May 15, 1992                 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS               Vol. XLI  No. 38

The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to present government's views with respect to the outcome of a special fisheries meeting that concluded yesterday in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. I am referring to the special session of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) that was requested by Canada. The purpose of the meeting was to consider reforms which would improve NAFO's capacity to manage straddling stocks effectively, and which would assist efforts to control fishing activities in the area regulated by NAFO, including the Nose and the Tail of the Grand Banks.

Among the items under consideration at the special session was a new international observer pilot project, and technical measures designed to improve NAFO inspection and monitoring activities. During the meeting Canada also served notice that it intended to present a resolution at the annual meeting of NAFO in September seeking support for some dispute settlement mechanism. As hon. members are aware, the European Community has been using the objection procedure to disagree with quotas set by NAFO, to set its own unilateral quotas, and then to catch fish far in excess of its own unilateral quotas. In the case of northern cod, for example, the European Community has ignored the moratorium that has been imposed by NAFO for the past several years. In 1991 alone, the European Community vessels caught 47,000 metric tonnes of northern cod, for which they had a quota of zero tonnes.

Mr. Speaker, the proposals tabled by Canada at the special NAFO session could only be construed as modest and minimum proposals designed to improve the effectiveness of NAFO. I must emphasize that while the meeting may leave a perception that a number of technical and procedural modifications to the NAFO framework are under active consideration, the specific proposals discussed at the meeting do not represent fundamental changes to the NAFO structure. In fact, some of the measures discussed should have agreed to years ago when the NAFO Convention was first implemented. Indeed, some of the proposals considered at the meeting were so modest and minimal that I could find it difficult to believe that any country that is a member of NAFO would have any reason to disagree with them.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that we are reaching a watershed in our relationship with, and support for, NAFO.

No decisions were taken at the special NAFO meetings. In our view the meeting was a non-event, a colossal waste of time and money. The modest proposals tabled by Canada are to be reviewed again in September at the annual meeting of NAFO. The European Community delegation at the meeting this week in Dartmouth did not have the authority to give their approval to any of the proposals for improved enforcement and NAFO reform.

This government has been supportive of past efforts to bring about a diplomatic solution to foreign overfishing. However, Mr. Speaker, minimal and modest proposals which keep the diplomatic process going but which fail to address the fundamental inadequacies of the NAFO conservation framework are insufficient.

Canada has clearly demonstrated that international consensus building and diplomacy through NAFO cannot bring about a satisfactory solution to the ineffectiveness of NAFO in the short time we have left to prevent extinction of fish resources on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks.

If major and fundamental achievements on this issue are not accomplished at the Earth Summit in June or the G-7 Summit in Munich this July, Canada will have no choice but to acknowledge these signs of international intransigence and to proceed to establish its own custodial management regime which would preserve one of the world's richest food resources and respect the rights of all traditional users of the resource.

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador was hopeful that substantial progress on overfishing would be made at the special NAFO meeting this week. Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, in our view this was not the case.

Mr. Speaker, Canada must now reconsider its membership in an organization which has proven to be a colossal failure.

Thank you, Sir.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

First, I want to thank the minister for providing me with the statement before the House started, but I have to say to him that I think this statement probably is just as significant as the meetings that took place a few days ago in Dartmouth. I think Greenpeace, the people who showed up there probably summed it all up when they came dressed up as teeth because of the accusations against NAFO being toothless. When I look at the statement I am confused and I can imagine what the people of the Province must be because one day the provincial government is saying that there has to be an end to diplomatic efforts, that diplomacy has not worked, it has failed, and yet the minister in his statement comes up and says that government has been and still is supportive of diplomatic efforts to bring a solution to foreign overfishing, which we know has failed for years, so I do not know how to sum it up. Double-talk is one thing, Mr. Speaker. We know the Province has been on its own diplomatic mission with the Premier going to Europe and so on but every report that I hear is that the situation with our fish resources is absolutely frightening. How much longer are we going to encourage and tolerate talking to European countries who are flagrantly overfishing and violating a NAFO imposed moratorium outside the 200-mile limit? I think that -

AN HON. MEMBER: It is too late now.

MR. MATTHEWS: The Member for Port de Grave says it is too late, and he may be right. I am really, really scared that he is right; that we just may have gone over the edge when it comes to our fish resources. I have to say that. I am very, very worried that Dr. Harris may just be right - that we have gone too far - but I think that it is time for someone to take drastic and dramatic action to try and bring attention to this. The Fisheries Broadcast's Mr. Wellman said it was so boring that he had to leave. It was interesting as watching salt fish dry, I believe the man said. That summed up what this meeting was all about.

I want to say that it is time that we all try to bring pressure to bear. Some members in the Legislature have suggested that we should all jump on a plane and go to Ottawa. That all fifty-two members of the Legislature go to Ottawa and try to highlight this situation, and bring it to the doorsteps of the Prime Minister and the federal government. They have to deal with this situation for us. They are the Government of Canada - our federal government - and they have to take action. They are going to the G-7 Summit in Munich in July, and people are going to Brazil for the environmental conference and so on. When we met, the Leader of the Opposition and I, with the Prime Minister a number of weeks ago, we told him: Go to the G-7 Summit. Go to Brazil; but at the end of that process, Mr. Prime Minister, do not tell us then that you have to reconsider what you are going to do after. You had better have a plan in your arse pocket once this fails, to deal with this situation!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: Because it will be too late to then try to convince the people of Newfoundland that we have to take another six or twelve months to see what we are going to do about it. You must have a plan to deal with it when this fails.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: As much as we would like to see this succeed -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. MATTHEWS: - the diplomatic efforts succeed, I for one am not optimistic that it is going to be any more successful than past diplomatic efforts.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Before proceeding to the next item of business, the Chair would like to bring to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of a couple of student groups, and to extend to them a warm welcome here this morning.

Firstly, we have forty-six Grades X, XI and XII students from Enright Memorial, Mount Carmel in the district of St. Mary's - The Capes, and exchange students from Matapédia, Quebec, along with chaperons Paul LeBlanc, Tom McCarthy, Manette Desjardines-Grant, Joceline Fergueson and Mary Ryan. Also, we have thirty Grade VII students from Beaconsfield Junior High School, St. John's, along with teacher, Sheila Whitten, and parent, Mrs. Chafe.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, a few days ago I asked the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations if the government intended to hold any kind of inquiry into the industrial accident that occurred at the Bull Arm site a few days ago, which claimed the life, unfortunately, of a 36-year-old man.

At that time, I think, the minister didn't commit one way or the other, but having had a few days now to review reports of the accident - or I presume he has - can the minister now say whether or not they are giving consideration to any kind of inquiry?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the question and being given the opportunity to address it just briefly. The final investigation as to the tragic and unfortunate accident at the Bull Arm site is still in the process of cluing up in terms of interviewing all witnesses and gathering all pertinent information. With respect to any decision by government as to whether or not there will be an inquiry, it is still very much premature for any contemplation of that.

The final reports will be forwarded to Justice. The Department of Employment and Labour Relations, the safety and inspection officials, and so on, will give an indication as to whether or not the proper procedures were followed. If there are any charges that should be laid, it will be done through the proper authorities. Actually, the Crown prosecutors in the Justice Department would be the department of government that would decide whether or not there would be an inquiry, because of the fact that some information could be gleaned from that kind of process that is not gathered through the normal investigative process.

So, it is still a little too early to tell. The final reports are not yet in. The details of the unfortunate tragic incident are pretty clear, but the final wrap-up of all of the interviews and all of the information is not yet available.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the answer given by the minister. There is no Minister of Justice in the House to answer the question, which is the reason I asked the question of him.

Mr. Speaker, a supplementary question to the same minister: This is, I believe, the second fatal incident, although I believe the first incident - I don't know if the cause or whatever was discovered, but, I guess, more discouraging is news we have heard recently that there have been, apparently, some twenty to twenty-four reports of other accidents on the Bull Arm site just in the last few months - I think those were the numbers we heard. And since this is a project that is really in the embryo stage, I mean it is really just starting over the last year, can the minister tell the House, aside from the telephone hot line he has in place to report accidents, what process does the government, I presume, his department, have in place to monitor those kinds of safety situations that should be occurring at the Bull Arm site? What is the process?

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, the inspectors from the Division of Occupational Health and Safety and the Department of Employment and Labour Relations regularly visit the Bull Arm site. The procedure that is in place is a monitoring and an auditing of the safety plan that is put in place by the project manager's HMDC and the on-site people who are contracted out through Nodeco. There, everything in the safety plan meets and/or exceeds safety standards as laid out by the Province.

It is true that there have been in excess of twenty lost time accidents, most of them just for a shift or so, where people suffer some cuts and bruises in a heavy construction industry site such as that. There was, indeed, in the past year, one other missing person - which is still categorized as a missing person - incident at the site, which gave rise to the institution of a twenty-four hour response line, because there was some time that lapsed, which did not occur in this case, people were on the site immediately.

By all comparative standards, though, it is still clear to the people in our department that the safety standards and the safety efforts being put forward by the employers at the site, which is where the onus lies, is an inspection and enforcement capability responsibility for the government not to actually go out and do the thing but to ensure that the employers are taking their responsibilities as they should. And we have been assured and are comfortable that that site, even at that number of incidents - because we have asked that they report even incidents that occur, if somebody bumps into something that is potentially dangerous, that every incident be reported, not only an incident that causes someone to lose a shift or two from the job.

So, we have been in the process, because the employers, themselves, on the site want to identify and want every incident that occurs that is potentially dangerous, to be reported so that every one of them can be addressed to eliminate possible future safety hazards at the site. As a matter of fact, in the Estimates Committee, I might point out to the House, Mr. Speaker, in response to the question, we undertook to table and provide to the House of Assembly, full assessment and full documentation as to the safety record and the record of incidents at the Bull Arm site. The compilation of that began, actually, the day after the Estimates meeting. As soon as it is wrapped up, we will be presenting that to the House for the information of all members.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I could ask the minister again, because I am not sure he answered the question: I would like to know what monitoring process his department undertakes on a day-to-day basis. What, exactly, is your department's process for monitoring this? What makes you feel so comfortable, other than the fact that you hear reports back from the contractors on-site? Is it simply left to the contractors? What is the government's monitoring process?

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, the role of the inspection and enforcement officers and Occupational Health and Safety is that on a regular but unscheduled basis, because otherwise it would destroy something, they do their inspections at the site; plus they regularly go out, and the procedure that is in place is an audit of the safety records of the company. They have submitted their safety plans and everything to do with that to the department prior to start-up, and so on, and it has been refined and redefined and reshaped as the work has progressed to make sure that every safety practice that is being followed by the companies on-site meets and/or exceeds the standards. Our inspection officers audit the daily reports that are kept by the companies on-site, to check and see that they have done what they have told us they are going to do.

That, combined with the regular unscheduled, unannounced inspections at the site, itself, have convinced our officials that they are meeting and/or exceeding the standards, and that by comparative analysis with any other similar type of heavy duty construction site, that this site is, in fact, a safe site.

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

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

I would like to ask the minister quickly, if he would be prepared to table in this House a list of those regular and unscheduled visits from the past. I don't expect him to give it to us in the future, obviously, for the reasons that he outlined, but I would like to have a list of the visits that were made, and when, and so on.

Secondly, I want to ask him this: Spending has been dramatically cut at the Bull Arm site, as he knows, as everybody searches to replace the Gulf partners. Can the minister assure this House that industrial safety has not been affected in any way, negatively, I suppose, by the fact that there have been these dramatic spending cuts on-site?

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

MR. GRIMES: Yes, Mr. Speaker. With respect to both parts of the question, I believe part of the undertaking that we gave in the estimates consideration of this whole issue was that we would look at the reports of incidents at the site, but we can also include in that information as to visitations and efforts by the Occupational Health and Safety division of the Department.

Also our information, in checking of the same concern, while the level of activity at the Hibernia site has not increased the way it was projected to this year because of the uncertainty with the partner, there is no information available to us that any of the major performers and major contractors at the site have done anything to their occupational health and safety efforts other than maintain them at the levels they were beforehand.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Premier. On June 2, 1989, government ordered an inquiry into the operations of the former Sprung Greenhouse. The commissioner, Mr. Justice Seamus O'Regan, submitted an interim report in July of 1991 and another in January of 1992. I ask the Premier: has the commission completed its work? When will government release Justice O'Regan's findings?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I have to say that I learned just last week, or ten days ago, that Mr. Justice O'Regan in fact sent in a report, and I believe it was with officials in the Department of Justice. In any event, the Minister of Justice brought it to my attention a week or ten days ago. He has been away at constitutional meetings since. I have a meeting scheduled with him later today. That is one of the things that we will deal with. I would expect that we will be making a decision and a specific announcement on it probably within the next week.

The minister has to go to further constitutional meetings this coming week. These constitutional meetings are taking an inordinate amount of time, and as you know there has been a concentration, so there has been some difficulty in dealing with those other issues. But I hope I will be in a position to make a statement to the House in the coming week.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Previous to the election of 1989, and more specifically during the campaign of 1989, the Premier talked willingly about all the faults of the Sprung enterprise and the dealings with it, and more specifically insinuated that there were some shady dealings, loss of money, lack of facts, no facts, wrongdoing, to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Would the Premier now explain that after more than three years in office, and two reports from Mr. Justice O'Regan, if it was so bad then, why after three years hasn't the Premier let the people of the Province know the real facts pertaining to the Sprung enterprise?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the complaints we had - still have - is that there was gross incompetence in the handling of the Sprung venture. The whole Sprung venture was a fiasco of incompetence.

