June 5, 1992                   HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLI  No. 51

The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, before we start business today, I want to draw the attention of the House to the fact that this week marks the 150th Anniversary of the arrival of the Sisters of Mercy in Newfoundland and Labrador.

They came to this Province at the request of Bishop Fleming, at the time, only some ten years or so after they were founded in Ireland in 1831. In response to his request, three Sisters came out in the spring of 1842. Over the years, with great struggle and great effort, they increased their numbers and now they constitute some twenty-two separate communities in this Province. They have, over the years, played a major role and made a terrific contribution to education, health, nursing and hospitals both, and to the sick and the poor, generally, where they concentrated their efforts.

Mercy School on Military Road was opened in 1843, the year after they arrived. Very shortly, some fifty years after they got established, they moved outside St. John's and to the West Coast, establishing a convent at Sandy Point. At that time, Sandy Point was essentially the largest community, I suppose, off the Avalon Peninsula. They expanded and grew, and finally built the Mother House at Littledale and, over the years, took on major efforts, such as St. Clare's Mercy Hospital, which they have run successfully, and through that means have made a major contribution. They also undertook, in more recent times, St. Patrick's Mercy Home.

I am sure that not only all members of the House, but that all people in the Province, would wish me to express congratulations on achieving this remarkable anniversary, but, more particularly, to express the sincere appreciation of all of the people of the Province for the terrific contribution that has been made.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We would like to be associated, of course, with the remarks of the Premier. It is well known in this Province I guess, and has been for many years, that these women, for 150 years, now, in Newfoundland and Labrador, have worked strenuously and been committed and dedicated in all the areas that the Premier has mentioned - health care, in particular, that we are familiar with, and education. But they have become, in recent years, more and more involved, I guess, in social services and community development, community activities.

We can relate clearly to the individuals that some of us know personally, without getting into names, but I think of Sister Elizabeth Davis down at St. Clare's, whom many of us on both sides of the House have met. I remember fondly, Sister Lorraine Michael, who was actively involved in the community development area.

On a personal note, Mr. Speaker, I was in Ireland one time a few years back and I happened to have occasion to visit the Southern part of Ireland, the Wexford - Waterford area and, while there, I visited the home of the bishop, the Roman Catholic bishop. It happened to be the same house where the Sisters used to stay, sometimes for weeks, waiting for the ships to come to take them over to Newfoundland. That was the connection and that was why I made the visit, of course.

We all know the fine work they have done. So I want to be associated - and I speak on behalf of our party - I want to be associated with the words of the Premier and we wish them a happy Anniversary, 150 years in Newfoundland and Labrador, and we hope they are around for many, many years to come.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Before recognizing the hon. the Minister of Finance, I want to bring to the attention of hon. members the presence in the Speaker's Gallery today, of the Ambassador of South Africa to Canada, His Excellency Andre Kilian. He is accompanied by the Second Secretary from the Embassy, Mr. Andre Nel.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: I would also like to bring to the attention of hon. members, since we are into this, the presence in the galleries of two groups of students from Twillingate district. First, there are thirty-three students from Newville Elementary School in New World Island, accompanied by their teacher, Ms. Margie Green, and another group of twenty-eight students from the Inter Island Academy at Summerford, accompanied by their teachers, Mr. Bruce Bowers, Ms. Mabel Rideout, Mr. Alvin Quinlan and Ms. Roxanne Rideout.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, this is not a statement as much as one of those -

MR. SPEAKER: We are into that shady area that is not yet called anything, so we will allow to revert.

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind hon. members of a very important event in St. John's this weekend and perhaps an appropriate conclusion to National Awareness Week, namely, the formal opening of the $1 million extension to the HUB on Merrymeeting Road in St. John's.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: The opening will take place on Sunday from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Hub building, 21 Merrymeeting Road.

As members may be aware, the HUB is one of the finest organizations in this Province. An organization run by people with various disabilities, it provides jobs, recreation and counselling to disabled people. It has a first class commercial printing shop, makes and sells trophies, sells and repairs wheelchairs, operates a first-class transportation system for disabled people, and has a library on disabilities.

The HUB, this weekend, would especially like to thank all hon. members for improving the budget that provided the means to build this great new extension. So, on behalf of the Director, Dave Scott and the President, Jean Hogan, and such other key HUB workers as Debbie Prim, Norma Grey, Ron Brennan and Bill Murphy and all those at the HUB, I am inviting everyone to drop in on Sunday afternoon from 2:00 to 5:00 and see how the money has been spent. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the minister for his invitation, but the HUB, themselves, have sent out an invitation to all of us. The minister has no right to invite us. We have already been invited by members of the HUB.

It certainly is a good project, Mr. Speaker. I just note, I talked to the manager of the HUB only a couple of weeks ago, I guess, and they are pretty discouraged up there about the amount of work they are getting from the Government of the Province of Newfoundland to try to keep their operation going, Mr. Speaker. They are not at all satisfied with the work that the government is allowing them to do. A lot of the simple printing work for this Province is being done in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Here, we have a very competent facility being built and paid for by the taxpayers of the Province, Mr. Speaker, and they can't get enough work from this government to keep going.

Mr. Speaker, I just want to say that I have used the HUB for all printing services I have had since the 1979 election. I find them to be very competent with excellent services. I recommend them to all members of the House of Assembly for any printing they might want to have done in the upcoming election within the next year. Thank you.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I notice, in introductions, that we have a distinguished visitor to the gallery who shouldn't go unnoticed whether you love him or hate him, one of Canada's most distinguished authors, Mr. Charles Lynch, just happened to be sitting in the gallery, but more importantly he is here today to speak at a luncheon to help the CNIB in a major fundraising effort, their annual visions luncheon, and that is the most important activity that I want to draw attention to and urge hon. members, if they can, including the Premier, to attend the luncheon at 12:30 to aid CNIB most importantly, but perhaps as an aside, to listen to Rick Mercer and Charles Lynch have a few words.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Port au Port.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier.

The Premier is no doubt aware that library boards in the Province are having problems with funding. I wonder is he aware that there are libraries in the Province that are closing permanently without warning in a fairly arbitrary manner, in communities that have supported these libraries for years?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I am not aware that any are closing permanently but I will ask the minister responsible to check it for me and let me know. I went back and looked at the record, Mr. Speaker, and I read the quotation from the same gentleman who has been making the same comments now, only they were made in 1987 and 1988 and he was making the same comments at the time that the libraries were underfunded.

I agree that the libraries are underfunded, but so is everything else in this Province underfunded because we do not have adequate revenue to meet the needs. The libraries are underfunded but relatively speaking, they are funded to the maximum extent that the government can do so.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Port au Port.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the libraries that are closing, one of them is in the Premier's home town of Stephenville Crossing in the district of St. George's and open since 1967, and in my district in the town of Port au Port East. These are the only two, Mr. Speaker, that were closed in the Province and what I am asking the Premier is: would he step in to provide a shortfall in funding which is, Mr. Speaker, only $17,000, I know it is a lot of money but it is not a lot of money when you consider the education of children and literacy in this Province? Failing to do that, since the decision still has to be ratified - the decision has been made in the western region - it still has to be ratified by the Libraries Board. Would the government consider intervening on behalf of those libraries to try to save them?

These are community resources that do not require much funding. They have been developed by the communities, and paid for by them, in most part.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the funding has been provided by the government. In fact, this year it was increased. The funding to The Public Libraries Board was increased in a year when most other areas of government were decreased.

Now the government cannot allow The Western Regional Libraries Board, The Provincial Libraries Board, or whoever, to determine the Budget of this Province by staging these kinds of things and saying it only costs x dollars to keep this one library open; would the government do it?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Yes, I speak advisedly, and I go back, and I ask hon. members to go back, to when they had responsibility for government, and I will get the newspaper clippings of the same individual making the same statements at the same time.

I am just pointing out the reality of it, and the money provided for The Public Libraries Board was increased this year. The Public Libraries Board has the responsibility to determine how it is spent, and if they choose to do it that way the government cannot force them to do otherwise; but we would encourage them to try and operate their system in such a way as to keep all those libraries open. If they cannot, the government has to understand that they are running it.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Port au Port.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I do not know who is advising the Premier, but over the past three years The Libraries Board budget has been decreased, decreased, decreased.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HODDER: That is not so -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HODDER: - and any board member in any region of the five regions of this Province will know the difference.

Does the Premier not understand that the increase in the cost of living over the past three years, and next year, that this is only the tip of the iceberg, that other regions will be doing the same thing, and that we are losing some of our precious community resources? Does he not agree that this is a backward step that keeps rural areas down, and keeps the disadvantaged areas of the Province down forever? Does he not consider this to be a shame in a Province with the high illiteracy rate that we have?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the members can grandstand all they want. The truth and the facts are the facts. They are open for all to see. I will make sure that the people of the Province are made fully aware of the facts so that the hon. member cannot misrepresent the situation. In fact, the Libraries Board has been provided with the funds that they were provided with last year. In fact, there was a modest increase to allow for additional purchase of books.

AN HON. MEMBER: Computerization.

PREMIER WELLS: Computerization. I am sorry! To allow for computerization of the services this year. That was their choice. They could choose to do it or not.

Now, I am glad the hon. member mentioned literacy because we have the highest illiteracy rate in Canada or, if you want it the other way, the lowest literacy rate in Canada. But I want hon. members to also know that in the three years we have been here we have multiplied governmental expenditure by five times compared to what the former government was putting in. So let's look at this whole picture in reality and recognize that what the hon. member is doing is just a little bit of political grandstanding.

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

MR. PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is to the Minister of Fisheries. I want to ask the minister: Is there any consideration being given by his department to a complete moratorium on our fishery? I am talking about a complete shutdown.

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

MR. CARTER: Yes, Mr. Speaker, consideration is being given to that suggestion, bearing in mind, of course, that it is a very serious matter. We are looking at the state of the fishery and getting the best advice possible from scientists and others. It might well be that there will come a time when there will have to be a moratorium put on the fishery for a while.

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

MR. PARSONS: I want to ask the minister, as well: Has any of this advice come from his Fishery Industry Advisory Committee? Is this where this advice has come from, for a complete moratorium?

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, we have an advisory committee. It is something that I appointed shortly after becoming minister. They meet on a regular basis and, of course, they monitor what is happening in the fishing industry. They met, in fact, one day last week and I am still waiting on a report from that meeting. I understand there is a letter now in the process of being put together to me. I don't know what is going to be in the letter but I think they are going to be talking about maybe the possibility of some kind of a moratorium. I am not sure they are going to be coming right out and recommending it be put in place, but they have given a lot of thought and had discussion as to the state of the fishery and maybe the possibility, at some point in time, of putting a moratorium on it.

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

MR. PARSONS: A final supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Does the minister know if there has been any cost analysis done on what this moratorium would cost, I suppose, both levels of government?

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

MR. CARTER: No, Mr. Speaker, I do not think there has been a cost figure put on it. I have heard it said that maybe the fishing industry, the loss of it, would cost the Province probably around $700 million from all sectors. But again, that is not official. I expect they are as well looking at the cost of that kind of action. What it would cost the federal government and, I suppose, the Province and the industry.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Premier tabled without comment, I understand, or very little comment, the report of the Steele inquiry in the House. Later at media briefings I understand he said that Cabinet would decide if any further action should be taken into the comments of Judge Steele.

Having had a chance to flick through this, given some of the findings that are contained in this particular report, I wonder if the Premier agrees that it would be more appropriate to immediately turn this report and the comments of Judge Steele over to the Department of Justice immediately, as opposed to Cabinet making the decision as to what should happen?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the Leader noted that the report was tabled without comment. It was not intended to have been tabled without comment. If he will read Hansard - I know he was not here yesterday - he will see that the report was tabled yesterday as a result of a question by the hon. Member for Humber East. I explained that I had intended to make a statement this morning but I tabled it right away. So I had no problem doing that.

I may say that the Department of Justice is looking at it, and they will determine whether or not there have been any breaches of any provincial statutes or any legislation, and what if any action should be taken as a result of it. But the Cabinet is also looking at it, to determine from a governmental administration point of view, what if any further action is necessary. Whether or not the Department of Justice determines that there is any breaches of any provincial statutes that should be pursued, that is for the Department to decide.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I understand, by the way, just as an aside, that copies of that report were in the hands of other people from outside the House of Assembly in advance. Maybe that is why is was tabled rather quickly yesterday, I don't know. I hear that.

Anyway, let me ask him this. If you read through the report it becomes rather obvious in the report that Mr. Justice Steele did not believe the sworn testimony of Mr. Butler, who is still an employee in the public service, as I understand it, nor that of Mr. Ambrose Stoyles, who I believe is still involved with the Appeals Board as Chairman, perhaps still Chair. In addition to that, we also know that the Public Service Commission, from their earlier inquiry, did not believe the testimony either of those same individuals. That was an independent, I guess, investigation. They basically came to the same conclusion.

