December 7, 1992               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS         Vol. XLI  No. 79

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Firstly, I would like, on behalf of hon. members, to welcome to the Speaker's galleries today, Mr. George Carter and his son, Stephen. Mr. Carter is a former Newfoundlander now living in Ontario and he is here to be inducted into the Newfoundland Tennis Hall of Fame, on Wednesday. He has won numerous tennis championships all over Canada and the United States in his particular age group. I am sure hon. members would want to extend to him a warm welcome.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the Premier will not be here for a few moments, he is down at CBC doing a radio phone-in show. I would like to make a statement on his behalf, Sir, in his absence. I believe my hon. friends opposite have copies.

AN HON. MEMBER: No, they don't.

MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry. I was assured by the Clerk of the Cabinet that it had gone to the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, that is all I can say to my friend. Well, let me make the statement, and if he needs time to reply, we will, of course, grant requisite leave.

The purpose of my statement, Mr. Speaker, is to set out clearly the position of government with respect to two projects being proposed for the Province which involve the processing and/or storage of garbage and other waste materials originating mainly from outside the Province.

Hon. members are aware of the suggestion which has been under discussion for some time over the past year from North American Resource Recovery Ltd. for the utilization of garbage, mainly from the eastern seaboard of the United States to generate electricity at a facility to be established at Long Harbour. Although this suggested project has received extensive public discussion, no proposal to develop such a facility has ever been submitted to the Minister of Environment and Lands for registration under The Environmental Assessment Act.

Recently however, a proposal has been made by a company named Hollinger Northshore Exploration Incorporated, of Quebec, involving in part the back filling of mine pits at Schefferville with a variety of allegedly non-hazardous waste from various sources in the eastern Canadian provinces and possibly the eastern seaboard of the United States. Some of these mine pits are located on the Labrador side of the border at Schefferville or just across the border from Schefferville. The project has been submitted to the office of the Minister of Environment and Lands for registration under the Environmental Assessment Act. Further detail on the specifics of this proposal as submitted are attached. And there are copies here attached to the statement.

Mr. Speaker, these matters are governed by The Environmental Assessment Act, which was first enacted by this House in 1980. The Act sets out a mandatory procedure which must be followed once a proponent submits a project for registration. The legislation requires that each and every project is entitled to receive a fair and objective assessment as to its potential impact on all aspects of the environment. This includes the social and economic, as well as the biophysical environment. It also provides opportunity for full and extensive public consultation and hearings. The process allows for full input by any interested member of the public.

My colleague, the Minister of Environment and Lands, Mr. Speaker, is vested by the Act with a duty to determine whether the proposal should undergo a full environmental assessment, or only an abbreviated one. She will do so, in the appropriate manner, and announce her decision as soon as possible. The Act does not permit either the Minister or the Cabinet to refuse to accept a project for registration. The Minister and/or Cabinet has no power to accept or reject a project until the full assessment process has been completed. The government agrees with and supports fully the manner in which the existing Act operates.

Having stated this, Mr. Speaker, I want to go on to say that in the meetings the statement says 'I have personally had' - but the Premier has had with the principals of North American Resource Recovery Ltd. and others connected with the suggested Long Harbour project he has emphasized that any environmental assessment must take into account the potential impact of all aspects of the project and in the end must be acceptable from a social, economic and biophysical perspective before it could be allowed to proceed. He made it clear to the proponent that in his judgment, and indeed, in the judgment of this government, it would be extremely difficult for the suggested North American Resource Recovery project, as it has been described to us, to meet the strict requirements of the Act. He acknowledged, however, that under the laws of the Province, the company has every right to proceed to register the project under The Environmental Assessment Act if that is the course of action they choose to follow. As noted previously, no such registration has been received to date. The Premier also advised The North American Resource Recovery Ltd. principals that they were entitled to a full and fair hearing and that the Government would not prejudge the issue.

Mr. Speaker, the government then are required to register the Hollinger Northshore proposal. My colleagues and I, however, have requested the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology to communicate with the principals of that company, that is the Hollinger Northshore Company, to advise them that while we recognize and respect their right to submit this project for consideration, it is, in our judgment, extremely unlikely they will be able to put forward the project in a manner which will be acceptable to the people of Labrador, and to the Province as a whole. If they wish to proceed with the assessment of the project they can, of course, do so, but they must do so with full knowledge of this government's judgment of the probability of the project receiving approval in the end.

In summary, Mr. Speaker, government accepts the existing projects of The Environmental Assessment Act which give any proponent the right to register a project and to have it considered in accordance with the provisions of The Environmental Assessment Act, including public hearings. It is only when this process has been completed that the government are permitted to decide whether or not a proposed project may proceed. But all proponents must clearly understand that to receive approval, a project must be acceptable as to its potential impact from a social, economic and biophysical perspective. The judgment of this government is that the above referenced projects - and that includes the Hollinger project and the North American Resource Recovery project - or any projects involving the importing of garbage and other waste material into the Province, will have great difficulty meeting acceptable standards, at least from a social and biophysical point of view. We have advised the proponents accordingly.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if through some glitch on our part we did not get a copy in advance to the hon. gentlemen opposite and they need some time to prepare a response in the usual way, I for one, and I am sure my colleagues here, would be amenable to having them, say, at the end of Question Period, make a response, if that is what a spokesman for their side would prefer. I don't know what happened. Instructions were given to send a copy forward. I can only apologize to my hon friends if, in fact, it did not get to them.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

No, we didn't get a copy and it is kind of hard to respond in an informed manner to something as sensitive as this without having adequate notice. My first observation is I am wondering why the Minister of Environment didn't make the announcement, Mr. Speaker. It seems rather strange, with the Premier absent, that the Government House Leader would stand here and make this statement on environmental matters in the Province with the minister sitting in her place.

Having said that, our reaction to this most recent proposal from Hollinger Northshore is exactly the same as it is regarding the Long Harbour proposal, that we are totally opposed to it. It is only the same kind of project in another location, by another name, and while we do not support and are totally opposed to the importation of garbage from anywhere else in this world, whether it be to the Island portion of this Province or to Labrador, that we stand opposed to it and we think that government should flatly refuse.

What I think is also worthy of note here is that the statement says, if they wish to proceed with assessment of the project they, of course, do so, but with full knowledge of this government's judgement of the probability of receiving approval in the end. I think, Mr. Speaker, this government have not been strong enough in their message to the Long Harbour proposal. They have sort of been wishy-washy on this, and I still can't understand why they just don't say no, a very strong no, to the proposal; and we would encourage them to say a very strong no to this proposal now for Labrador, a proposal which would place the project itself on the Labrador border.

I am sure, as the Member for Torngat and the Member for Menihek have said in the brief discussion with them now, that there is no way the people of Labrador are going to be receptive to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador entertaining this kind of proposal. There are some nice words used here, allegedly, supposedly, and other stuff, Mr. Speaker. We want to go on record as totally opposing this, as we have the Long Harbour proposal, and look forward to the government totally rejecting such importation and landfilling or whatever kind of thing they are going to do with this waste, to totally say no to it.

I just wish we had more time to read the statement and to give a more informed comment on it; but we stand totally opposed to it, and we ask the government to oppose it as well.

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

MR. HARRIS: I ask leave to address the Ministerial Statement.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: Did I hear a member say 'no leave'?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member does not have leave.

Oral Questions

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister has told us the Premier is out. Do we expect the Minister of Finance to be here today?

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance was called away from the Province on the weekend. A relative of his, I gather, is extremely ill. They expect the lady may, in fact, not live - not survive - so the minister way well be absent for a few days. Either my colleague, the Minister of Health, who is the acting minister, or I - and the Premier will be in the House shortly - will be happy to respond to any questions the hon. gentleman raises.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, we understand that. We accept that. That is all the minister could do. It is unfortunate he is not here to answer for his mini-Budget, but nevertheless let me address the questions then to the Government House Leader, or the former Minister of Finance, if is he is in a position to do it.

I wish the Premier was here, in fact, because I wanted to begin my first question by complimenting the Premier, believe it or not. I am not one who is known to do that, but I did want to compliment the Premier for an interview that I saw him participating in, on I think it was Friday evening or Saturday evening when, in dealing with the mini-Budget and in commenting on the implications of the collective bargaining process here and the relaxation of the provisions of Bill 17, the Premier, in that statement, was brutally honest - for once, I might say. He certainly was brutally honest and I wanted to compliment him for it, because I think there are a lot of misconceptions that have come forward from that mini-Budget or Financial Statement on Friday.

Mr. Speaker, I wanted to ask the minister: Can he confirm for us that in the minister's statement of November 12th. he announced there would be a 1 per cent cutback on the overall payroll compensation package to the end of the year, which required a 3 per cent reduction over a four month period, so that in effect measures had to be taken to reduce by 3 per cent for that four month period?

The minister announced on Friday that negotiations will begin in March, but that the objective will be further reductions, and we were told that those reductions aimed at would amount to a further 5 per cent. Let me ask the minister to clarify: Is that a further 5 per cent on top of the 3 per cent that has been found over the last third of this year?

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

DR. KITCHEN: No, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the former Minister of Finance is right back in the saddle. Those are the same answers I received for three years when he was the minister. A very well-informed answer.

Let me ask him this. Will he confirm this: since Bill 17 made provision in the third year basically - or in the second year, covered by Bill 17, one year was a freeze, second year was - or, first year was a freeze which in effect was a rollback of salaries, because increases that had been already negotiated were rolled back. In the last year of Bill 17's provision it provided for negotiations with a maximum of 3 per cent total compensation package. The impact of the mini-Budget on Friday is now that these provisions of Bill 17 no longer apply. Now on the surface that sounded like a great thing. Bill 17 now no longer applied in that area.

The impact is that the promise of a 3 per cent negotiated increase is now being replaced by a 5 per cent decrease. So the impact of the minister's statement is not that Bill 17 has been rescinded, which would have given the rollbacks back to public servants, it amounts to the 3 per cent that would have been negotiated being lost, and an announcement that a further 5 per cent will be sought in collective bargaining, which is putting a gun to the heads of the labour unions. Will the minister confirm that, then?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. From where we stand now the Province - looking forward to next year's Budget - finds itself in what appears to be a very serious financial situation. Part of that will involve serious negotiations with respect to compensation. I don't think I should go further than that. I would rather wait for the member to ask his questions of the Premier or the Minister of Finance, who are directly involved in negotiations with unions. I do know that we are facing serious financial problems as we look forward to what's going to happen next year, and part of that will involve serious negotiations with unions.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I can confirm to the minister that I was told on Friday that the target is in fact at least a 5 per cent reduction in overall compensation package. Which means, either a 5 per cent reduction in salaries, in benefits or in numbers of personnel, or some combination thereof.

Mr. Speaker, let me move into another area. Perhaps the minister might be able to enlighten us a bit more as it relates to the increase in personal income tax, Mr. Speaker. The minister announced on Friday that the rate will now go to 69 per cent. That amounts to a 15 per cent increase in the provincial component of personal income tax since this government took office in 1989. A 15 per cent increase, Mr. Speaker, in three-and-a-half years, gone from 60 per cent to 69 per cent of the basic federal tax. Mr. Speaker, that amounts to $36 million next year. That is what that amounts to in additional revenues to be raised from that source. Would the minister like to confirm that number for us?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I will confirm the percentages, Mr. Speaker, but the actual amount we will raise is difficult to forecast at this time.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Well, the percentages are there, Mr. Speaker. It is a simple matter of taking the figures in the back of the mini-Budget document and increasing that by 15 per cent. You will find $36 million, Mr. Speaker, that is to come out of the pockets of consumers next year.

Gasoline tax, Mr. Speaker, was announced to be increased by 2 cents per litre. Now, that amounts to another 15 per cent increase in the tax on gasoline and a similar increase on diesel fuel. The minister told us that he would raise this year $2.5 million by this measure, and that amounts to a total of $15.7 million on an annual basis from gasoline alone next year.

In addition, the minister announced 2.5 cents per cigarette, which will give them $3.6 million this year or $11 million next year. Would the minister like to confirm that that is another $27 million additional revenue next year?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As we increase the cigarette and gasoline tax, it will undoubtedly result in increased revenues of the approximate amount specified by the member. However, it is an estimate, and we have to be very careful that these are estimates, and it may raise more or less depending on peoples' smoking habits and alternate arrangements for receiving tobacco. But basically these figures are appropriate.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the member for Mount Pearl, on a supplementary.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In the document that the minister tabled on Friday, in Statement II on page - Greek letter ii - we look at the amount of revenues received from Newfoundland Liquor Corporation. We see that's increased by $1.5 million this year. The minister didn't mention anything about a hike in tax on alcohol. Now the Minister of Justice may shake his head.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) there isn't any.

MR. WINDSOR: There isn't any increase in tax on alcohol? Well, since the figure that's in here from the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation is different from most other numbers - most other numbers can float, depending on volumes used and so forth. In the case of Newfoundland Liquor Corporation the minister tells the Corporation how much they are to return to him each year and the board is then responsible for adjusting prices to meet that amount. Would the minister confirm therefore that the board has been told that they will find an extra $1.5 million in the last third of this year, and that that amount will therefore be multiplied by three times to $4.5 million for next year? And that that in fact amounts to an increase of 2 per cent or $1.40 for a bottle of twenty-six ounces?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Now he's got it wrong, Mr. Speaker, now he's got it wrong.

MR. WALSH: There'll be no change in sticker price.

