November 6, 1992            HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS            Vol. XLI  No. 59

The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Oral Questions

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Opposition House Leader, the Member for Grand Bank.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Premier. I want to question the Premier on an issue that I have raised a number of times in the House and, on Wednesday, the Member for Ferryland raised it again in debate. It is the matter of early retirement programs for fishermen. I am wondering can the Premier inform the House if the Province is going to participate financially in an early retirement program for fishermen and, if so, on what basis?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I believe the Minister of Fisheries is in Ottawa today advising them of the Province's position. Cabinet dealt with it finally - or completed its dealing with it last week, and we have agreed that the Province will participate in a POWA program, under the normal POWA rules.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: I guess I can deduct from that, that it is probably on a 70-30 basis. I think that is what the former program was. Let me ask the Premier then, would the Province be participating financially in an early retirement program for fishermen between the ages of fifty and fifty-four? In an earlier program, the Province refused to participate with workers in that age category. So, will the Province be participating in the age category fifty to fifty-four for early retirement for fishermen?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, we will not. If, as and when, it is available for loggers as well, who are equally out of work with fishermen; if, as and when it is available to miners, who also have lost their jobs; then the Province will consider participating in it at that time on a broad basis. But we have to treat everybody fairly. We can't single out one class of persons and say: You are privileged in this Province. So we will apply by the normal rules.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In view of the fact that the Premier has consistently said there are too many people in the fishery, there must be rationalization and downsizing, doesn't the Premier see this as an opportunity? Apparently, it will cost the Province about fifteen cents to the dollar - you're talking about fifteen cent dollars. Would the Premier not see this as an opportunity to get involved in an early retirement program when everyone recognises that our fishing industry must be restructured? The stocks, even when they regenerate, will not sustain processing as it did in the mid- and late-1980s. Does the Premier not see this as one way of dealing with the issue of giving people income and restructuring the fishery?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker. We may have to do something to help restructure the fishery. We may have to have some kind of special program for people involved in the fisheries, but what we cannot do is say you are different and special because you are a fisherman but, if you cut wood for a living and you have no more opportunity because of mechanization, and because the paper mills have cut down on their consumption of wood, and instead of 1,800 people working for Abitibi in the woods, there are now only 750, you 1,050 or those of you who are between fifty and fifty-four, you are unfortunate; had you been a fisherman, you would have gotten this benefit but because you are a logger you are not going to get it. We don't treat our people that way, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: I just want to reiterate the point again to the Premier. I mean we are talking here, fifteen-cent-dollars, from what I understand.

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible) federal taxes, too, boy.

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, the question is not to the taxman, the 'no' man, it is to the Premier. Personally, I don't think we would ever get another opportunity to avail of fifteen-cent-dollars, I say to the Premier. Is the Premier saying that the door is closed on that offer from the federal government for fishermen between the ages of fifty and fifty-four? The Province will definitely not participate? - that is the question.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, whether it is fifteen-cent-dollars, or fifty-cent dollars, or one-cent dollars, the principle is the same. The logger is still just as much out of work and would still be just as much treated differently; the miner would be the same thing or anybody else so you cannot treat people that way. We can't treat people that way and we won't treat people that way.

The problem has to be addressed. I agree, it does have to be addressed, but not in a way that singles out fishermen saying, because you fish, you have special status in this Province, you get favoured and privileged treatment; you are not an ordinary taxpayer like everybody else, you get privilege. We are not prepared to do it.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, laid off loggers, forestry workers, fall directly under the Province's jurisdiction. The Premier can do something for those people if he wanted to. We are talking here about an issue where the federal government, because of the crisis, is willing to put in dollars to early retire fishermen. I mean, it seems to me that we are talking the Premier's principles again instead of common sense, that is what it seems like to me. We could retire about 1,000 fishermen, Mr. Speaker, under this offer from the federal government, costing the Province, yes, some money, but fifteen-cent-dollars. What is the alternative, I ask the Premier? Is it social assistance, which will cost his government fifty cents on the dollar? Is that the alternative?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: If need be, Mr. Speaker, that is the alternative. I understand that, but we cannot discriminate against people. We are not in the business of using the taxes paid by those loggers who are between fifty and fifty-four, when they buy something and pay retail sales tax, to take that and give it to another group of people and say: You can't have it because you are a logger; you can only get it if you are a fisherman. We are not prepared to do that, so the position is very clear.

Let me address the specific point the hon. member just made. Loggers, he said, fall within provincial jurisdiction. It is a provincial matter - and so it is. The fishery is a federal matter. Let the federal government take their responsibility. Stop trying to foist it off on the taxpayers of this Province. Whose interests are you protecting, anyway - the interests of John Crosbie and the federal Tories, or the interests of the taxpayers of this Province?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: You have to think about the people of this Province and where your real responsibility is. You sit in the Newfoundland and Labrador Legislature. You are responsible to the taxpayers of this Province. You have to treat the taxpayers fairly. You cannot, for your own political purposes, attempt to foist off on the taxpayers of this Province the burden of dealing with the fisheries, which is a federally-caused matter.

We are doing the best we can to cope with a very difficult circumstance, but we are not about to make chalk of one taxpayer and cheese of another to satisfy the political wishes of the federal government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister responsible for Mines and Energy.

There has been a great deal of speculation throughout the Province with regard to whether or not Texaco will replace Gulf as a partner in the Hibernia project, and the speculators are suggesting it may occur this month.

I wonder if the minister could tell us what the role of the Province has been in the negotiations with Texaco, and have you been part of these negotiations?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, we have played the appropriate role, and we are continuously involved in any discussions that need to be at our level with the provincial government. We have senior people in the government who are working on this daily, and progress is being made by Texaco in its due diligence. Most of the work, obviously, by Texaco, is with the other partners. That is where they have to go to do the technical assessment, the financial assessment, et cetera. Over the next few weeks I would hope that we see a successful conclusion to that assessment.

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

MR. A. SNOW: I wonder if you could tell me if the government of this province of Newfoundland and Labrador has been asked to make any concessions in these negotiations, in this participation that you have talked about?

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

DR. GIBBONS: No, Mr. Speaker, we have not been asked to make any concessions that I am aware of.

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

MR. A. SNOW: In early October the minister stated that, 'the project,' and I quote the Globe and Mail, 'is back to normal.' That is a quote that the minister was supposed to have said to the Globe and Mail. Has there been, in fact, a full resumption of the work at Bull Arm and at other locations?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, I haven't talked to the Globe and Mail. I was quoted in the Globe and Mail on some other discussions that I had, but I think that everybody in the Province is well aware that the suspension that was placed on the contracts some months ago has been lifted and that work is proceeding at Bull Arm right now and elsewhere. Obviously we still have to wait for Texaco to come in and say yes before everything is totally 100 per cent full speed ahead. Otherwise contract work is moving forward on what is called the 1997 first oil schedule.

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

MR. A. SNOW: According to Mr. Simpkins, a spokesperson for Hibernia, he suggested that there is only a technical change in the spending limit that had no real impact on the project. That is what Mr. Simpkins said. Now how does the minister reconcile this obvious conflict between his statement and Mr. Simpkins. Does he really know what is going on out there in Bull Arm?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I don't want to get into a debate with the hon. member today on what I might have said or what Mr. Simpkins might have said or what anyone else might have said several weeks ago. I think he should bring himself up to date on what Mr. Simpkins would say today.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. The minister stated in this House yesterday that his department made a mistake regarding municipal operating grants, and he also stated according to Hansard, 'up to yesterday those municipalities that did experience any hardships because of reductions in MOG grants were visited and consulted, and either the repayment was alleviated or in some cases there was a grant issued in lieu of the


Mr. Speaker, the minister did not play with the truth, he went beyond that. After having had time to check the facts, will the minister now tell this House the real truth, that municipalities have not received any alleviation from this burden?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. HOGAN: No, Mr. Speaker. If I said that I would be telling a lie and I cannot tell a lie in the House.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, at the minister's meeting in Ferryland, three days before the June 25th by-election with all municipalities in my district, he said that action would be taken to correct the problem. What has the minister done to alleviate the burden for Renews/Cappahayden, Fermeuse, Witless Bay and every municipality in my district?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.


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

The hon. the Minister.

MR. HOGAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We treated the municipalities in the hon. member's district the same as we treated other municipalities. When they contacted the department about the effect the callback in MOG was having on their budgetary system, they were visited by the regional offices people and their financial position discussed, and the financial position was treated accordingly, either by alleviating the repayment or, in some cases, reimbursement.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, I have spoken with all municipalities in my district and one municipality had a 10 per cent cut of their entire budget. This minister informed that municipality that action would be taken. They and other municipalities, up to last night, have not had any response to their problem since they were consulted.

Again, would the minister say that he did mislead this House yesterday and come clean with the facts?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. HOGAN: I am clean as the driven snow, Mr. Speaker. I told the House the truth yesterday and I told the truth this morning unlike the hon. member in his first maiden address here in the House of Assembly, when he said the Recreation Department told lies up in his district. I wonder who is lying.

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

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

In the Winter and Spring of 1989 the Premier made very specific promises, I quote: to immediately expand the program at Grenfell College to make it, quote: a full-fledged degree granting university as quickly as possible, end quote.

At the same time the Premier was making effusive promises to establish new university campuses in central Newfoundland, followed by southern Newfoundland, northern Newfoundland and Labrador. Obviously the Premier, being a man of principle, believed the Peckford financial record was rosy enough to support such extravagant university expansion.

It's four budgets and almost four years later and everyone knows the Premier has done absolutely nothing to expand Grenfell College, and long ago jettisoned his promise to build a central Newfoundland campus. Will the Premier now admit that all he has time to do in his term of office as Premier is make another election promise to expand Grenfell College?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker. As usual it's necessary for me to correct the gross misstatements made by the hon. member, and she's done it again.

The position of the government and the position that we campaigned on is that we wanted to build Grenfell College to become an independent university on its own over a period of time. We talked about how it would build the courses over a period of time, and would in the end become a degree granting institution on its own. I don't know how long that would take. It might take fifteen, twenty years before it would build up on its own. There was no suggestion of going in and putting in a sudden $25 million or $50 million to build a totally separate degree granting institution. That would be totally incorrect academically anyway, and that was never part of the policy. We also committed to the principle of providing the equivalent of Grenfell College as the start of a campus in central Newfoundland. That was part of our commitment, there's no question about that, and I don't deny that.

Since we've discovered how bare the cupboard was, and since we've run into other financial adversities, it's been impossible to move on the central Newfoundland campus. But we are moving on Grenfell. I met a couple of weeks ago with the President of the university, the Chairman of the Board, and reviewed what their program was, or what their intention was, with respect to Grenfell. Went over with them in detail what the government's objective was, to build the academic program for third- and fourth-year level. To build up arts and science courses to enable people to acquire full degrees in Corner Brook by attending full-time in Corner Brook and only in Corner Brook, if that's what they chose to do, and yet get bachelor level degrees in the normal arts and sciences programs that one would expect.

Also, focus on building in Corner Brook other things that would not be in St. John's. Like, for example, the School of Fine Arts. To start looking at other opportunities to build in Corner Brook that would provide the exclusive program for the Province, as the School of Fine Arts does in Corner Brook, and build the university over a period of time.

I told them that the funding was not available nor did I think it wise academically to suddenly put in all of the physical plant and facilities and call it a degree granting institution. Because it's necessary to ensure that you build an acceptability of the academic program over a period of time while it's under the overall umbrella of Memorial before you suddenly cut the tie.

So, Mr. Speaker, that's the approach that we propose to take. That's what we intended at the time.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I just want to remind hon. members that I find answers becoming a bit lengthy, but many times the answers are a reflection of the method and way in which the questions were asked. So I ask hon. members please to follow the rules. I just want to bring to hon. members' attention a couple of very important points that I find hon. members wandering away from.

A question must be brief, not express an opinion, representation, argumentation nor debate. If we get into that then it's only fair that the other side is going to comment on the preamble. I just want to say the question must be brief. A preamble need not exceed one carefully drawn sentence, according to Beauchesne.

Now the Chair doesn't very often follow the sentence, but to remind hon. members, if we get into long preambles it makes it difficult for the Chair to decide on the answer, because it's only fair that members are going to comment on the preamble. So I would ask hon. members to keep preambles out of their questions.

In any event, in a supplementary, a supplementary should need no comment, and most of all it need not comment on the answer.

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Does the Premier realize that the current facility at Grenfell College was designed to accommodate 650 students? It is now housing double that number. Does the Premier realize that this September hundreds of applications for science courses were rejected because of a severe shortage of resources, particularly labs? Is the Premier going to sit idly by and see the first and second year enrolment at Grenfell cut so that a few third and fourth year courses may be added? Isn't the Premier going to take the bull by the horns and keep his promises - his specific promises - to immediately expand and to make Grenfell College a full-fledged degree-granting university as quickly as possible?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I will attempt to answer all five questions, but I alert you, Mr. Speaker, it will take a bit of time to do so. It will take at least as much time as it took to ask the questions.

Do I realize that there are more than twice as many as the 650 for which it was designed? No, Mr. Speaker, that is not correct. There are 1,100 students. It was designed for 650 or 700 thereabouts. There are 1,100 in fact there this year.

The only thing I can conclude from all of these is that either the Principal of the college in Corner Brook, or somebody, must have informed the hon. member of the discussions which I have had with the President and the Chairman of the Board, because her questions track those discussions pretty carefully. She knows very well what the government's position is, and she is coming two weeks later, asking what the government is doing - as though the meeting of two weeks ago did not occur. It did occur, Mr. Speaker. We gave the President of the University, and the Chairman of the Board of Regents of the University, express directions as to what the government expected and what the government was prepared to support financially, and what we expected to see develop in terms of Grenfell.

We recognize that additional physical facilities, particularly science and laboratory facilities, will be necessary. We discussed that in some detail with the President and the Chairman of the Board.