MS. VERGE: Release the Justice's findings!

PREMIER WELLS: We will indeed. Have no doubt that we will indeed be releasing the Justice's findings. Make no mistake about it, we will. What we have to decide, frankly - and this is the consideration that cabinet - is whether we go further with the inquiry. Whether the circumstances warrant going further, to have a full disclosure of the level of incompetence that was involved in the management of that venture. Now, Mr. Speaker, I have no desire to go on a political witch-hunt to embarrass the members opposite. I have no desire to spend more money and waste more on top of the $23 million that has already been wasted.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

PREMIER WELLS: We shall see. The members will be very anxious to see the contents of that document. Really, Mr. Speaker, that is the decision that the government has to take. The indication, as I understand from the Minister of Justice, is that there is no indication of any criminal wrongdoing or anything of that nature, even though the thing is not fully explained. Perhaps because it is inexplicable, I do not know, we have to make a decision as to whether we should provide for full-scale public hearings and incur the cost that is involved in that. Mr. Speaker, our inclination is not to do it. We would hope that the release of the judge's report would satisfy the needs to assure the people of the Province that there was no criminal wrongdoing, just incredible incompetence in the management of the issue.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is to the Premier. When I asked the other day whether the Premier would confirm the payments of $129 per month for single able-bodied people receiving social assistance he, in his usual manner, was unable to do that and did not like my figures. Well, if he did his checking he would have found out that I was wrong, Mr. Speaker, it was not $129 per month it was only $128 per month. Now, I want to ask the Premier whether he is now in a position to do what he said he would do the other day, either justify that amount for single able-bodied persons on social assistance having run out of employment insurance or increase it? Can he tell the House what he is prepared to do?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I have to apologize to the House and to the hon. member. The information was delivered to me in the House yesterday with a note but it was after a time that was appropriate for me to deal with it. I did not deal with it yesterday and I left it in my office this morning. That is my fault. I apologize to the hon. member for that but I will get it for him.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, it is a very simple matter. It is not a request for information. The information is available to all hon. members who want to phone the officials of the Department of Social Services. The amount of money to be received by single, able bodied persons on social assistance is $128. Now, the Premier said that was unacceptable, if that was true. If they are living at home it is $88 for hon. member's information. It is not a request for information, it is a request for government to either, as the Premier said, justify how an individual is expected to live with room and board and the necessities of life for $128 a month, or is the Premier going to increase that amount to a respectable level so that people can actually live?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member takes things and twists them. He indicated I said that is unacceptable but I said no such thing. What I said was it is inadequate. I agree, it is not an adequate amount but we do not have adequate funds for any of the responsibilities government has to discharge, for a variety of reasons: the small number of taxpayers in this Province, the low performance level of our economy, the fact that our people are dispersed among 700 or 800 communities distributed along 10,000 miles of coastline. Of course it is inadequate, all but a fool would challenge that, but whether it is within our means is another question. In fact I think the hon. member may have his figures wrong. I think one of the amounts is $93 or $97, something like that, but it depends.


PREMIER WELLS: There are a variety of payments depending on whether the individual is living at home with parents, living with relatives, or the boarding situation. Government tries to accommodate the need and meet the legitimate need and not provide an extra benefit for some when the need is not there and deprive others of it. That is the way it is done. Now, I do not think it is vastly different in structure than what it was under the former government. We did not reduce the amount, that is for sure. We did not reduce it. We probably increased them somewhat but we sure did not reduce them, so this bit of grandstanding now by the hon. member is just so much stuff and nonsense.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am surprised that the Premier would be prepared to justify an amount of $128 for an adult person to live on. Would the Premier be prepared to consider whether or not an individual adult is able to survive on $128 a month in light of -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: Is the Premier prepared to recognize that the needs of an individual receiving Social Assistance for the sole reason of unemployment are greater than $128 a month? And is the Premier prepared to recognize that that is totally unacceptable in our society given the needs of people, given the housing requirements, given the need for food. Can a person live for meals alone, Mr. Speaker, on $128 a month.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is now making a speech.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, these decision are made by this government, I suppose as it was by the former government, but I can't speak for them, on the basis of meeting needs on a fair and balanced basis. They are not all that familiar with fairness and balance. They are becoming more familiar with it in the last two or three years.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Social Services.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, if it is a young adult nineteen or twenty years old living at home with relatives, that is one need. If it is a young adult boarding somewhere, that is another need. If it is a young couple having to maintain their own home and pay for an apartment, that is another need. If it is a couple with children, that is another need. The amounts are dependent on that, and you can't take that one fact in isolation and determine that this is not adequate therefore it must be increased. All of it has to depend on the level of need relative to others. Does the member want the answer, or does he want to listen to the Member for Grand Bank?

Mr. Speaker, the Province has to meet these obligations and meet the needs of the people within the limits of its ability. Now what would the hon. member have us do? Borrow endlessly as does the Government of Ontario and lose our credit rating as did the Government of Ontario?

AN HON. MEMBER: That is what he says.

PREMIER WELLS: The Government of Ontario has some margin to lose its credit rating from a triple A where it is starting. We are starting from an A minus. Remember that. We don't have any margins left, partly because the former government spent us into oblivion and borrowed us into oblivion without any sense of responsibility, partly because of the recession and for a variety of other reasons, because the federal government had to cut back to deal with its own deficit problems. All of these are factors. Our economy is not performing well at the moment. That is a factor. Whether this government has some responsibility for that, posterity will judge, or whether it is caused primarily by the fisheries and other matters, posterity will judge that as well. Of course I agree, it is not an adequate amount. Now I don't think it is necessary for him to ask me that again. It is not an adequate amount, but it is within the level of competence, the financial competence of the government in terms of all its other needs.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, how can he compare the needs of an adult to live for a month on $128 when his own office, the office of the Premier, spends $20,000 a year on entertainment needs.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to get on with the question. He is in a supplementary.

MR. HARRIS: How can the Premier make these comparisons, Mr. Speaker, if he is not prepared to recognize that the needs to survive of an adult person in circumstances such as the Department of Social Services recognize. The only amount they are prepared to give is $128 per month for an adult. How can he make the comparison between that and other problems of other provinces when he knows, Mr. Speaker, that the money for social assistance comes through the Canada Assistance Plan where 50 per cent of the money is provided by the federal government as part of this plan, where a floor level of more than twice that amount, Mr. Speaker, is provided in the Canada Assistance Plan for single adults? Why is this Province prepared to treat single adults, who have lost their employment, who have run out of unemployment insurance, as people not worthy of more than $1.25 per meal per month? Are those the kinds of standards that this government is prepared to recognize for people living in this Province suffering from lack of unemployment insurance, lack of employment, and suffering from lack of adequate housing? Is that the standard -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: - he wants to set for the people in this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I am quite prepared to deal with all of these issues on a fair and proper and objective basis. Now, if the hon. member wants to get personal about it and judge whether it is fair that I should be paid what I am being paid compared to this, is it fair that the hon. member should carry on a full-time law practice -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: - be paid as a full-time lawyer and get the total pay of a member of the House of Assembly? Is that fair? Is he now offering up his salary? Is that the basis on which he wants to judge this, or is he prepared to judge it on fair and objective standards, or does he have a market on hypocrisy? Is he the only one who -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Does he want to deal with it on a personal basis? Does he want to compare the income of every member of the House and what each member does, and determine whether they are entitled to that income compared to the level of effort they put into it and whether or not they have other efforts and other incomes that take their time, and determine whether that should be a factor in setting the level of $127? If he does, then don't confine the test to me. Let it apply to every member of this House, including himself.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, if he wants to deal with it on a straight-up, fair basis and an objective basis and judge the standard by which we run the government for everybody in the Province and determine the level of salary or income or support or assistance or whatever for members of the House, deal with that on that basis and deal with this on this basis. Now, if he wants to include one factor for comparison, include them all.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I will allow the Member for St. John's East one final supplementary.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

If the Premier wants to get personal about it, we can do that in another forum. Let's use a fair comparison, Mr. Speaker. All hon. members in this House are entitled to a per diem of twenty-five dollars per day for meals for every day the House is in session. Let's use that as an example of fair allotments that are provided. Now, let's compare that, Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. HARRIS: I want to ask the Premier whether he is prepared to see that as a reasonable comparison between what is paid for room and board, which includes all the meals that a person is entitled to for a full month, with $128 per month for a single adult person? Now, they are both coming out of government funds, nothing to do with people's private activities, both coming out of government funds. Is that a fairness and balance comparison? Is that a fair comparison as to what is available for people to live on in this Province who have no other source of income? Is that a fair comparison?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member has put the question.

MR. HARRIS: Let's look at that one.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I don't want to get personal about it. I regret that I had to answer the hon. member's question in the way in which I did, but I was responding to his specific question. He was the one who personalized the issue, not me, and I answered it in precisely the same way as he asked it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, I don't know what I heard. Mr. Speaker, if I heard that unparliamentary remark I ask the hon. member to withdraw it or hang his head with shame, with his tail between his legs and slink out of the House as he should do. Despicable!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: You don't like (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: No, I just dislike despicable members, that is all.

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, in terms of the twenty-five dollars -

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

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

MR. SIMMS: I can't let that go by, Mr. Speaker. The Premier, who likes to be so self-righteous, pious and all the rest of it, just got up and referred to that member as a despicable member. Surely that is unparliamentary.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is that unparliamentary? Is despicable unparliamentary?

MR. SPEAKER: When hon. members on both sides get into this kind of thing, of name-calling in the heat of debate, I have asked hon. members many times to try and refrain from using unparliamentary language. I was about to deal with it at the end of Question Period. So if hon. member would let Question Period proceed, I will deal with it.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, the specific question that the hon. member asked last was the twenty-five dollar per diem allowance. I agree. I don't think it is justified. Let's cancel it. Let's agree now to cancel it. Agree right now to terminate it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Agreed! Cancel it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: The twenty-five dollars a day, let's agree to terminate it right now. It was recommended as part of the compensation by the Morgan Report. I don't receive it. I don't want it.

AN HON. MEMBER: I wouldn't either, if I were getting what you get.

PREMIER WELLS: No? Well, you were getting it when you were over here.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I don't disagree with that argument. Maybe that shouldn't be. The former government put in place a system for setting compensation. It was done by the Morgan Report. The House didn't change it. Theoretically the House could have changed it if it wanted to, but it didn't. It accepted it and put it in place as it is. Now, maybe we need some adjustment to it, and maybe we should agree that it be reconsidered. But if the member wants to deal with it on that basis, then deal with it properly on that basis.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the level and standard of support the government can afford throughout this Province is determined by the financial resources that the government has. Now, if you cancel the twenty-five dollars a day I don't know what it would result in for a year. You may be able to increase that $127 by twenty-five cents or by a dollar. I don't know. I would have to look at the figures, but it would be minuscule by comparison. But if the hon. member wants to grandstand on that kind of a basis, I suppose he can grandstand and there is a certain constituency that will support it. If he wants to deal with it on merit and in terms of the government's ability, okay we will deal with it on that basis. But if he wants to carry on this particular grandstanding, I suppose there is a certain constituency that will be attracted by that and he, no doubt, has it.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

On the matter of the points of order raised, the Chair is going to take a look at the Hansard in both cases and report back to the House. Other than to say to hon. members that when we are in the heat of the debate and an hon. member, from his or her place, says something that is provocative, very often the member will come back with a provocative statement. I ask hon. members please to remember the rules of parliamentary language. The Chair will check Hansard on both cases.

The Chair would like to bring to the attention of hon. members the presence of another group of students. I have just received a note saying that Beaconsfield Junior High people are here. We welcomed you in your absence. We thought you were here. We did welcome you.

Also in the galleries are eighteen Grades VII to XI students from St. Peter's Academy School Band, Benoit's Cove, in the district of Bay of Islands. They are accompanied by their teachers, Kevin Hennessey, Rosemary Pennell, and Kevin Kendall.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees


MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table in the House today the report of the Royal Commission on Education, headed by Dr. Len Williams. There are two volumes that I will be tabling. One is the complete report; the other is a summary volume. The Minister of Education is at the moment in the process of making the report public. I understand he has arranged with the Opposition to provide for a special briefing by Dr. Williams for members on the opposite side of the House.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, just on a point of order, if I may (Inaudible).

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

MR. SIMMS: I wonder if it might not have been much more appropriate if perhaps the minister had made a statement in this House, because presumably he is going to make some commentary on the government's initial response to the report. If he isn't, then that is fine. But if the government has some initial response to make, I do not know how they are going to answer questions to the press if that is the case. The minister is shaking his head, but -

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I understand the hon. Leader of the Opposition's question, Mr. Speaker. No, it was not more appropriate that the minister make a statement in the House. All the minister is really doing is making the report public, will probably express an opinion as to the thoroughness and general competence of the report from his review of it, and express appreciation to the members of the commission and the staff for a tremendous effort on their part. Dr. Williams is also present at the press conference, and Dr. Williams will explain the report and comment on proposals that are in the report. But the government has not had adequate time to judge it. We just got the report in -

MS. VERGE: Six weeks ago!

PREMIER WELLS: The hon. member can moan and groan if she wants. We got the report -

MR. SIMMS: Six weeks ago! Tell the truth for a change!

