June 4, 1992                 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                Vol. XLI  No. 50

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to release the report commissioned by this government into the operations of the Sprung Greenhouse.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).


In releasing the report, I wish to thank Mr. Justice Seamus O'Regan for his thorough examination of all facets of the operation of the former greenhouse.

Mr. Speaker, as I have stated repeatedly, the concern of this government has been for the people of this Province who questioned an expenditure of $23 million by the former administration on a venture that, in the determination of those who were in a position to know -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Yes, it is pretty close to twenty-four now.

- was destined to failure from the very beginning. While the report indicates that there was -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: While the report indicates that there was no criminal wrongdoing, it establishes clearly that the loss was due to gross incompetence in the political support and handling of the Sprung venture.

The question, Mr. Speaker, is does this government now spend more of our taxpayers' dollars by holding a full-scale public hearing to determine the level of incompetence that was involved in the management of the operation. This government has no desire to conduct a political witch-hunt –

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would ask hon. members to my right, please, to refrain from interruptions. This is where hon. members are given a chance to respond, and hopefully in the response they will make their points; but members should not interrupt.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I don't need to go back to the beginning to start, but just to get this last bit in context, Mr. Speaker.

The question, Mr. Speaker, is does this government now spend more of our taxpayers' dollars by holding a full-scale public hearing to determine the level of incompetence that was involved in the management of the operation. This government has no desire to conduct a political witch-hunt to embarrass members opposite or those who were members of the previous administration and are now in private life.

I hope that in releasing the report, Mr. Speaker, we will satisfy the need to assure the people of the Province that there was no criminal wrongdoing, just incredible incompetence in the management of this issue.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to thank the Premier for a copy of his statement, previous to coming into the House.

The first thing I would say to the Premier is that one of the things that should be released with this report is a copy of The Auditor General's Report that said there was no need of even looking in to the Sprung enterprise. That is the thing I would like to see (inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, furthermore, the Premier in his statement indicates that one of the main reasons for this report and the outcome of the report was gross incompetence, then I say, Mr. Speaker, that we should have a judicial inquiry and a public inquiry based on what this administration has done the last three years, every week for the last three years it would be based on incompetence, because I have seen absolutely nothing. Mr. Speaker, I say one other thing, this was a political football for two or three years; the Premier had no other choice but to hold an inquiry to try to satisfy what he had been saying around the Province previous to the last election and since, and now as I said, Mr. Speaker, there will be a lot more inquiries held, after the hon. members leave office in the next year, it will be based on incompetence. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that the Department of Fisheries will again this year be contributing funds to the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland for their caplin-for-food-aid project. This year, $75,000 is being made available for that purpose. Last year's provincial funding provided much needed help to the Mozambiquean refugees at camps in Zimbabwe. Through the African Food Aid Program, caplin is purchase and dried in the Province and then shipped to refugee camps in Africa. The protein-rich caplin is a substitute for "Kapenta", a freshwater fish which is in short supply in Zimbabwe.

This program by the Pentecostal Assemblies, Mr. Speaker, in addition to providing assistance to African refugees, has direct benefits for the caplin industry and employment in this Province. As a result of the 1991 project, the Pentecostal Assemblies purchased nearly $500,000 worth of dried male caplin from local processors and fishermen and more that 800 person weeks of employment were created for plant workers. Golden Shell Fisheries of Hickman's Harbour, High Seafoods of Glovertown and E. J. Green of Winterton were involved in processing dried caplin for the food aid project in 1991. Again this year, Mr. Speaker, plants will be operating and drying caplin at a time when they would otherwise be idle.

As and additional benefit, this project helps to better utilize our caplin resource, providing a use for male caplin, most of which is normally discarded. Other markets such as Japan want only the roe-bearing female caplin and in past years as many as 50,000 tons of male caplin have been discarded due to lack of markets. This year, Mr. Speaker, the Pentecostal Assemblies plans to expand its purchase and export of dried caplin. Funds contributed from the Province, as well as those contributed by the Pentecostal Assemblies, will be matched four to one by CIDA through the Canadian Food Grains Bank.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and their Outreach Ministries for the outstanding job they have done in organizing and running this program. It not only provides much needed food to refugees in Africa but also provides benefits for our local caplin industry. We are pleased to be a part of this most worthwhile project.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I would like to thank the minister for providing me with a copy of his statement prior to the sitting of the House and I want to commend the Department of Fisheries for once again this year contributing some $75,000 to the Pentecostal Assemblies for this very worthwhile initiative. It has been a concern, I guess, for years now in the Province that there were fish products that were not being fully utilized, being discarded, good protein, and good food. There are countries in the world and people that need food and are hungry so it is a very, very worthwhile initiative by the Pentecostal Assemblies and a very good expenditure I say to the minister and his department. I want to commend both for that.

The minister makes reference that in past years as much as 50,000 tons of male caplin have been discarded due to lack of markets and that is pretty alarming when you think that it is good protein and good food. While this is a good initiative I just want to bring to the minister's attention that there really is a great need now for the marketing arm of his department and for the Department of Development and so on to look at further utilization of male caplin to see if there can be further usage to create employment and to give fishermen and so on benefits and to provide good food for people in the world. I call upon the minister to become very active with the marketing arm of his department and through other departments of government to see if there are some other possibilities to utilize the male caplin that are being discarded.

The other wish we have is that at least this year we will have a caplin fishery. There are a lot of doubts right now about the state of the caplin resource. We hope there will be a caplin fishery and there will be usage found for the male caplin that are now being discarded.

MR. SPEAKER: Before proceeding with the routine proceedings, on behalf of hon. members I want to welcome to the public galleries today eighty Grade 1X students from Mary Queen of Peace school here in St. John's. They are accompanied by their teachers, Mrs. Eileen Carson, Mrs. Margaret Ryan, Mrs. Denise Cleary, Mrs. Mary Lou Marshall, and Mr. Fred Butler.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

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

My question is directed to the Minister of Education.

Yesterday, Labrador West residents were shocked to learn of announcements by school boards of the drastic and massive cutbacks to funds for teacher assistants in Western Labrador. One school board cut 73 hours back to 18 hours a day, and the other school board cut 50 per cent. So, one school board cut 75 per cent and the other, 50 per cent. I wonder if the Minister of Education could tell us on what basis this decision was made?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, no cuts have been made in student assistants anywhere in the Province. No decisions have been made with respect to any cuts for student assistants.

A year ago, the Department of Education and the government realized that there were tremendous variations in the usage of student assistants throughout the Province. In line with our policy of providing equality throughout the Province and guaranteeing efficiency of spending and accountability, the department conducted a major review of all student assistants throughout the Province -

AN HON. MEMBER: At the request of the union?

DR. WARREN: Yes, at the request of the union and with the co-operation of the union.

That study was completed, I think, in April. Two or three days ago we had some discussion with superintendents about the findings. What we found, of course, is what we hypothesized, that there are some school districts which received numbers in excess of what we considered a reasonable level of service.

There are a number of school districts, particularly, St. John's, where the numbers of student assistants were very low relative to the need as established by this study. These data have been discussed with the superintendents, but no decisions have been made about what will happen next year or in the future, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, that is not what the residents of Labrador West were told yesterday. The minister pays lip service to equality. Why doesn't he do something for equality in education and raise the level of education, not lower it? That is what the residents of Western Labrador are asking.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. A. SNOW: Is the minister saying that the schools in Labrador West can maintain the same programs and services next year as this year, with the manpower cuts they have been asked to impose on the school boards?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, we put, this year, into rural schools in particular, into the operation of the school boards, an extra $12 million to help school boards throughout this Province. This government believes in equality of educational opportunity and we put our money where our mouth is, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. WARREN: Right? For years they permitted certain districts in this Province to spend half what was spent from school taxes in other areas, but this government changed that. Mr. Speaker, the decision -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. WARREN: May I repeat, Mr. Speaker? I talked with the representatives of the parents last night from Labrador West, and I told them that no final decision had been made. I don't want to lead anybody astray, in order to live within our budget - and this year, I think we increased the student assistant budget from $3.5 million to $4.8 million, even with the freeze. We didn't freeze salaries for student assistants. We reclassified. We increased the amount for student assistants in this Province, as a result of reclassification, from $3.5 million to $4.8 million.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. WARREN: We will be providing to student assistants throughout the Province precisely the same number, almost exactly the same number, of student assistant hours this year as last year. There may have to be some re-allocations. In areas where they don't have adequate hours to provide a reasonable level of service, we will increase these. In areas where they have what the department judges to be excessive in terms of what is a reasonable standard of services, we may have to reduce some of these. I don't want to lead the public astray. But we are going to provide equality of opportunity throughout the Province in this area, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. A. SNOW: Again, I want to repeat that the minister should be levelling up, not down. The people of Western Labrador have grown accustomed to a good level of education and this minister wants to tear that down. Mr. Speaker, this is not fair to the people of Western Labrador. Now, is the minister really telling the people in Western Labrador to stop trying to integrate these students into the classroom? Is he telling the people in Western Labrador to bring these students, lock them up in closets, isolate them, put them in the basements, lock them away? Is that what he is trying to tell the people of western Labrador?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, I don't get angry very often, but I get angry about that charge about the department and this minister. If there is anything that we believe in, it is equality of educational opportunity.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. WARREN: And we are not going to move back to the kind of policies that I might say exist in certain parts of this country today, of segregating. We believe in mainstreaming, a balanced mainstreaming, a balanced integration, and this government will continue to promote that.

We were the government that put the student assistants in place.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. WARREN: $3.5 million. We were the ones who put the student assistants in place -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

DR. WARREN: - and we are going to continue.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I heard the Opposition House Leader say what he knows to be an unparliamentary utterance. I ask the hon. member to withdraw it.

MR. MATTHEWS: Gladly, Mr. Speaker, I will withdraw anything that is unparliamentary, but I think that the minister should deal with the truth.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the minister.

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, student assistants were provided through the Department of Social Services before 1989. In the Fall of 1989 we put in place the present system of student assistants. We are providing educational programs for them. We have increased their salaries, even in a freeze year, and there will be approximately the same number next year in the Province, as a whole, as we have this year.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. A. SNOW: The minister may be getting angry, but he should also be ashamed. He should be ashamed of what he is doing!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. A. SNOW: He should be ashamed of sending the message to the handicapped people of this Province, and in the middle -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. A. SNOW: Is the minister ashamed of these policies that he is putting out to the people of this Province? I ask the minister again: Is he ashamed of what he is doing, especially during this week of National Access Awareness Week?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, this government enunciated, shortly after it came to power, a Triple E educational agenda for this Province, for the future. Equality was number one, and in the past two or three years we have done a great deal to promote equality, and we have just begun.

I assure you, we are not going to tolerate the kinds of inequalities that the former administration tolerated in this Province, where the kind of education you got was determined by where you lived, how rich your parents were and the kind of economic situation in the community in which you resided. We are not going to tolerate that, Mr. Speaker. We are going to promote equality of educational opportunity for all Newfoundlanders, particularly people who have been disadvantaged in the past. We believe in providing equality, particularly for those who have been disadvantaged in the past.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education, who said he is angry. I say to the minister, I am angry too because of your lack of respect for the truth.

Mr. Speaker, this minister, who goes around and smiles and shakes hands with everyone, has cut the student assistants to the RC School Board on the Burin Peninsula by 50 per cent, and the superintendent of the school board was notified of that by officials of your department, I would suggest, in a meeting just a couple of days ago.