DR. KITCHEN: What happens with the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation, and it's happened for a long time, is that we ask the Liquor Corporation to turn us over so much money. Now then, they can do it by raising prices or they can look at their returned earnings and their cash and say: we will pay you a dividend out of our retained earnings. This is basically what we've asked them to do this year, and also to put off certain expenditures that they had in mind to do. So what happens this year has no relationship with what would happen another year. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, any way you cut it the minister is still taking an extra $1.5 million from Newfoundland Liquor Corporation this year. On the same page, under Provincial Tax Sources, an item called " Other." Now these are little bits and pieces that are not spelled out carefully. These are small amounts. The increase here from $8 million to $18 million. A $10 million increase. Now that couldn't possibly be from increased usage, unless there's a miracle or there is a Santa Claus, one or the other. Would the minister like to tell us which taxes have been changed? Because these are tax sources. These are provincial tax sources, Mr. Speaker. What new taxes have been put in place here that are going to increase those revenues by 225 per cent this fiscal year? Let alone next year.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, on these "Other," the other provincial sources. As he indicated, originally we had proposed $11 million and now we're looking for almost $20 million, which is a considerably greater amount. But I haven't got the breakdown of that here now, but I will undertake to look at the breakdown and let the member know at the first opportunity.

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

MR. WINDSOR: The minister, Mr. Speaker, is looking at the wrong column but he's answered my next question. That's other provincial sources. If he looks about an inch and a quarter further up the page, under Provincial Tax Sources, "Other," he'll find that it's gone from $8 million to $18 million. Other provincial sources, which are various other things, Mr. Speaker, other than taxes, and these are the fines and forfeitures, 171 of them the minister tried to tell us he was eliminating. But these sorts of things have increased from $11 million to $19 million this year. So he's picking up another $8 million there this year. Obviously he doesn't have the answer. Would the minister tell us that all of these things that I've just talked about amounts to a $200 million tax grab on an annual basis?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, the breakdown of these things I undertook to get. I'll also undertake to get the annualized amount, if any. Sometimes these can be annualized and sometimes they need not be annualized. I'll undertake to get the breakdown. Thank you.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to direct my question to the Minister of Education. With Friday's mini-Budget showing almost $18 million being sliced from the operating budget alone under account expenditures in education, I ask the minister how much of that $18 million will be cut from post-secondary education over the next four months?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure I agree with the $18 million figure. I wish we could find that much money for education. The school board sector, we're going to find $1.5 million; the University, $1.6 million; the colleges... I just don't have the amount in my head now but it is probably in the $2 to $3 million range. Wherever the hon. member got the $18 million figure, I would like to know. I only wish we could make that kind of savings and have no worse impact on education than we are having with the peanuts we are taking out.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Schedule 4 shows $80 million cut from education alone. Could the minister confirm that $1.6 million, I think he said, would be cut from the university budget? Is that correct?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Okay. On December 1, your deputy minister sent a letter to school boards warning that the new grant system may be postponed indefinitely. Has that happened, and will the new grant system be implemented at all this year?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, there seems to be some confusion over a letter written by the deputy minister. Now, in that letter the phrase which caught the attention of the hon. member was `the full implementation of the grant system.' So let me explain for hon. members. The new grant system fully implemented would have seen every single board receive equitable amounts. Now, after the school tax was taken out, we replaced that with $35 million which resulted in every single board in the Province receiving an increase over last year. The minimum increase was 8 per cent. Some were up to 15 and 16 per cent. Mr. Speaker, in order to achieve full equity there is another amount of money required somewhere in this fiscal year in the vicinity of $2 to $3 million. That money, as a result of the restraint measures we have had to take, will not be added. So, therefore, as much as we would like to achieve full, total equity in this fiscal year, we are not going to receive it. So in the sense, I suppose, of that very narrow, fine definition of full implementation, it will not be fully implemented.

However, the formula used to award money to boards based on heat and light, based on travel, based on all these things, that same formula will be used. But if you are going to get really strict and say full implementation of their grant system, it means that total equity has been achieved. In that sense, I suppose, it is not, Mr. Speaker. But the new grant system will continue to be used to distribute the money that we have.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Your deputy minister indicated: it appears that full implementation of the new grant system may be postponed indefinitely, pending an improvement in government's financial position. The deputy minister indicated and inferred that it was the intention of this department to implement, this year, a full grant system. This government promised elimination of school tax which they delivered, and they were going to respond with a full grant system. So the minister has now indicated that they are not going to fully implement the grant system which was supposed to replace the school tax. So I am clear on his response there.

Now, I would like to ask the minister: Will he tell us how much money was deducted under the 1 per cent and 3 per cent that were announced on November 12? I asked this question on a few occasions before and he indicated he couldn't answer it until the budget was brought down. So would he please tell us now, how many dollars were taken back from operating grants to boards because of this 1 and 3 per cent?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member still does not understand what I said about the full implementation of the grant system. Before the elimination of the school tax, Mr. Speaker, we had school boards who were up there and we had school boards who were down here. Now, we eliminated the school tax and we replaced it by $35 million. That brought everybody up, and it brought the ones who were down here up closer. Now, Mr. Speaker, it is going to take about $2 to $3 million to bring them all level. So it is considerably better than it was last year and the year before.

What the hon. member probably doesn't understand is that there always was a tremendous gap between the ones that have not and the ones that have. So in that very narrow interpretation of the new grant system, I suppose if you accept that, it is not fully implemented, Mr. Speaker. We are between $2 and $3 million away. But that does not, in the least, have any bearing on the fact that we are distributing grants based on the new grant system which takes into consideration debt retirement, takes into consideration the travel, heat, light and everything else, so that when we finally get into the classroom the amount of money which is spent on programming and teaching is equitable no matter where you live in the Province. So the hon. member doesn't quite understand or doesn't want to understand.

The second part of his question, Mr. Speaker, is $1.5 million.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Ferryland, a supplementary.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The deputy minister circulated to every single board in this Province, a new schedule, and I have copies from some school boards- I thank him for the total. I asked him how much was being taken back under adjustments - there is a schedule attached to that letter by the deputy minister and I have it for one board, here in front of me, I wanted to know the total for all the boards in this Province that you are deducting from their operating grants because of this 1 and 3 per cent. That is quite clear. I asked that in the House on November 13th and I did not get an answer; and I would now like to ask the minister: how much also, on other than this 1 and 3 per cent, is his department clawing back in other revenues from school boards in this Province for operating grant purposes?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I just gave the hon. member the answer. It is $1.5 million, I told him that is what we are taking back. He is anxious to ask the questions but he just does not accept the answers. He might not like the answer, but the answer is $1.5 million.

Now, Mr. Speaker, other clawbacks as he calls it from boards, there might be a few minor things but there is no other major request to have money come back from the school boards. Now the hon. member might have fallen into the trap over this so-called windfall with school taxes that were collected, which we are asking to take back and I make no apologies for that. The hon. member is falling into that trap which some school boards would like him to fall into and see that as a clawback, but whether or not there were restraints, Mr. Speaker, the Department of Education and government would have been asking for a refund on the school taxes which were collected after we had paid for these school taxes. We are not going to double fund the school boards any more than we are going to double fund any other board in this Province.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Well, I have a letter here and it is addressed to your deputy minister from one school board that is getting 18.3 per cent less than the budget they were given earlier, and, I ask the minister, how much, and the minister has a copy - if he would like to have it tabled, I am sure that is not necessary. I will ask him: how many dollars were taken back in school tax, this shortfall, from the boards across this Province, could he tell us that amount now? That boards who were told that the school tax would be eliminated and a new grant system would be substituted for it, the grant system is not implemented and still this government is taking back or clawing back monies on school tax. Could he tell how much money is being clawed back? One particular board here is clawed back $49,000; one board is clawed back to $162,000, another board, upwards to almost $300,000. Could he give the figure for all boards in this Province, that are being clawed back on the school tax?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I warn the hon. member not to be sucked into the trap about the school taxes and he is sucked into that trap. I will table the letter; it is from Conception Bay South Integrated School Board in Manuels, Mr. Speaker. I will also table, because it is too long to read, the real truth.

Reference is made to this letter from the school board: In the department's view, school board officials have presented financial information which is incomplete relative to the 1992-1993 Budget. The school board has not, has not, sustained an 18.3 decrease in funding when all relative factors are taken into consideration,Mr. Speaker. Then, it goes on to explain the $2,004,261 this year compares to $1,000,797 last year for an increase of 11.5 per cent, Mr, Speaker. The hon. member does not know what he is - I will table this, it is a drawn out report, I will table it, Mr. Speaker, but you cannot be sucked in to school boards, Mr. Speaker who play with figures. These are the real facts.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The minister has still refused to indicate the amount that was taken back in school tax, he still has not indicated the amount. Now, I would ask him: the deputy minister stated also, that boards would have to operate on less money and learn to live with less money than they received in their interim budget. This financial statement by the Minister of Finance indicated that $18 million less will be received for education under current account. Will the minister confirm that operating grants will now be $10 million to $12 million less than they were last year?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, this fearmongering is really beginning to get tormenting. He talks about the amount taken back by school taxes, zilch, zero, there is nothing taken back, Mr. Speaker, because, as I told the hon. House before, the Province bought the ledger. We bought the outstanding school taxes and we replaced them, Mr. Speaker, with more than the School Tax Authority or the school boards ever dreamed they would receive. We bought it, we put it back in, it cost the Province $35 million. So, it is wrong to ask about what was taken back because there has been nothing, there has not been anything taken back, Mr. Speaker.

MR. TOBIN: What did you do with the rest of the money, buy door knobs?

MR. DECKER: No, we paid off $24 million on Sprung - that is where it went, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DECKER: That is where it went. If we only had that $24 million, we would not have had to take it back (inaudible) the school boards.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks about an interim budget, that word is misleading too, it is a tentative budget. Every school board was given a tentative budget; in some cases, it was 8 per cent more than last year and in other cases it was 15 per cent more - everybody received more than last year. Now, Mr. Speaker, in reality, because of the restraints, these tentative budgets became the real budget. The school board was saying you were supposed to get $2 million, this is a tentative amount. In actual fact, the budget is levelled off at $2 million. Now, how much of that was taken back, Mr. Speaker? I have already told the hon. member, I will either write it out or spell it out for him, $1.5 million, Mr. Speaker. Now why the hon. member refuses to - he can disagree with the answer all he likes, but that is the answer - $1.5 million.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Ferryland, a supplementary.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. One final question: School tax was eliminated in lieu of initiating a new grant structure. I repeat, school tax was eliminated to bring in a new grant structure, which was not fully implemented, and this Province has taken over the ledger of school boards. Will the minister tell us how much money was in that ledger, that they received as a result of taking over the ledger?

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

MR. DECKER: Oh dear, Mr. Speaker, it is unbelievable! When the Province abolished the school tax, this abomination in the school system, which should never have come in, there were two problems with the school tax; number one, there was an inequity throughout the Province, some schools were way up there and some were down here. My children went to a school where it was down there, Mr. Speaker, and had to go door to door to get chalk to write on the boards, I know the result of that. Now, Mr. Speaker, the $35 million with which we replaced the school taxes, corrected that inequity, it brought that up. Now, to bring them up fully equal, I told the hon. member, that was stage two, which in this fiscal year would require another $2.5 million. That has been intercepted because of the restraints. Now, Mr. Speaker, the amount that we thought we were buying in relation and the amount - these things are all irrelevant, the fact of the matter is if we collected a billion dollars it belongs to the Province. If we collected $1 million, the Province is the loser. When we went to buy that ledger, let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, there was nobody who did not want to sell it. But after we bought it, and came up with the scheme that if you paid all your taxes by the end of June you would get off with half or something, people were lining up to pay taxes, because they got a bargain. The school boards are saying now, that is our money; well, they may think it is but, in reality, Mr. Speaker, it was the ledger that we bought. The actual amount that was collected is irrelevant. The amount is irrelevant, Mr. Speaker, whether it is $1 million or $10 million.

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

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, but he is not here, so maybe the Minister of Finance or the acting minister will answer the question. The revised estimates in the mini-Budget show that in Works, Services and Transportation, a decrease of approximately $15 million in capital expenditure occurred - in that one department alone. Can the minister explain how and where a $15 million decrease in provincial capital expenditure could be achieved in one department?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I cannot give the hon. member the details but Works, Services and Transportation is the department that builds roads and it also awards government contracts for buildings and things like that, so obviously what has happened is that all this money will not now be spent that was in the forecast to be spent this year, but if the member wants to know the details I can have it looked up.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Fogo, on a supplementary.

MR. WINSOR: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. The minister is well aware that the construction industry is one of the major employers in the Province. As a result of this curtailed spending of $15 million in Works, Services and Transportation, how many jobs were lost in the provincial work force during this past summer, as a result of not activating that $15 million in capital works?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I certainly appreciate the question. The answer is very straightforward, actually, that there were no jobs lost as a result of activities. There were many jobs created in this Province last year because of the capital works program which is conducted through the Department of Works, Services and Transportation.

The members opposite do know - unless they have such short memories that they have forgotten exactly how this thing works in the three-and-a-half years that they have been sitting opposite - that it is normal, in any one budgetary operational year, for some of the funds to lapse at the end of a year and for projects to start early in the Spring with monies that are left over from the previous year.

If the members opposite are now suggesting that all of a sudden the world has changed completely in three-and-a-half years, then I must say that there are a lot of people in Newfoundland who agree that there has been a great change in the Province and are very thankful for it. They appreciate the fact that this group is here to properly manage the affairs of the Province, which is what we are now demonstrating that we certainly can do. I look forward to an opportunity to address that in the debate later today.

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

MR. WINSOR: Yes, Mr. Speaker, according to the stats that came out last Friday, this Province is doing well in administering it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINSOR: Let me ask the minister this: The mini-Budget last week did nothing to stimulate the economy, especially in the short-term. The November labour force stats show an adjusted 21.9 per cent unemployment rate, up from 16.7 per cent. We also have 20,000 people receiving northern cod moratoriums.

