May 28, 1992               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                 Vol. XLI  No. 46

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Before going on to routine business, on behalf of hon. members, I would like to welcome to the public galleries today, sixty students from Saints Peter and Paul School in Bonavista in the district of Banavista South. These students are accompanied by their teachers, Tom Maddicks, Terry Maloney, Dianne Curtis, Morris Lewis, Alice Lewis and student assistant Margaret Quinton.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I rise to inform the House that an election writ has been issued for the district of Naskaupi that will see the election called for Thursday, June 25. Information concerning the details and matters as to the running of the election will, of course, as in the ordinary course, be provided by the Chief Electoral Officer or the acting Chief Electoral Officer.

It has been our practice, Mr. Speaker, to make sure that we had about four weeks or so of notice of the call of the by-election, but everybody has been very much aware that a by-election was imminent and would be called as soon as possible, and I am happy to advise the House that it will be called and be held at that time.

There is another by-election imminent, but as, of course, the seat is not right at this moment vacant and the member, if he were in the House, would have the privilege of hearing a by-election for his seat being called, the government has to wait until it is formally vacant but I should advise the House, Mr. Speaker, that we would intend to call it without any delay.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

We welcome the news. It has been long anticipated and not only Naskaupi which is going to be most interesting, but we await the announcement for Ferryland, as well. I am sure both will be most interesting contests, and democracy I am sure, will be displayed in great fashion in both Naskaupi and Ferryland once the Premier announces the date for that one, so we welcome the news.

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

MS. COWAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a statement today regarding Environment Week, which is next week. I had hoped to have a number of goodies at everyone's desk for today, but due to the unexpected cancelling of the House for tomorrow, you will have to wait until Monday. There will be a variety of things to help you promote Environment Week.

Mr. Speaker, "It's up to all of us." This is the theme for Environment Week 1992 and it is most fitting as environmental awareness is being continually raised to new levels. More and more people are becoming environmentally conscious in many aspects of their everyday lives. The water we drink, the air we breathe, the land and resources we use - the environment is all around us. We depend on the environment for our existence and increasingly, our water, air, land and resources are depending on us for their own survival.

Most people would agree that environmental awareness begins with education. Instilling values in today's youth will reap benefits for tomorrow. To this end, the provincial Department of Environment and Lands, with the Department of Education, has adapted an exciting environmental program developed by the Canadian and American Wildlife Federations called Project Wild for the Province's classrooms. The primary focus is on wildlife and serves to foster informed decisions, responsible behaviour, and constructive actions by integrating aspects of wildlife and the environment into courses already part of the curriculum.

Another example which shows that the environment has become more prevalent in everyday society is the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). Over 130 nations will gather in Brazil in June to discuss the environment on a global scale. One of the topics that will be on the agenda is the critical issue of over-fishing in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. The fish stocks on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks are facing extinction. We must adopt an immediate solution to the problem of the world's over-fishing. If not, it may be too late and one of the world's worst ecological disasters will occur.

This crisis serves to provide us with yet another reason why we must protect our world. If we don't take care of it, we stand to lose valuable resources that may never return and possibly do irreparable damage to our air, water, and land. Protecting the environment, Mr. Speaker, is, indeed, 'up to all of us'.

I am pleased then to proclaim the week of June 1-7, 1992 as CANADIAN ENVIRONMENT WEEK, and I encourage all the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador to participate in the activities and events scheduled for this special week.

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

MR. WARREN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the minister also for giving me an advance copy of her notice. It is interesting that, starting on Monday, we have Environment Week. I think we are all concerned about the environment - the environment of the world, the environment of our country, and the environment of our Province. Nothing is more serious than today when we think about the mess that our Province is in. The mess in Long Harbour that is going to take, the Premier said, twenty years to clean up. I say to the minister that she should put more action into what she is saying, and let's see some work being done in our Province to clean up the awful mess that is left there by big industries such as Albright and Wilson have left over in Long Harbour.

One other thing I wanted to note is that one of the greatest disasters of our fisheries - before this particular one now of overfishing - was the big disaster back in 1969 in Long Harbour, when Placentia Bay was practically polluted. Even today, as we are speaking now, federal Fisheries, and, I hope, our department, are involved in checking the recent fish that has been caught in the Long Harbour area, such as the red herring as has been reported by the media. I hope the minister will put more action into what she is saying. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Before moving to Oral Questions, the Chair would like, on behalf of hon. members, to welcome to the public galleries today, Judy Edwards, R.N., President of the Association of Injured and Disabled Nurses.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Minister of Labour. Recently, we have received a number of concerns from injured nurses in this Province that they are no longer eligible for retraining under Workers' Compensation benefits. Previously, they were eligible for up to three years, and then it seems that it got reduced to one, and now, apparently, there is no training at all. Once they reach a maximum level of recovery they engage in a ten-week job search. After that, despite the fact that their injury occurred on the job, they can't find jobs, and they are thrown to the wolves. Can the minister confirm that this is true? That Workers' will no longer take any responsibility following the completion of the ten-week job search?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the question being raised so that it could be dealt with in this public manner. I have met over the past while with a number of individual injured nurses who have asked to see me, as minister, and we have met. Just yesterday I met with the president, the past president, and the secretary of the Association of Injured and Disabled Nurses. We dealt with, at some length, their legitimate concerns about the changes in the rehabilitation policies at Workers' Compensation and how they feel it impacts and affects them.

I am a little surprised that the hon. member would use such language as 'throwing people to the wolves' and so on in his question, because it is far from the truth.

We recognize that there are serious problems in all aspects of workers' compensation that we are dealing with as a government, and that the rehabilitation and retraining options are just one aspect of very serious problems in the whole system that are currently under review and being addressed by the government.

We have indicated, as a result of the meeting yesterday, that I will be writing the board of the commission to ask if in fact they had considered all the points that were raised in the meeting yesterday when they developed their new policy, because the government appoints the board. The board formulates and then sees implemented the policies of the workers' compensation system, which is not funded by government; which is contributed to by employers only, and which is there for the benefit of injured workers.

We have undertaken, and I have undertaken, as a result of that meeting, to have the board of the commission check to see that they were aware of all of the concerns raised to me when they implemented and decided upon the new rehabilitation policy that will take place shortly.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I will ask the minister the same question. Following the completion of the ten week job search, is it true that the injured workers will no longer be eligible for any benefits from Workers' Compensation? Is that now the policy?

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member opposite would know, and all the members in the House would know - who have made intercession on behalf of all categories and types of injured workers, including injured nurses - that the treatment of an individual at the commission can be widely variant depending upon the extent of injury, the treatment that is going on, the medical rehabilitation, and the need, on an individual basis, for rehabilitation and/or retraining. Whether or not anyone has exhausted all of the options and what occurs to them is an individual assessment done based on the policies of the commission and what may happen to any one individual, even in the same category, whether it be a nurse or any other of the groups, could be very different. In terms of interpreting the policy, every person in the system, through no fault of their own, who is injured and trying to access the benefits to which they are entitled, is treated on an individual case basis at the commission, consistent with the policies of the commission.

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

MR. WINSOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister can skate better now than he could when he was playing hockey.

Presently the collective agreement with the nurses and several other hospital employees allows for a top-up to make up for the difference between what they get in compensation and what they would normally be entitled to. The proposed changes in workers' compensation benefits would obviously require these agencies to come up with more funding to bring it up to 100 per cent. Is it the plan of this administration to change that clause of the collective agreement by either eliminating the 10 per cent or will they restrict the employers from guaranteeing the 100 per cent rate that is presently in effect?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you again, Mr. Speaker.

The issue of top-up is again just like all the others, one that is being dealt with currently in the discussions we are undertaking in terms of what is going to happen to the full workers' compensation system. I will point out again, and I appreciate the question, that it is common knowledge and understood by representatives of the different unions that represent workers in Newfoundland and some of their members who happen to be injured and who happen to be availing of workers' compensation, that there had been a decision, I guess, taken by the Cabinet of the previous administration dating back to 1984 suggesting that if at all possible through the collective bargaining process that the idea of top-up should be removed from collective agreements in the Province.

It has not been acted upon yet but it is certainly something that is under consideration and certainly each of the unions and the representatives of all the unions in the public service in Newfoundland have been aware for some time that that is an issue that is being considered in light of all the other changes that will have to occur and will be announced as a total package when we have made our decisions as a government. We will announce the total changes of every aspect of workers' compensation that we have authority to deal with, and will deal with. It will be announced as a total package as to what all the changes are. It is clear and it has been understood for some time by the representatives of injured workers, and all workers in Newfoundland, that that is an item that has been under discussion.

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

MR. WINSOR: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

The minister indicates that when the changes occur all areas will be considered. Is it not a fact that this is presently a component of the collective agreement? Is the minister, in order to effect these changes, going to break the collective agreement, introduce further legislation as he has already with Bill 16 or 17 to change the benefits of workers in this Province? Is the minister planning further contract stripping? Is that what he intends to do?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I believe in answer to a similar question last week by the hon. Member for St. John's East I took the opportunity to indicate to the House that just recently in New Brunswick the New Brunswick Legislature in looking at its changes did bring in a piece of legislation outlining top-up provisions in contracts. That will be considered. If that is the decision that we reach, then there would have to be another decision as to what happens in the interim with existing provisions to the point where they may be outlawed. Those kinds of decisions are not yet taken, they are under consideration and, as I indicated before, we will be announcing publicly and, hopefully, in this House the total of all the different changes that are within our gambit, as the government, to control and to effect in workers' compensation. We will announce the total package and if that is a part of it, the method in which it will be addressed will be explained at that time.

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

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

I have a question for the Premier, following up on yesterday and the last few days, on the Roddickton crab plant situation.

Yesterday I asked the Premier if he would consider a full investigation into that, and having had time to reflect on the situation in Roddickton the Premier gave an answer as best he could going back on memory for a couple of years when he had a couple of meetings with members of the council. I am wondering now, on reflection, if the Premier would consider a full-scale investigation into the situation concerning the Roddickton fish plant?

I have had, yesterday and this morning, five calls from the area again. People there feel that the only way this is going to be cleared up is for there to be a full-scale investigation. The Department of Fisheries has a crab licence supposedly associated with the plant. NLDC had some money arrangements with the operator and so on. There are allegations that there were improprieties in having the insurance cheque countersigned and all this stuff. I am wondering if the Premier might consider that for the people of Roddickton, to clear up this mess there?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I heard again this morning on the radio a report of the hon. member's comments in the House. Maybe I wasn't listening quite as well as I should have yesterday. I haven't had time to go back to Hansard. I am very concerned about some of the allegations he made in the House yesterday. I say to the hon. member: If he has any reason to believe there is any validity to those suggestions, please take your information to the police right away so that a proper investigation can be carried out. Don't damn people by innuendo by asking questions like....will you conduct an investigation into this affair in the House of Assembly? If you think there is anything wrong, take your information to the police and get a totally independent opinion - because the inference in the hon. member's comments yesterday are such that I am quite concerned about it. If there is anything of that nature, it should be taken to the police.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I have obtained copy of the lease. It is a lease that was entered into in 1983, between two private parties, the town and the company.

Now, Mr. Speaker, one of the provisions of it provides that if, during the term of the lease or any renewal thereof, the premises are destroyed by fire, etc., the tenant will have the option of having any insurance proceeds related thereto applied to the rebuilding of the demised premises and, in the meantime, shall pay rent only to the time of destruction with the payment of the rent to recommence on completion of the building of the demised premises.

The other clause provides this with respect to the insurance - or provides this with respect to an option to purchase: The tenant, during the term of the lease, or any renewal thereof, shall have a option to purchase the premises for the sum of $50,000. Now, after the tenant got it, I understand there was a substantial piece added to it, or a substantial addition to the plant. But the original one gave the purchaser - or the tenant an option to purchase for $50,000, which shall be exercised by written notice of exercise executed under the seal of the tenant and given to the landlord, together with a certified cheque for $5,000 as the deposit. The balance of the purchase price shall be paid by certified cheque on closing. The notice from the tenant exercising the option shall constitute a binding agreement of purchase and sale, and any rent paid at any time from the commencement of the lease to the closing date will be credited against the purchase price.

That, Mr. Speaker, as far as I know, created a situation where the tenant was able to say, We are in control of the rebuilding and we will control that. I understand that the cheque was made payable jointly to NLDC, the development corporation that loaned some money at the time for the building of the addition, I think, of the plant, and payable to the tenant, Canada Bay Seafoods, and to the town. The town refused to sign the lease without a commitment that the plant would sign the cheque, without a commitment that it would be rebuilt. I understand that this went on for some time. Apparently, later, money was released to NLDC or they were paid.