Now, Mr. Speaker, in order to cut student assistants to these students on the Burin Peninsula, to the RC School Board, let me ask the minister: Why does he feel it necessary to balance the books of this government on the backs of the disadvantaged children in our society?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. WARREN: It is rather interesting, Mr. Speaker, that the report on Sprung was issued today. That money would go a long way to help the disadvantaged in this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, the number of student assistants provided for school districts is determined by need. We have conducted a study of need. We have a report on the assessments done by two consultants. I think they started in November and completed the study in April. No decisions have been made with respect to any of these boards as of yet. We are considering the report and, within the next three to four weeks, hopefully before the end of June, we will be able to notify boards as to their allocation for 1993 - 1994.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, again we are seeing an example of the minister not being honest. The word has gone out to the school boards. That is what has happened. I also say to the minister, that if he had some of the $19 million that you gave to your buddies to build hospitals in this Province on a cost-plus contract in the last year, it would go a long way, as well, towards helping the disadvantaged.

My question to the Minister of Education: In the elementary school system in Marystown - and I, today, have spoken to school board people, two teachers, two parents - there will be a reduction from approximately six to two student assistants. Tonight there is a meeting in Marystown, a public meeting called by all the people who are going to be affected because of the action of this minister. Let me ask the minister to tell the truth. Will he now say that the word he sent out to the administrators of the school boards in this Province is cancelled, it no longer exists, and the disadvantaged in our society will be treated fairly as they have been in the past?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, what was discussed - may I say for the third or fourth time - at a meeting in Gander of superintendents was the report of the consultants. No decisions have been made with respect to what will happen to this data or what will happen to each board for next year. Over the next few days, two or three weeks, the department will examine all the data and then inform school boards of their final decision.

Mr. Speaker, one other additional point, this study was conducted, not only with the co-operation of the union but also in consultation with board officials, with assistant superintendents responsible for special needs, for consultants. The study was a study of needs district by district by district, for the first time in the Province. We believe there should be comparable levels of service throughout the Province. Over the next few days we will consider that report and make decisions as to what will happen in September of 1992.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, for the minister to say there is no decision made, he realizes that people in this Province don't trust him saying that, because he has said that too often before and has not kept his word. That is what has happened. This minister, this Premier and this government -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the member to get on with the question. This is not a debate.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the question is why has this minister, this Premier and this government sacrificed everyone who depend on them including the aged, the pensioners? I ask the minister - he tries to be this nice smooth person - I ask him in the name of God, in the name of common decency and all that is good, will you refrain from attacking the disadvantaged in our Province, the ones who need teacher assistants? Will the minister do that? I will ask him this and I hope he answers it this time. Never mind slipping around it. Will he let the professional educators in the school boards determine the number of teacher assistants that are needed by each board, and then when the educators in each school board determines the number of teacher assistants that each board needs, will he then provide them with the money to hire the teacher assistants?

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

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, the board officials and all the professional people who were involved in conducing this study - board officials and consultants were involved in conducting this study - they were consulted. The data are based on the views of a large number of groups including the consultants.

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that we have a budget of approximately $5 million for student assistants. It has increased $1.3 million since last year. We have needs in some districts not now being met. St. John's I mentioned is one area where there has been a concentration of students who last year didn't have a student assistant. There are many other -

MR. TOBIN: That is your fault.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the minister to take his place, please. I would ask the Member for Burin - Placentia West, please, to try to restrain himself. Members aren't suppose to interfere to the extent where it interrupts the speaker. The Member for Burin - Placentia West was across that threshold, so I would ask him, please, to restrain himself.

The hon. the Minister of Education.

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, we found out when we conducted this study that there were people in St. John's and many other districts we now know should have had a student assistant in the past and didn't. We are now going to provide that kind of service. There are students who have been disadvantaged and haven't had the benefit of a student assistant.

There are other areas of the Province where we believe perhaps the need itself does not dictate the level of hours that they now have. Mr. Speaker, we are going to provide equality and share around to ensure that people, irrespective of where they live, get treated fairly in this Province.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, when the disadvantaged in this Province are being attacked by the Minister of Education it is difficult to restrain yourself.

I ask the minister why does he see it necessary to down level, to take from Labrador West and the Burin Peninsula and other places in the Province to give somewhere else? Why won't he level up rather than level down? Why take away a service that is needed? I also ask the minister if he would come clean and tell us whether or not the study was done by professional people from the Department of Education, or whether it was done from the budget choppers in the President of Treasury Board's division?

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

DR. WARREN: Mr. Speaker, the allocation of student assistants is based on need. If the need exists, the Department of Education will provide for student assistants. If there is no need there, and we have found examples of where student assistants were used in areas outside of the traditional functions, in principals offices through no fault of the student assistants themselves, because students weren't in the school. We found examples of improper utilization of these hours. We are going to ensure, Mr. Speaker, that where student assistants are provided that the level will be determined by need. I guess that is why, Mr. Speaker, in some areas we will increase the number of hours, and in others there may be over a period of time an adjustment downward.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Premier. It concerns his statements reported in the Ottawa Citizen of yesterday concerning aboriginal rights. The Premier said that the provinces could opt out of the agreement on aboriginal self government, and called it a recipe for chaos. Mr. Speaker, why will the Premier not accept that, if what is being recognised is truly an inherent right to self-government, that it would not be possible for provincial governments to opt out? Why will the Premier not admit that the only true recipe for chaos are the actions of the Premier himself in making such irresponsible statements at a time like this when national unity is at stake?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I find it difficult to believe that the hon. member is that ill informed about the issue. I can't believe it, but may be he is. Let me say very clearly what I said to a lady named Joan Bryden from Southam News who did an interview.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make the statement without the garbled mumbling that I hear coming from the Member for Torngat Mountains. It disrupts the whole House, and if he would refrain himself from such constant, unintelligent, garbled mumbling, maybe the House would hear the answer. Nobody can give a sensible answer in the face of that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)!

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

Hon. members have been interrupting and the Chair has stood on several occasions to remind hon. members that this is not an accepted parliamentary procedure. I would ask hon. members please to respect the rules of the House, and hon. members ought to do that.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: This is an important question, Mr. Speaker, and ought to be addressed sensibly, not in this manner. I was asked by Joan Bryden what was the basis for the suggestion that amendments respecting aboriginal rights had to be unanimous, and did I share that view. I said: no, I do not think it requires unanimity, but there is the provision in the constitutional amending procedure, under Section 38, where the powers of the Legislature or proprietary rights of the provinces could be affected, then any province which passed a dissenting resolution, the change would not apply to that province, provided it had been passed by seven of the ten Legislatures having 50 per cent of the population. So I was simply giving her an explanation as to why I thought it did not require unanimity, but there was that qualification.

She said: well, is that what Newfoundland is considering? I said: no, we have not considered it. The simple fact is, we have not considered it. Out of this whole question that whole story has arisen. Now she also asked me what I thought of the proposal for aboriginal self-government. I explained to her that I supported the concept of aboriginal self-government, but that I was very concerned about simply providing a constitutional change that would recognise an inherent right to self-government with nothing any more than that, that would be justiciable. That is, capable of being determined by the courts within three years if there was not agreement on it.

My problem with it is, what does self-government mean? What direction is going to be given to the courts to interpret it if there is not agreement on it? Self-government means everything from clearing the snow off the streets, Mr. Speaker, to acting as an international nation, on the international scene.

Now it is obvious that we have to have some means of putting it in place in an orderly way. The other thing that is proposed is that it would apply to all aboriginal people on or off reservation. So what I said was: does that mean that a person who is of aboriginal origin could walk down Water Street in St. John's and break whatever provincial, federal or other municipal law the person wanted, and say: I am sorry, your laws do not apply to me, I am self-governing. That would be a recipe for chaos.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: I do not know what the hon. member is saying, but no doubt he will do it in a follow up question. If that is what it could mean, that would be a recipe for chaos. We have to deal with it in a sensible way. Besides, it is a complete abandonment of political responsibility for political leaders of this country to say: we will just write it in, and if we cannot agree on it, we will let the Supreme Court determine it. What gave the nine judges who sit on the Supreme Court the ability or the right to determine the political structure of the nation? They should only interpret words, not put in place political structures and ideas.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Obviously, once again, everybody is out of step but our 'Clyde'.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HARRIS: I didn't hear that, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: I won't mention reports yet, Mr. Speaker, until I get a chance to read it.

Mr. Speaker, why will the Premier not admit that these kinds of extremist statements like aboriginals flouting criminal laws on Water Street, really betray a patronizing kind of attitude towards aboriginals, the same, Mr. Speaker, as we heard this morning on CBC, when the Premier was talking about the people of Davis Inlet. Does he plan to go up to Davis Inlet and spank Kathie Riche for disagreeing with his views on how to conduct the affairs of Davis Inlet?

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Premier, does this not betray his government's attitude towards the aboriginals as really a colonial people?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, people who hold political offices have a responsibility to be intellectually honest and to state positions with intellectual certainty and with courage, not intellectual cowardice. We can't hide from the fact that this is a possible result, merely because, in Canada we have so shamefully treated our aboriginal people for 125 or 250 years, we fail to properly be fair to them; we fail to take them into account. We wrote a Constitution in 1867 that put six words in it dealing with aboriginal people, that failed to even consider their wishes.

Well, now it is time to deal with it on a sensible basis, but we shouldn't let our failures of the past and our sense of guilt or shame, if you will, about our failures of the past cloud our good judgement about what we are creating for the future. We have a responsibility to the 26 million people of this nation to put in place a proper structure for government, and the mere fact that some members, some political parties are reluctant to express their opinions, for fear it might cause aboriginal people not to think nicely of them, does not mean that I, as the Premier of this Province, can fail to address the issue fairly.

I have spoken for many months about the need to provide for aboriginal self-government. I committed this government to discussing it with the Inuit long before it was discussed on the constitutional stage when we started the land claims negotiation. I told them we were prepared to negotiate self-government for the Inuit people on that basis, without a constitutional structure because I thought it was the right thing to do. But, Mr. Speaker, I am not afraid to express my opinion of the impropriety of going to the extent that is now being proposed because some people are afraid it is politically unacceptable to express any opinion that may be contrary to what the aboriginal people wish.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: People with a sense of responsibility must do what is right.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair has warned the Member for Torngat Mountains on several occasions, and I alert the hon. member that the Chair will exercise the authority it has if the member doesn't follow the rules of the House.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A final supplementary regarding the constitutional process, itself. Why, Mr. Speaker, are this Province and the Premier arrogating speaking on the Constitution and participation in the constitutional negotiations to himself and his party alone? Why does he not follow the example of the Government of Nova Scotia and the Province of Ontario, in including other political parties in these negotiations so more than one view is expressed and more than one party has access to and is involved in that process at the national level? Why doesn't the Premier do that, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I understand, Mr. Speaker, the reasoning and the thinking of Premier Cameron of Nova Scotia. He has a comme ci, comme ça Legislative situation and he is trying to cope with that. I understand that thinking. Premier Harcourt of B.C. doesn't have Gordon Wilson speaking at the table. Prime Minister Mulroney, doesn't have the hon. John Chrétien speaking at the table - those governments are speaking, the ministers concerned. Now, if some particular province like Nova Scotia, for example, wants to bring its Leader of the Opposition, I don't quarrel with that, that is up to them. I think it inappropriate for Newfoundland at this stage. The government is speaking for the Government of this Province because it was chosen by the people to do so, and we intend to do so

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to ask the Premier, why, over the last couple of years of Constitutional reform efforts, has the Premier retained a Central Canadian lawyer, Neil Finklestein, and how much has the government paid Neil Finklestein?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Why have we retained him? Because he has a superb constitutional mind. He has the kind of expert knowledge in constitutional law and the underlying principles as opposed to constitutional policy and structure in the political science sense. He has the kind of knowledge and expertise that is absolutely urgent, from Newfoundland's point of view, to ensure that our interests were protected and that is why his services were being engaged. Now, the fact is, he has provided us with tremendous service at very low cost by comparison with normal rates. I will get the precise extent of the service he has provided and then I will table it. Then I will also table the bills engaged by the former firm, Peter Laugheed's firm (inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: If you want to see real outside legal fees, then, you will see them.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Before proceeding on to -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Before proceeding on to other matters -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would ask the hon. members, while the Chair is speaking - before proceeding to other business, the Chair would like to bring to the attention of hon. members, the presence in the gallery of thirty students from Ackerman Elementary School, Green's Harbour, from the district of Trinity - Bay de Verde. They are accompanied by their teachers, Mr. Hiscock and Mr. Penney.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber East, on a point of order.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The government has the report of Mr. Justice Steele into the Efford Public Service Commission scandal. I understand, Mr. Efford, the subject of the probe, has the report. Why has the report not been tabled in the House of Assembly? Why is it being kept from the people of the Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I had it. I intended to prepare a statement for tabling in the morning. If hon. members want, I don't need to prepare a statement. I am quite prepared to table the report now.

