably was absent from the House that day and that is how come I got up and closed debate.

So there was ample opportunity, but at the same time, if the Member for St. John's East wants to take a bit of time and talk about the Bill again, Mr. Speaker, I am not going to stop him. So we would give leave.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I guess I have to remind the President of Treasury Board, of course he knows that it is not proper to comment on the presence or absence of a member from the House, particularly when he does not know whether what he is saying is true or not. I think if he checks he will find out that he was not correct at all.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I could be more gracious, Mr. Speaker, if the President of Treasury Board was more gracious in his unanimous consent that he personally was offering, despite some of the backbenchers shaking their heads.

I would like to make some comments on this legislation at this stage of the proceedings. It is a piece of legislation of great importance to the Legislature and people of this Province because for the first time there will be -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Because, Mr. Speaker, this legislation will for the first time ensure that the electoral process will not be decided in the back rooms of the Liberal, PC or any other party. But the electoral process -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, when I was granted leave I was not granted leave on the basis I was going to be kind to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture. I do not intend to give him any more credit than he is due. So I will go on to say that this legislation will prevent some of the excesses that have gone on in the name of democracy in this Province over the last number of years particularly, since Confederation began our new, modern era of democracy in Newfoundland.

I see that the Committee has come forward with a number of very constructive proposals for change. I think in part it is a test of the government's sincerity with respect to the committee system, and perhaps the esteem in which it holds the Member for Eagle River, as to whether or not these recommendations might be considered worthy of implementation by the government. So we will see when the time comes whether or not the government has any respect for the work of its committees and for the chair of this Committee, who has, I have to say, worked hard on this project. He had a number of meetings and, as is annotated in the report, received a number of submissions.

I am afraid, Mr. Speaker, there are a few things that they haven't fully considered and perhaps would be prepared to consider in the House when the time comes. There are some problems still with the disabled people having total access to the electoral process and the voting process. I say, Mr. Speaker, at least one of the recommendations of the Canadian Paraplegic Association with respect to electoral expenses has been included. I think it is quite favourable that the committee would report suggesting that there ought to be an increase in the rebate for the expenses incurred by a disabled candidate, to increase their reimbursement to 70 per cent from 33 and 1/3 per cent. I think that is quite commendable and in keeping with the recommendations of the Canadian Paraplegic Association.

However, they didn't see fit, Mr. Speaker, to include an increase in the expenditure limits for disabled persons who may have greater expenses when pursuing an election. Whether it be a disabled person who is unable, by virtue of physical disability, to travel with the same ease as a person who is not so disabled, special transportation facilities and special costs associated with that, or perhaps a candidate who is deaf, doesn't have the ability to hear and speak. There may be an additional expense associated with that, Mr. Speaker, the hiring and paying for a translator who might have to go from door to door and travel with the candidate.

In the provincial House of Ontario, Mr. Speaker, there sits now a person who was elected in the last election who is unable to hear. This person was elected, Mr. Speaker, in the last provincial election of Ontario and, for the first time in all Canada, there sits in a provincial legislature, a federal legislature, a person who is deaf and who has the proceedings of the House translated simultaneously into American sign language.

So, Mr. Speaker, the committee could easily have adopted that recommendation of the Canadian Paraplegic Association and provided for an increased expenditure limit for those disabled persons who would have, by reason of their disability, an increase in cost in conducting a campaign. That would be very simple and straightforward, Mr. Speaker, and I would ask that that be given consideration by the House when it reaches the next stage.

There are, Mr. Speaker, a number of matters that are still unsatisfactory to me and my party in connection with the equality that is assumed in the legislation between corporations and trade unions. Mr. Speaker, anybody who knows anything about how a corporation is formed knows that it is a quite simple matter now to have a set of documents prepared, and forms filled out and filed at the Registry of Companies to create a legal corporation which has all the rights and privileges of an actual person. Under this act, Mr. Speaker, this corporation would, therefore, then be able to donate the sum of $10,000 to any political campaign during a year. Now, Mr. Speaker, by the simple act of incorporation, that sets loose this privilege under the new elections act that is before us.

The trade union, on the other hand, Mr. Speaker, is a collection of individuals who collect together for the purpose of engaging in collective bargaining and furthering the interests of members in a democratic way, and these democratic organizations, Mr. Speaker, are also given the same expenditure limit of $10,000 under the legislation.

Mr. Speaker, there is no equality between a corporation which may, in fact, be just an individual who has incorporated himself or herself to conduct business, and a trade union which might have ten or fifteen or twenty or thirty thousand members. That, Mr. Speaker, would be only fair.

Now, I don't have any difficulty - and the Member for St. John's South nods his head in agreement, knowing that I have no difficulty whatsoever in the disclosure rules which require that any organization, whether it be a trade union or a sports organization, a business organization, a business corporation, that is going to give money to a campaign, that there be public disclosure, because one of the basic principles of proper election legislation is to allow the public to know and understand fully what is going on in the electoral process.

I have no difficulty with that, but I do have a difficulty, Mr. Speaker, in saying that there is some equality between a democratic trade union, which might have 500, 1,000, or 10,000 members and a business corporation because it happens to be incorporated. I think the Member for St. John's South would have to agree, because if he decides that he wants to go into business, and goes to the registry of corporations down in the basement of this building, fills out some forms, pays his $250, and becomes a business corporation to conduct business, that automatically entitles this person to give $10,000 to a candidate. That is just not fair. There is no equality, Mr. Speaker. I think that ought to be considered and looked at. It is not right, Mr. Speaker, to see that happen.

One other aspect of that, I suppose, Mr. Speaker, is that the decision-making of a business corporation is usually left in the hands of the Chief Executive Officer. That individual doesn't often consult the shareholders in these corporations before going ahead and engaging in the kinds of donations that are made here, whereas for the trade unions, it is usually a decision that is made at a meeting of the trade union members, a democratic decision as to what to do with the dues that they may have collected or other funds that they may have raised for these purposes.

So, Mr. Speaker, there is difficulty there that I don't think the Committee have resolved. It is unfortunate they haven't, although they have addressed a number of other points which I hope the government accept, because most of these recommendations are quite agreeable. Some of them, of course, are correcting some of the errors that have crept into the legislation. It is a large and complex piece of legislation and it is not surprising that there would be such difficulties.

I agree, Mr. Speaker, with the committee's recommendation that a special ballot be introduced. The proxy voting system, as the Member for Eagle River has said, and as others have mentioned to the Committee - including myself, as I did have an opportunity to sit at a couple of meetings of the Committee to hear representations and offer some comments - that the proxy voting system would prove to be detrimental in that it would deprive an individual of the freedom or the confidentiality of a vote, and also the private individual of the certainty as to what the proxy might or might not do on their behalf. It could also lead to other problems, Mr. Speaker, particularly administrative problems in getting together and meeting the regulations that were set forth in the act, of having to have advance notice of a proxy vote, forms to be filled out well in advance of the election, making it difficult for people who are not in their home ridings during an election to actually vote.

So the notion of a special ballot, I think, is a very useful one. I think perhaps it is unfortunate that the Committee didn't put together a model clause for the bill so that it could be easily adopted in the Legislature. I would hope, Mr. Speaker, that the government have taken the recommendations of the Committee under advisement and have gone so far as to seek proper and appropriate wording for such an amendment to provide for a special ballot, because if that is not done it is going to be very difficult to draft such an amendment on the floor of the House.

I assume that the government have already taken under advisement these recommendations, and the provision for a special ballot has already been drafted in the form of an amendment to be presented to the House. Some of the other more technical amendments are easy to be done and drafted in the form of amendments for acceptance. Perhaps the Government House Leader will present the House with a list of amendments very shortly so that we can have a look at what amendments the government are going to be introducing and what amendments individual members may have themselves devised for the purpose of bringing into effect the amendments that are here, or some of the others.

I think it is less a government bill than most legislation. It is a piece of legislation that really, all parties have an interest in having properly thought through, and any amendments that are designed are for the betterment of the legislation and not for the particular advantage of any individual party. All members have an interest in seeing that this legislation is as good as it can be.

There is another concern that I think ought to be considered by members. I would invite hon. members to have a look at Clause 26 of the bill, which are the rules to determine whether or not an individual is ordinarily resident. The following rules are set out, and there is a list of seven or eight rules. I would say that this is extraordinarily complex and has the effect of giving a great degree of discretion to an individual on voting day, which would be the interpretation of this rule, would end up being determined by the Chief Electoral Officer's agent, or the deputy returning officer in each polling station, or rather in each constituency, on election day, usually, whether or not a person can vote. At that time, of course, it is often very difficult to obtain any proper rulings or have any sensible opportunity to debate, or change the mind of somebody, and people who ought to be entitled to vote will not get the opportunity to do so.

The legislation, as was before the House, has another flaw which was pointed out to the Committee, in particular by the Newfoundland Federation of Labour. It was a concern that the legislation prevents the Newfoundland Federation of Labour from participating in financially supporting candidates or parties in the election by virtue of the way that the definition of trade union is crafted in the legislation. There was a debate at one time, led by the Member for Kilbride, on the basis that it appeared that it was intended to exclude only them.

It was explained to the Committee by the President of the Federation of Labour that it is part of the tradition of the Federation of Labour, and a number of unions in the Federation of Labour, that they play their political role through the Federation of Labour; that the Federation of Labour is a labour central of some 44,000 members; that they have a political action committee; that they have various resolutions passed at their convention, democratically passed, where they make decisions about what they are going to do in terms of their political support. The legislation prevents them from following through on those democratic decisions with respect to what they might do with their funds, or what they might do with their political action committees and their political action resolutions. So that is unfair.

