March 9, 1993                   HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS             Vol. XLI  No. 3

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to advise the House of Assembly that this morning, on behalf of the government I participated in a truly historic event in Newfoundland and Labrador, and I believe in Canada for that matter, by receiving from William Andersen III, President of the Labrador Inuit Association, a comprehensive land claims proposal on behalf of the Labrador Inuit.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: The Labrador Inuit have been researching and preparing their land claim since the early 1970's and they actually presented a proposal, I believe in 1977. Today's proposal was prepared by the Inuit of Labrador in response to a process suggested by the Province in late 1991 to accelerate negotiations. The negotiations which began in late 1988 and were proposed for completion in 1994, were well behind schedule. The accelerated process proposed by the Province was offered to both the Inuit and the Innu of Labrador in early 1992. The Labrador Inuit, through its Association the LIA, accepted the provincial process with some modifications, and agreed to prepare a comprehensive settlement package, and I received that package today. The province is expected to respond within four months, a month to sort of elaborate on the details of the proposals and then three months for the Province to prepare its response.

Our efforts will be complicated by the fact that the federal government has withdrawn from the negotiations. The federal government withdrew because of failure to reach agreement with the Province on the issue of responsibility for financial compensation. The Province has already agreed that it will be responsible for those elements of a land claims settlement that are within its jurisdictional competence to provide, that I might add includes financial compensation if the negotiations disclosed that the province should make financial compensation. The federal government has insisted that in addition to this, the province should commit in advance to provide a fixed percentage of any financial compensation, this the Province is not prepared to do. We will continue to work with Ottawa to resolve this impasse, but in the interim, we will proceed to negotiate with the LIA on matters within provincial jurisdiction.

To meet our commitment to respond realistically within the proposed timeframe, the Province has established an Interdepartmental Land Claims Committee consisting primarily of Assistant Deputy Ministers from each department of government which will be the coordinating mechanism to carry out the analysis and develop responses on specific issues. The Aboriginal Affairs Steering Committee, comprised primarily of Deputy Ministers, will address policy issues respecting land claims and report to the Planning and Priorities Committee of Cabinet which has specific responsibility for aboriginal matters.

A detailed work plan has already been established involving the above committees with the objective of a mid-July target date for completion of the provincial response. I know we will have divergence of views on some of the positions put forward by the LIA, but these are honest differences, and I am confident the resolution of these differences by good faith negotiation will be made easier by early agreement on many other issues made possible by this accelerated approach.

The Innu Nation was offered the same accelerated approach and a response to our 1991 offer was received just two weeks ago. The Innu Nation has not accepted this approach to negotiate their claim. We are prepared to proceed with the Innu Nation in the traditional slower approach once they have ceased the illegal activity of removing hydro meters from the community. When the Innu Nation has agreed to stop its illegal activity the traditional land claims process can be re-instated, noting that it has at any time the option to switch to the new accelerated approach if it so wishes.

I regret that no federal minister, nor any federal representative, was present at today's formal presentation of the Labrador Inuit proposal.

While the Province is willing and anxious to move ahead in the negotiating process as far and as quickly as possible, the Province cannot address issues within federal jurisdiction. This is the responsibility of the federal government and I sincerely hope the federal negotiators will soon come back to the Table.

Government must work hard over the next several months to respond to the challenge presented by the LIA proposal. There will be a need for patience and understanding as we attempt to prepare a response that will realistically consider the interest of not just the Inuit, but all residents of the Province, particularly the residents of Labrador.

As Mr. Anderson stressed this morning, the process in which we are engaging must not be combative. It must instead focus on the need for and wisdom of working together to achieve what we all hope will be in the best interests of the people of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I want to respond to the statement by the Premier and say that I would like to congratulate, I guess, the LIA on submitting a comprehensive land claims proposal to government. Indeed, that's a very important step and a very positive step, I say to the Premier and to all members. It's nice to see that things are escalating, the speed is picking up on this issue.

I just want to say that it seems there are more and more committees being appointed by government. I know that committees are essential, but it makes me wonder just how many committees there must be that are functioning now or have been appointed by the Premier and his ministers to deal with issues that are pertinent to all aspects of the Province and in particular this lands claim issue. I have to say as well to the Premier that we, before and now, support the government's stance when it comes to the Innu nation. There is no way that anyone can support carrying on with any meaningful discussions when someone is involved in illegal activities, so I want once again to reiterate that, as much as I take exception with some of the things that the Premier and his government do, I cannot on this one.

As well, the Premier made mention that he regretted that there was no federal minister or federal representative present. Now, I do not know, Mr. Speaker, if that was because they were not invited -

AN HON. MEMBER: They were invited.

MR. MATTHEWS: Okay, well, they were invited but I guess then that answers the question. They were not there because the Province has refused I guess to give any indication of financial support, that seems to be the reason why they were not there. Of course it is the same old story I guess, the same old story, Mr. Speaker. Again, it is a lovely report, we are making great progress but when it comes to putting the nuts and bolts of the issue together, the Province is not willing to do very much.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I wish to address the -

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


MR. SPEAKER: The member has leave.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to address the statement of the hon. Premier on this important issue, and while I welcome that some progress is being made by the Labrador Inuit Association, and I congratulate them for their efforts in presenting to the government its position on this most complicated matter, I do not think that the government can ultimately reach an agreement with the Labrador Inuit Association without the participation of the Government of Canada. Constitutionally of course, the responsibility for this rests with the Government of Canada, and I think that the Government of Newfoundland ought to spend more time insisting that the Government of Canada play a proper role in these negotiations. While these negotiations/discussions may be useful, I think it would be a mistake for the government to try to reach a separate agreement with the Labrador Inuit Association, even in its own areas of constitution responsibility.

This is a long standing problem and difficulty, Mr. Speaker, with respect to Newfoundland and Labrador. The Government of Canada has, ever since Confederation, abdicated its real responsibility for the aboriginal peoples of this Province and have tried to avoid their responsibilities constitutionally and with respect to services being provided. So while I welcome these discussions, I do not think it would be right for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to essentially avoid the real question, and let the Government of Canada avoid the real question. With respect to the Innu nation, I cannot agree with the characterization that has been placed upon it by the Premier and by the Minister of Justice in prejudging what may or may not be a legal activity, and to take the position that they are not prepared to discuss with a group that have claims of the nature of the aboriginals unless they conform to some pre-arranged decision by the Minister of Justice as to what may or may not be illegal, I think, is inappropriate in the context of the aboriginal peoples.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: If there are no further Statements by Ministers, would the House permit the Chair to revert to the period before Statements by Ministers? Or, we do not need to do that since we are in the middle of nowhere, but what the Chair would like to do should be at the beginning, at the top. The Chair wanted to do it yesterday but there were so many things yesterday that I didn't want to delay the proceedings of the House. We have to do it today because it is a rather important matter. It is related to Commonwealth Day, and I have here, a message from Her Majesty the Queen that we have been asked to read into the record of the House. The request comes from the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, whom many of us would know, Arthur Donahoe, the first Canadian to get that job. He wrote me, we being a member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. I will just read an excerpt from his letter. He says, 'While Speaker of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, I read the text of the message from the Chair at the opening of proceedings on Commonwealth Day. You might want to consider the advisability of suggesting to your presiding officer' - that is written to our secretary - 'that this practice be adopted if it has not already been done.' So I am asking permission of the House to read Her Majesty's message to the House. Yesterday was Commonwealth Day.

"This year on Commonwealth Day, I am asking you to think about human values. I know from the many letters I receive from young people that their generation cares deeply about the rights of the individual, about the sufferings of others and about making a better world for all of us to live in. I believe the youth of the Commonwealth is well placed to give a lead in showing how human values can be improved.

We share the same world but we do not share the same opportunities. Everyone wants to be free from poverty and hunger, disease and discrimination, to have access to education, and to live in a safe environment. People everywhere want to be able to play a full part in the democratic government of their countries and to live in freedom, protected by just laws. These aspirations were endorsed by all the heads of government of the Commonwealth when they met in Harare in 1991, and much has been achieved since then in fulfilling them.

In societies where constitutional rights are assured, co-operation between all citizens becomes more natural and more fruitful in tackling the major problems we face. The achievement of one human value can help to achieve others. We should all aspire to raise the standards of life in our countries, to achieve a more prosperous and equitable society, and to exercise a powerful influence for peace within and between nations.

None of this is easy to bring about because the establishment of human values implies duties as well as rights. If we want to exercise and enlarge our rights and opportunities, we have to safeguard the rights and opportunities of others. We should look for chances to give service just as eagerly as we look for benefits for ourselves.

The young people of the Commonwealth have the future in their hands. May they keep their vision of human values alive and their determination to achieve them undiminished. And may our fifty nations, sharing our experience and working together to enhance the quality of life, send an example to the rest of the world."

Signed, Her Majesty, the Queen.

Presenting Reports by Standing and Special Committees.

AN HON. MEMBER: We have not had Oral Questions.

MR. SPEAKER: Oh - I am sorry. I don't think we would get away with that today!

Oral Questions

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We were just about to forego that. We want to show co-operation early in the session. We don't know what might happen later on.

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. At the end of the Premier's speech on Thursday, when he responded to the Throne Speech, he made a passionate plea for joint management of our fishery.

I want to say to the Premier, it seems rather ironic, and the timing has to be questioned, that here we are on the brink of a provincial election, when he seems to be picking up the cause rather vigorously - a cause, I might say very honestly to the Premier, that he questioned at times when he was in Opposition. And for a good part of his tenure now, four years in government, he asked such questions as: 'What would we do if we had it? We can't afford it. We wouldn't do the job any better than the Federal Government. Perhaps they are doing it better than we would do it if we had the management say,' and so on, the Premier said. I remember very well, in the old Legislature, the Premier making some of those remarks to me, in Question Period.

So I want to ask the Premier: If he really believed, and really believes, in joint management, why didn't he make it the central issue for our Province in the constitutional discussions that took place for about three years? Why did he allow the issue to die and not promote it at that time?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: It is fairly simple. I am not a blackmailer. I am not a blackmailer. I don't blackmail the Federal Government. That is the reason why I didn't make it an issue. No constitutional change is required for joint management. We don't propose change in constitutional jurisdiction. We just asked the Federal Government to put in place a sensible system of management of both aspects of the fishery - that which comes under the jurisdiction of the Province, and that which comes under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government. It has been the policy of this party and this government for a great many years, including the last election. It was part of our program during the last election and we put it forward.

I spoke when I sat on the opposite side of the House, as the hon. member mentioned, because I thought this suggestion of constitutional change in jurisdiction was wrongheaded, it was the wrong approach to it, but that joint management was, indeed, the right approach.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wasn't accusing the Premier of being a blackmailer. But one thing I can say to him, we know, very honestly and sincerely, is that he is not a very good negotiator, either, not only when it comes to the fishery, but with respect to negotiations that are ongoing in the Province.

The Premier talked about a constitutional amendment. There were lots of administrative agreements that were associated with the failed Meech Lake Accord and the Charlottetown Accord. Why couldn't the Premier have said that he really wanted - we want joint management, the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and we want it as an administrative agreement? Why didn't he say that? - not a constitutional change. It didn't have to be a constitutional change. Why didn't he say that? Why didn't he fight for that in those three years of constitutional discussions? - particularly in the last part of the constitutional discussions when there seemed to be such a mood of compromise in the Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I did, Mr. Speaker, in June of 1990. As a matter of fact, there was one occasion when New Brunswick wanted certain changes in the Meech Lake Accord. They wanted certain changes that would take out the discussion of roles and responsibilities in the fisheries. I said: 'Well, a commitment to discuss it is not a whole lot, but you can't ask me to take it out without replacing it with something.' And the Prime Minister said: 'Well, Clyde, if you will agree with that, I will give you a letter undertaking to put in place joint management consistent with that proposed in the Harris report.' So he gave me the letter that had that proposed. This was an undertaking that the Prime Minister gave me, and he gave me that letter.

Then, Premier Buchanan got all upset because of this. He wanted it changed. He was going to scuttle things, and he wasn't going to sign anything. So Premier McKenna changed his mind and he said: 'Okay, don't change the Meech Lake proposal, leave in discussion of roles and responsibilities in the fishery.' And, as a matter of honour, because Newfoundlanders are honourable people, I gave the letter back to the Prime Minister and said: 'Here, Prime Minister, it was given on a different basis. I have returned it to you.' The Prime Minister, in my meeting with him in November, acknowledged that. I reminded him of it. He acknowledged the discussion we had at the time and if Mr. Crosbie is being fair-minded at all, Mr. Crosbie will agree that we must put in place a system of joint management.

Now, one question raised that I didn't deal with in the first answer, and I must answer it now, was the question of timing. Timing is brought about now, making the position known now, by two factors: One, the Prime Minister's resignation. Because I had confidence that the Prime Minister would recognise the commitment he made to me in June of 1990. When I gave him back the letter he said: 'It is alright, Clyde - you don't need the letter, we will do it because it is the right thing to do.' I reminded the Prime Minister of that and I was prepared to rely on him to honour that commitment.

That is why it was raised at this time. The second point is: Mr. Crosbie, I am told, is about to bring in a proposal for joint management by the five Eastern Canadian Provinces, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland. Now, if you want to wreck the fishery of this Province permanently, put that in place and it will be done.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's right.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did you hear that? (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. MATTHEWS: Yes, I say to the hon. member, I heard it, but I don't believe everything the Premier says, the way he does.