Some time ago, last October, I think, the information says, the cheque was endorsed by the town in October of 1990 at a meeting with members of the council and Canada Bay Seafoods. Not all members of the council were present. I think one or more may not have been, but the majority of the council were there, and apparently, they signed the cheque.

Mr. Speaker, that is the best information I can give the House at the moment. If the hon. member has any other things that cause him concern, if he thinks there is anything wrong - some of the comments he made yesterday lead me to believe he may, and if he does, take the information to the police immediately.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Before recognizing the hon. the Opposition House Leader, I just wanted to bring to the attention of hon. members something that I have on several occasions, and that is about interrupting members when they are speaking. I notice that the Member for Torngat Mountains quite frequently is interrupting. Maybe he is not aware of it, but I would ask the hon. member to please restrain himself. Sometimes his remarks are provocative and it doesn't add to the flow of Question Period.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. MATTHEWS: He wants badly to provoke me.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to say to the Premier, off the top, the concerns that I have raised here are concerns that have been brought forth to me by a substantial number of people from the Roddickton area. I am really surprised at the number of calls I have had over the last week or so, I say to the Premier, from the area, that are bringing forth these concerns about this, what appears to be a messy affair surrounding the burning of that plant, and the signing of the cheques. I asked the acting Minister of Municipal Affairs yesterday if he would check to see. I understand there was a request for an investigation, that the countersigning of the cheques was not authorized by the council, that the Mayor of the day went off to a meeting with the operator and signed the cheques without the rest of the council knowing it.

So these are the kinds of things. That involves the provincial Department of Municipal Affairs. It involves the Department of Fisheries from the licensing end of things. The Newfoundland and Labrador Development Corporation was involved from their funding arrangements. So you can't just slough it off and say that the government has no involvement here, Mr. Speaker. So that is why I asked the Premier the question: Would he, or his Minister of Justice, look at a full-scale investigation into this situation here to clear the matter up once and for all? It is on the concerns, the wishes and the requests of the people of Roddickton that I am asking the Premier that - such things as the Minister of Health, who was the mayor of the day, who signed the lease, and so on. Tthe situation is very fuzzy and messy, I say to the Premier, so I ask him once again, would he seriously consider that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I will take a copy of yesterday's Hansard, and today's, when I get it, and I will send it to the Superintendent of the RCMP and ask him to ensure that whatever investigation the comments of the hon. member justifies, to see that it is carried out. That's no problem. If the hon. member won't do it himself, then I will do it for him.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate that offer and that answer from the Premier. I want to go to the -

MS. VERGE: All those questions (inaudible) breach of the (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, but I wanted to go a supplementary to the Minister of Fisheries. The people of Roddickton want me to ask the Minister of Fisheries, can he guarantee that that crab processing license will be left there in case this whole affair gets straightened out? Will that license be left there for them in case they are successful in cleaning up this mess and finding another operator for the plant? Will that be left there for them?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, the people of Roddickton, including the member for the district, have already been given that assurance by me, that I have no intention of authorizing the transfer of that license out of Roddickton. If an operator comes along, then, of course, the license will be there for that operator.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Another supplementary to the minister: The situation at Fleur de Lys - my colleague for Green Bay has brought up the matter, and so on. I am told that plant has now been renovated and ready for crab processing. Would the minister inform the House where that processing - if there has been one issued, where it came from, or if there is one going to be transferred there, where it will come from? What is the situation with that?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, there is a plant in Fleur de Lys, for which we have a request in from an operator to transfer a license from the plant in Little Bay Islands to the plant in Fleur de Lys. Now, there is a procedure that must be followed in cases where license transfers are requested. That procedure involves the advertising in the various papers precisely what is intended to be done. That is the process that is being followed now. In fact, I believe that this weekend there will be an ad appearing in the local papers requesting input from any aggrieved person with respect to a possible transfer. Again, I can assure him, as I have assured the Member for the Green Bay district, and the mayor and councillors of Little Bay Islands, that before any transfer is made that procedure will be followed to the letter. That is in the process of being done now.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Minister of Finance. In the minister's Budget, the minister announced that he would be replacing the school tax with increases to his infamous payroll tax. He said that he would be funding education through this means, and that those who were being relieved of school tax would pay about an equivalent amount through payroll tax, and in the same proportions as they were taxed through school tax. In other words, it would be equitable to all.

Yet the minister applied a tax of 1 per cent to resource-based industries, and increased all other industries that were already paying payroll tax, by .5 per cent. So, resource-based industries, including the fishing industry, received an increase of 1 per cent payroll tax, other industries .5 per cent. How does the minister justify his statement, Mr. Speaker, that he would be doing it equitably, when resource-based industries had an increase twice as large as other industries?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The member is twisting the budgetary words. What we said was that we would be replacing the school tax on individuals and companies in the same proportions as was there before, and that is what we did.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister says he is going to do it but he doesn't do it. He obviously taxed resource-based industries more. A study done by the Fisheries Association of Newfoundland and Labrador on twenty of their member companies, in fact, showed that last year, those twenty companies paid $430,000 in school taxes, whereas, this year, they are being forced to pay, under the payroll tax, $1,120,000, almost three times as much. How can the minister say that he simply replaced the school tax by his infamous payroll tax?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

All we decided to do was replace the school tax portion, which companies paid through property assessment, with a different form of tax. Naturally, this will fall out on different companies in different ways.

I might point out, Mr. Speaker, that the amount paid by companies, by the business sector, is $2 million less than the school tax which it replaces.

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

MR. WINDSOR: The hon. minister might have thought that it was $2 million less, but experience is telling us that, indeed, businesses are paying more, as I just indicated from those twenty surveyed. In fact, my colleague from Fogo spoke with a company this morning that paid $2,000 last year and will pay $20,000 this year.

Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that, as it relates to the fishing industry, in particular, all companies are being assessed school tax for the first half of the year up to the end of June and then they will be assessed payroll tax from July 1 on? In the fishing industry, Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that virtually all of the payroll, certainly, by far the greatest percentage of the payroll, is paid out in the second half of the year? Therefore, they are paying school tax for the first half of the year and all of the payroll tax for the second half of the year. Will the minister roll back for resource-based industry, particularly the fishing industry, the payroll tax to a half of 1 per cent to give them relief for this first year?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, the resource industries are being treated differently from the other industries in the Province. They pay a smaller payroll tax than any other industry, and I think we are giving them a very good break in that way. Other businesses are complaining to us that the renewable resource industries are paying less tax than they should, from their point of view. So it is pretty difficult to make things even for every single company. We feel that the move from the school tax to the income tax/payroll tax is being eminently appreciated by the people of the Province. Any move by hon. members opposite to restore the past will not be appreciated by the people in this Province.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, obviously, the minister is not prepared or is unable to realize that the fishing industry is not being treated fairly, since their payroll comes in the second half of the year.

Mr. Speaker, let me ask one final question. It is a different question and I ask it to the Premier. In the Premier's absence last week, I asked some questions of the Minister of Housing related to the Housing Corporation policy of developing new lands. Specifically, I referred to the Southlands in Mount Pearl and those types of basically cost-recovery type developments. The minister was a little fuzzy on his answer.

Let me ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker: Is it this government's policy to permit the Housing Corporation to continue with development of building lots for sale at an economic recovery basis, or has there been a change of policy? Specifically, Mr. Speaker: Has there been a change of policy in relation to the Southlands? Has the Housing Corporation been directed to cease further development of the Southlands, or is government considering such a policy change? Could the Premier answer that, Mr. Speaker, please?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, my recollection, off the top of my head - I don't remember the detail of every policy we have decided. I expect the minister gave you the answer. He is not here today. I have no idea what the minister said to you last week, but my recollection is that we just recently considered that question - I say recently, six months ago - of the policy of Newfoundland and Labrador Housing developing lands, and developing from two points of view, developing also from a commercial point of view in selling lands and making a profit on them, although my sense is that that is not the primary role and should not be the focus of the Housing Corporation. They should be focusing on providing housing for people who have difficulty providing housing for themselves. That should be there primary focus but my recollection is, that we agreed that they could continue some moderate level or modest level of this kind of thing, where it was necessary to ensure that market factors necessitated it, but where market factors did not necessitate it, they should not be competing with the private sector in that area.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is for the Minister of Social Services.

The figures revealed by the minister on March 26, concerning the number of people on social assistance show an increase, Mr. Speaker, in 40 per cent of those single able-bodied persons receiving social assistance, this at the rate, Mr. Speaker, of $128 a month, and I ask the Minister of Social Services, is that all that thousands and thousands of people who are unemployed in this Province have to look forward to when their unemployment insurance runs out?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, yes. We have had an increase in caseloads in the category he mentions and other categories as well. The amounts that are available for single, able-bodied social assistance are under review; we are presently reviewing of course, as I think I explained to the House for the previous question, all categories of social assistance, including single, able-bodied assistance and looking at the amounts that we pay out in those categories.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, would the minister be prepared to explain to the House why single, able-bodied persons receive the sum of $128 per month, when those with criminal records, Mr. Speaker, are entitled to receive three or four times that much? Isn't that an incentive to those who are desperate, because of the policies of this government, to go ahead and commit crimes to get more money out of them?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, the member draws an unfair comparison, I believe, in the sense that in categories where we provide assistance to people who are in closed custody, obviously there is a staff involvement, there is a cost of providing that care that is far in excess of the dollars that are made available to single, able-bodied people, so it is not a fair comparison and indeed we do spend more money in closed custody situations, particularly because of the staffing requirement that is necessary.

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

MR. HARRIS: The minister misunderstands. The persons who approach the government, who can say to the government they have a criminal record are entitled to more money than single, able-bodied persons who don't. I was suggesting to the minister that his policies, his government policies in fact, encourage people to commit crimes potentially because his policies in fact can offer an incentive for them to do that by giving more accountability to those people who are in that category than people who are merely unemployed, Mr. Speaker, and have no source of income other than the starvation wages (inaudible) -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary and I ask him to get to it.

MR. HARRIS: Can the minister explain why it is that a person with a criminal record, going to his office, can get three or four times the amount in social assistance than a person who is able-bodied?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of that difference and I will check the comparison he makes, but I am certainly not aware that three times the amount exists in the case of a person who seeks assistance who has a criminal record. Certainly I will check that out. I find it hard to fathom that that would be the case and I repeat, that in cases where we have extra expenses due to staffing or other costs, naturally the expenses would be greater, but I do not foresee this situation. If he is making the comment I assume he has checked it out, where, three or four times the amount is paid out in a circumstance where a person has a criminal record, but I will check the comparison he makes.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Green Bay. There is time for a short question.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. The day before yesterday I attended a loggers demonstration in Corner Brook. We had a situation where a great number of loggers working for the Kruger Company have not been recalled. They have small numbers of people being recalled for large numbers of weeks, rather than the work being shared and spread over more people. I indicated in my public comments to the gathering that the sign of a good corporate citizen in Newfoundland, is one who bends over backward, if necessary, to insure that every worker, the normal workforce gets their stamps.

I would ask the hon. minister, would he use his good offices to impress upon the Kruger Company, that such should be the case?

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, not yet this spring but on several occasions leading up to this, both myself and my colleague, the Minster of Forestry and Agriculture, had meetings that involved the two paper companies that are operating in the Province at the time and representatives of the Canadian Paper Workers Union, who represent just about all these loggers involved and we have discussed that issue at some length.

It is clear that there are some significant changes occurring in how the woods operations of both the companies are being managed and we have in the past asked for the maximum amount of co-operation between the union representing the loggers and the company, in terms of trying to manage their business in the best interest of keeping it viable and operational in the Province. We have been assured that they would both give their best interest and their best efforts to making sure that the loggers, the workers in this case, are not unnecessarily disadvantaged, but we have never gone to the point of trying to suggest to either of the companies how they should try to run their affairs. We have asked them to run their affairs in the best way they can to ensure their viability as a company and also to take into consideration the views expressed on behalf of the loggers by their union representatives and leaders.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to table the Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities on the operations carried out under the Automobile Insurance Act, submitted for the period January 1, 1991 to March 31, 1992.

Notices of Motion

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled "An Act To Amend The Liquor Control Act, 1973, And The Liquor Corporation Act, 1973".

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled "An Act To Amend The Welfare Institutions Act", and that will be Bill 33.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, with respect to a question asked yesterday by the Opposition House Leader concerning the red herring incident in Long Harbour, I want to report to the House that my field staff contacted the chairman of the Fishermen's Committee of Long Harbour with reference to the red herring controversy.

My field people were advised by the Fishermen's Committee Chairman that the incidents of red herring in the area are not uncommon. There have been a few caught in nets every year for the past number of years. In fact the local chairman informed my field people that he himself, out of a catch of 1,000 pounds of herring, found three or four red herring amongst the catch.