It is unfair that, on one hand, you can have a democratically-elected body like the Federation of Labour, through their elected officers, make decisions about political participation and that not be allowed because of this legislation and, on the other hand, private corporations who do not go to their shareholders for decisions of that nature can make decisions and donations based on a mere decision of a board of directors.

I find that to be odious, particularly, Mr. Speaker, in the circumstances where the Federation of Labour has indicated, which it has every right to do, it intends to become active in persuading its members across the Province to oppose the policies of this government and to make an electoral response to that by seeking to persuade candidates for election to follow policies which do not support government's approach to collective bargaining. Although the legislation, itself, may not have been drafted for this particular purpose it has the effect, Mr. Speaker, of preventing active involvement in the electoral process by the Federation of Labour. It is wrong, Mr. Speaker, and it ought to be changed.

However, this is the second reading of the legislation and I have to reiterate what I said in the speech that I made when this was first introduced as Bill 55 in December of last year, in the previous sitting, that we do support this legislation in principle. It is a long-awaited piece of legislation that we, as a New Democratic Party have campaigned to see put in place. We have insisted, that this government and the previous government get on with the passage of new election legislation. We see very comprehensive legislation before us and I have to say that, in principle, our party supports this legislation and would like to see it put into effect, together with the changes that have been recommended by the Committee, and others which may be presented by members during third reading of this bill.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

If the President of Treasury Board speaks now, he closes the debate.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I don't intend to spend a lot of time. Both members opposite indicated that they would like some kind of definitive statement with regards to the amendments that we are prepared to accept to this bill. I cannot make any definitive statement at this time. The amendments will be done when we get to the Committee stage. At the beginning of that exercise, Mr. Speaker, I will inform everybody as to what types of amendments we would vote for and would support from that recommendation. At this point in time, I can't make any comment on it at all because we have not had a detailed discussion about this in Cabinet. This is a Cabinet decision, I suppose, or a caucus decision, and we haven't had a discussion in caucus either. That will be done very shortly and by the time we get to Committee stage of the bill, we will know.

I just want to reiterate, Mr. Speaker, once again, that we are very proud of this particular piece of legislation. It is something that was long overdue in the Province. The federal government, for a long time, have had their Election Expenses Act in. We have seen the system operate with the federal government. We have been part of the operation and we know the problems that arise from the federal Election Expenses Act but we also know the benefits that are contained in such an act. We believe we have put together an act here that goes beyond the federal Election Expenses Act and is, in fact, a much better piece of legislation. Again, I would like to point out that this is a good Liberal piece of legislation. It was developed by the Liberal Party. It was developed by the Liberal caucus and the Liberal Cabinet with input from all parts of the Liberal Party, and now it was put out to a Committee of this House to get input from the politicians on both sides of the House. We will take that input, Mr. Speaker, and let the hon. House know what we are going to do with that input a little later on.

Mr. Speaker, I would simply like to say that I am very, very proud to move second reading of Bill 1, "An Act Respecting Elections, Controverted Elections And Election Financing."

On motion, a bill, "An Act Respecting Elections, Controverted Elections And Election Financing," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill No. 1).

MR. BAKER: Order 2, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 2, Bill No. 17.

On motion, that the House resolve itself into Committee of the Whole, Mr. Speaker left the Chair.

Committee of the Whole

MR. CHAIRMAN (L. Snow): Order, please!

The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Chairman, I first of all want to see if we have agreement here in terms of the process that we are now going through. Do we have consent to have, like, ten minutes each back and forth as we normally do in Committee stage, or are we going to go the full twenty each back and forth, or what? We found it more expedient in the past to have, where possible, ten-minute exchanges back and forth. Do we have agreement on that?

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

MR. TOBIN: So you are not restricting anyone to ten minutes. If we want to speak back and forth, we can. Okay, sure.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The Chair is not clear now on what we have agreed on here.

MR. BAKER: I think we had better be fairly specific. Because if the hon. member wants to make it, continue on with twenty minutes, and then not take advantage of the full twenty minutes if you don't feel like it, then that's fine. I don't mind. I just want to get the ground rules straight.

MR. TOBIN: We have no problem with the ten minutes, as long as the same speaker can speak again after someone responds.

MR. BAKER: Yes, absolutely.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Is that the understanding that the members have? Fifteen-fifteen, and then ten-ten, or just ten-ten straight through?

MR. BAKER: It doesn't matter. Ten and ten.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Clause 1?

The hon. the Member for Fogo.

AN HON. MEMBER: Another attack, another vicious attack!

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Chairman, I want to take part in this debate again. I have spoken on the bill and on the amendment put forth. As we expected, the champion of labour in the Province stood in his place and attacked the people he is supposed to represent. But coming from that particular minister, it is nothing unusual to see that he would do that kind of thing, resort to these tactics. I accused the minister earlier of being derelict in his duties in representing labour in this Province, and I have to say the same thing again.

Because the minister, after championing the cause of labour for a number of years, as a former president of a public sector union in this Province, turns his back on them and does what he can to get rid of collective bargaining in the public sector unions of this Province. So, yes, the Minister of Labour is right, we have no choice but to level accusations that he has been less than forthright and honest in his dealings with the labour movement in this Province.

Now, as I indicated earlier, on two occasions I have spoken on this bill -

AN HON. MEMBER: Your time is up.

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Chairman, I will let the minister know the time will not be up. Perhaps school will be out and we will have the chance to have 7,000 of his former colleagues to be in here asking for the minister's head on a platter before this is over. No, the time is not up, and if the minister continues to goad me, then I might stay up a lot longer than he expects. In this round I only had anticipated going for fifteen or twenty minutes, but if he keeps it up I will certainly go on longer.

Now, what this bill is all about, and we noticed yesterday, the minister and the Minister of Education - no, the Minister of Education wasn't here. But the minister stood in place and voted against free collective bargaining for public sector unions in this Province, and that is what this piece of legislation is all about. Mr. Chairman, since yesterday an interesting piece of correspondence has come to light, one that the President of Treasury Board wrote to the President of the NTA on May 5. Mr. Chairman, it must be awfully uncomfortable out there for the Minister of Labour and the President of Treasury Board, as he goes around the Province, to engage in the kind of debate that he does.

Mr. Chairman, he says in his final paragraph, "Teachers, however, tell me that the NTA says that we have twice broken your collective agreement. Would you please clarify this misunderstanding so that the teachers can make whatever decisions they will have to make with the advantage of sound and proper information." Now, Mr. Chairman, what hypocrisy! Of all people, the President of Treasury Board to be sending out to a union telling them how to run their affairs, the same minister who presided over the taking away of collective bargaining in this Province.

For that particular group that he addressed, it has been a long, hard fight for teachers to have the rights to free and collective bargaining in this Province. Mr. Chairman, with one stroke of the pen that has been taken away from them, the right of public sector unions to negotiate.

Now, Mr. Chairman, what the President of Treasury Board and the Minister of Labour have done on several occasions in this Legislature is to say to the public sector unions: We haven't frozen your wages. Mr. Chairman, they say: We haven't frozen your wages. All we have frozen is the total compensation package. The total compensation package will stand at zero and, if there are other things in your contract you want to negotiate, then we are quite willing to do so if it doesn't cost a dollar. One dollar more, Mr. Chairman, and we cannot entertain it.

The question I have put to the minister - and I will ask the minister again today. I have to get the minister's attention. He is not listening. I want the minister, when he takes part in this debate in a few minutes, to tell this House what provisions of existing contracts he wants stripped, what ones he wants taken away from the unions so that their total compensation package could increase. Now, Mr. Chairman, that is going to be quite interesting when the minister resumes the debate in this House and tells us which ones, what elements of the existing contract, the government would like to see stripped - because that is what they like to see - so that a monetary arrangement of some kind can be made.

Now, Mr. Chairman, with respect to this latest letter: When the President of the NTA responded - and some dates are quite interesting, Mr. Chairman. For Bill 16, government, through the services of a conciliation officer and a conciliation board eventually agreed on a salary scale. The President of Treasury Board, as late as February 8, 1991, signed off that particular agreement saying that the negotiated increases for the NTA would be at 3-3,4-3, and 4-4. Mr. Speaker, that was on February 8. I think it was on March 7 the minister announced that there would be none, there would be no benefits for the period from April 1, I think it was, to March 31, 1992. Now, Mr. Chairman, that was only a period of thirty days.

Furthermore, Mr. Chairman, the minister, after entering into this contract, saying that we are going to submit to conciliation, knew at that point in time, thirty days before, that he would not live up to the contract that he had put his signature to. Now, Mr. Chairman, that was the second example, since the minister on February 8, 1991 signed his name that he would ratify or agree to the amounts that had been negotiated by the conciliation board. That was on February 8. On March 7, less than thirty days - and the budget didn't get prepared that fast. It takes a week or so according to how long it takes other things to get released in education. It certainly takes longer than that for a budget to get printed. So the minister knew then, on February 8, and then shortly after he is told, shortly before the meeting of 1991: our executive director and myself were requested to meet with the Premier and yourself and we were told that government has decided it must recover a significant amount of money from public sector workers. The form of that recovery was not specified, and, Mr. Chairman, the reason that the NTA had to get included, was that they could not do it through layoffs, it could not be done through layoffs to effect the savings that he wanted, because of the 2 per cent savings clause that existed in the contract already, so he could not lay off the hundreds that he might have wanted to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: - well he changed the legislation again to break the contract again -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: - oh yes, you could strip the contract even further, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations is right. He wants to strip the contract even further and I suspect he had that in mind this time, that he might do away with the 2 per cent savings clause because that is how he will be known. I won't say what it will be, but not Roger the Dodger, he will have another name, Mr. Chairman, because this minister is quite willing to go along with his colleagues, he has abandoned the people whom, he for a number of years supported and they trusted this minister.