We also discussed the period of time over which this could be phased in in an orderly manner. The university cannot do it all of a sudden. The government does not have the funds to do it all of a sudden. It can most properly be dealt with by phasing it in over a reasonable period of time. It may take, I do not know, five, ten, fifteen years before the academic program will have developed to such a degree that it would warrant creating it as a separate degree-granting institution, but we want to do it in a sound and orderly fashion, within the financial resources of the government.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Social Services.

I think it was yesterday, or the day before yesterday, that the Member for St. John's East asked the minister about housing. I know that the housing component of the department has been passed over to the appropriate authority, by the way, Newfoundland and Labrador Housing, who have people to deal with that rather than social workers; but I would like to ask the Minister if he would confirm that money for housing for social assistance recipients, that was transferred to Newfoundland and Labrador Housing, basically ran out somewhere around the end of June?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I can confirm that in fact the amount of money that we had budgeted ran out. I am not sure if it was the end of June, but certainly in that vicinity - either late June or early July. Since that time we have been able to transfer additional monies into that particular allocation to continue on with repair work that is necessary.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the construction season for repairing houses for social assistance recipients, July, August and September, there was no money available for the repairs. I know some monies have been transferred, but has done precious little, and that again has expired.

There are people in this Province today who depend on social assistance, who have wind blowing straight through their house. You can see through their homes, Mr. Speaker. They are not airtight.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary. Please get to the question.

MR. TOBIN: I ask the Minister of Social Services if he can tell me what he is going to do for these people who are exposed to the elements of nature, with regard to repairs to their homes right now?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, all cases of which I am aware that were held in abeyance if you like, while we were looking at the matter of needing more funding and making sure that funding was made available, all those cases are being revisited and looked after. I am not aware of any cases that are not being attended to and if there are specific cases the member could let me know about them. But certainly, as far as I know and I have been told, cases which are of an emergency nature in particular, I think is what he is referring to, certainly that sort of work that needs to be done immediately has been done or is in the process of being done. If there are specific cases I should look at, he should advise me of them.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, there are cases right throughout this Province that have not been dealt with I say to the minister, and his social workers are aware of it and are frustrated and concerned about it. Now, I ask the Minister of Social Services, again, if he will get together with the minister responsible for housing and put in place a system over the next thirty days that will provide adequate protection for the people of this province, the men, women and children of this province who have snow and wind and rain driving through their homes?

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

MR. GULLAGE: It is very dramatic, Mr. Speaker, but certainly all I can say to you is that the ministers responsible do not need to get together. Our staff is looking after the problem I can assure you, we are well aware of emergencies that are in existence and those are being done first, obviously on a priority basis, and if there are other cases of which we are not aware, the member, as I say and I can only repeat myself, should let me know about them. I can assure you that the staff is aware of this problem. If there are cases of an emergency nature, they have been attended to or certainly are in the process of having the work completed right now, Mr. Speaker. We are not leaving situations unattended which need to be done on an emergency basis.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is also for the Minister of Social Services concerning the same subject.

Will the minister tell the House how much money has in fact been made available? We understand that the budget for this item was about $1.1 million, it was all used up in July or by the beginning of July, can he tell the House how much additional money has been transferred or allocated to this program and will he acknowledge that the criteria have changed, the method of delivering this service has changed and in fact only a very limited number of requests are now being dealt with it?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, as you would do with a program like this where we have moved it over to the jurisdiction of the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation, and asked them to carry out the work because they have the expertise and the staff available to do it, we are presently reviewing that program and comparing the existing procedures to those when we carried out the work in the various communities through private contractors and workers, that process is ongoing now.

In the meantime, Mr. Speaker, we are continuing to do the work that is outstanding on an emergency basis and otherwise, but certainly emergency cases are being treated on a priority basis. The money that is necessary has been made available. We cannot, regardless of funding, see a situation where emergency repairs - the Member for Burin - Placentia West, described cases of wind blowing through houses and whatever, but certainly any kind of a situation where it is deemed an emergency, the work is being carried out on an immediate basis.

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

MR. HARRIS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Social Services.

If he is not prepared to answer the question that I asked, perhaps the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs can. How much money is now allocated to this program when we know that the $1.1 million was used up in the first four months, how much money is now allocated to this program? If the Minister of Social Services refuses to answer that question, perhaps the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs might be willing to do so.

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, I thought I made myself quite clear in that we are reviewing the program, looking at the results of the program over the last year or so since it has been put under the jurisdiction of the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation. Monies that are necessary will be made available. It is impossible to put a dollar figure on the amount of work that is required to be done throughout the Province on an emergency basis, from now through to the end of the fiscal year, but we will do whatever work is necessary from now until the end of the fiscal year, certainly on an emergency basis, work that has to be done. The dollars that are going to be made available for that, Mr. Speaker, are very difficult to determine at this point in time because we are doing the review.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, one thing I will say about the Minister of Social Services, he is not blaming it all on the former minister like the present Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, but the fact of the matter is that the money expired. There was a vote, an allocation of funds that was passed on to Newfoundland and Labrador Housing about two weeks ago after the list built up so high in every district office in this Province; after the wind storm on the northeast coast which basically blew the roofs off houses. That has not been corrected yet. Let me ask the minister again to come clean with this House, accept his responsibility and tell us how many meagre dollars he has placed with Newfoundland and Labrador Housing to correct the problem that the people of this province are now facing. How much money have you put in?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, I can only repeat myself. We are in the process now of reviewing the program, looking at the procedures that are in place, looking at the dollars that have been spent to date in this fiscal year and attempting to determine the amount of money we will need to take us through to the end of the fiscal year. In the meantime, Mr. Speaker, we are spending whatever dollars that are necessary to effect the repairs and the work that needs to be done on a priority emergency basis. We may end up having to put an amount of dollars into the budget that - I could give you a figure now and find out the figure is entirely different. We are doing the review, Mr. Speaker. I can only say to you when the review is complete we will know the amount of dollars that are necessary to take us through to the end of the fiscal year.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, during the summer the 1991-1992 annual report of the Canada/Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board became public. Because of requirements of the Atlantic Accord Act, I am required to table that report within the first fifteen days of the session, and I am pleased to do so now.

Orders of the Day

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, could we do Motions 2 and 3, please?

MR. SPEAKER: Motions 2 and 3.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Finance to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Co-operative Societies Act." (Bill No. 47)

On motion, Bill No. (47) read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Workers' Compensation Act." (Bill No. 48)

On motion, Bill No. 48 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: Further orders?

MR. ROBERTS: Order 1, the Committee of Supply, Sir.

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

Committee of the Whole

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

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

Mr. Chairman, I want to make a few remarks this morning. We are here debating a supplementary supply bill, expenditure of monies and so on. I was quite taken aback this morning, in Question Period, when I raised the matter of early retirement for fishermen with the Premier. Here we have an opportunity, a fishery that everyone agrees we need -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: The Leader of the Opposition and I apologize to the Chair for interrupting.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. MATTHEWS: It is too bad the mikes weren't on, Mr. Chairman, because I don't know if it was along the lines of supplementary supply or the fishery or early retirement, but I was -

AN HON. MEMBER: Early retirement to Woody Island.

MR. MATTHEWS: Early retirement for the Government House Leader again, I would say, is probably what we are talking about.

MR. SIMMS: Yes, for the second time.

MR. MATTHEWS: For the second time the Government House Leader will be retired, within the next six months.

I know, based upon what the Premier said this morning about participating in an early retirement program for fishermen that the Government House Leader cannot expect to get too much assistance with early retirement.

What was totally surprising this morning, Mr. Chairman, was to hear the Premier admit that what looks like will be the situation for 1000 plus fishermen in this Province is that they will have to resort to the social assistance rolls of the Minister of Social Services that will cost this Province fifty cents for every dollar, when the government of this province has a proposal in front of it from the federal government offering 70/30 which will cost, in the final analysis, something in the order of fifteen cents to every dollar for the province. One thousand Newfoundlanders and Labradorians involved in the fishery, many of them for years, there is no resource for them to catch. We know the future is looking pretty bleak. The fishery will be restructured. There will be fewer people in the fishery than there have been and are now, and this Premier says that it looks like the only recourse for those people will be social assistance. Now, I find that appalling. I find it appalling, I say to the Premier. That is what he said this morning - because of his principles.

MR. REID: He did not.

MR. MATTHEWS: He is not prepared, he said, to make a special class, to make a special consideration for any group or class of people. That is what the Premier said.

He not only said it here, by the way, I say to the Member for Carbonear, he said it in meetings with representatives of the fishing industry with a number of his own ministers present, including the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations and the Minister of Fisheries and others. In the presence of Mr. Etchegary, Mr. McCurdy, Mr. Chapman and others, he has said the same things he said this morning. That is why I asked the Premier the question.

Now, can you imagine a Premier standing up in this Legislature this morning and saying: I am not willing to participate in a program that will cost the taxpayers of this Province 15 cents on a dollar because of my principles. I would rather have to pay them social assistance which will cost the taxpayers of this province 50 cents for every dollar we give them. That is what the Premier of this province said this morning, and I could tell the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, the Minister of ITT, that he said it in meetings with industry representatives. He goes on and says: I can't do that because what about the loggers and the miners?

Yes, What about the loggers and the miners? I say to the Premier of this Province and to his ministers. The loggers and the miners are the direct responsibility of the Premier and his Administration. The Premier and his Administration can help and assist loggers and miners if they see fit, but he is trying to play one off against the other and says: I can't help the fishermen because the loggers will be upset and the miners will be upset. Well, there is no one else responsible for loggers and miners in this Province, Mr. Chairman, except the provincial government.

So I say to the Premier, don't try to confuse and fluff the issue. The issue here is early retirement for fishermen, and the Province has a good offer in front of it that it should accept. About 1,000 people could be retired from our fishery that would cost the taxpayers of this Province some money, but they will never get an offer like it again. If the Premier and the Minister of Fisheries are sincere -

MR. BAKER: Is that a threat?

MR. MATTHEWS: No, that is not a threat, it is a fact, I say to the Minister of Finance. And the Minister of Finance knows it but he can't get his way with the Premier. He can't persuade the Premier. The Premier says: Go away, Winston. Don't bother me on such trivial issues as trying to get early retirement for fishermen. That is the problem. It is the Premier's principles that are coming into play again. Well, the Premier's principles won't put bread and butter on the tables of 1,000 fishermen who could early retire. The Premier's principles won't do that, and I can't understand why this government would not accept, would not enter into an arrangement that would allow 1,000 people to come out of the fishery, which everyone recognizes is necessary. If a restructured fishery is a must for the future it will be restructured. Here is an opportunity for 1,000 people to have income for the rest of their lives, and this Premier and this government will not entertain that idea. I find it absolutely amazing. And for the Premier to stand here this morning - everyone here witnessed him standing and saying: It looks like the only alternative is social assistance which is going to cost the people of this Province 50 cents on every dollar spent instead of 15 cents on every dollar spent under the early retirement program. Now, that is what the Premier said.

On one side of his mouth he is talking about how tough it is, how hard it is financially and economically, what a burden it is on the taxpayers of this Province. How contradictory! How contradictory, for a Premier of this Province to be so concerned one moment about the bottom line of the Province, and then to stand in his place and say that he would rather have to pay 50 cents on a dollar than 15 cents on a dollar because it satisfies and meets his principles. That is what Clyde Wells said here this morning, and members opposite know it. It is in writing in meetings he has had with other people. It is recorded.

Of course, the Minister of Finance was there as well, I note, in the meeting with the Minister of Fisheries, the Minister of Social Services, the Minister of Education and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. They were all there when this discussion took place. Some interesting things took place at that meeting, I say to the ministers, some very interesting things, some interesting statements - not made by the ministers, but by the Premier of the Province.

I think we are missing - I couldn't refer to it as a golden opportunity. I couldn't say it is a golden opportunity that we are missing, because it will cost taxpayers in this Province some money. But it is going to cost them more, as admitted by the Premier this morning, if they end up on the social assistance caseloads, which the Minister of Social Services admitted earlier this week has increased by 50 per cent over the last two or three years.

For the Premier to stand here and suggest that he's willing to increase that caseload by at least another thousand, which will cost him 50 cents per dollar, doesn't make economic sense to me, I say to the Premier, even though principles - principles, yes, but economically, it doesn't make sense. What other recourse is there for fishermen within this age category we are talking about, with no fish to catch, having to come out of the industry? There's no other recourse for them.

Mr. Chairman, I thought it necessary to get up and talk about that. Because it bothered me somewhat to hear the answer that the Premier gave this morning. Since the Premier is here, I say to him: You can't slough it off on the loggers and the miners, because they are your responsibility. They are your responsibility. You say that the fishery is a federal responsibility. Most of us have come to recognise that most of the fishery responsibilities are federal.

But we are talking about fishermen here who happen to be Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. We are not talking this morning about the fish that swim in the ocean, we are talking about the people who harvest, or used to harvest, that resource. We are talking about Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. I say to Mr. Premier that they certainly are his responsibility. They are Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. For him to stand in his place and say that he is not willing to do anything for them, as far as I am concerned it is just too bad. It is not good enough for the Premier of this Province to talk like that.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

Before I recognise the hon. the Premier, I would like, on behalf of hon. members this morning, to welcome to the galleries, students from St. Kevin's Elementary School in the Goulds, accompanied by their teachers, Miss Rose Foley and Sister Mary Tee.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Chairman, if I live to be a hundred I will never understand how the member who just spoke could stand and so blatantly state incorrectly the position I took. It just demonstrates how weak his position is that he has to fabricate this kind of concocted position in order to give him something that appears to have merit to attack.