I ask again: doesn't the Premier believe that it is more appropriate for the Department of Justice or the police or somebody of that nature to make a determination about what is essentially a charge of perjury, as opposed to Cabinet? I mean, is he saying that Cabinet will make the decisions as to what happens?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I find it difficult to believe what I am hearing, Mr. Speaker, but let me try and deal with the several matters. The first -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

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

The question has been asked to the Premier and I assume that members want to hear the answer from the Premier.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: The first comment that was made was that they understood that copies of the report were made available to members outside of the House of Assembly first, and he thought that this was somehow improper. No, Mr. Speaker, I do not know if anybody else did. The government did not. I made a copy of it available to the hon. Member for Port de Grave for obvious reasons. He is a member of the House of Assembly as well.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: I didn't. I don't know whether he did or not. But I certainly made it available to him. I would not be at all surprised if he consulted his lawyer. I would consider that to be quite appropriate in all of the circumstances. So I have no quarrel with that. So I don't know what the hon. Leader of the Opposition is trying to imply by that reference. In terms of whether or not there should be any charges - he mentioned perjury - I don't know that there is any basis but that is not for me to decide. I don't know that there is any basis for the laying of any charges of perjury but the Director of Public Prosecutions or the police can take a look at that. There is nothing that in any manner inhibits them. I am quite sure they would if they feel it is necessary. But for the Leader of the Opposition to stand in the House of Assembly and make that suggestion, under the circumstances, is irresponsible. It is an interference with the administration of justice, and he ought to know better.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I apologize because I should have known better, because the Premier is the fountain of all wisdom in legal matters in this House, and all other matters.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: If I want to ask a question, I will ask a question, and I ask the Premier this: What does it mean to him if the judge who did the inquiry doesn't believe the sworn testimony of Mr. Butler and Mr. Stoyles, and if the Public Service Commission, which did an independent inquiry earlier, doesn't believe the sworn testimony of those two individuals? What would he call that? Wouldn't that be perjury?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, and the hon. member ought to know that judges every day of the week in the Supreme Court, in the Provincial Court, express their view that they find more credible the evidence of one witness over another, or they don't accept the evidence of one witness, that they reject it. This is done every day of the week. It happens on a routine basis in court. To now name individuals and to suggest they should be charged with perjury, is irresponsible of the Leader of the Opposition. It is irresponsible to abuse the privileges that he has as a member of this House. If he were to go outside this House and say that, he could well be held responsible for libel, and he ought to act responsibly and bear in mind that we have a first-rate system of administration of criminal justice in this Province, and let it operate on a proper basis without interference.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I don't need any lectures from this Premier. I can tell him that. I don't need any lectures from him.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: It is his own commission that made the allegations and are talking about what is essentially a charge of perjury. I asked him simply the question, to begin with - and he has now carefully tried a direct deflection away from it, by suggesting that somehow I am making some allegations. That is too silly to talk about.

Let me ask him another question then. See how silly this is. One of the central questions in this particular inquiry was how Mr. Butler obtained the questions for the public service job competition that we talked about, which he then passed on to Mr. Stoyles. Now, the judge says in the report that he couldn't find the answer to the question but, in the circumstances, it is hard to imagine that Mr. Butler acted alone. Further to that, he also concludes that the source of the questions was from within the Department of Social Services.

Now I want to ask the Premier this: Is he concerned at all that some other person or persons, then employed by the Department of Social Services, may have participated with Mr. Butler and Mr. Stoyles in this particular matter and will he now ask the Department of Justice to immediately investigate and take whatever action is appropriate to determine who that person or those persons might be?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I am not intending to give the Leader of the Opposition lessons, however desperately in need he may be. I just want to protect the interests of innocent citizens in this Province from abuse by members of the House. What the Leader of the Opposition is doing, in his comments with respect to perjury, is an abuse of his position in this House. The judge said nothing about perjury in the report. That is solely the responsibility of the Leader of the Opposition and he must have full and total political and other responsibility for what he has done.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the government -

MR. TOBIN: Let the king speak, boys. Let the king speak.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I have asked for order and I ask members, please, to follow the rules of the House.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: You would almost think the way they look up they are performing for somebody in the gallery. Maybe they want to be written about.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: I sincerely hope Mr. Lynch will oblige them and write about the circus he is watching occur. I certainly hope he will do that. I am speaking to the House, Mr. Speaker, in the fond hope that the gallery will hear.

Mr. Speaker, the government put in place a Royal Commission, gave a judicial commission to Mr. Justice Steele, Mr. Justice Steele hired legal assistants, hired a former policeman as an investigator, hired whatever staff he needed and conducted a full enquiry and provided a full report. It is there for all to see. It is not what the Leader of the Opposition is representing it to be and people should read it for themselves and not take the interpretation of the Leader of the Opposition. The report is available for everybody to see. The government is satisfied that Mr. Justice Steele did a thorough job and no further investigation need be pursued, but, Mr. Speaker, I would hope, and express the wish, that the police department or the Director of Public Prosecutions, whoever has responsibility for it, will take the report and look at it, and if any action ought to be taken that they will take it. That is their duty, it is their normal responsibility to do it. I do not have to tell them on a daily basis what their responsibility is.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Premier some questions related to another matter, constitutional matters. I want him to tell the House, if he would, how many ministers, MHAs, officials, consultants, assistants, or whatever, have been travelling with the Minister of Justice on his constitutional trips all across the country - Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, or wherever - for the last several months? How many people?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I will try to count them up. The minister has been there, Mr. Way, who is the Cabinet Secretariat for Intergovernmental Affairs was there, and Mr. Hawco, whenever there were any discussions relating to aboriginal matters, he was there as he is the Director of Aboriginal Policy, the Member for Pleasantville went to two, if not three, the Member for Humber West went to at least two of them, I am not sure, because of their particular capability and interest in constitutional matters.

These discussions have been going on now for some eight weeks steadily and the minister - I know from personal experience having had to do it myself, the minister needs a great deal of assistance to ensure that the interests of the Province are adequately protected in the detailed and extensive discussions that take place during these meetings. I will have to get the formal list of anybody else who was there. Barbara Knight may have been there and, I believe, Phonse Faour was also there. What hon. members have to realize is that not only is there the meeting of ministers going on but there are four working groups of officials and groups going on at the same time, so there is a constant array of meetings going on on different aspects of the constitutional proposals and that assistance is clearly needed.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, would the Premier be prepared to table the expenses incurred by all those individuals in the House of Assembly early next week, including staff, MHAs, ministers, whoever, so that we can see what the total cost is for each of those meetings that have been held over the last number of months this calendar year?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Of course, Mr. Speaker, we will table all of the expenditures. I do not know when we will table it. We will have to gather it in. I doubt very much if the bills are in yet for last week and the week before, and perhaps the week before that, but as soon as they are in we will table the bills, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: One final question, Mr Speaker. The people of this Province were told back in January, I guess it was, or February at least, that Ed Roberts was being brought into Cabinet because he knows more about the Constitution than all the other members on the other side and the Liberal Party. None of them were capable of filling the position, so I want to ask the Premier this: in this time of restraint when government is cutting back as he just lectured us on earlier in Question Period, can he tell us what specific reason there was for wasting money sending the Member for Pleasantville, and the Member for Humber West, who happened to have an interest in the matter, on all of these constitutional meetings? Can he tell us that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, all of a sudden the Opposition has gotten very self righteous about ministers travelling and political travelling expenses. I will table all the expenses, of course, Mr. Speaker. But the extent of these Constitutional discussions demands that this level of help be available. We have a very modest - specifically the Member for Humber West and the Member for Pleasantville are very well informed on Constitutional matters. Anybody who has listened to the Member for Pleasantville will know that he put every member on that side of the House to shame in terms of the depth and understanding of the Constitutional discussions. Every last one of them.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: And I can say, Mr. Speaker, that I am very pleased to have his assistance.

When we talk about expenditures, we saw here in the House yesterday as I tabled the details of the expenditure of my own office and travel expenses, and, Mr. Speaker, it was less than one third of what the former Premier expended in his last year in office. As well, Mr. Speaker, members should bear in mind that those also included the expenditures as Minister responsible for Intergovernmental Affairs. In the former government that was separate, over and above. So it was probably six or seven times for the same amount of work expended by the former government. I will compare the travel and expenditures for these meetings of this government with anything the former government has done at any time. I expect you will find them to be less than half by comparison.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I have questions for the Premier. Yesterday in Question Period the Premier confirmed that for the past couple of years of constitutional reform efforts he has engaged the central Canadian lawyer, Neil Finklestein. Everyone knows that the Premier for a year or so, the critical Meech Lake year, employed as his personal constitutional legal advisor, Deborah Coyne, another central Canadian lawyer. The government just hired a Saskatchewan lawyer as director of constitutional law in the Department of Justice, a name the Premier omitted from the list he just gave. Why is it that the Premier is using constitutional lawyers from other parts of Canada? Now he may not listen to advice from anyone, but why is it that he is continually retaining and engaging, and employing lawyers from other parts of Canada instead of lawyers who live and have a personal stake in the future of Newfoundland and Labrador?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, we shouldn't become too xenophobic in this Province. They are all Canadians. Every last one of them is a Canadian, and we are all Canadians. When we hire and invite proposals, people apply, and people applied from all over Canada including Newfoundland. When Mr. Tyler was hired, he was hired from Saskatchewan because he was the best qualified, who could provide us with the best advice, had the best background in aboriginal matters, a matter that this government is greatly involved with at the moment, and it is urgent that we have -

MR. SPEAKER: It is most difficult to control Question Period under the best of circumstances, and there are a couple of sideshows going on making it very difficult for the Chair to listen to the answer. So I ask hon. members, please, to try to refrain from the banter across the House adding to the overall noise in the House.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: You see, Mr. Speaker, they ask the questions and then they don't want the truth. They want to hide it, so they cover up with all this noise.

Now, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Tyler was also at these meetings because of his constitutional knowledge and expertise. It is important that we have that available in order to protect Newfoundland's interest and we will continue to do so. In terms of Mr. Finklestein, he is a practising lawyer. We hired his advice because I tell you, Mr. Speaker, without offence to any of the lawyers practising in Newfoundland, including the hon. member who asked the question, there is nobody in this Province who has that kind of basic knowledge and skill and capability and we hired what we need.

Now, I recall that the former government hired a law firm in Calgary called Bennett, Jones, to whom, in the end, hundreds of thousands of dollars were paid.

AN HON. MEMBER: No, millions.

PREMIER WELLS: Millions in legal fees were paid. Now, they did that because they thought it was essential for a particular project, to have a particular expertise. I don't quarrel with that where it is necessary, where it is essential, but let's not get self-righteous and, in particular, let's not get xenophobic about it in this House and say nobody who wasn't born in Newfoundland can ever work here or be given a job here or be hired by the government to do anything.

We give priorities where it is entirely appropriate but we are not blindly prejudiced against Canadians from other provinces. Other provinces hire all kinds of Newfoundlanders; they are working in every province of Canada. In Ontario and Alberta, there are tens of thousands of them working and I am very pleased they have the opportunity to do so. I am not prepared to operate this government in the kind of xenophobic manner that the hon. member would suggest.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We know there are thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians working in other provinces. The Premier got elected on a platform of promising to bring home every mother's son.

Mr. Speaker, over two years ago, the Premier and his Cabinet received the report of the Arts Policy Committee, the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Policy Committee, chaired by Dr. Patrick O'Flaherty. What is the government's response to that report and has the Premier even read the document?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: There has been a fair amount of work done in the area. I think there is an ERDA agreement about to be signed with the federal government, where the Province and the federal government are taking responsibility jointly, to provide the funding to carry on, I believe, a significant number of the recommendations that are in that report. Is that signed yet or -

MR. FUREY: Not yet, in the next two weeks.

PREMIER WELLS: Sometime in the next couple of weeks or so that will be signed. So, work is being done, progress is being made; we don't just get reports done and then put them on the shelf. It is being carried out.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Orders of the Day

MR. BAKER: Motion 6, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 6.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Health to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Department Of Health Act", carried. (Bill No. 38).

On motion, Bill No. 38 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 (Snow): Order, please!

Is the House ready for the question?

Shall this heading carry?

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The Executive Council Estimates.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Chairman, good heavens! I am surprised that the Minister of Development is not on his feet.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Waiting for some more information, I would think so. We waited three weeks for nothing. What is he expecting to get this morning that he didn't get in three weeks? He brought us in a list of projects three weeks ago that pretty much described most of the loans given out by Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador. We waited three weeks for information, and what's in here could have been put together in twenty minutes by a competent clerk in the minister's office - by the minister himself, in twenty minutes. All he needed was the record of the documentation gone to the board meetings. There is very little information here that couldn't have been taken off the list that the minister gave us two weeks ago. It is incredible, in fact.

My first question to the minister is: Why has it taken so long? Does the minister want to answer that? I will yield for the minister.

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, I guess the difference between this government and the former government is that when we are asked questions, we answer the questions. Sometimes, it take a little time, in this case, two-and-a-half weeks, to compile the information from the various regions. But I can recall - and my hon. colleague from the Strait of Belle Isle will confirm this - many, many times putting questions on the Order Paper that sat on the Order Paper for weeks, months, and then died on the Order Paper.

Now, Mr. Chairman, the Order Paper is a provision, under the rules, whereby -

MR. R. AYLWARD: Name one.

MR. FUREY: I will name one, no problem. One? I will name a dozen. Hang in there.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Just one.

MR. FUREY: One - the expenses for all former ministers during the Windsor - Buchans by-election -

MR. DECKER: Still waiting.