PREMIER WELLS: We got the report three or four weeks ago -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

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

I again say to hon. members that they ought to be cautious about their language. To shout to a member to tell the truth is an insinuation that the member is telling a lie. In many jurisdictions on different occasions that is ruled to be unparliamentary. I just at this point make an intervention.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, we just got the report recently. We got four or five copies of it, just photocopies. It is just now recently printed. Just printed in the last few days. The first copies of it came out (Inaudible). So we wanted to release the report immediately and we wanted Dr. Williams to explain the report.

The government does not have a position on any of the recommendations at this stage. I have no doubt that there will be a variety of expressions of opinion on the recommendations that are in the report. I have no doubt that people will want to make representations to government on it. So in due course the government will state its position.

In the meantime we are making the report available as quickly as it was physically possible to do so after the report was printed. We are making it available as quickly as it was possible to do so, and that is now. We made Dr. Williams available to the heads of the churches, the day before yesterday -

AN HON. MEMBER: Wednesday night.

PREMIER WELLS: - Wednesday night, to let -

MS. VERGE: Before us?

PREMIER WELLS: Yes, before members of the House, absolutely.

The churches have a great interest in this issue. We made it available to the churches -

MR. WINSOR: What an insult to the House!

PREMIER WELLS: It is not an insult to the House. Our record in dealing with the Opposition is, we might as well make it public as to give it to the members of the Opposition. But, in answer to the leader's question, that is the way we dealt with it, and that is quite responsible.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Leader of the Opposition rose on a point of order with respect to tabling the report in the House. There is no point of order. The hon. member used the opportunity to express a view.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains asked a series of questions. The first one he asked was whether the minister or the Premier was aware that some of the agencies of the Department of Health were entering into discussions with a group from Long Island to set up an incinerator in St. John's. Both the Premier and I advised that we were not aware of any attempt going on. Yet the hon. member still seemed to insinuate that, indeed, within days we would see an incinerator built somewhere on Water Street or LeMarchant Road.

Then he came back: Are hospital boards involved in discussions with a waste management company in Long Island - now, I didn't get the name, Mr. Speaker, and Hansard is not out yet this morning - to set up facilities in St. John's for the disposal of hospital waste? The answer is that the Department of Health is unaware of any such initiative between hospital boards and a waste management company in New York, or anywhere else, for that matter.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I could speculate as to what the hon. member is talking about. There are always reports going on, as I said yesterday, (inaudible) medical waste and that sort of thing, but there is absolutely no basis for the member's question. I think we see here another example of the fearmongering that we have seen from the Opposition over the past few days. The unfortunate thing about it is that one of these days they are going to be right about something. Then, what will happen is that we are going to ignore them. It is just the Opposition playing Moriah again, as I said yesterday.

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Motion 4, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 4.

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 Minister of Finance.

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Bill 15, "An Act To Amend The Tobacco Tax Act", proposes to increase the tax on cigarettes from 6.78 cents to 7.78 cents, or one cent a cigarette.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) higher?


I would like to give members a rundown as to what the tobacco tax is in various provinces, because we have to be fairly careful about the tobacco tax and not raise it too high, for various reasons, one reason being that if our tobacco tax rate gets out of line with nearby provinces, there could be created, as has been in the past, a smuggling problem.

Right now, in Newfoundland, our cigarette tax is 7.78 cents. In addition, there is a 12 per cent sales tax levied on cigarettes. If you include that, and you cannot really, but if you want to include that, it drives it up to 8.71 cents a cigarette. That is the combination of tobacco tax and retail sales tax per cigarette.

In Prince Edward Island, the tobacco tax is nine cents a cigarette, which is higher than ours, and there is no sales tax on cigarettes.

In Nova Scotia the sales tax is 6.8 cents, which is a cent less than ours, roughly, and they have a 10 per cent sales tax on top of that, driving it up to 7.48 cents, which is a little more that a cent less than our double tax, our combined tax.

New Brunswick had a very high cigarette tax, but because of problems of smuggling with the United States, because they are on the border with the U.S., they reduced their sales tax in their recent budget by two-and-a-half cents, 2.58 cents per cigarette, so that now, the New Brunswick cigarette tax is the same as that in Nova Scotia, 6.8 cents, and they have an 11 per cent sales tax on top of that which makes it 7.54 cents. So, Mr. Chairman, with the exception of Prince Edward Island, which is marginally higher than ours, our cigarette tax now is higher than the cigarette tax in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick by approximately 1.3 cents a cigarette, and we had to be fairly careful about that because we don't want it too high.

Our cigarette tax is not the highest in Canada. British Columbia's cigarette tax is ten-and-a-half cents a cigarette. Ours is 7.78, theirs is ten-and-a-half. They don't have a sales tax on cigarettes. In Alberta, the sales tax is seven cents a cigarette, in Saskatchewan it is eight cents a cigarette. In neither of these cases is sales tax levied on cigarettes, so that in Alberta and Saskatchewan their overall tax, combining sales tax and cigarette tax, is somewhat less than ours.

The Manitoba tax is eight cents a cigarette, which is slightly higher than ours and they have a 7 per cent sales tax in addition which makes it 8.56 compared to our 8.71 which is about the same. Ontario has the lowest cigarette tax in Canada at six-and-a-half cents plus an 8 per cent sales tax, which makes it almost exactly seven cents a cigarette. They have the tobacco industry, largely, in Ontario. Quebec - I didn't hear their budget last night, so I don't know what they had to say about tobacco, if anything, but up until last night, their cigarette tax was 6.88 cents and they have an 8 per cent sales tax on cigarettes, and 7.43 which compares to what is going on in the Atlantic Provinces. I don't know what else I can say about this, Mr. Speaker.

One of the problems with the cigarette tax, I might add, is that while it hits people of all social classes, there is an inverse relationship between income and smoking, so, in a sense, cigarette tax is a regressive tax. And this is one of things we had to be careful about, that, as we increase the cigarette tax, it tends to hurt poor people moreso than it does more affluent people. Sometimes it is to cigarettes that people turn to relieve stress and so on, so we have to be very careful about having it too high, I think. But, in the meantime, people do have an alternative, they can give up smoking. If they want to they can give up smoking, but at the same time I suppose, if they don't want to pay income tax, they can give up working and if they do not want to pay property tax they can give away the property. So there is always a way of evading taxes, right?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. KITCHEN: The only tax, I guess, you can't evade at all, is a poll tax. You can't evade the poll tax, but you can evade most of the other taxes.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, that concludes my remarks on the cigarette tax for the time being.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shall clause 1 carry?

MR. WINDSOR: No, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Nobody else wants to speak on this? It's amazing!

Mr. Chairman, I would like to address this particular piece of legislation for a few moments. I would like to point out, first of all, that this is simply another tax grab. As we all know, of course, the minister doesn't even attempt to hide that. He is talking about a $7 million increase this year from tobacco tax as a result of this tax increase. Now, that is a pretty major increase in taxation, Mr. Chairman, for a government that tries to say we are not increasing taxes. This is only one of the minor ones outside of the other things that were put in the Budget Speech that are less than honest, Mr. Chairman. Seven million dollars from this particular tax increased this year, that is a 12.2 per cent increase in one year - a 12.2 per cent increase in one year, Mr. Chairman.

MR. GRIMES: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman, I am not interested in the Minister of Labour right now. I will get on to him on other issues later on. I am not going to waste my time with him this morning. I am going to address the Minister of Finance and the mess that he is making in the taxation system in this Province. The minister, I think, mentioned a moment ago that one of the concerns with raising tobacco taxes is that it increases smuggling. Of course, it will increase smuggling into this Province, and if the minister doesn't think we have a serious problem now, that is costing this Province millions of dollars in legitimate tobacco taxes, then he is being less than honest with himself. Perhaps if he hadn't eliminated some positions, the tax inspector positions in Port aux Basques, he wouldn't be losing quite as much revenue. Maybe he wouldn't be losing as much. Maybe he should have added a little bit.

There is big business coming into this Province right now, Mr. Chairman, in smuggling cigarettes and alcohol, but right now we are talking about cigarettes. You get a lot of sympathy when you put tax on cigarettes because there are so many people today - the majority of people today will say you shouldn't be smoking anyway, so the majority of people will say, 'Good stuff, sock it to them!' Nevertheless, a lot of people do choose to smoke, which is their right. I don't, and I don't like to be involved in areas where there is a lot of smoke. We reformed smokers are the worst in the world. I gave it up seventeen years ago and I have never wanted one since. Now, I can't understand why anybody will smoke, but nevertheless, people do have a right to smoke if they choose, as long as they don't interfere with others. This is one of the pleasures that these people enjoy. It is probably true, Mr. Chairman, that the greater percentage of smokers are lower-income people, so this tax is probably hurting some of the lower-income people moreso than anyone else.

Mr. Chairman, it is no more than a tax grab: $7 million. It has gone from $56 million to $63 million this year in one smack, an incredible increase on one item in one year, an additional $7 million. Mr. Chairman, the minister will have to answer for that in due course.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

MR. BAKER: Motion 3, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Motion 3, Bill 14. The hon. the Minister of Finance.

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want to introduce an act to amend the Income Tax Act, another simple amendment from the point of view of legislation. What we are doing is amending the Income Tax Act so that, instead of the federal government collecting for us 62 per cent of the basic federal tax, we will now be collecting 64.5 per cent for 1992 and for 1993, 66 per cent. That is basically what the amendment is. I want to give some comparative figures here because some people think that the Newfoundland income tax is way out of line with other Canadian provinces, and that is not the case. In Newfoundland, after our tax increases now, assuming that we pass this in the House of Assembly today, our effective rate will be 64.5 cents this year, but we have no surtax in Newfoundland and we have no flat tax on income, as they do in other provinces. What we pay in Newfoundland is 64.5 per cent of the basic federal tax. In Prince Edward Island, their basic rate is 59.5 which looks like it is five cents cheaper, but in Prince Edward Island, they have a surtax of 10 per cent that applies to certain higher income groups, and if you are in that income group, your tax rate is 65.45, which is a percentage point higher than our basic rate. In Nova Scotia they have an identical rate to Prince Edward Island, 59.5, and they, too, have a 10 per cent surtax, making them 65.45 for certain income groups, which is higher than the Newfoundland rate. In New Brunswick, they have a 60 per cent basic federal tax and an 8 per cent surtax which, for those affected by the surtax, drives the rate up to 64.8, and ours is 64.5, so they are slightly higher than ours. While we are higher for certain income groups, for other income groups we are the lowest in the Atlantic Provinces, somewhat lower. It is not a lot lower but slightly lower.

Now, I did not get the Quebec Budget last night but, in any event, since Quebec is the only province which collects its own personal income tax, is it difficult to make comparisons between the tax rates in Quebec and the tax rates in Newfoundland.

In Ontario, they increased their rate this year by 1.5 percentage points to 54.5, so they pay 54.5 per cent of the basic federal tax and, in addition, they have a 14 per cent surtax which cuts in, I think, at something like $50-something thousand dollars. For those people in that category, the effective rate is a little over 62 per cent, whereas ours is 64.5 so that in Ontario, a person's personal income tax would be a couple of points less than ours and somewhat less if the person has a lower income. In Manitoba, the effective rate is 52 but they have a flat tax of 2 per cent on net income, calculate their net income and you pay 2 per cent to the Government of Manitoba and, in addition, they have - wait now, what am I doing here? I was just checking to see if Manitoba had put a surtax in their budget and they did not. So that is the Manitoba thing. It is 52 per cent plus 2 per cent on a flat tax.

Now in Saskatchewan they have just a 50 per cent of basic federal tax, but they have a flat tax of 2 per cent, and in addition they have a 10 per cent deficit surtax which everybody pays. So that if you are in Saskatchewan the effective rate is 55 per cent plus a 2 per cent.... I'm sorry. Twenty-five per cent of fifty is thirteen. So they have a 63 per cent basic tax plus a 2 per cent flat tax on net income, which drives them quite a bit higher than our personal income tax.

In Alberta, which has a personal income tax of 46 per cent of the federal tax rate, they have a flat tax of 0.5 per cent of taxable income, plus an 8 per cent surtax which drives them somewhat close to ours.

British Columbia's tax works out to be - they have a 52 per cent basic tax, whereas ours is 64.5 per cent. But they have this 20 per cent surtax, which drives them up to 62.4 per cent for most income groups, which is quite close to ours.

So overall, Mr. Chairman, while our tax of 64.5 per cent looks high by comparison with other provinces, it is not the highest personal income tax in Canada. It is not much higher than that in most provinces as a result of their recent budgets. I might also say this: prior to any of the budgets this year our general tax in the Province was about 100 per cent of the Canadian average. Our tax rate in Canada, for all taxes, was right on the Canadian average. As a result of our budgetary measures, when we announced our Budget, it went up to 103 per cent of the basic average. But since the other budgets have been coming in, some of them have increased taxes, and I am not sure where we are now. We are somewhat less than 103 per cent. I am getting people to make this calculation, but all the budgets have not been in sufficiently long enough to make that calculation across all taxes.

But it can be said that as far as personal taxes are concerned the tax rate in Newfoundland is not out of line with what it is in other parts of Canada. Particularly that is made possible by the fact that the property tax rate in Newfoundland is so much lower. So it would be incorrect for anyone to suggest that the personal taxes in Newfoundland are higher than they are in other provinces. That is simply not the case. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman, I will address first of all that final closing statement of the Minister of Finance, which I think shows clearly his complete lack of understanding of the problems that we are facing in this Province. What he says is accurate, of course. If you want to take raw statistics and say that the tax incidence in Newfoundland is I believe 103 per cent of the national average, that is all. I think that was the last number I saw. The minister may have a later one. But I think 103 per cent of the national average. Which comes as a surprise to most people, who think we are paying far more taxes than anywhere else.