But, Mr. Speaker, the Charlottetown Accord, I say to the Premier, dealt with everything, I guess, except leaks in the kitchen sink. The lists attached to the appendix, the lists of the issues that were raised but not resolved - I ask the Premier: Why was fisheries never mentioned in that list? We know it wasn't resolved, but why wasn't the fisheries ever mentioned and attached on the list? Was it because you never ever raised it?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, it wasn't because we didn't raise it. We did raise it, we did discuss it. But I say again, I am not prepared to turn the Newfoundland people into blackmailers - you do this for us or we will not agree to the constitutional changes, that should be made, anyway. This had nothing to do with constitutional change. This is an administrative agreement that can be entered into by the exercise of the legislative authority of Parliament and the legislative authority of this Legislature. We can put that into place without any difficulty whatsoever.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Premier can squirm all he likes, Mr. Speaker. There were numerous, I say to members opposite, administrative agreements that were listed in the appendix of the Charlottetown Accord, but fisheries was not there. If it was so high on this Premier's agenda, why was it not there, I say to his ministers, who are laughing at the matter?

MS. VERGE: He didn't even try.

AN HON. MEMBER: He said, Throw it in the garbage.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

We are on a supplementary, and the hon. member should get on with his supplementary. I ask the hon. member to get on with his supplementary, please.

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, let me ask the Premier why, for three years, while this Province was going to 'we know where' in a leaky basket, he was jogging in every major city in this Province, talking senate reform, distinct society, Native self-government, all important issues, I say to the Premier, but no talk on his national campaign then about our Provinces most important industry and the backbone of our economy, the fishery. Why won't the Premier tell the people of this Province and this House: Why wasn't the fishery at the top of your agenda then? Why did you waste three years and not mention our most important industry, and now, all of a sudden, you are going to launch another national campaign to try to persuade Canadians of the importance of Newfoundland and Labrador having some say over this industry? Why did you wait until now to have this say when you had the golden opportunity for three years to make that impression on the minds of Canadians, when you had their attention? Why didn't you do it then?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the document I have here is dated November, 1991. November, 1991, in case the hon. member doesn't know, here is the position of the government on effective fisheries management, on joint management and government co-operation in the Newfoundland and Labrador Fishery - just in the preface. The whole document is on joint management, what is necessary, how the board should be structured and how it should function. 'It should also be recognized that Newfoundland's proposal for joint management is an administrative and legislative arrangement which differs fundamentally from past proposals which sought to make fisheries an item of shared constitutional jurisdiction. A system of joint management would acknowledge and accept existing constitutional arrangement in the fisheries.' Now, there was the Province's position.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Now, I don't know whether the hon. member doesn't read, or if he is just standing in this House to speak for John Crosbie, which is probably more like it - just to protect the feds, put all the burden and expense on Newfoundland and Labrador, the same as he just tried to do with respect to the Innu matters.

Mr. Speaker, the Government of this Province is, perhaps for the first time in many years, protecting the interest of the taxpayers of this Province. They are not used to doing that. They have been used to selling them down the drain. Well, we are not about to do it, Mr. Speaker, we are giving priority to the taxpayers of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I think I know what the Premier's problem is, Mr. Speaker, he doesn't get homesick, he gets sick of being home. So, he has to hit the road again now, that is the problem with the Premier. He has to hit the trail again, he has been here too long. The realities of Newfoundland and Labrador are coming home on his doorstep. Now, I want to ask the Premier, is it a fact that his sudden conversion, Damascus conversion, to take up this cause for the fishery is nothing short of crass political opportunism, that is what it is right on the eve of the election, crass political opportunism, Mr. Speaker, and the Premier is trying to attempt now to -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MATTHEWS: - he is attempting now to make the federal government the whipping horse, and to try to turn Newfoundlanders attention away from his failure, his failure to do anything, not only for the fishery but for the total Newfoundland economy. Won't the Premier admit that is what he is up to and come clean with Newfoundlanders?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I personally have been championing the cause of joint management now for more than four years, since before we took office, and we tried to do it in a civilized way. We met with the Prime Minister, we met with Mr. Crosbie, we tried to persuade Mr. Crosbie, we developed a proposal, we tried to talk sense and reason to them. In June of 1990 I tried to persuade the Prime Minister to do it, he undertook then to do it because it was right, and he recognized the fact that the people of this Province and this government were not prepared to blackmail the federal government, that we were prepared to act honourably to achieve our objectives honourably, and his response to me was: don't worry about it, Clyde, we will do it because it is the right thing to do. Well, I trusted the Prime Minister and I expected that he would do it.

Now, Mr. Speaker, why now?... because the Prime Minister has announced his resignation without doing it. He is going to go, so now, knowing Crosbie's position, knowing his determination not to agree to it, I do not know why, I cannot see any logic in it and if I live to be a thousand I will never understand why he will not agree with it. I cannot for the life of me imagine how a federal fisheries minister from Newfoundland could not agree with it. He has a lot to explain to the voters of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: And he will never do it.


PREMIER WELLS: The Prime Minister's resignation -


PREMIER WELLS: The Prime Minister's resignation, coupled with -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: The Prime Minister's resignation, coupled with my advice that Mr. Crosbie was about to table his proposal for management by Quebec and the other Atlantic Provinces of the fishery in the waters around Newfoundland and Labrador, made it necessary for me to go to the people of Canada, and I am quite prepared to do it, and if the members of the Opposition are not prepared to put the interest of the fishery of this Province first, and hide behind their political narrow-mindedness, well, they will have a lot to answer for also.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I say to the Premier, the members of this party were way out ahead of the Premier in seeking joint management of the fishery, way out ahead.

Mr. Speaker, I have questions for the Premier. The people of Newfoundland and Labrador waited for three years for the Premier's frequently promised Strategic Economic Plan. Finally, last June, the Premier's PR man, Edsel Bonnell, spun out a plan. The economy has been getting worse ever since, but last Thursday the Premier told the House of Assembly that the Strategic Economic Plan is really only half a plan. He said: it is one-half of the equation, so he is sending Edsel back to the drawing board to come up with the other half of the equation, the Strategic Social Plan.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I ask the Premier, what happened to the Liberal slogan in the 1989 election campaign, " we have been studied to death, what we need now is action." What is the slogan for this election campaign... Know us by our words, not our deeds?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Know us, Mr. Speaker, by our deeds which are completely consistent with the words. Mr. Speaker, you can lead a horse to water but if the horse does not want to recognize that it is water, it is not likely to drink it. That is what I see with the hon. members Opposite.

The Strategic Economic Plan spells out some 134 specific action items; specific action items. It is not studies, it is an action plan. Now I can read it for the hon. member, word for word, item by item, action by action, but if she is determined that she is not going to recognize it as action, then I cannot cause her to speak about it and acknowledge it as action. The people of the Province will recognize exactly what their position is; will recognize the absolute obstinacy of their position on the merit of the Strategic Economic Plan, which by the way, is widely endorsed throughout this Province by groups - business groups, rural planning groups - widely endorsed everywhere throughout this Province and, Mr. Speaker, is already being actioned by major groups within this Province, as I believe people will come to know within the next two or three days, as a matter of fact.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I ask the Premier: What about the report of the House Royal Commission on Unemployment and Employment - a report which made very specific recommendations on major issues of economic policy and social policy - a report which called for sweeping reform in income support systems, for example? Does the Premier not regard that as a worthwhile document with useful recommendations? Why, after five years - four years of which the Premier has been in charge of the provincial government - have those recommendations not been implemented? Why is the Premier now going on to call for yet further studies? We have studies. We have reports stacked upon reports.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the answer is very simple. We had to do it. We had to take the bull by the horns and develop a plan, partly out of those studies, because the former government took the study which they commissioned and paid for, and put it on the shelf to gather dust. They did absolutely nothing with it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Not one iota of work did they do with it.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we had to put in place and develop a Strategic Economic Plan that used significantly many of the proposals and much of the information that was contained in the House Royal Commission Report.

Mr. Speaker, we developed the Strategic Economic Plan because the former government (a) probably did not know how, did not have any ideas or thoughts, did not know how to organize it, and certainly did not have the initiative to organize it. They were not willing to put the economic interests of the people of the Province foremost, they thought they had done their work when they did a study. They got the study and put it on the shelf, and there it languished for months and months and months until we came into office, and within three years - within two years - we had the consultation paper out for discussion around the Province, and then there was public input into it, and within three years of our taking office - three years and one month to be exact - within three years and one month the Strategic Economic Plan was in place and action under way.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I ask the Premier: Why has he been Premier for forty-eight months and allowed the House Royal Commission Report to be on a dusty shelf? Why has he added to that document other reports - the Strategic Economic Plan, the report of the Hughes Royal Commission on Justice, the report of the Williams Royal Commission on Education? Why is he now sending Edsel Bonnell to get a strategic social plan that Mr. Bonnell says will take eighteen months to prepare? Talk about procrastination! What is the Premier's excuse for the inaction? Why is he continuing to commission study after study, report after report, instead of acting, instead of reforming?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I know, Mr. Speaker, that members opposite are totally devoid of any knowledge or familiarity with organization and planning, and doing things in an orderly, disciplined way. They just throw an idea out, do a part of it, and put it on the shelf - spend vast quantities of money and do nothing with it.

Well, Mr. Speaker, we took the House Royal Commission Report -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, they have to try and cover the truth about their inadequacies by this constant battering and shouting -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: But, Mr. Speaker, there are some truths that just will not be put down, and this is one of them. Their failures are legion. They are available for everybody to see; yet they stand in this House and say: Why did the government not act?

We did act. What is being developed is not a study. It is a plan.Now, plan is p-l-a-n. It is a specific course of action identified as to what you are going to do. It is the thing that is developed after the studies are complete. You do not need any more studies. We are not doing studies. We are in the process of developing a strategic social plan for the first time in the history of this Province. Where were they for seventeen years?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: My question is for the Premier and has to do with the fifteen social and community agencies that are being deprived by this government of a place to operate from. Some are being deprived by being thrown out of the King George V Institute which the government is not going to maintain properly and others who were dislocated by the Harvey Road fire. Now, Mr. Speaker, these organizations will have no place to operate out of by the end of March and further the government has a planned reduction and phasing out of any support for these organization on a rental basis. These organizations have provided great service to the people of this Province over many, many years. Mr. Speaker, what I want to know is is this part of the government's strategic social plan, to down load these services onto the private sector and have them go fund raising, or is the government prepared to change its policy and support these agencies as it has in the past?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, two things have occurred. One of which is that the King George V Institute building has deteriorated rather badly and the government either has to spend a vast sum of money on it or it has to allow it to be removed, or sell it and let the private sector use it. That is one event that has caused a serious problem and that did not happen in the last two years. That has been developing for thirty-odd years. The second thing was a most unfortunate fire that occurred on Harvey Road about which the government was not in any manner a cause. We have to live with the consequences of it and I do know that ministers have been striving, and I know the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation has been striving to try and find to the maximum extent that we can accommodation for the very valuable social associations that were accommodated in these two building. Now, Mr. Speaker, we recognize the tremendous contribution that these volunteer groups make to society and every time I do a proclamation or I meet with one of them I always publicly acknowledge the contribution they make in carrying out a public purpose and give them full credit because all of them deserve the full credit and support we can give them. But government cannot be everything to everybody and for the first time we have a government in this Province honest enough to say so.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, the facts of the fire and the facts of the problems of the George V Institute are well known but the Premier has not acknowledged that his government is now telling those organizations, such as the Community Food Sharing Association, the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Boys and Girls Club, the Newfoundland Hearing Association and others that it will no longer assist them in providing accommodations and will phase out any support for rent or any support for accommodations over the next couple of years, leaving these organizations to spend the money they would have spend on programs on rent. Now, that is what this government is doing and I want the Premier to tell us whether that is part of his strategic social plan?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I know the hon. member is sincerely concerned but he should make the effort to fully inform himself before he makes proclamations that cannot be sustained. He just made one that is not capable of being sustained. I understand what has been happening is all the agencies that are there are being looked at on an individual basis and the public purpose they are serving. If it is delivering a valuable public purpose, we want to try and help them and every department is concerned in that and is looking at it. Each of the organizations have been told: if you are doing work for a government department, for a public purpose, if that is your objective to achieve a public purpose, you find and ally yourself with the department and we'll let that department try and find the means of providing you with the accommodation that you need. Or, a reasonable level of financial support if the officials in the department think that's the way to go.

For the first time we're doing it on an orderly, organized, disciplined basis. First time ever in the Province's history we're doing something on a planned, organized, disciplined basis, thinking always, Mr. Speaker, of the primary interest of the taxpayers of this Province.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would ask the Premier if he could then say why it is that these agencies are required to write the government on February 11 saying that: just in the last week we've been notified that no accommodations will be provided, the non-availability of government office space and the phasing out of subsidies. Mr. Speaker, at the end of this month these organizations will be literally out on the street. What is the government going to do about that by the end of this month?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I'm not sure what agencies. He named two or three. If the hon. member will provide me with the specific agencies that he's speaking about I will undertake to get the information in respect of each one individually. I don't know it in respect of each agency personally. I will undertake to get the information and I will table it in the House.

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

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the minister responsible for ENL, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology. Yesterday the Auditor General submitted her report to the House of Assembly for the period ending March 31 1992, and she raised some serious questions concerning the operation of Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, which is really I guess under the control of the Economic Recovery Commission.