I never suggested for a moment the only course open to people is welfare. I said something has to be done to deal with it, but I will not treat loggers and fishermen differently merely because one is a logger and the other is a fisherman. We have too much respect for human dignity, for people, which the hon. member doesn't have, obviously. He is prepared to sell his soul to support his cohort in Ottawa, Mr. Crosbie, in order to create some political confusion. That's exactly what you just heard here this morning - a shocking display of abandonment of his responsibility to the people of this Province.

He couldn't care less about the taxpayers of this Province as long as he can appear to put some political pressure on somebody - a shocking display of abandonment of responsibility to people. The next election is going to see that displayed for the people of this Province to see, as they attempt day after day to pressure the Government of this Province. Don't forget he is pressuring is the poor taxpayer of this Province to put up the money, trying to pressure the taxpayer to take Ottawa off the hook in order to give him a political target, a shocking display of abandonment of responsibility to the people who elected him, to the people of Grand Bank who are paying 12 per cent sales tax so that he can cause their money to be spent for this purpose.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: We didn't set it at 12 per cent, they did!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: We just haven't been able to get it down yet.

Now, Mr. Chairman, clearly, the federal government has a responsibility to deal with this issue. The Province is quite willing to help wherever we can. We are taking on a major burden in agreeing to participate with the federal government in the POWA program. Provided it stays by the normal principles, and they apply the normal POWA principles, we will pay 30 per cent of the cost. Even that is beyond our reasonable capability of doing. Recent figures we have just gotten have indicated even that may stretch our ability to do it. Yet they are trying to pressure us to do even more. What does he want us to do - raise the taxes to 14 per cent to get this done? We can't do that.

The federal government have mismanaged, whether they acted on bad advice or otherwise, but they have had exclusive control of the fisheries. They have mismanaged the fisheries, and they have caused this problem. They have primary responsibility for it; and for any member opposite to seek, for their own crass political purposes, to put continuing pressure on the taxpayers of this Province to relieve the federal government of that burden, is a shocking abandonment of responsibility to the people of this Province, and I can't stand in the House and see it happen without criticizing it for just what it is.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Maybe hon. members opposite don't know much about principle, and I can accept that as an explanation. It is pretty darn clear that they don't know much about principle, so that is probably somewhat of an explanation for their complete disdain for the principle of fair and balanced treatment for our citizens.

MR. TOBIN: Did you read the editorial in The Ottawa Citizen about your principle?

PREMIER WELLS: I don't mind what The Ottawa Citizen says, any more than I mind what the hon. member says. It probably has about the same merit and is not really worthy of reading, anyway.

Mr. Chairman, I understand their disdain. I disagree with it, but I understand their complete disdain for principle. I understand their complete disdain for it, and that is regrettable, but the government cannot allow itself to be browbeaten into treating people unfairly merely because the member wants to stand on his feet in this House and say: Oh, well, in money terms it will only cost 15-cent dollars. How can the Premier justify this? We may have to pay 50 cents on the dollar in social assistance.

We have to pay it for the logger, too, don't forget. Then let us get some relief from the Province by including the logger in this same program.

This Province, with its limited resources, is trying to help to deal with the immense problem that has been caused by federal mismanagement of the fisheries. We are having a difficult time dealing with it, in the face of the position being taken by the federal government on some of these issues.

At the same time that I say that, I want to give all of the credit to Mr. Crosbie that he is entitled to for the effort that he has made, and for the significant achievement that he has made in enabling an acceptable compensation package to be put in place. I give him full credit for it, but I will insist that he gets all the blame that he is entitled to also; and he is entitled to a fair amount of that for his intransigent position on some of these matters, particularly joint management of the fisheries, and for his insistence on trying to put in place the POWA program in such a way as to treat people unfairly in this Province and give privileged and special treatment for some people and not for others. We are not prepared to see this Province governed in this way. If the hon. members opposite want to be able to do that, they have to go to the people the next time around and say: We want a mandate to be able to give fishermen special privileges that loggers don't have, when they are put out of work.

You see, the logger who is put out of work, the thousand people who will not longer be able to log, have no other technical skills, the same as fishermen have no other technical skills. No other job opportunities are available to them. What about that logger who is fifty-two years old and POWA is not available to him? Yet he is told he has to continue to pay 12 per cent retail sales tax so that a privileged pension can be given to a fisherman who was put out of work, but he cannot get it. We cannot treat people that way.

I understand, and I will explain to the people that is the position of the Opposition, that they want to be able to treat people that way, but we will not. If the people of the Province want us to treat them differently, and give one a privileged position that others do not have, then I have no doubt they will elect the Opposition to form the government the next time around. But I am confident, Mr. Chairman, that we have taken the position on this issue that will find full endorsement with the Province.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

Mr. Chairman, it is no trouble to tell when the Premier is on the defensive, no trouble to tell when he is not comfortable with the substance of his attack. Because Hansard will show what the Premier of this Province said this morning was that he was not willing to participate in a program with the Government of Canada that will cost the taxpayers of this Province 15 cents on a dollar, that the only recourse, because of the principle of not treating one group more favourably than another, was to put them on social assistance, on welfare, which would cost 50 cents per dollar. Now, that is what the Premier of this Province said this morning.

He can squirm all he likes, that is what he said in Question Period. I specifically asked him that question, and the Premier said, `That seems to be the only alternative that we have, social assistance.' That is what the Premier said. Fifteen cents as opposed to fifty cents. Every time the Premier gets boxed into a corner he tries to belittle other people, he tries to talk down to people, and he doesn't deal with the issue.

To hear him this morning talking about joint management, when, after the failure of Meech Lake, for two years the Premier, the Minister of Justice, the Member for Pleasantville and the Member for Humber West went back and forth to the mainland enough times that they must have enough travel points to go around the world ten times. With all the compromise that led up to the Charlottetown Accord where provinces were compromising on this and that, where aboriginal peoples got their rights through compromise, Quebec got some concessions through compromise and others got concessions through compromise, not once did Premier Clyde Wells address the issue of joint management of our most important industry, the fishery. Clyde Wells did not even mention it.

If you look at the back of the Accord where the topics are listed that were up for discussion, do you find joint management between Newfoundland and Ottawa on the fishery? You can't find it anywhere. Do you know why? Because Clyde Wells really didn't think it was important enough.

MS. VERGE: He didn't ask.

MR. MATTHEWS: He didn't ask.

MS. VERGE: He didn't try.

MR. MATTHEWS: He wanted the appointment of the Supreme Court judges to be front row and center in the Charlottetown Accord. He wanted the Triple E Senate to be front row and center in the Charlottetown Accord. But what about the industry, the industry with the biggest impact on the livelihood of people in this Province? Clyde Wells did not care about it. Now, he knows, because you know what, the people of this Province are asking the question. They asked the question before the referendum and they are asking it more since: You'd think Clyde would have at least tried in this compromising mode that everybody was in, to get joint management. You know something? He didn't have the time. Clyde knows now that people are asking the question out and about this Province, and what is he doing now? Trying to convince them that joint management is high on his priority list. The people are finally seeing through Clyde Wells, I say to members opposite. They don't trust him anymore and, no more, they should.

The other thing I want to say, in the absence of the Premier, is that the Province is already involved in a retirement program for fishermen and fish plant workers fifty-five to sixty-five years of age. Is that making those people a special class? This government, this Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, is participating in a program, a Plant Worker Adjustment Program, for plant workers over fifty-five years of age. Is the Premier now saying that he has made a special case, a special class, of these people, as opposed to the loggers? It is incumbent upon the Premier of this Province - we all recognize that loggers have been laid off in this Province and they are facing difficulties, like fish plant workers and fishermen. Well, as I said earlier, loggers and miners are the direct responsibility of this Premier and this government. So, if you want to assist them, devise a program to assist them. If you want to ask for federal help, put a proposal to the federal government asking for assistance for loggers and miners in this Province. You can take some initiative. Why do you always sit back and wait for John Crosbie or someone else to take the initiative and, then, maybe you will participate. Maybe! Take some initiative yourselves, I say to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations and to the Minister of Fisheries and to the Premier. You were elected to run this Province, not sit back on your hands and do nothing. All you do day in and day out is knock the federal representative here, the minister in the federal Cabinet, Mr. Crosbie.

It is as I said before, the people in my district, a lot of them, would be a lot hungrier this winter if it were not for John Crosbie, because the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations and the Minister of Fisheries and the Premier are not giving them anything to get them through the winter. That is the situation in this province, Mr. Chairman, and the Premier stands up and says in Question Period that he would not participate in this program because of principle.

But economically it is going to cost this province thirty-five cents more on the dollar, thirty-five cents more on the dollar and we are here this morning debating supplementary supply and the Premier says how rough the financial situation is in the province, when by participating in this program it would cost the province fifteen cents as opposed to fifty, thirty-five cents difference. Now if that makes any economic sense to the Premier, Mr. Chairman, it does not to me.

MR. NOEL: How do you know they are going to go on welfare?

MR. MATTHEWS: Oh, I say to the Noel force over there, the tax man, if we had the money that was spent on the hon. member going back and forth to the mainland over the last two years, we could probably retire a few fishermen.

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: We could probably retire them, retire a few fishermen but that is what you are up against here, Mr. Chairman.

MR. TOBIN: And the Premier, and the Premier.

MR. MATTHEWS: - and the Premier.

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!


MR. NOEL: (Inaudible).

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

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

I remind the hon. Member for Pleasantville, that the Chair has not recognized him.

MR. MATTHEWS: You see, Mr. Chairman, you see what happens when you strike the nerve, you see what happens when you hit the nerve. When you hit the nerve you see what happens. The Member for Pleasantville -

MR. NOEL: When you talk nonsense.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, everyone in the Province knows how many times you went back and forth to the mainland on the constitution discussions and came back then and went right against your Premier and your Minister of Justice, you went in the opposite direction. Two of them, the Member for Humber West did the same, came back and went just the complete opposite to the Premier.

MR. NOEL: We ensured that the proper (inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: What a charade, I say to the Member for Pleasantville, what a farce, what a farce.

AN HON. MEMBER: Ask him if he jumped in bed with Trudeau.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, they did not jump in bed with Pierre Trudeau like the Premier did, no. They did not do that. The Premier was totally governed and directed by former Prime Minister Trudeau.

MR. TOBIN: He sold his soul.

MR. MATTHEWS: He sold his soul, Yes. He sold his soul and other things besides, I would say to Pierre.

MR. NOEL: How come you were on different sides?

MR. MATTHEWS: But I want to say, Mr. Chairman -


MR. MATTHEWS: - that I am totally taken aback, totally taken aback this morning -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

MR. MATTHEWS: - by the answer that I got from the Premier on early retirement for fishermen between the ages of fifty and fifty-four. For the Premier to stand in his place and say because of his principles, because of his principles, he will not get involved in an early retirement program for about 1,000 of those people in this Province, because of his principles. And when asked the question directly: is the Premier saying that the only recourse is social assistance, which will cost this Province fifty cents on a dollar as opposed to fifteen, the Premier said: it looks like that will be the only alternative for those people. That is quite staggering, Mr Chairmam, that is quite staggering for the Premier of this Province to say that.

MR. NOEL: What a lack of faith in our fishermen?

MR. MATTHEWS: No, I have no lack of faith in the fishermen, I say to the Member for Pleasantville, and I hope he does not get up and debate now and try to make believe he knows something about the fishery, because all he knows about are shoes and taxes; shoes and taxes are his claim to fame -

AN HON. MEMBER: And he fished in Rennies River.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, in a polluted river. No, it is not that I do not have faith in the fishermen, but the resource is not there for them to catch I say to the Member for Pleasantville. The resource is not there for them to catch, if the resource were there, we would not have a moratorium on our northern cod stocks, we would not need a compensation package to help our fishermen and fishplant workers, I say to the member, because they would be out fishing and making their living but the resource is not there.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you.

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this debate and I recognize that while the hon. Member for Grand Bank, the Opposition House Leader, is giving - I suppose some people would look at it as a fine speech, because he was a little bit fiery and impassioned. I can understand the basis of it. Because I believe that genuinely the hon. member is frustrated by what's happening in the province now with respect to the number of people who find themselves unemployed and out of work. Particularly in the fishery, because that's a big issue in his district, as it is in many districts in the province.

We're all a little frustrated. I don't believe that the slant and the twist and the spin that he tries to put on what's happening is at all useful to the process. We're trying to deal with a very serious issue, but I think he has very seriously misrepresented a couple of things that the province is involved in. I'd like to take a couple of minutes to try to give the history lesson as to what we're doing and why, and to show the consistency of the approach.

Maybe the hon. member, and some hon. members opposite, might have forgotten, maybe they don't remember, that there is in existence in the country, right across the country, from British Columbia through the Territories and here in our province, a program for older worker adjustment, commonly referred to as the POWA program. That program is funded in every province, and in Newfoundland, 70 per cent by the federal government and 30 per cent by the provincial government, to provide for a retirement option for older workers who have very little possibility of retraining, very little possibility of re-entering the work force, and are therefore being offered a retirement allowance. It's not a great retirement allowance but at least there is some money available to them based upon what their unemployment insurance and their unemployed insurable earnings would have been the last time they worked.

That's applicable to everybody, regardless of what sector or what industry you're involved in. It's for people from the age of fifty-five to sixty-four. It provides a bridging mechanism, because when those people turn sixty-five they can then move into their Canada Pension benefits and old age security, which is available to everybody in Canada.

So that's been in place for some three years now, and was negotiated on that basis with the federal government and each of the provinces, and is in operation in our province. There are miners who have taken advantage of that particular circumstance. There are requests before the federal-provincial board to look at situations with Abitibi-Price and Kruger, where large numbers of loggers have been put out of work. There is no decision yet as to whether or not they will qualify, because the criteria have to be examined to see if they're met or not. But there is a consistent approach to dealing with older workers who are put out of work right across the country in all categories.