It was delivered to the government last week. We have had a chance to meet since and consider it. Cabinet met today and approved the tabling of the report. I didn't have time to do any preparation of a statement in connection with it, but perhaps, Mr. Speaker, I don't need to prepare a statement. I am quite prepared to table the report now.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) by leave.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) got it now.

AN HON. MEMBER: We shouldn't have to force it out of you.

MR. SPEAKER: The member spoke on a point of order. The Chair's ruling, of course, is there was no point of order.

Notices of Motion

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 Department Of Health Act". (Bill No. 38).

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given


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

MR. WINDSOR: On Answers to Questions, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Development had promised to - this is Answers to Questions. I just wanted to wake him up.

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

MR. FUREY: Those Trade Ministers' meetings do that to you.

Mr. Speaker, I was waiting for information to come from the Western region. It has arrived. I am prepared to table this today, and provide hon. members the background, which basically deals with the purpose of funding for each company, the net economic benefit, the type of loan, the amount, the date it was done, and the employment impact. Each of those background sheets has been prepared.

I haven't had a chance, I say to the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl, to look through these carefully, because I didn't arrive back from the Trade Ministers' meeting until late last night, so if there are some companies missing I would be prepared to seek these out and find out what they are.

I ask him to handle this with care. Criticize the government, but don't attack companies.

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

MR. TOBIN: Since we are on Answers to Questions, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation last week promised to table the log of the Premier's limousine. I wonder when he is going to do that?

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

MR. BAKER: To that point of order - I assume, Mr. Speaker, it is a point of order we are dealing with?

MR. SPEAKER: I thought the President of Treasury Board was standing on Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, what's been happening is that the members of the Opposition have been standing up and asking questions. They can only do that on a point of order, so I am wondering if it is a point of order before the House.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order. We are into the period of Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given. When an hon. member stands to ask why a question has not been provided, it is obviously not a point of order.

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

My understanding is that in Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given, ministers stand and answer questions for which previous notice has been given, and so on, and that in order for members of the Opposition to stand up, they have to stand on a point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Precisely.

MR. BAKER: That was my point. There were no points of order. I was wondering what was going on, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair has ruled that there is no point of order. An hon. member can stand to ask why a question hasn't been asked, but there is obviously no point of order.

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Motion 5, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 5.

Motion, the hon. the President of Treasury Board to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Election Act Respecting The Holding Of A Plebiscite In The Province," carried. (Bill No. 36).

On motion, Bill No. 36 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. BAKER: Order 1, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 1.

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

Committee of the Whole

MR. CHAIRMAN (Barrett): Order, please!

The hon. the President of Treasury Board.


MR. BAKER: Mr. Chairman, that is a strange way to get into Committee. I want to now consider the Executive Council Estimates that we were doing the previous day.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have a few questions on the Office of the Executive Council. One of the first - I do not know if the Premier or the President of Treasury Board after, when I am finished, would like to probably answer them if possible. If not, he can just take it under advisement and get me the answers.

Under the first one, 2.2.03, Executive Support - Professional Services: Budgeted was $210,000 in 1991-1992, it was revised at $205,000, but this year, it was down to $118,000 for Professional Services. I would like for the minister or probably the Premier or someone to answer that.

MR. BAKER: Just a second, now. Where is that?

MR. WOODFORD: You cannot hear, and the hon. members there - 2.2.03, under Executive Support, page 15 of the Executive Council. Under Professional Services, 2.2.03, Executive Support, was budgeted, like I said, $210,000, and spent $205,000 under the revision, then, this year, it was $118,000. I was just wondering why the big discrepancy. What was really needed under that particular program, within budget, probably last year, but was almost $100,000 in the difference for this? Would it have anything to do with the Constitution or otherwise?

MR. BAKER: Was that (inaudible) the Premier's Office or Executive Support?

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, the office of the Executive Council, Premier's Office. Right at the bottom, 2.2.03. Page 15 under the estimates. Right at the bottom of the page, 2.2.03. Well there is not much point in me going on -

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible) Premier's office or the Cabinet Secretariat. If it is on the bottom of page 15 it is the Cabinet Secretariat.


PREMIER WELLS: So it is the Cabinet Secretariat.

MR. WOODFORD: 2.2.03.

PREMIER WELLS: 2.2.03. Okay, it is the Cabinet Secretariat.

MR. WOODFORD: Executive Support.

AN HON. MEMBER: How can they run the country if they can't even follow their own budget?

MR. WOODFORD: Professional Services under 2.2.03 last year was -

PREMIER WELLS: $118,000.

MR. WOODFORD: The year before it was budgeted at $210,000, revised at $205,00 which was pretty well on par, but this year - the question I am asking is why the big difference in Professional Services? What was it spent on?

MR. BAKER: Did you want them answered one at a time?

MR. WOODFORD: (Inaudible) as long as we get the ten -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Okay. Professional Services, the original budget in 91-92 was $210,000, the expenditure was $205,000, and now it is cut back to $118,000.


MR. BAKER: This particular Professional Service is to continue development of document management system with costs to include hardware and software purchases, implementation of system and conversion of existing documents to data base system. The point is that when you are into that kind - this is really computer expenditure, and the amounts can vary from year to year depending upon what you need. So a lot of the hardware was put in last year and now this is just continuing that particular program. So this is not travel or anything like that. It is not contracting out in the sense that the hon. member is asking about. This is computer services.

MR. WOODFORD: Okay, Mr. Chairman. I will move on to the Classification Appeal Boards, 2.2.09. That is under Office of the Executive Council, Cabinet Secretariat as well, page 17. Is there a lot of work in that? There must have been a lot of work under the classification appeal boards this year under Professional Services. That jumped up over $30,000 right there. Probably the minister could get that for me after. I didn't think there would be much in that particular category this year, but it seems like there was an awful lot of people trying to appeal their classifications.

MR. BAKER: Which one (inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: 2.2.09 under the same thing, just the next page over, page 17.

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible) 2.2.09?

MR. WOODFORD:, Professional Services. Are you expecting more this year because of the freeze? Or is it because of some particular -

MR. BAKER: What we are doing is the original budget for last year was $70,000. The expenses were $103,000, and there was an increase and we are projecting the same $103,000 for next year. That stays the same. That is the per diem allowance that is paid to members of the board, but it also covers expenses related to the retention of outside legal assistance so I am assuming they are projecting the same level of activity in terms of that matter will continue for the next year.

MR. WOODFORD: As I said when you look at the sum it is not the amount altogether but it shows a lot of activity with regard to the appeal process so you are expecting pretty well the same for next year.

MR. BAKER: Obviously, last year there was a misjudgment in terms of the amount of activity and I guess the $70,000 last year came from the expenditure of the year before. Hopefully, we will not spend $103,000 this year. It is a very variable amount.

MR. WOODFORD: Treasury Board Secretariat 2.3.04. What would the purchase services be for in 2.3.04 (06) on Page 19?

MR. BAKER: That would be photocopier and the printing costs for all divisions of Treasury Board. Last year there was $41,000 budgeted. The expenditure was $56,000 and this year we are putting in the same amount, so photocopier and printing costs.

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Chairman, 2.3.06 under collective bargaining, 2.3.06 (05), still with professional services. That one was budgeted at $85,000 and revised to $150,000. I did not think there was a lot of collective bargaining last year. That is a fairly big significant jump and not only that the same amount is allocated for this year. You are, I suppose, expecting a lot of collective bargaining this year?

MR. BAKER: You are talking about the professional services allocation?

MR. WOODFORD: The professional services part of it, yes.

MR. BAKER: That has to do with the government share of the cost of negotiation which is only one item, okay, and conciliation another item, but I think where a lot of that came from was the interest and rights arbitration board hearings. There were a lot of arbitrations held last year which kept us quite busy and we are simply assuming that we will get the same type of arbitration requests so most of that was arbitration.

MR. WOODFORD: Under pay equity, under Treasury Board Secretariat 2.3.12, Page 21 under Pay Equity Review Implementation, under professional services 2.3.12 (05) that was budgeted at $346,000, revised at $235,000 and it is now way up to $447,000. I did not think there was much activity with regards to pay equity. What would that increase be for?

MR. BAKER: The hon. member is not correct when he says there is not much activity in terms of pay equity. I would like to spend a couple of minutes on that if I could.

Mr. Speaker, some years ago the former government made an agreement with its unions and that agreement involved pay equity and indicated that negotiations would continue until pay equity was reached in the public service. Negotiations were started with one section of the public service and we tried to carry out pay equity negotiations with the hospital sector plus hydro. These negotiations were "successfully" concluded, the agreements were reached and pay equity was implemented in a small segment of the public service last year. Okay? You remember the fuss about Bill 16 and retroactivity in terms of pay equity, but pay equity was implemented during this past year in a small segment of the public service.

Now, Mr. Chairman, the activity is simply a continuation of that process. In that first group there were some smaller groups of workers, the nurses one of them, where agreement could not be satisfactorily reached, not because we couldn't reach agreement but because there were no satisfactory comparisons. As the hon. member knows, all this is being done by a joint union-management committee with equal representation. So all during last year their work was continuing.

We have also started the process, during the past year, of looking at the rest or other segments of the public service with a view to bringing in pay equity. So that cost is going on. In terms of purchased services in that area, quite a lot of the information that is required by the committee, the committee actually contracts out to firms that do analyses of classification groups and analyses of pay levels and all this kind of thing. So there is an increased activity at this point in time in terms of pay equity, in terms of trying to get to the next stage where we reach agreement on pay equity for the rest of the public service.

I don't mind saying to the hon. member that some horrendous problems have been arising with regard to pay equity, not only in Newfoundland but in a lot of other provinces. Because what is happening is that as we move towards pay equity and we look down the road we find that as we get into these agreements, what they are doing is they are totally destroying the whole classification system that we have and they are creating other problems. So there are horrendous problems coming out of the implementation of pay equity that have to be looked at.

So I say to the hon. gentleman, that over the next couple of years the activity and expenditure under the pay equity heading, especially in terms of getting outside expertise, is going to have to increase if we are going to meet our deadlines.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

So then one would lead into the other, I guess, with regards to the classification appeal board. Probably some of it came out of that.

MR. BAKER: Yes, that is right. Pay equity would stimulate more of the appeals on the other side.

MR. WOODFORD: More of the appeals process?