MR. FUREY: - executive assistants' travel and minister's travel, purposes for travel, and cost for that entire travel during that three week by-election. We never got an answer from one single minister.

Now, let's compare the new government. Where were the ministers during the by-election in Baie Verte - White Bay? Every single minister answered within fourteen days, where they were, how much they spent, who was with them, and the purpose of their visit. How is that for a comparison? That is a pretty straight up comparison of what was going on.

The difference is that this government doesn't cover up. We have nothing to hide. We are not ashamed of what we do and we lay it on the Table for the whole Province to see.

Now, Mr. Chairman, do you want another example? Time after time, the Opposition asked for questions on Sprung. Did we get any answers? No. Did we put them on the Order Paper? Yes, time and time again. Then they closed the Legislature. They shut down any opportunity for any member of the Opposition to ask in the people's Legislature for a year. So we went to the media and we asked questions on Sprung. Were there any market studies done? What was the analysis that was done? Did your senior bureaucrats give you various recommendations not to proceed on it? On and on. Do you want more examples, or is that enough? We would ask about hospitals. We would put questions on the Order Paper.

So don't give me a hard time because it took me two weeks to give you truthful, honest answers on 420 companies, when the hon. member, himself, knows when he sat in that Cabinet it was the most closed Cabinet in the history of this Province. The media, themselves, used to have to pay, under the Freedom of Information, to squeeze out information, and even then it was incomplete information.

So what we have laid upon the Table are 420-odd loans for these companies. We put down how much the loans were for. We put down under which program they were accessed. We put down reasons why there may have been reduced interest rates. We put all of that on the Table of the House for the people. And, Mr. Chairman, let me let them in on a secret. Under the Enterprise Corporation Act, we don't have to do that. We could hide behind the exemption of Freedom of Information. We didn't do that. Other agencies perhaps, like ACOA, could take a great lesson from this minister and this government on being truthful and laying their cards on the table.

Now, it is easy for the hon. member to get up flippantly and smack me over the head about chicken and chips or ribs and chips, or about a garage at L'Anse-au-Clair that otherwise would have been closed down. We maintained and protected those three - that's easy pickings. That is a vulture mentality. It is a schizophrenic mentality. Because it tells me that you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't. If you don't do anything, you're damned: Look at that government, it's a do-nothing government. If you do something and you're honest about it and lay it on the table, out come the vultures, the wings spread and the beaks sharpened, and they start picking apart.


MR. DECKER: Crows is a better word.

MR. FUREY: No, I am being kind. Vultures, they're a prettier bird. The vultures. They pick apart amongst the 400 companies the ten or twenty or thirty-odd companies that you asked for that I provided you information for. That is easy to do. That is lightweight intellectual stuff to do, easy pickings, vulture mentality. But what about the hundreds of companies that were provided in that list that were good sound proposals?

Now, the hon. member - and I happen to believe that he is, without question, the most intelligent mind over there, the best mind on that side.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's not saying much, though.

MR. FUREY: No, but make no mistake about it, I give him full marks on that. He has the best mind over there. He should be their leader. If they had any intelligence on that side they would have him sitting in the leader's chair doing the job, because he is the best mind on the Opposition. And I know he has to attack me and the government. I accept that, that is all part of it. But I thank him, because I did hear him recognise that there were hundreds of good loans and good companies helped, etc.

But if I wanted, Mr. Speaker, to even rise above my own principles and go into NLDC, the former corporation, and lay upon the Table some of the loans - be a vulture myself, hand-pick the loans that they did -


MR. FUREY: No, forget Sprung. There are some juicy ones under the old corporation that I will not get into. But if I wanted to be a vulture, if I wanted to apply that mentality, I could lay upon the Table some very frightening things that happened under the old corporation.

But let me make something perfectly clear, Mr. Chairman - and I think the hon. member will believe me when I say this: every single loan, every single one, is done by an independent board in the regions. Many of them the bureaucrats, the former minister, himself, hired, I am sure. But they are independent from us and we asked our members not to interfere with the process. I can honestly report to the House that there has been very little by way of interference. Now, I am not saying that members shouldn't make representation. Sure they should. Of course they should. It is a good thing to do. The Member for Humber Valley has made representation on behalf of some of his businesspeople, in fact, directly to me. I have made representation myself to the Enterprise Corporation to make sure people are being treated fairly. That is what we ask, Mr. Chairman, that they be treated fairly.

We set up this corporation and the head office has many vice-presidents and people who sit independently on that board. We do not, Mr. Chairman - I do not as minister, reach into that board and say: Approve these projects. I don't do that. I don't have the competence or expertise to do that, Mr. Chairman. I readily admit that.

Do I question some of their projects in the aftermath? Yes, I do. Are we perfect? No, we are not. Was NLDC perfect? No, Mr. Chairman, it was not perfect. Is the Enterprise Corporation perfect? No, Mr. Chairman, it is not. But if we want to play the game, Mr. Chairman, of hovering over the 400 loans and swooping down, vulture-like, and picking out those that look odd and tearing the hell out of them, without any regard to the companies themselves, I think that is unfortunate. I really, truly do.

I could have hidden under the Freedom of Information Act and said: We are exempt. And we are exempt. I laid upon the Table every bit of conceivable information I could without affecting the banking position of these companies or their competitive position. That is fair enough, I think.

Having said that Mr. Chairman, I told the hon. member that there are a whole range of programs under Enterprise Newfoundland. Yes, we have widened the parameters to include every single person in the Province who has a good business idea, including the hon. member. The hon. member mentioned yesterday about competition. I don't like seeing loans given where there is a direct competition. I asked the Enterprise Corporation in the regions to be very careful of that, to judge them all on their own merits. Have they failed in some circumstances? I suppose they have. We can't start from the premise of perfection. We are not perfect.

Mr. Chairman, I don't have all my notes with me here this morning, but I can tell you that the total approvals were 425. Four hundred and twenty-five little companies were helped. What do we get? Criticism. We float out into the economy some $26 million and what do we get for that? Criticism. It leveraged out a mirrored amount through ACOA and other agencies. So you can say that our money helped trigger out other money, almost double. So $50 million, let's call it an even $50 million, flowed out into the economy, because we decided to help little businesspeople, mostly in rural Newfoundland but, to some extent, in urban Newfoundland as well.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. FUREY: By leave, Mr. Chairman?

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


MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, I asked him just to do for me a quick calculation by district. It works out this way: Seven projects were in the Baie Verte - White Bay - when I say projects I mean businesspeople were helped in these areas - for $946,000; Bay of Islands, $107,000; Bellevue, $184,000 - this is April 1 to March 31 - Bonavista North, $158,000; Bonavista South, $112,000; Burgeo, $538,000; Burin - Placentia West, $113,000; Carbonear, $60,000; Conception Bay South, $400,000; Eagle River, $855,000 for eighteen projects for eighteen businesspeople; Exploits, $613,000; Ferryland, $43,000; Fogo, $42,000; Fortune - Hermitage, $135,000; Gander, $542,000 including our chicken and ribs franchise which created fifteen jobs which the hon. member loves to beat around; Grand Bank, two businessmen were helped, $266,000; Grand Falls, $55,000; Green Bay, $230,000; Harbour Grace, $100,000; Harbour Main, $309,000; Humber East, seven businesspeople were helped, $200,000; Humber Valley, twenty-two businesspeople were helped last year by Enterprise Corporation and we flowed through $1 million

to twenty-two businesspeople in Humber Valley.

And good stuff. The hon. member knows what I am talking about. He is on top of his game plan. Humber West, six businesspeople, $60,000. LaPoile had seven businesspeople helped to the tune of $1.7 million. Lewisporte, fourteen businesspeople were helped, $300,000. Menihek, ten projects in Labrador West. Ten businesspeople were helped for $600,000. Mount Pearl, fourteen businesspeople for $2 million, the highest anywhere in the Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: The highest.

MR. FUREY: The highest anywhere in the Province. Fourteen separate businesspeople were helped to the tune of $2 million in Mount Pearl.

AN HON. MEMBER: And he doesn't want it. No, he doesn't want it to happen.

MR. FUREY: Mount Scio - Bell Island, twelve projects for $464,000. Naskaupi - and you talk about helping Labrador - nineteen businesspeople to the tune of $500,000 flowed last year. Placentia, eight businesspeople, $800,000. Port au Port, $46,000 for two small businesses. Port de Grave, six businesspeople, $1 million. St. Barbe, the minister's district, $386,000 for nineteen businesses. Most of them very small loans for sawmillers and stuff. I am even $1.7 million below the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

I am just proving that the system works. It is not political. It is not full of patronage. It is not government directing people where to put money. It is fairness and balance, Mr. Chairman. Fairness and balance.


MR. FUREY: So, Mr. Chairman, what I am saying is that, you know, you can get up and you can vulture-like peck at the projects, vulture-like peck at the businesses. Now let me tell you about the policy, and I will send this over to the hon. member. It even has some pictures in it, so he might understand it a little clearer. There are all kinds of pictures in it.

This tells you, and it is hot off the press. It is Enterprise Newfoundland's Guide to Business and Economic Development, hot off the press, and it lays out all the programs that the government has under this corporation. And I should tell members that 90 per cent - listen to this statistic - of all our activity last year in Enterprise Newfoundland, 90 per cent was people coming in and seeking advice, information, and helping them cut through the bureaucratic red tape of all levels of government.

Just think about that, 90 per cent. Nine out of ten people who came in our door were not looking for money. One out of ten who came in through the door was looking for some financial help. The rest were looking for advice. Amazing isn't it when you think about it, because you would think it would be just the opposite, people coming in looking for money. But a lot of people were coming in to help speed up permits, help with some market access studies, help with some business plan development. On and on it goes.

So when we reflect the 420 odd companies that were helped, Mr. Chairman, we turned down thousands. I am not ashamed to say to the House that we have turned down thousands. Many of them did not make sense. Many of them were even outside the realm of what Enterprise does, which is high risk money, high risk lending. We are a high risk lender, Mr. Chairman. But you can imagine some of the projects that came in. I have examples from my own district. Talk about off the wall ideas - my good Lord. But I mean the point is we are prepared to listen to everybody, every single idea and adjudicate it and deal with it on its own merit.

So, Mr. Chairman, look at what we do. Under business and community support we have company development. We encourage the craft industry, direct equity in the telefilm industry. The hon. member would be interested in that one. You wouldn't believe how much money we have plowed back under various programs through the federal agencies, Telefilm Canada and otherwise, by putting up a minuscule 10 per cent of the total capital cost of the industry of a particular film.

I saw one - I don't know if the hon. member saw it - "No Apologies", has anybody seen that? It was based loosely on the mines of Bell Island. It was directed by Ken Pittman, a very good valuable director, and a great artist in this Province who is going places. I think we put up something like $100,000 and it spun out $700,000 or $800,000. It is just amazing. And put fifty or sixty people to work during the thing for a period of three to six months - I forget what it was.

AN HON. MEMBER: What was it?

MR. FUREY: It was a film that we helped called "No Apologies", a major film.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: It was slated for Buchans. They changed the venue after and they based it loosely on a diseased miner who became infected in the mines of Bell Island. It was called, "No Apologies." It is about a family that comes home to see the father die and all the intricate things that are involved in that, with environmental messages and a whole range of things. The point is that it triggered out a significant amount of money to allow that to go and our investment initially was very small.

Community Economic Development, Rural Development Agreement, Labrador Agreements, technology support, industrial research, business resource centre, the access centres, the ACOA enterprise network, and our funding services are only one quarter of what this whole corporation does. Under the funding services we have the equity participation, venture capital, direct equity. Under the enterprise loans, the small enterprise loan, the young enterprise service, the special sawmill assistance, and conventional loans.

We are not perfect, nobody starts from the premise that we are perfect, so the hon. member can rise in his place and start from the premise of total imperfection, but, boy, being imperfect we have done pretty well in our first full year of operation. Four hundred and twenty-five companies have been helped, some 1300 new jobs were created, some 3000 jobs were protected and maintained and that is not bad, Mr. Chairman, that is a pretty good track record. Now, there is no question that we will have to write-off some of this capital. Some of it is very high risk capital, make no mistake about it, but we do everything in our power to give them quick, efficient service, to look at each project individually, and to judge them on their merits, based upon the expert's advice that we can get. We are not perfect, Mr. Chairman, but we are trying our best.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister so far has not approached the question at all. The minister went on for about twenty-five minutes and said absolutely nothing. Mr. Speaker, the minister has not answered the questions. He was totally irrelevant for the first ten minutes of his remarks, totally irrelevant, talking about history. If I want to go back and talk about vulture mentality. I can go back and talk about all the good things the former administration did and the fact that this administration chose to do an inquiry into the Sprung affair. Is that any different than what the minister is trying to talk about now? Absolutely nothing.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are tying to fill in ten minutes with that.

MR. WINDSOR: I do not intend to fill in ten minutes. I do not intend to waste any more of the time of the House with this kind of banter back and forth. I want to get to the issues here. I am not talking about the 400 good projects. The minister said it took three weeks to get the information on 400 projects and then he said, well, you only asked for a dozen or two, and that is all we asked for. Why does it take three weeks?