Two years ago, based on that model, recognising that these older workers - fifty-five and over - have limited opportunities to retrain and have limited opportunities to move back into the work force in other occupations and trades and so on; recognising as well that there were particular problems in our province, in the rest of eastern Canada and in British Columbia with the fishery; there was a special type of older worker adjustment program agreed to by the federal and provincial governments especially designated for plant workers and trawlermen. Not for fishermen, not for harvesters of fish, but for trawlermen who worked on trawlers - because a lot of the deep-sea fishery was in decline, these people were becoming unemployed - and for plant workers who worked in plants onshore, where because of the declining resource or structural changes in the industry their plant was closed.

That program in Newfoundland and Labrador - it's also available in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec north shore for the fishery, and in British Columbia - it's available in Newfoundland and Labrador for plant workers and trawlermen from ages fifty to sixty-four. However, when the negotiations were being conducted we took the approach consistently then, and we take the approach consistently now, that while the federal government may be willing to put in extra money for people in the fishery at aged fifty - because they recognise that that is their responsibility - we in this province could not put in extra money for people aged fifty unless we could renegotiate the other agreement and also provide money for aged fifty for miners, loggers, construction workers, labourers, and all the rest of the workers who are being displaced.

So we indicated at that time that that was the position of the province, and we fully respect it and understood. The federal government said: we have recognized our unique responsibility in the area of fishery, and we will fund those people from age fifty to fifty-four, ourselves alone, just the federal government. The provincial government did not participate, could not participate without an agreement that that same benefit could be extended to every displaced worker in Newfoundland over the age of fifty.

The same situation pertains right now to the new program which is in the final stages of negotiation. It is probably going to be called the Older Fishers Workplace Adjustment Program. So we have POWA, PWAP and now we will have OFWAP. So we see that there are new versions, but it is all stemming from the same principle that everybody recognizes, that older workers have limited opportunities to retrain and re-enter the workforce, and that we have agreed, the federal government and many provincial governments, all the provincial governments have agreed for all sectors for age fifty-five and over.

In the fisheries related areas like our province there has been an agreement in the Plant Worker Adjustment Program that because fisheries is a federal responsibility that the federal government is currently paying Newfoundlanders and Labradorians between the ages of fifty and fifty-four, 100 per cent of the money they get comes from the federal government, and they have agreed to put that money in just for fishermen because they say we recognize we have a responsibility to them. They would not agree to extend the other program down to age fifty because they said: We recognize we have some joint responsibility for loggers, miners, construction workers, labourers, but if we offer that kind of program in Newfoundland and Labrador then we have to offer it right across the country. And the program for age fifty to fifty-five for all other categories was too expensive even for the coffers of the federal government. But we indicated to them that if they could find a way to make that program available at age fifty for all categories of workers we would participate. That wasn't possible. They agreed that we would participate jointly the same as we did for all other workers from ages fifty-five to sixty-four, and the federal government, because they recognize and acknowledge that they have a specific direct responsibility for the fishery is funding the retirement option for plant workers and trawlermen currently in closed plants, and where there are trawlers tied up, for workers over the age of fifty.

That same option is now available, and I don't understand why the hon. member opposite is getting so upset about it. The same option is now available and being discussed with respect to the moratorium area for all the people involved in the fishery in that designated area.

We have indicated clearly and passed along the message to the federal government that we are willing again to spend 30 per cent along with their 70 per cent to make the retirement option available for all people in the moratorium area between the ages of fifty-five and sixty-four. And we have indicated just like the federal government has done in the Plant Worker Adjustment Program that if they again want to acknowledge their responsibility and if they want to extend that program to a younger age at age fifty, we will not object in any way, shape or form. But we again cannot participate for one group of workers. We are willing to participate for all workers generally if that program could be renegotiated. It may be some day. It is very doubtful however because it is very expensive on the basis of the federal government then recognizing that to be fair and to be based on any kind of principle that they would have to extend that to all categories of workers right across the country. So the hope for that is not great, and I don't hold it out to people as being a great possibility, but that doesn't prohibit the federal government from doing something special for those from age fifty to fifty-four just like they have already agreed to do for plant workers and trawlermen in places where plants have already closed even before the moratorium was announced.

One other issue, Mr. Chairman, before I close at this point. The hon. Member for Grand Bank, the Opposition House Leader, talks about the 15 cent dollars verses the 50 cent dollars in the social services program. That is nice rhetoric, but it is meaningless. The program, if it is to be involved in for the provincial government is a 70/30 program. What he is suggesting is that with taxes and so on that might be collected it really might only cost you 15 cents, but you have to put up 30 cents to get some back maybe. It depends on how people spend and so on. So you can call it a 15 cent program if you want, but it is a 30 per cent contribution.

He tried to compare that to a 50 cent contribution on social assistance and say there is a 35 cent difference. Absolute nonsense. The same logic and argument that is used to say that a 30 cent dollar is fifteen, has to be used to say that a fifty cent dollar is really only about thirty or twenty-five. So there is no difference. You either have to talk about thirty cents versus fifty cents, or you have to talk about fifteen cents versus thirty or thirty-five cents, when the same equations for deduction of tax benefits and so on are taken into account. You cannot mix two different arguments on the finances. However, none of that has any relevance or meaning because of the fact that we are clearly in the same position now as we were with older worker packages that are available generally in the Province.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I was appalled this morning to hear the Premier talk about this issue regarding the program for older workers in the fisheries as if it was a great matter of principle and discrimination against loggers and other workers who might want to take advantage of it.

What the Premier has done here is once again taken the practical solutions being offered to real problems that Newfoundlanders have, and turn them into some high, moral principle. It is a pretty thin principle when we are looking at: What are the solutions for the problems in the fishery of this Province?

We know, as many have said, whether they be economists or politicians or historians or whatever, that there is going to have to be, and there will be, a restructuring of the fisheries in this province, and that will involve fewer people being able to make a decent living out of the fishery.

Here is an opportunity for a certain number of those people, who may wish to take advantage of it, to participate in part of a restructuring plan. It is a practical, realistic, opportunity to deal with a part of the problem as part of a package to assist in the changes in the restructuring of the fishery.

The Premier's position and the government's position is: No, we will not do it unless you do the same thing for loggers and for miners. I suppose they could take the position: We are not going to discriminate against the fishermen here. You would not know but there were no special programs for fishermen in Newfoundland or in Canada.

I think the fishermen of Newfoundland ought to be very grateful that there was no Liberal government headed by Premier Clyde Wells at the time that the UI was brought in for fishermen, because they would be saying: No, no, no, we cannot have unemployment insurance for fishermen; they are not employees. They do not go to work and get paid a salary. They have their own capital involved in the fishery. They buy their own equipment. They buy their own boats. They go out and catch their fish and sell their product, just as a farmer does.

This government would have said: No, we will not have unemployment insurance for fishermen unless you give it to farmers too; and the Government of Canada would have said: No, no, no, we are trying to do something for the fishermen. We are trying to help out the fisheries. We are trying to give them some income security; and this government said: No, no, no, you cannot do that. You cannot do that unless you help the farmers, because after all, farmers pay for their land. They buy their seeds. They buy their tractors and equipment. They go out and plant seeds. They harvest a crop at the end of the season, and they give it away.

MR. NOEL: They have crop insurance.

MR. HARRIS: The Member for Pleasantville talks about crop insurance. It just shows that he knows as little about farming as he does about the constitution. Crop insurance has to do with crop failure. It has nothing to do with income security. It does not provide income security for fishermen in the off-season.

This government would have said: No. And the Member for Pleasantville, who has learned to say 'no' so well in the last several weeks, would have said: No, we do not want unemployment insurance for fishermen unless you give it to farmers.

That is the kind of flimsy principle that this government comes up with as an excuse for not wanting to get involved in practical, real solutions for the people of this Province. Are they going to say: No, unless you do something for unemployed nurses, unemployed miners, unemployed bakery workers, unemployed public servants - no, no, we will not allow anyone to help fishermen. We will not participate in a program to help the fishermen, unless that same program is offered to everybody else.

Mr. Chairman, that's not practical politics, that's not the reality of day-to-day governing, that's not the reality of looking after the needs of the people. I don't think the people of this Province - and not just the fishermen - a fisherman would be upset, no doubt. But I would say that the loggers of this Province would be upset when they realize that this government turned down an opportunity to help the fishermen. I think the Premier can go out and talk about discrimination all he likes, but I think the people of this Province would realize that the government has in fact failed to help when it had an opportunity to do so.

We're talking about interim supply. I don't see how this House can support interim supply to the government when the Minister of Social Services, for example, got up in the House this morning and he virtually said: I don't know how much money we're going to spend on this emergency housing program. I don't know. We're going to spend what we need, whatever it takes, we don't really know. But he won't admit -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) emergencies there are going to be.

MR. HARRIS: He won't, Mr. Chairman. The Minister of Finance says he doesn't know how many emergencies there are going to be. All he has to do is ask the directors how many applications are stacked on the desks across this Province. Ask his people that. Ask them the questions that other members have been asking the people involved. Why is it that they are now saying - the social workers and the people in Newfoundland and Labrador Housing - that they're only responding to a minute number of requests, because they don't have the money? The minister hasn't given them the money. Perhaps he doesn't even know how much money he's given them. He seemed to be unable to answer the question this morning in the House, when he was asked it directly three or four times.

So he didn't tell us how much new money has been transferred. The Minister of Finance says: we don't know how many emergencies there would be. Why did they budget $1.1 million back in the Spring? Why did they put that figure in the Budget? Did they invent that? Did they project it? Did they have some basis for it, or did they not? We do know that after four months, after April, May, June and July, all that money is gone. So we do know that the government's projections have either been -

AN HON. MEMBER: Efficient government, that's what that's called!

MR. HARRIS: The Minister of Finance calls that "efficient government." That's really efficient to me. That your entire Budget allocation for the whole year is spent in four months. That's pretty efficient. I find that very amusing. I think the people who are suffering from a need for housing repairs being done before the Winter sets in full force are also going to be very amused to hear that the government is very efficient, that it spent all this money and now has none to deal with this problem, and the Minister of Social Services is unable to tell the House how much he has even transferred to Newfoundland and Labrador Housing. I see the Minister of Municipal Affairs and housing looking over. Maybe he knows the answer, maybe he'll get up and tell us how much money he has.

Mr. Chairman, that situation that's taken place in housing is a result of the government changing its policies and changing its approach. The minister talks about re-evaluating it. What they've done is they've taken away the opportunity for these inspections to be done, for a proper evaluation to be done, till the regional director knows about it. We are told that a very minute number of the requests are being filled. Only the most dire emergencies.

Now the Minister of Social Services can get up and say: we are dealing with the emergencies. What's an emergency? Is it an emergency because the minister says we'll help? Is that what makes it an emergency? He says: we'll help if there's an emergency, and then we'll only know if there's an emergency if we've already helped. That's the kind of circular logic that the minister is getting on with in his speech. We'll help those real emergencies. The real emergencies are out there piled up in stacks on the desks of social workers around this Province and they're not being dealt with because there's no money. That's what is being said.

They're not saying there are no emergencies. What the social workers are saying is there's no money. What the people from Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation saying that there is no money, that we can't look after these problems because the money is not there. That is what we are being told - not that there are no emergencies.

Mr. Chairman, we have to hear from the Minister of Social Services as to how much money is being made available; and the Minister of Finance perhaps will get up and say how much of this allocation being requested is going toward this program. Tell us that. That is the kind of information we need to have before we can vote on this motion.

The government has failed to come up -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. NOEL: Mr. Chairman, I can't believe the nonsense we have been hearing in the House this past few days from the NDP and the PC parties. What a fantasy world they are living in. They seem to think that we can retire everybody. Who do they expect to finance the government? They come in here saying that we should spend more money on all kinds of programs, on housing for people who are living in government housing, repairing their houses. We should increase wages for teachers and other government employees. We should reduce taxes for businesses. We should reduce taxes for individuals. Have they ever heard of economics? Do they not realize the state this country is in today? - and that it is in this state because of the kind of policies that the federal government is pursuing now with these early pensions?

How many people in our society do you think we can retire at fifty years of age and keep functioning, and keep competitive, and keep a sensible, stable, political system? How many people, do you think, are going to tolerate watching people in certain sectors of our economy being retired early, being given particular economic assistance, just because they work in a particular segment of the economy? That is not democratic, it is not fair, and it is not something that our people are going to put up with. We have to deal with the economy as a whole. We can't be showing favouritism.

I have people in Pleasantville who have lost their jobs from retail stores and wholesale businesses, who have lost their jobs with government. Do they not have as much justification for being looked after as a person who is in the fishing industry? How much money can we spend on the fishing industry? How much money can we put down that endless hole that the fishing industry has become in this Province?

Now you are looking for the government to pick up the loans that fishermen have for boats. Do they pick up loans for people in other businesses who go out of business, who are having a hard time? One of the problems we have in the fishery is that we have too many people fishing, too many fishing boats, too many fish plants, and we have it because we have a Fisheries Loan Board that we should not have today, in my view. We do not need to encourage people to invest more in the fishery. We haven't needed to in recent years at all. We don't need to subsidize that sort of thing. It has proven to be a waste of money for the whole Province.

This whole country is at the precipice of disaster. We have doubled the debt since Mulroney took office in 1984. We have one of the highest debts per capita in the world - one of the highest debts as a percentage of the gross domestic product in the world.

We have a relatively decent standard of living today because the government has been willing to go head over heals in debt, but that is coming to an end. We can't continue doing it. That is why our society has become so uncompetitive; why we are losing jobs by the thousands - because we have ruined our economy. We are one of the most favoured peoples in the world. We have tremendous resources per capita. We have a great trading relationship with the United States, the greatest market in the world, and we still can't make a go of it because of financial and economic mismanagement.