I can remember when the minister was first elected, just prior to his becoming the assistant to the Premier, the minister was on radio in central Newfoundland and they asked him what he expected to get, and he expected he said, a significant Cabinet portfolio. Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, now present, yes, Mr. Chairman, he expected it then and I suspect that teachers were hoping that he would get the Minister of Employment and Labour or perhaps the Minister of Education. I suspect that at the time, because he was such a champion for their cause, that he would never see their rights being trampled upon but, Mr. Chairman, a Jekyll became a Hyde for sure, because it did not take that minister very long. I think maybe the little bit of training he had in the Premier's office made that minister forget all that he knew about collective bargaining in the civil service -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: No, the time is not up and if the ten minutes is up I will be ready to get up again, Mr. Chairman. I am certainly not giving up my seat yet because I have not started at the minister yet and if he keeps interrupting, I will have to go on for two or three hours.

Mr. Chairman, March 7th, became the infamous day in the collective bargaining in this Province and I see the President of Treasury Board, the other co-conspirator with the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, in taking away the rights of the public service -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. WINSOR: Ten minutes already?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this debate in committee on Bill 17. I have always been a little bit interested when the opposition critic for Employment and Labour Relations stands and speaks of his view of labour relations and negotiations and how things should work and so on, because it continues to amaze me that he is the critic for this type of portfolio and every time he speaks in debate he exhibits more and more a lack of understand of how negotiations or labour relations or anything else really works. He just continues to talk in a very narrow frame of using three or four little buzz phrases that he has picked up over a couple of years and I am not even sure that he understands exactly what they mean, so I just want to take a few minutes this time in the debate to reference two or three items that the hon. member brought up in his first ten minutes because I am certainly hoping that he will rise again and continue on in debate in committee on this bill.

To correct some of the things that had been stated before, they have been corrected in this House before but for some reason he continues to bring them up as if they are in some way true or as if in some way they have merit, when it has been explained fully and completely so that anybody and everybody would understand the difference, but I guess when you choose not to listen, there is not much anybody else can do, and the first one I would like to address just very briefly, is right back to the comment he made about following the election in 1989, that myself as the member for Exploits had been interviewed in central Newfoundland and asked what the expectation was, and that I had stated that I expected a significant senior Cabinet portfolio. The only reason I can understand, Mr. Chairman, why the hon. member repeated that is because I guess he is a bit of a parrot for the gentleman who is now the Opposition House Leader or the Leader of the Opposition I should say. He used to be the Opposition House Leader. He was much better at that job than the one he is doing now. He was pretty good as an Opposition House Leader, but he is struggling along as Leader of the Opposition.

I suppose I could repeat the story about how he didn't want the job. You can understand a man struggling in a job he doesn't want, when you don't want it and you are going home checking with your son every day to see if you are doing okay. In most families, Mr. Chairman, the sons and daughters come home at the end of the day or once in a while and they check with their parents and say: Am I doing okay, Dad? Am I doing okay, Mom? But with the Leader of the Opposition it is the exact opposite. So the father goes home and says: Am I doing okay, son? How are we doing today? How are we making out? Do you think I should stay on as Leader of the Opposition? What do you think? Or should we give it up and put it to another vote?

The big problem he has is that he can't give it up and put it to another vote because nobody over there wants it. I mean it is awful to feel that kind of frustration in your life when you are absolutely, positively stuck.

AN HON. MEMBER: Neil wants it. No, Lynn wants it.

MR. GRIMES: I mean there is absolutely no doubt that the man would give the job away if he could give it away, but he can't give it away. Because the hon. Member for Grand Falls, when he was in his role as the Opposition House Leader, got up and made a statement which was corrected in the House, that I had said I expected a significant senior Cabinet appointment after the election of 1989, and was corrected to say that, had the hon. member been actually listening to the news he would have heard exactly what was said. That question was asked: what did I expect? The answer was clearly given, and I will give it again in case you didn't hear it the last time. We can even get the tapes from the radio station, and maybe even from 'The Advertiser' which is the local paper saying that I, just like all other members elected on the government's side of the House, was ready and willing to serve in any capacity for which I might be invited or asked by the leader of the party and the Premier of the day. That is the case, and I have been proud to do so ever since.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: To make sure, Mr. Chairman, it is hard to understand why people would get up and continue to say something that has no basis in fact when they have already been notified of the difference. They can verify the difference of it for themselves if they choose to do so, but I guess at times they don't have anything else to say so they say stuff like that.

The other thing in relation to Bill 17, Mr. Chairman, the hon. Member for Fogo keeps referring to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: I was hoping you would bring them up again because in his remarks in the first ten minutes, Mr. Chairman, the hon. member talked again and used the phrase 'contract stripping'. I would suggest that the only reason he uses the phrase is because when he was a member of the NTA and I was involved with the negotiating team for the NTA, we unfortunately had to travel around the Province, all throughout Newfoundland and Labrador and advise teacher members like the hon. Member for Fogo that the government of the day, the then Progressive Conservative administration, was at the bargaining table not only asking, but absolutely insisting from teachers that certain provisions in their contract must be removed.

This was a direct request from the government negotiators supported by the Department of Education, Treasury Board, the school trustees and so on in the bargaining process. We had no choice but to go to the teacher members and say: You people need to know that your employers, the people who sign your cheques and hire you, are insisting that you give up certain of your rights and benefits in the contract. The phrase for that, when the employer comes along and wants to take benefits from the employees in a contract, that is referred to as contract stripping. That was explained to the hon. Member for Fogo because he was there sitting in the audience, jaw agape, ears opened, amazed that he would hear such news -- absolutely amazed.

Now contract stripping in that context is something which is initiated by the employer going in and trying to take something. In Bill 17 it has been explained to everybody in the Province that if the employees -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: A point of order, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, the hon. minister is making reference to Bill 17 and contract stripping and the whole shebang.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: I am not asleep! I can (inaudible) -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

Would the hon. member get to his point of order?

MR. TOBIN: The hon. minister has not been relative to the debate. He moved into Bill 17, contract stripping, which had absolutely nothing to do with the bill that is before the House.

MR. CHAIRMAN: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The fact again that hon. members would rise on a point of order - it is no wonder that they still do not understand the concept of contract stripping, because they did not listen the last time I explained it to them. They did not read Hansard. They are not listening today. They have some notion that there is a little buzz phrase out there that is supposed to get people upset and disturbed because it is not nice. Contract stripping is not nice, but there is absolutely nothing in Bill 17 that indicates or shows that the government, the employer, wants the employees to do anything. We are saying there is an opportunity, if the employees or their representatives want, of their own volition and by their choice completely, to approach the government and say: Our people want money more than anything else in this world and you people have said that there is a zero compensation package in place this year. But if you want actual take-home pay, then all you have to do is come to the government, point out to the government items in your contract that also cost money other than salary, and if you wish to trade those, you can take home pay. That is completely different, totally removed, and not even related and should not be mentioned in the same breath as contract stripping.

It is obvious and clear again that the members opposite have no understanding whatsoever of what is in Bill 17, what is available to the different bargaining units in the Province at the present time. It is clear that they have no real understanding of what contract stripping is. They support a party that, when it was in power, was always trying to strip contracts. They made it a way of life. They made life miserable for all the bargaining units in Newfoundland and Labrador. None of that is contemplated in Bill 17, and it should be clear that they should acknowledge the difference.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I look forward to an opportunity to continue (inaudible).

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

MR. WINSOR: The defence of the indefensible.

Now the former President of the NTA, the Minister of Labour, talks about what government did. I have to ask the minister: Does the minister not realize that in order to get the present contract that teachers have, that they already gave? That they already traded off a number of concessions so they could have the level that they have now? Does the minister remember that? All the goings on back and forth when NTA gave up certain things to get what they have? Gave up benefits and everything else?

Oh, no they have not done that over the years. The NTA did not make any trade-offs or anything like that over the past number of years.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: Yes, trade-offs. All kinds of things have been traded off in contracts and now he wants them to give more. The minister is starting to sound something like -

MR. GRIMES: A point of order, Mr. Chairman.

MR. WINSOR: A point of nonsense. Watch, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: On a point of order, again I am trying to make clear and sure in the debate on this bill that all hon. members understand, as I have been saying, that the government does not want anybody to give up anything. We are saying there is an opportunity for people to take home money in their pockets if they wish. The government does not want anybody to give up anything, but if they would like to demonstrate that they have things that they would like to trade for take-home pay, that is possible.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Fogo.

MR. WINSOR: There is no point of order, as I expected. A rose by any other name, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, the minister is starting to remind me of Shylock. He wants one pound of flesh and one pound only, I believe, back in the Shakespeare play, The Merchant of Venice. He is starting to sound like that. He wants every ounce of blood there is in the NTA and he is not going to be satisfied until he extracts every drop. That is what this minister is up to. I can't believe that he has turned so much. The Minister of Finance, maybe. The Minister of Finance has not been very supportive of the NTA for a number of years.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) the classroom because he is in the boardroom.