I am told as well that officials of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans are in the area and are now endeavouring to collect some specimen of these herring to take back to their laboratory for testing. So it appears there is not too much to this, except something that occurs almost every year, and that is a small number of red herring show up.

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, I was asked three questions yesterday by the Opposition House Leader. One of them was: Could the minister tell the House who endorsed the cheque on behalf of council? This is the Roddickton council; and if in fact the cheque was endorsed with the knowledge and approval of the full council of Roddickton?

The cheque was endorsed by the Mayor and one other councillor at a meeting held with representatives of Canada Bay Seafoods Limited in Corner Brook. While an official council meeting was not held, the majority of the council was present.

The second question was: Could the minister find out if any portion of the amount of $850,000 insurance money was paid to the Town of Roddickton?

No, the town's equity of approximately $35,000 was utilized in the reconstruction of the plant after council was given a commitment by the company to reconstruct same.

Was there a request to the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs to investigate the circumstances surrounding the insurance claim and the manner in which it was endorsed on behalf of the Roddickton council? Was an investigation asked for? Was there an investigation? What did the department find out?

The answer is: Yes, an investigation was done, and it was found that there was no problem with the way in which the insurance claim was endorsed on behalf of council. An investigation was asked for by one councillor of the Town of Roddickton. An investigation further revealed that the minutes of the meeting of council clearly state that council was in full agreement with the cheque signing, and that there was no conflict of interest by councillors.

I table this, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, my response is to the question on the Order Paper regarding travel between September 17 and October 15, 1991, and I am pleased to table that response.


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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wish to present a petition of 1,148 citizens of Corner Brook and the surrounding area. I wholeheartedly support the petition and have signed it. The prayer reads as follows: Recent proposals -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member may proceed.

MS. VERGE: Recent proposals to workers' compensation will affect the lives of all injured workers severely. These recommendations include drastic reductions in salary, and changes to the retraining policy. We appeal to you to please consider the effects these changes will have on all of us injured workers as well as the public. We realize the desperate conditions of workers' compensation but please search for alternative solutions with less damaging effects in these desperate economic times.

Mr. Speaker, this petition was organized by three women who live in Corner Brook and two of them are injured nurses with whom I have spoken. These two nurses hurt their backs on the job at Western Memorial Regional Hospital and they have been off work on workers' compensation benefits for some time. Neither one of them wants to be off work on workers' compensation. Both of them in fact are quite demoralized but they are physically unable to resume their nursing jobs and as of yet have not recovered to the point of being able to do any other type of work for which any employment opportunity exists in the area. These nurses have taken a leadership role in maintaining appropriate workers' compensation benefits, not only for themselves but for hundreds and hundreds of other injured workers and for healthy workers who may find themselves in a similar situation.

Mr. Speaker, it is significant that the leaders of this petition are injured nurses because there has been an alarming increase in the incidents of nursing workplace injuries over the past few years. Your Honour introduced the president of the Association of Injured and Disabled Nurses a little while ago when we started sitting this afternoon. According to that association in the space of five years, from 1985 until 1989 there was more than a sixfold increase in the number of nurses off work due to injuries and receiving workers' compensation. In 1985 the number was fifty-seven and in 1989 the number was 338. The Workers' Compensation Commission has refused the statistics for the last three years but the association knows that there has been a further increase. This gives rise to several questions. Has there been under-staffing in our health care institutions where all these nurses have suffered injuries? Has there been inappropriate placement of staff in the institutions? Has there been defective or unsafe apparatus equipment? Has there been too little prevention effort?

According to the association on the Avalon Peninsula only the General Hospital, which operates the hospital at the Health Sciences Centre and the Leonard Miller Centre, have back injury prevention programs. None of the other health care institutions on the Avalon Peninsula yet has a back injury prevention program. Have the delays in diagnosis and treatment exacerbated injuries and time lost from work? Listening to the leaders of the Association of Injured and Disabled Nurses I am convinced that there have been problems on each of these counts and it is time that government listened to the pleas of these injured nurses and other injured workers so that better precautions are taken on the work site so that greater prevention efforts are mounted and so that the Workers' Compensation Commission responds more appropriately and more speedily to workers who are injured, thereby minimizing time lost from work and facilitating the process of retraining and re-entering the workforce.

Mr. Speaker, for those workers who are already off work due to injuries, the threatened cuts in income and retraining benefits are very, very worrying. What is an injured nurse in Corner Brook to do if her injury is so severe that she has had to have a spinal fusion and the spinal fusing has not been successful? What is the injured nurse who now has to wear a body cast most of the day to do?

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to support the petition by some, I think, 1,100 citizens of the Corner Brook area with respect to the proposed changes and reduction of benefits that are pending with the Workers' Compensation Board.

What is most alarming about this change that just recently developed was the lack of consultation with the groups that were most affected by it. While the minister might try to say that Workers' Compensation is a completely autonomous body, that is not the case. The minister might want us to believe it is. They operate on instructions given to them by this administration. If this administration tells them to reduce their expenses, they reduce their expenses; if they are told to reduce benefits, they reduce benefits. Government might not tell them how but they give them explicit instructions as what to do.

This has been an ongoing concern for a number of people, particularly with respect to the diagnosis and treatment of people who have been injured. It takes months to get a proper diagnosis in this Province. Once it is diagnosed, it is even longer to get medical treatment. Surgical intervention takes years in some cases. Once it is complete - the minister can check it out and he will find that it is true - it is a virtual impossibility to get physical therapy in this Province. As a matter of fact, I had an injured worker tell me that they have been waiting for weeks to get therapy through Workers' Compensation, so in desperation they called the therapy clinic and said they had a private insurance plan, and immediately they could get recognition.

There is something wrong with our system when you can get physical therapy services through a private insurance company but it is not available through Workers' Compensation. If you talk to the people who run these clinics they will tell you that the main reason is the delay in Workers' Compensation processing payment. It takes them months to get paid for their services. The minister should realise that. If the problem at Workers' is that there is insufficient staff to deal with the problems then the minister should see that they get more. Because in the long run, while you are going to have spend initially, it will benefit Workers' Compensation Board, because they will have to have less in payouts.

The minister has been told this on numerous occasions, I am sure, over the years. Why he continues to do nothing about it is beyond me. Apparently what he wants to do is blame all the problems at Workers' on the injured workers. Attacking those who are most vulnerable in this Province. It seems to continue. The minister today stood in his place and said: we are going to announce further changes to Workers' Compensation, and not only that, we are going to tear up collective agreements again. We are going to take away benefits that have been given, not through Workers. It is going to be announced as one package, the minister said. He is going to take away rights that had been gotten through the collective bargaining process.

That is terrible. The Minister of Labour, to stand in his place, and to support this kind of activity. The minister has also not made it clear to us, and we are quite anxious to see how it is going to perform, how he is going to do it, the proposal, and we have every indication that the majority report of 75 per cent benefits will be accepted. The question is: what about people who have made long-term financial commitments, based on the fact that they were getting 90 per cent of net, plus a 10 per cent top-up? Or even 90 per cent of their net, forgetting the 10 per cent? What about these people? Are they now going to fall into the category of reduced and lowered benefits?

Because it is time for the minister - he has had this report for months now - to let injured workers know, because some of them perhaps today are taking on increased financial risk, based on the fact that they thought they were going to be entitled to certain benefits. When the minister stands, as I know he will, because I saw him making some notes, and he refuses to stand after we have one speaker, it is a little game that they have played lately on the other side. They want to play politics with a serious issue, and they want to get our two speakers up first so we can have no rebuttal to what the minister says. We know that is the game that they are playing. But we will let the minister go on and rant and rave.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is a pleasure to rise and address the petition for a few brief minutes. I point out to all hon. members with respect to some of the comments made by the two previous speakers that before I deal particularly with the content of the petition that there are a couple of things that the hon. members shouldn't try to propose that I have said certain things that I haven't said. What I have said is that we have the matters under review in totality and that at a point in time we will announce as a total package all of the changes. There have been no announcements made. So for the hon. the Member for Fogo to get up and say that I have said that we are going to do something with collective agreements with regard to top-up and so on, that is an incorrect statement. I have said that that issue is being dealt with along with all of the others, and we will make an announcement as to how that will be handled along with all the rest.

The other point as well, Mr. Speaker, that I might point out, and it is important. The hon. Member for Fogo indicated in his representation in support of the petition, he said the workers compensation system operates on instructions from government. Now he should know, if he doesn't, if that is how the previous administration tried to run workers compensation, maybe that is a large reason why it is in the mess it is in. This government has not done that. We have recognized the integrity and autonomy of the workers compensation system. We have appointed the board, and we are doing now what the previous administration failed to do. We are going to take action upon the recommendations submitted by the five year statutory review which was submitted to the previous administration, and the major considerations with respect to benefits and all other things in terms of duration of claim they did absolutely nothing about.

The hon. Member for Humber East in her presentation and representation of the petition, Mr. Speaker, talks about the changes in the hospital sector from 85 to 89. I might point out for all hon. members that during the period from 85 to 89 when these things started to develop, the previous administration was in office. That whole issue was brought forward in the previous statutory review that these things were occurring, and they did nothing about it. Now it has worsened since, and we admit that. We know that and we are going to announce what we are going to do about it very shortly, as soon as we possibly can.

Mr. Speaker, back to the thrust of the petition, because it is serious. The petition, as I understand it, having not seen it but having heard it read, is that these petitioners, these injured workers - and I agree with the presenter of the petition that nobody I know of went out and got injured because they wanted to or tried to. They were working, providing a valuable service. They have been unfortunately injured, and they deserve to be compensated to the greatest level that the compensation system can afford. The petition, as I understand it, calls upon the government to try to minimize any decrease in benefits for these workers. We support that petition because in all our deliberations that is exactly what we are attempting to do in our current deliberations, to absolutely minimize the impact on the injured worker.

However, Mr. Speaker, in the context that everybody understands that the fund has been on an annual basis expending more than it takes in. Costs are increasing by in excess of 20 per cent a year even though the number of new claimants has been decreasing in the last couple of years. The duration of claims is increasing. There are problems with medical access. We acknowledge that, and we will be announcing what we can do about it in the very near future. The commission has gotten into the unenviable position of dipping into investment funds to meet current year expenditures to the point that somewhere between 1996 and 2003 there will not be one penny left to pay any injured worker in Newfoundland anything. Now with that extreme, between recognizing that they now have a 90 per cent of net benefit verses in four years they will have nothing to worry about period, we are trying to make decisions that are in the same light that petition recommends.

We are considering every possibility to minimize the negative impact on those unfortunate injured workers. We are doing that. That is a very serious part of our deliberations. But at the same time, we are going to make decisions that are in the control of this government to make and we will give direction in our one time in five years, which we are entitled to do, to the commission to say that the law will change -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. GRIMES: - to try and preserve the workers' compensation system so that all injured workers will continue to receive a benefit.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Further petitions?

Before moving off from petitions, the Chair feels it an obligation again to point out to hon. members the requirements of our Standing Orders with respect to petitions. The Chair doesn't like doing this all the time, but hon. members will know that it is the Chair's duty to see that our Standing Orders, as much as possible, are followed. We are getting to a position where more and more petitions are not at all falling in line with our Standing Orders or the Standing Orders of the House of Commons Beauchesne.

The petition that we had today was no different. It wasn't addressed to anybody, either to government or to the House and it didn't contain a prayer. I point this out to hon. members. As I said, it would be much easier for the Chair if members were following the rules.

I know that we have allowed some laxity but, again, I point out Beauchesne, page 281, 1045 which says, "It is the duty of Members to read petitions which are sent to them before they are presented and, if they observe any irregularity, to return them to the petitioners."

The Chair didn't make the rules. The Chair's job is to interpret and enforce them. The job of members is to follow them. If hon. members think that our rules are not appropriate for petitions, then they should change them. But as long as they are the way they are - and a petition is a time-honoured tradition of the British Parliamentary system, but everywhere it follows a rule. One of the fundamental rules of a petition is that it have a prayer and not that it have accusations and all kinds of other things which encourage debate.

I think the petition today went very well, particularly in view of the kind of language that was in it, because it was debatable. A petition is not meant to be debatable. I bring it to the attention of hon. members again and, for their guidance, the Chair can only follow the rules. I have asked hon. members, as well, that if they think a petition is not in order that:

(1). They should bring it to the attention of the Clerk of the House; or

(2). Bring it to the attention of the House before presenting the petition.

I ask hon. members, please, to co-operate with the Chair in that regard. The Chair doesn't like doing it, but again the Chair has to follow the rules to try to enforce the rules as much as the Chair has the ability and the knowledge to do so.