We see the young people in the galleries today. The Opposition would have us retire everybody at fifty years of age; have us throw money at all kinds of problems. Who is going to have to pay for it but the young people in the galleries today? They want us to mortgage your futures so that you won't have an opportunity to earn a decent standard of living yourselves, and to look after yourselves in your older years. They want to say what is popular today, these PC and NDP politicians, who go out and ask your parents, and will be asking you people, in a few years time, for your support.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

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

MR. TOBIN: The rules of our House clearly state that you are not allowed to speak to people in the gallery, which the Member for Pleasantville is doing, but probably while he is at it, and talking about the 'thirty-and-out'. Tell us if he supports the teachers' thirty-and-out program when he is talking about the retirement package. Let the teachers in the gallery know your position on that.

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

MR. NOEL: The point I am making is that we have to reconsider just what we can afford. What kind of competitive society can we have if we are going to be retiring people at fifty years of age? You can't do it today and compete, you just can't do it. There are too few people producing in our society, too few people paying taxes and you can't do it by throwing dollars at the problem today and putting the burden on future generations. That is why we have gotten into the mess we are in today and that is why you people are on that side of the House instead of this side of the House today, because people eventually saw through what you were doing. They saw through the mess that you were making and have made of our Province.

You know that we have a debt today - that Newfoundlanders are responsible for a debt of about $40,000 per capita. Everyone of these young people in the gallery today face paying off a debt of about $40,000 each caused by irresponsible politicians and their responsible governments like you people, coming here and trying to say that we could just keep throwing money at every problem that comes up without being realistic, without being businesslike about it -

MR. MURPHY: A band-aid philosophy.

MR. TOBIN: Why should I (inaudible).

MR. NOEL: - what do you expect to happen to this society if we follow the kinds of prescriptions you people have - if we follow those kinds of fantasy, retiring people at fifty years of age. I mean, you must be crazy to think we can do that. Your own federal government is saying, the big problem we face in our world today for Canadians is to become more competitive. They have just put out a recent study of competitiveness in the country. They are saying we have to become more competitive, more productive, and now, you say, and they are saying also, because it is their program; in my view there was a much better way to deal with the fisheries problem, than the kind of moratorium program they brought in. But how can they say that we have to become more competitive and more productive, at the same time as they bring in programs paying people for doing nothing, or else paying people to be educated for jobs that are not available.

Everybody has gotten into the habit these days of talking about education as being the solution to our problems. Well, everybody should get the best education they can get but don't think that it is going to be a guarantee for a job, because every few days I have people coming to see me, looking for jobs, who have good education, who have good experience, who have university degrees and can't get jobs. The prime reason they can't get jobs is because our economy has been messed up; we have become uncompetitive, we don't have proper training relationships, we don't have the proper kind of political relationships in this country, the kind that we tried to cure through the recent constitutional negotiations. Our Province tried to get more say in how this country is governed so that it would be run more in the interest of the people in our Province instead of being run by the kind of fantasy economic principles that the Progressive Conservatives have imposed on Canadians over the past eight years or so and which are about to come to an end, just as my time, I think, is about to come to an end.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

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

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

Mr. Chairman, I want to have a few words in this debate, but first of all, I want to welcome personally the students in the gallery from St. Kevin's Elementary School, two classes of Grade VI, I believe. I just want to say that I had the opportunity over the last couple of weeks to go to St. Kevin's School and speak to the same Grade VI and Grade VII in that school, and, Mr. Chairman, I was very pleased with the students, the questions they asked with the knowledge they had of our Legislative activities here in this country, and I can't wait, to tell you the truth, until some of those students are in here speaking on the issues of the Province. Because, Mr. Chairman, they will make more sense than half of those in here now. They would do that today, but when they get in here, they probably will do a better job of governing our Province.


I just listened to the Member for Pleasantville talking about people who retire early as if they are a drag on society from that day on. Now, he is assuming that because a person retires at fifty, fifty-five or sixty-five, that he becomes an unproductive citizen for the rest of his life. Now, that is the biggest heap of garbage I have ever heard. People who can get a pension, large or small, and retire when they have energy enough to do something, are the people who take bigger risks and start up newer businesses, in case the hon. member doesn't know. They will start up businesses that take a bigger risk because they have some security. They don't have to work ten, fifteen hours a day to put bread on the table. They have some security. So then they go out and take risks and start other businesses. The hon. Member for Pleasantville considers someone who's retired as becoming a complete burden on society from that day on. It is a shame that he should think that way. No wonder our Province is in such a mess, when people across the floor think in such terms.

The Member for St. John's South, in a bit of banter with the Member for Burin - Placentia West, said he does not agree with the package that is in place now for fishermen. I am ashamed of him - I am surprised that he would say it. Because he worked fairly hard to get a good package in place for the National Sea workers. John Crosbie put it there, but he worked hard to try to get it, and now he doesn't like the package that is in place. He doesn't agree with the package in place now. I don't understand that at all. That is a shame.

The issue this morning that started off with the Premier and the Member for Grand Bank was about early retirement for fishermen, whether we should support the retirement of fishermen between fifty and fifty-four, before the POWA plan kicks in. What the Premier said was: No, we can't do that, because we have loggers that are losing their jobs in this Province too, so we can't treat the fishermen one way and the loggers another.

Now, by saying that, the Premier is admitting that there are two - we try to do this based on a little bit of logic, just using those two examples. We have two problems in this Province that the Premier identified. We have fishermen who are out of work right now, but we have too many fishermen going after too few fish; and we have loggers who are losing their jobs because of mechanization, because of the downturn in the industry. So we have the two problems now and there is an offer on the table to solve one of those problems. The federal government will give us 15-cent dollars to help solve one of those problems.

Now, what is the Premier's solution? Ignore both of the problems. So we still have, from the examples that the Premier gave us, two problems in this Province that will not be addressed. We have more than that - there are construction workers, there are a lot more people who have those problems. But from what the Premier said, we have a potential solution to one of the problems.

Now, one of the problems in the fishing industry is too many people after too few fish. I have heard the Premier say that a thousand times since he became Premier of this Province. Now, he has been offered a partial solution to that problem. We need to get some people out of the fishery so that there will be a professional fishery left in place so that people can make a reasonable living. Now he has been offered a potential solution to that problem - a partial solution, I should say. And what is our Premier going to do about it? He said no to that partial solution, but he said, if need be, they can go on social assistance.

AN HON. MEMBER: He didn't say (inaudible)!

AN HON. MEMBER: He did so, say it!

MR. R. AYLWARD: Now, that is shameful for a Premier of our Province, the Province of Newfoundland. When the former Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, the Member for Conception Bay South, said that about people in Fogo, I believe, she said: 'I guess they should go on social assistance,' I thought that was bad enough. But when we have a Premier of our Province saying that the solution is to go on social assistance, that is washing his hands, giving up on what he should be doing. He was elected to govern this Province, not to put everyone on social assistance. From 1989 to 1992 the social assistance rolls in this Province have increased by 50 per cent, I understand.

MR. TOBIN: That is what the minister said.

MR. R. AYLWARD: I think the minister told us last week, they increased by 50 per cent.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Minister of Social Services!

MR. R. AYLWARD: That is drastic.

MR. TOBIN: You're wrong, you're wrong.

MR. R. AYLWARD: That is insulting. It shows that the government of the Province -

MR. TOBIN: That's a lie!

MR. R. AYLWARD: - of this day are not doing their job. They are not governing, they are not trying to create jobs. All they want to do is shut down hospitals, make class sizes bigger in the schools, cut back. The Member for Pleasantville again says we should be cutting back more - not trying to create jobs, that's not a problem. Don't invest in the Province, just cut back and shut down - that is the philosophy of this government. It comes from the Premier, the same ultraconservative philosophy the Premier had since day one, when he got elected.

Now, Mr. Chairman, if we have an option - we have two problems, as the Premier identified today, between loggers and fishermen. They are the two problems and we have a partial solution for one of them. So why do we ignore both of them? Why are we going to still have two problems after the federal government says: Alright, if you don't want it, we will walk away from it. We are still going to have the two problems, where we could possibly have one of them partially solved by accepting the offer by the federal government, or revise it somehow, try to work it out so that our Province can live with it. Don't just ignore it, don't just walk away from it because there is potential for other problems in the future. There are going to be problems forever. There will be problems in this Province for a long time to come, and if you have to worry about twenty other problems in order to solve one, you will always have twenty-one problems, and you won't solve any of them.

MR. TOBIN: The age group is from fifty-five to sixty-four to participate in the program, and it is for the fishermen, but not the loggers, so are they making a special class that way?

MR. R. AYLWARD: The Province participated somewhat in the plant workers program a little while ago. That was a special deal, a different deal from the one the construction workers in my district got. They never got any deal like that that the Province participated in. Construction workers in my district are having a tough time to exist, to get work, to find work. The government won't go ahead with the arterial roads, both the Outer Ring and the Goulds by-pass road. The government is sitting on, I don't know, $10 million, $12 million or $15 million that is all federal money. They won't spend it. They won't create jobs.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: You wouldn't register - I asked the Minister of Transportation to register the Goulds by-pass road over a year ago, and he kept delaying it so that he knew when he did finally register it, we would have an environmental process to go through, and he would get into the next election, or at least the next federal election.

The plan for this government is to take the money for the Goulds by-pass road and the money for the Outer Ring road, and spend it in other regions of the Province - not the Avalon region.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: The Member for Eagle River is going to vote against the Outer Ring road. I heard him say that on the radio. Where is he going to get to vote on it? I don't think it comes to this House where we would vote on it. He is going to vote against his next budget, if it goes. He is trying to fool his constituents again, saying he's going to vote against the arterial road. How stupid! Talk about immature! The Premier was dead on when he called the hon. the Member for Eagle River immature, because he is going to vote against $20 million of federal money spent in this Province on an Outer Ring road, when we won't get an opportunity to vote on it. It won't come before this House to be voted on, unless you want to vote against the budget. It might be included in next year's budget. So if you're going to vote against - I will bet money today that if there is a budget next spring, and I probably won't be around when the budget comes, because I'll be retired before the budget comes next year - but if there is a budget in this House next spring that includes the St. John's Outer Ring road, the Member for Eagle River will not vote against it. Now, that's a prediction I will make, Mr. Chairman.

MR. MATTHEWS: No, he won't be here, he won't be here!

MR. R. AYLWARD: He might not be here either. I say he will, yes, he's fairly secure in his district. Now, Mr. Chairman, he will not vote against next year's budget. Thank you.

MR. TOBIN: I will vote against it.

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would just like to take a couple of minutes of time again to try to again straighten out a couple of the misconceptions that these members opposite seem to be labouring under. My real feeling is that they absolutely know the difference, but for their own political reasons they want to present it as something that they know it is not. That is unfortunate because that doesn't contribute to helping solve the problem.

I also know as well, Mr. Chairman, that there are members on this side who are eager to participate in this debate, and I wouldn't want to deprive them of an opportunity. But to point out the matter again about the province's participation in the retirement option for older fishermen -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. GRIMES: We have, Mr. Chairman, before us -

MR. CHAIRMAN: I would like to remind hon. members that I have recognized the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. If there are other people who wish to speak in the debate, they can rise and I will recognize them after the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations is finished.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I recognize again that despite what members opposite would like to represent it as, there are some clear facts before us that nobody should take the liberty to twist or to try to present as otherwise. That is that the provincial government has indicated to the federal government that we are absolutely willing to participate in a retirement option for older fisherpersons involved in the moratorium area. Let no one try to misrepresent that. That is a fact. People are trying to say that there have been special deals already for people in the fishery. That is not a fact. They know the difference, and I can understand now why some people have less than a great impression of some politicians because members opposite for years have not at all hesitated to use partial truths, half truths and sometimes I would even go as far as to say no truths to represent information that they know is completely different.

What we have in terms of retirement in the province is that any worker in any sector in the province where there has been a major downturn in the industry and significant layoffs, can qualify under a certain set of criteria for a retirement pension of a certain amount beginning at age fifty-five. That program is participated in by the federal and provincial governments: 70 per cent by the federal government, and 30 per cent by the provincial government.

We are saying to the federal government now that if we want to extend that option as part of the difficulties that we are experiencing in the moratorium area, by all means let's do so. Never mind saying we have part of a solution here and we won't use it. We do have part of a solution. One of the parts of the solution is to offer a retirement option to some of these people. That is one part of it. But we are saying let's be consistent. At least let's have some modicum of consistency about it that if we are going to call it retirement let's make sure that the same retirement we are offering to fishermen in the moratorium area is the same retirement we are offering to fishermen in other parts of the province not included in the moratorium, and the same retirement we are offering to anybody else in any other sector. That is what we are presenting to the federal government. Let's be consistent.

Now what we have said, as I tried to point out a few minutes before, is that with plant workers and trawlermen, when a plant closes down completely, forever, with no future and no prospect of re-opening there has been another arrangement. It says when that applies there will be a retirement option for workers fifty-five and over. But the federal government, because it was the fishery and because they recognized responsibility, says: We will also pay for people from age fifty to fifty-four because we recognize it is our responsibility. We will put up the money and we will let those people have at least some income stream to tide them over.

We are saying if the federal government wants to recognize that that special circumstance also applies throughout the whole area of the moratorium, by all means go ahead and do exactly the same as you are doing in the rest of the province. They can pay for it. But don't expect the provincial government to put scarce dollars from this province into a special arrangement for some fishermen, some plant workers in some areas, not even consistent for all people in the fishery and all areas, and certainly not even consistent with other sectors of the workforce. We are the only ones being consistent.

Maybe that is the difficulty, that members opposite when they made decisions in the past would grasp at any little straw and go around and try to excuse the fact that: Oh, this is different than that. This is different. Let's do this. Let's do that because there are a few dollars available now. Never mind if it makes any sense or not, do not dare ask that question, let us just say there are a few dollars around, somebody else is willing to put in some of the money so never mind if we are being fair to people or not, grab the money, put it in place and worry about fixing the rest of it after. We have never operated like that, we will not operate like that, we do not intend to operate like that, you will not see it. There will be a consistent approach.