Tell me, what is the minister going to do to - what kind of action is he going to take to help the 53,000 unemployed Newfoundlanders right now - 53,000?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I was expecting today that the hon. member opposite might ask his monthly question about the unemployment statistics. It is clear, obviously, that he, and whoever is advising him from a point of view of research, still do not understand these numbers and the implications of what has happened in the Province, unless they choose to ignore the fact that they are still continuing, with only signs now recently being reported that the recession that has been not only in the Province and in the country, but in all of North America, and global to a large degree, has had an impact in the Province, compounded by difficulties associated with the moratorium, where 20,000 people directly were placed out of work - many of whom still are not settled by statistical persons who accumulate these records on a monthly basis as to how they fit into these statistics, plus the fact that in meetings just this morning with groups again, they brought to our attention that there are, in fact, others out there who are displaced because they are working close to and related to the fishing sector and the processing sector, that are impacting on these figures.

When all of that settles through, you will see that the numbers here - even as large as they may seem on first blush and on first glance - are nowhere close in terms of the problems and the difficulties that were equally shown, and even worse so shown in a period of time ten years ago when the only real comparable stats could be used in the Province at a time when the previous administration tried to handle a recession in the Province and did not do nearly the job that this particular administration is doing.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The time for Oral Questions has elapsed.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled "An Act To Amend The Buildings Accessibility Act."

MR. SPEAKER: Before calling Orders of the Day, the Chair is ready to rule on the point of privilege raised by the Member for St. John's East on Thursday. In this regard I wish to thank hon. members on both sides of the House for their submissions. Members will recall that there were some comments related to the notion that the Chair may have intervened too quickly. I might explain to hon. members, this was done because the Chair was under the impression that the Member for St. John's East was making substantially the same point of privilege which had previously been ruled on. However, allow me to say this: I do not think any fair or reasonable Speaker feels threatened or offended if any member courteously and respectfully explains that he or she might be given a little additional time to further explain or elucidate on the point of privilege. What is offensive and must not be tolerated are derogatory and derisive remarks shouted against the Chair from members sitting in their places. All hon. members have a responsibility and an obligation to ensure that the respect and the dignity for the Chair are appropriately maintained.

More precisely, to the point of privilege, allow me first to quote from Beauchesne, page 50, section 172. I want to read subsections (1) and (2) in this regard. Subsection (1): "When a complaint of breach of privilege is raised the Speaker decides whether a prima facie case has been made which would justify such proceedings taking precedence over the other business of the House. If the Speaker, states that a prima facie case exists, the proposed motion is then put to the House so that the House may decide what action is required in the matter."


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Subsection (2): "It has often been laid down that the Speaker's function in ruling on a claim of breach of privilege does not extend to deciding the question of substance whether a breach of privilege has in fact been committed - a question which can only be decided by the House itself." So, substantially, the Chair's decision is to rule upon whether or not there is a prima facie case and this would allow the debate to take place. In making that decision, of course, the Chair is governed by the authorities and by the practice and tradition of this House. Now, the hon. member, in his submission, used Erskine May and quoted a case in 1924, and I might say hon. members will realize that Question Period operates a little differently. Although we do not encourage that members get into falsifying statements, but the very nature of the process, on both sides of the House, at times, finds us in a position where we did not have the full information. That is why members take things under advisement and sometimes we find that the more accurate information is on the Opposition side, because they have researched the matter. But Question Period, in its practice, allows for this and does not apply some of the rules, I think, that we have here, and, in this particular case, we are talking about a breach of privilege considering referring to documents. It says that it is a breach of privilege to present or cause to be presented to either House or to a committee of either House forged, falsified, or fabricated documents with intent to deceive such House or committees, or to subscribe the names of other persons or fictitious names to documents intended to be presented to either House or a committee of either House, or to be privy to, cognizant of such forgery or fraud. We are into criminal activities here and it goes on to name the kinds of activities, such as forging signatures to petitions, subscribing fictitious signatures thereto, tampering with a petition, forging council's name to an appeal without their knowledge, fabrication of documentary evidence, making an altercation on paper ordered to be laid before the House. These are practically criminal activities and I do not believe - they hardly apply in this particular case. A quote I want also to read for hon. members is on Page 190 of Maingot, which is considered to be the authority in Canada on parliamentary privilege. I will quote the whole text. The first part might not apply strictly, but as we get into the quote, hon. members will be able to see precisely what I am saying.

Page 190: "A dispute between two members about questions of fact said in debate does not constitute a valid question of privilege because it is a matter of debate. Similarly, the alleged lack or unsatisfactory nature of a reply to an oral or written question is not a question of privilege, because the practice of the House does not compel a reply. An allegation of misleading the House -" which is where, essentially, the hon. member's point of privilege was - "is not out of order or unparliamentary; nor does it amount to a question of privilege."

The final quote the Chair would like to make is from Beauchesne, page 151, Section 494. It refers to the acceptance of the word of a member. "It has been formally ruled by Speakers that statements by Members respecting themselves and particularly within their own knowledge must be accepted. It is not unparliamentary temperately to criticize statements made by Members as being contrary to the facts; but no imputation of intentional falsehood is permissible."

The point I wanted to make is that in the House all members are honour-bound to accept the word of each other. The House is built on that kind of respect and dignity. For these reasons, I therefore rule that the hon. the Member for St. John's East did not establish a prima facie case.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Could we deal first, very briefly, with motions 4, 5 and 6, which are just simply to move matters forward to first reading?

MR. SPEAKER: Motions 4 to 6?

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Finance, the President of Treasury Board, and the Minister of Justice to introduce respectively, bills, "An Act To Amend The Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax Act," "An Act To Amend The Public Sector Restraint Act, 1992," and "An Act To Amend The Electoral Boundaries Act."

On motion, Bills, as named, read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, we shall carry on under the agreement reached by members of the House on Friday with the debate on the Ministerial Financial Statement. My friend from Fortune - Hermitage, I think, adjourned the debate and I assume he wants to pick it up.

My understanding is we will go to 5:00 p.m. and then the matter will come to an end. I don't think you can take a vote. There is actually no motion before the House, by my understanding of the matter, but the agreement is that we will terminate the debate at 5:00 p.m. Then, at that time, I will indicate the business for tomorrow in the usual way.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Fortune - Hermitage.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANGDON: On Friday, Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I wonder if, just before the hon. member begins, the Table could advise the Chair how much time the hon. member has left?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Ten minutes left.

The hon. the Member for Fortune - Hermitage.

MR. LANGDON: On Friday, Mr. Speaker, I spoke for ten minutes on the Financial Statement that the Minister of Finance brought to the House, and showed some of the merits contained therein. I recognise, as do all of the members of the House, the situation the government found itself in. Going back to a few years ago when Mr. Peckford was Premier of the Province, he recognised, too, the mess that the Provincial Government was in, and he said if it were not dealt with, that within a couple of years, it would be 1933 all over again, I am sorry. I would like to build a little bit more on that for the next few minutes.

The Member for Mount Pearl earlier today commended the Premier, I think, and the government on this particular statement and the fact that he was indeed pleased with what had been done.

I think that up to this particular time we have realized that the status quo, and things that have been done in the past, would certainly not suffice for the future. We had to find a new way to do things - a new way to solve our problems. When we realize, in the world today, with the United States economy in a recession, and the Japanese total fiscal policy being reduced somewhat in the world over, the revenues are not there. So the government, in its strategic economic plan, and again in this Financial Statement, has shown that if we are to lead - if this Province is to come out of the economic situation in which it finds itself, then obviously we have to diversify into high tech industries and into cottage industries in order to make the Province work.

I recognize also the situation that the Finance Minister found himself in with all the public service unions, and being able to consult with them to achieve a desired result. I do not think for one minute that we realize, or the people in the Province realize, that all of the problems are over. We have a lot of problems to solve, and I am sure that the minister and the government, with consultation, can work things out with the particular public service unions.

The Opposition Leader, also in a speech on Friday, said that he was not one bit put out by what was in the report. I am sure that is right, and from this side of the House the same thing - that the government has agreed and is giving small businesses the extra impetus it needs to further stimulate the economy in the Province. Small business and entrepreneurship must be alive and well in the Province if we are to charter our own destiny.

We have seen that, in the past, our projects that have been taken upon us, what we have done has not been able to pull the Province out of the doldrums; but now we have to find a new direction and I believe that the government's strategic economic plan has recognized that, and I think in time we will do that.

There are a tremendous number of positive changes. Small business is becoming stronger all the time, and the viability and the sheer determination of Atlantic Canadians and Newfoundlanders is slowly but surely gaining respect in helping the economy in this particular Province and Atlantic Canada, and all through Canada itself.

Most of the infrastructure is in place, I believe, for small business, but nevertheless they have to be encouraged and bolstered, and I think that the rule of the small business in economic prosperity in the country has never been as important as it is now. I can quote an example of, in my own district, S.W. Productions in English Harbour, making cassette tapes - the only one of its kind in the Province, I believe. Recently they have gotten orders from within the Province because they realize that the cassette tapes are first class quality and that they are more than competitive in price; and I am hoping that government and business in the Province would use the expertise that we have here to further generate support and further generate jobs within our own economy.

As I said, the Opposition House Leader was not concerned about the things that were in the report, but he was somewhat concerned about the things that were not in the report. Obviously, I guess, he was concerned about the Province, the way that it would deal with its public servants, and probably was expecting that there would be legislation that would be brought before the House that would probably have rollbacks and tampering with the collective agreements of the public service, but that did not happen. The government, through conciliation and through consultation with the unions, realized that would not be necessary and they found ways whereby that could be alleviated, and I am sure that the people out there are pleased with the government's action.

I think the statement that is said most often - that I have heard most often over the weekend - and I am sure other people can probably bear with me in the sense - is that the deficit has been incurred by everybody in the Province and the government has recognized that everybody in the Province must share the responsibility. That is why, I guess, there was an increase in income tax and also in the gasoline sales tax, and the public servants are much appreciative of the government's way of dealing with that.

As I said, I am sure that the public unions recognize, the same as government, that in the future things are still going to be difficult. There has to be ways of finding things; ways of co-operating; ways of being able to bring a new order to the collective bargaining process in the Province. I am sure that if the unions and government concerned recognize the serious situation that the government finds itself in, then I am sure that we can find a will to find a way out of the economic mess in which we find ourselves.

I think also the realization of the people out there in the Province is that they realize the situation the Premier inherited, that he finds himself in. Really, in a sense, we don't have the economic thrust in the Province to deal with it in the way that we would like. Nevertheless, the Premier and his government have been candid with the problems facing the people in this Province and the people are appreciative of that and, I am sure, willing to help out in any way they can.

I heard from my district many times, as I said, and I heard from people over the weekend, and I recognize the financial situation that we are in but, nevertheless, believing that the government has the will of the people behind them in trying to solve the crisis that it faces.

I would also like to say, Mr. Speaker, as I did earlier, about my own district on the Connaigre part of the Peninsula, where that situation is relatively good as far as the fishing is concerned. There is not as much fish as there had been in recent years but, nevertheless, the price of it is there, people are finding employment and they are happy about that.

I realize also, as do all of the people in the Province, that there are difficult times ahead. I am sure, by being candid, open-minded and conciliatory in the approach that we take in being fiscally responsible, that we can find a solution to the problems that are facing us. I have every confidence in the Premier and the government to do that.

Not only in the fishing industry do we have problems, but we also have problems in forestry. Again, I believe that consultation and understanding can work to make things happen in that particular area. In my own town, where most of the people are loggers, they are concerned about the mechanization in the woods and the harvesters who have come in and taken some of their jobs. Again, through the early retirement package and so on, many of these people have been able to retire and the younger workers have been able to move in and do the job. I am sure that that will happen and continue to happen in the Province as a whole. I believe that we have young people out there, young entrepreneurs, who are ready and willing to work.

I give, as an example, where only recently two young entrepreneurs have started a new fishing industry in my area, The Sea Urchins. They have put a considerable number of dollars into it themselves, and I am hoping that over the next little while, within the next few weeks, that there can be as many as twenty-five or thirty, probably even forty fishermen, who will be able to avail of this new industry. There is quantity in the area and the scientific research that has been done showed that the area of Fortune Bay has the highest quality of sea urchins in the Province. So I am looking forward to that coming on stream, I am looking forward to that generating more employment in the area, and I am also looking forward to other underutilized species creating employment in the area, and -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. LANGDON: Just one second - and I am sure -

MR. SPEAKER: I told the hon. member his time is up, does he get by leave?



MR. LANGDON: - also for a new industry of dog fish in the area that is in plenteous supply, and I am hoping that through the government's Department of Fisheries, we can make that work because there is money there to be made in the new industries and diversification. That is what it is about, generating revenue, generating new dollars to do the things that we want to do in the Province. Thank you very much.

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

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

I would like to have a few words to say pertaining to this mini-Budget or Financial Statement. I listened to many of the speeches since it was brought in to the hon. House on Friday, but I must say I listened with intent to the Member for Stephenville, who gave a very fine speech and also said that he, as part of government will certainly accept recommendations from anyone who could come up with good recommendations to try to rectify the present problem that the government is having in a financial way.

Certainly, we are looking for some kind of a stimulant and I am sure the government has tried, but, Mr. Speaker, I listened the other day and of course over this past six weeks, and especially from the labour movement there was a lot of apprehension out there caused by the Premier, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, when they spoke to the unions and told them about the rollbacks and the Minister of Finance who, I am sorry is not in his place today - you played a role, it had to do with labour, but they were told, it was taken back to the unions and they said: look, there are several alternatives; one, would mean a rollback and we all know today, as common people with some common sense, that that was never the government's intention in the first place and it was actually a farce. There was never meant to be a rollback.