MR. WOODFORD: 2.5.01, Mr. Chairman, under Newfoundland Information Services. That is page 23. 2.5.01: budgeted in 1991 - I was looking back through the estimates of 1990 and there was a budget of some $335,000. In 1991/1992 it was $390,000 and in 1992/1993, $554,000, the total amount to be voted for Newfoundland Information Services. There is almost a $200,000 increase in the total. Even under Salaries, there is about a $90,000 increase from 1990 to this year's budget. Why would there be such an increase in salaries with regards to Newfoundland Information Services? Are there some people added down there?

MR. BAKER: You are talking about going back a number of years, going back three years?

MR. WOODFORD: Yes. I based it on the year before, 1990, at $335,000 and now this year it is almost $400,000 for salaries. There is about seventy-odd thousand dollars in the different there, but the total - just stick to the salaries. There is about $75,000 in the difference in salaries.

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

MR. BAKER: If the hon. gentleman wants me to attempt an answer to that one, in terms of these particular estimates the original budget for last year was $390,000. We went over by $5,000 to $395,000 and we are budgeting $395,000. I am absolutely certain that the question was asked last year as to why there was a jump up to the $390,000, but I am not absolutely certain of the answer now. It had to do with staff. It had to do with a couple of extra positions, I believe, but I could check back. All I know is that right now, from this year to next year, it is being kept the same. But there was a jump and it involved some salaries. I remember.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Chairperson. The Women's Policy Office and the provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women fall within the responsibility of Executive Council and this is the only forum for dealing with the spending estimates in any detail.

I would like to say at the outset that the full House has not been as satisfactory for getting into discussions about policy and specifics of the various branches of the provincial government as have been the committees. The committees operate informally and for the most part generate quite a bit of information, and some interesting exchanges about philosophy and policy. The problem with the committees, however, is that hardly any of the news reporters cover them. At any rate I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to make some comments, and then ask some questions about the Women's Policy Office and the provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

Women in our Province are seriously disadvantaged in terms of power, in terms of influence in decision making in governments, in businesses, in families even. Women are also seriously disadvantaged because of their poverty. Because of women's lack of power and lack of wealth, generally speaking, women and the children depending on their mothers for care are vulnerable. Women are not being employed to the best of their ability. We have an unemployment crisis in the Province. The unemployment rate has been rising. The employment rate has been dropping over the last year or so for the first time ever, probably for the first time in the recorded history of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Over the past three years the social assistance caseload has almost doubled. When this government came to office three years ago I asked the then Minister of Social Services about the number of people on welfare. He said in March of 1989 there were about 19,000 cases, or families, on social assistance. This spring the current minister told me that there are over 28,000 cases or families depending on welfare. That increase in dependence on welfare is very disturbing.

A disproportionate number of the adults on welfare are women. Quite a few of the families on welfare are mother-led, single parent families, and we have to ask why this is. It comes back to our culture, to our values, to our education system, to the ingrained discrimination - much of the discrimination is unconscious but it is real nevertheless. There are however some instances of deliberate discrimination having the effect of putting down women or excluding women from certain jobs, certain opportunities.

The Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women was created by the Peckford administration about twelve years ago. It was designed as an arm's length organization which would work independent from the Cabinet and the political arm of the government, to try to spur the government to take more appropriate action to implement better policies to address the problems of women and to recognize the ability and the talent of women.

The Advisory Council functioned very effectively for the first nine years of its existence. The Advisory Council during those years was high profile, visible, the Advisory Council president was outspoken in taking the government to task, in working privately with the Premier and ministers as well as civil servants, to see to it that policies were improved, programs appropriate to the needs of women were put in place, and there were some positive results during those years.

In the past couple of years, we have had a conservative administration led by a conservative individual, Clyde Wells; we have had an economic recession, it has been a time when we have needed the advisory council more than ever. We have needed the advisory council to try to guard gains that were made during the 80s as well as to press for reforms and new measures and programs still needed. I find it disappointing that at this time of need, the advisory council has taken a lower profile. We do not hear nearly as much from the Provincial Advisory Council on the status of women now, as we did during the 80s.

I know the Advisory Council is doing good work. I know they have intervened at various federal government and provincial government hearings on a variety of matters. I know they have done some research, they are participating in efforts to improve the response to wife battering and to the general problem of violence against women, but they are not being as effective as they were, as they can be and as they should be, as advocates for women in this Province.

Having said that, I would like to ask the President of Treasury Board, who seems to be here speaking for the government during this examination of the Executive Council Estimates, that I know as a former minister responsible for the Status of Women. What is the government's view of the position of women in the Province? What strategy does the government have to deal with the needs of women in this Province, the needs for adequate income, adequate housing, proper child care, the needs for education, for training and for employment? At the same time I would like to ask the minister

what unused potential he sees on the part of women in this Province? Women are virtually unrepresented in several walks of life, in several occupations.

I look at the Minister of Education when I talk about the underutilization of women in the Province's education system. Historically women have been prominent in the teaching profession. Until the last few years there were more women than men in the teaching profession in this Province and elsewhere in North America. I understand now it is about 50/50, but there has been job segregation by sex. Almost all the women teachers are found in the classrooms of the primary and elementary grades. Almost all the men teachers are in the higher level grades, and men virtually monopolize administrative positions.

In this Province we have never, ever, had a woman school board superintendent. There are quite a high number of school board assistant superintendents. They proliferated over the last ten years or so. The Minister of Education might be able to cite the exact number. We probably have seventy-five or eighty assistant superintendents now, and yet only a handful of those assistant superintendents are women.

I think the percentage of women in the House of Assembly is just as good, if not better, than the percentage of women assistant superintendents with the Province's school boards.

Now the government is about to consolidate school boards. We have seen consolidation over the past few years, as enrolment has declined, but the government, which now has The Report of The Royal Commission on Education calling for nine regional, public, nondenominational school boards, -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MS. VERGE: Do I have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MS. VERGE: The government, regardless of whether it has the courage to implement precisely the recommendations of The Royal Commission, consistent with its zeal to centralize and consolidate and merge, will almost surely merge school boards, either doing it in a nondiscriminatory way, as called for in The Royal Commission Report, or through some halfhearted, gutless compromise, trying to cater to all the various interests.

At any rate, it seems to me it is inevitable that we are going to have fewer school boards in the Province, and probably there will be a severe reduction. We now have twenty-seven or twenty-eight. The Royal Commission Report calls for nine.

This administrative reform, however complete the reform is, will provide the government with an opportunity to appoint women to senior school board administrative positions. It is a golden opportunity. It is a once in a generation opportunity.

In the case of post-secondary education, back five, seven, years ago, the previous administration reorganized vocational schools, colleges, by creating a number of regional community colleges and provincial institutes. The government at that time appointed two women presidents, two women CEO's. Sheila McKinnon-Drover was appointed President of The Central Newfoundland Community College, and Linda Inkpen was appointed President of The College of Trades and Technology, or Cabot Institute as it was later named.

Now by a whole variety of accounts those two women administrators have done a superb job. They have greatly improved the quality of program offerings within their institutions and the various campuses for which they are responsible. They have raised standards. They have earned the praise of their faculty and staff, as well as students and others in the communities they are serving. They are two women who show that, when given a chance, women can do an excellent job. Now by being in senior administrative positions in education, those women are also serving as role models to their students as well as the general public.

I would like to ask the Minister whether in making future appointments at the post-secondary level he will step up the effort to recognize the ability and talents of women. We only have two women CEO's in the non-university post-secondary sector now. Is the minister committed to improving that number? At the children's education level, at the primary, elementary, high school level with the pending consolidation, what strategy does the government have to see to it that women are appointed to senior administrative positions? Is the government satisfied to continue having the school board superintendency monopolized by men? Is the government satisfied with having such a disproportionate number of men in school administrative positions generally, and in high school classroom teaching positions? Or is the government going to take action to see to it that we have something approaching a balance or even a balance of women and men throughout our education system providing first rate administration as well as instruction, and at the same time serving as good role models for male and female children and adult learners?

I have gone over my ten limits, and I think this is a good time to pause because I would really like to hear the government's response to my call for affirmative action in the appointment, hiring and promotion or secondment of women in education administrative positions at both the primary, elementary, high school level as well as the post-secondary levels.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I am going to comment only briefly on that question and ask the Minister of Education to elaborate on it. But yesterday or the day before yesterday when I was in the House to answer questions relating to my own office expense, the Leader of the Opposition indicated they were going to ask questions on something else so I left. After I left they asked questions on my own office expenses, and I know the President of Treasury Board undertook to table them. I have since had my office get the information, and I am anxious, Mr. Chairman, to table for the committee the detail of those expenses. Maybe the Opposition would like a copy of them now.

They show the total expenses of the Premier's offices in the years 1991-92, and in the years 1988-89. People will know, of course, that the year 1988-89 was the last year that former Premier Peckford was in office full time. I just want to draw specific attention, particularly when I hear the totally unfounded and unwarranted allegations of the Member for Burin - Placentia West. There are some people who will just say anything without regard to whether there is any element of truth in it or not to serve their own purposes. You will see there the comparative cost.

The total gasoline bill for my use of my car in that year was $437.15. The former Premier's gasoline bill was $4,816.63. The vehicle repairs -- Oh, incidentally, Mr. Chairman, this idea that I have two chauffeured cars is utter tripe. It is absolute fraud to suggest it. I use my own car, but occasionally when I have to go somewhere where I am not able to park, or I have to go somewhere to an official function where it is necessary for me to be driven there I do, or if I have to go somewhere where I may have a drink. It may be a social occasion and I may have a drink. I refuse to drive my car when I am having a drink. So that is the only time that car is ever used by me.

The car is one of two that was in the government pool when we took over. The same driver who was there then is the same driver who is there now doing primarily the same work. Now the former Premier had his own driver-bodyguard and had three vehicles assigned exclusively to him. Had the use of three vehicles. At the moment, Mr. Speaker, I get the same as a minister. Only I do not take the full amount. I have only ever taken one-half of it. For two reasons.

One reason is in part that I am sometimes driven around by this other car, and the other part is my own personal car was used fairly extensively for political party purposes. As Leader of the Party, when I drive to functions in driving range, it is used for that purpose. So all I have ever taken, despite the $8,000 that is allowed, that I could take if I want to - I have not broadcast it. I have not said anything about it. I have not put myself up as a martyr or anything. But when I hear the silly tripe coming out of the Member for Burin - Placentia West it is more than I can do to sit and take that kind of nonsense.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Eight thousand dollars a year isn't silly (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: It isn't. It is $4,000 a year. The member should listen.

MR. TOBIN: Four thousand dollars a year (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: It is a good deal more than that, and it is used for a great deal more than that. Now, Mr. Speaker, the member should look at the comparisons and then he will hang his head in shame that he sat as a member of Cabinet and provided those kinds of expenditures.

I was going on. Vehicle repairs, last year, nil. In the last year of the former administration, $5,615.

MR. TOBIN: What about accidents (Inaudible)?

PREMIER WELLS: I do not know who has any accidents in government cars. I don't. I never had an accident in a government car. Official entertainment, $1,317.80, last year. The last year, $10,971.

MR. MATTHEWS: Not all shown, though!

PREMIER WELLS: Well, that is official entertainment while travelling. It is all shown, every last cent is shown.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not on yours it's not.

PREMIER WELLS: Every last cent is shown.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

PREMIER WELLS: I know you are hanging your heads in shame, and so you should. Official entertainment, V.I.P. dinners, et cetera. I use my house for that purpose. Total cost, $16,584.24. Total cost in the former administration - now this is four years ago, don't forget, after four years of inflation, don't forget, okay? - $45,314.70.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Not one cent charged off to other departments, not one! That is covered too.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) executive dining room!