But when you look at all of the taxes, as the minister pointed out - municipal, provincial, federal and everything else - the tax burden in Newfoundland - at least prior to the last Budget; I suspect it has probably increased since then, I have not seen a revised figure - but it was 103 per cent.

What the minister fails to point out is the average income is, what, 65 per cent of the national average. So there is your difference. We may not be asked to pay out any great higher percentage of our income, but our income is so much lower, and the cost of living in Newfoundland is so much higher, that our ability to pay those taxes is far less than people in other parts of Canada. You cannot just take one factor, that being a tax percentage, and consider that as the only issue. You have to look at the cost of living and the average income, which gives you the ability of the taxpayer to pay those taxes. Then you can determine whether or not it is a heavy tax burden.

Indeed, we are suffering an incredibly heavy tax burden in this Province today to the point where, in the last two or three weeks, so many people who have looked at this issue from their own point of view, because it was income tax time, have looked at the amount of taxes that they are paying overall and have said: I begin to wonder why I bother to work. I am almost better off staying home. Particularly if it is a second income in a family.

A second income in a family: If the main breadwinner is in, not a high income bracket but, you know, a moderate income bracket, and then you tack another income onto that, be it a part-time income or whatever, it is hardly worth the effort today, Mr. Chairman, because it can jump you up into another tax bracket which can take so much away from what you are bringing home. You have the expenses of that additional employment and unless you are making a considerable second salary, it is almost not worth the effort.

There is always a little bit of a difference but, if you weigh the benefits to the family of having that second person in the home, the efficiencies of having a second person home, because when two people are out in the workplace the cost of living goes up for that family. The cost of looking after children, the cost of feeding children, the cost of making lunches for children, the cost of having somebody there when they come home or the cost of having them in day care, the cost of transporting them back and forth to school when one person is not there, all of these things add up, Mr. Chairman, incredibly.

So many people today are asking the question: Is it really worth the effort anymore? For a person, Mr. Chairman, even in the middle income level who is trying to advance and trying to do something else, work harder and earn more money, it is almost counterproductive. Every time you earn something you jump yourself into another income tax bracket and you lose such a high percentage of it that you wonder if it is worth the effort.

In fact, Mr. Chairman, there was an article in The Telegram last night in the editorial section relating to some stats that had been released by Statistics Canada recently. It says, "The average family is worse off today than it was ten years ago." Now, that is a combination of the cost of living and increases in taxation. When you consider the average family income today with the cost of living and the taxes taken away from it and you discount that back to 1982 dollars, compare it with 1982, you will find, Mr. Chairman, that the average family today is worse off than they were ten years ago. Why is that, Mr. Chairman? Is it because we are less productive? I don't think so. Technology today should make us more productive. We should be producing more. We should have a greater earning power. Maybe not. Maybe because of technology we are not working as hard as we used to before. Maybe some of these social programs that have been introduced, so many side benefits of employment, are costing us a lot more than we think.

My experience in Treasury Board tells me that they can be frightening. If the President of Treasury Board were here, he would confirm that, quite often, it is the benefits associated with a labour agreement that are just as expensive or more expensive than any increases in salaries that are being proposed. Of course, labour unions and labour leaders know that and they, quite often, Mr. Chairman, concentrate on negotiating the side benefits rather than just salaries.

This editorial last night says, "The high cost of living is one thing, but high taxes that leave many people working half the year to fill various government coffers is quite another." In other words, what the editorial is saying, in quoting Statistics Canada basically or basing numbers on Statistics Canada, is that many people today, almost 50 per cent of their income is being paid out in taxes, and that does not account for GST and RST, which takes another 20 per cent after taxes are paid.

So we wonder why people today are being so careful about using all of the loopholes, for lack of a better term, in the Income Tax Act and other tax acts, because you have to. You are forced today, if you are in business, to almost be a tax expert, because if you miss any opportunity - legitimate opportunity - I am not talking about anyone who is trying to avoid taxes. I have no tolerance for that; but anyone who is in business must take advantage of every legitimate opportunity to reduce the tax burden on them. So people are being very, very cautious today.

More and more people are down loading their costs from themselves to companies and that sort of thing, and again in negotiating contracts. They would rather negotiate a benefit than a salary. It is better to have a car provided by a company and take no increase in salary than to get an increase in salary and have to buy a car, because you pay for your car, you pay for it after taxes, if it cost you $10,000 a year to own and operate a vehicle, which is not out of the question. It is a fair estimate, an average cost of owning and operating your car, paying for the principal and interest on it, if you have a loan on it, and gas and maintenance and so forth. It is going to cost you $10,000 a year. If you are in the middle income range, you probably have to earn $16,000 a year in order to have $10,000 in your pocket to pay for that car, whereas your company can provide it to you for $10,000. It is an expense to them, of course, no income tax must be paid on it, so that sort of a thing.

Of course, the Income Tax Act is dealing with that now, because now you must declare a portion of the usage of that vehicle as a taxable income. So if the car cost $10,000 to operate, and 50 per cent of it was used for personal use, then you must declare $5,000 as taxable income. What you lose on one end they get you in the other, but only partly so.

What we have seen here, what this act proposes to do, is increase the personal income tax imposed by this Province by 2.5 per cent effective January, 1992. That is January past, so that is already in place, and another 1.5 per cent next year. I can hear the minister now, next year coming in saying, we are not going to raise personal income tax this year. No, because he has already done it this year for next year. That is 4 per cent over two years. That is a substantial increase - a very substantial increase. Now this was done under the guise of, well we are eliminating the school taxes so we are going to increase personal income tax. That is how the minister tried to pass that one over on us. We eliminate school tax, so we are going to increase personal income tax. That was the biggest sham that has ever been brought before this House. The school tax certainly has not been eliminated - far from it. The school tax per se as a school tax is being eliminated, but the government is raising many more millions of dollars through the tax increases in the payroll tax and personal income tax than ever were raised by the school tax.

We have some numbers. These are numbers that were provided by the minister, by his staff, comparing the amount of money that is raised -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. WINDSOR: I will have another go, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for Port de Grave.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want a few minutes to speak on this particular bill mainly because it is an income tax bill - not a major bill but certainly some minor changes. I think it is very relevant to what I have to say this morning, and especially since I just listened to the hon. Member for Mount Pearl make a couple of remarks on which he is quite right, about how difficult it is this day on the income compared to ten years ago, and that the average family is probably worse off today than it was ten years ago. I have no doubt that the hon. member is absolutely correct.

I think that it is very difficult to live under this day and age, Mr. Chairman, in the fact that there are so many social programs and so many social sector programs that the individuals need today and the cost of it is just escalating right through the roof.

What I want to do is take this opportunity, Mr. Chairman, - and I know there are not going to be many people listen to me because I have said this so many times before - to take this opportunity on why taxes have to be increased, and the reason why the governments of any day would have to deal with the low income brackets that is earned in a province and is related to the province itself.

I think anybody who listened to the morning show this morning would realize what I have been saying over the last eight or nine months is real, that I have not been misleading the people, that I have not been lying to the people of Newfoundland, that everything I have accused our federal government of not doing and doing in relation to the fisheries, which is the main basis of income for this Province, is absolutely correct.

When I heard Jim Wellman from the Fishermen's Broadcast make a report on the morning show this morning brought to light, brought back to my mind everything that I have been saying over the past twelve months is absolutely correct. He found the NAFO meetings in Halifax this week too boring, no substance, so much so that he put his microphone in his suitcase and he came home. I think, Mr. Chairman, that tells us all very clearly where the future of Newfoundland and Labrador is headed.

Mr. Chairman, I will make this statement in this House this morning, and I will put my reputation as a politician up on that statement that the future of Newfoundland and Labrador's economy is headed for a total collapse. There is nothing in this world that is going to stop it now. It is too late for crying now, and it is too late to do anything about it, and we are all wimps. Provincially and federally, and the union men, the fishermen, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and the federal politicians of Canada, we are wimps. We are letting every other country in the world destroy the very existence of what this Province has lived and stood for for the last 500 years.

And you cannot collect taxes from people who are not earning any income, and the real basis of what is going to happen this summer in Newfoundland and Labrador with a population of 230,000 people in the work force, 30 per cent unemployment rate, 75 per cent people involved directly and indirectly in the fishery will not be earning an income this summer. There is absolutely no way to catch fish if there is no fish swimming in the water. You can have all the technology, all the education, all the expertise, and all the human strength that you can muster together, but you cannot catch if there are no fish swimming there.

And the NAFO meetings this week in Halifax proved the European countries have absolutely no interest in conservation in the environment, in protecting the stocks and doing anything about the serious situation on the Grand Banks, because, Mr. Chairman, they speak very clearly, they will rape, rob, steal and deplete the stocks, the complete extinction and then they will move onto another country, another part of the world and do the same thing there because there is nobody in this country who has the guts, the initiative, the drive, the willpower to stand up and say: no more, we are not going to allow it. It is just like asking a bank robber who is coming in with a twelve gauge shot gun, puts it front of the tellers face, passes him a note that says pass over all over your money and the teller looks back and says please sir, don't rob me. That is exactly what is taking place with Canada versus all of those countries out there.

But even worse than that, Mr. Chairman, even worse than the federal government, and even worse than the Prime Minister and the Federal Minister of Fisheries and all the politicians in Ottawa, the people in Newfoundland, every man, woman and child in this Province has not yet admitted that we have a problem, and that is a fact. We have not yet admitted the seriousness of the crisis facing the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Every man, woman, and child in this Province is guilty of that. We are facing complete depletion of our stocks out there. It is happening. We have all of our deep sea boats tied up. We have boats sailing out there every day in the week, and they are coming back after a five or six day trip with not a codfish, and nobody gives a damn about what is happening out there.

I had a report sent to me two days ago from Iceland. Listen to this. Portugal today is trying to unload 540 tons of codfish off of three ships in Iceland because they cannot sell it anywhere else in the world. The largest fish that they are trying to sell is seven ounces in weight. Seven ounces!. Five hundred and forty tons multiplied by 2,000 pounds represents what?... millions of pounds of junk cod. And they are still catching it on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and selling it and trying to offload it in Iceland, seven ounces, I have the statistics up in my office, sent to me by the people in Iceland, an actual true report.

We have businesses closing up every day in the Province, we have the government trying to increase taxes, trying to bring the economy back to a stable position but it cannot be done, Mr. Chairman, unless the people are working. If you take 75,000 people out of the work force in this Province, that is 30,000 directly, 1.5 spin off jobs indirectly, you are talking not another 45,000, you are talking 75,000 jobs employed even at the worst time in the fishery which was last year, and we are going to lose most of that this year and nobody is up in arms.

NAFO meetings in Halifax the whole of this week, the news reporters define it as boring, they came home and there is no big flotilla in Halifax this week. I did not see the union arranging a big demonstration up there - ten or twelve Greenpeacers with a pair of false teeth, where were all the big demonstrators who gathered on the waterfront in St. John's, the 20,000 people? That is where the strength should have been put, Mr. Chairman, where it could have made some impact.

AN HON. MEMBER: What (inaudible)?

MR. EFFORD: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. EFFORD: Everybody is guilty. I said every man, woman and child in this Province is the problem we are having, but the first thing, Mr. Chairman, we are not admitting that the crisis that is facing Newfoundland is complete extinction of the cod stocks, and I am sick and tired of everybody pointing fingers at everybody else. The fact is that nobody is realizing it and everybody has his own little angle to work. The hon. Member for St. John's South made a good statement one day when he sent out a press release: every member of this House of Assembly should be on the doorsteps of Ottawa, every single MHA, representing every rural district and every city, town and urban centre of this Province, because it matters to everybody, but, Mr. Chairman,nobody is taking the issue seriously.

If we are, why aren't we fighting? Why don't we copy off the little country of Iceland, why don't we use some imagination and use some courage and some guts like the Icelandic people used? A 230,000 population depending totally on the fishery the same as Newfoundland and Labrador, 5 per cent unemployment rate compared to almost 30 per cent in this Province.

I had a video I watched last evening which they sent me over from Iceland, an actual video of the cod war; an actual video of the cod war in Iceland in 1976, where the Icelandic boats went out and took on the British Navy and they drove the navy away. They rammed a few boats and they obstructed them in the fishing out there, the trawlers and it was so embarrassing for the British Navy that they had to go away, and there are 230,000 people in Iceland compared to 25 million in Canada. We had the power to send a warship over to Kuwait but we do not have the power and the guts to send it out on the Grand Banks to protect what rightfully belongs to Newfoundland and Canada? No, because of trade relations.

We are selling the souls of Newfoundlanders for the manufactured goods in Ontario and in British Columbia and in every other part of Canada, because Newfoundland is so small and we are only Newfs down here, we do not matter. We are not standing up for ourselves and are allowing it to happen so we are just as guilty as the people in Ottawa. Mr. Chairman, we do not have time any more to pussyfoot around. We do not have time if we want this Province to survive.

You cannot create small businesses if there is no income to support them, there has to be a basis of income; anybody who has any business experience knows very well, you can hope, but if no one has any money they are not going to spend any money. It does not matter where, in Corner Brook, in Grand Falls, in Gander or in St. John's, everybody depends on the rural population of this Province to spend their money in those urban areas to keep the businesses going.