She says, on page 118 of the report: that there were serious weaknesses in numerous areas of the report. Again she says: ENL has not been monitoring and following up on loan accounts, and as a result 42 per cent of the corporation's recorded investments of approximately $70 million was considered doubtful, as of March, 1992. Of course, that's about $30 million. Thirty million dollars is a substantial amount of money.

Now isn't ENL supposed to have competent, established, business-experienced people so that they can offer this assistance to people? Or is it, as a lot of people suggest, that ENL is being staffed with a lot of personal friends, political hacks, with absolutely no experience in the operation or the guidance of businesses?

The Auditor General also raises the question with regard to public tendering by ENL. Mr. Speaker, can the minister respond to this question that the public's money is being safeguarded in the public tendering process in ENL, and also in the operation or the giving of public funds to these people who are borrowing, and now these loans are considered doubtful?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, that's quite a mouthful, quite a series of questions. I'll just deal with the last one first. The business with respect to the Public Tender Act. There is no question that there was a lapse. There were two or three occasions where I think they were supposed to fill out a notification for me to table in the House. Guilty, Mr. Speaker, on those one or two things.

With respect to the 42 per cent, let me tell them about the 42 per cent. That's a $70.2 million investment portfolio. The $29.6 million is for doubtful accounts. Now let me tell hon. members where that comes from. Enterprise Newfoundland is the amalgamation of the former Department of Development's RAND division, which ran a rural development authority loan portfolio. It was amalgamated with the old NLDC. Mr. Speaker, the former government set up the old NLDC and the former government set up the old Rural Development Authority. NLDC made up $34 million from the former government; $19.5 million of that is for doubtful accounts.

AN HON. MEMBER: Nineteen and a half.

MR. FUREY: Nineteen point five million dollars, of the $30 million. The old RDA loan portfolio - two members I see chaired it - the Member for Kilbride and the Member for Humber Valley both chaired this development authority. That makes up $7.5 million, so it is 57 per cent we inherited from NLDC, 46 per cent we inherited from the old RDA authority, and 13 per cent for doubtful accounts under the newly established enterprise.

Mr. Speaker, this government is doing pretty good, and we are putting controls in place to deal with the past.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

The time for Oral Questions has elapsed.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. GOVER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


MR. GOVER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GOVER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the report of Public Tender Act Exceptions for November, '92, December '92, January, '93 and the annual report of the Pippy Park Commission.

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the report of the Newfoundland Liquor Licensing Board.


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

MR. WOODFORD: I have a petition here, Mr. Speaker from some 358 constituents in the community and the local service district of Nicholsville, in the district of Humber Valley.

The prayer of the petition reads, Mr. Speaker: To the hon. the House of Assembly of Newfoundland, in Legislative Session convened, the petition of the undersigned, the residents of Nicholsville in the Humber Valley district, that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador would reconsider its position on amalgamating their community of Nicholsville with Deer Lake. Wherefore your petitioners humbly pray that your hon. House may be pleased to request the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to take such action as quickly as possible, and as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray. Some 358 signatures, Mr. Speaker.

Since this amalgamation issue was brought to the forefront by the minister now responsible for Social Services, some three years ago, the names of communities of Deer Lake, Spillway and Nicholsville have been included in one of the amalgamation procedures or the combinations that they are about to follow without some possibly 140 that they were talking about. Just recently the minister responsible for Municipal and Provincial Affairs stated that those three particular communities, the Town of Deer Lake and the local service district of Spillway and Nicholsville would be amalgamated, after all this time.

The citizens of Nicholsville stated, Mr. Speaker, quite clearly, when the study was commissioned some time ago, that approximately 99.9 per cent were against amalgamation. Now if that is not clear, I do not know what is. The Premier has said it before, both ministers, the former minister and the present minister have said it, that if the people in those communities do not want to be amalgamated, they will not be forced to do so.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I will ask the Premier today since the minister is not here, would he go along with the wishes of the people of the local service district of Nicholsville, and tell them what he told us in the House and what he stated publicly, previous to the day on this particular issue, that if you do not want it, you will not be forced to have it? The people of Nicholsville are very proud of their community and it is no good to say that by bringing it to the Legislature it is not forced, the Legislature has a majority, the government has a majority in this Legislature. By automatically bringing it to the floor of the House, as far as I am concerned, Mr. Speaker, it will be passed.

The people of Nicholsville, in this particular instance, are making it quite clear that they do not want to amalgamate. They have given their reasons, they have an excellent local service district in that community, they made a request to have a community council or a town council in that particular community, they have a lot of questions that are not answered and they would like to have answered. They have sent letters to the minister stating quite clearly what those concerns are, and I would suspect, Mr. Speaker, that the minister will answer in due course, but the bottom line, Mr. Speaker, is this: the people of the local service district of Nicholsville do not want to be amalgamated. This was a separate committee of people who went around the community and had this particular petition signed, got the people to sign it. This was outside of the local service district of Nicholsville, a very competent and dedicated group of individuals who would be quite competent in running a town council or a community council if they had the chance to do so. I asked a question of the minister on December 8, about three months ago in the House - the minister now responsible for Municipal Affairs - what was going to be done pertaining to this particular grouping? He told me at that time that a letter would be sent to the municipalities involved asking them for some other input. That was never done, Mr. Speaker. Another question I asked him was: would he notify me and talk to me before he made a decision? Yes. Mr. Speaker, it is in Hansard, that he would do so. Neither of those two promises were kept. The minister then came out and announced that the amalgamation of this particular grouping would take place. So I would caution the minister, members, and ministers opposite to at least communicate before a final decision is made on this particular grouping to make sure that the concerns of the town of Deer Lake, the local service district of Spillway, and especially, of the local service district of Nicholsville are properly addressed. They have some grave concerns that should be answered, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WOODFORD: In closing, I would like for some minister opposite, maybe the Premier or the House Leader, on behalf of the minister responsible for Municipal Affairs, to address some of the concerns I have pertaining to this particular petition.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As my hon. friend from Humber Valley has just indicated, the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs is not in the House. He is away from the Province on business. I think he will be here tomorrow. In his absence, perhaps I could make just a word or two in response, because I think the hon. gentleman from Humber Valley has made a very fair and balanced presentation of the case as a number of his constituents see it. I think that is an entirely appropriate step for a member of the House of Assembly to take. We are sent here for a number of reasons and one of them is to give voice to concerns of constituents. I will leave it to the minister to make a response in substance because I don't know a great deal about the situation and I am not going to pretend to have knowledge that I don't have.

MR. MATTHEWS: Will the minister be coming back?

MR. ROBERTS: The minister will be coming back. Not only will he be coming back tomorrow, he will be coming back after the election, I say to my friend from Grand Bank.

Mr. Speaker, let me come back to the gentleman from Humber Valley, because he raised a serious matter and I want to deal with it in the same vein as he raised it. I will leave it to the minister to address the detailed situation of Nicholsville and of the men and women who signed this petition. I do want to say to my hon. friend and to the House, Mr. Speaker, that it is not just a matter of the wishes of the people of Nicholsville that, in our judgement, must be taken into the balance. The balance is surely what is best for the interest of the people of the area, and what may very well have been appropriate as a form of municipal organization a number of years past when we had the town of Deer Lake, the town or community, whatever the official title is, of Reidsville and the Spillway area, may no longer be appropriate. And that is the issue which we must address. That is the issue which the minister has addressed, taking advice from his officials and from others. We can't have a situation, Mr. Speaker, where any group of people who wish to form their own municipal government, can do it. Why can't we have that? - because to do so imposes burdens upon all the taxpayers of the Province. Now, I don't make those remarks with specific reference to the case the hon. gentleman brings forward. I make them as a matter of a general statement of the type of approach we make. I will make sure that the minister is made aware of the petition. I will make sure he is aware of the remarks made by the gentleman from Humber Valley in presenting it and I will ask the minister to address it at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way. All I can say to my hon. friend now is that we pay serious consideration to the request of his constituents but whether we agree with it or not remains to be seen. In fact, we have taken a different position, as he knows, but we are prepared to review it and see whether there is any cause for change. We will do so in the light of the principles that I have said; we must look at the broader interest, the public interest. We are not here, nor is he here, simply to speak for the people of Nicholsville or for any area in his community. He is here to speak for all the people of the Province and then, within that context, to speak for the people of the district who sent him here as their member.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to support the petition put forth by my colleague from Humber Valley on behalf of the local service district of Nicholsville. It was only yesterday that we saw a similar petition presented in this House by my colleague from Ferryland, on behalf of the people of Mobile, who were asking not to be annexed or joined to the communities of Bay Bulls and Witless Bay, Mr. Speaker. We find that today, the same thing is occurring, where over 300 people in a community have expressed to the minister and to this House that they do not wish to become part of the larger town of Deer Lake.

I listened with some interest to what the Government House Leader said, that under the new arrangement we find in municipalities, it is not always the interest of a community but the larger area that takes priority. It begs the question, then: Who protects the minority? Someone has to protect the minority, too. And under this arrangement, minority protection can never be assured anymore if we are to have larger communities which sometimes want the assets of a neighbouring community that might be quite well off. And if that is fairness, equity and justice, then, a new term, a new phrase, a new meaning will have to be applied to it.

If the 300 people of Nicholsville, an entity unto itself prior to the study - and now the minister broke two promises, one he made to the member and one he made to the people of Nicholsville. Neither of them was complied with. Now, Mr. Speaker, we find that this community, a minority - because Deer Lake is bigger - swallows it up and the community ceases to exist. Mr. Speaker, it is unfair. Minority rights have to be protected. I ask the Government House Leader to convey to the minister the concerns of the people of Nicholsville.

I think it is time we put an end to this process once and for all. Amalgamation has been a dismal failure in this Province, and unless all communities are willing to participate, it is time to bring it to an halt. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Orders of the day.

AN HON. MEMBER: No, no, no!

MR. SPEAKER: Revert to - I am sorry. I had seen the hon. member stand but I thought he was - previously, I would have waited, but I thought he was standing to speak to the petition, in view of the fact that he stood to the last one.

The hon. the Member for Fogo.

MR. WINSOR: I have a petition of my own to present, Mr. Speaker. It is a petition on behalf of the people of the community of Island Harbour on Fogo Island. I will read the prayer of the petition. I see that the minister is not in his place. Perhaps he is outside.

The petition is to the hon. House of Assembly of Newfoundland in legislative session convened. The petition of the undersigned residents of Fogo Island: Whereas the road in the Fogo Island community of Island Harbour is in such desperate need of upgrading that residents served by the road are without proper access to ambulance service, fire protection, or the delivery of basic supplies; and

Whereas there are seven residents on this portion of road with a large number of children who attend school and have to rely on bus service;

Wherefore your petitioners urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to act without delay to provide the necessary funding to upgrade this road.

As in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, this petition is signed by some 118 residents of Island Harbour. For four years now these people have made the same request to this administration to have that portion of road, on which there are seven residents, upgraded to a standard where you can drive over it, at least in a pickup. They are not looking for a 401, they are not looking for a paved road. They are looking for a little strip of gravel road that would cost a few thousand dollars, with the resources of Works, Services and Transportation quite capable of putting it there.

Island Harbour is a small unincorporated community. It doesn't have a council. Its snow clearing and other services are provided by the Department of Works, Services and Transportation. And this is the fourth time that I know of, since I have been a member, that we have requested that this particular piece of road be upgraded to a standard where people could drive over it. During the winter, I think it is regrettable that people who live in a community have to get oil delivered by sled. They have to pump it from the oil truck into a barrel and have it pumped in, dragged into their Houses, and then pumped out so they can run furnaces. There is no access to road connections at all despite the fact it is only about 1,000 feet or so away from the main road that is presently maintained by Works, Services and Transportation.

Mr. Speaker, for four years this request has been ongoing. The minister has never found it possible to include in his budget a sum of money for roads in unincorporated areas. Now, the budget process is well under way. I am sure it wouldn't be too much to ask of the minister that he find a few thousand dollars for this. We are not talking a major road construction. The local Works, Services and Transportation depot have enough resources to do it themselves. All it takes is the will of government to say to the department: Change your focus to now, when you can do it. Construct roads in an area like Island Harbour, where they are not served by a council - there is no one to serve them. Because these people have the right to a road they can drive on, in this Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is with great pride that I rise to support my hon. colleague from Fogo. I have been on Fogo Island on a couple of occasions, and I certainly have feeling for the people.

A lot of us take a great number of things for granted, and roads are no exception. I believe that the government is a bit lax, and the minister should immediately look into places such as Island Harbour, that do not have even a passable gravel road. It is a very, very, short distance. I am not sure of the exact distance in kilometres, but the work could be done by the Department of Works, Services and Transportation in the area.

Mr. Speaker, there is no other way. Other areas under municipal government have a means of taxing people, to do some of the local roads themselves, and to address the situation to Works, Services and Transportation and sometimes get results; but those are almost like people crying in the wilderness.

As the hon. member stated, a request has been made for the last four years. It is not an amount of money that the government can't find. Surely, God, a few thousand dollars can be put there to help those people just to get back and forth to their community.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: I do not know it like that. Perhaps the hon. member has travelled much more in Newfoundland than I have, but I have seen bad roads. One is over on the back of Old Shop, of which the hon. member is their member. It is deplorable.