PREMIER WELLS: I don't think I've used the executive dining room three times in the last year. Not three times in the last year.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: I know the member makes lots of assumptions. You will note that there is -

AN HON. MEMBER: How many times have you been down to The Cellar?

PREMIER WELLS: I was down to The Cellar once in my life, last week, and that was a Liberal Party function for which I contributed $20 out of my pocket. And it was not a bad party.

You will see official entertainment as three categories: official entertainment while travelling - I spent $1,317, the former government spent $10,900; official entertainment for dinners, et cetera - I spent $16,500, the former government spent $45,000; official entertainment, cigars and cigarettes - I spent nil, the former government spent $7,457.

Salary for the dining room chef. I spent none. It is included in the services, the cost of the dinners at home, they come in and serve it. The cost of the chef is included. I spent none. The former government in addition spent another $28,878. It is quite apart from the space and the separate dining room and all that.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I provide the use of my own personal home. I provide for my own personal home to do government entertainment on a regular basis. Sometimes two or three times a week, sometimes some weeks go by and there is none. For that I am provided with a housing allowance of $20,000. Which is also taxable.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) $16,000 (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Just listen now. The former premier got his whole house, everything, provided. Everything! Dishes, furniture, the whole works, all provided. The rent alone cost $15,241.35 for his housing. The electrical services on top cost $2,244.35


PREMIER WELLS: I answer all questions. Just let me finish and I will answer any other questions you have after. At my home there is a security system. I paid the capital cost of that and government pays the annual monitoring cost that the company charges for security. The total cost for snow clearing and security at my home is $1,342.66 which was included in the amount I have already given in respect to the former Premier. Because I do not have the time, as I devote virtually all my time to government, Pippy Park does up the grounds at my home, or does most of the work, I do some of it, and that cost $4921.38 charging out Pippy Park's rates. Now, that is a net after I pay 20 per cent of it myself. I reimburse the government for 20 per cent of it. I felt I should do it because that is what I would have spent personally if I had devoted my own time and had to buy fertilizers et cetera.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

PREMIER WELLS: I know, but you do not work eighteen hours a day for the public and I do. That is the difference. I do not have time to do my own and I have to have it in a presentable condition so that I can invite the Ambassador for Japan to come and have dinner, so that I can entertain people who are buying the products of the producers of this Province and work for the people of this Province. Advertising and promotion: I have to get to the bottom of that. I do not know what that advertising and promotion is. Anyway they spent $53,000 on advertising and promotion, whatever that was. I have to get to that, and I will table for the committee the detail of that because I really do not know what that is. It may be unfair to have it included in these expenses and if it is it should be taken out.

AN HON. MEMBER: What did you spend?

PREMIER WELLS: I did not spend any. Flowers: Now every Premier has to spend money on flowers, to make flowers available for people in the case of deaths and so on, you have to send wreaths to mayors and certain dignitaries. We spent $1118 and the former Premier spent $21,526 in the last year. On Premier's travel I spent $44,294.16 and four years earlier, despite the terrific inflation, the former Premier spent nearly as much, $43,589, four years ago despite the inflation in between.

MR. TOBIN: Does that include the charter of planes?

PREMIER WELLS: I am glad you asked because that is the next item on the agenda. I will give you the expense on that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Aircraft charter fixed-wing. I spent zero.

MR. TOBIN: Hydro plane.

PREMIER WELLS: I assume the cost of hydro is included in that, whatever it is. Two or three times when it was necessary to travel I used the hydro plane. I do not hide that.

AN HON. MEMBER: What was it costing?

PREMIER WELLS: I will get the cost, and if it is not already included I will get it and table it. The former Premier spent - listen now, $68,863 on fixed-wing aircraft travel in one year, his last year in office. Mr. Speaker, that is $6000 a month. Aircraft charters - helicopter, I spent zero and the former Premier spent $2011.16. Now, Mr. Speaker, it is instructive to look at the totals. Here are the totals. All of those expenses for me cost the government $94,015.48. The expenses of the former Premier cost the government in his last year in office 1988-89, $309,631.20. I am glad they asked the questions and gave me the opportunity to disclose the full details and I thank hon. members for it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: Add inflation now, for a real comparison, about seventy grand for inflation.

PREMIER WELLS: If you had to add inflation, Mr. Chairman, if you had -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Oh, I apologise.


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


MR. CHAIRMAN: By leave.

PREMIER WELLS: I thank hon. members and I won't abuse it. If you had to add inflation it would probably add another - something between $30,000 and $40,000, $50,000 I suppose, so you know, I do not feel too badly; I feel that I am treating the people of this Province pretty fairly on a personal basis. I am making a sincere personal contribution and I do not mind doing it.

Mr. Chairman, I am going to ask the Minister of Education to answer the balance of the question.

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

MR. TOBIN: The Premier said he was going to answer before he sat down and he did not answer, that was if that $16,000 he spent for entertainment was in addition to the $20,000 you were getting for your home?

PREMIER WELLS: Oh yes, it is all spelled out in detail. It is there separately you see. Housing allowance is shown, I am showing it $20,000, the former Premier is showing it $15,241. Now, the cost of his furniture, the cost of his dishes, the cost of all of the other - silverware all those other things, I did not take any of that into account. I do not know about food, I do not know about it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Paper towels.

PREMIER WELLS: That was paid for too, was it? I do not know, I did not check into that kind of detail. The thing that I do not know and I ask hon. members to respect my caution - I do not know about that $53,000 for advertising and promotion. I do not see why it should be in the Premier's Office. I do not know what it is, so it may be that it is unfairly there and I ask hon. members to give me a little bit of tolerance and I will let you know if it is unfairly there and ask that it be taken out.

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

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I think the Premier has just confirmed that he is probably the most expensive Premier in the history of the Province. He came in, Mr. Chairman, with this big list - but he is not sure if the chartered helicopters around the world or around Canada are included; he is not sure-

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: There are no helicopters, okay. A fixed-wing chartered plane to fly to the mainland and he is not sure if that is there. I would suspect it is quite expensive to hire planes to fly around this country. Mr. Chairman, $53,000 for advertisements; well I do not know what it is, the Premier does not know what it is, and I am wondering if it is pictures of the Premier he sent around Canada -

MR. MATTHEWS: It is not his, Glenn, it is the other fellow's.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: I am wondering if it is pictures that the Premier had to send around Canada, the former Premier had to send around Canada.

AN HON. MEMBER: The former?

MR. TOBIN: That is what I am saying, if he had to send them around Canada, Mr. Chairman, because probably no one knew him up there. He concentrated more on Newfoundland because when he was the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, the mine in Daniel's Harbour was working, the mine in Baie Verte was working, the mine in Hope Brook was open, the mine in St. Lawrence was working. He concentrated his time here, so probably he spent the money to send his pictures to the mainland. Since this Premier, we have had no mines opened in the Province and now, Mr. Chairman, everybody on the mainland knows who the Premier is, so that is what happened. The former Premier had to let everybody know who he was on the mainland, but there was $53,000 worth of income tax being paid in this Province by the miners and the loggers who were working -

AN HON. MEMBER: And their mines were open.

MR. TOBIN: Yes and the mines were opened - the Premier is leaving, too bad.

MR. MATTHEWS: You got him, you got him. You drove him out of the House.

MR. TOBIN: Now, Mr. Chairman, that is what happened. When the former Premier was here in this Province and when they entertained in this Province, there were people coming in - Now, Mr. Chairman, there they go, look - and I can tell you something else

AN HON. MEMBER: Where's he going? There he goes again.

MR. TOBIN: We need answers from the Minister of Education on the Late Show.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, now. Lynn just -

MS. VERGE: Could you yield for the Minister of Education?

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, yield for him to answer Lynn's question.

MR. TOBIN: Okay, if the Minister of Education -- Mr. Chairman, if I could have the attention of the Minister of Education for a minute. I would certainly be prepared to sit down if you want to give the answers.

I got out of that one.

MR. MATTHEWS: That wasn't too bad, Tobin. That was a good recovery.

AN HON. MEMBER: He should be with the Economic Recovery Commission.

DR. WARREN: I thank the hon. member for giving me a few minutes. I was about to leave to go to a press conference at the hotel where the National Access Awareness Week is presenting some awards, so I have a few minutes.

The Member for Humber East raised a few important questions about gender equity, and she asked for the governments position, particularly the Department of Education's position on gender equity.

She has heard me say on a number of occasions that in education we made some progress recently in promoting gender equity, but it has been very, very slow. We know that the educational system, all superintendents, 95 per cent of the assistant superintendents, and perhaps a large number of consultants, more than half would be male. In the principalships, I don't have the figures. I could have gotten them had I known this question was being raised. A very large proportion of the principals of high schools in particular and other schools: male.

It is difficult to change that, Mr. Chairman, because school boards make decisions on hiring. What the department has done is build on what the hon. member did when she was the Minister of Education. She promoted gender equity through a policy initiative, and the Department of Education is building on that initiative at the present time.

I don't know what is going to happen with the new board structure if and when such new boards are established. But I can assure her that I am concerned about the proportions that exist, and that we must provide opportunities to provide role models in education for females as well as males. We have had some success in the last year or two in convincing school boards to develop policies that promote gender equity and affirmative action.

One school board I would like to note. One school board in particular has done outstanding work in this area, I would suggest, and that is the Avalon North Integrated Consolidated School Board. They have developed a very comprehensive set of policies, and they have people at the senior level in the board who are taking action in order to ensure that we have greater gender equity in administrative positions.

I don't think, as the minister, I can say that we are going to superimpose a policy on school boards. They tried it in Ontario, it didn't work. They tried to set certain goals in Ontario, and it didn't work for a variety of reasons. I think what complicates the matter here, as the hon. member knows, is that we have a declining number of schools, declining enrolment, we have a relatively young class of administrators and changes are very slow.

I do want to assure her of one or two other things though, that we in our appointments to boards have made efforts to consult widely with women's groups, the Advisory Council in particular, and to ensure that as far as possible at least half of the appointments were female. Now I really don't accept that you should always go 50/50. I believe that you must make decisions based on competence as well as gender. We found that you have to look hard. What I found as minister is that you really have to go and seek out nominations. When you do that you get competent persons to serve. It is a matter of getting the name submitted.

I went through a process early as a minister where I asked members of the House for names. I think 90 per cent of the names I got for nominations from members of the House I think on both side were male - 90 per cent. So I went back from then on, and when I ask a member of the House for a nomination for a board I ask them for two names, a male and a female, and that gives us some latitude. Of course I have consulted the Advisory Council, and I think perhaps women's groups in the Province acknowledge that what the department has done in the last two or three years has built on what she did when she was the Minister of Education. I paid tribute to her on several occasions for that.

One final point before I leave to go to that news conference, Mr. Chairman: I would like to say that in the schools -

MS. VERGE: A point of order, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber East, on a point of order.

MS. VERGE: Thank you. Actually, I just want to remind the minister that I called on him to address the question of Cabinet appointments of the community college and institute presidents. Having observed that following the last reorganization five or seven years ago, the Cabinet, being progressive, appointed two women who have provided exemplary leadership.

I would like the minister to - of the senior administrative positions in education, under the current arrangement, under the current law, the minister has the direct power, along with his Cabinet colleagues, to choose and appoint the presidents of the community colleges and institutes. As it stands now, the power to appoint school board superintendents rests with school boards, although with a reform it would be possible for the government to ensure that some women were brought into the ranks of the school board administrative positions.

MR. CHAIRMAN: To that point of order. There is really no point of order. The hon. member used the occasion to ask a question.