What the government did was very good and I suppose with the exception of putting all that doubt and fright and scary tactics, the rollback was never meant to be. There was never going to be a rollback and what the government did was, the same as you would do to a child, you threaten them: I am going to give you a slap on the hand but instead of that you put him in his room for ten or fifteen minutes. It was a very, very naive thing on the part of government to cause such an uproar when they never had any intentions in the first place of rolling back anything pertaining to wages.

Then we had great applause from the government side about Bill 17, which was to be rescinded and everyone would go back to normal. Negotiations were to go on in a normal way, but, Mr. Speaker, what are the unions going to negotiate? I mean, the government has already decided that there is going to be a 4 per cent cut next year right across the board. It has to come from the compensation package, be it less employees or less take home pay, there is no other way you can do it so the unions are - certainly the bargaining table is open but what are they going to bargain? There is nothing there to bargain, so that Bill 17 was another farce, another something that was immaterial because of what was happening.

Mr. Speaker, on the personal income tax bit, this is where I have some grave problems. I mean, in the last year, over the twelve-month period, that is counting the new tax increase, it has gone up 7 per cent, seven percentage points and -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: A good bit.

MR. PARSONS: A good bit. I suppose half as much as it would cost the hon. gentleman for Port de Grave, so he can figure out that one for himself. Let me say this to you, Mr. Speaker, that in personal income tax, a person who makes $20,000 a year. Let me read this to you, Mr. Speaker. Say an individual making $20,000 with no dependents, no way to get back anything, the basic exemption is $6,456 so his overall salary is $26,456 which is not a great amount of money. Fifteen years ago it was a good salary but today it is only survival money. His taxes now, Mr. Speaker, have gone up $238 per year and for a person who receives $30,000 his taxes have gone up $364 a year. For a person who earns $35,000 his taxes have gone up $455 a year. Mr. Speaker, these are the same individuals who are paying the shot for everything, those are the middle-class people who are paying the shot for you and I to be here in this House, for other expenditures of government and everything else.

I was not surprised the other day when Stats Canada said that out of every dollar there is 62.1 cents of taxation, be it hidden or up-front, and ours, Mr. Speaker, are now increasing from 61 to 65 in an overall way, 65 cents of every dollar. There were some good things in that financial statement as pertained to small business. Certainly there is a stimulant there for small business. There is an opportunity for small business to do something but I want to emphasize to the House, what can small business do if the climate is not there to do the work? What are they going to do? What can small businesses do to operate in this Province with the opportunities as we see them now? I have some suggestions. Like the hon. Member for Stephenville said, I have some suggestions. We have about $200 million to be spent on the northeast Avalon as it pertains to road work and $140 million of that is federal funding.

MR. EFFORD: Oh, oh!

MR. PARSONS: I do not sell stovepipes and I do not have any shares in Rolls Royce. Now, I do not want to hear any more from that hon. Member for Port de Grave.

Mr. Speaker, could I have protection from the hon. Member for Port de Grave? He is over there squabbling like one of those lame ducks.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: It is of no consequence.

MR. PARSONS: It is of no consequence, that is right. He does not have the intestinal fortitude to get up and say anything himself but he sits over there and nags and torments everyone else.

Mr. Speaker, there is about $200 million out there to be spent in federal funding. The Outer Ring Road, the Gould's bypass road, the Conception Bay bypass, the Torbay bypass, and $60 million of that that has to be provincial funding. We all know that. But in spending the $60 million what would go out there in wages and the cost of other materials certainly would take at least 60 or 70 per cent of that and put it back into the coffers, put it back into revenue, and the other $140 million, if we got 70 per cent of it, there is still another $100 million out there. Then we would create an environment that would be acceptable to small business. That is what small business is all about. Small business is not opening up a grocery store. That does not serve any purpose for the economy. The position those people have to be in is creating employment, by doing work necessary for the area. People will say, and my hon. friend for Stephenville might say to himself: what good is the work that goes on here to the people in Stephenville? I remember the second phase of the Trans-Canada Highway.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible)

MR. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, I am asking for the second time, are you going to quieten the Member for Port de Grave?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. PARSONS: I am not going to tolerate him any longer. I am asking you, Sir, to quieten the Member for Port de Grave. That is a job, Mr. Speaker, I know it is, but I am asking you to do it because he is interfering and has no sense of anything, all he knows about is getting up and doing something in the House that he is going to get a bit of publicity for. I am asking him now to be quiet, just be quiet, keep restrained, you are not going to get your picture in the paper today, so just be quiet.

Mr. Speaker, if we took into consideration the road building propositions that are out there, that are federally funded - a couple of them are totally federally funded, the Outer Ring Road is on the 70/30 percentage basis so we are looking at $70 million from the Feds. Mr. Speaker, this will certainly put a great number of people to work. What I was going to say to the hon. Member for Stephenville, I remember on the second phase of the Trans Canada Highway there was a company from the west coast who did the major construction on the highway so, when you are speaking about this kind of highway construction you are talking about the entire Province. People would certainly be involved from all over the Province and Labrador because construction workers are such that they travel to all parts of the Province.

Mr. Speaker, I think that that will certainly stimulate a part of our problem as it pertains to our labour problems. Mr. Speaker, you know in saying that, when we talk about the extra taxes the 3 per cent or the 5 per cent really, that will go on to personal income tax, I know that I am not alone in saying that I have friends and relations who are in these brackets, $20,000 to $30,000 brackets and Mr. Speaker, they do not have a nickel when payday rolls around. They are on a budget.

I was speaking with a little girl here today, a Page, she gets $6,000. What would you do with $6,000? Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of people out there who are hurting and these people with families that are getting $20,000 a year are hurting, Mr. Speaker. Now, I have no problem with paying my 3 per cent or my 5 per cent but when I went downstairs - and this is immaterial I was not going to speak about it but I have to - I went downstairs on Friday afternoon. We know that the government is having problems financially, we know what is happening all over the world - when I went downstairs on Friday morning to go home, to go back to my office, I saw a whole load of 2X8 solid oak going upstairs. I said to the guy who was bringing it up, I said: are you going to the dump with that, and he looked at me like I had ten heads.

Boy I said look don't be foolish, I only said it as a facetious question anyway. I said I did a bit of building myself years ago but I said I just wondered - and you know I was thinking about it all the way back to the office - I said here we are cutting into the people that do not have the money, people who are on a budget right down to the nickel, and we can afford in this day and age, now I am not saying that it should not be done in times when we have lots of money, we can afford to have solid oak going somewhere in this building - I mean as far as I am concerned there is something wrong, nothing politically, something wrong. Now if we did it there is something wrong. No matter who did it, there is something wrong with it. There is something wrong with it.

Mr. Speaker, like I said the small business, you know, it is a good incentive there, a company has a profit of over $200,000 per year, the corporate taxes have gone from 17 per cent to 16 per cent. That is about equal to most of the provinces throughout Canada. A company that has a profit of less than $200,000 per year, the tax will be cut from 10 per cent to 5 per cent and that is a good thing. It will put more dollars into those small companies so they will be able to hire people and whatever, Mr. Speaker.

Now I have another recommendation, Mr. Speaker. We have, since this government took over, and I think it was the Premier in his speech, he set up the ERC, the Economic Recovery Commission and Mr. Speaker, when we look at why this statement was brought in, and this government after under calculating $153 million than I wonder what happened to the Economic Recovery Commission. Now, Mr. Speaker, I always thought and always said, wide open up front, that it was another form of commission of government and Mr. Speaker, it is and for what useful purpose they are serving, I challenge the Premier, I challenge anyone on the other side, to get up and explain to me what the ERC is doing for this Province. Not an iota, Mr. Speaker. I'll tell you. The cost of the ERC last year to this little Province, the little Province now that's taking 3 per cent off the people who can't afford it, that is charging two more cents on a litre of fuel, two more cents on diesel. These are the people who can't afford it.

This Economic Recovery Commission cost $2,542,672 last year. Two million. Now the Premier says: look at what you did years ago. I didn't have anything to do with it anyway, but the point remains we did have nineteen members in the Cabinet and now they have fifteen. But taking into account what that ERC costs, not alone do they have fifteen members, they have twenty-five. I know the ministers are getting too much money but that would facilitate at least ten more ministers. Two million, five hundred and forty-two thousand six hundred and seventy-two dollars, for the ERC!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) more than that.

MR. PARSONS: No, no. I have it, buddy. Don't you think I'm - I know what I'm talking about. Let me tell the minister what some of the breakdown is. Salaries and benefits: $891,769. That's to a group of people who serve no useful purpose. Let me say this to you. That there's enough, a great number, on the other side who believe the same as I do.


MR. PARSONS: The same as I do. What's the Minister of Development, what's his part, what role does he play in this government? What does the Minister of Labour - remember that this commission is answerable only to the Premier. Only to the Premier. But if the Premier can get up and tell me one thing that they've accomplished in the last three and a half years, one little thing that they've done....

They have done nothing. I know, perhaps if I was on the other side I'd have to sort of say it, I'll have to support the government, we'll have to support the Premier. That's where it ends. Because you know as well as I know that that should never be put on the backs or burden the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. It's insane. It's criminal. Abolish it. It serves no purpose. Anything else that serves no purpose, get rid of it. Mr. Speaker, $130,000 for accommodations.

But my time is getting limited, so I'm going to have to touch on something else. The one good thing that this brought in was the reduction in the seats. But now let me say this to you, that's only the tip of the iceberg. Anyone who doesn't believe it, you're asleep. You're sleeping dogs. Because you're going to awaken one of those days and you're going to have to look at reality straight in the face. Here we are. Not alone should we start this operation, this should be implemented immediately. The commission should be appointed.

AN HON. MEMBER: What's that?

MR. PARSONS: Redistribution. Because I want to tell the hon. members that when they signed that agreement - now, from where I sit, it may not be in my time. But does anyone realise in this House that we have 200 legislators in Atlantic Canada? In those four provinces? With the same ethnic groups, with the same religious values, with the same geography? Two hundred legislators. Four premiers. Four Ministers of Finance, four Ministers of Justice, four Ministers of Recreation. For what? Less than 3 million people. Not as big as downtown Toronto. Three million people.

The day will come - and that procurement agreement was the first start of it - when we'll have one Atlantic province. Because that's all we can afford. That's all we will be able to afford. When I hear the Minister of Finance say the oil will roll, the best we're going to see as far as I'm concerned out of Hibernia is the building of it. That's where you're going to see the most dollars. Without things changing in the Far East, without things change, or we subsidise the cost of oil. It's the best thing that ever happened, sure it is. Because it's after creating employment for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and it will until 1997.

But let me tell you something, that these Atlantic provinces cannot afford the cost of government. It's gone beyond the realms of sanity, and you are living in a glass cage. Someone is soon going to start throwing rocks, and the day will come - and I am saying to you people today, the day will come when you will see one province in Atlantic Canada. You will not lose your identity, but you will see one Province. All is there is 3 million people.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this debate, and in the time allotted I was hoping to reference four or five things that I think should be said for the record, based on the statement that the Minister of Finance made on Friday past.

First of all, I have been trying to follow both the debate in the House from the critics from the opposition, as well as the kinds of things that have been stated in the media, looking for some kind of consensus as to what are the good things that everybody agrees are positive and good in the statement; and I am trying to find some sense in the criticism that is being mounted by the opposition to see whether or not I, at least, should reconsider part of it and think about anything that would make us change our minds.

It is becoming very difficult, because the opposition in particular cannot seem to make up their minds as to what really happened here on Friday, and they are still a little bit lost, or they are groping or grasping for straws, or they are trying to find some kind of way to say something about it because they do not seem to know what to say about it.

I think they are so flabbergasted by the fact that it, in fact, is a very good approach to the problems that we are dealing with for the rest of this year, that they have now tried to cast most of their attention to what it might mean in the future. Well what is going to happen in the future will be dealt with in a future Budget and will be disclosed in this Legislature for everyone to see, and there will be a lot of discussion and debate and negotiations and so on that will go on before that.

Just to make the point about - it seems that there is some difficulty in making up their minds. On Friday in speaking as the lead speaker for the Opposition, the hon. Member for Mount Pearl, the Finance critic, launched into an attack and a bit of a tirade at the beginning until he got tired for some reason and just quit talking because he had nothing to say. He certainly did not offer any alternatives. He was on the attack for five or ten minutes, tired out very quickly, and sat down; but the basic thrust of it, as I understood, and made my notes, was that he was taking the view that this group was admitting that we cannot plan; that we are mismanaging; that we are a bunch of idiots; we do not know what we are doing; and he railed about that for five minutes or so until he got a bit tired about that and he went on with something else.

Then, surprisingly enough, his leader, the official Leader of the Opposition, my good friend and colleague, the Member for Grand Falls, got up afterwards and tried to expound upon this thesis that not only could we plan, but this was all part of a great plan that had actually started last March - that in fact there was a great master plan here, a great scheme, that we were foisting on the people and that in fact we were the best planners that he had ever seen; that we were in here with this fantastic plan and we were playing it out a little bit at a time. We were sort of sucking the people in one step at a time, and it was all concocted; it was all a big plan.

These are the two people who sit next to each other and advise each other as to what the Opposition thinks is wrong with what the government did. One of them was saying that it was evident that we could not plan a good hen fight, and the other one saying that it was the best plan he had seen for a long time and that he was going to spend some time within the next couple of weeks exposing it to the people of the Province. So I really think they should get together and have a few meetings and sort of make up their mind; but I can understand the confusion on Friday because they were in such a state of shock that they did not know what to say. They were really hoping that there would be something disastrous - that they could come out and attack the government. As per usual, they were not really that interested in participating and helping with something that might help all of us through a particularly difficult time and move on to the future.