AN HON. MEMBER: I have seven (inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, I am not going to debate what the hon. member is saying, that he has seven like that, but I have travelled extensively through that area, and there are none as deplorable as the one leading out from Old Shop. But that is beside the point. I am not up here today to speak about the people of Old Shop. I am sure the member is quite concerned with the condition of that road, but - even the Minister of Finance, I have just learned, at one point in time, almost guaranteed the hon. the Member for Fogo that he would see to it that this road was brought up even to par. How many people are there?

MR. WINSOR: Seven residences - about thirty people, or thirty-five.

MR. PARSONS: About thirty people. Still, thirty people have to survive. We can't resettle them. It is very simple. All the minister has to do is rise in his place and say: Yes, I agree. We will do something.

AN HON. MEMBER: The Department of Works, Services and Transportation would do it in the spring.

MR. PARSONS: The Department of Works, Services and Transportation would do it, as the hon. member says, this spring. Why wait? It is not going to get any better. Look at those people. Imagine, in 1993, having to bring oil for your furnace by sled, and then have it pumped into a barrel. Glory be to God, I know times are hard. I know that, but let's be reasonable. That hardship on those people is unforgivable, and I ask the minister, when he rises in his place, to address the problem for those few people. They are doing their best. They are coming to their member and asking him to present their needs in the House of Assembly, which is the right thing to do. Now, the other right thing to do, as far as this House of Assembly, is concerned, is for the hon. minister to rise in his place and say: Yes, it is long overdue and I will do it.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. GOVER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The case with this particular road is like a lot of roads in the smaller communities in rural Newfoundland. There is a great deal of need, but unfortunately, budgets have been limited. When the Budget comes down and the allocations are made for provincial roadwork. This road, along with all the other roads in all the other districts, will be considered. The needs will be assessed and the government will try to direct its resources to those roads where the people are most in need, in keeping with the spirit of fairness and balance. It is an unfortunate situation, Mr. Speaker, that there are so many needs in rural Newfoundland to address roads like this but I guess if we had the $20 million in capital that was sunk into Sprung cucumber's, we could have had a few more roads done. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Could we start by doing motions 4 to 11, the first readings of bills?

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Finance to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Government-Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited Agreements Act," carried. (Bill No. 10).

On motion, Bill No. 10 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Fisheries to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Fisheries Loan Act," carried. (Bill No. 4).

On motion, Bill No. 4 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Tourism and Culture to introduce a bill, "An Act Respecting The Department of Tourism And Culture," carried. (Bill No. 6).

On motion, Bill No. 6 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Education to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Memorial University Act," carried. (Bill No. 7).

On motion, Bill No. 7 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend the Taxation Of Utilities and Cable Television Companies Act," carried. (Bill No. 11).

On motion, Bill No. 11 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Fire Prevention Act, 1991," carried. (Bill No. 5).

On motion Bill No. 5 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation to introduce a bill, "An Act To Revise The Law In The Province Respecting Rail Service," carried. (Bill No. 3).

On motion, Bill No. 3 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands to introduce a bill, "An Act Respecting The Reduction Of The Impact Of Packaging On The Environment," carried. (Bill No. 2)

On motion, Bill No. 2 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. ROBERTS: Order 2, Mr. Speaker.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Amend the House of Assembly Act." (Bill No. 1).

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

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

It gives me a great deal of pleasure and a great deal of pride to introduce this bill for second reading in the House of Assembly. One of the characteristics I suppose of good government concerned about doing things in the proper way, is to have a good piece of conflict of interest legislation. The perception quite often about politicians and others in a position of authority, Mr. Speaker, quite often is that somehow there should be some watchdog on these people. Somehow they are in positions to take personal advantage of decisions that are made and somehow they do their job but get great personal gain from the job in addition to what they get paid, regular salary.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we must first of all make sure that that does not happen. Make sure that there is no way that a person in a position of authority can get additional benefits from carrying out a job for the public. Also, Mr. Speaker, we must do our best to dispel the notion that this is indeed happening.

So, I am very pleased to introduce Bill No. 1 for second reading today. Essentially, what the bill does, Mr. Speaker, and this bill has had great public exposure, it has been dealt with by columnist's in newspaper's, it was brought forward to the House in a previous sitting, it received a thorough examination by a legislative review committee of this honourable House, advertising was done in terms of public hearings and the mechanism of public hearings was actually made available to people in this Province so they could express their opinions about this particular act. The act has had wide distribution throughout the Province, and generally has received wide acclaim.

It provides for a conflict of interest commissioner. It provides for full, private disclosure. Disclosure is the cornerstone. Complete disclosure is the cornerstone of this piece of legislation. It provides for qualified public disclosure at the discretion of the commissioner. It takes full cognisance of the principle of spousal independence which, I think, is a very important principle to have in this conflict of interest legislation, and it has a procedure on conflict of interest when members feel that there may be a real or imagined conflict. It also has restrictions on post-employment possibilities for ministers - things that for a period of time after leaving Cabinet, certain things that they should not and cannot do. So it is quite a comprehensive document to ensure that we have a superb, excellent, conflict of interest piece of legislation.

Finally, Mr. Speaker - and I should say that the details of this will be discussed in the committee stage where we can get down to the clauses and the specific intent of the clauses and so on, that I am sure we will get to in a matter of days.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that this is one of the things that when we were running for elected office almost four years ago, this is one of the things that we said we would do during our term in office.

Mr. Speaker, I am quite proud to point out to members of the House that we have fulfilled this promise that was made four years ago, in addition to the other promises that we have already fulfilled. We have been a bit longer with this one, but nevertheless it is done, but it is done well.

I commend the piece of legislation for discussion in the House, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I would also just like to have a few brief words on this legislation. I would warn the hon. President of Treasury Board that although this is before the House of Assembly, it is not yet passed and the promise is not yet fulfilled. It was before the House of Assembly in the last session.

Mr. Speaker, there are two things with this piece of legislation. One is that it is not passed in this House of Assembly. There might be a fair, decent chance that it might never be passed in this session of the House of Assembly. It depends on when the Premier calls the election whether it will ever be passed in this House of Assembly, and if it is passed in the House of Assembly, the last statement in it says that it does not come into force until proclamation, which is fairly standard but again not a promise fulfilled. It is probably a commitment being attempted to be fulfilled, I would say, and I cannot argue with the minister when he speaks on the details of the legislation.

First of all, I was fortunate enough to be able to serve on the legislative review committee that dealt with this piece of legislation.

AN HON. MEMBER: A select committee (inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: A select committee it was, at this one. Yes, I am corrected.

I consider myself fortunate to be able to serve on that type of committee because it is a good example of why these committees should be set up.

There was co-operation from minute one, I would say, on this act, between members of the committee. We were trying - sincerely trying - to make sure that this was good legislation, which is the purpose of our committees - all of the legislative reviews and select committees. The minister himself, when decisions were made by committee members that certain changes, certain recommendations, would be made, the minister showed his co-operation by accepting 100 per cent of the changes, I think, recommended by the committees. So, Mr. Speaker, this is a good reason to have the committees. Regardless of the legislation, it is a good reason that all legislation should go to these committees.

It is sad, in the last session, when we are sitting in this House of Assembly here and we see important pieces of legislation that were rammed through the House of Assembly before Christmas. Now members opposite would take a different view on that but they were. They were placed there strategically to have them done while people were busy at other private things, such as getting ready for Christmas or trying to pay their heat bills or whatever.

There was a lot of legislation brought into this last session of the House of Assembly late which should never have been. It should have been brought in on a more timely basis, and it should have been considered more by the committee system that we have in this House of Assembly. Workers' compensation is one of them, and we have changes to workers' compensation. Only today did I get a letter from Workers' Compensation explaining one change that I had made representation on behalf of a client on. That is a good reason - there was no need of having this legislation put in place with a policy like the Workers' Compensation had concerning CPP payments, this one happens to be.

If all of our legislation would go through the committee system and have enough time to do it, I think we would be better off as a province, as the people in the Province, of having better legislation. We will have some conflicts, no doubt about it. Some of them will be more political than others. I find that when we're in committee, when the committee system is at its best, most people, all people generally, on that committee are trying to get good legislation. If they want to make political points, that's the business we're in. I've never had a problem with that. Anyone can make political points whenever they like.

When you look behind the political points you see that people were trying to make good legislation for this Province. The committee system has allowed us to do some of that. It hasn't been perfect, and everything that I've recommended to make it better has not always been accepted, even though it would have definitely made it better legislation if I had - only because I recommended it. But it was not always accepted. But the committee system is good, and I just want to congratulate the Chairperson of our Committee, the Member for Carbonear, for conducting the meetings fairly well and achieving a level of cooperation.

As the President of Treasury Board said, this legislation is good. It is somewhat a copy but not really a copy of legislation that was brought before this House of Assembly by another administration. Brought before this Legislature on June 29 1988 but never was passed before the Legislature closed. That 1988 legislation would be an improvement on what exists now, and this legislation I would say is an improvement even on the 1988 legislation. So it is good.

The legislation hinges 100 per cent on one clause and one item in the legislation. If we do not have the right or a good person as commissioner this legislation will not be worth the paper that it's written on. The commissioner will dictate whether this legislation is going to be good or bad. If we do not appoint a commissioner who has generally the respect of people in the Province - I don't know what person you might pick, but the person who is to be commissioner has to be well-respected in the Province. Has to be trusted by the general public in the Province. His decisions will have to be respected because he will be asked to make some decisions of whether to disclose people's interest. He is the one who is going to make a decision of whether the public will know of my complete interest or part of my interest.

He is the person who - he or she - I say "he" but it doesn't necessarily have to be a he. This person, this commissioner, will have the power of making this legislation work or not. If the commissioner once is considered to be political or to be partisan or one-sided on any issue then this legislation will not be worth any more than the legislation we have now. One of the problems with the legislation we have now is that the premier had the final say, which is unacceptable to this present Premier. It was unacceptable to a past premier when he brought in his new legislation.

We have to be very careful in choosing who the commissioner will be. I still have some questions, I am not 100 per cent sure that this legislation is perfect - well it is not perfect because nothing we do in this House of Assembly will be perfect, but I do have some concerns about spousal independence. It was mentioned by the President of Treasury Board, I do not know that it is fair to my spouse that if I become involved in public life, that my spouse has to also become directly involved through conflict of interest, if nothing else. Theoretically it is possible that a spouse, a husband and wife team could have two separate professional lives, could have two very independant business lives, they might not need to consult one another on their own private businesses, most likely they will, but it is not necessary, it would not be guaranteed.

If there is a minister or an MHA in this House of Assembly who would lean towards some types of corruption maybe, or lean towards getting advantages for himself or others, probably the last person that they would try to use to influence someone, would be their spouse. Their friends, their campaigners and their organizers are the ones who will be implicated or brought in and who will get the advantages more than a person's spouse so it might be more to the point to have mentioned in this legislation other people rather than someone's spouse, but, Mr. Speaker, I do not know how you would set it up. I could not offer the committee a better suggestion on how to set up this legislation excluding the spouses, so I had to go along with what the legislation says because I do not have a better solution. I would like to be able to do it, I would like to be able to come up with some other idea, but I could not do it.

I am still not positive what this legislation will do. I wonder and I still question and maybe the minister when he answers will be able to answer this for me. A situation came up in our last sitting of the House of Assembly with the present Minister of Justice and a perceived or suggested conflict that he might or might not have. Now I do not know how this legislation would handle that situation, would his private interest have been made public or not? I personally think there was a potential conflict there. Now I know members opposite do not agree with that, but I think it should have been made public -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Pardon?

MR. ROBERTS: What (inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Well, the fact that you were receiving an income, whether money for -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Yes, well I will be finished in two minutes anyway - but that type of conflict, what would have happened under this new legislation? I believe that it should have been made public, that is -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Well, the amount in itself -

AN HON. MEMBER: Is irrelevant.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Well, I do not know. If I have an interest in a business with you that is worth $2,000, who cares? You are going to pay me $2,000 when you get the money, but if I have an interest in a business with you that is worth $200,000, then it becomes much more important for me to make sure you are a success, your business succeeds or whatever I can do to get you so I can get my money -

MR. ROBERTS: If a minister of the crown is receiving payments from a body with which the government may be doing business -


MR. ROBERTS: - surely, it does not matter if the minister is receiving one dollar or a million dollars,. That should be (inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: But it will, from a human point of view, it will to the minister. I mean it should not, I agree with that, but from a financial point of view to the person. I mean, that person will have a better interest, a larger interest in seeing that nothing happens to that person -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: I think the legislation should make it public, but I mean that is my view, it was not the view of the committee at the time, but it certainly would be important in my mind to know if a person has an interest. If I have an interest in a company whether it is worth $2,000 or $200,000, that would be -

Now I know the commissioner will make a decision and if we get the right commissioner there whom everyone will trust, maybe, maybe that would work and that is the only reason that I went along with the committee. We have to hope that the person who is made commissioner - I would never want to be that commissioner - I would say that commissioner has a lot of responsibility. I don't expect I ever would be with this government. Mr. Speaker, that commissioner will have a lot of responsibilities, more than I would like to take on at that type of job. More responsibilities.

There is another situation that happened only recently, and in the last month or so, where an executive assistant for a minister of this government went out in private business - there is nothing wrong with that I guess - but when he went out in private business he got immediately a contract directly related to that department or that minister. I don't know how this legislation or the commissioner would deal with that.