MR. WINSOR: I will leave these remarks for you when you get up. Now, Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations on occasion after occasion gets up and says that: we are not telling the NTA that they have to, we are suggesting that that is a possible avenue open to them. Now I have to ask the minister, why does it take - as a matter of fact the minister might have been involved then. I think negotiations began back in November of 1989. Now if that is all that is to a contract, to negotiate monetary items, why did it take from November of 1989 up until May of 1991 to come to some kind of an agreement?

It's because there are other things that get negotiated, and as the minister says, traded. What the minister wants to do now is to trade off some benefits that have been earned through collective bargaining for the last twenty years.

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

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations on a point of order.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you. On a point of order, Mr. Chairman. I do not understand why a member in the House would continue to address this Bill and use language suggesting that the government wants to do anything with respect to benefits. The government is providing an opportunity for any bargaining agent on behalf of its members to come in and exchange benefits for take-home pay, if that is the desire and the wish of the bargaining unit on behalf of its members. The government does not want anything. The government has pointed out that the total compensation for the year will remain as last year. So the total objective of the government is met in that statement. The government does not want anything. However, the members of each bargaining unit have an opportunity to take home pay if they wish and if they initiate the action.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

There is really no point of order. The hon. member is trying to clarify a situation. I guess it is a point of clarification, if nothing else.

The hon. the Member for Fogo.

MR. WINSOR: The Chairman should refuse to recognise the minister when he is standing because all he is doing is attempting to interrupt the flow and exchange that is going on. He has nothing of any substance to contribute, so, Mr. Chairman, I suggest you not recognise him when he gets up. He is not taking part in the debate, he is just wasting the time of the House of Assembly.

What he is trying to do is invent a new thing in this House of Assembly. Because we are told that you are not allowed to use the word "lie," and if you try to do it through any other means, whether it be fraudulent or anything else, we get called to task for it. Now the minister is trying to invent a new way to say contract stripping is not contract stripping. He cannot do it, he has asked the Chair for intervention on two occasions. The Chair refuses to accommodate him because what the minister is saying is not right. The minister is engaged in contract stripping, because he has taken away the rights and benefits - or he is trying to - to take away the rights and benefits that have been given to the public service unions for a number of years.

Now I asked the minister, the minister had ten minutes. I challenge him again to do it. Rise again and tell us what benefits are they? What are the benefits that the minister alludes to when he says there are a number, and he goes on to say 15 to 30 per cent in some contracts, of benefits. Now is he talking about the remuneration that would be paid to a teacher who drives fifteen miles from one school to go to another one? Is that the kind of benefit that he is talking about taking away? The minister might not be aware, but in this Province today there are some teachers who have to teach in two schools.

The minister is suggesting that they take it away now. If the minister wanted - okay, I will ask the minister this: what are the benefits that he is suggesting - and the government would say, hoping - that the NTA would come back and say: we want to take these benefits from our members? Because what they are engaged in is an attempt to force the union to take sides.

MR. R. AYLWARD: If the NTA comes in and makes those suggestions they will take them anyway and give them no raise then.

MR. WINSOR: That is exactly what they will do, Mr. Chairman. That is the preparation for round three. Round three comes next year when they will say to the members: now look, you got yourself 3 per cent last year because you took away all the benefits you had negotiated. You gave up your pension, you gave up your sick leave, you gave up in-service. Mr. Chairman, he will say, you got 3 per cent last year so you can get the same thing if you give up some more benefits because we are not going to give you that 3 per cent that you agreed to for 1993 because we cannot trust the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, the President of Treasury Board or this administration.

In one contract the President of Treasury Board on February 8 indicated that teachers in the Province would have an increase and then on May 7 he takes it away. The dealings with NTA members must be getting awfully uncomfortable. I know my colleague from the Stephenville Crossing area had a meeting with his NTA branch on Monday night and I see he returned from the district unscathed so his attack could not have been too vicious. It might have been a bit verbal but at least it was not too physical because he has returned unscathed.

There are a lot of angry people out there, not angry because of a wage freeze either. That is part of it but what upsets most people is the way the wage freeze was implemented. The wage freeze tears up contracts that have been negotiated. The President of Treasury Board stood in his place, I think it was a day or two ago, and said that a contract is different if it is signed with government. Mr. Chairman, I fail to see the difference. I saw an article in the paper last week where the consumer affairs representative from this administration talked about how you have to say to people you do business with: if you signed a contract then that contract is binding. The only people it has not been binding on is this government. It has been binding on workers because they use this Legislature, and only because they have a majority and only because people, like the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, who is suppose to champion the cause of labour in this Province refuses to stand up and support them.

That is what is happening with this administration and that is why this bill is there. That would not have happened had the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations done what his office dictates that he do, and that is protect the rights of both the worker and the employer. In this case he only protected one, the employer, and he left the worker to fend for himself and he is going to use this Legislature to protect them. Mr. Chairman, what is right, what if fair, what is balanced about that kind of relationship, when you use the Legislature to circumvent the law? That is what the minister is doing. The minister is using the Legislature to circumvent the law.

By leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: Somebody should interrupt this NTA meeting.

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The hon. Member for Fogo in both of his representations now, in each of the ten minutes he has spoken, has asked a couple of times that maybe I give clarification as to what kinds of benefits members of certain bargaining units could give up in exchange for increase in take-home pay and salary. When I first clarified that was a possibility under Bill 17 that was not there under Bill 16, to allow for some possible negotiation if the bargaining agents on behalf of their members would like to initiate it. It will not be initiated by the government. The government has no wish to do anything other than balance the books the same as they were last year in terms of the salary bills, however if the workers in any category, and the Member for Fogo spends a lot of time speaking about the teachers, understandably I suppose from his own past experience and my own past experience, but there are all kinds of workers out there covered by agreements in the public service and all have the same option. The hon. member keeps asking: well identify, spell out two, three, or four things that they could give up to get some money. Tell us what government has in mind. I point out again that it surprises me that he would ask me to do that because it shows, I guess, what continues to concern me as some lack of knowledge and understanding of what happens when you have a recognized bargaining agent to do your work for you. Whether it be the nurses, the teachers, or any other category of public servants they have a recognized bargaining agent who by checking with their members and by going through the existing benefits in their collective agreements can identify a wide range of benefits other than salary that cost money to provide in the agreement.

When I first introduced the idea I indicated because I was asked by a member of the media: what kinds of things are you talking about? I said, I don't want to try and negotiate for these groups. Each one of them knows the benefits that are in their packages in their contracts. They know the ones that their members might even consider giving up for a short period of time so that they can take home some pay, and it would be inappropriate for me to suggest to them what they would consider trading for money. They are the people in the bargaining units. They are the people who determine what is a priority item for them at this time, but I have indicated and I have also stated publicly that if any one of the bargaining agents representing any one of the worker groups wanted to come into government either through the President of Treasury Board or through myself just out of curiosity and wanted to sit down and say: you people said that publicly, that we could trade some things for money. What were you talking about?

If they were to ask me just as an individual, any one of the groups, I am pretty confident that I could go through with them in their agreement and show them a dozen things that are potential for them if they wanted to. At least a dozen things in any one contract, and that would only be with a very preliminary perusal of the contract that they could consider trading for additional take-home pay if that is what they wanted to do.

That all goes back to an understanding of another thing that the hon. member for Fogo continues to say. The hon. Member for Fogo continues to say that in negotiations, groups like the NTA gave up some things in order to get salary. That is not true. Just about every group - again it shows his lack of understanding because he has never negotiated a contract for anybody. He doesn't know what collective bargaining is all about. He has never experienced it from either side of the table, and from what he has been saying so far it is a good thing he hasn't.

He should check with some of his teacher friends who understood the processes. When the packages were exchanged at the beginning most of the teacher colleagues that I dealt with used to look at ours and used to represent it to their membership at public meetings. They would say: Don't forget, this is our opening package and this is really only like our Christmas wish list. We don't really expect to get this, and you people shouldn't expect to get it. But this is what you said we should ask for. If this was an ideal world, these are all the wonderful things we would like to have. Because we are your bargaining agent, we are going to put them on the table and we are going to ask for all of them. In the process as it got narrowed down over the months and with the previous administration, by the way, with that one group that I know of with the Newfoundland Teachers Association, one time it took us two and a half years to negotiate a contract. So there is no difficulty in spending certain periods of time negotiating. It depends upon exactly what you are hoping to accomplish.

So it is not a matter of giving up benefits. It is a matter of realizing through the process when you are negotiating that some of the things that you would like to achieve are not attainable. In the process at some point in time the salary increases that people ask for were often not attainable, so they would get less salary than they asked for at the beginning. A very common occurrence. As a matter of fact it is almost unheard of that you would ever get what you asked for in the first place. If anybody doesn't understand that about collective bargaining, they don't understand anything.

So there were trade-offs, and there are trade-offs in every round of negotiations. Many times at the end to make a bargain to finalize a deal, in fact other benefits other than salary would be put into the contract because the salary wasn't attainable. Now what we are saying is that those other benefits that were often added, that were put in there because the amount of money that was asked for could not be achieved. Because they are now in the contracts, if the members, through their bargaining agents, look at it and say: years ago we were hoping to get money. We didn't get money so we got this benefit that we weren't really expecting. Now we have these benefits and we know we can't get money, so if they choose to do so they can now turn around and come in and suggest to the government that some of these benefits we will offer up to you if you will now give us some money so we can increase our pay. That is what we have been trying to say so that everybody will understand the contents of Bill 17.