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Motion 6, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 6.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Municipal Grants Act." (Bill No. 30)

On motion, Bill No. 30 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. BAKER: Order 2, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 2, the Concurrence Motion.

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am glad to take part in this Concurrence Debate focusing on the Estimates of the five departments which were earlier referred to the Social Services Estimates Committee. They are the five departments that are generally grouped under the social heading, the Departments of Health, Education, Social Services, Justice, as well as Environment and Lands. These departments together spend about two-thirds of the proposed Budget for this year with Health being the largest-spending department.

The Estimates Committee had seven meetings to examine the Estimates of these departments, one each for all five and a second meeting for three of the departments.

I think the Estimates Committee proceedings were generally satisfactory inasmuch as members of the Committee had an opportunity to ask detailed questions. Ministers and their officials were generally co-operative. The only disappointment that I can note is that the news media didn't provide consistent coverage. Perhaps the fact that there are three House Estimates Committees functioning roughly at the same time while the whole House is in session makes it impossible for very many news organizations to have reporters present at each proceeding.

At any rate, whatever the reason, over the past few years there has been less and less media presence at our Estimates Committee proceedings. Many of the members participating in the Committee proceedings have found that the Committee discussions tend to be more satisfying than debate in the whole House. At the Committee meetings there are meaningful exchanges for the most part,with members asking questions and ministers answering them. Rather than dwelling on the details of departmental estimates, for the most part the discussion is concentrated on large policy questions.

In our deliberations of the social departments' spending proposals, we noted that there are serious social problems in our Province, problems that have been made worse by the economic recession. For example, Mr. Speaker, over the past three years, coinciding with the time in office of this administration, the number of people in this Province on social assistance has just about doubled.


MS. VERGE: That is quite a shocking statistic. The Member for Carbonear seems to have problems accepting that fact but the Minister of Social Services who is now in his seat confirmed the fact when I pointed out the arithmetic to him in our Committee meeting, that there has virtually been a doubling of the number of people in this Province on welfare over the past three years.

According to the present administration's first Minister of Social Services, the Member for Port de Grave, when I asked him about the social assistance caseload in the spring of 1989, in March 1989, the so-called caseload, or the number of family units on welfare in March 1989 was something over 19,000. The present minister told us that in March of this year, exactly three years later, the caseload had risen to over 28,000. That is an increase of just about 50 per cent, I say to the Member for Carbonear.

Now, at the same time as government has watched such a shocking rise in the welfare caseload, with government planning to spend a record amount of money on welfare this year, the government is forecasting a decrease in spending on employment programs, specifically targeted for social assistance recipients and also employment projects for others in the population. In the Estimates of the Department of Social Services, there is markedly less budgeted for employment programs this year than was spent last year. In the case of the Department of Employment and Labour Relations, there is significantly less budgeted to be spent this year on employment programs than was actually spent last year.

Mr. Speaker, to many of these, that is crazy. It doesn't make any sense at all to plan to spend more for welfare, to plan to send out cheques to more and more people who are at home, able to work, wanting to work, when, at the same time, the government is cutting back on its effort to fund employment projects.

Now, the members opposite, the Premier, in particular, have consistently ridiculed and dismissed the Community Development Program of the Department of Social Services. That is an employment creation program for social assistance recipients. But in my experience as the Member for Humber East, that Community Development Program, in the Corner Brook area, and in the Western region generally, has been quite beneficial. Through that program over the years, funding has been given to such sponsoring agencies as: municipalities, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Guides, other community organizations, school boards, I believe, in some cases, businesses. Other projects have been operated directly by the department and, in the process, hundreds of people have been employed. Many of them have gone on to stay in the work force and useful activities have been carried out.

The V O N is an example, the Victorian Order of Nurses. The V O N in Corner Brook over the years has received funding under the Community Development Program for several employment projects. One recent project has involved training. That is for home health workers, or home health aides. Another project has involved the provision of housekeeping for elderly people who cannot quite manage all household duties and chores on their own because of deteriorating health. Incidentally, the assistance of these elderly people through the Community Development Program is consistent with the social goal of helping elderly people stay in their own homes and function on their own as long as possible, so that they don't have to go to institutions. There have been a couple of other useful Community Development projects sponsored by the V O N in the Corner Brook area.

So, in examining the Estimates of the Department of Social Services, it was very disappointing for us to see that the government is planning to pay more people than ever before, virtually twice as many as three years ago, when this administration took office, in straight welfare, while spending significantly less on employment projects.

Now, the only answer the Minister of Social Services could suggest is that maybe partway through the year, the government will increase funding for employment projects. But that really isn't good enough. This is the spring, this is the peak time for many types of work activities in the Province. It is the start of our short construction season. This is the time the government should be making a greater effort than ever to fund employment projects for people on social assistance.

We now have 60,000 individuals in this Province collecting welfare. Some of those people can't work, but many of them can, and want to work. Many of those people are quite able to hold down a job, and they would certainly feel much better about themselves if they could do something useful. They have a lot to contribute to society. But right now there aren't enough jobs to go around. The number of jobs in this Province has shrunk over the last three years. The unemployment rate has risen. As I have said, the number of people on welfare has virtually doubled.

Another indicator of the extent of our social problems is the number of people in our jails. Occupancy in the adult correctional centres, Her Majesty's Penitentiary, here in St. John's, the adult correctional centres in Clarenville, Bishop's Falls, Stephenville, and Happy Valley - Goose Bay, is higher than ever.

We were told in the Estimates Committee meetings that there is something like one-third more than full occupancy in our adult correctional centres. We were told that, in some cases, three inmates are sharing a room or a cell designed for two inmates. We were assured that there is no breach of fire or safety regulations; nevertheless, we were told that there are more people in our adult correctional centres than ever before.

MR. SPEAKER: We are following the ten minutes.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity to speak in this debate.

The Member for Humber East, of course, raises some very current points in her remarks, in that we have been discussing now, over the last few weeks, social services and the numbers of people who are accessing areas of social services - all the various categories. Of course, it is a sign of the economic times we are in, the difficulties with the economy, great difficulties with the economy not just, of course, in Newfoundland and Labrador but right across the country. I suppose you could say both countries, really, are in a deep recession, having great difficulty. Of course, whatever difficulty Canada, as a whole, has, it is always exaggerated and greater in Newfoundland, for many reasons.

As we go through these difficult times, particularly in this Province now, where we have great difficulties with our most important resource, I think it is safe to say, the fishery - we have depended on it for centuries as our prime source of employment. Now that we are having such great difficulty with the fishery, until we come to grips with and solve the problems related to the fishery, it is going to be very, very difficult to control the expenditure that we are having and continue to have, a growing expenditure in social services.

Those members who represent rural districts, and districts that are on the coastline of the Province and have communities in their districts that are fishing communities and depend on the fishery, in some cases - in many cases, of course, we have communities where that is the sole source of employment; any employment that is there is in the fishery.

We will see, if problems continue as they are now, with the offshore, in particular, with the lack of fish, the problem with foreign overfishing, many of these communities will have very difficult times. Many of them are having a difficult time right now.

Mr. Speaker, we have programs in place, federal and provincial programs of income assistance which are overlapping and supportive of one another, very difficult and confusing to administer by both the federal and provincial governments, and I am not just speaking of Newfoundland, but every province is having difficulty coming to grips with income security and the problem we have of trying to provide a base of income for particularly those people who are in a situation where they are on long-term assistance and with very little opportunity for work.

That category of person, Mr. Speaker, is a category, of course, in Newfoundland, in particular, that with the fishery, itself, and the seasonal nature of it in many parts of the Province where a limited amount of income is derived from the fishery, the reliance on Social Assistance and UIC payments and available work through federal and provincial programs on a short-term basis in many respects, the combination of all those sources of income, Mr. Speaker, is a very difficult area of concern. And we are attempting to come to grips with it - I speak of both the federal and provincial governments in this context - attempting to come to grips with it, trying to find a way, Mr. Speaker, to simplify and come up with an income base, a security base that our people can be assured of, whereas now we have a very confusing system which doesn't provide the needed incentive that our people should have, and certainly doesn't address the problem as it should be addressed. It is a difficult one, Mr. Speaker, to administer and difficult to come to grips with the real problem.

We know, of course, that it is not just a matter of creating employment per se because governments can't really create jobs and create industry and create business and employment. The best government can do is to set the environment and make sure that the conditions are such that business and industry are attracted to a particular area, are encouraged to set up whatever type of business or industry it happens to be, usually where there is an incentive to do it, where, obviously, there is a hope of success and profit can be seen at the end of the road. We have to, as a government, set the environment for those businesses and those industries to come to this Province if they are not already here and certainly to locate in areas of the Province where those businesses and industries are not operating right now, Mr. Speaker.

We also have the major problem of education and training with our work force. That, of course, is the solution in the short and long term, and trying to come to grips with the type of training and the type of education our people should have for the future in a changing world where new industries and new types of businesses are being formed, where there is less of a reliance on the resource industries that we relied on in the past.

Things are changing dramatically, and the shift from the type of education and training that we had in the past in our university, in our community colleges and, indeed, in our private schools - we are seeing a great change in different courses being offered than we saw in the past, and being able to, as a government, come to grips with that, making sure that we are providing the type of education, the types of courses that our students need, and that people need who are displaced from work now, not able to find employment in the fishery or in forestry or in agriculture, or whatever it happens to be. Having those people redirected and retrained and educated in a new field of work is a real challenge, knowing where those jobs should be, where the training should be put in place, the types of careers that we are going to see in the future is a real challenge, not just for this government, but for governments across the country with such a changing economy, a changing world.

As a government, of course, I believe that to be probably our biggest challenge, being able to come to grips with the education dilemma that we have, the fact that educating our people - I don't think anybody would disagree - education per se, is the real short and long-term solution to the problems of this Province. Mr. Speaker, we are coming to grips with that. We have made great changes in our education system.

This government has, over the last three years or so, made tremendous changes in the education system, great improvements, Mr. Speaker, at all levels of education, to respond to the challenges of the future, the demands that our students have right now for education at all levels, Mr. Speaker, right through to university, community college and private schools, that level of education. We are responding, Mr. Speaker, but it is a long, difficult road. I think we are on the right path. I think we will see in the future a work force that is educated, as I mentioned, for different types of careers, different types of work than we have seen in the past.

Mr. Speaker, until we see those changes made and see the fruit of those changes in the education process, we will have great difficulty. Until we see an influx and a growth of business and industry, solutions to our economic problems and, hopefully, start moving out of this recession we are in right now, we will have problems in providing income to our people.

The caseloads in my department, of course, as has already been mentioned, are up dramatically. A 50 per cent increase over three years is nothing for anybody to be proud of, but, Mr. Speaker, it is unavoidable in these times. It is happening not just in Newfoundland. Ontario, which was always seen as the wealthiest or certainly, one of the wealthiest provinces in the country, is in a similar dilemma.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. GULLAGE: So we have some great challenges ahead of us, Mr. Speaker, and I believe we are responding very well to those challenges, as a government.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I wish to say a few words, too, on this particular section of the Estimates. I was just partially listening to the minister and I have to say that when the Premier made a decision to move the minister from Municipal and Provincial Affairs to Social Services, in all fairness to the Premier and all fairness to the minister, I believe that the Premier has taken the minister from the fat and put him into the fire. Because, Mr. Speaker, I really believe that the minister - I said this, by the way, at the Estimates Committee about the Minister of Environment and Lands, that the Minister of Environment and Lands, in my opinion, Mr. Speaker, is not capable of running that particular department. Mr. Speaker, environment and lands is a very, very important issue in our Province, and the answers that we get when we question the minister really go to show that she hasn't got a grasp on the small and big issues that are confronting our Province.

I know the Minister of Social Services has a very difficult department and I would hope, Mr. Speaker, that he would take the challenge. I believe he can do it, if he wanted to accept that big challenge.

Now, Mr. Speaker, with respect to Social Services - I guess I should say to all my colleagues opposite, all the ministers, I have very, very serious problems in my district, in the District of Torngat Mountains, as it pertains to health, as it pertains to social services and, naturally, as it pertains to the environment and education. I was appalled when I ask the Minister of Education was he considering translating the Royal Commission on Education, entitled "Our Children, Our Future", into the other official languages in our Province, and he said: No. Now, Mr. Speaker, having a government in our Province that refuses to translate into a mother tongue of those children on the Coast of Labrador. I should say that there are more native speaking children in our schools today than there are French speaking children and I find it ironic that this government decides to translate into the French language but not translate into the native language and I think it is a slap and a backward step by this government in their treatment of the native people.