The hon. the Minister of Education.

DR. WARREN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. On the school board membership, I am delighted to say that an increasing number of females are running for membership on school boards. I don't know how many are chairpersons now, but I have noticed, in the past year or so, a change in that. So I think progress is very slow but some changes are occurring in that area. In fact, yesterday, I met with five school boards. Two of the chairpersons of the five were female.

When it comes to appointments of senior administrators in the post-secondary system, we have only appointed one president in the last three years, and I don't believe there was one, of the twenty-one applications, female. There may have been a small number. I know, of the eleven people interviewed for that position, not one was a female. The three people recommended to Cabinet were three males and we appointed, as you know, Mr. Fred Green as the president of that college.

One final point: On the question of women, I think it is important to promote not just people into positions. I think it is important to promote opportunities for women in science and technology. I am delighted to say that the evidence we have is that females who do math, science, physics, chemistry, and biology in the high schools do as well as, if not better than, males, in these courses.

But something happens when students proceed to the university. Many females don't continue their education in science and technology. I think governments have a major role to play in that, because we do need role models in engineering, in geology, in all of these fields. We need role models for the girls who are in our schools. The good news is, as I said, at the high school level, females are taking all kinds of science and technology courses and doing well. At the post-secondary level, something is happening. Perhaps improved career counselling is necessary, perhaps, with more role models - and we have more out there now - who visit and talk to students, more young females may wish to pursue studies in these areas.

It is 4:00 p.m., as the member tells me. I wish I could pursue that further, Mr. Chairman, but I think I will terminate my comments. Thank you very much. I thank the member for giving me the opportunity to make these general comments. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Now, Mr. Chairman, we will revisit this question that we have been talking about for some time. It took the Minister of Development almost three weeks, I think, to respond with the information. That is the first issue.

The information that he has tabled today really tells us no more than the information he gave us during the Estimate Committee hearings. Very little additional detail is there. I would like the minister to answer the question, why it took three weeks to come up with this. If this could not have been produced in twenty-four hours by the staff at Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, he should have a look at the staff of Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, let me tell you that, Mr. Chairman.

There is very, very, little information here that was not available during the Estimates Committees, that the minister tabled, the list of the projects. There is very little explanation here that one didn't already know.

The question is, what was, indeed, taking so long? I suspect it wasn't the gathering of information at all, it was an attempt to try to find some explanation for some of these things, because there is no explanation offered here.

Let me say that many of the items that are here are satisfactory, because, in the information tabled in the Estimates Committees, we simply had a list of names of companies. If it didn't say it was A, B, C company which does such and such a thing, if the service or product wasn't obvious from the name, then, of course, we couldn't tell what it was. There are a number here, with which we don't have a problem, having looked at this information now, telling us what business these companies are involved in.

Generally speaking, nothing has changed for me after all I have said in this House on this particular issue in the past couple of weeks. Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador must be held accountable for funds that have been distributed under these programs.

I could go through them at length. The minister has asked me not to deal with the companies, and I can appreciate the desire to protect individual companies. Maybe the minister should have been as concerned about other companies who have been adversely affected by this funding as he is concerned about these companies.

When I look at, for example, a paving contractor who received funding to replace the furnace and the boiler on an asphalt plant, every paving contractor in Newfoundland has to replace boilers on asphalt plants. There is nothing unique or different about it. There is no service that nobody else can provide. It is not high tech. It is not resource-based. It is not tourism. It is not import substitution. It is no more than helping one paving contractor unfairly compete against another paving contractor. Every paving contractor in this Province, if he is worth his salt at all, should be in the minister's office tomorrow morning saying, 'I want money to upgrade my asphalt plant.' That is the bottom line here. It is no more than assisting one paving contractor unfairly to compete against other paving contractors.

I can go on down through the list. The minister talked about his chicken and rib franchises. There are a dozen restaurants here, and there are a couple of them, I say to the minister, I can live with. There is always a grey area. There are a couple of remote communities in Labrador, and on the Northern Peninsula, where there is probably no food service available, and it probably wouldn't be economical on its own. There are a couple here where the explanation says there is no other service available there, so we decided to assist them with that. Well, the minister could be forgiven for that. Some of those, I will live with, but not his chicken and rib franchise in Gander or the chicken and rib franchise in Corner Brook. There is no excuse for that, absolutely none. There is no justification.

Assisting a computer company is St. John's - now there is a remote location - a computer company in St. John's that had problems because of overruns of a $1.6 million capital expansion. Bad business management, that's all that is, and the minister decides he is going to bail him out. So he replenished the working capital and improved the debt equity position of the company. There are a hundred computer companies in St. John's that would love to get some working capital from the minister, and would love to improve their debt equity position. Why is one particular computer company singled out?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

I wonder if the hon. member would pause while we announce the questions for the Late Show?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Question number one: I am not not satisfied with the answer to my question to the Premier regarding the Long Harbour incinerator project. That is from the hon. the Member for St. John's East.

Question number two: I am not satisfied with the answer by the Minister of Education regarding teacher assistants in the Province. That is from the hon. the Member for Burin- Placentia West.

Question number three: I am not satisfied with the answer provided by the Minister of Education to my question of cutbacks in teacher assistants in Labrador West. That is from the hon. the Member for Menihek.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Freight forwarding company in Mount Pearl: The minister would like to wave at that. I am not sure. I am prepared to look at that one. Because it is establishing something in Halifax. The money was used to establish a freight forwarding in Halifax. It is the second item in the book, I say to the minister. The excuse given here is that it eliminates the need to have mainland freight forwarding firms to ship goods for the client. I will reserve judgement on that one until I research it a bit more. I don't know if there is any benefit from that. But, you know, there are a lot of freight forwarding firms in the Province that would all love to receive some assistance.

Ladies' wear fashion store in Whitbourne, and a children's store in Bay Roberts: if the Member for Port de Grave wants to talk about it.

MR. EFFORD: What's wrong with that?

MR. WINDSOR: What's wrong with that? Nothing, except there is a mall in Bay Roberts which must have a couple of places to buy it. There is a mall in Carbonear. There are dozens of places on the shore for children to buy clothes. Why is government putting money into children's clothing stores?

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) my district.

MR. WINDSOR: Because it is in the member's district. I wonder if the member had any impact on that like he did jobs in Social Services? Good question.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Is it true you own that store?

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Is it true you own that store?


MR. WINDSOR: Children's clothing stores in Bay Roberts. I ask the Member for Carbonear, is his wife running into Bay Roberts now to buy clothes for his children? I doubt it, Mr. Chairman. There are lots of places in Carbonear for him to buy it.

Generator Exchange: In March of 1991, $74,000 went into Generator Exchange - now bankrupt. I ask the minister: Did we lose $74,000 in Generator Exchange?

AN HON. MEMBER: Probably.

MR. WINDSOR: We probably did. We are so destitute now that Generator Exchange is gone. There is no service now that Generator Exchange was providing, is there? We can't get our generators repaired anywhere. We can't buy the goods, and Generator Exchange did repair generators. You might bend it a little and say it is manufacturing, or re-manufacturing, but 98 per cent of their business was retail.

That has now been taken over by other automotive supply dealers. Why did we put $75,000 into Generator Exchange? I know the principals, they were friends of mine. I am sorry to see them go under. They were good people. I don't have a problem with that. But if those people had come to me, I would have said: I am sorry, there are three more automotive supply stores down the road. If I give you $75,000, I have to give it to every one of them. I would have said no to my friends. And I don't defend it.

The minister talked about the restaurant in Brigus - his predecessor. I understand it is a nice facility, but it is tourist-related. I say it is on the questionable, it is in a gray area. Chicken and rib franchises are out of the question. Those are out of the question. Those are fast-food take-outs. A Victorian-style restaurant in Brigus, the minister says, is a lovely facility. I have not seen it. There is no accommodation associated with it, as I understand. I would say that even that, as desirable as it is, it is borderline. It is borderline, but at least it is a tourist development in an area that has tremendous tourist potential, so I will concede that it is in a grey area. It certainly is not black and white.

A photo shop on Bell Island - the notes here say there was no service available on Bell Island, so they are not competing with somebody else. I can forgive the minister perhaps for that one. It is the first one, the Member for Mount Scio indicates. I will accept that. If that is true then I can have some sympathy for that. It is a service that was not available on Bell Island. It created a job or two in an area where there is very low economic activity. I can live with that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: By leave? I am sure hon. members will give me leave.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Restoration of older structures constructed of brick and masonry; capital assistance to enable a company to carry out existing contracts and purchase new commercial equipment to improve productivity and higher quality of service. It is basically a masonry contractor in St. John's. How many masonry contractors are there in St. John's? There must be hundreds, walking the streets, but this contractor picks up $21,000 to help him be more competitive.

Here is the one, Bay Roberts Kids Closet Limited. A garage in St. Catherine's, St. Mary's Bay, to reconstruct a premises destroyed by fire, it says, in an area which has limited commercial activity. It is about 500 feet away from an operating service station and garage - not 500 feet away; but this government chooses to fund one which burned down. No doubt it is a hardship case. That is why the rest of us buy fire insurance, to protect ourselves against that sort of thing. How do you justify funding a garage?

A daycare operation - borderline - a very worthwhile project, but there are lots of daycare operations. I do not know if any of them have been funded, but I can live with that. A lumber company in the Goulds, the information I have on that is that it is a sawmill operation. I do not have any problem with that. A games arcade and takeout in Heart's Content, Newfoundland, will offer a range of services which are presently provided in the area. I assume that meant to say, a range of services which are presently not provided in the area. They cannot even get their explanations straight.

A taxi co-operative society in St. John's, to buy out existing taxi services. Tell me you are not competing with fifty other taxi operations. There is nothing here to change this. Floral and craft boutique on Bell Island, I can live with that. A beauty salon in St. Catherine's - establish a beauty salon and a Sears catalogue outlet.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Oh yes, there are two here. An overrun of expenses incurred through the expansion of the salon; one for $9,000 and one for $41,000; $50,000 for a beauty salon and a Sears catalogue outlet. The economy is going to hum; a major distributor in Cavendish; fleet restructuring of a management line providing supplemental funding to match a cash injection by new operators.

Here is the one in Bishop's Falls, a burner for the furnace of an asphalt plant, to ensure the long-range stability and viability of the operation. I guess it will. A chicken and rib franchise on Airport Boulevard in Gander, right in the heart of the fast- food takeouts.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It gives the company names, but I will not use the names although they are here.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well there is a name there. There is a name, but I will not use the individual's name.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well it is public information. The media will have access to it. This is not given in confidence.

A photography business in Grand Falls - this is interesting. A photographic and computerized graphic service in market advertising. I do not know if it is competing with anybody else. I doubt it.

Addition of a lounge to a motel in Fogo. Well. I was always under the impression that lounges were absolutely taboo. We do not fund lounges at all. Even when we are building hotels and motels. The cost of a lounge is always subtracted from eligible costs of hotels and motels. But here we give them funds to add it on. No doubt it will make the motel more viable. On Fogo Island. No doubt he needed that and the service needs to be kept there.

I can forgive the minister for that, even though it is borderline. But because of the location and the economy of Fogo. The fact that it is, to my knowledge, the only motel out there. I assume it is the same one. I always thought there was a lounge.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: There were two out there.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes. Another one on Fogo. To purchase a building to house an existing floral business on Fogo Island. This is all retail stuff. Set up an accounting business in Bay d'Espoir. To purchase office equipment for an accountant to set up an accounting business. Thirty-eight hundred dollars. That is all an accountant would need, a desk and a computer and he is in business. A fax machine and a photocopying machine.