75,000 people in the fishing industry, earning on an average an income of $300 a week for the 30,000 people directly and $200 a week for the minimum income combined with UI, works out to $900 million earned income a year. Now take that $900 million away, out of the economy of this Province, and if that is not enough to frighten the living daylights out of everybody, what do you need? What businesses and governments can survive and pay their social programs and collect taxes if you take $900 million earned income away? You have nothing left, only brown envelopes coming from Ottawa. The provincial government is not going to be able to pay anything out because they are not going to get their taxes in; you can increase 2.5 per cent effective January 1, 1992 income tax but what is the good increasing taxes if there are no incomes being earned to pay taxes? It all has to come from a solid base.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Chairman, this is what has happened, and it is important in conclusion that we recognize what happened in Halifax this week, that we have lost every opportunity to make an impression and some changes. Mr. Chairman, none of us, me, you, and everybody else included did not take advantage of the situation. We are giving up to total collapse and we are going to lose everything that this Province has stood for for so many hundreds of years.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. PARSONS: Mr. Chairman, I would like to have a few moments on the tax bill. I come from a rural area and I certainly know people by their first names. You can see what people are doing, you can see how hard it is for people to live and it is certainly not getting any better. When I see some of the down loading that is being done as far as municipalities are concerned - municipalities are increasing their taxation rate, their mil rate, in every respect. There are new assessments being done on their homes and it is all coming out of that one dollar. There are a lot of people out there who are hurting.

I know government, if they are to continue with services that are being rendered now, need money and the only way to get that money is through taxation. I have no qualms about that but the qualm I do have, Mr. Chairman, is that I am not sure how much more taxation our people can take. We all talk about what is happening in Canada and what is happening all over the world and we see what is called a recession. We all talk about it but if there are that many people in this recession and there are that many people hurting how much more taxation can we put on their shoulders? How many more cents of that dollar can they pay? I am telling you that I take full responsibility for anything I played a role in. I am not saying that our side was any better than what is over on that side today but what I am saying is what is morally out there, people are paying as much as they can afford.

If they pay that few cents to the councils, if they pay it to the feds, if they pay it to the Province it is all coming out of that dollar and the dollars are scarce and somewhere down the road we are going to have to take a look, and not alone as politicians. We are talking about saving money. Perhaps we are directing our money to the wrong end. The Minister of Health just said what we did wrong when we were over there. I do not think that I did anything wrong personally but I was part of a group that perhaps made mistakes, yes. I agree, but I want to say to the President of Treasury Board that if you want to save some money I personally do not think there should be fifty-two of us here costing this Province X number of dollars. I do not think we should be here. I think fifty-two are too many.

Money should be saved. It is costing this little Province that does not have the funds thousands and thousands, millions of dollars, I suppose. If you want to do something constructive look at it, have a committee formed and not politicians, outside the political arena. Have this looked at, the number of politicians that represent these 570,000 people compared with other constituencies. Have a look at it if we want to save some money. If we are in dire straits then look at all aspects of it. Perhaps fifty-two should be thirty-six. That is the figure that comes to my mind. Thirty-six would be plenty here in this House of Assembly. With today's media, with today's technology, glory be to goodness do you mean to tell me we need fifty-two members sitting in this House costing this little Province all kinds of money? Then the Minister of Finance will get up and say, rightly so, that we have to increase taxes. We have to increase taxes to pay for what? Essentials? Is it essential, to have fifty-two members in the House?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: Well, no matter, they are still being paid. That is something that should be in the Election Act.


MR. PARSONS: There should be a committee struck -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: I will, and I will speak to it when it comes up. There should be a committee struck and outside of parliamentarians, legislators. That because some nitwit may get in power somewhere in the future and he will want to increase the fifty-two perhaps to sixty. To make it advantageous for his party to win the election.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: It never changed since I came here. I would not be party to it if there were any suggested changes.

AN HON. MEMBER: The Province owes you a great debt.

MR. PARSONS: The Province owes me nothing.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: Don't owe me anything. But fifty-two members are too many. Costing too much money for this little Province. If you want to save some money, then that is a way that you could save it.

I want to speak now to the Member for Port de Grave. He got up and vilified all the federals - the federal Minister of Fisheries, the Prime Minister. Then we asked him how about his own Minister of Fisheries. After all the vilification, all the finger pointing, he said: I am not pointing my finger at anyone. What about your own Minister of Fisheries? What is he doing as it pertains to overfishing? I have asked the Member for Port de Grave on numerous occasions.

MR. EFFORD: Why in the name of God don't you stand up in Question Period and ask the minister?

MR. PARSONS: I am not the fisheries critic, and I have asked him questions about it.

MR. EFFORD: You haven't opened your mouth (Inaudible)!

MR. PARSONS: You haven't got the guts of your convictions, you're afraid to say anything about your own minister. You're afraid, you're grandstanding! You're picking on the feds, you're talking about Iceland! Oranges and apples!

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible)!

MR. PARSONS: Look here, let me tell the hon. Member for Port de Grave. Five or six years ago we started NIFA. We went around. Yours truly was in his own car with a little old microphone, telling people to come to a meeting in the Goulds. When we told them, we want experts, we want biologists. We want people who were surprised to be in the know. But we called a meeting up there and we told them what was going to happen. That is years ago.

MR. EFFORD: You quit!

MR. PARSONS: Where were you then?

MR. EFFORD: I was there at the meeting!

MR. PARSONS: Yes. If you were you weren't very vocal, because I never knew you were there. We went to Bonavista Bay, we went to Clarenville, we tried to awaken the people to it. All you could hear then was: more fishing. You had your own senator, Senator Kirby, come down here and it cost hundreds of thousand of dollars to do a survey. He recommended 480,000 tons in 1988. There weren't 480,000 tons out there altogether in 1988!

AN HON. MEMBER: That's right.

AN HON. MEMBER: Well, why didn't you stand up (Inaudible)?

MR. PARSONS: We tried it! We tried it in every form. The hon. Member for St. John's South, you should have better sense, you were involved in it. You should have better sense than to get up and listen to your colleague there on your right.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) don't know what's happening.

MR. PARSONS: Don't know what's happening? No. You know it all. Don't know what's happening. We told them then and I am telling you now, we were our own worst culprits. The only reason why I stood here today and said that overfishing should be stopped by the foreigners is because there are no straddling stocks. There are no stocks inside. Because we devastated them! We did it! We did it ourselves!

AN HON. MEMBER: Why didn't you tell the Member for Grand Bank that?

MR. PARSONS: I told the Member for Grand Bank that. We have no ties in this Party. We tell the truth as far as the way we see it, we stand on our own two feet, we're not like the Member for Port de Grave when he gets up there, vilifies everyone. He is afraid to say one word against the Minister of Fisheries. Or the Premier. I told him before and I'll repeat myself - he doesn't have the guts of his convictions!

AN HON. MEMBER: Tell the truth!

MR. PARSONS: The Member for Grand Bank and I, he will stand in his place and he will say that I did say to him years ago, and we disagreed. We disagreed as men should disagree.

MR. EFFORD: You're a quitter!

MR. PARSONS: I never quit, never quit anything in my life. But I am not a grandstander either. To get up and call everyone down. This one is doing wrong, the feds are doing wrong, we get out there with the gunboats.

MR. EFFORD: Gunboats?

MR. PARSONS: That's what you said. You said the navy went out in Iceland -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MR. PARSONS: You said they sent a boat to the Gulf -

MR. EFFORD: They never used gunboats!

MR. PARSONS: They sent a boat to the Gulf!

MR. EFFORD: You don't even know what is happening boy, sit down.

MR. PARSONS: You said they sent a boat to the Gulf War.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: You said it. You said it.

MR. EFFORD: They sent out the Coastguard.

MR. PARSONS: What is that? What is that? What is that?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: That is what you said they should do.

MR. PARSONS: You are grandstanding. You are grandstanding to try to get yourself a position or something in a union.

MR. EFFORD: What a bunch of idiots.

MR. PARSONS: Talking about them, about people and what they have done over the years. The federal government, what they have done. Get out with the gun boats. Get out with the gun boats. You only started about eight months ago. What about when they devastated the Caplin over in Conception Bay.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: Imagine. That is what the hon. gentleman said. Send out the Navy. That is his rationale. That is his level of intelligence.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: That is his level of intelligence.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

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

MR. EFFORD: No but he sent them over to Kuwait.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, you know we don't mind a bit of banter back and forth when other members are speaking, but it was difficult when the Member for St. John's East Extern was speaking to know who had the floor, who was recognized by Your Honour. The Member for Port de Grave spoke. I don't think too many were shouting him down. I don't know what Hansard is going to record, Mr. Speaker, if it is the Member for St. John's East Extern or the Member for Port de Grave. When I am speaking I like a bit of banter, but I at least want to be heard.

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, to that point of order also the socialist triplets at the gallery here, if we could perhaps contain them, the meeting down here from the two socialists and the former socialist. Perhaps if they would go to their offices and have a proper meeting we would hear everybody.

Mr. Speaker, this House lends itself to lively debate - now they are going into the office to have a real meeting - but I think I concur with the Opposition House Leader that while there is a certain level of banter, we shouldn't be in shouting matches back and forth. That is better left for proper debate. So we would ask that while there are barbs and spars across the floor, perhaps we are losing something in the intelligent debate. I know that the hon. member has a lot of intelligence, and wanted to debate this issue, but we have to be prepared to cross swords every now and then, but not to get into a scrap that loses all intelligence.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

To that point of order I agree with the hon. Opposition House Leader and the Minister of Development in that it had reached a level that the Chair tried to intercept a couple of times, but no one paid attention to the Chair. I ask hon. members to restrain from shouting across the House. I think we deserve to have a certain level of decorum in this place.

With regards to the Speaker's gallery, I ask hon. members to refrain from carrying on meetings in the Speaker's gallery. The Speaker's gallery in parliamentary tradition has a certain deal of decorum and respect, and I would ask that visitors and hon. members would take that into consideration when they are conversing in the Speaker's gallery. If hon. members want to have meetings, there are offices and places provided for meetings to take place outside of this chamber.

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

MR. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, I want to say I am sorry to the Member for St. John's South. If I became rambunctious in that lively debate, I am very sorry. I will certainly ask the concurrence of the House in accepting my apologies.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Apology is accepted.

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I am not one bit surprised about what just happened because deep down we all know in this hon. House what a wonderful gentleman the Member for St. John's East Extern is. So in the heat of debate, you know, even the hon. the Member for Grand Bank who is renowned as being a wonderful school teacher gets carried away once in a while. I am sure he wouldn't want his students to see him sometimes. I know he would not want them to see him. They would say: Gracious, that is not the school teacher we had, who talked so much about giving everybody a chance and being fair and not shouting at other people and all that. They would not believe it was the same hon. man, of course, but that is what happens obviously in the House. We all get involved.

I want to respond to something that -

AN HON. MEMBER: He was a better soccer player than he was a teacher.

MR. MURPHY: Yes, he was. That is true. The Minister of Energy says that the hon. member was a better soccer player than he was a teacher. If he was half the teacher that he was a soccer player then he was a good teacher, because he was a super soccer player.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MURPHY: The Member for St. John's East Extern got up and talked about saving money, and why we would not need to address new tax legislation. Well I do not know. He obviously speaks honestly from where he sits, and his opinion is his opinion; but for me as a full-time MHA, and when I say full-time I mean just that - full-time. This job, in my experience, representing the constituents in my district, is at least seventy hours a week - minimum. Now maybe -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Well for the first time in my life I am being conservative. So I say to you, I do not know what the hon. member does, but I receive anywhere from forty to forty-five phone calls a day, correspondence, trying to do district needs in social service work and housing requirements. Everybody knows the job situation in the Province, and people are so frustrated that they turn to their MHA's. So perhaps the hon. member, when he talks about reducing the members in the House, I suppose you could do it, but then you would have to hire staff, or get somebody to give members the assistance that is required to answer constituency needs. I notice the Opposition House Leader nodding, and I know what he is saying. He knows only too well. He has burned the midnight oil trying to represent his district, and it is very difficult.

Now a few words about the economy as it relates to the fishery. You know, what we saw here this morning when we saw the outburst is one of the real problems associated with the fishing industry in this Province. A house divided soon falls. We see hon. members protecting the inshore because they have an interest, for whatever reason. We see hon. members protecting the offshore, for whatever reason, because they have a reason; and we never seem to be able to get our offshore industry and our inshore industry together to collectively fight the foreign overfishing. If we do not do that, how in heaven's name can we expect to tell the world our quandary and our problem when we cannot agree among ourselves? One thing at a time when it comes to the fishery, and the number one issue right now is to get the foreigners off our grounds. We have to do that. If we do not, I do not know that we will not totally lose the fishery as it is.

The hon. Members for Burin and Grand Bank the other day asked the Premier questions about a moratorium. What is going to happen -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: That is right. What is going to happen is, we are going to have a moratorium and it is not going to be a formal moratorium. It is going to be a moratorium because there is not going to be a fish out there.

So we have to stop this bickering among ourselves in the House of Assembly and perhaps - just perhaps - we need to show Ottawa a little more courage and strength. I said to the hon. Member for Grand Bank before, that maybe this whole House needs to go up on the steps of Ottawa. Every single member in the House needs to go up and put on a contained demonstration showing the problems of the fishery to the rest of this country. Somebody might argue that was a waste of time and money. Well, if you do not speculate, and you do not take the chance that your efforts are going to be recognized, then what is going to happen if you sit back with complacency is that you are going to lose it all.