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting today - and I guess you can't help talking politics once in a while - but it is interesting today that the Premier has called a by-election for the district of Naskaupi. Mr. Speaker, I had a call a few minutes ago and a comment going around in the Goose Bay area was that Mr. Ed. Roberts has a substantial edge, because he has his brother, Peter, helping him.

AN HON. MEMBER: What's wrong with that?

MR. WARREN: Now, Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague for Windsor - Buchans asks, What's wrong with that? I say to my hon. colleague, if Ed. Roberts has to trust to his brother, Peter, to help him get elected, God help the health care in Labrador.

AN HON. MEMBER: We have a candidate. Do you have a candidate?

MR. WARREN: Now, Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague from Mount Scio - Bell Island -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WARREN: - my hon. colleague for Mount Scio - Bell Island is interrupting me and I could say to my hon. colleague, we have many candidates who want his seat. In fact, we have someone who will take his seat. And what I am wondering is, does that party have a candidate yet? Now, that is the concern that is all over Bell Island - Mount Scio, so I say to my hon. colleague, just leave me alone and let me continue my onslaught of those Estimates.

Some time ago, I asked the minister about the clean-up in Kitts-Michelin and, Mr. Speaker, the minister said it is going to be done, but what she did not say was, when. Apparently she is not putting too much pressure on getting this clean-up done and this is why I said today on the Ministerial Statement, I wish the minister would take some action; she makes some comments but she takes no action. Last night we held a public forum on the environment, where seventy or seventy-four people turned up at the CEI building. It dealt, in particular, with the subject of the incinerator in Long Harbour.

Mr. Speaker, you should have listened to some of the comments from those people. In fact, there were thirty or thirty-three who expressed their concerns about this particular project. Only two were in support of the incinerator and all the rest expressed a lot of concerns and downright rejection. And, Mr. Speaker, I noticed that this government, with this issue so hot, other than the Member for St. John's South, no one else has come out and said whether they are for or against it.

Now, let me say to my hon. colleague from Eagle River, I am not like my hon. colleague, to go and make a press release about John Crosbie or about the fishermen's union or about the Marine Atlantic. Mr. Speaker, before I make my press releases, I check my facts first. I say to my hon. colleague that he should check his facts, because I have a release here from John Crosbie, that was released today, concerning the hon. the Member for Eagle River, and, Mr. Speaker, what does he say? What does the hon. John Crosbie say about my colleague from Eagle River?

First, he said, he is better known as `Denny, the Dumpster', but he also says what is most important, Mr. Speaker, the Trans-Labrador Highway was not a priority.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible), the weekend.

MR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, he says here, and I quote: 'The Trans-Labrador Highway, was not a priority for the provincial government several months ago.' In fact, I never heard my hon. colleague say too much until recently. He went on the radio, in the papers, and everything else about getting money for the Trans-Labrador Highway. Yesterday was Private Members' Day and he had it on the Order Paper but he would not bring it forward.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: The hon. member is obviously not allowed to mislead this House. The hon. member should know that the Opposition, including himself, agreed yesterday for the sake of having the business of this Province expedited they would allow Private Members' Day to deal with government business. That was exactly what happened, Mr. Speaker, and it had nothing to do with my intention of having, or not having, that debate yesterday.

MR. SPEAKER: To that point of order there is actually no point of order. I just want to take the occasion to remind the hon. Member for Torngat Mountains that we are dealing with the Social Services Committee and that his remarks should be relevant to that.

The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

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

I think my remarks are, Mr. Speaker, because if we can get the Trans-Labrador Highway started we are going to get people off social services and working on this particular project. Mr. Speaker, this particular resolution that was not debated yesterday was entirely up to the member himself and not up to the PC Party, the Liberal Party or the NDP. If the gentleman wanted to put the resolution forward it was his choice because it was a Private Members' resolution so therefore, Mr. Speaker, he cannot weasel his way out of that.

AN HON. MEMBER: Do you agree (Inaudible)

MR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, you just ordered me to stay on the subject of social services but when my hon. colleague asks me questions not relevant to that subject I have to continue to be involved. I say to my hon. colleague that I do not agree with any increase that is going to hurt the pockets of Labradorians or Newfoundlanders. I do not agree with this government cutting out the air subsidy program. I do not agree with this government closing down the Motor Registration Office. I tell my hon. colleague that I do not agree with anything that government does to hurt the people of Labrador. Now, I should ask my question to the hon. member. Does he agree -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Again I have been forced to stand in this House and participate in this debate. It is obvious, Mr. Speaker, that the Member for Torngat Mountains is attempting to curb the debate now that the by-election is on in Naskaupi. It is very, very embarrassing for the hon. member to know that his federal colleague, Mr. Crosbie, is against the giving of $7 million that has already been allocated for the Trans-Labrador Highway, to have it put up this year so we can get that valuable and important work done on the Trans-Labrador Highway.

I know the member is very embarrassed that he is going to have to go down there in Naskaupi with Mr. Crosbie, hold up his arm and say, yes, this is the minister for Newfoundland and Labrador. This is the member who is going to deliver the money for the Trans-Labrador Highway when in fact he knows that his colleagues over there are all well versed on the fact that Mr. Crosbie does not want to do this because he said he would not do it because if he did it would only give the Liberals the opportunity to probably get 80 per cent of the vote in Naskaupi as opposed to the 60 or 70 per cent we are already going to get, Mr. Speaker. That is a fact and I am sure that is very embarrassing for the hon. member. I just wanted to point that out to him.

The Social Services Estimates that we are in concurrence to now are obviously very important to this House but I wanted to rise and set the record straight as far as the Naskaupi situation is concerned and the participation of the hon. member. It is usually only every four years we get a chance to participate in elections but in this particular case we have an opportunity to have an election in Labrador and I look forward to the next twenty-eight days so we can go down and debate the issues of Labrador and have people stand up and set the record straight, where they stand, and what they are going to do for the people of Naskaupi, what they have done in the recent past for the people of Naskaupi, and exactly why they should vote for a member of the opposition - somebody who is going to come in here and rant and roar and provide, I guess, a song to the people of Naskaupi, instead of supporting, obviously, a very prominent member of this government, the hon. Ed Roberts.

I am sure that the people of Naskaupi will look to the Minister of Justice in his portfolio, who is very much into the constitutional debate now, trying to ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador has a place in Confederation. I am sure that the people of Naskaupi are going to be looking forward to seeing a man of Mr. Roberts' stature and credibility taking his place in this hon. House for the people of Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: So I do not want to elevate it any more partisan at this particular point. I am sure that we will have ample opportunity to do so. I just wanted to rise on this particular occasion to make sure that the people of this Province were not misled by anything that the hon. Member for Torngat Mountains has a tendency to do from time to time.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise and speak on the concurrency debate on the government services. I enjoyed listening to the hon. Member for Eagle River explaining about how he looked forward to the by-election that is going to be occurring down in Naskaupi. It should be quite interesting. It should be very challenging for both parties, I am sure, or all three parties.

He talked about how - the word that we are getting back from the district, he mentioned about one of the candidates being proposed, the acting Minister of Justice, or the unelected Minister of Justice -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Well the unelected Minister of Justice -

AN HON. MEMBER: Only until the twenty-fifth, around 8:30 (inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: It should be. Then he will be defeated and looking for another place. By then the counts will be in and he will be defeated, and he will be looking for another place to run, and maybe -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. A. SNOW: Maybe if the polls are a little better in Mount Scio he would be asked to run, but there is no way that could be considered a safe, Liberal seat. That is for sure.

He probably would do fairly well in the polls in Naskaupi if he were to stay out of it, but if he goes in there I would say the longer he is in there the more votes he will lose.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who is that?

MR. A. SNOW: The parachute candidate who is going into Naskaupi.

He has about as much charisma now as -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Well undoubtedly the people of Naskaupi will have the opportunity to vote for this tremendous candidate that they are going to be parachuting in.

AN HON. MEMBER: And they will.

MR. A. SNOW: And they are going to be coming out in droves to support him, and they may. They will have a choice. It is part of the democratic process; but so far we have not seen that tremendous amount of support for this particular candidate who has been rammed down the throats of the people in Labrador. We are hoping that the people of Labrador and Naskaupi are going to be able to make a decision based on who is better capable of representing them in the House.

There is no doubt that probably if they had sent in some other candidates from the Island they would have a bit more respect than what the member has, because of his attitudes toward Labrador. We are hoping the people in Labrador will see through this charade of new found support of Labrador ideals and aspirations that the people of Labrador have today.

To continue on with the debate, and some of the discussion that the hon. Member for Eagle River had with regard to the $7 million that was requested by several people in Labrador, and the provincial government, that is being allocated for funding of the Trans-Labrador Highway and proposed to be spent next year. Some people may think that I am wavering from the topic of debate, but I am not because I feel that could tremendously help if we were able to talk about some of the - the economy is directly tied to Social Services and the amount of revenue that any government has with regard to how much they can deliver government services, or how well they can deliver government services, whether they are in Social Services, Health care, Education, or through the Justice Department, in police and fire protection.

Mr. Speaker, that $7 million, I agree with the hon. Member for Eagle River, that the federal government should have decided to accelerate the capital expenditure program and go ahead with construction in Labrador this year. I firmly believe that, they should have.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: No, I am not blaming anybody. I am saying I agree that it should be done. I also firmly believe that when the First Ministers met in Toronto back about January or February, or I believe maybe it may have been in March, there was a general agreement amongst the First Ministers of this country that one of the methods of stimulating the economy would be to improve the transportation infrastructure of this whole country, and that the federal and provincial governments of the day should strike an agreement concerning the transportation infrastructure in all the provinces. What they should do then is go ahead with the capital expenditure program this year and the next three, four or five years. To improve transportation in the whole country.

I think that any new transportation agreement that is signed with this Province to improve the transportation infrastructure of this Province, the number one priority should be the completion of the Trans-Labrador Highway. Before a highway is made wider in St. John's, or made a thicker pavement in Deer Lake or the national park, there should be a highway across Labrador. Before there is any other consideration. Any new agreements, that should be the priority. Total, 100 per cent of the funding, should go towards the completion of the Trans-Labrador Highway. One hundred per cent.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

AN HON. MEMBER: Why didn't you people do it? You had seventeen years to do it! You never did a thing!


MR. A. SNOW: Why? Why should it be? The hon. Minister of Education wants to know why I believe that it should be 100 per cent of the funding.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Roads-for-Rails agreement (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: In the - I don't know, I was not there sitting around the Cabinet table -

AN HON. MEMBER: You weren't, no, but Crosbie was there then, (Inaudible)!

MR. A. SNOW: Now I hate getting down to the level of....

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) spend it up in Ferryland (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Get on the sidewalk (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Yes. I will climb down from the sidewalk and discuss it with the hon. Member for Mount Scio, who is so low that he is below where the water comes down from the sidewalk on the high part of the road.

MR. WINSOR: That's not the gutter you're talking about.

MR. A. SNOW: I am not even talking about the gutter. Mr. Speaker, from the Roads-for-Rails agreement I believe that there was some $27 million allocated for spending on the Trans-Labrador Highway, $27 million, I think it was. The hon. members on the other side suggested there was no money, but there was $27 million. Now that was not enough, but it did go towards completing the Trans-Labrador Highway from western Labrador to Churchill Falls. That, combined with the initial $16 million brought in by the special recovery program in 1983, plus a further, I think it was $16 million or $17 million through an earlier agreement, completed that highway with several bridges on the other part of the road, the eastern part of the road, if you want to call it, from Churchill Falls to Happy Valley - Goose Bay. So there was a commitment - albeit it was not large enough - from the previous administration. Now that the hon. Member for Mount Scio understands the historical portion of what has occurred I will let him sit back and muse for a while.

Now what I said was that any new transportation agreements that this Province enters into with the federal government, 100 per cent of the funding for transportation should be spent on the Trans-Labrador Highway. The Minister of Education said that it should not be, that we should not spend all the money on the Trans-Labrador Highway. I do not know why the Minister of Education is continuously attacking the people of Labrador in particular. He wants to spend more money - I suppose he is being parochial and wants to spend some money in St. John's North. He wants to have wider roads in St. John's North. But I think that if this government accepted its proper responsibility and did not run around on their hobbyhorse of Triple E and reform of national institutions, those things -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: The Triple E Senate. The new medicine that is going to cure the complete economic ills of this Province, Mr. Speaker. The one that the Premier articulates and the unelected Minister of Justice suggests is going to cure the complete economic ills of this Province. We are not going to have any problems in the fishery any more. Development is going to be absolutely booming. All we have to do is get a Triple E Senate. I tell you, the Province will have complete employment. Education is going to be cheaper, it is going to be better, there are going to be more scholars out there, more scholars for the dollar, as the minister suggests all the time. As soon as we get a Triple E Senate.

Now, we are not going to do anything else with the economy. We are not going to try and improve the workplace where people get injured and lose their lives at jobs. In a lot of cases, though, not just lose their lives. Specifically, I listened with a little bit of sadness today when I heard a former labour leader in this Province, the now Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, talk about how he is going to attempt to solve the economic problems of this Province on the backs of injured workers. Instead of saying, look, if all these people getting injured on the job - and there are a tremendous number of people in the health care sector who have back injuries. What we are saying is we are going to cut down their benefits. So in a backhanded way what the minister of employment is suggesting is occurring is they are blaming the employee for having these injuries whereas in point of fact, what should occur if all these injuries are occurring in the workplace, the government and Workers Compensation, the employers should be spending more money in the workplace to design probably the beds - that is what should be looked at - that these nurses are lifting, and I would suspect what they are lifting is patients. So they need to look at the workplace, not the workers.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. A. SNOW: By leave?

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


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, that is what should be done. Instead of attempting to solve the economic woes of the Province on the backs of injured workers they should be looking at what is causing these accidents. Is it because the injured workers want to be off work? Is it because they want to have operations on their backs, their shoulders, or their legs? No it is not, Mr. Speaker. It is because, I would suspect, they are doing an awful lot of lifting of weights that they shouldn't be. Maybe if more money had been spent in educating and looking at new methods of lifting patients and transporting patients from wheelchairs or stretchers to the bed or conversely from the bed out to wheelchairs and stretchers. That is where they are injuring themselves. So what do we do? We don't go out and educate in the workforce and tell employers that they should have new tools to assist people in lifting these patients. We say no, what we are going to do is penalize the workers. We blame it on the workers. That is what is occurring, and that is tremendously unfair.

Mr. Speaker, this unfairness that comes out time and time again, whether it is unfairness to the person who gets injured in the workplace, or whether it is the unfairness of the huge tax increases that the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Education has imposed on people in my district so that people can't afford to send their children to get post-secondary education anymore, Mr. Speaker, because of the tax dollars that these money grabbers are sticking their slimy, grimy little hands in their pockets and stealing their money. They are taking their money and now they can't afford to educate their children. That is the unfairness that I am speaking about, Mr. Speaker. Or whether it is cutting back on the services of the people who are able bodied and yet can't find work and don't have unemployment insurance available to them, and they expect an able bodied young person to live on $129 a month.

That is the unfairness I am speaking about. That is the hallmark of this government. These types of unfairness, Mr. Speaker, that has no compassion to the ordinary person whether that ordinary person is on social assistance, is an injured worker or an over taxed individual, they have no compassion towards them. They sit in their big office, they tour the Province in their big $8,000 a year travel allowances, the limousines, the big long limousines.


MR. A. SNOW: And we look at a place like western Labrador which produces a tremendous amount of wealth. It produces more wealth per capita than any other district, and we can't get a residential job!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I wonder if the hon. member could take his seat. I want to inform the House of the questions for the Late Show.

Number 1. I am not satisfied with the answers given today to my questions, re the incinerator, and I wish to debate the issue on the Late Show - the hon. Member for Torngat - Mountains.

Number 2. I am not satisfied by the answer given by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, in response to my question on the Workers Compensation Board - the hon. Member for Fogo.

Number 3. I am not satisfied with the answer given to my question by the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture on May 25th - the hon. Member for Green Bay.

Does the hon. member have leave to continue?

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just a minute to conclude, then the hon. Minister of Health can get up and explain why the people in western Labrador had to do with such cutbacks and tolerate such cutbacks in our health care system.

People who pay so much through their taxes, they pay more per capita than anywhere else in this Province and yet, this administration saw fit to cut back over a million dollars over the last two years and, Mr. Speaker, losing a million dollars on this was, I guess probably about a 15 per cent reduction in the amount of monies allotted or budgeted towards the hospital, The Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital in western Labrador, and this government did not recognize the geographical location of western Labrador and the problems associated with operating a hospital in northern Labrador, and with people who cannot afford to come out here to get special services that have been cut out in western Labrador and it is unfortunate that this government's hallmarks are, no compassion for the ordinary people such as I have in my district, and they are going to show that, Mr. Speaker, at the polls next time. Thank you very much.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the Estimates Committee for the social sector of the government, dealt with the Department of Health budget, $880 million, Mr. Speaker, the most money in the history of this Province or country, when we were a country. Never before was so much money spent in delivering health care in this Province. $880 million, to deliver to our people in Labrador West or Nain or the northern Peninsula or the Burin Peninsula, health care services in keeping with the Medicare Act, universal medicare which was brought in by the Liberal administration back in the 1960s, Mr. Speaker, which is indeed a health care system which is the envy of the whole world. There is not a better health care system on the face of this earth, than we have in Newfoundland and Labrador and in the Dominion of Canada today, Mr. Speaker.

Canada has a great health care system and as the Globe and Mail says over and over in almost every issue, Newfoundland has one of the best health care systems in Canada.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, medicare is under a tremendous attack these days. Medicare is under attack by the users of the system who sometimes confuse their wants with their needs. Medicare is under attack, Mr. Speaker, by the stakeholders in the system who sometimes do not see beyond their personal interest to the overall good of everybody. Medicare is under attack by the health care system itself, Mr. Speaker. But the biggest attack of all that medicare is under, is the one which is being levied by the first cousins of hon. members opposite, since the 1980s, when the government in Ottawa changed to the right wing dinosaurs of the Tory movement, they have wanted to abolish universal medicare, Mr. Speaker.

Now, I said earlier that during this committee meeting, we dealt with the budget for the Department of Health which is $880 million. Since the Tories took office in Ottawa they started to downgrade the amount of money that they send into Newfoundland and Labrador to help us deliver health care to our people. That comes under the established program financing, Mr. Speaker. Part of that goes to Education and part of it goes to Health. Does anyone want to guess the figure that we have lost as a result of Tory actions in Ottawa since 1985? Anyone wish to guess?

AN HON. MEMBER: $1 or $2 million?

MR. DECKER: $1 or $2 million. I have $50 million. $5 million.

Mr. Speaker, $800 million. That is the amount of money that this Province has lost as a result of the right wing, pro American Tory government that we have in Ottawa today. We have lost $800 million in transfer payments directly related to the payment of health care and education, Mr. Speaker. We have lost enough money since 1985 to pay one full year of the total budget of the Department of Health. People in this Province wonder why we had to do some of the things we had to do over the past couple of years. By the year 1995 the province of Quebec will not be receiving a solitary cent from Ottawa to help with their health care system. By 1997 Saskatchewan will not be receiving a cent, or Manitoba. By 1998, Mr. Speaker, some of the other provinces will be cut off and by the year 2003 or 2004, somewhere in that area, the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador will not be receiving a single solitary cent from Ottawa to help us deliver our health care system in this Province.

That is was has happened since the 1980s when the first cousins of this Opposition took power in Ottawa. That was one of the attacks that Medicare has come under in this Province. The other attack which this health care system has come under is probably best noted when I borrow a phrase from Broadfoot's book, 'Ten Lost Years.' In addition to the attack on Medicare from their federal Tory cousins we also went through ten lost years in the history of this Province when the Province was without government. Twice in our history, Mr. Speaker, we have gone without government. We had a Commission of Government in for a number of years. How many years? Twenty-odd years. Then we had ten years when that administration over there sat in the office of government but did not govern.

The Province was left drifting in the wind with no direction whatsoever. There was no attempt to organize the health care system. They build roads based on whose district they were in. They build hospitals based on whose district they could build them in. There was no planning. Nobody saw the overall view. Ten lost years in the history of this Province. Is it any wonder that the people of this Province finally came to their senses and turfed the Opposition out - they can stay over there forever and I wish them well. It is a good place for them, Mr. Speaker. I tell them their numbers are going to be diminished when we go back to the polls again. Their numbers will certainly be diminished but that is the best place for them. Now, these ten lost years made a tremendous attack on the Medicare system in this Province so when we took over we had to start doing a lot of things, Mr. Speaker. The first thing we had to look at was the mess that they had created in the health care system. We saw where they went down to Marystown and built a hospital. In that hospital they had beds which they were unable to open because they were wasting money in St. Lawrence and in Grand Bank, because that was one of their own Tory districts. At the same time, they were closing out hospitals in Liberal districts. Can you imagine running a health care system based on politics? If we were to do that we would not be able to sleep at night. We would not be able to look at ourselves in the mirror for shame, if we were running a health care system based on politics. The rashest, sleaziest, muddiest kind of politics determined where hospitals were going to be in this Province. These were the decisions that were made - totally, totally unacceptable to a civilization that we have come to cherish over the years.

All of these things were attacking a universal health care system in this Province. So when we started, when we took over, one of the first things we had to do was make a conscious decision to take politics out of the health care system, take politics out of government, take patronage out of government, take petty, sleazy politics out of government.

I believe that is one of the reasons why we are up in excess of 70 per cent in the polls today, because I believe the people of this Province do not want us to determine where we are going to build our hospitals, based on politics. They want a rational, reasonable approach as to why we are doing things. That is why nearly all of the people of this Province today who have made up their minds have said that they would vote to put this administration back in power for another fifteen or twenty years. I believe that is why they are saying it. It has nothing to do with the fact that the Opposition are making fools of themselves. Maybe that does have some bearing on it, but I believe it is because the people are ready for a government based on fairness and balance, in which we have taken politics out of our health care system.

MR. FUREY: They couldn't provide good government, and they can't provide good opposition.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, as my friend from St. Barbe points out, we had ten lost years with no government, ten lost years where the people just filled the seats and did nothing. Now, that was bad enough, but I believe we have found something worse, because just as important as the government side of the House is the Opposition side of the House. Good government requires a good Opposition. We don't have an Opposition provided by the largest Opposition Party today. That is our problem. The Tories are not providing the opposition that they should. I want to tell the people of Newfoundland and Labrador not to despair,though, because they only have elected one NDP member to this House - only one - but I can tell the people of Newfoundland and Labrador proudly that that hon. member, albeit it is just himself, is providing a better Opposition for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador today than all the Tory backbenchers and front benchers put together. That is the reality, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DECKER: That is why - when there is a Ministerial Statement made in this House, and the Opposition get an opportunity to respond to it but the hon. Member for St. John's East must have leave in order to respond - that is why I am always one of the first on my feet to say that the Member for St. John's East has the right to stand up and speak whenever there is a Ministerial Statement made. I believe that.

You know something else, Mr. Speaker? From now on - I do not know if I have always been doing this - but from now on I am going to tell the hon. member that when I bring a Ministerial Statement to this House,I am going to make sure that he receives a copy of it at the same time that the Official Opposition receives a copy.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: The real opposition.

MR. DECKER: - The real opposition.

I am not saying that because I am any great friends with the man, the person who fills that position. That has nothing to do with it; but I have a great respect for the democratic system as we know it. I have great respect for the role of government and the role of Opposition. That is why, out of concern for my fellow Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who require -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave?

MR. DECKER: A minute? Not a minute to clue up? No, Mr. Speaker, he will not even give me a minute to clue up. Doesn't that show ...?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave?

MR. DECKER: How about the real Opposition? The real Opposition gives leave, you will notice.

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

MR. WARREN: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: The real Opposition gave leave.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I can't let this day go by - the Premier had planned to do this a little earlier, but I can't let the day go by without saying a few words about Charles J. Power.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BAKER: This is the last day that Charlie will be sitting in this section of the House.


MR. BAKER: He has submitted his resignation to take effect tomorrow.

Charlie got into politics in 1975, and during his political career he has been through some interesting times, to say the least. Not the least interesting was the way he got started on his political career in terms of his perseverance in getting a seat in the House of Assembly. He became parliamentary assistant to Frank Moores in his last year in office, and that, in itself, must have been quite a trying and interesting experience.

After the election in 1979, he was put into Cabinet and became the Minister of the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Culture. As a new minister, he learned the ropes for one year in that job. Then, he was moved to a new job that for him, I suppose, became exceptionally interesting because during that time there were some rather notable problems in the forests of the Province in the late 70's, and he was brought in as Minister of the Department of Forest Resources and Lands in 1980. Those must have been stressful times. I know there were many budding politicians who were yapping at his heels over the spruce budworm, and he had to respond to planes crashing with loads of pesticides, and so on. As a young man and a new minister, he handled his job exceptionally well. As a matter of fact, the first time I saw him, I didn't realize it was Charlie Power. He looked like someone from high school. I was a teacher at the time. He was so young looking, and yet so very competent.

AN HON. MEMBER: He still is.