Another one in Buchans Junction. A games arcade and small convenience store. I realise there is not much in Buchans Junction, but if there is any business at all, surely to God it could be done without government funding. To get into games arcades and a convenience store. A video store in Clarke's Head, Gander Bay. Not even a new service. Because the only facility with videos is to mainline a business. So we gave them $5,000 to upgrade it. A video business.

English Harbour West. Here is an interesting one. Now, somebody told me about that. The hon. Member for Fortune - Hermitage I think told me about this one in English Harbour West. Building renovations and purchase equipment, and manufacturing, duplicating and packaging of quality musical cassettes tapes, from hi-tech facilities not available in (Inaudible). The hon. member I think told me last week at a function we attended together somewhere or other that he had visited that recently, did he not?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: He was really impressed by it and it is a good operation. That's right. I am impressed that he can do that down there. Only one problem, Mr. Chairman. We had the same operation close down in Mount Pearl not long ago because of lack of support from government. Do you know what he requested government to do? He was manufacturing cassette tapes. He was bringing in high quality components, assembling the cassette tapes, things of that nature. Do you know what he requested Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador to do? To arrange that all of the tapes needed by government for our friends up here in the recording of Hansard and everything else, that we simply buy his tapes at his cost, which was less than the amount tendered.

No. Could not do it. Has to go to public tender. But we can go down there and put $50,000 into somebody else to start a similar operation, and congratulations to him, in English Harbour West. I am not knocking, I say to my friend for Fortune - Hermitage, at all the operation in English Harbour, which goes to show it can be done. With a little ingenuity, a little initiative, and a little help from Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador. Well placed, I have no problem with it.

But why they would not help the operation in Mount Pearl.... Why, because it was in Mount Pearl? Because many operations are not eligible in St. John's and Mount Pearl? Do hon. members of this House know, particularly those from rural Newfoundland, who have not come up against it, that many funding programs are not eligible in St. John's? You can go out to Manuels and do it, you can go to Bay Bulls and do it. But if you want to do it, I say to my friend for Pleasantville, in St. John's you cannot be funded under that program. If you are building a motel in St. John's you cannot get funding for it. But if you go out on the Foxtrap access road you can.

Why? Because there is everything in St. John's anyway. St. John's does not need any help to develop their tourism industry.

MR. NOEL: You do not understand rural Newfoundland (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: We put $6 million into the Radisson and that helped tremendously. It helped tremendously, a good project. It would not be there without the Province and a lot of other businesses have benefitted because of it, including Hotel Newfoundland, that was very concerned initially, but now because of the dual capacity there, we are finding that we can do a lot better; both can do well. They are both suffering from the downturn of the economy and tourism industry generally right now. It is a good investment.

English Harbour West, a good project, I congratulate whoever it is is doing it down there, but I feel badly for my friend in Mount Pearl who moved out of the Province to find employment, after he went bankrupt here and lost his home and could not sell government a bunch of blank tapes at less than what they were buying on tendered price. Now there is justice, Mr. Chairman, there is justice.

Photo finishing and custom framing service in Grand Falls - Windsor. Not available in Central Newfoundland. Charlie Falk in Gander, is going to be interested to hear that; one of the most professional photographers in Canada providing an extremely high quality, photographic service, framing operation; one of the best. I have several of his works at home. I gave my wife one for Christmas last year in fact, a picture of her home in Exploits, my friend for Lewisporte will know it, the one with her late father who was standing on the back step and Charlie happened to get a picture.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Do I what?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Santa Claus.

MR. NOEL: Did he send you a Christmas Card?

AN HON. MEMBER: What is your point about Charlie Falk?

MR. WINDSOR: Well, Mr. Chairman, is this the sort of thing we should be funding? A photo finishing business in Grand Falls, a video audio store in Lewisporte, nothing more than a music shop, a retail shop in Lewisporte. My friend hasn't got shares in that I hope?

AN HON. MEMBER: In competition with me.

MR. WINDSOR: In competition with my friend. Shame doubly, Mr. Chairman. Well your competition got $15,000 from Enterprise Newfoundland -

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: - and not only that, the Minister of Development and Tourism insults my friend from Lewisporte. It says here: there is no significant operation west of Gander, east of Grand Falls. My friend's business, the Member for Lewisporte, is right across the street from him. I do not know how come the hon. member does not resign. How can he stand it, it is bad enough having me throwing barbs at him all the time but his own colleagues now are taking pot shots at his business. He is in here serving the people, letting his business run down and his colleagues are funding people to put him out of business. There is no justice, Mr. Chairman.

Eastern Region. Here is a dandy one, here is a beaut. I won't use the name but it is a transport company; essentially it is a gentleman who owns - I do not know, maybe more than one, but I suspect one truck, to enable the gentleman to carry out needed repairs to the engine of his transport truck and to consolidate his debts. To repair the engine of his truck, Mr. Chairman. Do you know how many transport trucks are out there which need repairs to their engines? Do you know how many trucks are being sold because operators cannot afford to repair their engines? Do you know how many are lying there on the market not being sold because there is no market for them?... but the government funds one operator to get his engine repaired. There is going to be a lineup four miles long at the minister's door tomorrow morning. Mr. Chairman, this is absolutely disgraceful.

Lounge in Clarenville, renovations to a lounge and rental property, used to retire debt. Every lounge owner in the Province - where is my friend - from St. Mary's - The Capes, he would love to retire the debt on his lounge, he would love to retire the debt on his lounge - and working capital for the lounge, Mr. Chairman. They expanded the lounge, apparently. The bank's contribution was insufficient to complete the work that was started, so the minister bailed him out - a lounge, $60,000! Now, I say to the President of Treasury Board, look me square in the eye and tell me that is a justified use of taxpayers' money.

MR. BAKER: I don't know.

MR. WINDSOR: You don't know. What is the government policy then, Mr. Chairman? I can go on through all the rest of them. They are all the same.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible) a good one.

MR. WINDSOR: I told you there are a few good ones here. I said that two weeks ago. I didn't say they were all bad, but I am saying that these are bad, Mr. Chairman.

There is one here, the information was given, funding of an hotel in St. Lawrence. I don't have a problem with that, upgrading an hotel for the tourism industry. Here is another one, business machine operation, a retail service outlet for sales of business machinery in Clarenville. I mean, is the minister saying that we can go anywhere now in the Province and get funding for a retail operation, because I have a million ideas. I might move to Lewisporte tomorrow and start a business. Will the minister give me money for a video shop?

MR. BAKER: How much would you like?

MR. WINDSOR: I would like $50,000.

MR. BAKER: Are you prepared to move tomorrow?

MR. WINDSOR: And I am prepared to move tomorrow.

MR. BAKER: Come see me.

MR. WINDSOR: I am prepared to move to Lewisporte.

MR. BAKER: Come see me.

MR. WINDSOR: And the hon. member knows that I have a building available to do it in.

AN HON. MEMBER: Open a drug store.

MR. WINDSOR: No, I wouldn't cut into the hon. member's business.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: What? Fund a drug store? Yes, to get you out of business? Why not? The hon. member has a Sears outlet, I believe.


MR. WINDSOR: He has a Sears outlet. Well, he funded a Sears outlet down in St. Catherine's somewhere. Why can't you get funding for your Sears outlet?

AN HON. MEMBER: Open an Eatons.

MR. WINDSOR: I will open an Eatons outlet in Lewisporte. That would go well out there.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes. There are lots of things I could do in Lewisporte if the minister is going to give me this kind of funding.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Boy, I would be gone. I would be gone. I was eligible two years ago for my pension, Mr. Chairman. I am here because I love it so much, because the hon. gentlemen opposite make it so easy for me.

AN HON. MEMBER: We would miss you.

MR. WINDSOR: And you would be lonely without me. Of course you would.

Here is another one, a beauty parlour in Marystown: $26,000 to reconstruct a building.

AN HON. MEMBER: What else have you in Lewisporte?

MR. WINDSOR: That's it for Lewisporte. They didn't get too much. The member didn't do his job well. The only things that got funded were things that were working against him.

AN HON. MEMBER: Look at Carbonear.

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, I am coming east here, am I? What am I into now?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No, there is nothing in Carbonear. You didn't get a cent.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: The Member for Port de Grave got a children's clothing store in his district.

AN HON. MEMBER: We just closed one down in Carbonear.

MR. WINDSOR: - and a restaurant out there. Shame! Body Trim Toning Studio in Labrador City - Labrador City, I say to my friend. The hon. gentleman should get a free pass, I would say. A garage in L'Anse-au-Clair: to purchase assets and re-open a garage in L'Anse-au-Clair.

AN HON. MEMBER: It's the only one that was there.

MR. WINDSOR: Is that the only garage, I ask to my friend? Is that the only garage in L'Anse-au-Clair? It is.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well, then, he should be doing very well on his own if he has a monopoly up there.


MR. WINDSOR: The owner left.

Carpet upholstery cleaning in Labrador City; an aesthetics beauty service in Labrador City. Boy, we have some beauty going on in Labrador City! A rental, retail and service operation; a music store in Labrador City; Fashions and Fabrics in L'Anse-au-Loup: some sewing associated with that, seamstress business. There is some validity. Painting and plastering in Happy Valley - Goose Bay: I know there aren't a lot of painters and plasterers in Happy Valley - Goose Bay!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well, $13,500 to purchase equipment that would improve his business. I guess it would. How many more painters and plasterers in Happy Valley - Goose Bay would like to have $13,500 to improve his business? Another one in L'Anse-au-Clair to purchase an existing retail business, a grocery and confectionary store, $100,000. One hundred thousand dollars in L'Anse-au-Clair to purchase an existing retail business. Mr. Chairman! Painting and a home improvement contractor in Labrador City. No painting and home improvement contractors in Labrador City! We have to put $60,000 for an operator to move premises because his premises were sold and he had to go buy a new building for himself. Port Hope Simpson: storage of inventory for snowmobile dealership. A retail thing, but for Port Hope Simpson on the Coast of Labrador, I guess I have some sympathy. It is borderline, there are a couple of them here. Northern Light Sales in Black Tickle: the only major operator there, but does he need $80,000 worth of funding to assist him to keep going in Black Tickle? Maybe he does. Here is a good one, to set up an operation in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, the sport of paint ball. It is a new sport in Happy Valley - Goose Bay. You shoot balls of paint at one another. It is a military game, great fun, they all run around shooting each other with balls of paint. I suppose you could say it is a tourism thing, borderline, and it says it uses the snow goose facilities at the ski lodge in the summertime. I suppose you can see some justification but we are stretching our imagination. We are being charitable here today because the sun is shining. Electrical and plumbing in Makkovik; repair store and snowmobile repair shop in Makkovik. Is there another one there? Is that the other one? I say to you, Mr. Chairman, there is not a person on the Coast of Labrador that has an snowmobile that is not an expert in repairing snowmobiles, not one. A garage operation in Northwest River: it says it is the only one in Northwest River. I wonder, Mr. Chairman. A convenience store in Northwest River; another for Makkovik. Wait, now. I had Makkovik before. Oh, this is interesting, Mr. Chairman. Here we have funding of a retail store and a snowmobile repair shop in Makkovik, $48,000, a much-needed service in Makkovik, and three pages further on, we have another $32,000 to another group of individuals in Makkovik to purchase winter stock for a snowmobile dealership. Now, at least we are being fair, we are funding both of them. This is a new twist, they are both being funded, two of them in Makkovik. I could live with funding one in Makkovik, to provide a service that wasn't there, but if you fund two in Makkovik, now you are competing with yourself.

Mr. Chairman, I could go on all day and all night on those. It is very obvious that nothing has changed from three weeks ago when the minister gave us the list, and there are others on the list that I had not highlighted that night. The night we had the Estimates I highlighted the ones that immediately appeared of interest but there were others afterwards that we have questioned and that I did not ask for at that point in time, so I don't have any more detail. But it doesn't matter.

The bottom line is, we are now funding retail operations that are clearly competitive with other operators that add nothing to the economy of the Province. I can appreciate they might bail out an existing operation, but I say to the minister, a retail operation that is competing with others, if it goes under, that business will be picked up by others. There is no loss to the economy and there will be very few, if any, losses of jobs, because other operators will pick it up. There are a couple here who have gone bankrupt since being funded.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman, I will get back at this in the morning.

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

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

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

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

MR. SPEAKER: Speaker number one: I expect it is the Member for St. John's East - it is the best I can decipher from this - the hon. the Member for St. John's East, stating his dissatisfaction with a question asked of the Premier regarding the Long Harbour incinerator project.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It wasn't the question with which I was dissatisfied, it was the answer. I am still dissatisfied with the answers I am getting from the Premier and the government on this issue.

We had a full debate in this House yesterday on the Private Members' motion that was put by the Member for Torngat Mountains. I didn't get to speak on that because so many people were interested in getting up and having their say.

What seems clear, not only from the questions asked in the House of the Premier, and the answers given there, but there are two standards going on, on this issue of the incinerator project at Long Harbour.

There is the official view of the government, which is, We don't have any proposal. There is no proposal, there is no project; a head in the sand attitude that is expressed by the response to the government officials yesterday in the House, a pretence to the people of this Province that, We have no proposal. We see nothing, we hear nothing, we know nothing until we get a proposal, and then we are going to engage in a full-scale environmental review in accordance with The Environmental Assessment Act. That is one view that the government members have put forth.

The other view is the Premier's personal view. The Premier wants to have it both ways. Well, I am opposed to this project. I am opposed to importing garbage, just like everybody else in the Province. Now, the Premier is entitled to his view. Maybe he is the only one over there who is entitled to his view. The Minister of Environment and Lands says that she doesn't think she is entitled to have an opinion on it. I asked yesterday whether the other members of the Cabinet have an opinion on it, and whether, in fact, there is an unofficial view.

The unofficial view is that it is the Premier's view, which is that we are all opposed to it, but we are going to put this company and the people of this Province through some sort of charade to engage in more public expenditure, engage more in fighting between the proponents and the opponents of it, some of whom are desperate for jobs and economic opportunity, and a community which is divided over that issue. We are going to have that continue while the Premier has his personal view, and the President of Treasury Board has his personal view, and the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation has his personal view, all being opposed to it. Yet we have the government going through this charade.

What I want to know is: What is going on over there? Is this some kind of cover-up? Is this some kind of diversion to the public of Newfoundland where what they are really trying to cover up and hide from the people of Newfoundland, divert people's attention in this Province, is from the real problems that now exist at Long Harbour, the environmental disaster that is there, with the slag heaps, the radon emissions, the radioactivity, the leaching of phosphorus into Placentia Bay? The Member for Harbour Grace knows more about this issue than all the rest of them put together over there. I have listened to what the member says, both publicly and privately about this issue, and he knows that it is going to take twenty years of work to try to clean that up.

I think the government may be trying to divert people's attention away from that, and let's us have this big debate about whether we do or do not want garbage. Why do we not just say right now, like other places have said that we will not see the wholesale importation of garbage to this Province, well let the government state its policy. Why doesn't the government do that? Why do they want to play this duplicitous game of: well my personal view is this and I am the Premier of the Province, but of course the government is going to do something else and something different. Why not just end the charade, Mr. Speaker, and have the government state firmly its position and show some leadership.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member stood up and said that he did not understand the answer. Well, Mr.Speaker, we do not understand his question. There is no proposal -

AN HON. MEMBER: That is right.

MR. FLIGHT: - nobody has come to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and there is no proposal registered with the Department of Environment and Lands. Now, Mr. Speaker, he is worried about the Premier's personal view and I think the Premier has said something to the effect that he personally had some problems with importing American garbage. The President of Treasury Board has that problem; the Minister of Development and Tourism does not particularly like the idea. Everybody in Newfoundland - we read the papers. There is a concern all around Newfoundland. So to address that concern, Mr. Speaker, the company was told up front, that they would -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FLIGHT: You have an idea? Fine, you are saying you would create x number of jobs, fine. You are saying this, you are saying that, submit it to environmental assessment, register it and we will make our judgement based on the results of the registration. Now, Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: He does not understand.

MR. FLIGHT: He does not understand that you see. Now, Mr. Speaker, he asks if this is a charade, are we going to see more public expenditure? There has not been one cent of public expenditure yet by this Province. The Tories in Ottawa, the kissing cousins of our hon. friends over there, agreed a year ago to give this company a million dollars for a feasibility study.

A year later, Mr. Speaker, when these fellows wanted to jump in on the parade, a year later, they wrote and asked Mr. Crosbie, to take back the million dollars, knowing that a good chunk of it was spent. All the people I talked to after yesterday said: why didn't the Leader of the Opposition write that letter six or seven months ago? He found a parade and he rushed in and wrote a letter. Now, Mr. Speaker, if and when - but, Mr. Speaker, I have to admit something, I do not like to do it but I have to admit this. The real opposition, Mr. Speaker, coming on this issue as most issues, is from my hon. lonely friend from St. John's East. The real opposition sits by himself and people are respecting it.

Now, I do not know, Mr. Speaker, what the real opposition will accomplish in Naskaupi in three weeks from now. I fear very much for the kind of support and the kind of reputation he is going to have, after Naskaupi. Let me make another point, Mr. Speaker, a serious point, I think, a point that is well worth considering, that if and when this project is registered with the Department of Environment and Lands, to go through a total rigorous environmental review, there will be no cost to the Province. That company has to decide, in view of all the adverse publicity they appear to be getting, that company has to decide if they are going to fund an environmental impact study, as Hibernia did, and, Mr. Speaker, we may be talking millions of dollars.

It is a major decision that company has to make, so until the company makes that decision, we are satisfied with the protection that the people and the government have, and we know that every concern expressed will be addressed by the environmental assessment. Mr. Speaker, government, when the time comes, like on any project will make a decision based on the results of the environmental assessment - and the hon. member should sit back, be happy, put on a happy face and have faith in the system and know that in the end the environmental assessment process will protect everyone in Newfoundland, will address all the concerns and we will decide -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. FLIGHT: - the government will decide, Mr. Speaker, and make a decision based on the results of the environmental impact study.

MR. SPEAKER: The next is dissatisfaction expressed by the Member for Menihek with respect to an answer given by the Minister of Education.

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I asked a question of the Minister of Education. I am disappointed with his answer with regard to the cutbacks in western Labrador, and I am also disappointed that he didn't find it important enough to come down and debate the issue here on the Late Show, or at least qualify his answers this afternoon. I don't know where he has gone or where he is hiding.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is gone to a press conference (inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, about three years ago the Town of Wabush was recognized and presented with a national award, a five star award of excellence because of the policy of the community, because of the integration of mentally handicapped people into the educational system. They won a national award. An award presented only to the Town of Wabush in recognition of what they had done to integrate the mentally handicapped people into the educational system of this Province.

Now, Mr. Speaker, they were recognized nationally. This minister has seen fit to cut funds that the people of Wabush and Labrador City used to pay out of fund raising, out of their own pockets and raised in the community, and deliver that service of teacher assistants in western Labrador, provided locally. The best in this country, Mr. Speaker. The best in this country recognized nationally.

Then this minister took office, and what did he decide to do? He came in with his new program, copied off what the people in western Labrador designed, and implemented within western Labrador and he was going to put it right around this Province, he suggested. He took it over, and what does he do? He cuts back in western Labrador, Mr. Speaker. They cut back the number of student assistants in western Labrador by 70 per cent at one school board and 50 per cent at another school board, and he calls that equality.

Equality, Mr. Speaker. Can you imagine? After receiving a national award for what the local community did for integrating disabled or mentally handicapped people into the educational system, this government, this regime, decided to strip that benefit from the people of Labrador City and Wabush. And they say they can't afford it. They have to live within their means, and they are going to do it because they can't afford it.

That minister gets $8,000 a year to drive around St. John's, to drive to work, and he can't see fit to find enough funds in his budget to allow student assistants in Labrador City and Wabush, a system that was recognized around the country as the best in the country. And what does he see fit to do? Lower it. He wants to bring the level of education down to what he says is the provincial average. That is his equality. He should level up, Mr. Speaker. He should use the system that is in place in Wabush and Labrador City and design one for the Province around that.

MR. BAKER: We can't afford it.

MR. A. SNOW: Can't afford it! The hon. the President of Treasury Board says they can't afford it. They can afford to pay themselves $8,000 to drive to work in the mornings. They can afford to give their buddies $19 million extra to build a couple of buildings in this Province, but they can't afford to have teacher assistants or student assistants to provide education to the mentally handicapped.

Now here is a minister who stood up in this House yesterday and paid lip service to the fact that we are all invited, as members of the House of Assembly, as legislators, we are invited to share breakfast with people who are mentally and physically disabled, and he paid lip service to action and not words. Yesterday, he did that. And what did he do today? He gutted a program in Western Labrador. He gutted it this week, a day after he stood up and praised it. The man should hang his head in shame. This minister who is expected to deliver so much to education in this Province has destroyed more in education in this Province than any four ministers previous to him, Mr. Speaker, or ten ministers. He has done more damage.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. member who just spoke is getting all excited and upset, turning red and getting himself all worked up in a big state, and I suppose he has to because he is trying to get a little bit of attention. I hope that gets him the attention he is trying to get now and that he will be happy.

Mr. Speaker, the truth of the case is simply this, we have instituted in this Province a system of student assistants. This group of individuals provide service to people in the school system who need it, the handicapped people who need special assistance in the school system. We have increased in two years the funding from $2.4 million up to a little over $5 million. In two years there has been an increase in funding.

Mr. Speaker, when the government gets into something like this, it has to provide equal service all over the Province. There were complaints, and, at the request of the union and the associations that are involved with the request for student assistants, the Association of Community Living, and so on, at the request of these people we initiated a study into what was happening across the Province. That study has been completed and the results of the study were shared with the superintendents very, very recently. Now, that is all that has happened. Nothing else has happened. I repeat again for the member, nothing else has happened. We have been honest, we have done a study of the system, we have shown the superintendents what that shows, and it shows that in some areas of the Province the level of service is way up, in others it is way down, and that there has to be some adjustment in the system, perhaps.

No adjustment has been made - none, zero. No adjustment has been made. Does the member understand that? Does the member understand those words? No adjustment has been made. This is a study that we didn't hide. Members opposite perhaps do those studies and then put it on a shelf somewhere and hide it for ten or fifteen years. That is not the way we operate.

So we took the study and showed it to the superintendents. Who else would you show it to but the people who are in charge of the system around this Province? Who else would you show it to? Then the member gets in a panic, gets all upset. He gets in a panic trying to find another parade to jump in front of. Well, Mr. Speaker, we will see what happens.

The hon. member shouldn't be talking about the cuts that we have made to the funding of student assistants and all this kind of thing. It is not true. He shouldn't be talking about other things, some fictitious $19 million he talks about. That's not true.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is true!

MR. BAKER: That is not true at all. As a matter of fact, the reverse is true, Mr. Speaker. So the hon. member should be careful of what he says in this House if he is concerned about the truth.

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Friday, at 9:00 a.m.