AN HON. MEMBER: (inaudible)

MR. WINDSOR: The hon. gentleman can get up again in ten minutes.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. FUREY: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. Minister of Development on a point of order.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, the hon. member is straying from his topic and provoking me while I am on my feet. Let us be clear about this, I simply said that when we as a government are asked for information we provide it at the quickest possible moment. It took me two and a half weeks, but he has the information. The public of the Province has the information. Maybe the former minister can tell us why when we asked questions over there we never got information? He talks about the Sprung inquiry. That was the people of the Province clamouring to know what happened. We could not get information or answers. Maybe the hon. member could tell us why so many of the hundreds of questions we put on the Order Paper died on the Order Paper.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: The hon. minister is abusing the rules of the House now. He wants to make a speech under the guise of a point of order and his point is not a valid one. I can go back and talk about information that was given by the former administration. I can ask the minister why it took five months to produce this list? It is nothing more than a menu out of a computer print. I can produce that in forty-five seconds on my computer at home. The minister cannot tell me that Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador did not have that tabulated and it took them five months to get that list, and then it took another three months to pick out a dozen or so and to do not much more than to take the information that is on this list and put it almost in letter form with very, very little additional information. It is absolutely incredible. I do not want to waste our time on that, Mr. Chairman. I want the minister to address the question. Why are we putting equity into restaurants?

I want to know what is the policy of government today. Is it the policy of government to put equity into restaurants? That is a clear, simple, straightforward question. I do not want to waste all day, all the time of the House, talking about who answers questions and who doesn't. I could argue that with the minister all day and all night. That won't accomplish anything. Let's stick to the facts.

Of these twenty-five or thirty loans here, equity injection, as the case may be, let's talk about some of these. Why are some people coming into Enterprise Newfoundland and asking for assistance and being told: this kind of venture does not qualify? Yet we see here that exactly the same type of ventures are being funded. Why are there two policies in this Province? That is the question I want the minister to address.

There are hundreds of people who have been turned away.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes. Because they were told, Mr. Chairman, this type of business does not qualify. But now -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: By Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador. By the staff at Enterprise Newfoundland.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, I can get details if you want details. I can bring in people who had business plans submitted and were told: don't waste your time. After they were led to believe that they might get some funding. That after they prepared a business plan for a little venture -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I am not confusing it with ACOA at all. I know quite well the difference.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No, I am not confusing it with ACOA at all. I am talking about Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No, ACOA is not perfect. But we are here discussing the minister's estimates, not the federal estimates, not ACOA's estimates. The minister cannot hide underneath that.

The minister has done a very nice job, Mr. Chairman, of talking for twenty-five minutes and he said absolutely nothing about the issue. He is skirting the issue. It will not go away just because the minister tries to hide away from it and stick his head in the sand. We want the answers. Why is this restaurant given equity injection? Why does this Province, why do taxpayers, have to own part of a restaurant? Why do we not own part of every restaurant? Why are we funding one restaurant to the disadvantage of another? Why are funding one lounge? Why are we funding a chicken and rib operation? Why are we funding a video store to the detriment of other video stores?

Why are we putting equity into a computer company? One hundred thousand dollars, I believe it is, into one computer company in St. John's. Tell me what economic benefit it is to this Province that we have injected that equity into that computer company. Tell me why if that computer company did not go out of business, why other computer companies, the hundred of them in St. John's, would not pick up that business, wouldn't love to pick it up?

Why did we put $100,000 or $75,000 equity into Generator Exchange a year ago and lose it? Are you telling me that other companies can't and didn't pick up the work that Generator Exchange was doing? Of course they did.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: See. Mr. Chairman? The minister can't hide behind that sort of thing. Alright? We can talk about NLDC if you want to. But we are talking about Enterprise Newfoundland. We are talking about these loans. It will not go away by the minister trying to distract the attention of the House to other issues. Let the minister stick strictly to what we are talking about here. These loans.

The minister is here to answer in these estimates for Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador. He can stand up all he wants and wave his arms and say: Enterprise Newfoundland is separate, we do not interfere with it. He cannot distance himself from that. He is the minister. The minister is ultimately responsible. That is another debate as to whether ministers should personally be ultimately responsible, and should have to resign because somebody eight steps down the ladder does something wrong. I have a problem with all of that.

Nevertheless, the minister is the chief executive of the Department of Development and therefore is responsible for Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador. He must answer. His role here in the House, the reason we are here this morning doing the estimates, is so that the minister can answer to the people through this House. That is all I am asking him to do. Tell us what is the policy.

Is the minister saying that these thirty or forty were mistakes? Fine. Let him stand up and admit there were thirty or forty mistakes made. Let him say that. Let him tell the people of Newfoundland that we don't fund beauty salons. These three or four beauty salons were mistakes. Let him tell the people, we don't fund convenience stores and games arcades, these were mistakes. Let him tell his colleague for Lewisporte that it was a mistake that he funded a video shop right across the street from his business; he tells me he has the biggest video operation in Central Newfoundland and his colleague funds another one directly across the street from him. Let the minister stand up and say that was a mistake, but let him not try to hide behind what might have been done twenty or thirty years ago. Of course,there were mistakes made, and we have answered for any mistakes that we made; glad to.

We want to know what the policy is. Has the policy changed now? Are these things eligible? Because I can bring a parade of business people in to the Bar of this House and they will tell you that they were turned away and told: 'I am sorry, this retail operation doesn't qualify.' Why is one funded and another not? That is all we are asking the minister. Answer that! He has a whole book of information there now. He will go on for three days now and I can respond for five, no problem.

AN HON. MEMBER: I say you will probably be able to go on for about thirty.

MR. WINDSOR: I can go on all summer. I have lots of time.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Oh well, I will have another chance, Mr. Chairman.

I want to hear what the minister is going to say now.

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

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I just want to rise in this debate and cast some, I think information to hon. members opposite on this whole issue and,

Mr. Chairman, I speak from the perspective of Labrador, and rural Newfoundland and Labrador, in particular. Mr. Chairman, as one who is familiar with and has tried to assist people in getting into businesses, and tried to get jobs created on the Coast of Labrador before I got into politics, and certainly since I got into politics, until Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador was formed, there was not a place where a person who had a good idea, with a sound business plan, could go to one shop and be able to sit down with somebody and know that their idea was going to be taken seriously, that the main objective of that particular shop was to see that a job was secured, that a job was created, that the community was given the kind of investment that was absolutely critical in order to keep these long-term, meaningful jobs available in their communities. That was a void, Mr. Chairman, until 1989, when this government was elected. Until this minister brought in Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, there was a complete void there. People who had good ideas, good business plans, prospective for any number of jobs were told, Go away, we don't want to talk to you, simply because we have a particular mentality; we have a particular set of rules, that you do not qualify. We had a program that was being put out that was supposed to fit every nook and cranny in this Province, and if it didn't, then you had to be banned, you had to be banished from the office, you were not allowed to go in and sit down with anybody to talk about your idea, to see that there was some kind of meaningful debate, that there was some kind of meaningful exercise in making that business plan work.

The hon. member mentioned the number in my riding and the hon. minister points out that some $800,000 was spent on loans, Mr. Chairman. Again, we are not talking here about the kinds of grant systems that we have in other parts of the federal government, namely, ACOA and the Fisheries Alternative Program. There is nothing wrong with these as a matter of principle either, Mr. Chairman, but we are talking here about loans that are put out to people where they have to repay and they are being repaid.

You talk about a situation in L'Anse-au-Clair, where we had a $100,000 loan given to allow somebody to take over a garage. That garage right now is providing three full-time, meaningful, permanent jobs for the people of that small community. That little business would have closed down, it would have been gone, these three jobs would have been gone from that community, that service would have been gone from that community. Thanks to Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, thanks to the open-door policy of Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, thanks to the fresh air that was given to the entrepreneurs in this Province by Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, that they have been able to go into the branch office in L'Anse-au-Clair, or the regional office in Goose Bay, knowing that they were not going to be thrown out, told you are not going to be accepted simply because a policy is in place; a program has been designed for St. John's or the main centres of this Province, and you either don't qualify or you are not accepted.

The Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador Corporation has been accepted and renowned, and has become acclaimed by all people in this Province as the one thing in the business community, for the development of small business in this Province that they see is completely different from what was there in previous years. It is accepted in glowing terms.

We have seen the regionalization of these services. We have seen situations now where the local area can make decisions up to $100,000. The regional manager can make these kinds of decisions, and they are set up with consultation to the local people. The local people have an input like they never had before. This is something that works. This is something that has changed.

They talk about no policy. The policy is clear. The minister has said it on any number of occasions. The government has announced it any number of times that anybody in this Province, no matter where you are, or who you are, you are accepted with your idea; you are welcomed into these offices with your idea. Your business plan is taken, and it is analyzed and accepted if you have a good idea that would create jobs, whether it be one, two, twenty, or a hundred, or if you are to maintain a number of jobs. The hon. member, yesterday, was very critical of two levels of support for projects in Makkovik, on the Coast of Labrador. These projects were necessary to see that jobs were maintained or created, the same as was done with the $800,000 for the projects throughout Eagle River district.

I am very proud to stand here today and say to the hon. member opposite that this Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador was our creation. It was our pride that we put out Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador to the people of this Province. It was something we wanted to do. Because for years the people of this Province were saying to government, to the members of this House before 1989: We can't find anybody who will listen. We can't find anybody who will take us seriously, no matter what merit there may be in our proposal. We can't find anybody with local sensitivity. We are being told we will have to send the application to St. John's where some abstract board is going to make a decision at some point in the future.

Now, they know that if they have a project, they can go into that office in Goose Bay, or L'Anse-au-Clair, Cartwright, or Labrador City, and they will have their idea seriously, accepted and analyzed. Certainly we have seen, in no uncertain terms, the benefits, that the $26 million has been well spent, unlike what was tabled yesterday, some $24 million of taxpayers' money that was spent on the infamous Mount Pearl project, the infamous Sprung project.

So if the Member for Mount Pearl wants to take the time to really analyze something, to really question something, to really tell the people of this Province, and give them accounting for good government, he should look at that $24 million that was wasted over in Mount Pearl, the kind of lackadaisical attitude that was taken to the big glow in Mount Pearl. As the Royal Commission pointed out on numerous occasions, the company paid $135,700 for an environmental computer system which was never installed and therefore was never functional. Those are the kinds of things we saw from that project.

We saw that the ratio for packaging, shipping and customs, at 37 per cent of sales, the ordinary ratio for cost of sales was 6 per cent. But that didn't matter, because you could go to the trough again. You could go back time and time again and just put your nose in and dig it up, suck it up, whatever the public purse wanted to give to that infamous Sprung group that was there.

There was no accounting. That was the hon. minister who was in the Cabinet at the time who stood up. It says: There was no government monitoring to confirm the appropriateness or otherwise of salaries that was over there at that particular facility. There was no proper and effective monitoring by government to confirm the appropriateness or otherwise of the reimbursement to NEL, in the amount of $1,020,000, nor for the invoices paid for the amount of $54,000 for other charges. It is unbelievable, the type of abuse of public trust, the type of abuse of the public purse, that took place over there in Mount Pearl.

According to the accounting for payments to related parties, NEL paid Mecanico twice for an amount of $22,940. They didn't believe in just paying them once, they paid them twice in this particular situation.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. DUMARESQUE: I can carry on, Mr. Chairman. I am sure hon. members will give me a chance.

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

MR. WARREN: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to have a few comments on these particular Estimates, as well. I was listening with interest to my colleague for Eagle River who, naturally, has some concern with the number of dollars of taxpayers' money that has been spent in our Province, at the same time, praising Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador.

Unfortunately, I can't do the same thing. Because if ever you see political pork barrelling, here is an example. To begin with, let's look at who is in charge of the various offices, and political connections. The person in charge of the office in Happy Valley - Goose Bay was the former campaign manager of the former member. Another individual working in that office is a person who was defeated in the last election by yours truly. Another person working in that office is the son of a former member of this Legislature. So that is three out of three. That just goes to show that -

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

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Eagle River, on a point of order.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Mr. Chairman, the hon. gentleman is again misleading the House, as he is usually doing. Two of the three employees that he just talked about were there working for him, when he was the minister in the previous government! They were hired by the previous government and worked there for the last number of years. So let's not mislead the House on that kind of thing.

AN HON. MEMBER: Well, well! Unbelievable!

MR. WARREN: To the point of order, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: To the point of order, the hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

MR. WARREN: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me say to my hon. colleague, there was no such thing as Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador! There was no such thing as Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WARREN: So I say to my hon. colleague, it was his government that put Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador in place, and you are part of it. You don't know what you're talking about! You are stupid, as usual!

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible)!

MR. WARREN: You are stupid, as usual! Wake up, my friend, and take off your diapers!

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible)!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! order, please!

MR. WARREN: Go and take off your diapers!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Order, please!

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible)!

MR. CHAIRMAN: I ask the hon. the Member for Eagle River to restrain himself.

I also ask the hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains to -

MR. WARREN: Mr. Chairman, it is no trouble to -

MR. CHAIRMAN: - to withdraw the unparliamentary comment. He called the hon. the Member for Eagle River "stupid." This Chair has ruled many times that "stupid" is unparliamentary in this House.