We have had an explanation from the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology and the Premier, I believe, that this Mr. MacKenzie, who was an executive assistant with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, that this member when he left his employ from the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology - the department that Enterprise Newfoundland is responsible to; that's the minister that they answer to through this House of Assembly - when the executive assistant left that department and went in private business, within a month had a major contract from Enterprise Newfoundland, if that is not a conflict, it was probably arranged before he left, that'd be my guess at it. I'd say that was all arranged before the person went in private industry, but certainly that's a guess. I can't prove that.

It is likely. It is likely that person had some information of what was coming up. It would not be hard to find out. When I was Minister of Rural Development, Farm Products was under my auspices in that department. I knew, I could find out quite easily, what Farm Products was doing in the near future. I should have known. I know they were spending a lot of money most of the time. I knew what major contracts were coming out because we had to approve their budgets, we had to approve their finances.

So this Mr. MacKenzie who worked for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology could very easily have known of a contract that was coming out. I don't know if this was a tendered contract. I don't have all the information yet.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: There were proposals called, which is a different thing than a strict tender call.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Yes, it was a consultant proposal call which again someone had the discretion, someone at ENL probably had the discretion of picking from one, two or three. However if there were twenty proposals put in and it was narrowed down to probably three, which is the way the system usually works, somebody had the discretion of picking one, two or three. Somebody working with ENL most likely, or the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology, most likely, had to say: let's pick number two over number one, because - and you could make up a rhyme of reasons for why you want to pick it, telling how good it is. Mr. Speaker, somebody who is presently working for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology had to say: this Mr. MacKenzie will get the contract.

Even under today's conflict of interest information that is a conflict. There's no doubt in my mind that that would be a conflict, if that person at ENL happened - I don't know who the person is, I don't know who did it - but if they happened to be an acquaintance of the minister, if they wanted to impress the minister, or if they wanted to do a thousand things, he would have every reason in the world to pick the minister's buddy to do that job.

Now that is a conflict. But we don't have any action taken by the Premier. We don't have action taken on this by the government. We don't have much reporting of it in the media. It happened during the post-Christmas period and I suppose people weren't interested. Maybe they weren't interested. I don't know. Nobody seemed to know about it. I heard one report on it and that was it. This type of conflict - if it happened to be an MHA, a political person do it, I suppose there would be a lot more reporting.

This is just as much a conflict if an executive assistant from a department can walk away from that department and have someone who worked for his minister, directly under his minister, select him for a contract within a month or so. That's a conflict. If this legislation does not deal with that type of conflict this legislation is no good. If I know this and I couldn't go to the commissioner and say: cancel that proposal call or cancel that contract, this legislation is not going to work.

Then again that's where I say the commissioner has a lot of responsibilities, because as soon as I go to the commissioner to do that, obviously the commissioner is going to say that I am doing it for political reasons; it has nothing to do with conflict of interest; I am only trying to stir up trouble again. Then the commissioner will try to find a way around cancelling the contract, if he wanted to do that - if it is not the right person - if it is a political person or he happened to dislike me for something I did or said about him or her in debates in this House of Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, if this legislation does not deal directly with that Minister of Development's conflict of interest, I think there is a problem.

There is another conflict of interest that is happening in Enterprise Newfoundland. I think this would be a conflict of interest, too. Enterprise Newfoundland seems to be the hiring place for past executive assistants. I think in Enterprise Newfoundland, or the Economic Recovery Commission, there is a Mr. Guinchard who used to be an executive assistant to Paul Dicks, or the Member for Humber West.

When the Member for Humber West left Cabinet, decided to get out of Cabinet, because he could not get along with the present Premier and he could not swallow the policies of the present Premier, when he decided to get out, then his executive assistant had no job for awhile. He stayed around here for awhile, but he actually had no job, this young man - and probably a very capable, competent young man - but what we find out very quickly is that he has a job with Enterprise Newfoundland. He is now working somewhere in this Province, on the Burin Peninsula I believe, in a special job. He has gone to the Burin Peninsula in a job with Enterprise Newfoundland - an area that had a development officer. Enterprise Newfoundland had a development officer in that region. Now we have a past executive assistant also in that area doing the job.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that is a conflict of interest. It is certainly a conflict. If that job is not publicly advertised and everyone has a shot at it, that is a conflict.

Mr. Speaker, there is another conflict. There was a person who was an executive assistant to the Minister of Mines and Energy. I cannot remember that person's name now - Hollett. It was a woman Hollett who was executive assistant to the Minister of Mines and Energy. Where is that person now - this Ms. Hollett who was the former executive assistant to the Minister of Mines and Energy? She is now working for Enterprise Newfoundland - on the Burin Peninsula again, I believe, or she started out on the Burin Peninsula. She might have been moved somewhere else in the meantime.

As luck happened, her father happens to be the ACOA agent in the same place, so I guess they work pretty close together.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: No, Gordon Slade, I believe. There is a big difference.

So here we have another executive assistant, completely political person, brought into this system - never went through any competitions to get the job, except that they were very helpful in an election or they were very competent people and friends of the ministers. They now left their political jobs because they see the writing on the wall that there will be no political jobs around for them after the next election anyway, so they try to get in a permanent position with Enterprise Newfoundland, or the Newfoundland -

Now we also have the Economic Recovery Commission, with people like Mr. Lush from Gander. He is a bag man for the Liberal party.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: A Mr. Lush - Fraser Lush.

AN HON. MEMBER: Campaign manager.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Campaign manager for someone, anyway.

AN HON. MEMBER: You would never put a Lush as a bag man.

MR. R. AYLWARD: He is working in either the Newfoundland Enterprise system or the Recovery Commission system. I cannot keep them straight. It is hard to keep them straight. They do not do anything significant so that you would want to really knuckle down and delve into what they are accomplishing, because they are accomplishing very little.

Now my comments certainly will be considered very partisan on conflict of interest, and the fact that these political people are getting jobs, but there is a person who works for this House of Assembly who has a similar view to mine, and that person just presented a report to us yesterday. Even in the Auditor General's Report there is a report of conflict of interest on Page 128.

Mr. Speaker, there are conflicts in our system now that could be quite easily handled by the Premier, who has all the control under this legislation that we have in place now. These conflicts of interest could be handled, they could be ruled on immediately by the Premier, yet he does not do it.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that is what leaves me a bit nervous of who the commissioner is going to be in our new legislation. If that commissioner is not the type of person that everyone can have trust in, this legislation is not going to be worth anything. For the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, just for his information I brought up a direct conflict of interest that concerns him a few minutes ago, where his own executive assistant, who left his employ, a Mr. Mckenzie I understand it to be, who left his employ rather recently, I do not know if he won the lottery also but I do not think so. I do not think he won the lottery but he won a mini-lottery. This executive assistant won a mini-lottery because he had a job set up for him. I contend that he had his contract set up for him before he left the employ of the minister. He was working for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology and immediately or very shortly after he left his employ and set up his private company, he was selected to do some public relations work I believe it was or some promotion work for Enterprise Newfoundland. Now, Mr. Speaker, that certainly could be a coincidence, maybe it just happened to fall that way, that proposals were called for a little while after this person left the minister's employ. It could be a coincidence that somebody from Enterprise Newfoundland or whoever put out this contract, someone subjectively looked at the proposals that were sent in, whether they be one or twenty-one, it does not matter, and somebody who presently works for the Minister of Industry, Trades and Technology, someone who presently is in the employ of the minister made the selection. Someone who the minister, had he not made the right selection, the minister could probably have said; out the door, you did not pick the right one. If the minister wanted to, I know this minister would never do that because he is to smart for that. He had it set up before his executive assistant left. Now he knew who was going to pick this proposal. He knew exactly who was going to pick it so he said; Okay, safe enough now, you go on and in a month or so we will have it all straightened out for you. So his executive assistant went out the door and within a very short time had a rather lucrative contract from his past employer.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that is a conflict of interest. There are probably some illegalities in there somewhere also but it is definitely a conflict of interest, no doubt at all. I do not know how this new act will deal with it. That is what makes me nervous of the new act. The new act should be able to stop that immediately. As fast as it has been made public, under the new act, I should be able to go to that commissioner and say; now what about this conflict of interest? He should have the power to stop the contract right away. I believe that is what this act will do but, Mr. Speaker, the act we have now where the Premier controls it, the Premier is the commissioner, the Premier could do the same thing. So, what is happening today is that the Premier allows this to go on in his government. The Premier allows the conflict, yet when the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture was renting a building out in Buchans somewhere to the Liquor Commission which was done by public tender, completely open public tender, the Premier nearly had a conniption when he found out about it and told the hon. member to sell the building. He had to sell the building at a loss, I would say, because it was not a good time. There has never been any good times since this government took over.

So, Mr. Speaker, he had to get rid of his building because the Premier thought that was a conflict of interest. A business or a building he owned happened to accept a public tender, yet the Minister of Development's executive assistant can go and pluck a contract with them when he is going out the door and have it all arranged when he is going out the door and the Premier never opens his mouth about it.

MS. VERGE: The Premier is part owner of an office building in Corner Brook that was renting space to the government.

MR. R. AYLWARD: There was a time, I am not sure now, but there was a time when I did have some information, as mentioned to me, that the Premier and his wife were part owners of a building in Corner Brook that at one time was renting space to the Health Co-ordinating Committee on the West Coast. Indirectly from the Premier, but from a building that the Premier owned a part of. Graham Flight had to get rid of his building. I do not know what happened to the Premiers but there was never any big deal made of it. He probably still owns part of the building. Another member, the Member for Humber West, was found to be owner of a building that rented space to a government department and he had to get rid of it right away.

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible)

MR. R. AYLWARD: What is Danny saying today? What is wrong with you this morning?

AN HON. MEMBER: Danny wants to run for the NDP.

MR. R. AYLWARD: I am going to work for Carson Shipping when I leave here. My son does now by the way. If I can get hold of that boat and get a contract like the Minister of Development Executive Assistant did, if I can get a contract when I am walking out of here it would be pretty good. You would make a lot of money on it. You do not have to bid on it. You do not have to take any risk. You do not have to spend much time preparing your tenders. You just walk out of here with a cashier's cheque. You walk out the door with a cashier's cheque or a permanent employment slip. The executive assistant of the Minister of Mines and Energy had an employment slip when she walked out the door and went right to Enterprise Newfoundland. She got a job right away. Then the former executive assistant to the Member for Humber West, when the Member for Humber West decided he could not work any longer with the present Premier, in his Cabinet, when he wanted to get out of it because he could not stomach it anymore.


MR. R. AYLWARD: Humber West, was it? Did I say Humber East? The person from Humber East knew that when she beat him in the last election. She knew she could never work with him when she beat him and did not allow him to come into this Assembly. There is another job. He told a member to get out of the Bay of Islands seat: You get out of the Bay of Islands seat. Here is your permanent employment slip while I am here. I will get you a $60,000 a year job on the west coast somewhere. That person, Mr. Joyce, is still working happily, in bliss mostly, but I understand he is under a lot of pressure on the west coast. He is having a hard time because of the way this government treats the west coast. Mr. Speaker, he is doing pretty good out of this.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where is Morrissey Johnson?

MR. R. AYLWARD: Morrissey Johnson is doing better I would say mostly because he is a more competent person and not for any other reason. Just to have his expertise around would do the Department of Fisheries wonders. Had I been there I would have given Captain Morrissey Johnson a job. I would have. Patronage was never a big deal with me. I would literally try to help out the people who helped me. I would try to do it. I did not hide away from that. I did not go around this Province preaching to people that this is cut out. This is going to be cut out and you will never hear it again. There will be no patronage. Who went around preaching in 1989 about that, I wonder? Was it you or was it me? You were one of them because you were following the Premier around like a little puppy dog hoping that you might get in Cabinet some day, but when you got in here and he called you an immature person you knew then you would never get in Cabinet so you had to go fight it on your own. You are doing a good job. You are getting the publicity. You are doing alright. You will never see the inside of the Cabinet room but you are doing alright. If Bill Rompkey gives up you will never see the inside of the Cabinet room up in Ottawa either. I do not say you will see the inside of the Commons because Garfield Warren is going to beat you when you go after that one.


MR. R. AYLWARD: I was not laughing so much at that. I was just trying to imagine the campaign with Danny Dumaresque and Garfield Warren. I really have trouble trying to visualise that. But it would be good. I would like to be up around there and taking it in as they go from community to community. I'd have a hard job keeping up with either one of them, probably.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier of our Province is the one who went around preaching there'd be no more patronage: it would be unconscionable for me to be doing these things. This fairness and equity is going to spread like Good Luck butter on bread. This fairness and equity will be all over our Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: Balance.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Fairness and balance, yes, that was it. I get a little off balance every time I think about them, Mr. Speaker, because I can't - hard to swallow it when you know really what's going on. I have a list here in my drawer of some thirty-one patronage appointments that the Premier had. I had it now before we closed the last time. I'm not sure if I still have it or not. When we closed the last time I wasn't positive that I'd be back here again, and I might have taken it home and framed it.

MS. VERGE: Remember Beaton Tulk?

MR. R. AYLWARD: Yes. Beaton was the good one. Beaton is now beaten, and he's going to be beaten again. I hear he's out looking at Fogo again. So he'll be put in his place again.

Mr. Speaker, all this patronage stuff and the conflict of interest that the Premier has control of now, he'll go around clapping himself on the back about the great legislation that he has brought in. Actually it was legislation that was brought in by a non-partisan committee, consisting of Liberals and Conservatives.