Mr. Chairman, I never had an opportunity but yesterday afternoon the Member for Humber East got up and we were talking about taxes and the need for taxes. Now, that has been discussed this morning and we saw the heated dialogue during Question Period. I heard the hon. Member for Humber East singing the praises and the accolades of the previous Premier. She said that Premier Peckford was a man of the people. The hon. Member for Humber East said Premier Peckford was a man of the people. Now, I want to remind the hon. member, and she will no doubt recall, and I had to look, in June of 1989 the House of Assembly had not sat for over eighteen months. Now this is a Premier of the people. The House had not sat for eighteen months, no Throne Speech, no Budget, eighteen months with no public review of government expenditures, not a whiff. They kept the House closed so nobody could get a chance to have a look at what they were doing.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is not true.

MR. MURPHY: Yes, it is true, and that is obvious. They were feeling their grip of power sliding away. It was sliding away on them and they could sense it so they shut her down. Shut her down Brian. Keep her shut. This is the great man of the people. The Member for Humber East said yesterday he was a man of the people. The Premier of today is not a man of the people but the previous Premier was a man of the people. It was sliding away and they knew it, so what did they do? They did everything behind closed doors, Mr. Chairman, and to pay for everyday expenditures what were they doing? They were using Lieutenant Governor warrants for a year and a half and we wonder why the debt load and why the hon. the Minister of Finance has this horrendous burden. I do not know how the hon. minister can get up from his place and walk. The yoke of the responsibility must keep him in his seat. The hon. Member for Humber East worked for this man of the people, this man of the people and these $57,000 weekends.


MR. MURPHY: Oh, yes, these $57,000 weekends. That is right. Was it Boston? Limousines. Let her go. The man of the people - private dining rooms - now, we have been through this before. A house paid for by the government. Now, you hear the hon. Member for Green Bay talking about the present Premier using $20,000 a year to do what needs to be done and here is a private house sitting on the hill costing the taxpayers of this Province an untold fortune. Then the Member for St. John's East Extern gets up this morning and talks about how to save money. Well, he was here then I remind him. He was in the House. He was a sitting member and if he wanted to be so forthright then what he should have done was jumped in the caucus room and said: off Mount Scio Place, Mr. Peckford. Get out of there because this is not good for the people. The hon. member stood in his place this morning and he wants to cut her down to thirty-six members, and maybe he is right, so then we hire another fifty staff to do the work that needs to be done for our constituents so then we are not saving any money. It is ludicrous, it is stupid and it is silly.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member used an unparliamentary word.

MR. MURPHY: I used what, stupid?

MR. CHAIRMAN: This Chair has always ruled that-

MR. MURPHY: I am very sorry about that, Mr. Chairman, and I withdraw the word stupid. I certainly withdraw it. Perhaps lack of knowledge. I did not say the hon. member was stupid, Mr. Chairman, I said his thought was stupid, not the member. The member is anything but stupid. He is a good member and I have nothing for respect for him as I said in my opening remarks.

The Member for Humber East was talking about the previous man of the people. Now, the man of the people had a full-time bodyguard, Mr. Chairman. The Member for St. John's East was up this morning, the great crusader for the unfortunate Newfoundlanders who are forced on public welfare right now. The bodyguard that the man of the people, Premier Peckford, had, cost enough to look after at least a dozen people on social assistance. Now, this is the man of the people. We are talking about the money, and what happened. So, when the hon. member, with his double standard attitude, gets up and talks about defending social assistance recipients in this Province, and says the money they get is not sufficient - we all know, there is not one member in this House, who doesn't, every single working day, have to go somewhere and try to do something for somebody on social assistance. Every single day they are after the member, after one of the staff people and you are doing everything you can because you know -


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

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

I just want to rise and have a few words on what we are supposed to be debating, Bill 14, the amendments to The Income Tax Act. It is a very wide-ranging debate, talking about the economy and the fishery and other things, members benefits.

It has been interesting, really, to listen to members, and I think one thing that is healthy about it, is that there is obviously a difference of opinion when it comes to number of members who should be in the House of Assembly, benefits and other things. I have to concur with a few comments made by the Member for St. John's South, maybe there could be a reduction in the number of members in the Legislature, but if you look at the situation -

I can only speak from my own experience, that if there were only one member for the Burin Peninsula, you would certainly need a significant support staff in order to carry it off, and having been at this now for ten years, I can tell you that it has been ten busy years, with the telephone enquiries and asking for representation that comes to the House, functions in the district, and everything else, there is, no doubt, an impression and a perception that we get paid lots of money and do very little. But I, for one, could say, Mr. Chairman, that I don't feel one bit bad about what I am paid as a Member of the House of Assembly. I feel quite justified in accepting what I get.

I have to maintain two residences, one in Fortune, I have always maintained my home there and I have to operate a place in St. John's where I stay when I am here attending the House and doing other business on behalf of my constituents, so I don't feel one bit guilty about what I receive from the taxpayers of this Province. As I said publicly some time ago, when one of the news media was doing a story on it, everyone in the Province knows what I am receiving as a member of this House of Assembly, it is published two or three times a year across the television screen and if there is anyone out there who thinks that he should run against me and defeat me and come to the Legislature and reduce the benefits, he is free to do so; If they think my job is so attractive and the pay is so attractive, the opportunity is there, the democratic right for them to put their name on a ballot and run and try to get the position that I now hold, so I do not feel one bit bad about that.

Having said that, if you look at the full Province, maybe there could be a few less seats, maybe there could be arrangements made whereby some areas the Province - sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, maybe some rearrangements could be made to reduce the number of seats, but looking at my own area of the Province, I say we could not get by with any less than two seats or two members. The member made a good point with support staff. You only have to think what happened when this government came to power, when the Premier reduced the size of the Cabinet, I say to members opposite, and maybe he was right in doing that; maybe the Cabinet was too large, I have to say yes, it was too large and a reduction was necessary. Whether the degree of reduction should have been as exaggerated as it was, is another question, because what did the Premier do when he eliminated the four, I think it was four Cabinet positions? There were nineteen when he came to power, it is now I believe, himself plus fourteen or fifteen, so he eliminated, let us say, four ministers.

What cost was associated with those four ministers, Mr. Chairman? $1 million a year maximum, but what did we see? We saw the establishment, the appointment of the Economic Recovery Commission. How much money has that cost the taxpayers of this Province in the last three years, I ask the Member for St. John's South? - several millions of dollars. They have a Department of Development, which they still have, a Department of Fisheries, which they still have, a Department of Finance, which they still have, and then they appointed this Economic Recovery Commission. Millions and millions of dollars, this has cost the taxpayers of this Province.

The Member for St. John's South is right. That if we reduce the members in this house to thirty-five or thirty-six, there will have to be support staff hired to assist those members, so, financially, we may end up worse off, I say to the Member for St. John's South and to other members.

Now, the Member for St. John's East, this morning, brought up the issue of single able-bodied persons and what they are receiving. We all deal with it. That is serious. They are not getting enough, we all understand it. There are some people out there who are not getting anything. You run into them. Their parents are expected to keep them, they can't get any assistance, a very serious problem out and about. The member is right, and he made reference, too, he is worried about those out and about our society who are becoming suicidal because of it. It is true. Out in society today there are some very serious problems. There are tremendous financial pressures. It is all part of the whole system, the whole process of the worldwide recession and what is happening in North America, what is happening in Canada, what is happening in Newfoundland and Labrador.

It was only a couple of nights ago that we had a young gentleman jump into St. John's Harbour. Now, what it was related to, we don't know. But the incidence of that is increasing, I say to members opposite. It is increasing, and it is because of the social problems that are out and about the Province. The Member for Burin - Placentia West a few days ago said it is only the tip of the iceberg, and that we are sitting on a time bomb, and we are. All of us who are dealing with it on a daily basis must recognise that.

Now, Mr. Chairman, we talked about other things this morning. The Member for St. John's South brought up Premier Peckford and limousines and cigars, and on and on it went.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).


AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: I am going to talk about this now, I say to the member. We have a premier right now who makes over $100,000, gets a car allowance, $20,000 a year to supposedly run his home, enough to keep fifteen of those single able-bodied persons on that $128 a month for at least a year, I say to the Member for St. John's South. But what do we know on top of that? What happens on top of that? First of all, we are led to believe that that allowance was given to the Premier so he could entertain at his home with delegations and so on coming to the - what do we find out is happening now? That those people are entertained around the hotels and restaurants of the city and those bills are then sent to the various departments of government, Mr. Chairman. So it is not $20,000, we are probably talking about $65,000 or $75,000, I say to the Member for St. John's South. So you have to be careful when you start comparing. Put all the facts on the table, I say to him.

Now, Mr. Chairman, we are here to talk about this Income Tax Act, where the income tax of the people of this Province was increased by 2.5 per cent as of January 1, 1992, and it is going to increase a further 1.5 per cent as of January 1, 1993, an increase of 4 per cent in personal income taxes. That is what the minister announced in his last Budget. Now, already it has been increased since this minister took office by 2 per cent before this, so personal income taxes in this Province have increased by 6 per cent since this Minister became Minister of Finance.

Now, if we could see the financial situation of the Province improving, I suppose we could support it. If we could see the financial initiatives that have been taken and the financial direction of this government, that it was improving the bottom line of the Province, if it was improving the services to the people of the Province, we would probably support it. But what has happened in the time since they have come to power? There have been more tax increases than ever seen before in our history for the same length or period of time, any three or four-year period. The tax increase, there is no question, you cannot compare it. It has never been as great as it has been under this administration.

So, for those who argue that we are probably at the point of diminishing returns in taxes, they are probably correct, that now, the tax measures that the minister brings in are regressive, they are counterproductive. Our economy is shrinking as a result of these tax increases. So why doesn't the minister consider changing his approach to the way he is trying to run the financial situation in this Province, Mr. Chairman?

But they do not want to listen to that. They want to keep going on the same course, taxing the people to death. The payroll tax -

they announced that they were doing away with all those licenses and fees. What do we find out? Most of them don't come into effect until 1993. People who run bars, and so on, in the Province knew what the announcement meant to them when they went to renew. They had to pay two years up front, I believe someone told me.

So that is what this Minister of Finance has done. To increase personal income taxes in this Province by another 4 per cent in this last Budget, is pretty staggering stuff. People just can't take it any more. They are not benefitting. At the same time as the government is doing this - increasing taxes so significantly - they are cutting services. I have had people say to me out and about the Province: 'What, in the name of God, do they do with the money?' They have increased taxes, they are spending less, they are getting a few extra dollars from the federal government each year, so where does the money go? That is the real question that is being asked around the Province: 'What are they doing with the money?' But they don't answer that, Mr. Chairman, they try to avoid it.

Now, a few fisheries remarks that were made across the floor today - there is no question that the Member for St. John's East Extern was right about the Member for Port de Grave, he is a grandstander. He does point a lot of fingers and cast blame. He casts blame on the federal Minister of Fisheries and on the Prime Minister and on the union. He attacks different groups as he goes about his bit and piece. He does do that. We went to a meeting with him at the Holiday Inn a few months ago when the Icelandic people were here, and he was talking about all of us having to work together. Everyone said: "Yes, we have, John, we should all work together." We woke up the next morning, and what did we hear? As a matter of fact, Mr. Chairman -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. MATTHEWS: - at that meeting there was a committee struck to get together to evaluate the situation to see what we should do about this very serious issue of foreign overfishing, to bring attention to it, to try to get it stopped. We scheduled a meeting.

We woke up the next morning and what did we hear? - that the Member for Port de Grave was up to the Marine Institute and was going to march them down to the White Hills and have a big demonstration. He was attacking everyone again the next morning up at the Marine Institute, attacking half the people who were at the meeting the night before. So much for co-operation and going in the one direction, Mr. Chairman. So that is the kind of person we are dealing with with the Member for Port de Grave. I don't have to tell members opposite, because they know better than any of us what kind of an individual they are dealing with with the Member for Port de Grave.

The Member for St. John's East Extern was right. Behind closed doors he will tell you how disappointed he is with the Minister of Fisheries and the Premier in the approach they have taken to the fishery. But he will never find it within himself, publicly or in this House of Assembly, to question their actions or question their lack of action with regard to the fishery.

He was over there grinding his teeth this morning when the minister gave his ministerial statement - grinding his teeth behind the back of the minister, only wishing he could react to the Ministerial Statement, how he was going to tear shreds off the minister. But he wouldn't say a word. There are names for people like that. You can't say them in this House. But, at least, you have to be up front and honest with others and yourself. Either the Minister of Fisheries and the Premier are doing a good job with this fisheries issue, or they are not. They can't be doing both.

I have to say that they are not doing a good job with this issue. They are trying to confuse the people on the issue. One day they knock diplomatic efforts, the next week they are involved in diplomatic efforts themselves. The minister today stands up and says that they support diplomatic efforts. I wouldn't be surprised now Tuesday you will hear him say: Diplomatic efforts are no good, we have to get away from that. So that is what we are

up against, that kind of thing here. But there is one thing I must say, Mr. Chairman, blame the fisheries problem on the feds.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, blame it on the feds. Blaming it on the feds they are going back a long way, Mr. Speaker, when they used to give away our fish, Romeo LeBlanc and Pierre De Bané and all of them. Tons and tons. You would pick up the paper and read that they had given it away to this country and that country. It goes back a long way, Mr. Chairman. It goes back a long way. It goes back a long way like the debt of this Province goes back a long way. It didn't start in 1984, 1982 or 1979, and we should all be men and women enough in this Legislature to recognize that.

The fisheries' problems have been coming for years and years, and now it has come to the breaking point. But still the Member for Port de Grave will get up and talk as if it only happened within the last four or five years. That was when the trouble started. There was no trouble before. Never cast any reflection on his Mr. De Bané, his Mr. LeBlanc. Senator Michael Kirby, they had nothing to do with it, or Pierre Trudeau. Never opened his mouth about it. All that in the last four or five years.

I have told him before and I have told members here that when I was a boy growing up in the Town of Grand Bank there was enough foreign boats out on the Grand Banks that it was like a city. You could almost jump from one to the other, I say to the Member for Port de Grave. That is how long ago it all started, but like anything else it didn't reach the crisis point until now. We all have to take the blame for it, and someone has to straighten it out. It just so happens now that Mr. Mulroney and his government is the government of the day in Ottawa, and the responsibility to correct it rests with them.

But, Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the fishery failure in this Province, there are a lot of social problems connected with it. It is going to get increasingly worse, and the Government of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador has a responsibility to the people of this Province to put plans in place to get them through the crisis, I say to the Member for Port de Grave.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes I am absolutely - Let him tell his minister of fisheries and his Premier then. Absolutely right because if the Premier and the Minister of Fisheries and other ministers opposite keep going the way they are going, we might as well not only reduce the number of members in this House, we might as well close it up and throw everything over to the Government of Ottawa and let them run the Province. Throw it over because I haven't heard anything in the last three years I have been here where this provincial government is responsible for anything in this Province. You are not responsible for anything. So if you are not responsible for anything, shut the doors, save the money, and let Ottawa run the Province. You have a responsibility to the people of this Province. You have a responsibility I say to the Member for Port de Grave and to others over there.

Everything that comes up, it is not our responsibility, it is not our responsibility. What is your responsibility, I say to members opposite? Would someone one of these days be so kind as to tell us and inform us what is this administration's responsibility to the people of this Province? The President of Treasury Board, the Government House Leader, yes he can get up whenever he feels like it. You are responsible for more than freezing their wages and shutting down their hospital beds, and closing down their schools, and reducing the number of school boards, and reducing the number of health care boards, and amalgamating communities. You are responsible for more than that. You are responsible to help them stay alive, Mr. Speaker. Help them stay alive through this crisis.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: You have established commission of government I say to the Minister of Finance. There are more commissions and boards running this Province than there were during commission of government. You have turned the reins of governing over to someone else, that is what you have done. Tax them to death and let someone else run it. Tax the people to death. That is what you have been responsible for, I say to the Minister of Finance, taxing the people of this Province to death and then turning the reins of government over to some nonelected board or commission. That is what you have done, and the consequences now are coming home to roost, I say to members opposite, they are coming home to roost, and we are going to see it before too long.

The Member for Port de Grave is right about what is going to happen out and about this Province. I have heard him say it for a number of months. It is getting pretty serious out there. All you have to do is look, Mr. Chairman, at what has happened to some of the communities in this Province over the last few weeks. It never happened before. People rioting, doing damage, burning other peoples sheds and boats, turning over their cars. When ever did we see that in this Province before?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: I am not inciting it. I am telling the Minister of Finance if he doesn't already know that is what is happening in this Province today, and he has to take some of the responsibility for it, I say to him. It is like the Member for St. John's East said this morning, Mr. Chairman. He said he was concerned not only about the amount of money they have to survive on, but many of them are becoming suicidal, and he is right. He is right because financial pressures and other pressures, there is nothing else, Mr. Speaker, like it that affects the human being, and that is just how bad it is out in this Province today.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Shall the resolution carry?

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased to again rise and speak on this tax bill proposed by the Minister of Finance. I have to first of all commend my hon. friend from Grand Bank for a tremendous speech. A very good speech. It outlined very well what the people of this Province are saying is wrong with the economy. The simplistic approach by this government we all know is to tax more and cut services.


MR. A. SNOW: The hon. Member for St. John's South says: now, why are we doing that? There are thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians suggesting the same thing, Mr. Chairman, because there is another approach that should be made. Rather than just increase taxes. This government - and it is incumbent on any government - not just to appoint commissions, or blame somebody else for what ails the economy. It is incumbent on any government to provide an infrastructure to society that would enable the private sector to invest more money, create mechanisms through our tax structure that would encourage the private sector to invest more money.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where is the private sector getting the money?

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Chairman, the money is out there, capital is out there, willing to invest in this country. But for some reason it will not invest in this Province, because we do not have the proper infrastructure or framework or psyche of government to encourage it, or to foster it, or to promote it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Chairman, the other day I talked about capital. I will not mention any names about the raising of capital, how it could be used, this government should be promoting legislation to encourage employee ownership, and propose legislation, so that there would be tax benefits permitted to raise capital. This would encourage employees to invest in companies that could raise capital through tax concessions.

I am not attempting to reinvent the wheel here. It is in other provinces. But after the House adjourned one of the hon. members said: Alec, what are you talking about, capital? Capital funding, he said, sure there is a lot of capital funding. Municipalities aren't spending it. Why don't you transfer it?

Now that is the problem, you see. There is a complete lack of understanding of what is occurring out in the economy. Not just by a private member, but I believe, very sincerely, that it is a complete lack of understanding of what this government should be doing within cabinet. When the hon. Minister of Mines and Energy says that it really does not matter about the financial viability of a customer in a business transaction - now he said that, it is recorded in Hansard.

AN HON. MEMBER: I didn't say that.

MR. A. SNOW: He said that it does not matter, as only partners' financial viability is important in a business transaction. They are not partners, he talked about in reference to Hydro Quebec. Customers' financial viability is not important, he said. They are a customer.

Mr. Chairman, if you cannot understand that the ability of a customer to pay for a product is the most important function of any business - if a customer cannot buy a product you cannot sell it, no matter how good your product is. This government sees fit to remove all the money from customers. From people in the Province through taxes. Instead of taxing people to death, they should be doing the complete opposite, leaving more money within the hands of the people to stimulate the economy.

It occurs in western Labrador. We have, in our closed environment, probably the - not probably, it is - the healthiest economy in this Province, by far. One of the reasons is that we have high per capita earnings. Another reason is that we have a higher discretionary income to individuals in western Labrador through tax concessions made by the federal government. That this government opposed. People have more money to spend, and they do spend it. They do spent it. This government should be taking a page from that book of success. That is what they should be doing. But no, what do they do? They just increase taxes. They use Crown corporations, instead of ... If we agree, as the President of Treasury Board has just suggested, that the healthiest economy in this Province is in a district fashion; in the case of districts, when you look at district per district, is western Labrador. If he agrees, then he should be saying, what we should be doing is looking at that as a model. Instead of just taxing, we should be encouraging more development of that economy in western Labrador. But what does this government do? They encourage their Crown corporation to come into western Labrador and take more money out.

Newfoundland Hydro, with no improvement to delivery of service in western Labrador, are going to come in and they have suggested they are going to raise the electrical rates by 300 per cent - 300 per cent. They are going to take more money out of western Labrador and to what avail? They could be recalling power. What they should be doing is recalling power from Hydro Quebec, selling it to encourage more businesses to locate from the Province of Quebec into western Labrador, and create more economic opportunities and more employment in Labrador West. Instead of doing that, what do they do? They order the Crown corporation to go in and tax the people of Labrador City and Wabush even more, because that is what it is. Increased hydro rates in Labrador West is just a poorly disguised tax grab.

That is going to hurt the economy in western Labrador, and it is not going to have that much of a positive effect on the provincial economy; whereas if you did the complete opposite, and encouraged the Crown corporation to come into western Labrador and use their powers to recall power, sell more power and use that as an investment attraction to people who are located in the Province of Quebec and locate in western Labrador, you could create more jobs, more opportunities, more places for people to go to work; but no, what do you do? You do the complete wrong thing. You raise taxes on them. It is too simplistic.

The hon. Member for Grand Bank said all they have done so far since they have come to office is either cut services or raise taxes. We know that is not working. It did not work last year, and it is going to have an even more drastic affect this year.

I realize that in this whole country we have a lot of problems, but if you look around the country and see where the economy is the healthiest, where is it? It is in the western part of this country. Somebody mentioned to me the other night that one of the reasons why western Canada is doing very, very well in this recession, comparatively speaking to the rest of the country, is that a lot of our economic woes have been caused by the uncertainty created in this country because of the constitutional dilemma. Foreign capital will not invest in this country now because of what is occurring with the constitutional debate. They are scared that the country may come apart, and they know that if the country does come apart, the economy of the country is going to be devastated.

The place they know, if the country does come apart, that is going to do very, very well is western Canada - Alberta and British Columbia - and they are investing billions and billions and billions of dollars in western Canada because they know they can survive. But if you look at the other side of it, they are not investing a nickel in eastern Canada, especially this Province - especially in this Province - because they know this would be an economic wasteland if this country did come apart. Who created the dilemma that we have with the constitution? This government.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is stupid.

MR. A. SNOW: That is what economists are saying.

Oh, well you may call them stupid, but they are still economists, and a lot of people suggest they are correct.

We know that the government Cabinet Ministers have said that these economists who differ with them -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I won't be supporting a tax increase.


MR. A. SNOW: Because I don't think it does anything to help the economy of this Province. I am sure that if people on the opposite side stopped and listened -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: You don't necessarily have to close hospital beds to save money, Mr. Chairman. What you have to do - you see the hon. minister -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Does the hon. member have leave?

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Chairman, what this government fails to see is that they disagreed with the people who have suggested that one of the reasons why people won't invest in this Province -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the President of Treasury Board on a point of order.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Chairman, I don't mind the hon. gentleman continuing on with leave, but I think the point has to be made, Mr. Chairman, that Chairmen and Speakers in the House have ruled on many occasions that there had to be intervening speakers, that one person can't keep it going forever in this particular arrangement.

Now I am simply pointing it out from the point of view of precedent. I don't mind the hon. gentleman speaking and we will allow him to speak, but, Mr. Chairman, my point is it should be by leave of the House and not simply one person keep speaking forever during committee with no limitation.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Fogo to the point of order.

MR. WINSOR: If we already used precedent in this House, that event has happened here already today. A speaker was up and his ten minutes was up and the speaker told him his time was up. He sat down and no other speaker stood in his place and the member was allowed to continue, and there was no leave of the House given.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the President of Treasury Board on that point of order.

MR. BAKER: Yes, Mr. Chairman, on that same point of order. That is precisely the point I am making.

MR. WINSOR: You didn't listen.

MR. BAKER: I would like now, Your Honour, a ruling from the Chair on this particular issue because if that has inadvertently happened today it may be setting a new precedent in this House, Mr. Chairman. So I would like a ruling on that point of order so we can get this thing straight.

MR. CHAIRMAN: To the point of order raised by the hon. the President of Treasury Board. It is correct that in this House when we are in Committee that there has to be an intervening speaker before a member can speak a second or a third time. My understanding is that the hon. member for Menihek did have leave.

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I am hoping, Mr. Chairman, that the hon. Minister of Health would learn something rather than sitting in his chair and making personal remarks. He should listen and learn from it, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I am suggesting that this government is making a mistake. It is not some new found theory that I have, albeit I agree with the theory, that I think it is completely wrong to approach the economy that we have now in this Province by just cutting services and increasing taxes. I believe that what this government needs to do is to be more creative and imaginative and propose legislation that is going to attract more investment to this Province so that foreign capital will be attracted here and even local capital will be invested here rather than invested elsewhere so that we create more opportunities for investment, and that we use our Crown Corporations to stimulate the economy rather than use them as economic measures or economic tools to take more money out of the economy such as we are doing with Newfoundland Hydro, Mr. Chairman, because you are not helping the economy by increasing taxes.

That is my whole point. One of the reasons why we have a better economy in western Labrador is because people have more money to spend. They spend more money, Mr. Chairman. If we took that as a model and applied the same principle to this Province, generally it would work. We have to allow people to spend more money, not take

the money from them -

AN HON. MEMBER: Funny money!

MR. A. SNOW: No, it is not funny money and the other point, Mr. Chairman, that hon. ministers on the other side did not agree with is the fact that, one of the problems in this whole country that we have and I again want to repeat it so that they can learn from it, is that foreign capital is apprehensive about investing in Canada because they are scared the country may come apart because of the constitutional dilemma, and yet they are investing billions and billions and billions of dollars in western Canada. Why is that?

Why are they investing in western Canada?... because they feel that that part of the country can survive if this country comes apart, and yet we cannot shake a nickel out of Hong Kong, Mr. Chairman, not a nickel, because they know that if this country comes apart, if this country does come apart, this is going to be an economic wasteland, this will be a third world country in eastern Canada. We also know that this group created this problem with this constitutional dilemma. We see now a newly appointed minister off to Ottawa agreeing to everything that was in Meech; he is off to Vancouver, he takes his Triple E shoe salesman with him and off they go with their briefcases loaded down -

AN HON. MEMBER: Bring in your (inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Yes, caring, sharing, concern, all those things, hallmarks of policies that we are going to be adopting for the next provincial election, Mr. Chairman, all those things, a lot of them that were taken from the New Democratic Party, a lot of these policies, Mr. Chairman, because they have a concern for people and there is nothing wrong with people having concern for themselves, and willing to go out and work, nothing wrong with that -

AN HON. MEMBER: The great Liberal Party brown bag.