MR. WARREN: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I will withdraw that word because I think it is too complimentary for the member. I say to you, Mr. Chairman, that it is no trouble to strike a nerve with the Member for Eagle River. Now, would the hon. Member for Eagle River also, if he wants to get up and say how fair and balanced this government is, explain to this House why somebody in his district got a project to repair an aircraft, and at the same time someone else in Labrador gets a letter from the same company saying: we don't help people with aircrafts. Two applications, one approved and one not. So I would suggest that the hon. gentleman get up and explain why. That is what you call fairness and balance, Mr. Chairman.

Now, Mr. Chairman, let me mention about the government stores which comes under the Department of Development. Mr. Chairman, let me say to my hon. colleague for Mount Scio - Bell Island. Two days ago he had me chastised by the Speaker. He acted a little bit loud and he didn't know what he was talking about. Again this morning he is trying to come to the defence of the defenceless. Mr. Chairman, I would suggest that the hon. member try to look after the people on Bell Island, try to look after the people in Mount Scio, down in Portugal Cove and St. Phillip's. Try to do that, Mr. Chairman, and I think he will be a better person in this Legislature if he worked for his own people.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: That is right.

MR. WARREN: Now, Mr. Chairman, that is true. I must say, Mr. Chairman, yes. I have to say this, I give my formal opponent all the credit in the world. In fact he got three votes more - if he got three votes less he would have lost the nomination. He would have lost the nomination with three votes less. So I would say that he put on a great campaign. In fact I have to say this, Mr. Chairman. He said to me a few days ago, he said: I will tell you this much, I will not be voting for Ed Roberts in Naskaupi.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who said that?

MR. WARREN: The candidate who ran against me. He said: I am not voting for a parachute candidate coming in here and trying to tell us what to do. That was from the guy who ran against me for that party.

AN HON. MEMBER: And where do you live?

MR. WARREN: Now, Mr. Chairman, let me say to my hon. colleague, I wasn't parachuted into the District of Torngat Mountains.


MR. WARREN: Mr. Chairman, if we talk about a parachute candidate, I ask the hon. gentleman: where do you live? I would say to my hon. colleague, does he live in the district he represents. No, of course not.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WARREN: Mr. Chairman, let me just say to my hon. colleague opposite that Enterprise Newfoundland in his opinion may be doing a good job. However I want to say that the Department of Development has an obligation on the coast of Labrador to operate the stores in an efficient and prudent manner. I believe since this government took over that we can -

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).

MR. WARREN: Mr. Chairman, would the hon. Member for Eagle River be quiet.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. WARREN: Mr. Chairman, I don't know what the hon. gentleman is talking about, but if he is talking about supplies ordered for the government store - is he saying that the people on the Labrador Coast are not allowed to have clothing that other people in this Province can have? Is that was he is saying? Is that what the hon. gentleman is saying, Mr. Chairman?

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).


MR. WARREN: Mr. Chairman, I would like for the hon. member to kindly leave his seat, come outside of that door and just repeat what he said. I will show you, Mr. Chairman, that he will have some consequences to put up with. I would suggest that you say outside this door what you just said, and I will tell you who will be the better person. I will tell you because you are nothing but a sleaze bag.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

I would ask the hon. member to withdraw.

MR. WARREN: I will withdraw that, Mr. Chairman. It is too complimentary for the gentleman.

I would say, Mr. Chairman, that we are talking about the operations of this government. When I was minister I did for the people in Labrador, as a minister, what anyone else should do, and that is to make sure supplies were delivered to those stores, supplies that the people wanted. We listened to the people and that is what we will always do. I say to my hon. colleague that one thing I did not do was when my hon. colleague was employed by the government and was travelling around at government expense with Liberal brochures in his pocket at the same time, that was one thing I did not do, Mr. Speaker. I would say to him, Mr. Chairman, that he was campaigning for two years at government expense.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. WARREN: Mr. Chairman, I am sure the hon. gentleman must have been drinking something more than water because of the way he is acting. I would suggest that the hon. gentleman has been taking something that is affecting his brain or he has been drinking something more than water. That is how it appears to me because it is unreal how a young man like that, who is suppose to have a little bit of intelligence, can be acting like that on a Friday morning. It must mean he has been doing something other than drinking water. He can only answer for himself but I can say this much in all fairness to the hon. member, that he should wake up and -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Member for LaPoile.

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, the hon. member speaking previous to myself did speak about the Royal Commission of Enquiry into Newfoundland's Involvement in Newfoundland Enviroponics, the Sprung affair. I am looking at this document that was released yesterday and if you look at the findings based on the terms of reference in the back there there are some points, I think, that do need to be noted. I might add that I had some discussions recently with some people in the banking community who were involved in this affair and it was very interesting to hear the kinds of efforts they had -


MR. RAMSAY: No, it is the wrong bank actually. That was only $500,000 and not $20 million. It was $500,000.

Anyway, I do want to point out that through the findings of this Royal Commission of Enquiry we do note that a thorough evaluation of the project was not done. It was certainly not unlike the previous government to make a decision and then adjust the situation of evaluation to suit the decision they had already made. In other words the tail did wag the dog in this particular case and it certainly was a case where the potential damage done, I suppose, financially to the Province was significant, but we might look at it as a very, very expensive lesson learned by government.

I would say, to give some credit to the Opposition for what they had done, that we as a government now are behaving much more responsibly than we might have if this had not occurred. The method of evaluation that is prescribed and suggested by Mr. Justice O'Regan is one that certainly should be undertaken with regard to any large project in the Province. If we as a government are to do any justice to the taxpayers of the Province and the country who support this Province then we would have to be sure that we do a thorough evaluation, and without coming to a prejudicial conclusion prior to doing that evaluation I think that will serve the taxpayers well. The damage that this did to the business community of the Province was significant. There was uncertainty because of the failure of the previous government to bring before the House of Assembly, as required under the statutes, the documentation required to enforce the guarantees that were utilized in the provisions to the Newfoundland Enviroponics people, the joint venture between the government and Newfoundland Enviroponics and whatever the other corporate names involved in this thing are.

Also, I suppose the consequences to the banks were significant if, in fact, the bank itself were left without honouring that agreement the government had chosen, as it possibly had the right to do so, to not honour the guarantees by virtue of them not having been executed properly. That was very significant, from a detail perspective, as far as the application of the statues in the legislation, but also the consequence of how the Province was perceived through the business community of the country, internationally as well.

The consequences of that kind of action, I think, would exemplify the incompetence that had been portrayed. Now I do not mean to suggest that any member opposite was incompetent, but overall the way in which this project was undertaken, and approvals provided, it certainly shows how the politics of this kind of project could certainly usurp the process that we should follow. We have to do what we can to safeguard that kind of situation from taking place.

Now what did they do wrong? Well, in the findings you note that the commitment to purchase and erect the facility for a contract price was improper, noted Mr. Justice Steele. He said that adequate, proper and due investigation of the technology and economic viability of the proposal was not carried out prior to government's commitment to the project. It appears that the price was excessive, and I certainly hope that this kind of lesson will be implemented in a formal manner into government's policies in the future, to make sure that we do not go off and try to approve of a project without the proper and thorough evaluation.

This comes to some other things which I might note. If you go to Page 132(b) whether any acts and regulations of the Province were not complied with; now what acts and regulations were not complied with, according to Mr. Justice O'Regan? Well he maintains The Retail Sales Tax Act, as amended, was not complied with, and that no tax was paid on the fair value of the tangible personal property.

I remember myself, when I was in business in Corner Brook - I was in a retail business - having to do just that, paying tax on the capital purchases that I made for that particular business. Any other person here who has been in business realizes that this is a necessity for everyone. With government's involvement in this, it should certainly have assured the people of the Province that this retail sales tax would be paid in accordance with the regulations and legislation.

Also I note that the intent of The Loan and Guarantee Act, as mentioned here, was not complied with. Various loan guarantees by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, on behalf of Newfoundland Enviroponics, were not brought before the House of Assembly as the legislation intended, and as convention dictated. That was another part of that.

We are getting to the two component parts, I suppose, that were even more significant; one that The Municipalities Act, as amended, was not complied with, and that the hydroponic facility was occupied without the issuance of a proper permit - again smacking of the problems associated with the tail wagging the dog syndrome, the idea of approving of something prior to its actually being thoroughly investigated and regulated through the necessary permits and whatnot.

I might like to stress, and I know it has probably already been mentioned, but we speak about The Environmental Assessment Act. The Environmental Assessment Act, 1980, as amended, was not complied with, in that the Minister of Environment was not notified in writing of the proposed project as he, at the time, should have been.

Those in the opposition who maintain that we should avoid the environmental assessment process, maybe it is just by virtue of the convention that they are used to following. It would appear that their suggestions regarding another proposed development for the Province being proposed without this provincial government's financial assistance, maybe that the Environmental Assessment Act, as mentioned here, I am just trying to draw a conclusion based on this action here and - well there is a comparison because you are speaking about the Environmental Assessment Act, and its application with regards to industrial development, just the key points that were mentioned in the motion put forward by the hon. Member for Torngat Mountains on Wednesday, and if you look at the specific relationship of industrial developments in the Province, to the environmental assessment process that in this particular case, this was denied as a necessity I suppose, by the government of the day, because they were so heavily involved in the financial operation of this, the greenhouse in providing loan guarantees.

When things would happen they obviously were aware that there were environmental consequences of their actions in that, and I say this, that when the greenhouse went there of course were environmental consequences to the local area, notably one that did have some financial ramifications for government, was the effect that it had on the poinsettia grower who was located nearby, and of course that was an environmental consequence, direct environmental consequence of the Sprung setup with the lighting and this sort of thing causing some problems, environmental problems for another business in that given area, so therefore, the fact that the Environmental Assessment Act was not used by the government of the day in their evaluation; they said it did not need to be registered and there was nothing required, again by virtue of the hands-on I suppose involvement of the government of that day, and again the consequences show themselves albeit I suppose, they may say insignificant, but there was a direct financial consequence of that action.

I note in the back of this that the - I am just looking for the MC, the Minute in Council that paid off the poinsettias, I think it was $64,000 or something in that order?... yes, grants to Poinsettia growers. Mr. Chairman, it was certainly a direct financial consequence, so it shows that not only can there be environmental consequences for not complying with acts of this Legislature of this Province, but there can be direct financial consequences to government and therefore the inherent liability that government assumes in not following its own rules and regulations, may have been avoided if these rules and regulations were applied and were followed.

This is very important, especially to the visitors here in the gallery today, that when a government acts beyond what it should, an opposition of course should bring them into question, should question the way that they have acted, because a government is only as good as the opposition which opposes it, and the government of the day is very open to criticism, to responding to questions whether they are on the Order Paper, whether they are the general questions that are asked here in Question Period. We are only as good as they make us, and we are only as good as the expectations of the people of the Province, and this Legislature of course, being open regularly for the provision of an opportunity for the opposition to question government, is very important and the importance of course with the Newfoundland Enviroponics thing to the people here visiting, is that the Legislature was not opened and again I certainly feel that -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. RAMSAY: - we should see to it that the Legislature is open for a set period of time every year, Mr. Chairman, and given set dates and this sort of thing so that we can guarantee that this kind of thing does not happen again. Thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Before I recognize the hon. Member for Humber Valley, I would like to welcome to the galleries this morning on behalf of all hon. members - I think they were welcomed earlier by Mr. Speaker, but I do not think they were in the House at the time - twenty-eight students from Inter Island Academy in Summerford, in the district of Twillingate.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I never had a chance to read through this but I do not think there is going to be much in it that I do not already know about. I would like to take a few minutes to comment on some of the comments made in the last twenty-four hours by some members opposite, and over the last, I suppose, three and a half to four years.

There is one advantage that we have already, just after three and a half years. It is that we did something. As far as I am concerned, if you do not do anything you cannot make any mistakes. You just cannot make any. The highest level of incompetence is doing nothing. Now if members opposite can get up and tell me - other than the minister responsible for Enterprise Newfoundland - what policies and what chances and what has been done in this Province over the last three and a half years to create new employment, I will sit down. I will sit down and let them tell me. Some meaningful employment.

Look at the unemployment statistics in this Province today. Just look at them. They just came out again this morning, 11,000 less people in the workforce today than there was this time last year, 11,000 out looking. The social assistance rolls, the worst they have been in twenty years. Look at our youth. We have some of them in the gallery today. They have a lot to look forward to, I know. Thirty-six per cent of youth unemployment in this Province, up 6 per cent.

AN HON. MEMBER: Forty-seven per cent in Ontario.

MR. WOODFORD: Never mind Ontario. You won an election to govern this Province, not Ontario.

AN HON. MEMBER: All across Canada (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Why don't you pick up Mr. Finklestein and put him in Cabinet? Mr. Chairman, back to the hon. gentleman for LaPoile talking about mistakes pertaining to the Sprung enterprise. No question. Never denied it before, won't today, and won't tomorrow, deny the fact that that particular project had a lot of mismanagement. We should have taken more time. No question. As far as I am concerned, if that was done, that facility would be working today and we would be producing hydroponic produce for the ret of Canada, the rest of the world. No question.

Members opposite, I suppose, have been playing political football with this particular enterprise for some time. Would the member just look at a couple of pages there and see what happened. Look at the Sprungs' record. I always said that the Sprungs would not run an outhouse over a river. I told them the first day after I got in as minister, and I told them - both Dawn and Phil - a good many times after that. The day that they called me when I was home in the district, on a Friday at 1:30 p.m., and told me that they were all walking out at 2:30 p.m., it is a good thing I was not in St. John's because -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes. Close, but the only thing about it, I had to do the proper thing and go through the proper channels for the next few minutes. But my words to the individual on the phone were these. I told him in no uncertain terms: you go back and take the people who are necessary to close the place down, walk in, say nothing until you get inside the doors, and then point your finger and say: get out. They did just that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: I'll get to Kenney, Mr. Chairman. They did just that. If members would look, you talk about an about-face, I know it has been a political football, I know that things were done wrong. But just look at what happened in just a short while after the two Dutch people went in there. Just look at two notes in this, I do not know what page it is on now. Just look at two notes and see what the Sprungs produced. They produced - the most they ever produced was 75,000 cucumbers a week. A week. The most.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Hold on now, let me finish. When I usually speak on a subject I usually try to know what I am talking about.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: The prices, Mr. Chairman, when the Sprungs were producing were low. After the Dutch people went in there, just a couple of days after they drove the Sprungs out along with the other management people, what were they producing? If you look at the production levels for the Dutch people in just a few... I think it was six weeks. They went I think from 16,000 up to 85,000. They had 85,000 a week, and it went up to as high as $1.90 in the marketplace.

The sad thing about it is that we threw out the baby with the bath water. You can't produce cucumbers, you can't produce anything else in this Province today, and try to compete on the same level as Ontario or California or anywhere else when they are producing at that same time. You can't do it. You have to produce something that is ready for the marketplace and you can get the top dollar at that given time. They should not be producing cucumbers year-round, no question.

AN HON. MEMBER: What about Ross Traverse?

MR. WOODFORD: Ross Traverse? You want me to tell you about Ross Traverse? Listen to my interview on CBC this morning, and I will quote it, and I will say it right here. If you are going to comment on something make sure they got their facts straight. If some of the officials in the Department of Agricultural - and they are still there today, sir, under you - do not know any more about it than I did twenty years ago, there's not much odds about them. I will tell you that. They are still there today.

AN HON. MEMBER: The report bore them out.

MR. WOODFORD: The report bore them out on what? On what?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Sure, they vindicated Ross Traverse. Who did the report? Someone who knew more about it than Ross Traverse? Come on. The rest of Canada did not want to see it here. Why? Because the total greenhouse production in Canada, Mr. Chairman, was outside this Province. Quebec had 63 per cent of the total greenhouse production in Canada.

The bottom line on this is that if it had have been handled right -and I say to members opposite, it is one thing to take a calculated risk, and it is another to take a foolish risk when it comes to business. But I tell you, if we are going to do anything in this Province with regard to creating employment, then gentlemen, you are going to have to at least take a calculated risk. If you don't, we are going to be at the bottom rung of the ladder for a long time to come, I can assure you. Those Dutch people who wanted to move that enterprise, knew what they were doing, but members opposite did not want to have the satisfaction -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Stephenville.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. K. AYLWARD: I was enjoying the debate, Mr. Chairman, and I still am, I must say. I always enjoy the Member for Humber Valley when he speaks because he normally and always does speak with great sincerity and is one of the most sincere and hard-working members in the House of Assembly. As a matter of fact, of course, if he had his way, the Sprung agreement, when it was put together, would never have been the same as it was. I mean, he would never have allowed that. He went in after, invited into the Cabinet, and he did a good job with what he had to deal with. I have great respect for his ability and always will in whatever he goes at. It was a difficult process he had to deal with to come in after the mess that was made and clean it up.

You know, the strangest part about this Sprung project - I was reading through a report last night, and I took it home. When we were in Opposition, a number of us - the Minister of Forestry would know this - we had questions about this project. The reason we had a number of questions was because the government of the day under the former former Premier highlighted it as one of the projects that was going to blow our minds, if you remember that phrase, folks, blow our minds. Do you remember that speech?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: It was going to blow our minds. I remember NTV one night, I got home late and I turned it on. He was on a half-hour speech somewhere in Newfoundland. 'Blow your mind' - he said he was going to blow our minds.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: So all the people were excited. The people were excited in this Province because they thought their minds were going to get blown. They thought there was going to be a revolution. They thought there was going to be economic restoration and everybody was going to have employment.

I remember when the Sprung greenhouse was announced, and then, of course, it started. One of the things the hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains said after was that we should build fifty-two Sprung greenhouses around the Province. I don't know if you remember that. Some members opposite will remember that comment.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: Now, that would have been fifty-two by $24 million - that is $1 billion.

The government of the day doesn't want to pursue this thing much further, but a lot of us, I mean, we had concerns then. The Minister of Health will remember, we asked questions about the agreement when it was announced and signed. You know, the math that was used to put this agreement in place, I say to the Minister of Finance, you would not believe the math! The math is not the same math I was taught in school.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who was the Minister of Finance then?

MR. K. AYLWARD: I am not sure. I can't remember. I don't know, but whoever it was, there was a big Cabinet, anyway. I think there were twenty-two Cabinet ministers at the time - but the math that was used!

I was reading through this, and I just want to point out a couple of things that are of interest.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Does it show good accounting?

MR. K. AYLWARD: Real good accounting, yes. I call it PC math. You see, when the agreement was announced, they formed Newfoundland Enviroponics Limited. That was formed out of 50 per cent Government of Newfoundland, you are the taxpayer, and 50 per cent Sprung company.

AN HON. MEMBER: Call it equity investment.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Equity investment. Now the Sprung group of companies put in -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: That is right, they put in $4 million. They were putting in $4 million. It was set. That is what it says here, $4 million, and the government was putting in the rest. Now, you know it is a 50 per cent shareholder, 50/50. Then we form NEL, which is Newfoundland Enviroponics Limited. So, once we form NEL, then we give a contract as NEL to the Sprung group of companies to build a facility for $14.5 million.

So we, ourselves, I'm a Sprung, I gave myself the contract to build the facility.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. K. AYLWARD: Exactly. Now, that it where they got the $4 million. It says here, the Sprung group contributed $4 million to the Sprung greenhouse project. 'The shareholders' agreement contemplated the Sprung group contributing the following financing for the project: Shareholder loan at $3.5 million, and a loan guarantee for $500,000. But the $3.5 million of the Sprung group contribution was a direct set-off against progress payments due to Sprung by NEL, himself, under the construction agreement.

So he never put anything in it. I'm not sure if he put a cent in. Not only that, I think he was set up as one of the chairmen, or CEOs, of the company. He got paid a salary besides that. So that was the math of the day, and that was the only reason that I, as a member of the House, would have any questions. That is all. There was no other reason. The technology we would welcome. Hopefully, it would work, and we would try to see the thing go if it were a good possibility. I mean, the way it was set up was the problem, that's all.

As members, we try to hope that economic development is going to occur and we try to do everything we can, taking a necessary risk. But this wasn't risk. This was just a very, very bad decision that could be seen by everybody in the Province, but that just was refused - people were not listened to. They were not listened to on this subject, and now the taxpayers of the Province have had to suffer for it, unfortunately. But the question here is - it is not so much that we are making politics out of it. The fact is, it had to be investigated. Because it was a scandal, as far as I am concerned, that this thing went ahead at all - that a company could be given all of this money, without even the proper documentation and the proper marketing information. An environmental assessment wasn't even done. It was just: We are going to do it and that's it, and we are going to blow your mind.

So, we are not on a political witch hunt. The government, obviously, said: We are not going to go any further. But all I say to the members opposite, is if you are going to talk about economic development, we are trying to do some things and this -

MS. VERGE: Like what?

MR. K. AYLWARD: All kinds of things. You would be surprised.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Newfoundland and Labrador.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, amongst other things, the Telecentre agreement, amongst other things. But one thing we are not going to do, I tell the hon. the Member for Humber East, is we are not going to do this. I am going to guarantee you that. I remember the Budget of - what was it, 1989, or 1988? - 1988, I think it was, or 1987. You remember that Budget? - What was the picture on the front? Remember the picture? Sprung group of companies. So they highlighted this as their economic development policy.

So all we say, on this side of the House, and members who were there then when this thing was brought in, it is a sad conclusion to this affair. Because the math that was used I hope will never be used again, for the sake of the taxpayers of this Province. I hope this math, that whoever invented this math for this thing, I wouldn't hope they ever get in a classroom, Mr. Chairman. I hope they never get in a classroom to teach this stuff, I tell you, when it comes to math and financing.

DR. KITCHEN: How did they ever get out?

MR. K. AYLWARD: Well, I don't know. But this has to prove - and not only that, there was -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) new math.

MR. K. AYLWARD: A new math. It must be the new math. But there was MC after MC of more money, even though, guaranteed, it was going down the drain. It kept going, and it didn't matter, Sir. It didn't matter at all.

So it has come to a conclusion, and we hope it is a lesson for us all. This government is going to try to undertake to develop the Province in a way that is organized, in the different regions of the Province. We have a new economic plan coming forward in a little while, just shortly, which is going to set out a number of long-term goals. It is going to have an action plan ready to go. So we are looking forward to seeing some things happen, and they are going to happen.

But, this thing here, you know, a lot of the members opposite are accountable because they were involved in this project. As I said, the Member for Humber Valley did a good job, because when he was there he tried to come in and put some sense to the whole thing, and I give him credit for that, and always will. I appreciate his efforts on behalf of the Province when he was there, when he did that. But, a number of other people who kind of defended this thing for I don't know how long, it is unfortunate, because the thing was going nowhere fast. With that kind of math that was used, Mr. Chairman, we would only hope that this new math will be buried forever, and that the good math and the proper math will be used from now on in any other economic development project.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Chairman, I wonder if (inaudible). Just one short question, Mr. Chairman, to the minister responsible for Treasury Board. If the minister responsible for Treasury Board could listen for just a second. Under Royal Commission Staff, page 2, under Support Staff, the three names given are Ms. Colleen Power, Ms. Carolyn Abbott, and Ms. Dawn English. I wonder could the minister check and see if that is not Dawn Sprung after getting married or something?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: See that she didn't sit on the committee.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Health.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DECKER: Mr. Chairman, it is obvious the hon. members opposite want to continue this debate on Sprung. For the life of me, I don't understand why they would want to start a fight on Sprung.

Over the past few days, I have heard members opposite saying: If you don't try to do anything then you are not going to succeed. They are talking as if Sprung was the only thing that they failed on, as if Sprung was the only mistake they made.

I tell hon. members of this House that Sprung was one of the better things they did when they were in office. Sprung was probably their leading light, their star of achievement. Just look at what they actually did to this Province. Just look at what they did to the Workers' Compensation Board. Just look at the mess they left us there. How many million? One hundred and sixty million dollars of deficit. Compare that to Sprung. Sprung - I can understand why they are bragging and taking all the credit for it. Compared to the mess they left of the Workers' Compensation Board, Sprung was a gem.

What about the pension fund? Do you realise, if we had left the pension fund in the same mess we received it in, that the people of our Province, the dedicated civil servants and the dedicated teachers, who gave years of their lives, paid into a pension fund that the previous administration allowed to go into the ground. I can see why they want to talk about Sprung, because compared to what they did with the teachers' pension fund and the civil service pension fund, compared to the mess in which they left the pension fund, Sprung, indeed, was a remarkable achievement.

Let's compare Sprung to what they did to the credit rating of the Province. We are at the bottom of all the provinces in this nation, a legacy left us by the previous administration. When you compare Sprung to that, they have every right to want to talk about Sprung, because it was, indeed, the best thing they ever did when they were in power.

They took a Cabinet which was lean and mean and they put twenty-three members in the Cabinet. Some of them couldn't use an ordinary washroom! Some of them had to have brass faucets on their sinks. Some of them had to tear the whole West Block apart just to install a special bathroom. Compare all that to Sprung. But now I can see why they want to talk about Sprung, because Sprung was the best thing they ever did in the full ten years.

While they were in power, they had a railway which was protected by the Terms of Union of this Province with the Dominion of Canada. We all know it was losing money. But under the Terms of Union they were losing $15 million a year, I believe it was. The previous administration gave up that term of union and accepted $800 million for fifteen years, which is less -

AN HON. MEMBER: $400 million.

MR. DECKER: $400 million. - which is less than the railway would have lost had it stayed in operation, Mr. Chairman. Compare the mess, the fiasco that they made on the railway and Sprung is indeed a leading light. Sprung is one of the best things they ever did. Now, Mr. Chairman, I can understand why they want to talk about Sprung, so let us talk about Sprung.

Mr. Chairman, there are cows in Conception Bay who are having withdrawal symptoms. Do you realize that Sprung produced so many cucumbers that the human market for Sprung was saturated; they put out a cookbook and they made ever Newfoundlander a cucumber addict; they all became addicted to cucumbers but when we all had turned green after eating those cucumbers, they started dumping them in Conception Bay and the cows started eating them and the cows got addicted. I am just wondering, if the fish in Conception Bay turn green we will know what it is, it is the food chain. It is where the effects of the cucumbers through the cows, somehow found their way into Conception Bay, Mr. Chairman, so I ask the hon. Minister of Fisheries to keep checking because those cows are having withdrawal symptoms, because the little ditty about the cow jumping over the moon, Mr. Chairman, I do not know if that was brought on because they were eating those cucumbers.


MR. DECKER: Now, Mr. Chairman, the hon. Member for Humber Valley talks about the ability of Sprung to produce -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. DECKER: - more cucumbers -


MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. DECKER: Mr. Chairman, may I have leave for another minute?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

Order, please!

MR. DECKER: - because this is the killing punch.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The Chair is just calling order, not that the Member's time is up.

Order, please!

MR. DECKER: Oh, thank you.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The Chair called order because I could not hear the hon. member, not that the hon. member's time is up.

MR. DECKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I thought my time was up.

Now, Mr. Chairman, here is the other one. The hon. Member for Humber Valley talks about the fact that Sprung could have produced more cucumbers - God forbid. Now here is what it did. It got the cows addicted to cucumbers, it got the people addicted to cucumbers, Mr. Chairman, if they had produced more they would have had the horses and the pigs and every living animal in this Province addicted to cucumbers.

The hon. member talked about new math. Let me tell him something about the new math. He said they could have produced more. Now, every pound they produced they lost $1.65 on it or somewhere in that vicinity, Mr. Chairman, it is a rough figure. Now, Mr. Chairman, for every 1,000 pounds they lost $1650.00. If they had produced a million pounds they would have lost $1,650,000; if they had produced that billion pounds, they would have lost $1.65 billion, Mr. Chairman, think what they could have done to our credit rating on that one.

Mr. Chairman, it is like the like the people who went up to Prince Edward Island to bring down some - remember them, they went up to bring down some potatoes? They had a truck which could carry 700 bags of potatoes. They paid $2.00 a bag for the potatoes, they brought them down to Newfoundland and they sold them for $2.00 a bag and they ended losing of course on the deal, so they tried to figure out what they should have done and of course their accountant said: here is where you made the mistake; you should have had a bigger truck. That is what you should have had. Now that is the mentality. The same accountant who recommended to those two geniuses that they should have brought down more potatoes and sold them, that is the same accountant, Mr. Chairman, who advised the previous administration about the economics of the Sprung Greenhouse. Maybe, they should have listened to the Member for Torngat Mountains and they should have had one of those cucumber plants in every single district in this Province, then they could have drove her under, then they could have drove her under.

Mr. Chairman, there are so many things about this that I would not want to discuss if I were a member of the opposition today. I would not want to talk about Kenny Rogers when he made the visit to St. John's. Can you remember that?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. DECKER: Could I have leave, Mr. Chairman?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman -

AN HON. MEMBER: We are ready for the question whenever you are.

MR. TOBIN: We were ready for the question until you got up and made a complete fool of yourself; but one thing you did demonstrate is that you were in the cucumber house for awhile. That is one thing you did demonstrate, because you are the closest thing to a cucumber that I have ever seen.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: The Minister of Health - I am not sure that his withdrawal symptoms are from eating cucumbers; but I would suspect that if he is having withdrawal symptoms, he will not have them today. He may have his withdrawal symptoms tomorrow from something else that can be grown in cucumbers.

In any case, I thought that when the Minister of Health got up today, as a member of this Cabinet, that he would be more responsible; that he would talk about the ll,000 less men and women who are working in this Province today than were working this time last year; that he would talk about the 3,000 men and women in this Province who are not working today who were working this time last month; that he would talk about the 36 per cent of our population between the age of fifteen and twenty-four who are unemployed in this Province today.

The Minister of Health can talk all he likes about cucumbers and failures and everything else, but the fact of the matter is that there was never 11,000 less people unemployed in this Province in one year than there were since that group came to power. That is what has taken place today, and they are not finished. They are not finished with gutting the civil servants and everyone else in this Province.

The Minister of Health talks about withdrawal symptoms. The Minister of Education is the victim of withdrawal symptoms when people look at the withdrawal of student assistants in this Province, that he announced over the last week. That is what has taken place.

Why, in this Province today, are there 11,000 less men and women working than there were this time last year, if this government has an economic policy or an economic plan for the future of Newfoundland and Labrador. What do I say tonight when I speak to a graduating class from Eastern Community College in Burin? What do I say to them when I have to tell them that there is 36 per cent -

MR. WALSH: Say, 'Smarten up, vote Liberal.'

MR. MATTHEWS: Boy, oh boy, oh boy.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, boy, oh boy, that is being smart. The best place for you now is out in the chicken house plucking them, and then try to make a living for yourself after.

What is taking place in this Province today is sad, when you have 36 per cent of the people who are graduating, and finishing high school, between the age of eighteen and twenty-four or twenty-five, who are on unemployment insurance - and probably a lot more who are not even registered.

One year ago in this Province there were 240,000 people working. Today we have 229,000 people working.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) free trade.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, free trade. Why did the Premier support free trade then? He has such a God-given foresight in every other matter; why did he support free trade? He talks about people jumping on - what was it he said the other day about people jumping on parades? Did he jump on a parade on that? Or was he like Jean Chretien who said: there go the Liberals. I must follow them for I am their leader. Is that what is taking place in this Province? The Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island is in here today laughing at the Minister of Health. It is sad. Why does he not go over to Bell Island and tell them there is a good chance that 36 per cent of them will not find employment as long as I sit on the government side and the Premier is the Premier of this Province?

Why does he not tell them that, Mr. Chairman? What you should tell them is: the best I can offer you is plucking a few chickens for me. I cannot help you get a job anywhere in the economy. That is what is happening, Mr. Chairman. The old feather-plucker. Chicken wings. This is serious business. I can tell you something right now, that type of industry is declining in this Province, too, and the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island will tell you that as well. It is probably time that the Minister of Development gets some industries going in this Province, particularly in the tourism sector.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. TOBIN: Well, I would a lot sooner listen to Graham than listen to you. I can tell you that right now because you are a living example of a complete fool.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

I remind the hon. member that these kind of remarks are unparliamentary and I ask him to withdraw them.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, if it is unparliamentary I have no difficulty in withdrawing it, no difficulty whatsoever. My colleague said I was wrong, that he was not a living example of a fool but that he was a dead example of one. In any case if it is unparliamentary I have no difficulty in withdrawing it.

Let me say this, there are 11,000 unemployed men and women in this Province today that were working this time last year, this is what is taking place in this Province. This morning at 8 o'clock I had the first call from my district regarding the teacher assistants. As a matter of fact I understand that the Liberal candidate in the last election in Burin - Placentia West has become very upset as a result of it.

MR. MATTHEWS: They did not have one.

MR. TOBIN: Well, it is the first time ever a Liberal candidate in Burin - Placentia West lost their nomination but it will not be the last. In any case what is happening today is that this government, for some reason, for some reason all the members of this government try to inflict concern and anguish amongst the general population of this Province. There are men and women today with disabled children in the Province, and in my own district, there are families with disabled children who do not know whether or not they can go to school next year because this government has decided to take away the student assistants from them. It has happened in Labrador.

MR. REID: We have 40 per cent more.

MR. TOBIN: Well, if you have 40 per cent more out your way, I say to the Member for Carbonear, you obviously deserve it and so you should have them, but you should not have them at the expense of some other poor unfortunate child in this Province. If it is what is needed in Carbonear I agree. If there are 40 per cent more needed in Carbonear they should have 40 per cent more, but they should not take away 50 per cent from an RC board on the Burin Peninsula or 75 per cent in Labrador West to satisfy the needs of other parts of the Province. They should not do that. There are families today living in anguish. There was a public meeting last night in Marystown in which people were involved and there were several committees set up, Mr. Chairman.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Chairman, it is an honour to get into this debate for a moment. I want to say from the outset that one day the sun will shine in this Province and have not will be no more. One day, Mr. Chairman. When the Premier said the sun will shine and have not will be no more, when the sun didn't start to shine, Mr. Chairman, he built Sprung.

Now there are some very serious situations relative to Sprung, Mr. Chairman. Not only the concerns that the Minister of Health expressed, but there will probably be problems in Mount Pearl for a long time because it is not a very well known fact that when that thing came on all night the birds didn't realize it was dark. That is a fact. The birds didn't nest.

Mr. Chairman, is anyone here aware that Sprung was starting to be known as the eighth wonder of the world?

AN HON. MEMBER: The eighth wonder.

MR. FLIGHT: The eighth. There are seven wonders in the world, Mr. Chairman, and Sprung became the eighth wonder of the world.

Now, Mr. Chairman, does anyone know how Sprung really came to be?

AN HON. MEMBER: No. Tell us.

MR. FLIGHT: How it really came to be. This is a fact, Mr. Chairman, an undeniable fact and the records exist to prove it. A bunch of civil servants, deputy minister level and director level, was sent off to Calgary to look at the Sprung property, and the idea was to buy some cheap - what is the plural for stadium? Stadia?


MR. FLIGHT: Stadii - they were going to look at it because Mr. Sprung was manufacturing these kind of buildings. I am going to be very careful not to name the gentleman because he is still a very high placed civil servant -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FLIGHT: That is where he met Phil Sprung.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is where he saw that canopy, that material.

MR. FLIGHT: Yes, and he met Phil in Florida. But his officials were up looking at the possibility of buying stadiums for small communities and they were taken on a tour of the Sprung facility. They came back to Newfoundland, told the Premier about the facilities they saw, but they weren't being used as stadiums. They were the ideal stadiums but they were growing tomatoes. Up the Premier goes, tours the facility and placed an immediate order for that kind of facility in Newfoundland.


MR. FLIGHT: So, Mr. Chairman, in an effort to try to find cheap or affordable buildings for stadiums in Newfoundland, we ended up with Sprung, $23 million later. At $1 million a stadium we could have had twenty-three stadiums in rural Newfoundland.

Now, Mr. Chairman, things got worse. The former, former Premier and all his ministers proclaim the Environmental Assessment Act as the greatest piece of legislation ever brought into Newfoundland. There is no question, it is a strong piece of legislation.

Now I wonder if the ex Minister of Justice, the Member for Humber East, the hon. the Member for Grand Bank, who was a minister at the time, she was a minister at the time, the hon. the Member for Kilbride was a minister, the hon. the Member for Conception Bay was a minister -

AN HON. MEMBER: Harbour Main.

MR. FLIGHT: Harbour Main. The whole front bench used to be ministers. Why one minister had the gall, had the nerve to question Premier Peckford. Maybe the hon. Member for Grand Bank will stand up and tell us why he kept quiet, and why he didn't insist that Sprung would go to an environmental assessment? Why? Now they didn't exempt it, Mr. Chairman. They could have exempted it under the legislation, but maybe the hon. member will tell us why they didn't require it to be registered. The Minister of Environment of the day said there was no need in registering a project that would inevitably cost the people of Newfoundland $23 million.

Now we talk about spineless, Mr. Chairman. I hear comments from the other side saying that Premier Wells is a dictator and his ministers are a bunch of sheep. I hear this stuff. Then I think about Sprung, and I think about the hon. member for Grand Bank's role in Sprung, and the hon. member for Kilbride, and the Justice Minister of the day did not have the nerve to question it.

Word got out, and finally a member of the Cabinet had no choice. He had to resign. The stink was so bad he could not stand it any longer and he resigned. He saw the handwriting on the wall, because he knew that Sprung was going to be the cause of the demise of that party.

With regard to the sun shining, one day the sun will shine. On April 20, 1989, the sun shone on thirty-one districts. That was the first time the sun shone for seventeen years. Thirty-one districts the sun shone on, and it missed the other nineteen, but the sun is getting ready to shine again. I will tell you, when the Premier decides it is time to call an election, the sun is going to shine on the rest of those districts.

The Member for Humber East, with a little smirk on her face there right now, came close the last time - thirty-five votes, was it? Fifty?

MS. VERGE: One hundred and fifty.

MR. FLIGHT: One hundred and fifty. Well in the next election the sun is going to shine on the people of Humber East, and get rid of that Tory member.

I sat in the opposition from 1975 to 1989 and we lived with the Churchill Falls fiasco, or what was seen as a fiasco - a good deal at the time. I can get up and defend Churchill Falls.

When Churchill Falls was developed, the price of oil was $1.50 a barrel. Every politician on this side of the House - Mr. Murphy, Mr. Ottenheimer, Mr. Hickey, they scurried to be onside on Churchill Falls. They scurried around the country to say what a great deal it was. The great Bob Winters, the most successful private capitalist in the world, headed up the board. Everybody wanted to be on the bandwagon. There was the cutting edge of technology, but we paid the price. Oil went from $1.50 a barrel to thirty something dollars a barrel. Quebec started to make a barrel of money. It started to look like a bad deal, and these people always looking for a parade, like they have done with the Long Harbour incinerator, jumped on the bandwagon. We paid the price, but we never paid the price on Churchill to the extent that you are going to pay the price on Sprung.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FLIGHT: We never paid the price. Churchill might have been one of the factors that kept us out of government for fifteen or sixteen years. I will tell you, nobody in Newfoundland saw Churchill as such a fiasco as the people of Newfoundland saw Sprung. For the people who can survive, Sprung is going to be the main ingredient of keeping you where you are for the next twenty years - Sprung - and we are going to keep it alive. The hon. Minister of Health, myself, the hon. Minister of Development, every member back here is dedicated to keeping the Sprung memory alive. Sprung will never die.