Mr. Speaker, all members of this House of Assembly had input into this legislation. The Premier will go around and take all the credit in the world for it eventually in the next month or so. When push comes to shove, when he can have a say on what conflict of interest happens in this Province, like he could have a say in the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology's executive assistant, or he could have a say in all these appointments to Enterprise Newfoundland, or he could have a say in the Auditor General's report when it points out the conflict for Enterprise Newfoundland, he just ignores it. He ignores it and will go about the Province preaching fairness and balance again in a month or so, when actually all the Premier has ever done since he got in here is preach to people, and his actions have been very little, Mr. Speaker, and nil on most issues.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, I'm not as politically motivated today as my colleague for Kilbride but I'm certainly sure that if I had in the last twenty-four hours looked back at some of the patronage appointments that were made prior to 1989 I'm sure the list would have been quite long - I could take up the whole afternoon in the House talking about patronage appointments. Mr. Speaker, basically I suppose what my friend for Kilbride said is one of the reasons why we're bringing in this piece of legislation. Whether or not what he said was true or false really doesn't matter, because if there's the opportunity there to secure things and favours from governments through patronage or whatever, then I think there has to be legislation brought to this House that can control that. I think this piece of legislation will do just that.

I want to say that at the outset I was surprised too that this piece of legislation went to committee. The members of the Committee I thought acted very responsibly, and without any hesitation whatsoever the couple of meetings that we did have, there were no arguments, because I think most people on the Committee level agreed that this piece of legislation was badly needed. There were no arguments. A cordial type of, I suppose, approach to this particular Bill.

I have to thank the minister and his officials who sat with us at the meetings. Because it was through them that we were, I suppose, explained certain sections of the bill that some of us did not understand, and ultimately made the necessary changes and enabled the minister of course to come into the House today and introduce the bill as early as this.

I will say that I agree with my hon. friend from Kilbride when he says that the committee system does work, because, since I suppose 1989, in one way or another as chairman or member of committees, I have sat on a number of committees of the House, I have chaired a number of committees of the House and I can honestly say that 99 per cent of the time those committees worked. The members who sat on the committees, be they Opposition members or government members got along and we tried our best in every case to improve the bills and to recommend to the minister involved with those bills, different changes, and I think we have been successful. So after four years of this committee work, I truly believe that the Legislative Review Committees and special committees that the House has struck work to serve a worthwhile purpose in this House. Like the hon. Member for Kilbride said, it was not only the minister's bill, but the bill belongs also to this committee, the Standing Committee or Select Committee of the House and it was the changes that we recommended that were accepted and I congratulate the committee for the wonderful work that they did.

Mr. Speaker, this piece of legislation is basically I suppose, the watchdog. It will create the watchdog of the public purse and his mandate will be to disclose to the public anything that he perceives as wrongdoing, and wrongdoing I suppose would mean almost anything that relates to someone taking advantage of their situation as a sitting MHA, a Cabinet Minister and even an executive assistant. My hon. friend from Kilbride mentions several executive assistants whom he claimed had procured work from the government because they were executive assistants. Now whether that is true or not I do not know, but under this piece of legislation that can no longer happen.

When I look back over my years involved in municipal politics and even before that, I remember hearing of members of the House of Assembly, ministers who owned property that they were renting to government, major appointments to boards as for example the Workers' Compensation Board. I often said to myself, well, will I ever be in a position where I could possibly acquire a position with such little responsibility but making such a large salary, and I have said it a number of times myself. My hon. friend from Kilbride made the comment that sure, he would help those people who helped him and in a way I suppose I tend to agree with him to a certain extent, but I think when it is blatant and out in the open and it involves the public purse, then the public has a right to see and know what is going on and I guess, basically it is not the thing to do. It is not the thing for MHAs on either side of the House to do and hopefully this bill will rectify this problem.

During our review of the bill, Mr. Speaker, we looked at practically every jurisdiction in Canada including the federal government, and I can honestly say that, and I think the committee members would agree that looking at all the jurisdictions that we have looked at in the country, this piece of legislation far exceeds the vast majority of those other jurisdictions including the federal government. There are a number of provinces in Canada that are bringing in or hope to bring in this type of legislation, conflict of interest legislation in the next little while, but we were first off the mark and I congratulate the government for taking the initiative.

There is nothing in this bill that any single person, sitting in this House now, or I guess at any future time, should be afraid of. There is nothing there to be afraid of. If someone should stand in this House and criticize this bill, as far as I am concerned, without the criticism of the actual pieces or the actual paragraphs and so on, but to get up and criticize this bill and possibly vote against it, to me it would be sort of an act of defiance and an act of admitting that you would rather see something other than this in the House, and I do not think the people of Newfoundland would appreciate it. I certainly am going to support the bill and I think just about everyone else in the House will support it.

There may be cause for some changes but, when you consider where we have come since 1972, I think we have done quite well. I know there will be changes and amendments to this particular bill over the next number of years and the next government, be it a Liberal government or a Progressive Conservative government or an NDP government, will certainly make recommendations for changes to this bill as we progress, I guess.

So do not be afraid of it. Do not be afraid of it unless you yourself are afraid of what you may lose yourself. When I say 'lose yourself', I mean what you may lose because your husband happens to own a company that does business with the provincial government, or because your son or daughter is looking for a job with the government and the government has to say 'no' to your son or daughter because of these new rules and regulations put forward in the bill. I really do not think, as I said, that anyone should be afraid of this.

I guess, as backbenchers, and not Cabinet ministers, you are probably in a better position to deal with this bill than ministers are, but with this particular bill ministers will certainly have to be more forthcoming and will be scrutinized to the point where the public will know exactly what that person or that minister has as equity, and possibly any conflict of interest that particular minister then would have would and could possibly be disclosed to the public.

Mr. Speaker, I just want to make a few comments about the appointment of the commissioner. I sat in this House last year and heard all kinds of comments about what type of person this government would hire or recommend for the commissioner for the police - city police. I was surprised that after the appointment of Dr. Harris I never heard a word. There was not a sound. I did not hear any comment from the opposition. I did not hear anything.

AN HON. MEMBER: A tremendous appointment.

MR. REID: So I think it was a tremendous appointment, and I am sure that the Premier and his Cabinet, in appointing Dr. Harris, made a perfect choice. I am certainly sure that in appointing a commissioner - in consultation, by the way, because it is written - in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition and with the Member for St. John's East, that that person will also be of impeccable character, and I am certainly sure that the choice will be made.

Now I really do not know if this commissioner would need that job as a full-time job. I am not sure he would.


MR. REID: Or she, I am sorry, because if people are up front and are honest - if the fifty-two members of this House are honest and up front and make their declarations in honesty, then the commissioner would not have any reason to be concerned, if we are being honest with him - and the Cabinet and the Premier and all those people who are in authority to be able to make appointments and so on are honest and trying to follow the guidelines, he would not have much to do. So I am not sure if this person would have to be a full-time employee who looks after this particular position and this particular position only.

I think maybe the government should consider the appointment of somebody who maybe is in a position of trust within the Province at the present time. I do not know, Mr. Chairman, if the Auditor General might be a person who could do it. I do not know what extra work you would put on her at the present time. Maybe some judge - some provincial judge - could do it, or something, so that there is not an outlay of a tremendous amount of money. This is what I would be afraid of because, if we do that, the public has a tendency to look at these types of positions as: Oh, well that is another job that has been created for someone.

So I am not sure. I think the government has to look at the possibility of finding someone as cheaply as they can to do the job, but to make sure that they find someone with a reputation that is acceptable to all members of the House of Assembly - and not only all members of the House of Assembly, but all members of the general public in Newfoundland, someone that they can trust.

Mr. Speaker, in our report yesterday to the House, a few comments that were made - and I am sure no one has read the report other than my colleagues who sat on the Committee with me. I want to just give a few quotes from the report and then I will finish up, because I think I have said enough on it.

I am going to give credit, I suppose, to those who initiated the first measure in 1972, and then, also - and I agree with my hon. friend from Kilbride that there was a piece of legislation drafted and ready in 1988, but it died on the Order Paper, I believe, at the time, because it was supposed to come up, I think, in April of 1989, and then we went into an election. But the existing legislation, Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: We wouldn't open the House.

MR. REID: You wouldn't open the House.

MR. CRANE: That's right.

MR. REID: That's right, too, it wasn't open - I forgot about that.

MR. CRANE: You said it.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is why he would make a good commissioner, he tells the truth.

MR. REID: Just to reinforce what I said, Mr. Speaker. In our report, it said it was crucial to the success of the legislation that the commissioner be a person of integrity who enjoys the confidence of the members in the public who - and I want to stress that point.

Basically, I have said all I need to say on the bill. There are a few minor things, minor changes, that we made, I suppose, that took some time to do. The thing that disappointed me more than anything else in the world was the fact that other than for a comment, I think, from Peter Fenwick, from the West Coast, and a comment from - Who was the other guy?


MR. REID: Peter Boswell. I may be mistaken here, but I think they were the only two outside comments from the whole of the Province. Those comments were written publicly and not sent to the Committee. And it was sort of disappointing. At the time, I made the comment to the media that I was disappointed, and the Committee was disappointed, because with the air that we have today of political corruption in Canada, in the United States and in the world, in general, and this feeling that exists that: Well, politicians are in there for one reason and one reason only, to fill their pockets and get what they can, for no one in this Province to take an interest in this particular piece of legislation, it sort of left me bewildered.

Because I thought there would be people out there who would come forward and either at least tell us that we were doing the right thing in introducing the piece of legislation, or be critical of it that we hadn't gone far enough. We didn't receive that, and that was disappointing to me and to a number of members of the Committee.

I will finish by saying, Mr. Speaker, that I have to thank the members, and I am being honest here. Even the Member for Kilbride played a very active role, and when I say that, I say it in jest, of course. Because the Member for Kilbride is a conscientious member. He works hard. The committees I have sat on with him in the past, I have always said that we could appreciate Bob Aylward in his serious moments and also appreciate him in his humorous moments. All the members of the Committee - Dr. Warren here to my right, the Member for St. John's North, I believe, and the hon. the Member for St. John's East - I thank them.

With the co-operation we have had from the Opposition in deliberating on this particular bill, with the few comments that I am sure I'm going to hear from my hon. friend, Mr. Harris, and my hon. friend, Ms. Verge - because I am sure she is going to say something - I am hoping we can get this through the House as soon as possible, and let's hope that we can get it enacted and into law before this House closes. Because, if we don't, then God only knows when this bill will come back to the House. Then, I don't think we would be doing justice to the people whom we serve in the Province. Thank you very much.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise with pleasure to speak on this piece of legislation because I think it is a most important piece of legislation for any Legislature to deal with. Before I talk about the bill, itself, I want to talk a little bit about the process.

This Act was dropped before this House just days before Christmas in the expectation that it was possible we would not come back here again, that we would, in fact, be at the polls responding to the drop of an election writ; so that the Premier and the government could say that it had fulfilled one - at least one, if only one - one promise that they made to the electorate in 1989.

The last remark of the Minister of Finance in introducing second reading debate today is probably the most significant remark in saying that one of the good positive aspects of this bill was that it was in fulfilment of an election promise. I think there is a cynical side of this legislation, Mr. Speaker, in that this legislation was brought in to fulfil an election promise so that they can go to the electorate and not be challenged for failing to look after an issue as important as conflict of interest. It is instructive to note that this legislation is now being brought in, in what will surely prove to be the dying days of this administration. As the Member for Carbonear, who chaired the committee, said, there is a danger of this dying on the Order Paper. Well, is the Liberal Government going to do what the Tories did in the past, produce a bill in the dying days of their administration, let it die on the Order Paper, and rush off to an election saying, Well, we brought forth this legislation and we are very concerned about conflict of interest, and not have this in place? That is what it looks like, Mr. Speaker. The only problem with this is that there is no assurance that it is going to pass. Perhaps, when the Government House Leader speaks on this bill, or the deputy, in closing debate, he will tell us when he will bring it back for third reading.

MR. ROBERTS: We can do it this week.

MR. HARRIS: I am glad to hear the Government House Leader say that he is prepared to do it this week. I would rather he do that than wait till the last two days, or the six hours before Good Friday like the six hours before Christmas Eve we had in December to try to pass a heap of legislation in the wee hours of the morning because plans had not been going right. Let us have it passed this week if everybody is in favour of this bill.

MR. ROBERTS: We can go through all stages today if everybody agrees.

MR. HARRIS: That may be a wise thing to do. I would be quite happy to see it go through all stages today and I will finish my speech in plenty of time to allow that to happen. It is important, Mr. Speaker, and it is not something that ought to be made into a political football, nor should it encourage the kind cynicism that the lack of this kind of legislation breeds in the public. I welcome this legislation, Mr. Speaker. I welcome it for two reasons. It is not a perfect piece of legislation. It is a piece of legislation that has been put together by imperfect individuals.

MR. CRANE: Why don't you write it then?