MR. BAKER: He also was made Minister responsible for the Status of Women. That was back in 1986, and I believe he handed over the reins in 1988 to the now Leader of the Opposition.

A great challenge came his way in 1984, when a new department was formed. That Department of Career Development and Advanced Studies - it says here 1984, but I thought is was a little later than that, 1985, maybe.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Yes, late 84. This new department was the result of a change in focus by the government. It was a very high profile department and considered very, very important in the government of the Province and by the people of the Province. He served in that capacity until 1988, when he was moved to the Department of Rural, Agricultural and Northern Development, where he faced another tremendous challenge.

Charlie's career has been full of challenges, but he has carried it off with a great deal of flare and an obvious joy in what he was doing. That has always shone through in everything he did. Anybody, I suppose, who gets involved in public life, sticks his neck out, and that is something everybody has to accept and it is something that people generally don't realize, that it is a difficult thing to do. Charlie has taken on all his responsibilities, he has done them with flare, done them with a great deal of good humour and common sense, and we all appreciate that. I am sure the people of the Province appreciate what he has contributed to the Province in the last seventeen years. We wish him very well in his new career.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I certainly want to take this opportunity to make a few remarks. Charles Power and I entered this arena at the same time, September of 1975. We are, I believe, the two granddaddies left in the Chamber. I don't know if anybody else was elected in 1975.


MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Carter, Mr. Carter, I am sorry. The Minister of Fisheries was, but he took a brief vacation and went on to other things in-between. But he certainly was here before that time. He was here in 1972, I believe.

Mr. Speaker, I first met Mr. Power during the election campaign of 1975, on a Sunday, when a motorcade was being held in his riding as part of his campaign. I and some of my campaign workers went down to participate in the motorcade and to offer some support to this new candidate, I being a new candidate. We had never met. I recall arriving in Ferryland at the appointed hour of 2:00 or whatever on a Sunday afternoon, matching up with this motorcade. Charles came walking down to see who was there and he saw all these new cars that he didn't recognise, because everybody knows every car on the Southern Shore. There were, I think, thirteen carloads of us that came from Mount Pearl, thirteen carloads of my support workers who went down, because we couldn't do anything in Mount Pearl on a Sunday afternoon, but you could do it on the Southern Shore. We were so full of enthusiasm, we went down.

I remember Charlie walked up to the door, looked and he said: 'You look familiar.' So I introduced myself to him. We became friends at that point in time. In fact, it was only a couple of weeks later that we actually attended our first caucus meeting together. I recall very vividly, Charlie came to pick me up in Mount Pearl, in his white Lincoln. In those days, you see, we had a few dollars. That soon changed once we got into politics. But I recall him picking me up in his white Lincoln and we came in and went to what was the former Cabinet room on the eighth floor and attended our first caucus meeting, both of us somewhat awestruck at some of the people who were there - Frank Moores, Bob Wells, Bill Marshall, Alec Hickman, Tom Farrell - some of these people who were political institutions, very powerful, well-known, very capable politicians who served this Province well.

Charlie and I, being young - I was thirty and Charlie, I believe, was twenty-six. So we were quite young at that age. A lot of younger men and women have joined politics since. But we were relatively young for getting into the political game in those days. We walked into that room and it was quite an experience for the two of us to walk in there.

As I said, we became friends and we have been friends, as well as colleagues, I think, ever since. We have socialized together. About the same time, Mr. Goudie was elected in Labrador. The three of us were somewhat The Three Musketeers of the PC caucus for a long period of time. When we all three eventually got into Cabinet we were in resource departments. The three of us worked very closely, and Mr. Dawe, as well, a former Member for St. George's, was another one of our group. We had many occasions to work closely together, to travel together, and to socialize together.

I remember some of the Mockey games that we played over the years. I remember one time Mr. Power and I and our families actually travelled to Botwood and to Springdale one particular weekend that we had a series of Mockey games set up. It was Lewisporte, actually. It was Botwood and Lewisporte that we travelled and played Mockey games. That was quite an experience too, in some of these things. I have some of the photographs home, in fact, of back in those days. In fact, I came across one that I took on the day that we first took our seats in the House of Assembly. In those days you didn't walk in as we are dressed now. You all wore tuxedos - or tails, generally, but at least a tuxedo. I think it was the only time I ever was dressed in tails. And I have to say, Mr. Power looked more like a penguin that day than any penguin I have ever seen. You have to realise, in those days he had a set of glasses that were so thick that his eyes looked like a guppie, I have to tell you. They were at least half an inch thick. He is almost clinically blind, I think. I don't know how thick his contacts are.

When I looked at that photograph, taken upstairs, picture with Charlie and his good wife, Dorothy, his mother, and former premier Frank Moores, in my office on the eighth floor at the time, because I was the first parliamentary assistant to that administration. I have to say, Charlie, you look a lot different today. He looks a lot different today.

A lot of water has gone under the bridge. The President of Treasury Board referred to some of the portfolios. They were very interesting times as we came through some difficult times as an administration, and as colleagues. Dealing with the discovery of oil and the Atlantic Accord. One that I will never forget, and we just referred to a moment ago, Charlie and I in talking, were the problems experienced when Bowater pulled out of Corner Brook. Charlie and I, together with the Member for Humber East and the former Member for Humber West, Mr. Baird, the four of us, I guess, more than - and Mr. Goudie, who was Minister of Forestry, RAND, at the time, yes. We were most involved in that and spent quite a bit of time travelling to visit the Bowater people in South Carolina and in England. We also, in attempting to find buyers, travelled to Finland and had some meetings with people over there who were interested in purchasing the mill.

That was quite a project to work on, and very satisfying and rewarding when we finally found the Kruger people and were able to attract them to come there. We look back on those and dozens of other experiences that I could relate with a lot of personal satisfaction. I guess when one is ending one's political career, if you can look back and see that you have made any kind of a positive contribution to the Province at all, then I think you can be satisfied that I guess the purpose for which you offered yourself has been fulfilled. I think it is fair to say that in Mr. Power's case that is indeed the fact.

One thing I never did. I can't miss this opportunity. One thing that I never did do with Mr. Power was go snowmobiling. I have to wash my hands of that. Although we are both great snowmobile enthusiasts, he and I never ever rode snowmobiles together that I (Inaudible) -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Primarily because he could not keep up with me anyway, so I did not bother. But I must say. But I do want to say, Mr. Speaker, in all sincerity, on behalf of hon. members in the PC caucus on this side of the House, and former members of caucus, that it has been a pleasure working with him. It is a pleasure knowing him as a friend. That will continue of course, I am sure.

He has served his district, first of all, I think in a very exemplary manner. His first concern was for his constituents, and for his Province as a Cabinet minister. In the House of Assembly he fulfilled his obligations with honesty, integrity, and with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and hard work. He has served this Province well. I for one believe that this Province is a great deal better off today for the fact that he offered himself and served the Province for seventeen years as the Member for Ferryland. On behalf of colleagues on this side, and I am sure all colleagues, I wish him and his good wife Dorothy, and his family, best wishes and every success in the future. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture rose first. I will recognise the hon. Member for St. John's East afterwards.

The hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture.

MR. FLIGHT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I realise that time is of a premium but I want to say a word to set the record straight. I got a real blow to my morale when the hon. Member for Mount Pearl did not remember that I also got elected in September of 1975, and came into the House with him. Also, the hon. Member for Port au Port, and the Speaker himself, I think. Those are the only four people left actively in politics who got elected in 1975. I want to hear the hon. member when he stands, he can set the record straight, because it seems to me that the hon. member did not come into the House in September of 1975. He will set the record straight. Because I recall sitting next to the Member for Ferryland, a Mr. Martin O'Brien.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FLIGHT: That was a year later, there was a by-election or whatever. Mr. Speaker, I simply want to, again, having gotten elected with the member, wanting to set that record straight.

I want to refer to one thing, one experience we had together. I was acting critic for the Department of Forestry when Mr. Moores, I think, announced the appointment of the hon. Member for Ferryland as Minister of Forestry. The press called me and asked me what I thought of that appointment. Being smart, and in the Opposition, with an Opposition mentality, I took the attitude that it didn't seem to make sense to me because as far as I was concerned there was not enough wood or trees in Ferryland to make a bough whiffen. The press carried it and the hon. minister responded to it after.

Mr. Speaker, I want to associate myself with all the comments of the President of Treasury Board and with the comments of the hon. member for Mount Pearl. I want to acknowledge that there is no question that the hon. member has had a distinguished career. He has been a successful politician. I read in the paper, I think, he is probably leaving the House after fifteen years having not made a personal enemy. We didn't always agree on the political philosophy or policy, but I think it is a fact that this particular member will leave the House of Assembly having not made a personal enemy. He has made a lot of personal friends. I want to congratulate him on a very distinguished career in politics and I wish him the best in whatever his future endeavours are. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to join with other hon. members in congratulating Charles Power on his career as a politician to date. He has, as the President of Treasury Board has noted, a long career with different portfolios under his belt. The Member for Mount Pearl indicates he joined this Legislature as a young man at the age of twenty-six in 1975. I say he is still a young man, having also myself been twenty-six in 1975.

I know that Mr. Power will go on in the future to make a contribution in other fields, and I don't think we have seen the end of Charlie Power in the life of politics in this Province either. I think we will probably hear from him again in one form or another.

I want to say, Mr. Speaker, I did follow Mr. Power's career for many years and I was struck by his enthusiasm, his optimism, his sincerity, and his enjoyment of his work and his job. I guess like all politicians worth their salt, they have spent a certain amount of time in the political wilderness or other wildernesses, but Mr. Power, of course, has risen above all that, and we all acknowledge his great contribution to the Province.

I was struck, Mr. Speaker, by his remarks on the radio the other morning. I went and commended him on them because here was man after spending seventeen years in politics talking so optimistically about the role of a politician and the contribution that an individual could make to the democratic process. I think, Mr. Speaker, we should all think of that and remember it ourselves, that it is a contribution that we are all trying to make, that we ought to encourage others to get involved in it and not encourage the kind of cynicism that people have out there about politicians. Some of it is their own fault for picking at each other in some ways that we do and shouldn't.

So I think it is delightful to see a politician after making the contribution that Charlie Power has to go out of politics with a very positive attitude, and to encourage others to get involved in the process and try and better the world in which we live. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, before we conclude this little debate, I would like to say a few words because I suppose more than anybody else in this Chamber I probably had more to do with Charlies entry into politics and his winning of the nomination in 1975 than any other person in this Chamber. Maybe more than anybody else in this Province.

Now let me tell you how it happened. When Charlie came on the scene in 1975 the incumbent for the Ferryland District was then one Thomas Doyle. Thomas Doyle was a very popular person within the party. He was at one time Minister of Tourism, and I believe he might have held another portfolio. But Tom, for some unknown reason, didn't seem to capture the imagination of the people in Ferryland to the extent that he would liked to have had, and I think Charlie maybe tasted blood, and like most politicians when that happens then you have to follow your instincts.

I can tell you now, Mr. Speaker, this may be a little known fact, that at the time Charlie Power was not the favourite of the party. In fact the powers that be within the party went to great lengths to try and prevent Mr. Power from getting the nomination. It was the subject of a lot of back room meetings, I recall, and a lot of manipulating and Machiavellian plots and plans to keep this young upstart from the southern shore from knocking off a seasoned, well-liked Cabinet minister.

Anyway, the time came for the nomination meetings. I believe the first one was held in Cape Broyle. That might have been the second. I know we had two or three meetings. Cape Broyle I think was the site of the first meeting. Having won that district myself for three times as part of my federal riding, the then-leader of the Party that we were both following asked me would I go to Cape Broyle and get up and make a good, rousing speech on behalf of the incumbent, Mr. Doyle. Being a friend of Tom's, and not knowing this other young man too well, I immediately agreed to do it.

I recall going to that meeting that night and the place was blocked. I think it was the most uncomfortable time I ever spent on a platform. I think Charlie probably knows why. I got up and I was trying to make a great speech on behalf of Tom Doyle and there was a lady sitting up in the front row. All the while I was speaking - and she was a very attractive woman; I knew who it was, Charlie's wife - Mrs. Power would look up at me and make faces at me, try to get my mind off the matter at hand. It got to the point where I became obsessed. I could not avoid looking at her. I was making some great point and I would look, and she had maybe her tongue licked out at me or something, or doing this (Inaudible). It was the most uncomfortable experience I have ever had. In fact, I think my speech was so ineffective, by virtue of the disruptions brought on by his very beautiful wife, I do not think I did a thing for Tom Doyle. In fact, I probably did more to help Charlie get the nomination than I set out to do.