I have a decision to make. As the Minister of Agriculture I have a decision to make. We have a blight, a scar on the land in Mount Pearl where the Sprung facility was. It is in the agricultural zone. Lots of people, or some people, over the last year have come and suggested certain uses; but I have to ask the President of Treasury Board, the Deputy Premier, and the Premier, whether or not we should not leave it as it is as a monument to the previous -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FLIGHT: I am wondering. I am going to get - this is too major a decision for me to take on myself. But I am going to seek the permission of Cabinet to leave that blight, that mess, that environmental mess right where it is, so people from Newfoundland can drive by and see it. We will put a sign on it: A monument to the Tories, who were prepared to spend $23 million, $24 million now and still going. That is going to be there, so I will tell the hon. Member for Grand Bank, to get on the high ground, take the high ground but we are going to keep shoving Sprung back in your face. Tomatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, cucumbers, Mr. Chairman, -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FLIGHT: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: Tomatoes (inaudible).

MR. FLIGHT: - not sick enough to have spent $23 million and not open my mouth -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FLIGHT: - not sick enough to sit in the Cabinet and not open my mouth and watch $23 - and by the way, it was incremental spending; it was $7,000 now, $4 million, $7 million, oh we need another $9 million - don't ask any questions, give the $9 million and not one minister -

AN HON. MEMBER: The interest on the debt on that loan.

MR. FLIGHT: The interest alone, two and a half million dollars, Mr. Chairman, so, how stunned am I?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. FLIGHT: Not stunned enough, Mr. Chairman, to sit around and watch that kind of thing happen and not question it and then expect the people to believe I have some credibility. Forget it, it is over and Sprung might have caused it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, of all people to stand in this House and talk about credibility. Of all people to talk about credibility, he is not allowed in the Cabinet Room, Mr. Chairman, to open his mouth. He only gets his cheque, he is not allowed in there - he gets his cheque come every two weeks they send it over to his office.

Now, can you imagine the gall of that minister to stand up here and talk about a $23 million loss to the people of this Province, when every day, for 365 days a year, the deal on Churchill Falls - that is what it costs the taxpayers of this Province, 365 days a year, $30 million a day, I say to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, and he has the gall to get up here and the only thing he could talk about in seventeen years, is a failed project, Sprung Enviroponics. That is all he has to talk about; that is all he can talk about and then, Mr. Chairman, to get up and talk about the environmental scar - can you imagine talking about the environmental scar, when the Premier, a couple of days ago, denied there was toxic waste being pumped into Placentia Bay from Long Harbour, another proud Liberal initiative, that the Premier of the Province tried to fool the people, tried to hoodwink them into believing that they were not pumping that waste into Placentia Bay.

The Minister of Environment and Lands, the day after confirmed it, an official of Environment Canada confirmed it, that in some cases as high as forty times the acceptable limits were being pumped into Placentia Bay, into that rich fishing grounds, and the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture gets up and talks about an environmental scar where Sprung was; now, can you imagine?... what hypocrisy! Talking about credibility and then he went on to refer to the Member for Port de Grave and the cookbook. The pickle book he referred to, the Sprung Pickle Book.

Well, Mr. Chairman, we know now that the Member for Port de Grave is more interested in another cookbook now, another cookbook that was released yesterday. This is the Efford, the real Efford cookbook we have here, because once you read through this now and dig into this, not only is it a cookbook but it is the pressure cooker itself. The pressure cooker, the Efford cookbook.

Now, when the Member for Port de Grave comes back, I hope he gets up and waves now the Sprung pickle book he used to call it, because we have one now. If there ever was one now to put back in his face, we have it now, and then not only the Member for Port de Grave, but that great appointed overqualified assistant deputy minister, the former Member for Fogo, who they appointed assistant Deputy minister of Social Services, and on and on it goes, well what a cookbook we have now, what a cookbook we do have here so I do not expect we will hear too much from the Member for Port de Grave any more about the pickle book or the cookbook.

I think he is well cooked now, I would say. I watched it last night when I looked at the television and saw the picture come up and the printing underneath: Oh conscience, I am guilty. Don't let me do that again... isn't that the old song from 'way back when, is it? I think that is about it. That sums it up very well.

Now, Mr. Speaker, can you imagine, though, that the Minister of Forestry would get up - and he has admitted why he is talking about this. They have admitted why they have kept the report since January. I saw the attachment in the thing yesterday. I forget the date. What was it, January what?

AN HON. MEMBER: The 28th, I think.

MR. MATTHEWS: They had this report on January 28, 1992. The Minister of Forestry has gone on and told us now why they kept it. They kept the office open with someone in it being paid, on the inquiry staff, by the way, for months and months with nothing to do down there. If you called down to the office, the person who answered the phone had nothing to do. Talk about costing the taxpayers of the Province money, you did very well at it. The Auditor General told you there was no need to pursue it, but, of course, you made such serious allegations in the last provincial election that you had to go through with it.

It may not be all over yet, I say to the Minister of Forestry. There were some very serious allegations made in this Province a couple of years ago about some individuals. It is not all over yet, I say to the Minister of Forestry. He may have been one of them that made some of those allegations. I can tell you, it is not over yet. It is not over yet, I say to the Minister of Forestry. There is research being done on that now to see who said what during that particular period of time because, you know, there were accusations and allegations made at that time that, indeed, there was criminal activity involved in Sprung.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: There were suggestions of criminal allegations made about the Sprung project, I say. Where did it all come from? Who was it all pointed to? - the former Premier and those who served with him, of which I was one, I say to members opposite.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, I am sure you do, and I know it, too. So it is not finished yet, I say to the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: That is another story, I say to the Minister of Forestry. That is not all that meets the eye, either.

AN HON. MEMBER: 'Charlie' blew the whistle.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, 'Charlie' blew the whistle. There is no doubt about that, but 'Charlie' is gone now and we will leave it at that.

MR. R. AYLWARD: He blew more than the whistle.

MR. MATTHEWS: 'Charlie' is gone now. I hope he enjoys his retirement. He served the people of the Province well and we all paid tribute to the man a week or so ago. He did well in seventeen or so years in public life.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: I know Chuck. Chuck has someone up in the gallery now he wants to fascinate again. That is how he gets when sees somebody up there. He gets up and shows his acting school training.

But getting back, Mr. Speaker, we are talking about the Executive Council Estimates. The Premier rose yesterday and gave out this great list of expenses and so on. We talked about that infamous $20,000 home allowance for the Premier. Members opposite thought that was all there was. Yesterday, we found out there was just about $17,000 more in entertainment.


MR. MATTHEWS: Can you imagine now, this inexpensive 'Clyde', this clean-living, inexpensive 'Clyde', spent another $17,000 on top of his $20,000, and then on back of that, what do we find out? - that Pippy Park grooms his lawn and his flowers; Pippy Park, now, can you imagine? The Pippy Park Commission grooms the Premier's lawns and takes care of his flowers, waters them and puts whatever else they put on flowers for him. Can you imagine? - this clean 'Clyde', CC, clean 'Clyde', cover-up 'Clyde'. Members opposite wanted everyone in the Province to believe that all he was getting was his $20,000 allowance.

Can you imagine going out to those 11,000 people we talked about, and the 36 per cent of unemployed youth, and telling them that? I talked to two young people this morning looking for jobs down in Grand Bank. Can you imagine telling them that Clyde Wells' $20,000 was not enough for him, that he had to have another $17,000, and that Pippy Park has to do his lawn?

This morning, we heard the Member for Port au Port talking about the Libraries Board needing $17,000 to keep two libraries going. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine two libraries shutting down? It is the first time ever in the history of the Province we've had libraries shutting down, I say to members opposite. The $17,000 that 'Clyde' spent above and beyond his $20,000 could keep the two libraries open. So how do you wash that, I ask members opposite?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, the member is coming back now. When he gets a chance, he is going to tear a few more strips off the Minister of Development for that infamous list he has tabled here. He is going to tear strips off him. He has chewed him up, shredded him. He is shredded in the last couple of days. The Member for Mount Pearl has shredded the Minister of Development.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. MATTHEWS: By leave, Mr. Chairman, by leave.


MR. CHAIRMAN: No leave.

The hon. the Minister of Development.

MR. FUREY: Question?

MR. DECKER: Are we ready for the question?

AN HON. MEMBER: The Member for Mount Pearl wants to talk about (inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I believe we have come around to talking about Sprung. If I had been listening to this debate at all -

MR. WINDSOR: Answer the questions, now, never mind all that.

MR. FUREY: Well, some questions were asked. So -

MR. WINDSOR: Get back to the questions I asked.

MR. FUREY: I believe the hon. Member for Grand Bank asked what the findings were from the report on Sprung. I thought I heard him ask that. So, let's see what the findings were.

The judge said that the production yield advanced by Sprung of some 6.7 million pounds of production for the first year could not be confirmed. Well, that was the first finding. Now, as I recall, in Opposition, we asked time and time again, in the limited time they opened the Legislature, whether or not there had been market studies - well, what is a market study? - and whether there had been any analysis on the growth potential, what could be grown and what could be marketed. Now, I am not going to repeat what the hon. the Minister of Health said so eloquently, that the cucumbers that were grown ended up in the mouths of cows - not in the mouths of babes but in the mouths of cows in Conception Bay. What else did he find? That the quality, if any, of the special fabric, the quality, if any, covering the structures enhancing plant growth could not be substantiated.

MR. DECKER: What a scam!

MR. FUREY: But wasn't this the fantastic fabric they discovered in Disney Land?

MR. DECKER: Magic, leading edge in technonogy, Disney Land, yes.

MR. FUREY: And they ended up going right around the block from Disney Land to Nashville, from Mickey Mouse to Kenny Rogers. That is what this project was all about.

AN HON. MEMBER: A fantasyland.

MR. FUREY: A fantasyland. It goes on to say: it would appear the fabric as was tested and therefore referred to reduce the transmission of light and since the light is the limiting factor for plant growth during the winter months in the Province, it would appear a greenhouse covered with such fabric, as was tested, could limit plant growth more than a material which is clear. I mean, these are not my findings. These are the independent findings of a judge. The consumption levels and market price of cucumbers and tomatoes were over-optimistic. I remember Premier Peckford coming to the old Legislature. My friend for Eagle River says it best. How did you say it?

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible) this long, six days.


MR. FUREY: This long, six days.

AN HON. MEMBER: What a project!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FUREY: I remember, in the old Legislature, he came in one day with his parliamentary assistant, the Member for Burin - Placentia West. They were carrying cucumbers and tomatoes, great big red mutant tomatoes.

AN HON. MEMBER: They were green and they never turned red first or last.

MR. FUREY: They didn't turn red?

AN HON. MEMBER: They couldn't get them to turn red.

MR. FUREY: He had them under his coat. If you keep tomatoes in the dark they turn red, don't they? He was coming in with the tomatoes and the cucumbers piled up and he said, 'There it is, look! Look!'

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DECKER: They were flashing tomatoes, Chuck.

MR. FUREY: It is unbelievable. The design of the facility determined much higher labour costs than was common in the industry. The industry standards, in other words, they were way over. That the Sprung technology that they all hung their hats on could not be verified - the Sprung technology.

Part of the expenditure was for the patents on the cloth and the technology. Nobody could verify the technology, except the twenty-three who sat around the Cabinet table and continued to allow the blank cheques to go out, and out, and out.

The government failed to properly address the very valid concerns as to the viability of this project proposed and raised in the reports of the supervisor of crop production for their own Department of Rural Agriculture and Northern Development. The agricultural specialist said: No, no, no. But the boys in Cabinet said: Yes, yes, yes. It does not matter how much. We are into this now. We are up to our waist. We might as well go to our necks, and we might as well be hung by Sprung. That is exactly what happened.

AN HON. MEMBER: They were hung by Sprung.

MR. FUREY: Hung by Sprung. Sprung-hung. They were all hung. That the government proceeded without adequate, proper, and due investigation of the technology and the economic viability of this project.

The cloth was poor, the technology was not verified, the markets were not substantiated, and yet the money continued to flow against the bureaucrats best advice. That is just unbelievable.

Go to Page 33 of the report.

MR. BAKER: You only have two minutes, Chuck.

MR. FUREY: Listen to this finding. The hon. member who carried the cucumbers into the old Legislature should listen carefully to this.

AN HON. MEMBER: Brought them in for Brian.

MR. FUREY: You may never have been in there, but you ran around right behind the Premier. If it was not cigars it was cucumbers that you brought into the House.

Listen carefully to this now. Ninety-five percent of the cash expenditures for this facility, land and equipment, were paid to Sprung - 95 per cent of all of that was paid to Sprung.

MR. DECKER: Let's stop the clock so we can have more. Do you agree to stop the clock? This should go on all night.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Chairman, I cannot go on because these recommendations are really too sad to keep reading. Really, it is awesome.

I think that the fundamental question that was asked here today, and the one that really matters most, is: Why it was that such a bloated Cabinet, and there must have been amongst the twenty-three minds of these men and one woman, somebody around that table who thought: I have to question this. I have to even rise above my own principles and question this.

Not one. One that the hon. Member for Grand Banks says kind of belatedly did it, for whatever reason, Mr. Power, stood out and resigned.

But nobody, not one around the table, not a single person. I do not know if members remember this, and members who were in the general public at the time. Every night on television, defence after defence, stonewall after stonewall. When real questions were asked, and the tough ones were asked, they were never answered.

Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again.

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

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

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole 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. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House at its rising do adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow, and the House do now adjourn.

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