What we recognize and what we have been in discussions with the federal government on is that in the fishery, in the moratorium area now and throughout the rest of the Province, there are likely to be fewer opportunities for employment even when the moratorium is over. There will probably be fewer opportunities, and if the federal government is going to recognize that and take the lead role and responsibility for it and if they want to create and design some special program to deal with how we are going to recognize the fact that there are going to be fewer opportunities, do not tie it into retirement, if you are going to do retirement, let us do retirement on a consistent basis.

Now if we want to talk about how we are going to deal with the fact that there will be fewer opportunities in the future, then that does not have to be linked to our retirement program. The retirement program can be consistent for everybody. If there are special circumstances that will pertain to the fishery, even when the moratorium is lifted a year or so down the road, then let us deal with that special circumstance. Let us not, just because somebody in Ottawa said: offer them some money and they will grab it, and therefore you put an opportunity in place for some people in the fishery between the ages of fifty and fifty-four, that is not there for anybody else.

But it is not only the fifty to fifty-four in the fishery who are going to have a problem. It is the twenty-year-olds and the twenty-five-year olds and the forty-year olds, so there is a problem generally in the fishery with the fact that there are likely to be fewer opportunities and if the federal government wants to discuss in any framework, any way, shape or form with the province, as to what kind of a program can be put in place to deal with the reality that there will be fewer employment opportunities, we are willing to discuss it, but we are saying to them: please, and we are saying to members opposite, please, let us not grab at something that you think is there and use the view that the hon. Member for St. John's East would say, that the money is available, now we can fix part of the problem and worry about the rest of it after.

We will fix any part of the problem that we can as long as it makes some sense to do it a particular way and as long as we are not giving preference and preferential treatment to any one worker and taxpayer in Newfoundland over any other, so the consistency approach is something I understand that members opposite do not understand. That is perfectly clear because they have never operated on the basis of consistency, they have never operated on the basis of principle, they have obviously operated the way the hon. Member for St. John's East would propose and we better hope that they do not become the official opposition because they are declaring themselves to be just as bad or worse than the present opposition.

They will all prostitute themselves in any way, shape or form to grab at any little amount of money that may be available now and then work at how to justify that to the people. You can make up any excuse to take the money if you want to, but there has to be some sound, sane, rational, consistent reasoning and approach as to what you are doing and why, and that is the kind of thing that we want to be involved in, that is the kind of thing that we have expressed willingness to be involved in, and the retirement option, as we have now entered into the discussion with the federal representatives, is certainly part of that but we will do it on a proper, consistent basis.

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

MR. PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Before I get into the few remarks that I want to make, I want to remind the hon. Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, that there are people on this side with just as much principle, as lies within his chest, I am sure, and I am speaking for myself.

You talk about principle. I think there is a lot of principle all through the members of this House, not on one side or the other and I wish that ministers of the Crown would be more responsible when they talk about principle.

I hope the minister is not leaving because my few remarks are directed towards him. I believe this morning that we have flogged this issue enough, back and forth, whether or not fishermen from fifty to fifty-four receive a retirement package. I think, Mr. Chairman, that we have problems outside of that area as well. This cannot be, and I say to the minister, this is within your jurisdiction, within the Minister of Finance's jurisdiction, of why we're here this morning talking about supply, which is a money need for the Province.

I say to the minister now that there are many other people out there that that $11 million - and the minister conceded that perhaps a third of that, in excess of $3 million, went for materials or supplies or whatever - so I say to the minister that that $11 million didn't scratch the surface of the need that's out there today. I want to remind the minister that even in the confined area of St. John's in this past week I know of three instances - Newfoundland and Labrador Housing, twenty people laid off; the bakery in here, and those are ordinary people without any real professions, sixteen laid off. Yesterday afternoon I was told that there is another small company here in St. John's, a small technical company, where half its employees were laid off.

Now what I want to say to the minister is: what's in the economic plan to bring the economy up to where it was when those people were all working? Is there any such thing? Is it possible? Is it feasible? Or are those people now left in the doldrums of unemployment?

Mr. Chairman, I want again to emphasize to the minister: tell the people out there if there's going to be other monies available, if there's monies available for training those people who are laid off. We're in a state of shock in many areas in this Province. We've dealt with the fishery problem this morning, and there is a problem out there, but there are problems in other parts of our economy just as grave. I had a caller the other night, a gentleman who came in who was a labourer. He had worked with this company for fourteen years. His company had gone bankrupt and he was laid off. He has four children. He asked me where was his program. How was I, through my perhaps urging government, to help him out, and his family?

He is one. There are thousands out there who don't have the unions to come to them in their plight. They don't have the mouthpieces. There's a lot of people hurting out there. This government has a responsibility to those people. The Premier talked this morning about the loggers and about the miners. Yes. But that falls within the jurisdiction of the province, if there are grave problems in the logging industry, and if there are grave problems as it pertains to layoffs in the mining industry. I heard the hon. Member for Humber Valley say yesterday that the loggers in the woods in his district cannot sell their pulpwood until January. This falls within the jurisdiction of the provincial government. If there is a problem out there with the loggers then the onus is on this government to do something about it. I again go back to the minister and say: you're going to have to go to your colleagues, you're going to have to come up with programs, training or otherwise, to get those people over the winter. There's a lot of people out there hurting. I think that the onus again is on government.

I heard the hon. Member for Pleasantville when he rose today and in one particular instance he said: what are we going to do, patch up all the houses? If the houses are leaky are we going to spend money on them? I know the Minister of Social Services quite well and I am sure that minister would not stand by and see snow blowing into anyone's house - no one's house. I think that the Member for Pleasantville, if he is assuming that he is speaking for the rest of that government, then I think he is all wet, because I am sure he is not.

I had a situation in my district only a couple of weeks ago - and I am going to do this publicly - I thought that the situation needed attention. It was a situation of dire straits. I contacted the Minister of Social Services, and I want to thank him publicly this morning on behalf of that family. The situation was resolved and again the people are quite happy, and I want to thank him for that.

In the same token, the point I am making is very simple. For a man who would do that - and then you hear the Member for Pleasantville get up and say: Let the snow blow through the house. I do not think he is capable of that type of performance, and I am sure he is not.

Mr. Chairman, I am certainly not going to flog a dead issue, but I again want to remind hon. members across, especially the Minister of Finance - the Minister of Finance today who is looking for this extra money - I say to the Minister of Finance that even in the programs that were instituted by the Minister of Manpower, there was nothing there for the people who do not have any stamps - the people who needed twenty stamps. That program helped people in need of three, four, or five stamps; but we have a great number of people out there, new entries into the workforce, with nothing, and they are being set aside from even those programs.

We are going to have to come up with another program overall to address the issues of the many out there who have no representation and have no one to intercede on their own behalf. I think the time has come for us to set up programs that would help all people, especially those who are entering the workforce; especially those people who are in need; and especially those people who are being laid off labour-wise in industry and whatever.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MURPHY: Mr. Chairman, it is a pleasure to stand after the Member for St. John's East Extern because he does have a lot of common sense. He applied himself to the fishery and other things over the years, and he is a man of principle. I do not think any side of this House has the monopoly on principle, and I totally agree with what the hon. member said.

The moratorium is obviously extremely important at this point in time to the fishermen of Newfoundland; that those dollars come down to the fishermen and plant workers; they are spent out in the stores; so in essence it spreads itself around and gives everybody a piece of the action, so to speak. But I have a great fear, and I want to express this to hon. members, that this moratorium very well may get into the fibre of the people of this Province. I do not disagree with the moratorium, but I do not think that we have spent enough time looking at the social ramifications of what this moratorium could bring upon the people.

Now Newfoundlanders are known far and wide as being honest, hardworking individuals, and that reputation did not come easy. It came because of experience. I have a fear, and I am sure other hon. members have a fear, that what this moratorium, under the present structure, is going to do is set a system in place that is going to be extremely difficult when the moratorium ends, and hopefully that will be as soon as possible, so we can get our people back into productive, meaningful work. It is going to be tough, because there is going to be a social impact that we are going to have to knock down to get a lot of those young men and women working, and get them out and get them productive.

Talking about fifty years of age - now the hon. Member for Grand Bank, the Opposition House Leader, I don't know how old he is, he is not quite fifty yet, I don't think.

AN HON. MEMBER: What? Oh, come on!

MR. MURPHY: There's a lot of juice left in him yet, a lot of juice left in that hon. member. And the Member for Humber Valley, I know he is only a whippersnapper, he is in his mid-thirties and what have you. But I suggest to the hon. Member for Grand Bank, there is no possible way that he would want to put on his slippers and take his karaoke, or whatever, and sit back and relax.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: No, I don't think so. I think I know the hon. member well enough to know that he would want to keep on going.

So we have to be very, very, careful about pensioning people alright, because, you know, the fishery - and my colleague from Port de Grave says, the most important thing in Newfoundland is the fishery, and he is right, because everything spins from it.

The industry, trade and commerce that goes on this city depends on the fishery, greatly so. And what was really upsetting was hearing other hon. members getting up this morning, throwing stuff over at different ministers, jumping on the Premier, accusing the Premier of saying something he didn't say, and blaming the provincial government of walking away from responsibility.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: It is too bad the hon. member only stands up and talks to whomever, then he leaves and goes out and puts up his feet, and again - now, there is the difference. I would suggest to the hon. the Member for Grand Bank, now you have a man who wants to put his slippers on! There's a man who wants to put his slippers on. He just walked in. He can't wait to get out - the critic at-large. Another man over here, wants to put his mukluks on - not his slippers. He wants the mukluks, he has to get them on and he is going to sit back and live in the lap of luxury.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: I don't disagree with the moratorium, I agree with it but not under its present structure -

AN HON. MEMBER: You said you disagreed with it.

MR. MURPHY: No, I didn't, I said the moratorium is, right now, salvation. The Member for Pleasantville made some excellent points here this morning, excellent points, because there are people in St. John's calling me and calling other members and saying, if I hear anything more about the moratorium and any more about the fishery, and I cannot find work. Do you know what I say to them? I said the Minister of Finance in this government doesn't have the same options that the previous administration had - and the Member for Green Bay knows only too well - when they would hop on the plane and shoot down and get another $100 million. The Member for Burin - Placentia West got on the entourage after a while. He jumped on the plane and they all jumped on the plane and they would go down and sign a bond and they would rush back with the money and throw it out to the people.

The Member for Menihek got up yesterday and he grabbed hold of the twenty-five year plan and he dumped all over it. Now, it is too bad that hon. members opposite didn't sit down and say to the people of this Province, we have a long-term plan in place for the people of this Province. No, what did he do? Beach rocks up, beach rocks over, beach rocks down! Now, I am going to give you a prime example of what you can do when people don't have opportunity; it is to take the few dollars you have - the Minister of Manpower and Labour and his colleagues turned around with $11 million and where could they spread it, where could they spread it? People jumping up and saying, 'I never got any'; and the Member for Mount Pearl, 'I got nothing'. If you guys didn't live like drunken sailors, if you didn't go down and borrow yourselves to death and keep yourselves up - you had no long-term approach, and now you have the gall to stand up in this House and blame it on this Administration because we are trying to put patches on patches for the terrible mismanagement that you people carried on. And that's a fact. That's not a lie, it's a fact. It's the truth. The hon. the Member for Kilbride can get up and get on with his grandiose - and the tail end of all this is seventeen years of Tory mismanagement. Seventy-four per cent of the provincial debt - 74 per cent - was incurred by your party. And when you look at the length of time you were in power, versus the length of time the Liberals were in power, then you figure it out. You ran down and signed everything, took the money, paid top interest, came back and threw it out to the people. What a wonderful government we are! What a wonderful government we are! You ran all over the world and borrowed, borrowed, borrowed. Who is paying for it now? Then you have the gall - we can't borrow anymore, and you are standing up and blaming it on this Administration. You are nothing short of unadulterated gall! You should hide. You should go out around -

Now, this hon. member will be working until he is sixty or seventy, and working hard.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: The Member for Grand Bank, I have no doubt.

The Leader of the Opposition got up yesterday and asked the Premier about the Lower Churchill. I worked with Techmont. One hundred million dollars - Mr. Moores and company - $100 million in that day which today would be $500 million. Boom!

Right in St. Barbe. Boom! The dust is not down yet. People are still cheering. Then they went across to the Member for Eagle River. The had the big vote across the Strait and another big boom. And what happened? Nothing. Nothing happened. One hundred million dollars left up on Gull Island, all kinds of product left up there, not even an ounce of security to look after it, and it was wasted. Waste, waste, waste and more waste! And you have the gall to jump up and shout at this government! Deep down, what kills the hon. the Member for Kilbride is you are like your predecessor, you are running now because you haven't got the political courage to hang around.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) and made a couple of holes up there.

MR. MURPHY: Made a couple of holes is right.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! The hon. member's time has elapsed.


MR. MURPHY: Moe, Curly and Larry.

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

MR. WARREN: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. For the last couple of days I have listened to the debate. I think it is flowing fairly freely on both sides. However, today, Mr. Chairman, I thought for a few minutes I would speak in particular about my district.

I guess, in 1967, Mr. Chairman, I took the opportunity of going to Labrador, and from 1967 to 1979 I worked with the people from Goose Bay to Nain in various capacities. I have always tried from 1979 up until now to do my best to assist those people in achieving their goals and aspirations.

On many occasions, Mr. Chairman, I have stood by their side in their fight with governments in achieving some principles that they stood for. I believe that during the last twenty-five years, some of those goals have been achieved. The aboriginal people, in particular, have made great strides, and not always was it easy. Not always was government comfortable dealing with them. On many occasions government have not listened and still will not listen. I am as confident now as I was in 1967 that the best people to organize and run their own affairs is the aboriginal people. I always believed that, and I always will - in particular, with wildlife.