I can only say, Mr. Speaker, that I think the next night, the last meeting, was in Ferryland, or it might have been Aquaforte. I can tell you now that the powers that be of the Tory Party at the time were pretty determined that Charlie was not to get that nomination. I can tell you too that every effort was made to prevent him from doing so. Anyway, after the way I bombed out in Cape Broyle I was no longer the secret weapon.

Anyway, Charlie, I wish you well. I had the pleasure of sitting in the House with you. I was elected in 1975, by the way. I think the Minister of Forestry said there were only four. In fact I think there were -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) for the first time, he said.

MR. CARTER: Oh, yes. No, not for the first time. I came here first when Patrick Little was Prime Minister.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CARTER: I think it was 1743, was it? I have not missed an election since, by the way. In all seriousness, I did have the pleasure of sitting in the House with Charlie for at least four years, back in those days. I think we might have served in Cabinet together for... I think you came in cabinet in 1979, Charlie, and I went in Cabinet in 1975. In 1979 I got out and you were still there. But anyway, I wish you well, and I know you well enough to be able to say that I think whatever you decide to do in future you will do it well and you will succeed at it. Anybody who can get out of the scrape you got in with that helicopter incident, you do not have to worry too much about business competition.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HEARN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I would certainly be remiss as Charlie's only constituent in the House if I did not say a few words. Also, the one who I guess was involved with Charlie the first in his campaign, because the day Charlie decided to run he came up to see me and he said: somebody has to knock off Tom Doyle. We named two or three, and he said: if they do not go, I'm going to go. He did.

The Member for Twillingate has told part of the ensuing story, but there are parts he omitted. I am not sure which nomination he was talking abut, but there were two. The first one, when Charlie ran against Mr. Doyle and knocked him off in the nomination. He won the election by a very small majority. It was thrown out and there was another by-election. Mr. Doyle was enticed to come back and run against Charlie because the nomination was only a fluke, apparently, he was told. Charlie filled the halls for the next nomination, but Mr. Doyle won the nomination somehow or other. We never figured that one out. I am not sure whether the Member for Twillingate knows what happened there.

Anyway, Charlie decided on principle then to run as an Independent, and the southern shore was the place where an Independent always got two or three votes, and no more. Charlie at that time was running against the Liberal candidate, who was Mr. O'Brien; the PC candidate, Mr. Doyle, plus an NDP candidate, plus a Liberal Reform, because that was the time of the Liberal Reform party. He was the Independent.

That, of all campaigns that I have been involved in, including my own first one, had to be the most exciting and interesting campaign that ever took place in Newfoundland, because here you had an Independent running strictly on principle against everybody, without having any support of any kind. Two of us were on stage at every meeting. Charlie used to say, by the time he got up I had said what he was going to say.

It was principle, and it was also something else. It was having somebody from the area for the very first time represent the area. We felt very strongly about that, and the people of the southern shore felt very strongly about that. I think what has happened in the next seventeen years proved out what we were saying, that if you want your place properly represented, and you want the job done well, you need somebody who understands you and is there, because anybody who is familiar, and has been familiar with the Ferryland district over the last seventeen years, knows that a tremendous amount of progress has taken place up there. That progress, a tremendous amount of it, is due to the efforts of Charlie Power.

There is one little story I also have to tell. Charlie, just as he got elected to the House, decided that he was also going to run for the presidency of the party. You can probably remember that. We took off to the annual convention in Gander with a trunk load of posters from one of his three campaigns, because I believe we had three in a row within a few months before he finally got elected. Both of the first two were thrown out because of the closeness of the vote, and then finally everybody gave up the opposition to him and let him go on his own, and he won substantially and has been doing so ever since.

We went to Gander, and just as we arrived we were hauled in the back room by some of the hierarchy. They said: What do you mean Charlie is running for presidency? We have such a fellow picked, you know, one of the old die-hards. This young upstart, he is just elected and now he wants to be president of the party. We said: Well, he wants to go. We have a pile of posters we have to use, you know, if no other reason. So we would not back down, and they said: Well, we will just tell the people that you cannot be a member of the House and president of the party. It is idiotic. That evening we did not know how we were going to counteract that, so we met on the elevator a fellow by the name of Bob Coates, a member for Nova Scotia, who at that time was an elected member and president of the PC Party of Canada. We got him up to our room and entertained him for most of the night, and asked him to tell us about how it was to be party president and a member. Of course, he thought it was great, seeing he was in the position. We said: We think so too. Here is the problem we have. So the next morning Mr. Coates had a fifteen minute speech to make before the voting, and for twelve minutes he talked about how important it was to be an elected member and president of the party. So Charlie became the president also of the PC Party of Newfoundland and Labrador.

There are many, many other stories that I would be able to tell, and there will be a time to tell them; but certainly for my own sake, as I say, a constituent, I live in Charlie's district and as a constituent over the years I can fully say that the whole district has benefitted greatly from the efforts and the dedication of Charlie Power, and the way he carried out his ... not the old stuffy images we had of politicians years ago, where they came to garden parties, kissed babies and then went on again. Charlie helped change the image of the politician in Newfoundland.

I think the comments of the Member for St. John's East about his enthusiasm - he still has it today. I just say to members, we fought several battles together, but we have one more to fight yet, Charlie, in the next few weeks before everybody goes their separate ways, and that might be a word of warning to those opposite.

I just want to say I am glad to have been affiliated with Charlie and as I say we have one more battle to fight together yet. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I had not planned to say anything today but I feel compelled to do so. I have known Charlie for a long time, perhaps as a student; I always remember the good students and the bad ones and I do not often tell into which category they fall, but I remember him as a student and I think it is in the former category; I remember the bad ones as well, Charlie. As a professor at Memorial and now, as a Minister of Education, I have been able to establish pretty good relationship with the member.

I think the Member for St. John's East put his finger on it. I was going to mention - and Loyola just mentioned it too- we want to, as politicians, if we can say what Charlie has said about politics, when we are finished, I think where we are doing a great service, we will not only be fulfilling our own needs and be true to ourselves, but we will be fulfilling a great service to the young people of this country, and we can say that politics can be an honourable profession, it is, and you enjoy being a politician for a long period of time, so I wanted to just endorse that comment. I think it is a real tribute and the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes emphasized the same point.

I think the other thing that I heard about in the department since I became minister, is about Charlie's interest in working with individuals and trying to solve individual problems. There was a group of people in the department who were known as Charlie's Angels. I did not know who they were for a long time. I used to wonder what program on television they were talking about, but I heard of Charlie's Angels and I began to wonder who they were. I thought it was this television program, but the member was known for his commitment to helping individuals, not only get jobs but helping individuals when they had problems.

The third thing I would like to note, Mr. Speaker, and this gets closer to my role at the present time, I think as the first Minister of Career Development and Advanced Studies, he sensitized the public of this Province and the people to the importance of post-secondary education. We had two departments then, and I have argued, and I think I said to the member, that it was appropriate at one point in time to split these departments, and we got the college development going, I think the White Paper - if I remember correctly, the first White Paper, there were two.

The first White Paper established the college system and I think it was appropriate for the Premier and the government at that point in time to split education into two departments, and as the first minister he gave outstanding leadership in sensitizing the people to the importance of post-secondary education, and I think now perhaps, it was equally appropriate to combine the two at this stage.

So I want to join your many friends and colleagues, Mr. Member, and pay tribute to you for your contribution. I might be arrogant enough to pay tribute on behalf of the many students in the Province, as the minister responsible, who you helped. I believe as you do that education is vital to the future of this Province and this country. I pay tribute to you, and certainly I join your many friends in extending best wishes for continued success in the future.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, I beg your indulgence for one last time. I guess we have by leave consumed what used to be the Late Show today. I think that is right because I think some of the members have gone senile with all these old stories they are telling.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. POWER: Yes, the truth might even be worse if Mr. Windsor tells some of the stories or Mr. Hearn, and a few others I have been so closely associated with.

Mr. Speaker, I do want to thank everyone for their very kind comments. I think the only time I saw a member actually resign from this Legislature was the Member for Baie Verte, the former Leader of the Opposition, who actually left the House in this kind of a testimony. But I think it is good to do, and certainly somewhat humbling and a little bit embarrassing, Mr. Speaker. It is almost like being present at your own funeral. The President of Treasury Board started to say that he doesn't look much older, and I thought he was going to say he looks just like himself, which you often hear at funerals.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. POWER: I guess in mentioning the Member for Gander I have to mention the first time I saw him. I sat on the government side of the House one Friday morning, I guess, and told this great story that I had gotten from some of my staff about a plane load of insecticide that had gotten dumped outside of Gander when the plane ran into some trouble. We were preaching in this place that we had to have a spray program to save the forest. The Member for Gander then was a high school teacher who was a very staunch environmentalist, and I suspect still is, but he certainly didn't want pesticides and was very questioning of the government. We had this new chemical, I believe it was called fenitrothion, which we said dissipated in the environment so quickly that much damage wouldn't be done.

The Member for Fogo was the Opposition critic for forestry at that time, and he quizzed me up pretty rough on Friday morning about what precautions we were taking and what we were doing. I had been given some information in the morning and I may have exaggerated a little bit - but everything was taken care of. The site was identified, it had been cordoned off, nobody was near it, and then we proceeded to make a commitment at the end of the House sitting at 1:00 we would take the Member for Fogo, we would go to Gander, get a helicopter and go view the site ourselves, which we did.

Then the teacher from Gander and the environmentalist wanted to get on the plane. There was a big racket internally and I said: I don't care who comes along. I know what I am doing. The Premier at the time said: absolutely not. You are not taking somebody outside the Legislature on a government helicopter to go and look at what could be a government embarrassment.' I don't think we ever did take you on the flight, but I also remember on Monday afternoon coming in here and talking about the great wonders of this chemical because, as the Member for Fogo, myself, and one of the deputy ministers in forestry, went around and burnt every bit of fuel the helicopter had, we couldn't find the site. Literally, we couldn't find the site, so my story on Monday afternoon about the great values of the chemical and how it wasn't really cordoned off and how it dissipated so quickly that nobody could find it and that is why we lost the whole planeload of stuff was an interesting struggle in how to use the Queen's English to avoid any further embarrassment.

Mr. Speaker, I know we are getting close to 5 o'clock. I want to thank You, Sir, for your courtesy to me over the last few years while you were Speaker, and all of your staff. It has been an excellent opportunity to serve with a lot of people. The Sergeant-at-Arms and your staff have been a very courteous and helpful group. The press gallery, if anybody is left - nobody listens to dead politicians, so I guess there are not many people there now. All of the persons I have dealt with while I was a member of the Legislature, I have to say, have treated me in a very fine and decent manner, including my snowmobile thing, Neil, which you mentioned. Mr. Harris, the Member for St. John's East, also mentioned about treating ourselves as politicians decently and the fact that sometimes we see the short-term and take a chance to hone in and destroy a person's career or credibility, but when we do that we also hurt the process we are part of, and in this Legislature I have always tried to avoid that. I think when I was in that trouble on snowmobiling there was not one single person in the Opposition who even mentioned that officially in this House and I think it was an indication of the fact that if you treat people decently they, in turn, will treat you decently. I think the system works better if we can do that on some occasions.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. POWER: Mr. Speaker, I guess I will just say of the political process, itself, I don't know what a person in Newfoundland could do that would be a better occupation than serving in the democratic process of our Province or our country. It is an exceptionally important opportunity. You simply have to have politicians. You can't let bureaucrats run the government. That's what is called totalitarianism. It is called communism, it is called something other than democracy. Politicians are supposed to be there to intercede for individuals, to get a job, to get you into a nursing home. Politicians are suppose to be there to make policy and we can't let bureaucrats do it all. So the political process is keenly important and the cynicism that has grown up in the last ten or fifteen years about politics and politicians, nobody trusts us to bring in a Budget, nobody trusts the politicians of the country to do a constitutional agreement, everybody has to be involved. That is a dangerous process because without the politicians in this country, we would have a much worse place in which to live. I am glad I took part in it.

I have some people in the gallery. My brother, Mike, who was the guide on the snowmobile thing. If you follow Mike, you get in trouble, there is not doubt about that; Jimmy (inaudible), who is there, is a great friend of mine; and my family.

Finally, I just want to say thanks to them all. Most importantly, I even forget sometimes, today when we were reminiscing, about which departments I had and when I had them, which ones came first, what you did, because those things you will forget. What I will not forget is the kindness and the opportunity to serve the people of Ferryland district. I would like to be remembered as the Member of the House of Assembly for Ferryland. That is the thing that I thought I did best, and it was the greatest honour that I had. With that, Mr. Speaker, I will say, thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Charlie, next week we'll be looking for a candidate in Ferryland.

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

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