MR. HARRIS: I note the Member for Harbour Grace asking, why don't I write it? Well, I say to the Member for Harbour Grace, I had a hand in writing it. I say to the Member for Harbour Grace that this Committee had a hand in fashioning the bill, unlike some of the committees he chaired, when he wouldn't allow any amendments and wouldn't allow any discussion to go on, and refused to let the committee system operate the way it was because he thought the purpose of the Committee was to railroad the minister's legislation through the Committee and into the House. That is what he thought and that is what the other backbenchers thought on the committees that he chaired. I am sorry to say this but it is true, that when the Member for Harbour Grace chaired a Legislation Review Committee and the legislation needed amendments, in fact, they finally got them when it came to the House because this hon. member insisted that legitimate debate and discussion take place and that amendments that needed to be made were made. And ultimately, they were made on the floor of this House, because the committee system did not work when the Member for Harbour Grace chaired the Committee of which I speak. I have to give some credit to the Member for Carbonear, who chaired this Committee and the other members of the Committee, because they all participated in the debate, in the discussion, and in the amendments on this legislation. And I have to say, Mr. Speaker, that I take some pride in saying that many changes that were made in Committee and form part of the report of the Select Committee were changes suggested by this hon. member in the Committee, and I say that it is still not perfect. It is still not perfect.

I know the Member for Harbour Grace is a bit miffed now because he seems to think that I am perfect, Mr. Speaker. Well, I have news for him - I am not perfect. I have news for him. Unlike his Premier, I don' claim to be perfect. I don' claim to be right on everything. I don' think that everything that comes out of my mouth is the utter and complete and final word on everything, unlike certain other members of this House.

Mr. Speaker, I say that this bill is not perfect, but it is important that some of the major features of this legislation be enshrined into law to do two things. They are, number one, to protect the public from the abuse of public office by hon. members who are elected. That is number one. Number two is to protect hon. members of this Legislature from the kind of scurrilous comments that often emanate from the back benches on the Liberal side and from the front, and sometimes front and back, benches on the Tory side of the House, to protect hon. members from these kinds of attacks. Because we are only doing ourselves and the public a disservice by lowering the public regard for all politicians. I think the Minister of Development is aware of this. He knows that when mud is splashed by one hon. member on another - wrongly splashed - that some of it reflects on all hon. members, because you throw mud at the Minister of Development and some mud splashes onto the Government House Leader next to him, and some of it even goes back to the Member for Eagle River, behind because, Mr. Speaker, mud, particularly political mud, stains a lot of people, including those who are totally innocent.

So this piece of legislation is aimed at two things; number one, protecting the public from unscrupulous politicians, unscrupulous individuals who would seek to abuse public office. Number two, it is designed and will have the effect of protecting honest and forthright and upright individuals who wish to seek public office but do not wish to be stained by the mud that is often slung in political debate, not thought out, in fact, said without any reference or any concern for the truth of it, but only concern for the short-term political splash that a maw-mouth can get when he shouts loud enough or says the scurrilous things that sometimes are said to try to cast aspersions on political opponents.

So, Mr. Speaker, this legislation is welcome because it is aimed at those two things - the protection of the public and the protection of honest and forthright members of the public who wish to seek public office, and secondly, to protect those who are there, who are aiming to do their job, without fear or favour, without looking for personal gain from their public office, and wanting to make sure that the highest of motives govern public behaviour.

The Member for Eagle River talked about whether or not the New Democratic Party would have fifty-two candidates running in the election. Well, Mr. Speaker, all political parties have difficulty attracting good, qualified candidates for public office and there is a reason for that. There are many reasons for it but the one that I want to talk about is related to this bill. One of the reasons people don't want to get involved in public office is because of the association in the public mind between being a politician and being corrupt.

I know, the Member for Trinity North encountered that, himself, when he decided to seek public office and people asked him, Why would a fellow like yourself want to get involved in such a dirty thing as politics? Because they had the idea that the hon. member was incorruptible. As the Member for Harbour Grace says, perhaps they didn't know him. I know he is only joking. But I am sure that when the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay decided to go into politics, people asked him, Why would you want to do that? Why would you get yourself involved in such a dirty business? - because it is corrupt. Why would you do that? That is what they said to the hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay. Acknowledge that, I am sure you will. Because we have managed to convince people that all politicians are corrupt and that politics is a corrupt game. Well, Mr. Speaker, this piece of legislation -

MR. DUMARESQUE: You are not going to live up to (inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: This piece of legislation, if the hon. the Member for Eagle River can listen for a minute instead of continually talking. I know, some people can't chew gum and walk at the same time; I can assure you that the hon. the Member for Eagle River can't talk and listen at the same time. I am not sure he can listen at all. He is not a good listener. He might be a good talker from time to time if you don't listen to exactly what he says. If you don't listen to the words he uses you might say: Man, that fellow knows how to make a speech. Mr. Speaker, he knows how to make noise, but I am not so sure he knows how to make a good speech.

I do want to review one or two items in the legislation that I think is important, that is contained in legislation of this nature. I say it is not perfect because there are many ways - if scoundrels wish to find a way around a piece of legislation like this, and do things that are improper or illegal, if politicians want to do that, if scoundrels want to do that, they probably can find ways of doing it, but I say, Mr. Speaker, that if that is the case, then we should find ways of changing that legislation to ensure that the public is protected from people taking unfair advantage of their position.

So we see that the conflict of interest legislation and the rules are basically contained in sections such as Section 21, which says: A member of this House shall not make or participate in making a decision in the capacity as member where in the making of such a decision there is the opportunity to further a private interest of the member or the member's family. Now, that is basically the statement of what conflict of interest is, Mr. Speaker, and members ought not to use their public office to further their own private interest.

Secondly, Mr. Speaker, in Section 22: A member shall not use their office to seek to influence a decision made by another person to influence the private interest of the member or the member's family. And that doesn't just mean government, Mr. Speaker. You can't go out and say, I will assist you in this particular governmental matter, if you will assist me in this private matter related to my business, my family, my property or my circumstance, you cannot trade your influence, Mr. Speaker, as a member of this Legislature, as a member of the Cabinet for a private interest of your own.

Section 23, Mr. Speaker: a member cannot use the information that he or she obtains in a capacity as a member that is available to that member and not available to the general public. That insider information cannot be used to further a member's interest or an interest of a member's family. Neither can that information be used to improperly benefit a third party. It is important that that be spelled out. We may ask: why is it important to spell out something as obvious as that? Well anyone who asks that question, Mr. Speaker, would do well to read a copy of the Parker Commission Report, written by Mr. Justice Parker of the Supreme Court of Ontario, into the affairs of one Sinclair Steven's and his wife. Sinclair Steven's, one of a string of federal Tory cabinet ministers in the Mulrooney administration who lost their jobs as a result of corrupt practices. Some of them are in jail, I do not know if they are still in jail but some of them went to jail.

The Parker Commission Report looked into the affairs of Mr. Sinclair Steven's and his wife, who together had a number of private business interests which they were conducting alongside of the public interest of Mr. Sinclair Steven's when he was a member of the federal cabinet. Mr. Speaker, the minister on government business would go down to the City of New York and meet with the merchant bankers in the City of New York, discussing in his position as Minister of Finance, in the morning, the possibility of a special deal being done by these merchant bankers to assist in a government project in Canada. I think the one mentioned was providing some financing for Enterprise Cape Breton or for the Cape Breton Development Corporation and in the afternoon the minister and his wife would meet with those same individuals to discuss the possibility of those merchant bankers or their customers or clients, investing in a little project that the minister and his wife had to raise money and to provide some financial remuneration for themselves.

That was done by a person who, he said later, sincerely believed that these actions were not incompatible with the public interest. He said, Mr. Speaker, that he sincerely believed it. I find it hard to believe that he could say that. This was not a man who was stupid, he had a widespread business knowledge, he was a cabinet minister in the Government of Canada, he was an educated man, Mr. Speaker, his wife was an educated woman and yet they were unable apparently to see clearly the difference between the public interest and the private interest and found themselves in one of the most obvious conflicts that could be imagined.

So, Mr. Speaker, it is important to spell out in legislation what a conflict of interest is, so scurrilous members like the Member for Eagle River cannot be saying the kind of things that they continue to say under their breaths, but not dare to say it out in public where they could be sued. They make the kind of comments under their breath, scurrilous members like the Member for Eagle River can continue to make slurs and innuendoes, Mr. Speaker, that continue to bring disrepute to the hon. Member for Eagle River and attempts to bring disrepute to all members who offer themselves for public life. So, it is important that it be spelled out, Mr. Speaker, so that people understand the difference.

If the Member for Eagle River is not satisfied with this legislation, I am sure an opportunity will come at third reading for the hon. member to participate in the legislation and have something to say about it.

I am proud to have participated in the formation of this legislation. It is not perfect, and anyone who claims it is is a fool. Anyone who claims it is is a fool, Mr. Speaker, because human beings are not perfect and what one human being crafts another human being, craftier perhaps, might try and find his or her way around. When that happens we should all be anxious to change the legislation to protect the public interest and to protect people who are interested in holding office to try and further the public interest as they see it.

I think it is important too, when we talk about the committee system, to recognize that this is an opportunity for all hon. members to participate in the making of legislation in a co-operative way. Obviously with the different partisan views that people bring to a Legislature - and I fully endorse and respect the comments made by the Member for Kilbride as to how this committee system cannot operate in a partisan way - you do not have to agree with everything that is said in a committee meeting any more than you are going to agree with everything that is said in the House of Assembly; but there has to be an opportunity, and there is a real opportunity for members of good will to actually participate and craft in making legislation better, as the Member for St. John's South knows, when he has had the honour to chair legislative committees in this House and let members participate in the formation of legislation, because members have a great deal of wisdom, experience, and knowledge to bring to the Legislature - not just the people who work in the legislative councils, the lawyers or clerks who draft this legislation, but the people who know, from a practical, common sense point of view, how legislation is going to be carried out and practised and how it might affect the lives of ordinary people and the people who are involved in a particular subject matter of legislation.

So I think it is important that we strengthen that. I know that the new - the new, and I suppose still new - Government House Leader is anxious to ensure that the committee system is going to work well under his tenure - brief though it may be - as Government House Leader. I would hope that the committee system does not get used to further a government time agenda and not give enough time for people to participate and get involved.

I think there were some shortcomings in the public involvement in this particular bill and I do not, as other members do, blame that on the public. I blame that on the process that did not give sufficient time and publicity to the details of the legislation to allow the public to participate.

So at second reading, Mr. Speaker, I do say that I welcome this piece of legislation for the reasons I have pointed out. I would ask the Government House Leader, or tell the Government House Leader, that I concur in his wish to have this legislation passed by the end of the week. Surely if there are any problems with it, and I have heard that there may be some out of Saskatchewan - some comments have been made when similar legislation was introduced in Saskatchewan the other week, and I would be interested in hearing about them and seeing if there needs to be some changes made; but other than that, Mr. Speaker, this bill is good legislation and ought to be supported by all hon. members.

MR. SPEAKER: If the hon. minister speaks now he closes the debate.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As I said in my introduction, this is a piece of legislation that was long overdue. We are very pleased to be now introducing it in the House, and I take great pleasure in moving second reading.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The House of Assembly Act," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House -

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, we were prepared to move it, but it would require consent and I am not sure we have consent. I am not trying to put anybody on the spot. If members are prepared to consent, I will call committee on the bill now, but I will need unanimous consent. If members do not want to, that is no problem.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: I offered the Government House Leader to do committee and all but I understand that our House Leader wishes not to do it today, so -

MR. ROBERTS: That is correct.

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

MR. ROBERTS: I spoke earlier with the Member for Grand Bank and he indicated they did not wish to do committee today. So in that stage, we still have twenty-six minutes left, I would ask that we call Order 1 and my friend for Eagle River will come on with part two of what has been the best speech to date in the Throne Speech debate.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order 1, the Address in Reply, the hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am very happy to have another chance to debate the amendment to the Throne Speech, obviously, Mr. Speaker, we cannot support such an amendment. We will have to vote down that amendment because of a number of reasons. Of course, anytime that you have the NDP rising in this House and espousing the values of the Socialist Party of this Province, Mr. Speaker, I am sure that all hon. members are looking forward to an election so that we can see for all the people of this Province, the views of the Opposition on the future.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: Yes, Mr. Speaker, that was a very good point that the hon. member just brought up. The former leader of the NDP, Peter Fenwick, in just last weekend's paper proposed a budget, he proposed a budget which I believe is very close to the actual agenda of the NDP, very, very, close. I am sure that he counselled with the present leader of the NDP to make sure that what he was proposing in that budget fit into the principles and the plan of the present NDP Party in this Province. He is obviously following the great Bob Rae of Ontario and the great Romanow of Saskatchewan, the great Harcourt of British Columbia, he is obviously following in their footsteps to make sure that when they get ready to take over Newfoundland and Labrador they will bring in a budget that will be sensitive, compassionate, considerate of the people of this Province, Mr. Speaker, balancing the budget and acting responsibly when it comes to the taxpayer's money, I am sure. A number of the items I think that was brought up, Mr. Speaker, included the elimination of the water and sewer program in coastal Labrador.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we are starting to see the real agenda of the NDP Party. The elimination of the water and sewer programs for coastal Labrador. Mr. Speaker, the former leader of the NDP Party says that this would save them $6 million and I am sure that that was cleared, that was absolutely cleared through the headquarters of the NDP. I am sure that was cleared through the answering machine of the NDP because they are having trouble recruiting candidates these days.

It is the first time that I can remember seeing the people come forward looking for candidates, to attempt to show the people they are trying to do something to get some candidates. They put an ad in the paper saying for five or six districts in this Province: we would hope that at some point, in some time, somewhere in the future, somebody please come forward and put their name down on this piece of paper. No, not Friday, they are not going to close nominations this week, next week, the other week. Mr. Speaker, they are praying; please, will somebody come forward and sign on for the NDP.