I will say it again. The government has no wish and will not take the initiative to ask for that to occur with any bargaining agent. However, if the bargaining agent on behalf of its members, or if the members want to approach their bargaining agent and suggest it to them, if they say that our number one priority right now is that we would like to have some more take-home pay, this bill makes it possible. But it can only be achieved if the bargaining unit, itself, on behalf of the workers affected, decide that they would now like to suspend or trade-off or give back some of those other benefits that cost money, on an annual basis, so that they can have salary in their pockets instead.

Now, I know it is a concept that members opposite find difficult to comprehend and understand, because the other comments they have made, make it clear that they do not comprehend and understand very much about the whole process, in any event, so it would be difficult for them to understand this, but the reality of it, Mr. Chairman, is that nobody should misunderstand what the intention of the government is. The intention of the government, through Bill 17, is to maintain spending levels on salary and all cost benefits relating to employees, at last year's level. The choice as to whether they will be paid on benefits or on take-home pay is entirely and totally up to the members of any bargaining unit, through the negotiating process that is available and possible under Bill 17.

It is not for me, Mr. Chairman, and I will not entertain the fact that I will in any way try to prejudice or influence a group to suggest that, 'I think you should come in and give up that, you should come in and trade this, you should trade something else.' They know better than anybody which of their benefits they hold dear and sacred and which ones they would never consider trading. They also know which ones they would consider giving up if they want the money. If they make such decisions, the President of Treasury Board or anybody else in government, will entertain discussions and negotiations with them. If they choose to trade no benefits, there will be no discussion and the government's objective will still be accomplished in that this year's bill on total compensation will be the same as last year's.

I welcome and appreciate the opportunity again, Mr. Chairman, to speak briefly in the debate at the Committee stage. Thank you.

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

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

It is with some pleasure that I sit back and listen to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations talk about the present state of unrest in the labour field in the Province. A lot of that unrest certainly is due to the minister, because he is the one who really should be making sure that there is peace and love within the field of labour, but you certainly don't see it.

The unfortunate thing about it is the debate this afternoon has centred around negotiations with the Newfoundland Teachers' Association, an organization of which the hon. gentleman was president for a number of years and, as he, himself, said, involved to some degree, a minor degree I must say, but to some degree, in the negotiating of some of the contracts. He knows full well that when he was taken along on any negotiating jaunts that whatever was discussed and agreements made, then he walked away knowing full well that the agreements would be lived up to. And this is really the crux of the concern in relation to Bill 17, that is, agreements reached were not lived up to. Despite what the minister says and despite what the President of Treasury Board says and writes or somebody writes for him, the agreements made with the Newfoundland Teachers' Association were not as they are said to be today, that many of the agreements made with them have been dishonoured and they, like others, have been sold out.

Now, you can call it contract stripping or whatever you like, the thing is that a number of organizations, groups and agencies signed agreements in good faith, and in signing any agreements, there was give and take, so anybody who received anything - and they did very well, that is the problem, that many of the organizations or the unions did very well because the government gave them practically everything they wanted. Most of the general public were quite amazed that agreements were reached with the unions so quickly, so amicably, and they were, because government basically said: 'Well, what do you want? Here it is,' knowing full well, that while they were saying that up front, in the back rooms they were planning to take it all away, and that is exactly what happened. And, of course, now we have all kinds of concern and unrest in the labour field.

I suppose we have concern and unrest in the labour field; I said it here I think, when I spoke on the bill originally. If there is as much concern and unrest as there is supposed to be, where is the opposition to it? Some of the labour leaders, doing their cosy interviews on radio, state that there is no opposition in the House. Well, there is no government in the House, either. That is the hardest part of it, because opposition you might do without, but it is very tough to do without a government, and it is about time we had one in this Province. We haven't had one now for three years, and the excuse that we have for a government contains some very pitiful ministers.

I mentioned that the labour leaders said there is no opposition in the House. For x number of days now, the Opposition members have been trying to stress to government on behalf of whom? - on behalf of the average hard-working, dedicated individual out there who has absolutely no voice. Where are all the labour leaders if they are so upset with Bill 17? We are getting letters from people saying, 'Bill 17 must be stopped.' Yet their own leaders are saying very, very little, and doing less. They are telling their membership, 'This is a terrible bill. The government is shafting us.' And they are. They are right there, but what are they doing about it? - absolutely, positively nothing, sitting back. The bill will pass in a matter of hours or days, or whenever, I guess, closure is rammed through, as is usual.

The only obstruction at all between the passing of this bill is the Opposition. That is the only word you hear uttered. The only objection raised is here in the House of Assembly. So you wonder sometimes, when you look at the people out there who are extremely concerned, and who are now being told by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations that, 'Oh maybe you might be able to bring home some money this year. 'We didn't take away anything,' he said, and that is not true either, because by giving absolutely nothing you really took away. By giving nothing on one hand, the minister, through the signing of contracts with the freeze, meant that there was no extra money in the total package, and the Minister of Finance, with his tax grab, took away some of what they had, so, in reality, the average working person is going home with fewer dollars today than last year. Consequently, there is a taking away from the average hardworking individual.

Now, they are being told, 'If you want to come in and give up some more of your benefits, we will give you a few paltry pennies to take home - benefits for which they have worked hard over the years, and benefits upon which, of course, they will build the future in relation to collective agreements. That statement is undoubtedly made to the - I was going to say the bureaucrats, and they are bureaucrats, I suppose, who work in the union offices - the power brokers; the ones who write the letters and do the editorial and sit back in their easy chairs and draw in their salaries and tell their members how hard they are fighting on their behalf, and who cosy up to government quite often and say very little. These are the very individuals who could easily come in and sell some of the jobs down the river for some improvement in contract, so they can say, 'Oh, we made gains' - made gains at whose expense?

It is a tough situation in which the average hardworking individual in this Province find himself or herself. They are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. It is like walking the plank with the water full of sharks on one side and the sword on the other. They have their own leaders who are doing very, very little to help them, and they have a government who couldn't care less.

So, Mr. Chairman, it is with concern, I suppose, that those of us in the House who are concerned about what is going to happen stand here, knowing full well that you are helpless to stop a bill when the numbers are not there, unless some of the members on the other side who realize what the workers out there are going through will stand and vote against it; members like the Minister of Transportation, who, on the weekend, I know, was certainly advised of the concern of people in relation to Bill 17. Being a good, honest, caring individual, undoubtedly he listened and accepted these concerns, and when the vote comes, it will be interesting to see if he stands up and does what he was asked to do - object to Bill 17 to make sure it doesn't pass, to make sure that there is free collective bargaining in the Province.

MR. MURPHY: (Inaudible).

MR. HEARN: The Member for St. John's South is there mouthing off, as usual, another person who always shows his concern for labour, who's concerned for labour in the Province. He is always talking about what has happened over on the Southside and how many people over there are affected, and his great care for the worker. Well, here you have a situation where the worker is being badly treated, and hopefully, the member again will stand up when the time comes, and be counted. We will see if he cosies up to the unions as he does and if goes along with the Member for St. John's East and supports the anti-Bill 17 movement.

It is not a matter of saying you are siding with unions, you are looking after the rights of the working person in this Province. Because what we see here is something we have never seen before, the destruction of collective agreement in the Province. It is not a matter of the freeze, as we said before. Freezes occur if the money isn't there, that is common sense. But to take away what has already been signed, to sign contracts in good faith and then to be told that they are going to be just thrown out the window - there will never be any trust again in any government in this Province. If the private sector sees what is going on, well, they are going to take a page from the same book. Why should they worry about honouring agreements? It doesn't matter. You can sign what you like, you don't have to deliver, because now the precedent is set by government, the very body that makes the laws and rules about labour in this Province.

The ironic thing about it is to listen to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations talk about all of this, when he, himself, just a couple of years ago, was the head of one of the professional organizations in the Province. I won't use the word 'union' because it is not a union, neither should it be a union.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. HEARN: We will get back to it again, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Chairman, I think I am going to take advantage of this opportunity to say a few words in this stimulating debate. Normally, it is the role of the Opposition to get up and outline things that are in the Budget. But, really, as the hon. member just admitted, we don't have an Opposition. The Opposition is so ineffective that I am soon going to arrange a few seminars with myself and the Member for Port de Grave, and a few of those old - maybe we can find Beaton Tulk to come back - to have a few seminars with the Opposition members and teach them how to carry on the duty of an Opposition, which is a very valued function in our democracy.

Now,before I talk about the Budget,I want to just refer members to an event which took place in my life, when I was a very small boy, actually, around 1949. In 1949, in Roddickton, the biggest sawmill in Newfoundland and Labrador existed with a big steam engine. It was a very elaborate outfit. The saw logs used to be cut in the winter months and towed into the town of Roddickton in the summer. One night in August in 1949, just after Confederation, we had one of the most vicious windstorms, I suppose, that Newfoundland and Labrador has ever known. And, Mr. Chairman, the boom burst, and there were logs up on the shore. There was chain carried up in the woods. The beaches, from Roddickton right on down to Hampden, were littered with saw logs. Such a mess was never seen before in the history of the Canada Bay region. The beaches were littered.

It took me, what? Between 1949 and 1992, that is forty-odd years, forty-two years. It took me forty-two years to find a mess which I could compare to the mess that I saw on the beaches in Roddickton in 1949. You know what it was, Mr. Chairman? I will tell you what it was. It was shortly after we were appointed to Cabinet, and we got an opportunity to open up the books and look at the mess that the previous administration had run up in ten short years. The mess was never seen before.

Twenty-four million dollars, the banks were screaming, $24 million was blown on Sprung - a greenhouse, Mr. Chairman. Remember the cucumber days? - when the gunslinger with a cucumber in his holster was going around and pulling them out: 'We can build them in six days.' Remember that? Quite unbelievable! That was just after Peckford. Peckford had gone on the public media and said: we are approaching the 1930s all over again. Remember that? Everybody remembers that, we are approaching the 1930s, but he left something out. What he left out was this, it was his administration, it was his ten years of mismanagement which made us approach the 1930s all over again. That was the component that he left out, Mr. Chairman. The mess that I saw as a boy in 1949 could only compare in some small way with the mess that this administration inherited. As Maxwell Smart would say: just in the nick of time. We came that close to losing our status as a Province. Can you imagine the seriousness of that?

Had the Peckford administration, or the Rideout administration been re-elected I am willing to bet dollars to donuts again, and so far I have been striking a very good average when I bet dollars to donuts, I am prepared to bet dollars to donuts again that had a PC administration been elected in 1989, today there would have been some form of Commission of Government in place. That is exactly what we would have had. Think of the quandary that the Prime Minister would have been in had he had to try to appoint a Royal Commission to run this Province. Who could he have gotten, Mr. Chairman? The Prime Minister is a political person and he has been known to make political decisions, but where in the whole Tory Party of Newfoundland and Labrador could he have found the ability to even run a commission? He would have been in an awful quandary and he would have had to call upon the Member for Gander and myself, I do not want to boast, Mr. Chairman, but I have to state the facts. He probably would have had to call upon our Leader. He probably would have called the Minister of Education. The Minister of Finance would have probably been the Chairman of the Commission. It would have been extremely difficult for the Prime Minister to appoint that committee but appoint it he would have had to do because he would have seen the boom burst, he would have seen the mess that Newfoundland and Labrador was in and he would have been obligated to try and clean it up, Mr. Chairman.

I wonder what he would have done with Sprung? I wonder what the Prime Minister of Canada would have done with Sprung when he appointed this commission to run this place? Would he have said we have to look after the poor old member, poor old Neil? He has not been a bad fellow you know. He sweat for his party. He put his blood on. He went for the Leadership but I am afraid he would have had to give it up. Mr. Chairman, what a mess we saw! We went out and looked at some of those construction programs they used to have. What did they call these road construction programs that Ron Dawe did? What was the name Rex Murphy put on them? They went out and paved driveways in the back woods out there. Remember that? He paved a road which there was no access to. You had to airlift by helicopter your car into the back woods to get to some of those roads he paved for his relatives. That was the way they did things, Mr. Chairman. Poor old John Butt. I remember them now in the House. They used to come in and they were so pompous. Remember Ron Dawe. Ron would come in so stiff and so straight with his briefcase. He could hardly bend over.

Then John Butt would come in. He was the Minister of Fun. Remember that department? The Minister of Culture, Recreation and Youth. Over in his own department they used to call him the Minister of Fun because the most important thing I saw poor old John Butt do - and this is no reflection on John he was a fine fellow - but the most important thing he did in the five years he was in Cabinet, and the hon. Minister of Education will be glad to hear this, they decided he would give out some caps. Remember those green and white caps? They did not even have them in blue. They were going to give out those green and white caps on some sort of special soccer day, a baseball day, a football day, a marbles day, or a ping pong day, some particular day. John came in with a full load of caps. Of course he started to hand them out to his own backbenchers, his own part of the House and then -

MR. MATTHEWS: For participaxion.

MR. DECKER: Participaxion, I believe it was. The Member for Grand Bank is right. He gave them out to his own backbenchers. He gave them out to his own Cabinet ministers. There was a little bit of graft and corruption on our side as well in those days because if you live near something long enough eventually it will rub off on you. In Sodom and Gomorrah poor old Lot had to get the hell out of it because it was starting to rub off on him. We were in this House with that government for so many years, if we had been there another five years, Mr. Chairman, we could well have had it rub off on us. So we took our caps.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did you get caps?

MR. DECKER: We took our caps. Yes, we certainly did. I believe Beaton Tulk got two or three of those caps. Beaton had been around longer. Even the Member for Humber East, I believe she had one of those caps. She just put it on, sort of thing, and did not make a sound about the discrimination on the fact that they were not designed for women, they were men's caps, and all this sort of thing. But she went along with the party line. That is the way it used to be. It is a bit humourous.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) double-daylight savings time.

MR. DECKER: No, he didn't.

AN HON. MEMBER: He didn't?

MR. DECKER: He didn't. See, here is where the mistake - here is the case of a man suffering for something he did not do. It was the hon. Member for Grand Bank who was the minister of that department when they brought in the double-daylight time. But the change took place shortly thereafter, and poor old John Butt had to carry the brunt.


MR. DECKER: Yes sir. John did not believe in double-daylight saving time and I can understand that. But the hon. Member for Grand Bank brought that in, and as soon as the pressure came on the premier plucked him out, and poor old John had to get there. John was such a nice guy. The guy gives you a cap. It is not that easy to get up and criticise him for bringing in double-daylight time. Maybe, Mr. Chairman, we are going to have to get some caps for the Minister of Finance to give out, or for the President of Treasury Board to give out, or even the Minister of Health should give a few caps out. It might allow the Member for Kilbride to do a little more research and stop bringing these anonymous letters into the House.

I shall return, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I know that the Minister of Health is able to entertain members of the House with his humorous stories about the follies of the previous government. I suppose, in a way, it helps to divert attention away from what his own government is doing and as a bit of fun.

Now I am going to talk about boring things. I know that this is very boring for the hon. members opposite to hear, boring stuff about the kind of activity that they have undertaken in Bill 17, which they continue to call a financial measure. What they fail to acknowledge when they get up in their seats and talk about Bill 17 is that this is a measure of their failure. To sit down and negotiate collective agreements with people that they cannot honour, that they have refused to honour.

AN HON. MEMBER: Perhaps they should give out Bill 17 caps.

MR. HARRIS: They should give out some kind of caps, hopefully caps that will blow them right out of the - dynamite caps, they should give out, ones that will blast them out of office.

I believe Bill 17 in fact is a bit of a dynamite cap for this government. They refused an amendment to the legislation the other day that would permit the public of this Province to learn more about it through committee hearings. We have the Member for Eagle River who is on a new committee every day, just to keep him busy, issuing press releases, telling them when they might meet and if they are going to meet and maybe they will meet. Maybe they will talk to people, maybe there will be people interested in it or not. Every time he has a thought it is in the press. They could have easily given the Member for Eagle River something useful to do, to go and take Bill 17 around the Province and ask people -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I can agree with some things the Member for Eagle River says, including that one. Mr. Chairman, I do believe that it would be proper for the government to give the Member for Eagle River something useful to do. Now I do not know, maybe they are not prepared to give him a big enough responsibility to take a big important bill like 17 around the Province. They are probably afraid to do that because if he has his usual propensity for getting things all over the press, all of a sudden Bill 17 would be all over the press a lot more.

I know that the people of this Province, when they had a good look at the kind of sophistry that the Minister of Labour gets on with, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. He should be called the Minister of Unemployment and Labour Dissention - not Labour Relations.

Any minister that can get up in this House and talk about this bill as offering an opportunity for people to increase their salaries is obviously prepared - we are not allowed to call people liars in this House. I was told one time that in former days when people were not as unparliamentary as they are now, that a clever way to talk to your opponent in the House was, for example, to say that the Member for Eagle River has as much respect for the truth as an alley cat has for a marriage licence. That was supposed to be a way of talking about how other hon. members deal with issues when they are before the House.

I was reminded of that when I heard the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations talk about Bill 17 and suggest that this was providing a great opportunity to people to increase their wages by giving up - I do not know what they would give up. The NTA, his former body, would perhaps give up the provision of having substitute teachers. Maybe they would give up sick days. Maybe they would lengthen the school year by twenty or thirty days and we would give them some more money. I do not know. He did not use any examples. He said that he could easily mine through the contract and strip out things here and there. He indicated he could sit down and with just a cursory look, ten or twelve things, no trouble at all, that he could take out -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Now he says he does not want to do that, but he is offering that as what this Bill 17 has for people. He refuses to acknowledge that this legislation is a symbol of the failure and the inability of this government to properly represent the interests of the people of this Province.

That is why the Member for Roddickton, the Minister of Health, gets up in this House and speaks humorously about the former administration, and caps and other things like that. The Member for the Strait of Belle Isle I guess is the proper designation. He talks humorously about that because he wants to divert attention, to have a few laughs. Forget about what we are doing here in this House.

What we have to do with this bill is discuss the principles behind what is here. Because it is a follow-up of Bill 16 I do want to read out one section of Bill 16 which is totally relevant.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I am not going to be diverted by the comments of the hon. members opposite trying to divert attention away from their folly and their own disgrace; their disgrace in introducing this legislation and acknowledging their failure - not only their failure to manage the economy of the Province, but their failure to be able to sit down and negotiate a collective agreement. They cannot negotiate a collective agreement without having the hammer of the Legislature behind them. They have to have the hammer of the Legislature behind them.

I have to agree with the President of the NTA, Mr. Morley Reid, in his letter that he wrote to the President of Treasury Board. He says, 'We now know that the signature of a minister of the Crown is not sufficient to guarantee a legally negotiated collective agreement. We could not, after that date, go before teachers and ask them to accept a collective agreement on your word and the word of the Minister of Education.' Now that is what collective bargaining has come to in this Province, that is what the word of the Minister of the Crown has come to, that is what the word of this government has come to, Mr. Chairman. It is no wonder that the Minister for Mines and Energy and the government cannot negotiate an agreement on a power project, they are afraid to sign an agreement with this government because they, perhaps have wind of what the President of the NTA already knows and public sector workers throughout this Province know, that the word of this government and these ministers cannot be counted on when they are dealing with collective agreements and with legally binding contracts.

The hammer of the Legislature, Mr. Chairman, is not something that the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations talked about when he spoke to this House. He said that they would provide them through Bill 17, an opportunity to trade one thing for another, but what they have done is put collective bargaining back prior to 1972, when collective bargaining in the public sector was first recognized. Now, they are saying you cannot negotiate unless we tell you. We will tell you what you can negotiate and we will tell you when.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Member for Stephenville.

AN HON. MEMBER: Give the Bay St. George a cavalcade to send (inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Peter Fenwick working your riding?

MR. K. AYLWARD: No, I cannot say that, he is not in my riding. I am not going to get into that.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who is the most popular MHA outside of St. John's in the Province?

MR. K. AYLWARD: I won't tell you who the most popular MHA outside of St. John's is, I am not going to tell you that either. The thing is I do like the Newfoundland Herald, but I just wanted to comment. My research scoop came up with some more stats for me today, but I was listening to the Minister of Health explain his thoughts in dealing with the fiscal situation and you know these are not normal times as the Minister of Health said.

When you read about what is happening everywhere else, you do not operate in the normal way, you try to do the best you can to keep everything going. You know you are lucky to keep everything going and make improvements if you can with what you have and that is very difficult. It is very difficult to do that, so all I say is that looking at what government has to do, the decisions to be made are not very easy to make, they are very difficult to make but there are some measures, unfortunately, that are necessary because of the financial situation. Now that is not only for this government and that is the main point, other governments in Canada and in the United States and everywhere else in this world, right now have the same problem, the world is going through a major recession so we have a problem.

I think if the union leadership had sat down with government I think they could have made an agreement of some type and maybe that would have worked out better. I wish they would have sat down with serious proposals to work out, I mean they were asked to come in and sit down and they chose not to put forward reasonable proposals. I saw some of the proposals, at least what I read in the press, and all I am saying is, if there was a serious attempt to negotiate, I think they could have come up with something that might have made them a little happier, but unfortunately, they said: government you go ahead and take the responsibility for the Province and do what you have to do.

I hear the people out there who have problems with what government is doing but I also stress the fact that it takes two to sit down and come up with an agreement, it takes two to sit down and work out an arrangement especially when everybody understands the financial constraints that have now been placed upon the government, not only this government but other governments and that includes other governments in Ontario and the governments of Saskatchewan, in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, all of the other provincial governments and the federal government are having a hard time. There is no easy solution. When the Member for St. John's East or any Opposition member gets up, I wish they would just say what they would do if they were here today. That is what I would ask. Because I have been waiting to hear it and I still don't know.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: Well, whatever they would do, here is what my Globe and Mail research team told me today. The Ontario government in Ontario today may issue back-to-work legislation tomorrow.


MR. K. AYLWARD: Oh yes, yes. Hang on.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MR. K. AYLWARD: Oh yes, I am sure. Back-to-work, taking away the right-to-strike legislation, back-to-work legislation to end a lengthy strike by Ottawa area high school teachers. That is the Ontario socialist government.

But you know, I have a great sympathy for the Ontario government. Because the students and the teachers, unfortunately the teachers have not been able to come to an agreement with the school board, (Inaudible) the teachers are suffering now. So everybody is suffering, so they are going to try to do something about it, because they are the government of all the people. Alright? But here is what they are doing. It would be the first time the Ontario NDP has ordered an end to a strike, a step that is usually anathema to the Party because of its close ties to the labour movement.

Now, I mean -

AN HON. MEMBER: Perhaps we should send the Member for St. John's East up there.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Well, I don't know. But do you know what? Are we going to berate the Ontario government because they have to (Inaudible)?


MR. K. AYLWARD: They must have to do that based on their best judgement, I assume. I do not know. They have more of a social conscience than the Liberal Party of Canada does, Liberal Party of Newfoundland, is supposed to have it. So I am assuming that what they are doing through legislation - maybe tomorrow, if they have to do it - they are doing it because it is in the best interest of the people, I assume.

AN HON. MEMBER: It'll happen in Saskatchewan soon.

MR. K. AYLWARD: It will probably happen in Saskatchewan soon. But I would only assume now, I do not know. But if that is one legislature in Ontario that is going to do something else, that takes away a collective bargaining right by ordering people back to work, then I am assuming the Member for St. John's East, if he can give us a solution now to all of this, I will look forward to it. Because when my Globe and Mail research team told me this again today I have a great problem in trying to come to -

AN HON. MEMBER: That was in The Globe and Mail?

MR. K. AYLWARD: Yes, it was, coming down again today. There was a lot more in it besides that. The Ontario government is just deciding, they announced their budget last week, but all the details are starting to come out now. Health care attacked. Ontario attacks health costs. Oh yes, they are attacking them alright. They are going to limit everything you can think of. They are closing down beds, they are getting rid of staff, there is going to be thousands of layoffs, more than likely. But we are not going to know that. Because it is going to be done like, one here, one there, one over here and one over there.

So I find it a bit amazing. But again, this government is just trying to be realistic. So if the member who represents the New Democratic Party in Newfoundland wants to get up and talk about legislation and principles and all that, well maybe he should give a call to Bob Rae in Ontario and try to figure it out. Because I do not know. I am reading this and I am saying to myself: self, what is going on? Because these are the most unusual times that we have been in in an awful long time. They are unusual times. They require, unfortunately, actions which are unusual to protect everybody's sake, everybody's self.

The people of this Province need to have a government which will take on the responsibility head on for the overall good of everybody. Unfortunately, the medicine is not very good. I do not like the medicine myself. I do not know about anybody else. The medicine isn't very good. When I am reading what other governments have to do, I am saying: well, what are we supposed to do? We have not seen -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: Well, I do not know. I have not seen any other solutions coming across from the other side. Because if the only thing we are supposed to do is give all the increases and bankrupt the Province, then that is just not going to do the job, is it? Because we are being told we cannot do that because the bankers won't give us the money to do it. So we have a problem, just like Bob Rae has, just like other people have who are provincial governments right now. It is just difficult, it is very difficult.

So I would just like to add this piece of information to the debate just so that - because it is not easy, you know. I mean, the Member for Burin - Placentia West would know. He has been in a position of responsibility. He still is.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: But he is an hon. member of the hon. House. So he knows. He was on the government side. He knows what it is like when you have to deal with tough budget times. It is not easy. You get accused of a lot of things. But all you are trying to do

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Yes, he is good at that. But he is able to produce for his district I must say.

AN HON. MEMBER: No, no, no. That is fair to say.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Well okay, that is true. The government was able to do whatever it could to help (inaudible). But the thing is that these are unusual times. Nobody is -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Did I say something nice about him? Okay, anyway.

All I want to say is in the debates we have about governments fiscal policy we look forward to suggestions about how the other side would take care of the problem. That is all. You can shout at us and bawl at us, but let's kind of give some suggestions about how you would negotiate wage increases or provide for the wage increase if you haven't got the money. That is all I am trying to figure out. I mean if somebody else could tell me how we can do that I would like to know because I don't know. I haven't seen it yet. That is all I point out. No more and no less. I listened to the hon. members on the other side with great respect and I look forward to the suggestions that they have because - I am sorry, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.

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

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The other member of the socialist party has to stand.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity of speaking in the debate for a few minutes on Bill 17.

Mr. Speaker, it was with quite a lot of interest that I listened to the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, it was with quite a bit of interest that I listened to the speakers on the other side attempting to defend this bill, especially the Member for Exploits, a former well known labour leader in this Province, Mr. Speaker, a person who has a history of defending the rights of ordinary workers. I honestly felt that while he was involved in the labour movement that he really had an affinity for the rights of ordinary workers in this Province, Mr. Speaker. But it seems that I made a mistake. He undoubtedly did not have any understanding of what it is to be an ordinary worker and how they need to be protected, or at least their rights need to be protected, Mr. Speaker, by government and their leadership.

It was interesting to note how he talked about how he is not suggesting they should give up any benefits that have been negotiated for them in previous contracts through collective bargaining. He is not saying that. He is just setting the stage so that their employer can strip them.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: He is just setting the stage, Mr. Speaker, so that the employer can strip from the contract. Such as is being done in western Labrador with the teachers where they negotiated a contract outside of the contract that is negotiated here on the island portion of the Province, Mr. Speaker, and that is being removed from them, benefits in that contract. That is tremendously unfair. It has nothing to do with saving money for this Province, for these fellows to spend on bigger limousines or more cocktail parties or trips around Europe or whatever they are going to be spending the money on. Really that is what is happening, Mr. Speaker, you are not compensating -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: That is really what is happening, Mr. Speaker. They talk about the lack of funds, the lack of money, but they have $3.5 billion. That is a lot of money -- a lot of money.