MR. A. SNOW: The brown bag, the Liberal Party created the brown bag in this country, that is what they created, but, Mr. Chairman, we are going to be adopting these new policies and we are sure that people in this Province are going to - those policies are going to be accepted by the people of this Province in the next election because they do not want this new conservatism that is sweeping the land, I don't believe that they do, this neo-conservatism that we have.

We have seen it here in this House, we have seen it in the House in Ottawa, where politicians are attacking people in the centre or to the left. They blame the ills of the country on the borrowings of an NDP government in Ontario, Mr. Chairman, but I do not believe it is going to work. I honestly do not believe that this country is going to go that far right. This country prides itself on being, and was built on, compromising, not this hard-nosed, underhanded, beat them over the head with a piece of pulp wood attitude that this government has, Mr. Chairman, not forcing people through legislation, forcing wage rollbacks and concessions such as Bill 17 did or increase taxes as this Bill is. Now, Mr. Chairman, the school tax that the hon. the President of Treasury Board talked about is now being replaced. We all know of course, that it was not abolished. It is a new tax now, it is a high school tax, it is increased. A miner in western Labrador pays $300 more a year and the hon. Member for St. John's South, reminded me of the pensioners who now have to pay for the school tax, they are going to have to pay school tax too.

The people who are pensioned off in western Labrador did not have to pay for years, never ever had to pay. Mr. Chairman, increasing the taxes that people cannot afford to pay is not an NDP philosophy.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I have a few words regarding Bill 14.


MR. WOODFORD: That is true. Regardless of what bill it is, Mr. Chairman, any bill from 1 to 101, if it is a money bill it would be the same speech, I must admit, Mr. Chairman, as long as it has something to do with money. One of the first things I have to touch on with regard to taxes is the effect it is going to have on, I suppose, everybody in the Province. The personal income tax one is going to affect every individual in the Province but the payroll tax, specifically business. Then the one that comes to mind to me, and which I always bring to mind when I am talking to constituents, and which they always bring to my attention, are hydro rates. The Minister of Health knows what I am talking about because the other day when government decided to forego the increase and stop the increase by the Public Utilities Board in rural areas, and your area I would say is one of the areas effected by it in southern Labrador especially.

Back in 1989 little did we think, and I suppose I knew because of the fact I was sitting in the House and had the opportunity to know what was going on. When the Minister of Finance knocked out the subsidy to Newfoundland Hydro, $30 million and then charged them a 1 per cent, I call surcharge, to float their bonds. A fee, that is what it was called, I suppose, another $9 or $10 million so that was some $40 million just in the Budget of 1989 and granted it was spread out over two or three years. But after three years all this now has finally come down and we see the results, we see the results around this Province. Ask any business person, especially a small business person in the Province today and one of the biggest expenses they have is their light bill, their service. They have to keep things going and that is a certain amount of overhead built in. Every business has a certain amount of overhead built in and one of the biggest expenses they have, regardless of what they are doing, if the business is up, down, in between, or whatever, they have to pay the light bill and that is another tax as far as I am concerned, one of the hidden taxes that was there in 1989.

There were a lot there with regard to registrations around the Province especially to do with the Department of Transportation. Week after week, day after day, I get calls from individuals going in to get their license renewed, get a registration renewed, or what have you, and they were up. They were never mentioned in the Budget but when it came time to get them renewed they finally realized that it would cost them $40, $50, or $100 more to get their registration. All those hidden taxes. Personal income tax went up 1 per cent in 1989, 1 per cent in 1990, 2.5 per cent this year and another 1.5 per cent next year. That is 6 percentage points on personal income tax alone in the Province in the last three years. Mr. Chairman, that combined with the times we have today, we are into a recession no doubt, a North American recession or probably a worldwide recession, that combined with an increase in payroll taxes to business. Who do ministers opposite think are going to create the jobs in this Province today? It is not going to be the government when you have the government laying off 2,000, 2,500 or 3,000 people.

Who are we relying on to create jobs? - business people in this Province, Mr. Chairman, and the potential business person, the self-employed in this Province. I think we, in this Province, have one of the highest percentage rates in Canada with regard to self-employed people. That is a good sign, but every way they turn, they are stymied. They start a business today, and I don't have to tell gentlemen opposite what they have to do with respect to permits, to the restrictions, to the property tax, payroll tax, personal income tax, unemployment insurance, Canada Pension Plan. Before ever they start to do a thing at all they have all those problems and impediments put in their way. Mr. Chairman, make little wonder that a small business person or any person starting off in business today gets fed up - let it go, throw it by the wayside, because before ever they take in a dollar or spend a cent, they have all those things facing them. What do we do with this? -regulations, GST, RST, everything under the sun. They need a manager right away before ever they start the business.

Now, Mr. Chairman, if we are expecting business people in this Province to hire people and try to stimulate this economy - that is the only way it is going to happen. People have to start spending, and in order to spend you have to have income. Granted, we have a certain amount of savings out there that people could start spending tomorrow, but because of the uncertainty and the nervousness today in society they are just not going to spend. People are uncertain.

We have an example in people on the West Coast today, Lundrigans: people are uncertain - 500, 600, 700 jobs potentially; 300 full-time and 300 or 400 seasonal. People now are getting worried. They are not going to buy the car that they were going to buy a few months ago. They are not going to go on the trip that they were going to go on within the Province that would stimulate tourism. They are not going to do the things that they had planned a few months ago, and that, Mr. Chairman, is what adds to the recession, and until we can get people to spend we are not going to come out of it, not only for Newfoundland, but for all of Canada. There is no way under the sun.

Talking about spending and talking about business in the Province, Mr. Chairman, I asked the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations the deadline for the applications for the private sector program with regard to hiring students, and I think it was May 8. I say to the Minister responsible for Treasury Board and the Minister responsible for Labour, especially, to try to get those applications out. The money is there, if it is $1 million or $2 million, I don't know what it is, but get it out. Students are out there. If there was ever a time when they needed help, this summer - and God knows -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Oh they are out there. The deadline is May 8, I think, last Friday, and that is a good program. If we can get employers in the Province today even to make the application, that is a sign that they are going to try to do something, because if I am not mistaken, and the minister can correct me, I think they can hire students for a minimum of five and a maximum of seventeen weeks and pay up to 50 per cent. That will help a lot of students in the Province, more today than ever. So the sooner they can get that out and get students working, and along with the different government agencies hiring summer help, we should be able to help a small percentage of the students get through next fall when they go back to a post-secondary institution.

While I am on that subject, I want members opposite to take note of that as well. It is a combination of the federal and provincial government. I wrote a letter to de Cotret last fall, I think it was. I finally got an answer about two weeks ago from the federal minister responsible for student loans.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: I do not know how long, about three or four months waiting for an answer. As far as I am concerned, that is wrong.

In his letter to me he promised to look into student loans. He promised to look into this 3 per cent surtax fee they have on, and he promised that changes would be made to that based on what they would recapture for recapture of student loans and so on, the $150 million that is owed there. He promised, in consultation with the minister responsible for the Province, to try to do something to revamp the student loan program.

To me, as far as I am concerned, it is archaic and it should be addressed sooner rather than later. Students in the Province today have nowhere to turn - absolutely nowhere to turn. They can't go to their parents. Students this year who are applying for a student loan, find it is based on what the parent made last year. That is one of the criteria, it is based on what the parents made last year. That is wrong, diabolically wrong. There is no question about it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: It is there for years - right. That is true, and it should come out today. To me, that is discriminatory.

MR. WINDSOR: If that child is over nineteen, it shouldn't be considered, anyway.

MR. WOODFORD: Now, in order to become an independent student, you have to be twenty-one. Not only that, you have to be four years out, anyway. That, in itself, is discriminatory, as far as I am concerned. I mean, God knows, we are after so many students to go back to school. We are telling them to stay in school and after that, go to university, get an education. But, at the same time, we have nothing in place to help them stay there. Where do they get the money when they come out?

I am not blaming just the Province for this, it is a combination of the provincial and the -

MR. WINDSOR: Most students want to accept the responsibility for their education. They want to borrow the money.

MR. WOODFORD: That's right. A high percentage of students will do that and are doing it now even under the restraint circumstances. I think that members on both sides of the House can realise this problem. This particular problem I am talking about now, everybody has it. Everybody has it in their districts.

To get back to what I was saying about the student program, based on last year's earnings - now, parents in the Province, where the unemployment rate is so high now, a lot of people, a percentage of people who worked last year, never worked this year, and are not going to get work. Now, when the application goes in, the student automatically is turned down because of the parents' income for the last year. Then they have to appeal. Nine chances out of ten they are going to lose the appeal, no question about that.

They will be sitting down in a university in the fall, probably four or five weeks. They will walk up to the administrator. It is all there and tallied on the computer. They can bring up the name and the Social Insurance Number and they realise that the student is in for a loan or an appeal or whatever. But why put students through that misery? Why put them through it? They are there, they do not know, they have very little for pocket money. They are away from home, nowhere to go, no one to go to, can't go back to the parents. They want an education. As far as I am concerned, that is wrong.

Something should be put in place. I told the federal minister, de Cotret, that it is wrong, and he should act now, not later. And I say to the ministers responsible today, in combination and unison with him, try to do something about it now. There was never a more critical time to address the student problem.

We have a report here today, I say to the Minister of Education - he is not here. Our Children - Our Future. What a time in conjunction with this report and the study in this report to take a long, hard look at the Student Loan Program. We can do all we like down here, and in the classroom, but what happens when they come out? Graduations now for the last two or three weekends, all kinds of students with all kinds of hopes and aspirations, what do they do come September? In order for any of this we have on our desk today to succeed we are going to have to carry it a little further and do something with the Student Loan Program, no question. Students are being stymied, students are being held back, students want to get an education, students really want to do something for themselves.

I think today that is what we are all asking for, people to start doing things for themselves and when graduate students do that, and want to do it, I think that is a good sign for all of us, as a Province and as a nation. I think that is one of the things that has to be addressed and there is nothing more timely when we got this report today than to continue on and bring it a little further with regards to the Student Loan Program. I say to the minister again, especially the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to get the applications, to look at those applications as soon as he can and get them out, the approvals, wherever they might be. I am not saying it just for my district, but wherever they might be. I know there are applications in to help students get something for this Summer to help them when the time comes to continue their studies in the Fall of the year.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

MR. HARRIS: I rise to speak in committee stage on Bill 14 with respect to changes in the Income Tax Act. We are looking at a major increase in taxation. The new school tax that we have is one which has certain advantages in that it is directed at the income base as opposed to the per capita base, or the property base that we had before. In that sense it is less regressive but I want to use this opportunity to raise some concerns about the adequacy of other people's incomes, people who do not have to pay 62 per cent on their income tax, Mr. Chairman, because they do not have an income. They are not wealthy like some individuals who are lucky and who may have been successful in business in their former lives, or may have, by their own efforts, been able to do very well for themselves, or they may have inherited money. Somebody may have inherited money.

Other people are forced to live in grinding poverty, or people who were once employed, have lost their jobs and are now in receipt of unemployment insurance, and are worried that next week or next month their unemployment insurance is going to run out and they will not have jobs. Now they are not in this House speaking for themselves. They are not here. They are not here to speak for themselves, so those of us who sit in this House, who are well-off by comparison, have to speak for them. Anybody in this House who stands up and speaks out for poor people, by the definition of some hon. members, is a hypocrite because they are making more than these poor people. Well I think the public of this Province will recognize that for the sheer nonsense that it is.

I want to talk about the real problems that exist, and we have seen the cold and heartless attitude of the Premier towards people who are poor. We have seen the patronizing attitude of the Member for Port de Grave towards people who are poor.

I want to quote from some comments made by the Canadian Mental Health Association, talking about what happens as the unemployment rate rises, so do, they say, the rates of infant mortality, suicide, homicide, spouse and child abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction, family breakdown, and stress related illnesses. All of these are part of the devastating impact of unemployment in body and soul. Now we all hear talk about that, but when unemployment gets to the point where even your UI benefits run out, you are on the bottom of the system.

One of the quotations from the National President of the Canadian Mental Health Association says that even those who still have jobs are affected.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

Looking at the time, I wonder if the hon. member would -

MR. HARRIS: I would be prepared to adjourn the debate until the next time, and continue on with my remarks.

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

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole has considered the matters to them referred, and has directed me to report that it has adopted a certain resolution, that recommends that Bill No. 15 be introduced to give effect to the same. In addition, Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole has considered the matters to them referred and has directed me to report progress and ask leave to sit again.

On motion, report received and adopted, Committee ordered to sit again on tomorrow


"That it is expedient to bring in a measure to amend the Tobacco Tax Act, 1986."

Motion, that the Committee report having passed a resolution and a bill consequent thereto, carried.

On motion, a bill "A Resolution To Amend The Tobacco Tax Act, 1986," read a first, second and third time, ordered passed and its title be as on the Order Paper. (Bill No. 15).

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to advise the House of my intentions to continue with the Finance Bills on Tuesday when the House sits again. Also, I would like to point out that on Tuesday morning in the House, the Social Services Committee will meet to examine the estimates of the Department of Justice, also in the morning, Municipal Affairs in the Colonial Building and in the evening, here in the House, the Department of Development.

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

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