Mr. Speaker, I have never in this House advocated that a member of the Opposition be hired by the NDP but after seeing some of the things in the paper that the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes was doing in his instructions, I believe that I would have to recommend that the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes go and talk to the Member for St. John's East to try and see if he can give him a few pointers on how to recruit a couple of candidates for the NDP the next time around. I know they are having terrible troubles in that respect but of course you cannot get away from the real issues.

The real issue before this Province today is the future of the fishery. Today we heard from the hon. House Leader, today we heard from the Member for Humber East, last Thursday we heard from the Leader of the Opposition, we heard the pronouncements from all of these individuals on the issue of joint management of the fishery. It is absolutely unbelievable that we would be here in this hon. House of Assembly tomorrow going to debate a resolution that demands that this government and this Minister of Fisheries look at any hundred communities in this Province and withdraw their future from them at the signature of the Minister of Fisheries. That is the plan. Let nobody out there in rural Newfoundland not be told, that the plan of the Opposition, the plan of the Tories, is to see that rural Newfoundland and Labrador is resettled, to see that rural Newfoundland and Labrador is gutted, to see that there are communities in this Province that depend and only depend upon the fishery, are going to be eliminated because, Mr. Speaker, John told them so.


MR. DUMARESQUE: John told them so.

AN HON. MEMBER: John who?

MR. DUMARESQUE: Last year, when they got up in this House and said that they were not going to support some of the policies put down by the government in Ottawa, they got the calls, they got the calls and John said: Let it be no more, let that be no more. He said, when that House opens now this next spring, you will get up there and you tell the people of this Province that 100 fish plants have to be taken out of the system, that 100 communities must die, you do that because those are the wishes of Sir John, and I think it is shameful that the Leader of the Opposition and the Opposition House Leader will be coming to this House asking this government to take away the future of 100 communities in this Province. If that is the plan of the Opposition, I can assure them that they will get the kind of response that they deserve. The people of this Province are not going to take lightly on the kind of signals that are coming across this floor, and of course we are going to do our duty to make sure that the people are totally informed on the plan that they have being put before them by the Opposition party in this hon. House.

I know, I know it is not easy having to bear the brunt of the big man in Ottawa. I know it is not very easy having to stand up to the wrath of Sir John, I know it is not easy having to support the big government in Ottawa when you know that you do not have a leg to stand on here and you have to go back looking for a few dollars to run your campaigns in the next few months, I know that it is not easy to stand up and say no, but I appeal to the people across the way, I appeal to the Leader of the Opposition and the Opposition House Leader and all of the members of that party, I appeal to them to stand up and support this government on joint management because it is absolutely critical to the future development of this Province as we know it, Mr. Speaker.

By turning our backs on this most crucial issue, we are turning back the pages, we are going back as we never went before, because if we are going to give the management of the fishery to Quebec and Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, can you imagine, Mr. Speaker, can you imagine that in the future we are going to have the total allowable catch for northern cod set up by one person from Quebec, one person from Nova Scotia, one person from Prince Edward Island and one person from New Brunswick. Can you imagine, Mr. Speaker, can you believe that they will be looking out for the interest of Black Tickle or Makkovik or Blanc Sablon on the Quebec Northshore, are they going to be looking out for those places that depend so much, or Twillingate or LaScie or Arnold's Cove or Conche or St. Anthony, are they going to be looking out for those areas? Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker, they are going to do what they have done up to this point in time and that is use the Atlantic fishery as a tool for their own crass political expediency and it has to stop, and we have the privilege today of having a Premier who is not about to be blackmailed by John Crosbie and the federal government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: We are not about to capitulate to the power of the public purse in Ottawa, we are not about to be done in, we are not about to sign on the dotted line as the President of FFAW was quite happy to do. He was quite happy to do it, he went up to the House of Commons saying: he was going to tear this place apart. He was going to tear this place apart, going in there to fight he said, to make sure that the fishery of Newfoundland and Labrador was going to be given back to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. He said: I am going to tear it apart.

The only thing, Mr. Speaker, he tore apart was his back pocket trying to get the contract in for the $150,000 a year for a task force for Mr. Crosbie. That is the only thing he tore apart and that is not lost on the people of this Province, and it will not be lost on the people of this Province tomorrow when the Opposition House Leader rises in his place and says: we want you Clyde Wells to take away 100 processing licenses, we want you Walter Carter to take away the future of rural Newfoundland. It will not be lost on the people and I can assure them they will have to be accountable for that plan, they will have to answer to the people of La Scie, the people of Arnold's Cove, the people of Harbour Breton, the people of Black Tickle, and the people of St. Anthony. They will have to say to them, yes, that was our plan but John made us do it.

Well, that is not good enough. Whether John Crosbie is breathing down your neck, Ray Andrews, Brian Mulroney, or anybody else, it is about time, Mr. Speaker, that we had unity in this Province and that we had unity in this House, and that at least for once we put aside our partisan political agendas and got behind the Premier of this Province, and the government of this Province who are seeking joint management of the fishery. I was astonished to see and hear the President of the FFAW say the other day that the people of this Province do not want joint management of the fishery. What an astonishing statement to make, Mr. Speaker. Apart from all the public opinion polls or anything else that he may be looking at in Moncton or wherever else he is working those days for John Crosbie -

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

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East on a point of order.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I have a volume control here and I tried to turn it down but it does not seem to work. I wonder if the hon. member cannot turn himself down a bit or perhaps the members could be provided with ear plugs because he is rather loud and obstreperous.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

MR. MURPHY: You should be so lucky.

MR. DUMARESQUE: I say to the hon. Member for St. John's East that if he cannot take the heat get out of the kitchen. If you cannot take it get out.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: I say to the Member for St. John's East if you want to come down to the people on the coast of Labrador and say to them: yes, I am proud to stand behind Richard Cashin, I am proud to be here to say to you that he got the $150,000 from John Crosbie and has forsaken the people on the coast of Labrador, if you want to come down and do that I will be silent because I can tell you that will be the fastest trip out of the coast of Labrador that member ever took. I can tell you, there will be no tracks there because he will be going straight up. It is absolutely astonishing that the hon. Member for St. John's East in the NDP party, in co-operation with the opposition there in the last few days, are certainly putting the heat to the plan for the next election to take a hundred communities and put them into an envelope and send them to Ottawa. That is exactly what they are saying - taking the gun to the head.

Of course, you know, there is another little culprit in there - a $50,000 culprit - Bruce Chapman. He got his marching orders too, from John Crosbie. He had to be sure that he had the industry on side too. So what do you do? Create a nice task force, another task force, $50,000 from June 30 to October 15 - $50,000 for Mr. Chapman.

Now obviously Mr. Cashin did not want to be outdone. He did not want to be outdone by this president of the fishing industry, so he said: No, I cannot have this. I cannot have $50,000 given to Mr. Chapman and only $20,000 to me. I cannot have that. So he said: I want more. Now, John said, how much more do you think you would be happy with, Richard? Of course, Richard said: I cannot be happy with not $20,000 more, not $30,000 more, not even $50,000 more. I have to have $120,000 more because, he said, the fishermen and plant workers of Newfoundland and Labrador depend on me, John. They depend on me to be looking out for their interests. Yes, Bob White told me, too, to make sure that I look out for the interests of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. That is why he said to me: You go over and take care of the members in Nova Scotia, Mr. Cashin, because they have the 23 per cent of the northern cod. They have the 70 million pounds of northern cod that could keep twenty of our communities alive and well. That is why he said we have to be doing those things, because we have this socialist commitment to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The people of Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Speaker, will not be fooled. They will not be fooled by the hypocrisy and the hidden agenda of the NDP and the same for the Leader of the Opposition and the Opposition House Leader.

We are going to be going to an election - and that reminds me, I guess, of that E word. Mr. Speaker, I knew there was something missing the other day. I knew there was one thing missing, because I said it yesterday, that in thirty-five minutes the other day, the Leader of the Opposition never mentioned fish one time. But I knew there was something else. I knew there was something else missing in his thirty-five minutes of speeches the other day. I knew it was getting close to the time when he would have to - obviously, under a constitution, you would have to go back to the people. I figured that, surely, it must be on the minds of members opposite that we have to go for an election. But, Mr. Speaker, there wasn't a word.

Now, just before Christmas, they had the Member for Mount Pearl in the Chamber, and he got up one day and said: We should have an election. I can tell you, he was nowhere to be seen last Thursday. He wasn't allowed in here. Nobody was allowed to mention the E word. They are dreading the thought of having to go to an election, and I guess it is no wonder. For you to be going to the people of this Province saying: We do not want joint management of the fishery, we do not want to give you, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, some kind of control over your future and your children's future. We are going to trust Ottawa, we are going to trust Quebec, we are going to trust Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI to take care of us.

Who is going to take - well, I am glad, and I am happy to support this Throne Speech and this government today. Because we have a Premier who has not capitulated to the public purse in Ottawa. He has not been blackmailed by the people who have been up there playing those games of rolling the dice. We have somebody who is doing what is right because it is supposed to be right. And he is not just saying it, he is having the courage and the commitment to do and talk what nobody has been willing to do for the last forty-some years in this Province, but particularly, the last seventeen years of the Tory Administration.

Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to say to the people of this Province that they can be assured that when the writ is issued in two days, ten days or whenever the Premier would like to unleash us and let us go back there to the people, whenever he wants to do that for us, the people can be assured that we are going to make sure that the hypocrites of the socialist horde over there, Mr. Speaker -

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

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

AN HON. MEMBER: The horde (inaudible), is that it?

MR. TOBIN: No, Mr. Speaker, I just want to say to the hon. gentleman that he said he only had two minutes left. It is almost 5:00 p.m., so we would probably consider granting him leave if he wanted to continue to 5:00. With regard to the Premier unleashing him, I wish he would unleash his Cabinet, as well, and let them speak, too.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: No, obviously, Mr. Speaker, no point of order. The Opposition are trying their best to keep the record hidden from the people of this Province. They are trying their best to make sure that the people do not know what we are committed to do that they would not do. They are trying their best to make sure - and they had better watch the NDP. I guess, you know, they have a plan out there, a very well thought out plan. They have nobody to carry it. I mean, obviously, they are going to have trouble finding somebody to carry a leaflet for them, but that is not unexpected.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: I suppose 'Cle' will make a comeback. Mr. Speaker. Maybe Linda Hyde will return to the fold, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hide-and-seek, 'Danny', hide-and-seek!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Maybe Gene Long might ask for amnesty, Mr. Speaker, (inaudible). Maybe Richard might quit his seventh job to be able to come back and run for the NDP. Maybe Fraser March will take leave and get overtime and run for the NDP.

I don't know - from the way the public is now receiving the NDP, I don't think they are going to get too many. Because, obviously, one of the key platforms of the NDP is to eliminate all the fire commissioners and everything, to eliminate the total thing, he said, and let's get back to doing something traditional in Newfoundland. Let's get back to the bucket brigade, he said, to deal with our fire-fighting problem. That is one of the key planks in the NDP platform, as espoused by the past leader of the NDP. And, of course, it was cleared by NDP headquarters. They called up and the three-minute replay on the answering machine dialed out the policy of the NDP and told Mr. Fenwick: You can be assured, go out and say this, because that is one of the key planks of our platform.

Mr. Speaker, while we have to be concerned about the NDP, obviously, we are going to have to tell the people the kind of plan with which the Opposition and the Member for Grand Falls are going to proceed to the public in a couple of weeks.

AN HON. MEMBER: What is the plan?

MR. DUMARESQUE: Well, obviously, "plan" is a hard word. We want to try to reiterate that as much as possible. Because, as we heard in Question Period today, "plan" has a totally different meaning to members opposite. Maybe they might do a bit of research and go back in their records. If the plan doesn't jump out at them, maybe they could go back to that glorious glow in Mount Pearl. Maybe they could go back to the bible. Maybe they could go back to that cookbook they had there a few years ago. Maybe they could go back and have a look at some of the recipes that were put out a few years ago by the members opposite, because that is still not lost on the people of this Province.

The people of this Province know that this government is committed to doing what is right, to doing what is fair for all of the people of this Province, and to take on the most fundamental issue of this day and, indeed, for the future of this Province, and that is joint management of the fishery.

Mr. Speaker, we are going to do that. Our Premier, our leader, is going to be taking that message, because John Crosbie or not, it is going to be happening. Len Simms or not, it is going to happen. It is going to happen because there will be no Newfoundland if there is no joint management.

So I encourage all people to do what they must, and go out there and support this very, very, important policy of the present administration.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Justice and Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, given that rousing finale, I am impelled to move the adjournment of the House, but before I do, let me simply remind hon. members that tomorrow we shall be debating the motion that stands in the name of the Member for Grand Bank, unless he should choose to withdraw it overnight, given what my friend from Eagle River has just said to expose the fallacious and really quite pathetic nature of my hon. friend's opposite motion.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, on Thursday, we shall come back and do Committee stage on Bill No. 1, the conflict of interest legislation. Then we will probably carry on with some legislation and then, on Friday, perhaps come back to the Throne Speech.

MR. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry?

MR. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, maybe we will have the Budget. We will play it as she goes; or perhaps, Mr. Speaker, this may be the night that the Premier attends upon His Honour, the Governor, to advise dissolution.

The hon. gentlemen opposite don't hope it as much as we over here hope it, I tell you.

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

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