The same kind of thing again witnessed on Friday and again today that the Finance critic again, the Opposition Leader, the Member for St. John's East - the real unofficial opposition over there - they all talked about the fact that actually the government had really planned a rollback and that the one thing we wanted to do was have a rollback, and that in fact we got scared off by the unions and changed our minds.

Then today in a speech another member of the opposition gets up and says: Oh no, no, no. It was part of another scheme. You guys never ever intended a rollback. It was the furthest thing from your mind. It was just something you threw out as a little bit of bait to scare people and to get back to what you wanted.

So again we have members of the Opposition, in the same party in different parties, running off with all kinds of these wild schemes and theses as to what they think it was all about, because they have refused again to understand and accept that when this government writes something down, it says what it means and it means what it says.

You do not have to read between the lines; you do not have to guess what is in it, all you have to do is to be able to read -

If you could read -

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

MR. GRIMES: - then you could understand exactly what was put forward. It was quite clear in the document tabled in the House of Assembly on Friday past and presented so ably by my colleague, the Minister of Finance. I would like to deal with a couple of the issues though that have been raised, because there is again, some confusion.

The finance critic, the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl, dealt with this idea again; he was railing on about this was an admission of mismanagement, not knowing what we are doing and I find it very unfortunate that a couple of the leaders of some of the public sector unions who are actually good friends of mine, continue in their public rhetoric to talk about this demonstrates the mismanagement of the government, when in fact, those people, every single one of them, if they have, they are refusing to recognize and admit to people that they have, but they should go and talk to any recognized financial adviser they can find anywhere, and any person with credibility involved in financial institutions and involved in giving advice will say the exact opposite to the members of the Opposition, and to the leaders of the public sector unions and to the members of the public sector unions who work for the Province so capably.

Anybody, with any credibility giving advice, will say without reservation, that it is only because of the very good fiscal management record of this government that we are not into a much deeper crisis at this point in time, and that in fact, other provinces, because they have not managed the finances in their own jurisdiction like this administration has done, have found themselves losing their credit rating, seriously at risk at this point in time, and now looking two and three years later, at taking the kinds of measures that this government took a couple of years ago, to maintain a proper fiscal capacity capability for the Province, because without that, we would all be in very serious trouble and it is only because of the continued good management and practices, Mr. Speaker, that we are in a position now, where we hope, that again, by the actions taken on Friday, because we will have to wait a little bit of time and see that the financial advisers and those people who talk to the rating agencies and so on, will hopefully, leave our credit rating intact as a result of the latest moves that we have taken, will not find any reason to put us on credit watch or downgrade us, so that we can continue to raise the finances that are necessary to continue offering the public services on a daily and weekly basis that are necessary for the people in the Province.

I feel it necessary as well, Mr. Speaker, to take a couple of minutes to spell out what is happening to the personal income tax, because, in comments made by the Leader of the Opposition in his remarks on Friday, it was obvious that he was very poorly briefed. He obviously has no personal notion of what is happening with personal income tax in the Province at this point in time, and it is unfortunate that his colleagues and his advisors let him stand in the House of Assembly and talk about something of which he has no intimate knowledge or at least, nothing that anybody could perceive to be knowledge of what is going on according to what he said in this Legislature on Friday.

Certainly, had he known the difference and had he known what was happening in the Province today, and what is scheduled to happen on January 1, with respect to personal income tax, he would not have had himself laughed at in this legislature like he did on Friday, because while there is nothing funny about what was done on Friday, it was a very serious bit of business that we were dealing with and announcing, but what the hon. the Leader of the Opposition said was so hilarious that we almost laughed him out of the Legislature because it showed that he obviously did not know what he was talking about, because anybody who could reference what is happening to personal income tax versus how it is being collected in the Province today, in the middle of December, and how it is going to be collected on January 1, and then to call that the mother of all rollbacks, could not have known what he was talking about, absolutely could not have known what he was talking about and the point in fact that I just might reference for a couple of minutes, Mr. Speaker, because I know the Minister of Finance or others would do it if he were in the Legislature, that they would feel obligated to do so, so that the hon. member, the Leader of the Opposition, does not embarrass himself in future.

Before the Budget last year personal income tax in the Province was being collected at a rate of 62 per cent of the federal basic tax. Because we had eliminated the school tax, the most unfair tax in the Province, it was announced that in two stages that would go to 64.5 per cent for the year 1992, and 66 per cent for the year 1993. That's what the annualized rates of collection of personal income that's the tax tables that would be presented for all businesses deducting personal income tax for employees in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

But because the change for school tax was only made and could only be made July 1 for six months, in order to get an annualized collection rate of 64.5 per cent, which was a 2.5 per cent increase, it had to be collected at a 5 per cent increase for six months in order to give a 2.5 per cent increase for a full year.

The members of the Opposition, Mr. Speaker, stood in the Legislature during the Budget debate last March and that was explained to them. Because they didn't understand at first so we had to take some time in the Budget debate to explain that to them. They were then saying to the people of Newfoundland: don't be fooled by this 2.5 per cent, it's really going to be a 5 per cent increase on July 1. We explained to everybody, we said: that's true. It's going to be collected at a rate of 67 per cent of basic federal tax taxed from July 1 to the end of December. Because that 5 point increase will give us 2.5 percentage points for the whole year, from January to December, which will replace the money that the people were given back in school tax.

It was explained to the world. Everybody in Newfoundland and Labrador understood it. We even thought that the Opposition understood it. Because they raised the questions in Question Period, they raised the questions in debate, and we explained it to them. Every citizen in Newfoundland, who has been fortunate enough to be working and paying income tax, has been having it deducted from their cheque since July 1 at a rate of 67 per cent of the basic federal tax. That's what they're used to seeing coming off their cheques today, last week. Next week. That's what's going to happen until the end of December.

Had we not announced the 3 per cent change from Friday - had my colleague, the Minister of Finance, not announced that change - on January 1 the rate would have dropped back to 66 per cent. Because we could have collected it for a full year, it would have replaced school tax next year for the full year, and that's the only reason the increase was there in the first place.

But what will a person see? A person will see exactly what was spelled out in this document released by the Minister of Finance on Friday. A person will see their rate of collection of basic personal income tax go from 67 per cent to 69 per cent. Which is a 2 percentage point increase. I would hope that maybe some of our friends from the media who I know are not in the gallery but do have their tapes on in the back, they should make a correction. Because I read four different written stories on the weekend. I watched three or four television interviews. Not one of them got the numbers right on personal income tax. Some were talking about a 5 per cent increase, somebody talked about as high as a 7 per cent increase, somebody talked about a 2 per cent increase - they never ever got the numbers right.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's how good you are at bafflegab!

MR. GRIMES: So I would wish that they would just take the numbers and understand them. If they'd only take a minute to ask anybody how the rates are being collected now, how they are intended to be collected, and the reason that we were honest and straightforward with the people. We said: your personal income tax rate will increase 3 points on January 1, because without the changes announced on Friday the rate would have been 66 per cent. But with the changes announced on Friday it will be 69 per cent, a 3 point increase.

In terms of the affect on the cheque it'll be even less that that, because it's already being deducted at a 67 per cent rate. There will be a $1.15 difference per week on a cheque for somebody averaging $25,000 with no dependents. As everybody knows, the way the system works with dependents it's even less than that. In our Province what's important, Mr. Speaker, is that the average salary, by the way, in our Province, is less than $20,000. So the impact will even be less again than $1.15 a week, and for people with dependents it'll be even less than that.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition rose to his feet because he had taken the time to go in the lobby and he heard a couple of members out there. The only thing they could be critical of was that the personal income tax was going up. He heard a couple of people in the lobby criticise it so he ran back in because he took some time out to be in the lobby circulating, finding out what's going on, because he didn't know. He did not want to stand up and react without finding out how somebody out there reacted, so he came in to make his speech. He got up and we laughed because he heard some people out there criticize the personal income tax increases and he came in here and tried to tell the people of Newfoundland that it was the mother of all rollbacks, a $1.l5 a week on average and less than that for most people because our average income is less than $20,000 a year, and with dependents it is even less than that again.

The Leader of the Opposition would describe that to the people of Newfoundland as the mother of all rollbacks. Now, try to make me believe that I am suppose to accept that with some degree of credibility. I prefer to forgive the hon. member and suggest that the next time he please make sure he is a little better briefed and that he understands the situation before you embarrass your leader by having him stand in the Legislature and be taped and presented on television in the Province with such a ludicrous statement, such an absolutely ludicrous statement.

I would be remiss, Mr. Speaker, in my role as the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations if I did not take a couple of minutes in the time remaining to me to also look at the initiative so loudly and clearly applauded by the public sector unions in terms of the announcement that the third year of Bill 17, and again the finance critic today, the hon. Member for Mount Pearl, does not understand Bill 17 because he thought it was only for two years. Bill 17 covers three years. It covered two previous years and the year coming up. What we have said and what the unions are very pleased about is that the year coming up will be dealt with to the greatest extent possible through the collective bargaining forum and that any restriction in terms of legislation telling people what they can or cannot attempt to accomplish at the bargaining table will be removed by an amendment in this Legislature.

Only today did I personally, and the Premier and others, receive letters and indications from representatives of the public service unions that that initiative is greatly applauded. Now, that in turn has reduced the Opposition to the position of doing what they said we were doing for the couple of weeks leading up to this statement. Now, they are out there and the first thing they could come up with on Friday: oh, it is fearmongering. The Opposition is saying: you need not worry about it. We are going to get you in March. You people only delayed it.

Again, I find it unfortunate that a couple of the leaders of the labour movement that I saw interviewed on the weekend indicated that was their initial assessment of it, but I will be talking to those friends of mine and invite them to meetings to suggest to them that there is an opportunity here. There is an opportunity for everyone involved to use the collective bargaining process to deal with the government in terms of now, in a meaningful way because they complained they did not think it was meaningful before, of looking at the cost of employing the people that offer the services to the citizens of the Province. I think all of us will be very pleasantly surprised to find that they will offer some very good suggestions, ideas, innovative and creative ways, as to how to arrange the total compensation package for all the people who are paid from the public purse. They will probably be very ingenious and they will have the opportunity to demonstrate that, in terms of making sure that together we can all manage the financial commitment that places on the government for the future and that we can work together to find out what the best way is to look at the benefit packages in the 1990s versus taking the old stance as some people want to, to say any change, adjustment, or re-arrangement is an infringement, but in fact many of the benefits that are in place were negotiated in the 1970s and sometimes in the 1980s but they may not be the most appropriate for the day.

There is a perfect window of opportunity for everyone to reassess the whole nature of these compensation and benefit packages to see what is most appropriate for the 1990s. I think all of us are going to be pleasantly surprised by the initiatives and the creative things that are put forward in these discussions that will take place starting immediately. All of us will be better off when we do the thing jointly rather than going about saying: do not worry about it. It is doom and gloom and there are either cuts or rollbacks, or jobs lost in March or April. I think if we use the time constructively we will have a lot better recognition and idea of what should be happening in terms of the collective bargaining process in the near future.

So I hope that in the rest of the debate today, members of the Opposition will point out some things that make a little better sense in terms of any commentary that they have; any criticism that they have; any compliments that they might want to give about what happened here on Friday, because it is very clear to me so far that from Friday's reaction and from the tone of Question Period again today that the members opposite are still in a state of shock, or they are stunned by what happened. They were so wishing that there would be something disastrous that they could rail about, and it did not happen.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. GRIMES: So I hope they will listen carefully to see if they can contribute a little more positively to the debate.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What a pile of gibberish! It is almost as bad as the statement he made in Confederation Building the day he had to ask somebody to get him a package of Kleenex. He was that depressed because the teachers were only going to get a 3 per cent increase, that he had to break down and cry.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: How can you be nice when someone gets up and gets on with that? You have to expose him. He has to be exposed.

I say to the members opposite, I went to a meeting of teachers last week in my own district and they asked if there was any way possible, they asked the vice-president, - I think he is vice-president of the Provincial Association - if there was any way possible at the next annual general meeting of teachers, that they could pass a resolution barring any President of the NTA from seeking public office for any party for at least five years. That is how disgusted they are. That is how disgusted they are with this gentleman there. They have never, ever felt betrayed before -never, ever felt so betrayed before than they have by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

He has turned his back on the teachers of this Province, and he comes in and here we have a Budget that was brought in the other day. What does it show? Eighteen million less for education in this Province; and you get the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, a former educator, to stand on his feet and try to defend that. He should hang his head in shame. That is what he should do, to be part of the Cabinet that would cut education by $18 million for the remainder of this year. One can only imagine what is to come, I say to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations - and you have all these educators.

The Member for Carbonear - how can he go back to his constituents and say that they have cut the Budget by $18 million for education?

AN HON. MEMBER: Every man celebrating. No rollbacks (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Celebrating no rollbacks. What to celebrate. What a celebration - no rollbacks. Well I can tell you, they are not celebrating - there have been rollbacks. There have been rollbacks by 15 per cent of personal income tax since this crowd came to power, I say to the former Minister of Social Services. There have indeed been rollbacks.