Mr. Chairman, I want to go on record today as saying that the latest action by representatives of the Innu nation, I do not support. As a representative of those people for the last fourteen years, and working with them since 1967, I do not agree and I do not support the action of some members of the Innu nation in the last couple of days. There are differences, but differences can be dealt with.

Mr. Chairman, if we remove property belonging to somebody else, then it goes against the laws of this Province. I do not support it, and I want to go on record as saying to those people with the Innu nation, who have undertaken this action in the last couple of days, I really think it is the wrong move. I really think that it is better to sit down and talk with government and officials, and sort of iron out those differences. In our Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, we just cannot take the law into our own hands.

I want today, during this debate, to let you know that I will continue to support the aims and objectives of the aboriginal peoples, but not when it comes to breaking any laws of this Province.

I think there is lots of room for improvement. The unfortunate part about it is that both the federal and the provincial governments, over the years, and even up to today, are not giving the attention to those issues that they should be given. That is the problem, whether it is in education, in wildlife, in health or social services - any of those programs, governments in the past, and even today, have not been paying particular attention to those issues. Because if we allow to continue what happened the last couple of days, pertaining to the electricity to a number of homes in the community of Sheshatshit, then we are definitely not going in the right direction.

I am sure there are a lot of aboriginal people -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WARREN: Mr. hon. colleague can speak afterwards.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) question.

MR. WARREN: Well, I am not a minister, to answer a question, but he can ask a question if he wishes.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible). He refers to the situation in Sheshatshit. I heard him mention the situation. I am wondering if he has any thoughts as to what government should do. Because we were told yesterday on the news that a number of people from Sheshatshit have, in effect, taken out the meters and now, if I understand correctly what I saw on the news, are getting electricity, presumably with the hope of not paying for it.

I am just wondering what my hon. friend thinks should be done in that context, and specifically whether we should treat these people any differently because they are aboriginal. They are Innu, as my hon. friend knows.

MR. WARREN: I say to my colleague, they are Innu people - not Inuit - Innu. I say to my hon. colleague that if he heard me earlier - I do not support the action of what they have undertaken in the last few days. I said that publicly about two minutes ago. I say it again.

It is unfortunate - because I had a number of calls last night - that many Newfoundlanders and other people believe that this kind of action represents all the aboriginal peoples in this Province, which it does not. The unfortunate part about it is that the perception is out there now that this is the kind of action that the aboriginal people are doing. It is not. It is just done by a small number of people. I do not agree with them. I leave it to the Minister of Justice, who has just taken on a very important portfolio within this government, to deal with the aboriginal issues. It is up to this government how to deal with them.

Mr. Chairman, he is not going to allow anyone to kill a moose illegally. It is against the law. Therefore, he should treat everybody in this Province the same way as the present laws dictate. That is how it works in this Province. Unfortunately, some of those laws are not the proper laws for the aboriginal peoples. This minister, hopefully, in the course of his duty as minister, will make sure that some of the laws and regulations in this Province are changed to accommodate aboriginal people - Such as the wildlife regulations, for example, such as laws pertaining to social workers and the qualifications that are needed. You do not need a social worker in Nain or Davis Inlet with a Master's degree, you need somebody with common sense who can understand the issues in Davis Inlet. That is what you need, Mr. Chairman.

So I say to the minister and to the government: take yesterday's episodes, or the last couple of days' events, seriously. Because I've heard Peter Penashue on the radio, I saw him on television, and his comments, to me, I'm afraid, I cannot agree with. I am sure my constituents in Davis Inlet will find it hard to believe. I really think that we have to take this issue very seriously. If I pay for my electricity, you pay for yours. If we have to keep our houses lit and heated by electricity, then whatever the rates are should be applicable to those who consume it.

How is the minister now going to arrive at an amount of monies to be charged to those homes that now have the electricity directly running into those homes, without being metered? That's why I asked the question of the minister yesterday - because if that is allowed to happen by this government then why cannot every other Newfoundlander and Labradorian, every person in Nain and everywhere else, do the same thing? Why isn't there free electricity for everybody if that is allowed to happen?

So I say to the minister, it shouldn't have happened, and furthermore, whatever action needs to be taken must be taken.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Member for LaPoile.

MR. RAMSAY: Fourth try. Anyway, Mr. Chairman, I wanted the opportunity to make a few comments on some things. We sometimes seem to get caught up in our own little political world here in this Chamber without looking at the overall picture of the rest of the country. I note with some interest that the NDP member, his compatriots in two NDP provinces have seen their methodology and the way in which they chose to run governments to be extremely precarious, insofar as the financial situation that is evident in these two provinces now is concerned, the two provinces of note, being British Columbia and Ontario. Now, the other NDP province in Saskatchewan, I think we have to give them a little bit of grace, because they did have a very high-spending PC government in previously that did some terrible damage to the credit rating of Saskatchewan.

But if you look at what - they are talking about spending money. The spending of monies that - we have allocated a certain amount of money in the Budget for a variety of different things, and when the money runs low, the money runs low. There are no two ways about it. Can we go to the market and borrow more for the repair of houses, any more than we can go to the market and borrow more to pay the $70 million that may be necessary to pay for the program of older workers adjustment, if we were to participate in the fifty to sixty-five range?

I might point out that this hon. member opposite, the fisheries critic, it is his government who has chosen to ignore the southwest coast area of the Province, insofar as the Progressive Conservative government has chosen in Ottawa - Mr. Crosbie, the godfather of the crowd opposite - has chosen to ignore the gulf area, and the fishery is in a terrible state, I might add, as you well know. It is very, very precarious now, and I do not use the word again for no just reason. Fishermen go out to fish, and they are regularly unable to catch anything. They are unable to catch enough fish, usually, to even cover their expenses. This is the kind of thing that is happening day in and day out, and there is no compensation package for them.

Last year when every other area of the Province, when the fishery was in such a poor state last year, and they implemented packages and programs for fishermen throughout the Province, the only area of the Province that was left out was the southwest coast of the Province, because they said they had a winter fishery. The convoluted logic of the Minister of Fisheries, and the convoluted logic of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Ottawa is just enough to be despicable - to see how the people down there were treated so poorly. Then, on top of saying that the winter fishery was the reason and rationale for their choice in not implementing a program, when the winter fishery showed up and the winter fishery was a failure, they chose then to say: Well we have to wait now and see what the summer fishery is going to hold. So they put it on hold for another six months.

What do the people do - the people who have catch failures, who are losing their boats, the people who have little or no income, who are forced at times to go on welfare? The only recourse for any people in the area was the little bit of money that we managed to get in an employment response program brought on by the provincial government. The federal government chose not to participate in any kind of program in the area, insofar as infrastructure rebuilding in some of these communities. The federal government said: No, it is not our responsibility. We are going to wait and see what happens next.

Because of that kind of treatment, now you have people who have lost their cars; people who have lost their homes; and who do you blame? I would certainly think that the responsibility lays squarely on the shoulders of the federal government.

On top of that, Mr. Chairman, we have to look at the amount of money available. Now we understand that the federal government has a difficult financial circumstance. There is no one who will argue that, but in turn the problem is that Newfoundland and Labrador has an even more difficult financial circumstance. Because we depend on them this year, as I understand it, for 55 per cent of the total income that the government will use for a variety of government services to the public, we then have to look at: How are we, as a provincial government, going to handle the problems that the federal government choose not to subscribe to? How are we, this Province that is in such a desperate financial circumstance, going to handle the problems that the federal government says: Well, we cannot?

If we look at what is happening in Ontario, British Columbia, and even Saskatchewan, I think times are going to get even tougher. I hate to even say it, and members opposite who have had any experience or any knowledge of the way the financing of equalization works should understand that with Ontario now seeking cuts because they are over a billion dollars off on their projections; with the Government of British Columbia being off by over one billion dollars and seeking - yesterday the British Columbia Finance Minister was there seeking $87 million in cuts - that this is going to have an immediate impact on the equalization entitlement to Newfoundland, and again we will have such problems in the entitlement to Newfoundland for the next three years.

So we have to look at it and say: The housing money that you people spent a hundred times this morning, which is a very important thing, and no one doubts that, but that housing money may very well disappear along with a lot of other monies that we have allocated, by virtue of not being able to get the equalization amounts and entitlements that we are due.

We hear the tax man, the NDP member, this morning. He was spending and spending and spending, and he had no consideration for the fact of where the money was going to come from. Like his brethren in Toronto, in Queen's Park, and also the gentleman who replaced the Social Credit Government of Bill Vander Zalm replaced by the new NDP Premier out there, and if we were to subscribe to that line of thinking and if we were spending and spending and spending, I dare say our credit rating would be down by a couple of notches, that we would have to have closed many of the hospitals, closed probably several other institutions that are supported by the provincial government's funds in the Province and possibly done a more drastic cut to the civil service, but this is the kind of thing that may end up coming, who knows?

Who knows, if we do not have the money to handle the public services of the Province because of things that are outside of our control, namely the national economic recession, what the analysts referred to as a globalization of the economy, if these are the things that cause us to be without the money necessary to look after the overall situation that the Province is now in, then what are we to do? And as I mentioned the other day in debate, I mentioned that we could tax, which now we are I think, at the point of diminishing returns on taxation, we could decide to borrow more which may be an impossibility insofar as our ability to borrow more may in turn affect our credit rating negatively or possibly we just may not be able to borrow anymore by virtue of the fact that if your credit rating drops, your borrowing ability is also dropped, therefore your effort in borrowing would have to increase, so if we look at it that way, then what is the other alternative?

The other alternative is to cut, and cut is a terrible word in a political game I am sure, but sometimes it is necessary and I think this is the kind of thing we are going to have to try to find the balance in. Maybe we can stimulate the economy somewhat. Stimulation of the economy through a balancing of the tax system by making the adjustments. I understand the Department of Finance is currently doing some analysis of the tax system, tax harmonization, trying to find a balance that will possibly stimulate the economy and make the tax system more efficient for all of those who participate in it, business and individuals, and to go from there, I feel that is a reasonably approach, Mr. Chairman, to the financial situation in which we find ourselves.

Now if we also take a look at -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I want the opportunity to spend these few short minutes in debating or talking about some of the issues presented by the opposition in Question Period this morning.

I have a great concern, Mr. Chairman, about what is the intention of the opposition when they talk about retiring people at age fifty, and it is not for the sake that people should not receive some sort of an income basis, a security income because of the predicament that the Province is in now, but what concerns me greatly is that we are talking about less people involved in the fishery in this Province, and that leads me to believe that we have no vision; we have no vision for the future of the Province of Newfoundland and I ask myself the question, many, many times, if any other country in the world had the resource that we have in this Province, what would they do with it, how far would they go as far as turning the economy of this Province around? The answer is quite simple, that we should be a 'have' province with the resource that we have in the oceans around the Province of Newfoundland.

There are so many, many products out there that we could develop and turn around to a productive, profitable resource in this Province and yet, the only vision that we have today is taking away people out of the industry and seeing if we could retire people at age fifty. I think the production of this Province has gone down to an all time low, now, in the history of this Province and the 500 years history this Province of production, from the individuals of this Province, the workforce is at an all time low. To take away and now take people fifty years of age and put them in a less productive situation, there is definitely, definitely something wrong with it. We should be doing the complete opposite. We should be trying, spending some money and talking and trying to change the attitudes of the people of this Province and get them into a more productive situation.

I mean, that is the only way this Province can work, that is the only way this country can work. We should take lessons from other people around the world like the Japanese people, for argument sake. Now I have to go back again. If Japan had the resource around their oceans or if they could come to Newfoundland and take the resource that we have, what kind of a future would they make out of this province? Instead of decreasing the population of this province, instead of decreasing the workforce in this province, it would be going in the opposite direction. It would be increasing, and that is where we are all losing sight of things. We haven't got to go after the resource, the resource is there. Grant you a great part of it is in an unbelievable situation, but it is unlike the iron ore in the ground. It is unlike the gold in the ground that once you mine it, it cannot be renewed. The cod and all the fish stocks can be renewed if people would put their intelligence and their mind and their vision in the right place. It is a renewable resource.

The problem with it is there are too many people not involved within the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, that really haven't got concern for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, making the decisions that are destroying the very existence of this province. That is the reason why we need joint management. We need people within the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador who has a close relationship to the industry making the decisions that affect the future of this province. The people in Ottawa, I understand their concern, it has been said over and over again, it is the trade relations, it is the foreign relations, it is the treaties and all the other factors. That is the reason why we are going downhill and we are going to continue to go downhill until the decision making comes back to the people who are affected most. There is no question.

Think about industry. We are talking about the industry and technology for the future. Look at Purity Factories in Newfoundland. One of the most successful companies that could ever be anywhere in Canada. Look at Purity Factories. Okay, just use the thought of Purity Factory for a second in the product they are making and look at what is in the ocean. Sea urchins, mussels, shrimp, and all the other thousands of products that are out there. A simple canning factory. Why do we go in supermarkets and see all of these products in cans, canned in other countries and other provinces in the world? Why is it that we don't have the ability to manufacture those on a large scale here in this province? Nobody can give me the answer why it is not done because we have no vision. Every time that anybody talks about doing something in this province it is first run to the government, run to ACOA, run to the provincial government for funding. I mean the entrepreneurship opportunities here in this province is unimaginable.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: That is right. All you need is the initiative. That is what I am talking about, changing the attitudes. Instead of retiring people and begging people to become less productive we should be working in the opposite direction and that is where we are all losing sight. It bothers me to no end to say that we need less people involved in the fishing industry. I totally disagree. We need more people involved in the fishing industry, and I am not talking about making cod nets and setting cod nets or setting herring nets. The opportunity goes in a whole different direction than just actually people out there catching fish.

I used yesterday an example that the foreign fleets in 1990 took 800 million pounds of fish. Take one quarter of that amount: 200 million pounds of fish that the foreigners caught and put it into production in this province. Can you just imagine how many jobs that we would create from that? Why do you have to keep saying it over and over again, and the best that can be made is a joke about it?

AN HON. MEMBER: That is right.

MR. EFFORD: Really nobody is serious enough to say: Look what this guy is saying, there is some basis and some truth to it. It is common sense. I mean I operated a business for seventeen years. I never went to government in all the seventeen years to get loans or grants or anything else. I used the productivity that I had and that my staff had in keeping that business going. Now we didn't have the greatest company in Newfoundland, but for its size it was successful. I employed twenty-two people for seventeen years with no government money.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: I used our own little initiative that we had and our own ability to be productive, and I always insisted that my staff at all times talk positively. Every time we had a meeting, and that was twice a month, we brought all the staff together for a meeting. My first thing was let's talk positive. Don't say there is no business out there. Don't say business is bad. Say: business is good. It's as good as you can make it. Keep a positive attitude.

Most of the people in this Province have turned negative. You can't go to a restaurant and sit down and have a conversation - it's a negative conversation. You go into schools, it's negative. You go on the wharf, it's negative. That's where we're losing the war.

AN HON. MEMBER: You must be a positive thinker?

MR. EFFORD: I am a positive thinker!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Yes, I am. I've always shown that.

AN HON. MEMBER: You were negative.

MR. EFFORD: No. The hon. member is totally wrong. I always talk positive. I'm critical, and there's nothing wrong with that. If you're a critical individual you criticize for the sake of improving things, not for the sake of just being antagonistic. Although you do enjoy that sometimes back and forth in the House of Assembly. But what I'm talking about is if this Province is going to survive in the future, regardless of your vision of what it means to do, you have to have an attitude. That attitude has to start down in our schools.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Yes. That's where we're going to grow, and this Province is going to grow in future. It's not only the fishing industry in this Province. The Member for Humber Valley said it yesterday. There are things other than the fishery. He spoke on it. That's his right, and that's his ability. I speak on the fishery because I'm closely attached to the fishery. Because it's the main income in my district. I've got nine fish plants in my district. Today nine of them are closed. You're talking about 2,000 people. Last year when they closed the auto plant in Cambridge, Ontario, they put 1,000 out of work and there was a big uproar. The Prime Minister of Canada went into Ontario and said he was going to do something about it. Yet 2,000 people in my district are out of work because of the plants and there's not a word said about it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: No, really, there's not. There was no big uproar in the country. You know what's said about it? That we hope that in 1993 or 1994 when the moratorium is over we're going to make sure there are less people employed in the fish plants in Port de Grave district.

AN HON. MEMBER: Shocking, shameful.

MR. EFFORD: And in Baie Verte and everywhere else. That's what we're saying!

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes? Well, your Premier supports that!

MR. EFFORD: I'm speaking for myself. I'm not speaking for anybody else. I've got a little bit of a brain and I can think for myself. I'm saying it's wrong. Instead of saying there should be 2,000 people employed in Port de Grave, there are nine fish plants, they should be employing 4,000 people. That's the positive attitude I'm talking about. It's our resource. We should have first access to it. That's the attitude that we've all got to display. I'm talking about that in a very positive manner. I would like to see people in my district being employed in the resource. If we never had the resource we'd be going looking for one. But we've got it and we have to use it.

I am not - and I'll say this on record in this House of Assembly - that I am not in favour of retiring people out of the work force at age fifty. I do not agree with it. I will never support it. I agree with encouraging people to go to work and support people to go to work, Mr. Chairman, and to be productive, but never will I agree with retiring people at age fifty.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Time is up, Mr. Chairman.

MR. EFFORD: But, Mr. Chairman, in conclusion -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: I'll let the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West get up and say a few words. It's an opportunity that he will have for ten minutes, and there's about fifteen minutes left. In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, we have to think about the future of this Province, do away with the political partisanship, and get on to what really matters. That we have a resource in this Province and we should be using it towards productivity. Productivity is the main issue here, not retiring people.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I've always enjoyed listening to the Member for Port de Grave. He gets up and he makes all these grandiose speeches on the fisheries. He gets on the radio and television and he goes to all the meetings. But the most conspicuous part of the member's participation in what should be done for the fishermen of this Province was on Wednesday afternoon when we had a vote. When the vote was taken calling upon the government to do something for the fishermen in this Province the Member left the Chamber. Wouldn't stay for the vote.

MR. MATTHEWS: Wouldn't stay, couldn't stay, couldn't vote for it, see?

MR. TOBIN: That's what happened, Mr. Chairman. The Member for Port de Grave knows full well that this government and this Minister of Fisheries have a responsibility to the men and women who are involved in the fishing industry in this Province. He knows that full well. Yet he chose not to stay in this House for a vote calling upon this government to do something to assist the men and women in the fishery, and all of his colleagues, I can tell him, voted against it. They voted against this government doing anything. Basically what they said to the people who depend on the fishery in this Province is that we are not going to do anything. We are doing nothing for you, and they voted against it.

MR. MATTHEWS: Like the Premier said this morning, go on welfare. Go on welfare like the Premier said this morning.

MR. TOBIN: The Premier said this morning: Let them go on welfare. Let them eat the dole, like they said back in the Commission of Government and Responsible Government days. That is what we have in this Province, and it is a bit disgusting to see people over there who depend on the fishery, whose constituents depend on the fishery -

MR. MATTHEWS: He is going again - running away again.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, he should stay and listen. I tell him what the Premier said. Let them eat welfare is what the Premier said to his constituents who depend on the fishery. Let them eat welfare. That is what the Premier said, and you heard what he said, and I am delighted to have that acknowledged.

MR. MATTHEWS: John knows. He said yes. He is nodding yes.

MR. TOBIN: Every member here should go out and tell the people of this Province what the Premier has said to their constituents who depend on the fishery. Let the Member for Trinity North go down to Catalina for the people whose plant is closed, and probably will not reopen for a long time. Let him go down -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What is that?

AN HON. MEMBER: If we had to get the meal plant yours would have been closed.

MR. TOBIN: Well, Mr. Chairman, what would that have done for the Province, I ask the member for St. John's South? If they had to get the meal plant yours would have been closed. What does that have to do with this Province -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Well, well, well. Let them get the meal plant and yours would be closed. So let the people on the Burin Peninsula eat welfare - is that what he is saying? Is that what the member for St. John's South is trying to say?

He should be ashamed of himself, and the word will go out to everyone in this Province what he said about the people on the Burin Peninsula. Let them eat welfare! What a statement for the Member for St. John's South! No wonder what I am hearing on the Burin Peninsula these days, when members sitting in this House here say they should have got the meal plant in Catalina. I would love to see the Catalina plant open. I wish the Catalina plant was open, and every other plant in this Province, and I will not say it at the expense of one place. I wish the St. John's plant was open, and I will not say that it should open, and close in other places; it is too bad they did not get the meal plant.

Let me say to the Member for St. John's South: That will do nothing to promote the cause of the Liberal party on the Burin Peninsula in particular, and the Province in general. That is what I will wait and see.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: You never stood in this Assembly. This government did nothing for the people of St. John's South who depended on National Sea. If it was not for John Crosbie there would be nothing. As a matter of fact the member I understand has recognised that and made a statement to the effect. He thanked Mr. Crosbie for doing something for his people, when this government turned their back.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Roger Simmons?

MR. TOBIN: Roger Simmons? They know a lot about him on the Burin Peninsula. They see him once a year.

MR. MATTHEWS: They've seen him once this year, yes.

MR. TOBIN: Pardon?

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, they've seen him once this year.

MR. TOBIN: My colleague for Grand Bank said he's been in his district once this year.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I want to say that it took a long time, but this morning the Premier articulated quite clearly the position of this government as it relates to the people involved in the fishing industry. On principle alone I would rather that they would eat welfare. I would rather that they and their families will eat welfare, Mr. Chairman. Eat welfare. Lay it on the table. Let them go out. I wonder that probably it won't be too long more when we'll hear the Premier saying that people on social assistance will have to turn in the licence plates of their cars like they had to do back when he and his House Leader were in government in the 'sixties, before they could get social assistance. Bring in their licence plates.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, that's the next one.

MR. TOBIN: Park your cars if you want to get social assistance.


MR. TOBIN: Probably that's what they'll bring in next.

MR. MATTHEWS: That's true.

MR. TOBIN: That's what they'll bring in next in this Province.

MR. MATTHEWS: Not allowed to have a car if you're on welfare.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: No, no. You would have him arrested if he was doing that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I say to the Government House Leader that I know exactly what I'm talking about when I reflect on your days, sir, in government. I hope it doesn't happen again. You're the same minister who said to the people of the Burin Peninsula: you don't deserve a hospital, that one in Clarenville will do you, with a good ambulance service.

MR. ROBERTS: Point of order, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. ROBERTS: The hon. gentleman ought to know the rules and the rules clearly say that he may not deliberately misquote another member. He has just done so. Any time he wants to distort the truth I shall raise the same point of order, and I can refer you, if you wish, Your Honour, to the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: - citations in Beauchesne, that also apply to my hon. colleagues (Inaudible). What I said to the people of the Burin Peninsula - he probably wasn't old enough to hear it, but let him hear it now, from the horse's mouth, instead of the other end - is that there would be no hospital built in Burin for a ten to fifteen year period, and there was not a hospital built until a ten or fifteen year period had passed.

Now the hon. gentleman may not accept that. I don't expect him to accept it. But let's put it on the record of the House. It is a point of order. He's not allowed to misquote a member of the House.

MR. CHAIRMAN: There is no point of order. There's a disagreement between two hon. members.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: I knew, Mr. Chairman, what the ruling was going to be, because the Government House Leader, who was Minister of Health, came to Marystown in St. Gabriel's Hall and told the people of the Burin Peninsula they would not get a hospital! An improved ambulance system was enough for them. That is what the Government House Leader said when he was Minister of Health, and he can twist that all he likes.

Now I want to get into something very important this morning in my district, and that is the situation of the 500 or 600 employees in the Marystown Shipyard that today are laid off, no employment insurance for most of them. A lot of them have moved their families to the mainland and a lot of them are up working on the mainland without their families, trying to secure employment. I said to the Minister of Development the other day that I had telephone calls from people who are up there wondering when they are going to be able to come home, when will Hibernia be starting, what is the future of the Marystown Shipyard?

AN HON. MEMBER: How many are working at the fish plant?

MR. TOBIN: There is nobody working at the fish plant I say to the Member for St. John's South because it is closed.

MR. MURPHY: Yes, for what?

MR. TOBIN: I can tell the Member for St. John's South, and I hate to get distracted, but when this crowd came to government, the secondary processing in Burin was going great, the refit centre in Burin going strong, 500 people at the Marystown Shipyard. 1,000 people employed at the Marystown fish plant, 500 people employed in Grand Bank another 300 in Fortune. Trawlers in Grand Bank, Fortune and Marystown. St. Lawrence mines with another 200 or 300 people. The headquarters of the Eastern Community College. Do you know what is working on the Burin Peninsula today, Mr. Chairman? Secondary processing scaled down, that is what we have - you had more to do with it than anyone, I say to the hon. member -

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

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for St. John's South, on a point of order.

MR. MURPHY: You know, it is not right, Beauchesne and everybody else says it is not right for an hon. member to stand in this House and tell what is blatantly an untruth, and the member should withdraw his statement. The member should withdraw his statement, he knows full well when he talked about the record of employment on the Burin Peninsula, the only reason that he does not have the same record today, is John Carnell Crosbie.

MR. CHAIRMAN: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, this member supports a government that has caused economic disaster to the whole province and he should admit it.

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

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I just want to use the few minutes left this morning to talk about something that is very relevant to my district and also relevant to the whole debate this morning and that is the issue of creating jobs for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and the issue of creating long-term and meaningful jobs.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to talk about the Northern Shrimp Management Plan and exactly what is happening in that particular scheme.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: I am sorry, Mr. Chairman, I have -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

I have recognized the hon. member for Eagle River. If the Government House Leader and the Member for Burin - Placentia West want to participate in the debate, rise in their place and I will recognize them.

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I wanted to talk about the Northern Shrimp Management Plan, to let people in this hon. House and people in this Province know that there is real opportunity out there for good jobs - long-term and meaningful jobs - and I would like to talk about the Northern Shrimp Management Plan.

This is a situation where we have a resource that is directly adjacent to our shores. The shrimp that is being caught - the northern shrimp - is right from the tip of Cape Chidley, off Labrador, and it comes right down to the St. Anthony basin, along the Hawke Channel, Hopedale Channel, Cartwright Channel, and out on St. Anthony bank.

At the present time, who do we have fishing this resource? We have Caramer Fisheries, which uses the vessel Hvitanes. We have the Unaaq Fisheries, the Clearwater Fisheries group, using the Atlantic Champion out of Nova Scotia. We have the Mersey Seafoods, which is using two of the vessels, the BCM Atlantic and the Mersey Venture out of Nova Scotia. We have the M/V Osprey Ltd., which is using the Northern Osprey out of Nova Scotia. We have the Peches Nordiques, which is using the Atlantic Enterprise. We have the Qiqiqtaaluk Corporation using the Kinguk, out of Quebec, and we have the Farocan using the Aqviq.

In that totality there are 450 jobs paying $40,000 a year for a twelve month job - good, long-term, meaningful jobs. That is the captains, the deck hands, the plant workers in that particular plant; and these are jobs that are very meaningful. All it takes to change them from Nova Scotians and Quebecers, to their rightful place in this Province, is the pen of the hon. John Crosbie.

I know now that the hon. House Leader wants to conclude things for today, but I will expound more upon this particular plan and the ways that it can be done, and I would now adjourn the debate.

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 Supply has considered the matters to them referred, have directed me to report some progress and ask leave to sit again.

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

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I move the adjournment of the House until Monday at 2:00 p.m. at which time we shall carry on with the supplementary supply debate. It is going so very well.

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