Mr. Speaker, it is just that they don't have the proper priority is the problem. They don't have -

AN HON. MEMBER: No priority. No plan.

MR. A. SNOW: Oh, they do have a priority. It is a hidden agenda, but they do have a priority.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: I have given quite a few constructive pieces of criticism. We talked about -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Instead of introducing legislation like this to restrict the wages of public employees, why don't you introduce legislation such as they have in Ontario to allow employees of a corporation, such as occurring now with the Lundrigan group of companies, that they can invest money within that particular corporation, get tax benefits and provide some private ownership within the company, employee ownership? That is the type of thing you should be doing. That is the type of thing that can create wealth in this Province. Instead of that, what does this government do? They go out and increase taxes. That is all they do, a very simplistic, piggyback mentality of going out and increasing taxes and getting more money back. They don't care about how many private companies are put out of business, thus creating more unemployment. They have to be more imaginative and creative and introduce legislation such as I propose, Mr. Chairman. When I proposed the idea of having a diversification fund and a resource depletion fund from the payroll tax, they said that was foolish - 'We cannot do it now.' That could allow an opportunity to have a pool of capital available for people in Western Labrador, specifically. Mr. Chairman, that is the type of legislation that should be brought into this House instead of legislation that is attacking the rights and removing the benefits of public employees. That is what they should be doing. They should be taking a page from some of the legislation that has been brought in in other provinces such as in Quebec and Ontario, to create more opportunities for employment instead of attempting to be so simplistic as they are by attacking workers and taking benefits away from their employees. The hon. the Member for Stephenville talked about how this is tough medicine to swallow. This piece of legislation, he said, is tough medicine. Mr. Chairman, the medicine that these doctors are prescribing to the public, to the patient out there is killing the patient and they don't realize it. It is not tough medicine, it is poison.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: And there are some of them still unpaid. They won't be recorded in the next election because of this Bill 1, I am sure.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, when the hon. the Member for Eagle River comes back, when he finally gets appointed to Cabinet and he has the opportunity coming into my district and we are talking about this bill, maybe I can get him to include it. I guess, by then, he will probably be running in the federal elections, so he will be able to look after the little tab he left there at the local establishment.

MR. DUMARESQUE: I had nothing to do with (inaudible) travelling.

MR. A. SNOW: I don't blame the hon. member for trying to disassociate himself from this group, or 'this crowd', as he referred to them, because he would like to have a future in politics. And he recognizes that the ground swell of support out there now, that is starting to brew up, is definitely against this provincial government. He recognizes it, and that is why the hon. the Member for Eagle River is over here now on this side of the House all the time talking about how he can cross over before the next election, maybe.

Mr. Chairman, this piece of legislation disappoints me a tremendous amount, and it is because of what it really does to ordinary Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, the fact that the hon. the Member for Exploits stood in his place there today and talked about how he was pleased to see in this piece of legislation the opportunity for the teachers, or ordinary workers represented by their leadership in the union, to be able to go to their employer and negotiate things out of their collective agreement - to give back to the employer, give back to the government, their pensions. It is easy enough for him to stand there in his seat and say, give back the teachers' pensions, when he is attempting to build up his pension with the extravagant pension that he is now working on as a member of the House of Assembly. It is easy enough for him to suggest that the teachers give up theirs, while he is driving around in chauffeur-driven limousines.

For him, a former labour leader, to suggest that it is right, proper, fair and a good idea to allow an employer to contract strip as a fair and equitable method and that he was proud of it and defended it, is fundamentally wrong, Mr. Chairman. Even if they were foolhardy enough to sit down and give back these things, this group would probably bring in another piece of legislation and say we got that now and we are not going to give you any more money. We are going to take that back.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. member's time has elapsed.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I suppose you could sit here, say nothing, and listen. I call it convenient amnesia. I understand the hon. the Member for Menihek. He gets up with great vigour, and he gets into it. I don't know, but I somehow or other feel that the member is sincere.


MR. MURPHY: I stand to be corrected but I think the member is sincere. But then, if you put a good apple in a barrel with bad apples, you know what happens. I think the hon. the Member for Menihek is now starting to get a little brown on the outside of the skin. I think the other apples are starting to impact on his good sense, on his logic. I think he is drinking too much coffee in the wrong caucus room, to be honest with you, Mr. Chairman.


MR. MURPHY: No doubt. Now, he gets up with great vim and vitality and he expounds upon some solid ideas but he never, never seems to have an answer. Oh, yes, he has an answer, but he keeps forgetting that his answer is associated with money. Now, I will make a suggestion. I am suggesting to the hon. member that perhaps some of the theory that he expounded upon today in this hon. House, if we could get some of the capital works back from some of his hon. members, his friends, his colleagues, or the other apples in the barrel, perhaps the hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West would say, 'Here, Alec, me old trout, boy, I don't need this capital money. Take it over. Then the member in front, the hon. the House Leader, said: I don't need the money down in Grand Bank. Throw it back and we will do some of the things that the Member for Menihek expounds upon.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, that's shocking.

MR. MURPHY: So perhaps then we could start to think about some of the capital that is required to do the things the hon. member wants to do. Now how he can stand in his place and rant and rave about the have province in this country, Ontario. I don't know if the hon. member has been up lately, but Ontario is sliding away. It is going down Niagara Falls.


MR. MURPHY: Well, now the hon. member quietly came back in, and my understanding is he is going to quietly leave us. However the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes is back. I listened to him today, and I didn't like some of the things he said. I will talk some other time before the hon. member takes his belongings, cleans out his desk and retires off into the blarney sunset. We will all be here for the party I am sure. We will enjoy it. It will be a nice good-bye to a man who worked very, very hard for his constituents in his district. I would say that without hesitation.

But for the Member for Menihek to get up and talk and expound upon this Rae Government: Rae is not meeting the people. Now how in heavens name can you say to the people of Ontario that I am a people person. Now it seems to me that I heard that people slogan somewhere else. Is it me?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, it's you.

MR. MURPHY: But there is somebody else who was using it, I am not sure.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Len Simms.

MR. MURPHY: It could be. It might be. But somehow or another I associate the word with something I saw on a Grand Falls document.

AN HON. MEMBER: Grand Falls, yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).


AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Well let me tell you, whoever runs with the kind of mentality that has the people of Ontario in utter, complete disarray, I will tell you, the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West knows how down and out people get. The Member for Grand Bank knows how down and out people are. The Member for Fogo knows how down and out they are. But let me tell you, you should talk to the people in Mississauga and Burlington. You want to talk about down and out. Well I will tell you right now. And for the Member for Menihek to get up and expound upon his friend. Now I know he wants to stay in the good graces. You can sense it. You know that they sit together and talk about the stock market and Merrill Lynch and how things are going on Wall Street, and how things are in the Dow today, and what the rates are. The hon. Member for St. John's East and the hon. Member for Menihek get more correspondence on the economic condition of North America than my colleague and friend, the hon. Member for St. John's Centre, the Minister of Finance, and he prescribes to every document that talks about money. But my two friends from St. John's East and Menihek are known as the two elitists in the House of Assembly.

AN HON. MEMBER: Dow and Jones.

MR. MURPHY: Yes, Dow and Jones.

There is no doubt about it. I know, and you can see it when the man comes to his feet, that he deserves to live in the affluency in which he lives, because he has worked hard.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Either one. You can take your pick - the hon. Member for St. John's East or the hon. Member for Menihek. They are both very well off. It is no secret. They invest all over the place, and they talk about - where is a good piece of real estate? And where is a good building? And where is this and where is that?

These are the people who stand in this hon. House and talk about this government, and the devastation that we have brought down on the workers. How dare we? Here are the two great defenders of the workforce in the Province; the two most affluent; the two most capitalistic members in the House of Assembly. That is a fact, and how they can get to their feet and do that is beyond me. I really have -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: I cannot say that, now. The hon. minister is probably right, but I do not want Hansard to record that slam dunk or whatever. I do not want to get into that at all. I am not interested in getting into that.

AN HON. MEMBER: What was the other one? The coin (inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: The coin machine king.

MR. MURPHY: No, I do not want to hear that.

AN HON. MEMBER: The coin machine king.

MR. MURPHY: The coin machine king; I have no idea what the minister is talking about.

AN HON. MEMBER: Rise committee and report progress.

MR. MURPHY: Okay. I think at this time, although as you know I am just getting warmed up, I am ready to move; I want to talk about the President of Treasury Board and the tremendous courage he has had in the last couple of years. However, he has suggested to me that it is -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: I wanted to talk about the attributes of the hon. the President of Treasury Board.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MURPHY: You would have to sit on him to hold him down when I was finished!

However, at this time I would -

MR. DUMARESQUE: Move the Committee rise.

MR. MURPHY: Well I am getting it from all over because they know -tomorrow is another day. I move, Mr. Chairman, that the Committee rise and report progress at this particular time, and I will be back tomorrow, Mr. Chairman, I will be back.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

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

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, two announcements. This evening there are two Legislative Committee meetings, the Estimates of the Department of Environment will be examined in the House and Forestry in the Colonial Building. Also, tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, the Private Members resolution will be the resolution put forward by the Member for Humber Valley and the motion that was introduced yesterday, of which I would like to have a copy, if the table has one available.

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

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