As a matter of fact, I have a copy of a letter that was sent to the Premier by a teacher: Each time you have had difficulty balancing your Budget, you had to take the axe and chip away at the educational budget for this Province without regard for the consequences for your actions. What does the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations think about that? It goes on to say: A few years ago - here is what a teacher said to the Premier: A few years ago I was fund-raising for the things I could not expect the Department of Education to provide. Now I am reduced to begging for necessities. A few years ago I collected money from students for skating trips and graduations. Now I collect money for home economics, industrial arts, art, and even for books needed for remedial purposes. I used to work after school for class clubs and special events. Now I have added to that, tired of professional bumming from corporations, and the Federal Government, to compensate for the inability of the school system to advance the technology we need to provide proper education for our children. What does the Minister of Education think about that? What does the Minister of Employment think about that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I say to the Minister of Employment - and my colleague from Kilbride will understand that - here is what the teacher said in the letter she sent to the Premier: 'In spite of all this and all you said yourself about the need for cutbacks, you dismissed those who question your self-perceived rights to have your office redecorated and your travel arrangements made first class. This leads me to wonder where you would be if those who encouraged you - if their education did not come first'. That, I say, is what a teacher wrote to the Premier. The final paragraph says it all: 'A true leader would see greater reward in being remembered favourably by future generations than in being re-elected at the expense of future generations'. That is what the people of this Province think of the educational system, Mr. Speaker - $18 million cut from the education budget from now until the end of the year.

What about health, Mr. Speaker - $4 million cut from the health budget; that is what we are seeing in this Province today. You have seen backbenchers, Mr. Speaker, like the Member for Port de Grave, who have been beaten from pillar to post by the Premier, standing up and defending cutbacks to education and health. You have seen the Member for St. John's South, who just had surgery on his knees, resulting from kneeling, begging the Premier to take him into Cabinet and yet you will see him standing and supporting the Budget, Mr. Speaker. He has been on his knees trying to get into Cabinet - had to have surgery done.

MR. MURPHY: I had trouble getting up. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I just want to correct the hon. member: My knees are coming along and I just want to remind the hon. member, an operation is nothing new to me. I think if the hon. member opposite had an operation for haemorrhoids it would be classified as brain surgery.

MR. R. AYLWARD: That's raising the decorum of the House.

MR. TOBIN: I wouldn't even respond to it, I say to the member opposite.

MR. R. AYLWARD: (Inaudible) put that on the news tonight.

MR. TOBIN: No, I wouldn't.

Mr. Speaker, I have seen members in this House go low, but I say to the Member for St. John's South, I am very disappointed. I say to you in all sincerity, 'Tom', I am disappointed that you went that far. Anyway, forget about it.

Mr. Speaker, I want to stand today to defend the rights of the people of this Province. The Member for St. John's South can get on with all that scum that he wants to; he can squirm and be a snake, Mr. Speaker, he can live in the leaves of cabbage if he wants to live in that kind of world, but the bottom line is that the people of this Province have been taken aback by people they have elected to come in here and stand day-in and day-out and defend a government who would chop $18 million from an education budget. Heaven knows, that isn't what we need in this Province - $18 million chopped from an education budget.

I also say to members opposite - I see Municipal Affairs cut, I say to my colleague, the minister, and I sincerely hope that is not dealing with capital works; I don't think it is, I am sure it is something to do with the operation.

AN HON. MEMBER: MOGs, that is.

MR. TOBIN: Well, the minister, I am sure, will address that.

But when the Federal Government gives a break on income tax, why does the government have to increase personal income tax in this Province? The Federal Government decreased the income tax by the 1.5 per cent to try to stimulate the economy, to try to put more money in circulation -

MR. WINSOR: And 'Clyde' takes it out.

MR. TOBIN: - and, Mr. Speaker, what happened? This government took it back.

Why does the Minister of Health cut his budget by $4 million? Why does the Minister of Education stand idly by and see Cabinet slash the department by $18 million? Those are the questions that have to be answered. Why are there so many people unemployed in this Province, and therefore, not paying into the tax system and not spending money? That's the question that has to be asked.

Why is the government continuing to target the people in this Province who are barely making ends meet, in order to gain revenue? Why do you hear people in this Province kicking up a fuss about - it doesn't matter what it is.

MR. EFFORD: Like cucumbers.

MR. TOBIN: I say to the Member for Port de Grave, no, you were kicking up about your fire truck.

MR. EFFORD: What fire truck? I haven't got one.

MR. TOBIN: Making some nice complimentary statements about my friend from Placentia.


MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, if you want to talk about what can happen and what didn't happen and what should happen; one cannot forget - I remember in the old Legislature one day - I'd say it was probably 1983 or 1984, when the then Minister of Energy stood up. At that time, Quebec Hydro was getting $800 million from our power resource and we were getting $88 million. Quebec was collecting $800 million from a giveaway by a Liberal Government in this Province, and we were getting $88 million.


MR. TOBIN: What's that?

AN HON. MEMBER: Last year we got $27 million.

MR. TOBIN: Last year, my colleague points out, we got $27 million from that agreement. Is that something that anyone takes great pride in?

AN HON. MEMBER: John Crosbie (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Your Premier was around. That's who was around when it was signed. Your Premier was there, and the Minister of Justice was probably there at the time, I'm not sure.


AN HON. MEMBER: Five hundred Sprungs!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: Your John Crosbie spoke on behalf of it. Gerry Ottenheimer (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I don't care who spoke on behalf of it or who signed it, I say to the minister. I don't care who spoke on it. Whoever spoke on it and whoever voted for it was wrong! They sold out Newfoundland and Labrador, that's what you did. You sold out. The Liberal government sold out Newfoundland and Labrador, and it sold out generations to come. It didn't stop there, it sold out generations to come. If we had that money today the Minister of Finance last week would not have had to stand in this House and bring in the statement that was going to rob $18 million from the education system in this Province, that was going to rob $4 million from health care in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: Sit down and stop making a fool of yourself!

MR. TOBIN: Why don't you stand up and say something? Mr. Speaker, the minister talks about making a fool of himself. I saw that happening up in the old House about two years ago, when my colleague from Humber Valley rose on a (inaudible) -


MR. TOBIN: Actually, Mr. Speaker, it was a Friday morning. It was the first time ever I saw the Premier really laugh about something, when he turned around and asked: 'What's Graham trying to say?'

MS. COWAN: He has bad eyesight, too.

MR. WINSOR: He said: 'Graham, that was (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Now, I say to the Minister of Environment that she should keep quiet when I am on the floor. She had just better keep quiet.


MR. TOBIN: You had just better keep quiet, I say to the Minister of Environment.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, I won't say it. But I tell you one thing, if there is anyone who should never shoot anything across the House at anyone, it is the Minister of Employment.

MR. WINSOR: Environment.

MS. COWAN: Oh, we have him (inaudible) now.

MR. TOBIN: No, you haven't got me rattled, but you got a lot of other people rattled, I say to the Minister of Environment. She should be more careful of what she says outside the House than inside the House, I say to the Minister of Environment. Stop insulting honourable, decent, honest people.

Now, Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: Get back on the bus, Premier, (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Back on the bus - I wish you would get off the bus. Mr. Speaker -


MR. WINSOR: She didn't giggle Friday morning.

MR. TOBIN: No, I said I wish he'd get off the bus. Mr. Speaker, the Premier of this Province and the Minister of Finance - it's unfortunate he can't be here today, and we all understand and appreciate why the Minister of Finance cannot be here. There are people today in this Province who are concerned as to what is going to come.

I had a call today, as a matter of fact, from someone who said: 'What's going to happen to me next year?' 'I haven't got a clue, and I don't think the Minister of Finance knows what's going to happen to you next year,' I said to him with all honesty. There was only one person who knew what was going to be this Budget and there is only one person who knows what is going to be in the next Budget, and that's the Premier of the Province.

I can say I was disappointed that there is no support, there was nothing there more specific to stimulate the economy. There were some good things there, and I give credit for that, but there was nothing there to stimulate the economy. For example, in my own district, I say to the Member for Port de Grave, when this crowd came to government the fish plant was operating in Grand Bank, Fortune, Marystown, Burin, and the secondary processing in Burin, and there was 500-plus employees at the Marystown Shipyard.

Today, Mr. Speaker, the Shipyard is basically closed. The Marystown fish plant is closed and the trawlers tied up; the refit centre in Burin is reduced; the fish plant in Grand Bank is closed. There is practically nobody working on the Burin Peninsula. They are going away, Mr. Speaker.

MR. EFFORD: Do you want me to tell you why your fish plant closed (inaudible) the (inaudible) today?

MR. TOBIN: There are a lot of reasons why the fish plant is closed.

MR. EFFORD: Did you hear today what they gave the foreign ships inside the 200-mile limit? - thirty-four thousand metric tons.

MR. TOBIN: There are a lot of reasons why it is closed. But one reason why it is closed is totally because of the deep-sea trawlers, I say to the Member for Port de Grave -


MR. TOBIN: - who has spent his lifetime attacking the men who manned them.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: That is one reason why they are not there. Because there has never been a more dedicated, bunch of harder-working fishermen in this Province, I say to the Member for Port de Grave.

MR. EFFORD: It has nothing to do with hard work - fishing during the spawning season!

MR. TOBIN: The months of January, February and March, I can tell him where the crowd was.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: The deep-sea fishery kept the South Coast alive for years, Mr. Speaker!

MR. EFFORD: That is the reason (inaudible), brother.

MR. TOBIN: What's that?

MR. EFFORD: That's the reason. The (inaudible) was fishing during the spawning season! That is the reason there isn't a plant.

MR. TOBIN: Oh! Who, besides yourself, made you the hero?

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Go talk to some of the trawler captains and find about it!


MR. TOBIN: You were never out on one of the trawlers, so you know nothing about it.

MR. EFFORD: Oh, no!

MR. TOBIN: You were never out on one of the trawlers and you know nothing about it. The most ever you did was gill net. The most ever you did was set gill nets. And I'm not sure if you took them back or not.

Now, Mr. Speaker, what we have here - and I have only a couple of minutes left -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) by leave.

MR. TOBIN: No, I won't 'by leave'. But I will say to the Member for Windsor - Buchans that I don't need any instructions from him as it relates to the fishery in this Province. The point I was making is that the whole system in this Province is a mess - the Burin Peninsula. And I wonder what the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir thinks of the statement by the Member for Port de Grave.

AN HON. MEMBER: What's that?

MR. TOBIN: That the trawlermen ruined the fishery of this Province.

MR. EFFORD: During the spawning season!

MR. TOBIN: I wonder what the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir - Burgeo being in his district - thinks of that statement; or the Member for Fortune - Hermitage, who has trawlers; or the Member for Trinity North, who has the fish plant in Catalina. You hear your colleague saying the reason why your fish plants are closed is because of the hard-working men who were on the trawlers. That is what the Member for Port de Grave has said in this House.

It is like the other day when the Member for Fortune - Hermitage - and he isn't here - got up to present a petition - legitimately, and I think he did it sincerely, on behalf of the people of Seal Cove. Not one person over there, including the Minister of Education, spoke to support it. That is the type of government we have in this Province, I say to members opposite.

Mr. Speaker, if my time is up, I want to say that this document is a deceptive document. It is saturated with deceit -

AN HON. MEMBER: You can't read, you can't read.

MR. EFFORD: You can't read, that's right.

MR. TOBIN: - saturated with deceit, Mr. Speaker. And something that this Province could ill-afford at this point in time is an increase in taxes. When you go to get gas, drop into a gas station, now I am told today it has increased four cents a litre at the pumps.


MR. TOBIN: Four cents a litre at the pumps.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and address the contents of this Financial Statement.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, the Province finds itself in a very interesting position in the economic history of the world. If you look back over our longer term history perhaps the easiest point at which we can find an equation is that period of time in the late 20's and early 1930's when the Province found that in a time of increased expenditure it had drastically decreased revenues. Mr. Speaker, I do not think we have reached that stage but certainly the lessons learned during the 1930's will perhaps serve us well as to how one might address these questions in the future. I believe the Minister of Finance in giving his statement has brought to attention very serious matters for the people of the Province to consider and I will touch on them briefly.

First of all of course it is frightening to all of us when we hear that the public debt in this Province approaches the cost of $10,000 per person and that is just our provincial share of the provincial debt and not the share of our national debt and of course we have the cost of servicing that debt on an annual basis which again increases it from year to year. The minister also touched on the problems we have had with maintaining our credit rating and there is only one bonding agency in the western world which gives us an "A" of any sort and that is an "A minus" along with several "B's". What that relates to in terms of the Province's position is not only increased cost in borrowing but also more dangerously the availability of funds from pensions and other large corporate lenders in order to allow us as a Province to continue to finance the services that we provide to our residents.

It is interesting to look at the statements that are appended to the minister's financial statement which were not read on Friday past. In looking at our credit rating, I think it is important for us to realize that not only have we increased our total budgetary requirements this year from approximately $240 million to $265 million but that we have also increased the amount of our redemptions. In other words, Mr. Speaker, those funds which we borrowed in previous years have to be redeemed this year in the amount of $198 million and that is the problem with the deficit, Mr. Speaker, as we continue to borrow money it means that in ensuing years we have to find additional monies to pay back those that we borrowed in the past.

I believe that it is indicative of the Minister of Finance's prudent usage of public funds that in this year, it being one of very low interest rates, has increased our redemptions of past year's issues from $99 million to $142 million and that will result in a net savings over the coming years as a result of refinancing that debt at a lower interest rate. The third factor that he alluded to were the declining revenues which had been dramatic on the shrinking tax base that we have and the shrinking economy which has declined from a projection of one-half of 1 per cent to 2.8 per cent. We have experienced significant reductions. Retail sales taxes have declined from $562 million to $545 million, personal income tax more dramatically from $517 to $472 million and as well corporate income tax by over $4 million from $48,600,000 to $44 million, even mining tax and royalties, Mr. Speaker, have declined from $20.9 million projected to $17.9 million a decline of some $3 million or 15 per cent, Mr. Speaker, thank you.

I do not know if we should look at it as consoling or disturbing but the major increase in government revenues this year are in lottery revenues and those have increased from a projection of $29,500,000 to a total of $40 million.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DICKS: Well the hon. member opposite says desperate people, it is often said - not a proposition with which I agree, that in times of economic peril people are more inclined to spend money on items of chance and gambling that perhaps concern them less when times are good. One might have different rationales for it, Mr. Speaker, but I think in any event all of us in this House would sooner see the monies coming into government coffers from things like income tax and retail sales tax where people are earning and spending more, than to see it come from things such as lotteries. On the other hand that may be a simple minded view because one generally tends to think that lottery revenues are in the nature of a luxury and perhaps people who are spending on lotteries are doing so from excess income. But of the two choices I expect that the first rather than the latter, is a more appropriate analyst at this point in our history.

The other distressing factor is the extent to which the federal government transfers to this Province, the monies that we have available to finance our various services, has declined precipitously from 50 per cent some several years ago about 1989 to 43 per cent today. This inequalization alone means a difference of some $49 million, as a result in part of the national decline that free trade has created in this country but more importantly I think it is a sign that the federal governments economic policies are not working and they are seriously and adversely affecting this Province.

No doubt we find ourselves, to some extent, a ship with some sails but with several that have been torn by the winds that beset not only this Province but also most of the world in a changing economic circumstance. Mr. Speaker, it is encouraging that the government and the departments and the colleagues in Cabinet have been in this difficult time, able to do so well when you look at the alternatives available to them.

The minister has said that there was a three-pronged attack on the deficit, and in taking measures it has been reduced from $153.8 million down to $78.6 million. That has been a total of approximately $75 million that has been found through three different measures. The first is expenditure reduction and those have been dramatic. There has been a saving of approximately $20 million from the 1 per cent salary and the 3 per cent operating reduction, but beyond that and I think, most importantly, is the fact that the departments, no doubt on the leadership of the ministers concerned, have found $28.5 million worth of savings. That is very significant when you consider that that is above and beyond the 3 per cent operating cost that departments were asked to identify. Similarly, with Crown restraints, you are looking at a saving of $14.3 million and a minor freeze on consulting and technical acquisitions, for a total of $64.6 million.

If there is one criticism that members of this House hear repeatedly, it is against waste by government and government officials and public servants, and I think most people in this Province will take encouragement from the fact that government and through the ministers leaderships, has taken the lead and turned the screws to achieve those savings that so many people have wished.

The tax increases, Mr. Speaker, are not ones that we wish to dwell on for any long period of time. Tax increases are always ugly and unpalatable, but having said that, I believe they are within the realm of acceptability; the alternative available which was much discussed and certainly never decided upon, was rollbacks and that certainly in the final analysis was deemed not to be appropriate and perhaps more damaging on the revenue side than it would be on the expenditure side in achieving reductions there, and I am pleased to say that from my visit to my constituency this weekend, notwithstanding the reluctance to accept tax increases, there was certainly much greater abhorrence of any potential rollback and the effects that would have on the general economy. I believe that that decision by the ministers concerned and the Premier, was the right one and for that we are all grateful.

The borrowing, Mr. Speaker, has increased significantly by approximately $50 million from a total of about $29 million up to now, $78.6 million. It is a fairly significant increase, a larger increase in the range of about 150 per cent, but certainly a responsible increase and one well within the limits that this Province can bear at this time without endangering its credit rating. The other points that other speakers have touched on and that I have heard in my district, is the fact that there would be no hydro increase, that some Crowns that have outlived their usefulness would be privatized with significant savings to government in operation and in recapture of capital that has been expended.

The changes in the corporate tax rate have been generally received as positive and will hopefully be encouraging economic growth and providing jobs for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. The payroll tax, as well, Mr. Speaker, is one that has been changed for the coming year. It will not apply to any increase or expansion in business or any new businesses. Having said all that, I think it is very clear that the Budget must be deemed a success. All of us present, I am sure, and I speak for my colleagues universally, when I say that we congratulate the Cabinet and the Premier on achieving a creative and thoughtful Budget. We commend the Minister of Finance for his thoroughness and for the steps taken by he and his colleagues to reduce government expenditures, as I said earlier, a very welcome step.

Government of course relies on the goodwill of its public servants and officials to carry out its policies and provide key services to the public. It is my impression and perception that this Budget has the universal support of the public servants who serve this Province so well, and the public can be assured of the continued high level of public service that we have always enjoyed. The general public as I mentioned earlier, will accept the increased borrowings with reluctance of course; the taxes with a little greater reluctance, but, as I said, they were deemed to be fair and necessary and the reductions no doubt will be greeted with enthusiasm.

Lastly, Mr. Speaker, but certainly not least, I commend my fellow private members, not only for their concern about the deficit, but the frank, insightful and helpful manner in which they contributed to our Cabinet colleagues' difficult deliberations and decisions.

Mr. Speaker, those are the comments I wish to make. I think it is easy to summarize and say, as for the reasons I have stated, that this Budget is successful. It is one well within the realm that this Province can accept in terms of increased borrowings; in terms of changes to government programs, and as well giving projection to the future as to where we would hope to end up and succeed.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise to speak for a few minutes on this Financial Statement that the Minister of Finance brought down on -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister responsible for Municipal and Provincial Affairs will undoubtedly want to address this House after about some of the mistakes that he has made in his particular department, and he can explain those after I speak, but I am sure he would like for me to continue and allow me to say my few words, even if I do make a mistake.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, I listened with a little delight to the Minister responsible for Employment and Labour Relations when he spoke on the Financial Statement presented by the Minister of Finance on Friday. He talked about how he was pleased and he supported it.

I just wanted him to know that a few of the people that he worked with several years ago, all of four years ago, back when he was a labour leader, are not very excited about this Financial Statement that he so readily supports. I am talking, of course, about the teachers that I bumped into this weekend up in western Labrador. They are not fooled whatsoever by this document that the Minister of Finance presented on Friday. I would be awfully surprised if anybody who sits within the Cabinet was fooled by it, because they know what it is all about.

The Minister responsible for Employment and Labour Relations knows what they are up to. He knows what it is all about. He talks about this new era of co-operation that the unions are going to have with this regime; but the union leaders have also figured out what it is all about.

AN HON. MEMBER: You've got the 'no rollback blues'.

MR. A. SNOW: No, Mr. Speaker, I do not have any 'no rollback blues' that the hon. Member for St. John's South has over there, because he knows too. He is in on this scam. He is in on this sting; but most of the union members are also aware of it, because the public employees have felt that they have been betrayed. They feel that they have been betrayed because they went through a few anxious, fearful weeks.

AN HON. MEMBER: Caused by the unions.

MR. A. SNOW: Now, Mr. Speaker, who caused this? Some of the members over there, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, says that the unions caused this fear. Well they undoubtedly did not cause the fear because they were the ones who attended meetings and said: You are going to have to do this. They had a gun held to their heads, and they reported that to their membership. That is what they did. They respected the wishes of their membership.

The teachers in western Labrador wanted me to express, especially to the two former colleagues whom they worked with, their disgust, their disappointment and their disillusionment with what has occurred with the two people, in particular, whom they worked with while they were in their association. Because they know, as their leadership knows, that the problem that this regime didn't address this particular time on the agenda has been postponed, Mr. Speaker. It has been postponed. That is what they have done, Mr. Speaker, and the teachers recognize it.

AN HON. MEMBER: So do the nurses of this Province right now.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the nurses and other government employees will recognize it, the public employees that the hon. member from Humber West talked about, that they so readily rely on to deliver government services to the citizens of this Province.

Mr. Speaker, one of my colleagues told me a story of a person meeting the hon. Minister responsible for Employment and Labour Relations.

AN HON. MEMBER: A former colleague.

MR. A. SNOW: A former colleague of his bumped into him in a public place, Mr. Speaker. He was out shopping, buying some Christmas gifts, and he bumped into the hon. minister. He was terrified, he was absolutely terrified. He looked around everywhere. He stood at the top of the escalator, looked all over the mall and said: My God, I hope nobody sees me talking to the minister. I hope nobody sees me. I will be blacklisted, I suppose, or at least ostracized by the brothers and sisters of my union. And so he probably would. But, no, not really, I don't think. I don't think, Mr. Speaker, the union would blacklist members just for speaking to him. They wouldn't do that.

Mr. Speaker, I listened with a little bit of interest, too, when he attempted to just slough off. It is not important that income tax has been raised 3 percentage points. That is not important whatsoever. Mr. Speaker, he sloughs this off as completely unimportant, a 3 percentage point raise in personal income tax for the people of this Province. That is very important. That is a fairly hefty tax grab when you consider that each point represents about $6 million.

Mr. Speaker, that nine points that they have raised, that is $50 million more coming out of the pockets of the people in this Province next year. That is what it means, Mr. Speaker. Now, he can finagle around -

AN HON. MEMBER: How much (inaudible)?


MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Port de Grave is concerned about how much is coming from his pocket, and so he should be because this is one heck of a tax grab, Mr. Speaker, this is the mother of all tax grabs in this Province. That is what it is, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. A. SNOW: The people in my district, because of this, are paying $1500 more a year. That is what they are paying, Mr. Speaker. What do they get for it? They get a decreased quality of education because of layoffs of student assistants. They get a decreased quality in health care because of cutbacks to our hospitals. They have to wait as much as ten and eleven weeks to get their vehicles licensed because of the closure of motor vehicle registration.

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt there is not going to be a lot of money spent in western Labrador, and some of the businesses will not be able to grow as they should, because this regime doesn't understand that if you increase the taxes you remove money from the economy, Mr. Speaker. They don't understand that simple principle. The hon. Member for Humber West highlighted that when he spoke. Because they don't understand that all that money that you pay a nurse, she doesn't spend that money down in Bermuda. She spends her money in Labrador City and Wabush. So that's why your Budget was out of whack by $46 million on personal income tax receipts this year. Because you laid off the nurses, the teachers and the government workers last year.

Because of this simplistic approach to the economy this regime has done a lot of damage to our provincial economy. They've done a tremendous amount of damage. Because you've overtaxed it. You've created too much of a burden on businesses and on individuals. Because when you place it on the individual that means that the employer has to increase the taxes. As the former Minister of Finance stood in his place and argued with me that the people in Labrador didn't deserve, should not have, a tax concession from the federal government, he said they should not have it because he didn't understand that was creating more wealth in Labrador. Because people would have more discretionary money to spend.

He couldn't understand that. Because he couldn't get his slippery little paws on it, that's it! His greedy little paws couldn't get a hold of the tax dollars that the federal government gave. They applied that same principle this time when they brought down the statement on the financial economy of this Province on Friday morning. They had the same principle applied again.

What did they do? The federal government last week proposed a tax decrease. This government, the provincial government, at loggerheads with them now, says: instead of a decrease we're going to drive up the taxes. The federal government proposed capital expenditure to give the economy a little nudge, the Minister of Finance, Mazankowski, suggested. What does this government do? They decrease capital expenditures as witnessed in the statement presented on Friday. What is it, $15 million. Decreased. In capital expenditure.

Now it's that simplistic attitude that has this government where it is today. When they cooked the books - they cooked the books to make it look good, they cooked the books to make it look bad. The recipe has run out. Their time is running out. Because the people have them figured out. Because they know that this is what this is all about. They've attempted to take advantage of the unions, the public sector employees, throughout the whole complete public sector.

MR. EFFORD: Now you don't agree with the unions! You of all people! Now come on, please. (Inaudible)!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the public sector unions have recognised this group for what they are. They've put more tax on the labour movement in this Province than any other government since the Smallwood regime back during the 1950s when they attacked the union movement in this Province. I forget the number of the bill but it was the IWA strike. Now, the things that this government - in ten years time people will look back writing about the history of the labour movement in this Province, and there'll be a lot of comparisons made with what this government has been doing to the labour movement in this Province and what the previous, previous administration, the Smallwood administration....

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: The Minister responsible for Employment and Labour Relations said: yes, I agree, we're going to do it, he said. I hope Hansard recorded what he suggested there, Mr. Speaker, that they were going to do this. The Minister responsible for Employment and Labour Relations is proud of the fact that this government is attacking the labour movement, attempting to solve - they attempted to make them the scapegoat for all their bungling, Mr. Speaker, and for all their incompetence, because it is either complete incompetence or the biggest sting of the century. It is one or the other.

As the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations suggested he could not understand why different people would have different opinions as to what the problem is. Well, it is not difficult, Mr. Speaker. I read with a certain amount of interest coming out on a flight last night an article in the Evening Telegram about students not being very impressed with the quality and the decorum in the House of Assembly. In the interview a student was expressing how there did not seem to be any answers forthcoming from ministers about particular questions with regard to education.

We saw it again today when the Minister of Education would not directly answer a series of questions - the minister would not respond. The Minister of Education sits down with a grin on his face. The Minister of Finance thumps his desk. Somebody else pats him on the shoulder and everybody laughs at him. Then we wonder as political leaders in this Province why high school children are completely disillusioned with the process. The people of the Province should at least be treated with the respect they have earned, because they have earned it. When people such as the Minister of Education do not treat the people of this Province with respect I believe he will get his just deserts because the people have become completely disillusioned, disappointed and disgusted with people who behave this way in the House of Assembly or in the Parliament in Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, we have to take this job seriously. The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations talked about how he laughed because he thought that somebody made a mistake on whether it was going to be a 69 per cent provincial income tax or a 67 per cent. He laughed at whether it was going to be a 9 percentage point increase in income tax or a 7.5 per cent increase in income tax. He laughed at that. He laughed at whether it was going to go up 13 per cent or 15 per cent. Now, that is the amount of respect he has for taxpayers. He sits idly by with the group of colleagues he is working with and allows this to occur. They do not have any concept whatsoever of what occurs in an economy. When you pay a teacher he thinks that is an expense over here and it does not apply over on the revenue side, that that salary all goes out as just an expense and there is no revenue from it. He does not understand that that teacher does not spend all the money down in Bermuda or in the Bahamas. They spend the money here in St. John's if they live here, or in Labrador and Wabush if they live there, Mr. Speaker. He does not understand that and that is why he agreed when this government rolled back public sector wages. He agreed with it. That is why he agreed with Bill 16. That is why he agreed with Bill 17, and that is why he is getting ready setting the stage so that when he has to he will support Bill 18. That is what he will do.


MR. A. SNOW: Would the hon. Member for Waterford - Kenmount like to speak or ask a question?

Mr. Speaker, this group persist in believing in the myth that the public sector does not contribute to, but rather subtracts from, the overall economy of this Province. They believe it does not contribute to, but subtracts from, the overall wealth of the Province. It could not be further from the truth. That is a myth. That is not true, and it is one of the reasons why this Province has found itself where it is today, when people are taxed so much that they have created a huge underground economy, an underground economy that is dangerously high, and I think that with further exposure of this particular document, people are going to assess it for what it is worth, and they are going to see what it really was. They are going to see that it is a 15 per cent tax, on gasoline tax, in Labrador West -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. A. SNOW: - or throughout the whole Province - 15 per cent increase; a 15 per cent income tax grab - increase.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up. Does the hon. member have leave of the House?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

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

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MURPHY: The first thing I would like to say is that due to the excruciating pain being suffered by this dedicated, hon. member, I made a small snap at my friend and colleague from Burin - Placentia West today, and I apologize to him because he is usually not too bad. He doesn't say a whole lot, but -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Here comes the fertilizer now from Kilbride. However, one has to endure.

I tell you, Mr. Speaker, talking about surgery and pain, I was home with several grams of medication in my system, and I turned on the radio and heard my colleague and counterpart and friend, the hon. Minister of Finance, and you would be surprised at the relief. My knee - the pain all of a sudden dispersed. I sat there on my bed and phrase after phrase, sentence after sentence, paragraph after paragraph, the pain slowly subsided until when the hon. minister was finished, I did not realize it, but I was up step dancing to no music, to the great chagrin of my wife. She said: Sit down, you are not supposed to be doing that. I said: You should have heard what Winston had to say. It was surely wonderful.

I heard the hon. members opposite this time last week talking about rollbacks, fearmongering. We were destroying the retail trade; everything was downhill; we were grinches; we were after doing everything. They had the unions in turmoil. In fact, I only heard today that one union spend nearly $500,000 organizing for rollbacks.


MR. MURPHY: Yes. It would have been better if they had had a good Christmas party. One union of the public sector union spent nearly half a million dollars organizing for a rollback that never occurred.

MS. COWAN: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: No, I missed the last three days last week, but I can sense and see today, when I walked in and looked over, what a look of despair. You could see right to the core of the members opposite that they were disappointed. How can a politician, I suppose any politician in the opposition, be disappointed with prosperity? Now there is a word that was used by - who was that used by - prosperity? What was that phrase?

AN HON. MEMBER: Marshall, was it?

MR. MURPHY: Bill Marshall or somebody used the word 'prosperity'. Well, you know, what has transpired over the last few weeks in this House is not new. There is nothing new about it whatsoever. This government, as previous governments, found itself in a very precarious position through no fault of its own. Now, therein lies the difference. I would suggest that the recession of 1991 and 1992 is probably the most extreme recession that this country and this Province has seen since the 30s. Now I do not need to remind hon. members, who said: I do not, I do not want to stay around; I do not want to hang around, I do not have the political will because this Province is going back to the 30s.

AN HON. MEMBER: He said it will blow your mind.

MR. MURPHY: Let me tell you what that hon. gentleman had to say in 1984, when he was discussing the Budget, Mr. Speaker. He said with these lower than - I am quoting now, the hon. A. Brian Peckford: with these lower than expected revenues, we did not limit our efforts to restrain wages. We reduced programs in government as well. Here are some of the cuts in expenditure we made. In 1984: Reduction in hiring. Reduction in operating expenses. Closure of institutions, including the Cottage Hospitals at Northwest River, I might suggest to you, Minister of Justice, and at Markland. Program reductions, elimination of student allowances. Where is the Member for Humber East or the Member for Ferryland? The introduction of tuition fees in vocational schools. Reduction in financial assistance to municipal and school boards. Oh yes, road and building maintenance cutbacks -


MR. MURPHY: Oh yes - and funding limitations in hospitals -

AN HON. MEMBER: We did not announce that.

MR. MURPHY: No, we did not announce it. This was, Mr. Peckford, in 1984. This was his statement to the nation: A Fireside Chat for the folks of Newfoundland, that is what it was, Budget '84: Ladies and Gentlemen, that is how he opened it up, went on tv, I wonder who paid for it, I wonder who paid for it? Talk about silly $600 doorknobs, silly and stupid $600 doorknobs. I wonder who paid for the Premier to get on tv and tell the Province of a worse situation than this government had to deal with, according to him.

But what really had the hon. members upset, what really had the militants upset, the Mr. Curtis's - Mr. Curtis is so militant, I would suggest to the Chair that if he thought he could garnish up the arms and the money, he would have a coup. He would have a coup, he would try to overthrow this place, he would be in here; so these are the gentlemen now whom we have seen is the NTA who have accepted the document that the Minister of Finance brought down on Friday.

We have seen the nurses who have accepted it and understand it, but now we find the other side of the wall and there is nothing we can do about that. What the hon. members opposite did was heap all the fear on the 42,000 people who were paid directly and indirectly by government and when it all went out with the tide on Friday morning they now have nothing else to do but try and fearmonger up to next March. Well, by next March the hon. member may not be in his seat to talk about fearmongering. He just may not be there. Well, he made a little statement today where he tried to protect the unions in Labrador West but I know why, and the hon. member knows why he made the statement today. He is trying to wave the union flag. Well, now Randy can wave the flag and that might be the problem. That just might be the problem in Labrador West.

AN HON. MEMBER: Randy who?

AN HON. MEMBER: Randy Collins.

MR. MURPHY: He turned on my good friend and colleague, and I do not mind saying, my brother-in-law, the hon. Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.


MR. MURPHY: The hon. member this weekend received 117 house party invitations for over the Christmas period from X teachers and he told everybody he would try and do his best to attend them all. If there is anybody who can attend 117 Christmas parties it is the hon. the minister. He could almost do that in a week walking on his hands. It is too bad that the hon. Member for Humber East is not here because she was so critical. As a matter of fact last week and the week before she, with a great vengeance, asked some pretty heavy-duty questions of the Minister of Justice, made some inferences and got on about this that and the other thing. She is not here today. I never heard her make a comment about her friend for St. John's East who is in a much different situation. The hon. member, who like the hon. Member for Kilbride, takes his full MHA benefits, which he is entitled to. He practices law. Now, I heard he is downgrading his legal activities in his office.

MR. EFFORD: That is a ten year venture. That could take ten years. He is not now making $250,000 he is making $225,000.

MR. MURPHY: Well, I do not know but I am anxious when the hon. member stands in his place. I am sorry that the Member for St. John's East is not here today. 1984: Verge modifies changes in student aide policy. Now let me tell you that was a negative day for the students in this Province and that - where is the Member for Ferryland? I am going to send all this over to him, Mr. Speaker, before - incredible, I was up all last night digging this stuff up, as a matter of fact I got about an hour-and-a-half sleep trying to find all - because I knew this material was available, I knew the material was out there. My colleague and friend from Placentia told me it was out there and he said that he had looked it up one time for a whole weekend he said he tried to find it and he gave me some of the stuff I have here today and I want to thank him publicly. I want to thank him publicly. Canadian Press clipping service, November 18th, 1983: Newfoundland plans to hold down health care salaries. I mean it is just a return. Now I am not criticising the Peckford administration, don't get me wrong. Well I could move over to another file that the Member for Placentia gave me but that is the one that deals with limousines and cigars and all that but I would not open that today. I decided to stay away from that today, I did not want to get into it. That is for another time. But I know and I tell the Member for Kilbride, I know what they went through up in the Cabinet room trying to find the funding, trying to stay away from the brokers, trying to do whatever they could to keep this Province afloat.

Do you remember the attack that Mr. Peckford made on his counterpart, Mr. Crosbie? I mean it was a threatening attack, it almost makes you want you to go out and get someone to look after you. That is how severe it was and some of the hon. members Opposite remember, they remember. Mr. Speaker, let me say that in all fairness this government in a situation that without question, without question has not been as severe as the day that they had to sneak poor old Squires, Sir Richard, down through the hatch in the Colonial Building and take him out in a wig and lady's attire.

Never has this Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Country of Newfoundland, faced an economic recession, bordering depression since those days. Now I want you to think, and I want the people of this Province to think - and they have seen in the last weekend, people in Bonavista North, people in Bonavista South -

AN HON. MEMBER: The people in St. John's East.

MR. MURPHY: - people in St. John's East, people in St. John's North, now understand what this government was faced with, and they saw fiscal management. I wish our credit rating was as good as the fiscal management rating that belongs to this government - AAA - came through it with flying colours, and we saw it.

I am sorry to hear today from the House Leader that the Minister of Finance has somebody sick in his family, because this evening I was hoping to invite him down to the house for some rabbit pie I have made.


MR. MURPHY: I got a couple of rabbits over the weekend and I was going to invite him down.

AN HON. MEMBER: Why don't you invite the opposition down to serve them crow?

MR. MURPHY: But I guess I can invite the hon. opposition members down. Perhaps they can come down and eat some crow or something.

What has transpired in the last week is unbelievable. So what do we hear today? The grinch and all of that is gone. Those kind of phrases are out the window. We have seen four big unions standing up, trying to address the fact that this government now, because of the position, because of where we are - Bill 17, we could have left it in place. The minister could have left it in place - gone - back to the table, sit down for meaningful negotiations with a government that cares.

Now the hon. Member for St. John's East came roaring out of the House on Friday, and he got captured. Now I talked with hon. members today and they said he was over. Every time the Minister of Finance would read a sentence or two, he would gasp and take another mouthful of water, and he was not sure how to handle it.

When he got out and the cameras got on him, he praised the government because of that sense of fairness that is in him - and it is in him. Do not be misled. The Member for St. John's East has some sense of fairness; but as he got talking to some of his cronies over the weekend, then I heard another statement: Oh, this government is out to give it to the unions and blah, blah, blah. So he went back to the old school. He could not stay with what he said on Friday when he came out of the House, because -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Well he hit the wrath of Fraser, and he hit the wrath of David, and he hit the wrath of whoever else, alright? They said: Now Jack, what are you up to? What are you saying? Are you siding with the government? Well give it up.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).


AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: He got more than a secretary.

MR. MURPHY: Taking his - Richard. I do not believe it, not fair. That is not fair, however, I am sure the hon. member has a reason and they have a reason and whatever. But, Mr. Speaker, what happened on Friday morning, was a positive response on the part of a government that had a situation that was nothing more than extreme, negatively extreme and this government dealt with it and dealt with it well, and I think that the hon. members, today - I mean, you could see them, they were beaten before the hon. Speaker called Question Period today, you looked over, you could see the haggard look on their faces -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) talking to you here today.

MR. MURPHY: Nothing, not a word. No, as the Member for Eagle River points out, not a peep on the 'E' word today, not a quibble. They were over there last week and the Member for Fogo, was bawling out: election, election! You could hear him all over the place, election! Not a peep, not a murmur, not an utterance because what they saw, Mr. Speaker, in reality was, a government who took a situation, a very serious situation and dealt with it in its entirety, moved around, everything was on the table as the Premier said, as the Minister of Finance said and they moved it all around and did an exceptionally good administrative job, in dealing with what had to be done and the sad part, Mr. Speaker, is, Mr. Peckford had the same situation with eighty-four dollars, not ninety-two dollars - as a matter of fact, I looked today, look, right here in the Arcade, Mr. Speaker, a beehive of chunky wool, 50 gram ball, was only a $1.25.

Now I bought a ball of that for my wife the other night and it was $3.50; $3.50 today, so you cannot compare the $70 million shortfall that befell this gang over here in 1984 and compare it with the dollar of 1992. It is a different dollar, Mr. Speaker, a much different dollar. If we had a $70 million shortfall in 1983, it would be more than $153 million in 1992. Anybody in their right sense knows that.

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

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, as Your Honour said, that terminates the debate under the special procedure that was put in place by agreement. Tomorrow we will be back on -

AN HON. MEMBER: Stop the clock.

MR. ROBERTS: The clock is stopped, I assure my hon. friends opposite, unless they want to be back here tonight. Mr. Speaker, there are two things on the order of business. Tomorrow we shall call Bill 56, the Police Act for second reading debate.

AN HON. MEMBER: Bill 56?

MR. ROBERTS: Bill 56. It is the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Act, the Peter Boswell Memorial Act, a very excellent column in Saturday's Telegram, Mr. Boswell.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. ROBERTS: It is excellent. I do not agree with him but it is excellent. Mr. Speaker, we would normally give notice of the private member's motion at this time to be debated on Wednesday but I understand from gentlemen opposite that they have not yet had an occasion to decide that. They are in the position we were in last week in so many words, so I assume my friend from Grand Bank will give us some idea tomorrow, then we will tell the House as soon as we can. Tomorrow we will be doing Bill 56. We will see how we get along with that. That should take us up to at least Christmas Eve, I figure, then we will carry on from there.

MR. ROBERTS: I move that the House at its rising do adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Tuesday at 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon.