April 2, 1993               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                  Vol. XLI  No. 19

The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Justice and Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, it's with very great pleasure that I inform the House that the government have reaffirmed our support for Allied Military pilot training at CFB Goose Bay, and that preparatory work will begin immediately toward renegotiation of the Multinational Memorandum of Understanding on Goose Bay. The Allied air forces at Goose Bay currently train under this agreement which expires in 1996.

In January the Cabinet Committee at Goose Bay which I chaired was in Labrador and we met with interested individuals and organizations to discuss the continuance of military training activities. The Detachment Commanders of the foreign forces who train at Goose Bay - the German air force, the Royal Netherlands air force, and the Royal Air Force from Great Britain - subsequently came to St. John's and met at the Premier's invitation with the full Cabinet.

Based on these discussions, the government have strongly reaffirmed our support of Allied Military flight training activities at CFB Goose Bay. We do so because of the importance of the Base and because we are convinced that activities are being carried out with due regard for the environment and aboriginal concerns.

To place the importance of CFB Goose Bay in its proper context, it must be said that without Allied Military flight training the future of the base would be in jeopardy. In turn, the economic basis of the Town of Happy Valley - Goose Bay would be threatened and its future would be tenuous. I doubt that there's a family in Happy Valley - Goose Bay which does not to some degree depend on economic activity that is dependent in turn upon the Allied presence. The government are committed to assisting and supporting this presence.

CFB Goose Bay injects $60 million annually into the local economy. It's a significant industry by any standards. It's the major employer in the Lake Melville region and the mainstay of business activity in the Happy Valley - Goose Bay area. In total, the Base employs over 600 permanent civilian personnel and about 400 additional civilian employees on a seasonal basis. It is estimated that wages and salaries, which exceed $40 million annually, represent one-half of all the personal income in the Goose Bay area. The Base also stimulates considerable employment and economic activity in a range of other industries throughout Labrador and throughout the Province as a whole.

In over forty years of low-level military pilot training, few, if any negative environmental impacts have been identified. We are confident that the federal government and the Allies are committed to lessening any future chance of negative impact. It's not generally known that the Department of National Defence spends approximately $1 million annually to monitor and to mitigate the impact of military flight activities on the environment. This is a significant commitment and the Province will continue to work closely with the Department of National Defence in the design, implementation and refinement of effective environmental monitoring and mitigation programs. The government will work will DND and other federal agencies to ensure that the continuing federal environment review of this activity is completed quickly and with accuracy. We shall also continue to work closely with the Town of Happy Valley - Goose Bay and with other proponent groups who wish to participate in the FEARO hearings scheduled for later this year or early next year.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, with reference to the Aboriginal issues let me say simply that I am confident, and my colleagues share this confidence, the Department of National Defence, which is responsible for operating CFB Goose Bay, has done and will continue to do everything within its ability to address proper and legitimate Aboriginal concerns.

Thank you, Sir.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

First I want to thank the minister for sending over a copy of his statement prior to his releasing it here in the House.

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to see that this administration has reaffirmed its support. It would seem that maybe by the act of their stating that they had to reaffirm it that they had some doubts about whether or not this should be. Of course, we all recognize in this Province that this is basically a federal initiative, and this is one of the few federal initiatives, or the only one that I am aware of, that this government has not attacked; but I am pleased to see that they are supporting this because there had been some reference to the hon. Member for Naskaupi being referred to as the scud missile from St. John's.

If they were so concerned about the economic activity -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, a lot of the Liberals are going to be hit by friendly fire here around the City of St. John's too.

Mr. Speaker, if they were so concerned about the economic activity in central Labrador they would have made announcements in their Budget Speech with regard to the design and construction of a health care facility, namely a regional hospital, to serve the people of Labrador which, by the way, would provide more employment than the armed forces bases or the military training centre in Happy Valley - Goose Bay.

While they mouth services and platitudes for their commitment to the rights and aspirations of the Aboriginals in Labrador, and their concern for them, they do absolutely nothing when it comes to sitting at the table and negotiating a land claims deal.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In the Statement of the Minister of Justice and the consultation process that the Cabinet committee undertook to travel to Labrador and meet with interested individuals and organizations, there was one organization that was left out, and they were the people who were perhaps the most concerned and most interested in the effects of the military flight training and in particular the low level flying. Mr. Speaker, the flimsy excuse that was given was that they were not paying their electrical bills based on a protest of the takeover of their historic land base to produce electricity at Churchill Falls. Now, Mr. Speaker, it is immoral to continue to ignore the rights and concerns of the Innu whose way of life, cultural identity, and their confidence as a people has been so negatively affected as to threaten their future, their health and in some cases their very lives.

Mr. Speaker, the government of this Province together with the Government of Canada and the other interests cannot continue to bury their heads in the sand on this issue. It must be faced, it must be dealt with. They must go to Labrador and speak to the Innu, and not ignore them based on some flimsy excuse.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, government has indicated its support for the development of regional, co-ordinated, comprehensive continuing care programs and home care support programs that would include the standardized placement of individuals requiring such services. Our view is that this can be achieved best by merging existing continuing and home care support services with public health services and bringing both under the jurisdiction of a single community health board in each region.

I am pleased to announce today that government has decided to proceed with the establishment of two regional community health boards, one for the St. John's region and the other for the Central Newfoundland region.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: We have been and are consulting widely to identify potential board members. In the coming weeks we will be appointing the boards for St. John's and for Central Newfoundland. There will be a period of transition from the existing structure to the proposed new structure, with the objective of having the boards formally take over their responsibilities on July 1, 1993.

Mr. Speaker, I should make clear that these boards are not the regional hospital boards that we will also be setting up, following the extensive consultations that are in progress as a result of the Dobbin report. The boards to which I refer today are regional community health care boards.

The St. John's Regional Community Health Board will be established by merging the St. John's and District Health Unit, the St. John's Home Care Program and the St. John's Drug Dependency Services.

The Central Newfoundland Regional Community Health Board will result from merging the Central Newfoundland Health Unit, the Gander and District Continuing Care Program and the Central Newfoundland Drug Dependency Services.

The new regional community health boards will provide a comprehensive range of community health services including health promotion, health protection, single point of entry, continuing care, drug dependency and mental health services. The new boards will provide for public input into the identification of needs, the establishment of priorities and the management of the day to day delivery of community health services within the region. The program and the delivery of service will become the direct responsibility of the boards. The Department of Health will provide policy direction, funding and monitoring, as is now the case with hospital and nursing home boards.

Discussions are under way to establish similar boards for the other regions of the Province and I look forward to making announcements with respect to these areas just as soon as the final decisions are made.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that these initiatives will strengthen our community health services so that the people of our Province are provided the best possible health care compatible with the resources available.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I would like to have a few words in response to the minister's statement.

Mr. Speaker, I think the key word in this again is that government has indicated its support. Now, this government has indicated its support for a number of measures over the past four years, but they really haven't delivered the support, so you have to read every document this government publishes or tables in this House. You read it very carefully, because one wonders again just how much support this government will give to those newly-established boards. I say to the Minister of Health, if he would listen for a moment, that since he has established those two boards now, I am wondering, how much financial support is he going to provide those two boards now? And I am wondering, a bit later on, if he has the figures, if perhaps he would give them to the House, because, as I said, it is just an indication of support, and I guess these boards will need real support, financially and otherwise.

Mr. Speaker, if my memory serves me correctly, the former Minister of Health, in an Estimates Committee of the House, last year, said that the first board to be established in the Province would be the Western Board, and that is on record for members to read. Now, he said the first board would be the Western Board, that was supposed to be established he said or would be established last fall, but there is no reference here to the Western Board.

Now, having said that, Mr. Speaker, if, indeed, this new concept that the minister is announcing, and these new boards, do enable better delivery and better services for the people out and about the Province who so badly need them, then I have no hesitation whatsoever in supporting the concept and supporting the establishment of the boards.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: I have none whatsoever in doing that, because if there is one thing that concerns me, as much as, or perhaps more than anything else, it is the delivery of health care in our Province to the people who so badly need it. I run into it on a daily basis as a member for the people that I represent, and I am sure all other members do, too.

So if, by this provision, these boards can co-ordinate and provide for more efficient services that are outlined by the minister here, then, Mr. Speaker, as I said, my sincerest hope and sincerest wish is that it really will work. The minister also referred to the Dobbin Report. He said they are not the regional hospital boards, which we clearly understand. I would say there is probably some confusion out and about and probably even among some members, if they haven't followed the legislation and followed the government's agenda. There may be some confusion about it, but we know they are not the regional hospital boards, which is another point of contention in some areas of the Province, the Burin Peninsula being one. I am sure the minister is aware that the health care professionals, the existing regional health care board and the people of the Burin Peninsula, are very, very concerned about what is happening to that region as a result of the Dobbin Report and the proposed larger board covering a larger area. So there are very, very serious concerns about that. But, having said that, Mr. Speaker, I just hope that the minister's concept works for the benefit of the people of Province.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think that the development of these boards has been recognized by this member and by others in the House as being a positive step. Hopefully, at the co-ordination of this home care service, home support services and continuing care will be better improved by the structure that is involved. But my concern, Mr. Speaker, is what support is going to be provided when, on the one hand, the government is setting up these boards and, on the other hand, in the Budget for this year, the Estimates indicate that support for home support services, for example, under social assistance, is decreased by $4.4 million over the figure spent last year.

So we see, Mr. Speaker, a lot of window dressing going on, on behalf of this government, but when it comes to the substance, they are cutting out the financial underpinnings of the kind of service that is needed. So, Mr. Speaker, perhaps these boards will be able to identify the real problem and, by co-ordinating the effort, will be able to understand and, hopefully, help the public understand how much is needed in this area, and convince the public and show the public that this government here, while setting up these new structures, has really undermined their effectiveness by taking money away from them.

MR. SPEAKER: Before proceeding to Oral Questions, on behalf of hon. members I would like to welcome a delegation from the Council of Milltown, in the district of Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir, represented by the following: Mr. Jerry Kearley, Mayor of Milltown; the Deputy Mayor, Mr. Douglas Sutton, and the Town Manager, Mr. Gerry Glover. They are also accompanied by Mr. Clyde Sutton, who is the president of the senior citizens of that area.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Minister of Health.

I am sure the minister is aware that the people of Grand Bank and surrounding communities - those people who are serviced by the health care clinic at Grand Bank - are very, very concerned and upset at the prospect of having their clinic hours reduced. I think from twenty-four hours to twelve is the plan.

This morning - I do not know if the minister knew or not - but there were two doctors, Drs. Beckley and Rockel, and representatives of the Town Council making public statements. The doctors particularly are concerned that after eight o'clock in the evening there will be no one on duty at the clinic except janitors, or a janitor, and we all know the implications of this.

Is there anything the minister can say to alleviate the concern of the people serviced by that clinic? Is there, in fact, going to be, after eight o'clock in the evening, just a janitor on duty, and then the janitor will have to call a physician if needed? Is that what we are going to see in the Grand Bank area?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The hospital boards are being notified, or have been notified. Some have, I think, and that particular item was mentioned in the Budget Speech, I think, but the hospital boards are being notified of their amount in their budgets and when they get their amount in the budgets, if they wish, certain things can be altered if they can find the money in some other way.

I know that is not much comfort if they are short of funds, but that part is not written in stone. Maybe we can get an alternate proposal from the board if they have any ways of providing alternate savings.

The long-term concept here is that when the new facility is added, the concept is that eventually the Grand Bank old hospital will be closed and the clinic merged with the nursing home that is nearby, and that nursing home will have staff on all the time. At that point the clinic does not really need to be open except when the doctors are there, but there will be medical people on staff; but that will not take place for awhile yet so I think then, in the long run, that will be in place. What you are concerned about is the short run and there may be some flexibility if the board can find ways of handling it.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Opposition House Leader, a supplementary.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The administrator of the board was on this morning saying that they have a $330,000 shortfall. They got their figures, I think, earlier this week, so that does not sound very encouraging for the people who are serviced by the clinic about which we are talking.

The minister is quite correct with the proposal to attach to Blue Crest, but it is going to take a minimum of two years - that is if things go well - so the concern is: What happens in the two year period if indeed it materializes if there is only a janitor on duty after 8:00 p.m.?

I am wondering if the minister would give serious consideration to looking at this specific item. I am wondering: Is there any way that he can have a look through funding of his department to see if there might be some fiscal measures that he can offer - alternatives to the board? The board is going to have a nightmare trying to come up with money to keep operating if they are $330,000 short from the outset. Is there any hope that the minister can offer them at all?

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

DR. KITCHEN: I think there is no hope - very little hope. I know the board has trouble with funds, but I might point out that the Minister of Finance here is even more seriously strapped for funds and we all have to do what we have to do.

There are doctors, I believe, in Grand Bank, and if that is the case and people get sick, they probably should go and consult the doctor. It is not as if it were a place where there were no doctors nearby, or anything of that nature.

I do not want to argue against the case because it would be nice to keep the whole thing open if you could, but sometimes you have to cut the cloth according to the amount of money available, and this is one such case.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Surely the minister must be aware that's what operating in Grand Bank outside of the clinic are private practices and they shut down at 5:00 p.m. The real concern, I say to the minister, is if an emergency case arrives at the Grand Bank clinic with no doctor on duty - I would like to ask the minister: what is going to happen if an emergency situation, a patient, arrives at that clinic with only the janitor there? A case that needs stabilization, a patient who needs to be stabilized before being transported on to the Burin regional hospital. How does the minister answer that concern? What does he do to relieve the concerns of the people?

We all know the tragic results - and I heard two doctors on this morning from the area who are predicting dire consequences if this matter is not corrected, I say to the minister. You know what's going to happen if a patient arrives who needs to be stabilized. The janitor has to call the doctor. It's going to take time for the doctor to get there, and we just hope the doctor doesn't find the tragic situation when he gets there. So what is the minister going to do to help out that situation? That's the question.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, there are many parts of this Province where there are no doctors resident in the community. There is a hospital nearby, a very good hospital in Salt Pond, that offers many services. It is not like some other parts of the Province where the hospitals are more distant. We would like to provide a hospital open twenty-four hours a day in every community of the Province. Perhaps some people would like that. But we can't do that. We have to cut the cloth according to the garment and we have to make sure that people are - the policy is that people are within an hour's drive of primary health care services, and that in the region there are the usual specialties, and in the Province somewhere there's tertiary care. That's our problem. We can't do what we can't afford. I believe that the Burin Peninsula, by comparison with other areas, is well-served by the medical - and not only that, but it will be even better served in the future.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: I tell the minister, Mr. Speaker, and the government that they're going to have a hard job convincing the people of the Burin Peninsula that, when they've got sixty less acute care beds there as a result of this government. I want to ask the minister: would the minister consider meeting with representatives of the town and the health care board? I understand there are requests on the way or already at the minister's office. Would he make an undertaking to the House that he will meet with representatives to discuss this very serious situation?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I'm in constant contact with the members of boards of health care. I don't mind meeting with councils, but the town councils don't have a direct responsibility for health care. I would prefer that the people who would meet would be health care boards who have responsibility in the local area. That's the right way to handle it. Town councils don't really have any responsibility for health care, not when there's a health care board in place.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to direct a question to the Minister of Social Services. The minister announced in the House that his department is actually forcing handicapped students seeking post-secondary education to apply for Canada student loans rather than receiving funding from his department through the VRDP. Will these handicapped individuals and their parents be subjected to the same qualifying guidelines as other individuals under the Canada Student Loan program?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Yes, Mr. Speaker. In answer to the same question about a week ago, my answer was that the students that we're speaking of, some 300 students, would be required to go through similar procedures as other students who are not handicapped. If they apply for a student loan and are successful in obtaining the loan that's available, depending on their means, the next procedure would be to follow on through with application for VRDP as in a normal instance. But yes, to answer your question specifically, they would be required to follow similar procedures to other students.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The parents of handicapped students incur extraordinary costs. Is it fair to have these same parental contributions apply to those parents as to parents of students who do not have these needs?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, all the extraordinary costs the member speaks of are covered, we have not impacted on those at all. If there is a need for transportation or any other additional needs, tuition and so on, all these additional needs that are out of the norm as compared to other students who are not handicapped, these additional needs are taken care of, it is not considered at all, that is not the impact we are having at this time, that has nothing to do with the tuition fees per se, and we are not discontinuing any of those extra additions and help that we have been providing in the past.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is rare that post-secondary education students with handicaps are able to complete their education in the same time frame so, is not the minister really forcing these students into the same category with other students in having to compete, and try to complete their education within the same time limits?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, the answer is no. We are simply asking that students go through the procedure of applying for student loans, we are confident that some of the students have means either themselves or through their parents to look after their tuition at the university, if not, of course, they can go through the loan procedure. We are not trying to impact on every student who has access through VRDP right now, but we do want to apply the procedure that we are putting in place, a means test if you like, and include the application for student loans in that process.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Traditionally the department has run into December hearing appeals so before these students can get an opportunity to avail of VRDP funding, they have to adhere to the appeal process from the department initially, and students with disabilities also have great problems getting summer jobs compared to other students, also one important thing, it takes longer for a handicapped person to seek employment after they are finished than a normal person; often it takes two years, so, is not the minister throwing these handicapped people to the wolves at a crucial time in their lives?

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

MR. GULLAGE: No, Mr. Speaker, we do not feel we are. We feel that we are being very fair, considering that they are students and if they have means to cover their tuition, then we think that they should go through that procedure. The loan procedure is available to them as well. We of course look at their total income, look at the income of the family and at the end of the day if they need assistance, the assistance will be provided and as I have already mentioned, all the additional assistance we provide to them because they are handicapped. All those additional aids, whether it be tutoring or transportation or whatever it happens to be, we cover those needs anyway, so we do give extraordinary help compared to the average student in any case and that will continue. We are simply looking at these students by way of a means test, insisting that if they have the means through their families or themselves, that they should contribute to their education.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the Premier.

In the debate about the government's termination of funding for Daybreak in St. John's, the Premier talked about unmet needs in other parts of the Province, areas outside St. John's, and referred particularly to the Child Parent Resource Centre at Dunfield Park in Corner Brook. As the Premier knows, the Dunfield Park Centre is located in provincial government premises and was established through the co-operative efforts of both the provincial and federal governments, operated for its first year with a federal government grant which expired two days ago on March 31, requiring the Centre's staff to be terminated.

Mr. Speaker, I am happy the government announced yesterday a decision to reinstate funding for Daybreak in St. John's. I would like to ask the Premier now, if he will also take action to reinstate the preventative programs for young children and their families at Dunfield Park in Corner Brook, by providing a small amount of provincial bridging funding or provincial interim funding, which the Province will be able to recoup shortly when the new federal program called Brighter Futures comes on stream, a program which will provide 100 per cent federal dollars, over a million dollars a year for the next five years to be administered jointly by the two governments?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Between the preliminaries and the after comments and the hon. member's questions, it takes quite a while to correct the misrepresentations and distortions, so I ask the Speaker's understanding in a little lengthier answer than might normally be required. To begin with, to the best of my knowledge, there is at this moment no formal request for any consideration.

MS. VERGE: The Member for Humber West (Inaudible)

PREMIER WELLS: To the best of my knowledge there is no formal request. I am not saying anything about the Member for Humber West. The Member for Humber West does not run the establishment. He is only the Member for Humber West as the member is only the Member for Humber East. Now, to the best of my knowledge there is no formal request for consideration at this moment but in any event, Mr. Speaker, one has to remember what the situation is.


PREMIER WELLS: I would like the babbling to stop for a moment because I think this information ought to be gotten out.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, this unit was established by the federal government. It is another classic example of the federal government moving in, establishing a thing, establishing a program, spending money and then backing away from it. They cut the funding as of March 31. They cut it totally. They did nothing. They cut it totally. The hon. member says they established it a year ago but I thought it was about a year and a half or two years ago. They did it for one year and then walked away from it, and now you Province take it over, and they are worried about deficits in this country? Let them think about what they are doing. Now this they do in a variety of other areas. The government cannot allow officials in Ottawa or politicians in Ottawa, whoever do those kind of things, to create these burdens for the provinces in this way. That is the second point. The first is there has been no request. The third thing is, I understand that what is done in Corner Brook is significantly different and not at all the same thing. The minister is better equipped to handle this than I am but on the basis of the information that we have available at the moment, and I have looked at the thing, what is done in Corner Brook is not at all akin to what is done at Daybreak here in St. John's. So, Mr. Speaker, for those reasons the matter has not yet been dealt with by government.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I ask the Premier if it is not true that two wrongs do not make a right? Is it not true that because there are cracks in federal government programming there is no excuse for the Province to turn a blind eye to families in need? Is it not true that there will shortly be a new federal government program for young children at risk and their families for the type of programming at Dunfield Park in Corner Brook that will provide 100 per cent federal funding to be administered jointly by the provincial and federal governments? And is it not true that all the provincial government has to do to reinstate the fine programs at Dunfield Park is to provide a small amount of bridging funding which the Province can then recoup from the new federal funding?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, it is not as simple as the member describes. The Brighter Futures Program, we are told by the federal government, does not apply to existing programs. You cannot take an existing program that is in place, or one that is being discontinued by themselves in this case, and place it into the Brighter Futures agreement. It cannot be done. What we are told though, Mr. Speaker, is that after the Brighter Futures agreement is signed and in place that consideration can be given to programs that are in place, or certainly components of those programs, especially if we see an expansion of a program that has a component that is different from the way they were operating, so we have to await the signing of that agreement in any case. Maybe afterwards we can do something.

As far as the Dunfield application is concerned, Mr. Speaker, we have not as yet received the application. I understand that the application is being put together. It has not been received, and as the Premier said, when it is received by my department we will make sure that it is processed in the normal way, looked at, and determined whether or not in fact, in speaking to the comparison to Daybreak, whether or not it fits in the same category, whether it has a similar mandate to Daybreak, and those points will be clarified and looked at at the time of the receipt of the application.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A supplementary to the Premier. Is it not true, as indicated by the Minister of Social Services, that the government has neglected the Dunfield Park situation; the Member for Humber West hasn't gone to Cabinet with a request, as he told the news media in Corner Brook; the minister hasn't done an evaluation of the program; and what is going on here is the kind of neglect that led the government to abandon Daybreak?

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

MR. GULLAGE: Mr. Speaker, that is pure nonsense. As a matter of fact, we only found out about a week ago that the Federal Government, with very little notice, was cutting off the funding to Dunfield Park effective March 31st - very little notice even to these people, let alone to us.

Mr. Speaker, since that time, we have acted as quickly, I think, as possible. My staff have put together as much -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. GULLAGE: - as has the Member for Humber West. As a matter of fact, I believe he was the first one to tell us about it.

Since that time, we have done all possible to gather information from the Federal Government and from the centre,itself, and now we are at the point where I understand, as of this morning, speaking to my staff, an application is being put together from the group that runs the Dunfield Park Centre.

I can only repeat that when that application is received, we will look at it and consider it, as we would do anyway. Irrespective of whether it compares to Daybreak, we would consider it, anyway, as a request from a centre that is in great difficulty because of the Federal Government, as the Premier has already stated, cutting off their funding - with literally no notice at all. So we will react to that request as we would react to any request from any group in the Province asking for assistance after having the Federal Government literally cut off their funding.

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

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

The Daybreak workers, families and supporters were able to fight back against government cutbacks because they knew what the government was doing. They knew that the government was trying to close them down. How many organizations - so-called third party organizations - are going to be affected by the government's taking away of funding, which is mentioned in this Budget of so-called truth and hope, without any details, without any information, who cannot fight back because they haven't been told? Is the Premier and the government afraid to unleash the same kind of protest as we have had from Daybreak by not telling them, by not coming forward and saying what they are going to do? Is that what the government's plan is?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I think the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board has that information. I don't have the details. I don't even know that the people have not been told - as far as I know, they have been. I don't know, but I will ask the Minister of Finance to provide the information.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

These organizations deserve to know what the government is going to do to them. They deserve to know what is going to happen to them. Those who are having the rug pulled out from under them for financing and support for rental accommodations deserve to know what the government's plans are. Are the government going to reveal that now, or are they going to sit on it for another few weeks?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. member, as usual, is fearmongering and they are having a great bit of fun fearmongering, trying to say to all the organizations around this Province, the funding has been cut, and all that kind of thing. Mr. Speaker, the organizations know that the funding has not been cut, and I will say to the hon. member that if he will give me a few minutes - I thought I had it here - I will go down to the office and get the full list, and I will table the full list, which includes the total funding that is being provided, the organizations, the funding they got last year, what was requested for this year, and the amount they are getting this year, all organizations that are receiving the funding and those that are not receiving the funding. No problem. The hon. member does not have to get on with his fearmongering, although he loves to do that, because one thing the hon. the Member for St. John's East loves to do is get on with fearmongering.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The fact that it has taken several weeks for the minister to be able to put together a list of the people who are going to be affected is obviously some indication of this government's approach to the Budget. Will the minister not admit that just as in the Daybreak experience, what the government did and what Treasury Board did was look at the Budget, look at the bottom line, and put a minus figure at the bottom, the same as they did for public sector workers, and try to figure out the damage afterwards? Is that not what really happened?

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


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair has recognized the Minister of Finance and I am having great difficulty hearing the minister. I do not know if the minister is having great difficulty answering in terms of competing with the noise. I ask hon. members on both sides, please, to observe the rules of the House.

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As I indicated to the Member for Humber East, who first raised this question - and I apologize to her for not getting back to her sooner - as I indicated to her in the House, I was attempting to put the list together, but the point is that we, in the Department of Finance or in Treasury Board, don't necessarily make all the final decisions, and in terms of grants to third party organizations, in some instances, block funding was provided. Then, the departments had to go and make decisions and I had to wait until these decisions were made to get my information together. I have had it for the last couple of days and I apologize to the House for not tabling it. I will now go down to the office and get it, and table it as soon as I get back, that is, after I table another item I have to table.

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

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. In response to a question from my colleague from Fogo, a couple of days ago in this House he suggested that the unemployment problem in this Province is going to be answered by the private sector. I am sure he is very well aware of the plight of the hundreds of miners in Western Labrador over the past two years who have lost their jobs because of the downturn in the mining industry. These people are facing the very bleak prospect of their UIC benefits expiring. They are in a Northern isolated single industry community and, of course, the private service sector in the area is also facing bleak prospects because of the grinding down of the mining industry itself, so the private sector cannot respond to all the needs of these people.

I know the minister is aware of the problem but I wonder if he can tell me what he and his department plan to do to help alleviate this problem that the miners are facing because of these prospects?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the hon. member for his question. It is about two-and-a-half weeks ago now that I met with a delegation representing the council in Labrador West and Lab City. They had written pointing out these concerns. I also have been in touch with the leaders of the unions representing the miners and steelworkers, union representatives in the area.

The same groups have made representation, as well, to the federal minister responsible, hoping that because of the circumstances in Labrador West as described accurately by the hon. member, there might be a case, in this instance, for some short-term intervention by the government because of the extenuating circumstances in Lab West at the time. I was a little surprised that the council representatives did not invite the member along to that meeting, because that happens in many cases.

I am surprised that the first time I heard from the member on the matter, would be in the House, rather than writing me or coming and bringing the case forward like other representatives truly interested in the welfare of the workers in the area have done. I would not want to cast any aspersions, Mr. Speaker, as to why the member would now ask the question. Maybe he needs something to put in the newspaper in Lab West.

Normally, the people who are truly concerned have done exactly what the council members and the union leaders have done. They have written to me. They have come and met. We are considering serious proposals they have put forward to us and to the Federal Government. It is probably an opportunity, too, Mr. Speaker, to point out that this is not a new circumstance in Labrador West, as the hon. member would know. There has been a downturn over the last couple of years. There have been repeated layoffs in Labrador West and this is a continuation of that circumstance because of the worldwide situation with the iron ore industry.

Last year we did respond in a couple of manners by participation in the Industrial Adjustment Services Committee and also, by targeting some special amount of student summer employment funding to Labrador West to meet the needs of the students in the area who normally would have gotten their summer employment in the mining industry but didn't have that opportunity because of the shutdowns of the summer. We are considering those kinds of options again and I am a little surprised that it comes as a question in the House instead of representation in the office or to letters previously.

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

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

I don't see why the minister would be surprised that he would be questioned in the House, Mr. Speaker. He shouldn't be too embarrassed about answering questions just because he was publicly chastised by the Premier of this Province for incorrectly answering questions to other people.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. A. SNOW: But, Mr. Speaker, instead of casting aspersions on my doing my job, what he should be doing is working on his particular job which is responding to the needs of the miners who are laid off in Western Labrador, and while I was meeting with the teachers who are discouraged, disappointed and disgusted with his response to their needs, Mr. Speaker -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Hon. members know that Oral Questions is not a period for debate. Sometimes the Chair uses a little flexibility, but when it allows one side to carry on a little, it has to allow the other side to carry on, too - it is what is known as 'tit for tat', but having allowed that 'tit for tat', Question Period is over.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table six copies of a Special Warrant that was recently issued.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It gives me great pleasure, Mr. Speaker, in response to a question from the Member for Humber East, to table the grants allowances and assistance review. It has taken some time to put it together, Mr. Speaker.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BAKER: I have included, for the sake of clarity, Mr. Speaker, the 1992-1993 Budget figure, the request for 1993-1994 and the actual amount approved for 1993-1994. I would like to caution members to one point, and that is that, whereas there are some instances in here where assistance through the grant process has been removed but that assistance is being provided through the Strategic Economic Plan initiatives - this applies particularly to areas of aquaculture, group crops and that kind of thing. So, with the proviso that anything you see here in terms of aquaculture that has been stopped, has been taken over through the Strategic Economic Plan initiatives and that would not show up here. With that exception, these are the lists of grants and so on that have been approved. As far as I know at this point in time, it is the most up-to-date list, but again departments were given block funds in some instances and decisions have been made, and I am assuming these are the final decisions that have been made.

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

MR. GOVER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Member for Kilbride asked questions concerning carpeting on the 9th and 10th floors of this building. Mr. Speaker, with respect to the carpeting on those two floors, the carpeting is carpet tiles. These are tiles which are not permanently affixed to the floor but can easily be removed for maintenance purposes. Instead of having to re-carpet a whole room, you can replace carpeting tile by tile.

Now, Mr. Speaker, on the 9th and 10th floors there were two cases. In one case, the contractor laid the wrong colour carpet tiles in an office on the 9th floor. These were removed and reinstalled in the correct office on the 10th floor. Since this was a contractor's mistake, Mr. Speaker, it occurred at absolutely no cost to the government.

Mr. Speaker, there was a second case, a request to change carpet tiles to match the originally-agreed-upon colour scheme. Tiles were interchanged with existing stock from the same area and took approximately thirty minutes to perform, at no charge, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

We have long since passed Question Period. We are now into Answers to Questions. Are there further answers?


MR. SPEAKER: Before recognizing the hon. the Member for Green Bay, if he would just allow a moment, I have a note here which says that we have in the galleries the Deputy Mayor of Wabush, Mr. Mike Cole. I hope he is still here, if not we will welcome, anyway, the Deputy Mayor of Wabush.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to present a petition on behalf of the citizens of the community of Beachside in my district, signed by 133 citizens, 134 with my signature attached. Members will recall that last week I presented a short petition signed only by the councillors, that I received after a brief meeting with them on the weekend. Members will also recall that I was brought to order on bringing into this Chamber a bottled sample of the water that the people of Beachside have to live with - water that is not fit to wash in, water that is not fit to wash clothes, water that is not fit to cook in, and water that basically is fit only to flush a toilet.

Nonetheless, Mr. Speaker, this is the water that the people of Beachside have to live with. Basically the entire citizenry has signed this petition asking the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs to give them some relief, to provide some additional money for their system to see if they can clean up the discolouration and the silt in the water.

The minister's department claims that money is allocated on the basis of need. In this particular case, the need is very real. You look at any ice cube in any fridge in Beachside and it is clear on the top and brown on the bottom, because the water is full of dirt and sediment and it sinks to the bottom. So the water in Beachside is not really fit for human consumption. I would ask that the minister do for Beachside what he has so generously done over the last few years for the community of Brighton.

I thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay.

MR. SMALL: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition on behalf of 859 Roman Catholic parishioners from the communities of Harbour Round, Brent's Cove, Baie Verte, La Scie, Coachman's Cove and Fleur de Lys.

This petition, I guess, is the same as we have seen presented a number of times in the House in these last couple of weeks to demonstrate support for the denominational system in communities around our Province. This petition was circulated, I guess, before our Premier made his statement regarding agreement that he had between the denominational system and our government. I am sure everything possible will be done to preserve our denominational education system in our Province. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.


PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, as all hon. members know - I am going to ask for a little quiet down in the corner to my left now. If they want to speak, they have to speak in a whisper.

Mr. Speaker, as all hon. members know, members have over the past few weeks been presenting the petitions generated, generally speaking, by the Roman Catholic church with respect to the schools issue. The prayer of the petition is the same in all of them. They are coming in from all over the Province, so I don't need to take the time of the House to elaborate on it. The position of the government on it is very well known.

I rise today to present a petition, not on behalf of a member on this side of the House, but to honour a well-established and time-honoured tradition of presenting a petition that had been given to Your Honour by people in your district to have presented to the House. As all hon. members are aware, His Honour has no right to speak on any public debate in this House, and speaks only to maintain order and provide for the conduct of the House's business.

Therefore, in order to overcome that limitation and ensure that people in the district that His Honour represents are not deprived of the ability to have their petitions presented in the House, by tradition, the Premier or the Government House Leader will present such petitions on behalf of His Honour.

I am hesitant to put words in His Honour's mouth, but I would say, if I were to take a guess, that His Honour would present this petition with somewhat similar comments to those that I made when I presented a petition on behalf of residents of my own district. That the position expressed by government is that they have no desire to specifically seek an amendment to the constitutional provisions providing for denominational education in the Province, but rather the purpose and focus of the government is to seek to achieve change by consensus. If the development of a consensus results in a desire or a general agreement that there should be such changes, then we could of course seek them.

The government is equally confident that through its work with the leaders of the church we can provide for an acceptable level of changes in the educational system without the necessity of seeking constitutional changes.

Your Honour, I'm happy to ask to have tabled in this House the petition of a large number of people from Your Honour's district, and pleased to do so on Your Honour's behalf.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, seeing that this is a bit unusual that a petition has been presented by the Premier - since I've been in the House it's the first time that a petition has been presented by the Premier on behalf of the Speaker. I would like to stand in my place and support the Premier and our illustrious Speaker.

The prayer of the petition that both of them submitted, particularly on behalf of the Speaker of our House, I know that the Premier did not wish to put words in our Speaker's mouth, certainly I would not do that either. The Premier did suggest what he thought the Speaker might say in support of the petition, and he said he might use certain words. I know that if our Speaker was presenting the petition he would do it with quite a bit of flair, much more flair than the Premier did. He has always been a good speaker. I too, and I'm sure all members on this side of the House, will support the petition as presented by the Premier on behalf of the Speaker.

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

MR. K. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker I too rise today to present a petition from the Stephenville area, from St. Stephen's parish. Again, the prayer of the petition in support of high-quality education for the Province, in support of Roman Catholic schools, in support of shared services, in support of cooperation between churches, in cooperation in the education system.

A lot of concern and interest has been generated in the Province. The government is committed to reforming the education system, to getting the best education system that this Province can have. The Province is working with the churches to make sure that a cooperative agreement is reached and we can get the best system that we require. I remember the former Minister of Education, the Member for St. John's North, used to say: the most scholar for the dollar. I think that's what we're aiming to do. To use our resources in that way to ensure that we get the highest quality of education for our young people.

On behalf of the residents of the area of Stephenville and of St. Stephen's parish, of which I'm a member, I present this petition in support of those efforts on behalf of government and the churches.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I would like to rise in my place and present the rest of a petition which was sent in to me on the tail end of one I already presented, these petitioners, some fifteen of them. This petition arrived a bit late in my office from when I presented one on behalf of the parishioners of Corpus Christi parish in Kilbride, or the Kilbride - Waterford - Kenmount area.

The prayer of the petition is exactly the same as the rest of them that we've presented in this House of Assembly. They are a few more names to the thousands of names that have gone through this House of Assembly recently. People who are worried about what the government is planning to do with the educational system in our Province. People who are very concerned about the statements of our present Minister of Education, when he suggests that he wants to be remembered by his grandchildren - which really emphasizes it to me - as the person who did away with the denominational education system.

I would say the previous Minister of Education, the one who resigned there a little while ago, would probably like his grandchildren to remember him for that very same reason but he will not have the opportunity now to be the one who put the death nail to the denominational educational system. So, the present Minister of Education and the Member for the Strait of Belle Isle will properly get the opportunity, if in the next month or so they happen to be re-elected. Mr. Speaker, I doubt very much that that will happen, I doubt that it will. Also these people are not only concerned about the statements made by the hon. present Minister of Education and we are also concerned about the former Minister of Education who - it was well known over the years that he had many problems with the denominational education system. He was one of the group at Memorial University in the Education Department who were gunning for the denominational education system to be abolished and as they were doing their teacher training you could see it coming through the NTA.

Eventually, it evolved through the NTA as the Department of Education used their brainwashing techniques on the people they were training. The NTA then started to attack the denominational educational system, Mr. Speaker, but the root of it all was based in the Education Department at Memorial University. The former minister, nice fellow that he is, believed very strongly that we should do away with the denominational educational system. I would say that he probably still does but politically now the polls have swung the other way, so it is not politically acceptable for people to say they disagree with the denominational educational system.

Mr. Speaker, I do want to present the rest of this petition on behalf of those few people and just to say once more that these people are still nervous about the agreement that the churches have with the Premier. They are nervous that the Premier has stated in his letter that he is not presently looking for a change to the Constitution. They would have more comfort, Mr. Speaker, if he said he would not, during his term of office, look for a change in the Constitution. It would give them more comfort to know that he would not try to change the Constitution to do away with it.

Now, he suggested that these people are suggesting that these petitions were started before the statement by the Premier and the members of the churches but if he follows what the Pentecostal Association are doing, the Pentecostal churches, they are presently today, having public meetings concerning the future of the denominational educational system in parts of our Province. So, Mr. Speaker, there is still some concern out there in the religious groups, they still do have concerns about what the Premier has agreed to do. They are happy that the pressure is taken off right now but they are nervous of what may happen if the Premier is ever elected in this Province again. I guess too, because of the history of what he has done, signing agreements and then taking them away again when it is convenient, they are still nervous that he might take away or scrap the agreement that he presently has.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Sir. Mr. Speaker, I will ask Your Honour, first of all to call Order 12 which is Bill 21, the Elections Act, so that hon. members can arrange their day accordingly, assuming we dispose of the Election Act. In due course we will then ask the House to consider Order 10 which is Bill 17, that is the Salary Reduction Bill. Notwithstanding all the nice things we said about Your Honour a moment or so ago, we will be asking the House to reduce Your Honour's salary along with everybody else's. I hope Your Honour will not take it personally. It is only my friend for Bellevue who did take it personally. Finally, if we dispose of the other bill, we will be asking the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, getting heckled by your own backbenchers is really something. I have to say though, it is better heckling than I am used to from the other side. Then we will be going on to the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: - we will be going on to the - I am quite prepared to have whatever they say behind my back to be said to me, unlike the hon. gentleman from Kilbride.

Mr. Speaker, let me come back, when we finish, assuming we do finish at some point this morning, Order 10, Bill 17, I will then ask that we consider, The Taxation of Utilities Bill and the government has decided that the need to have this bill adopted is so compelling that if we do not finish it today than the House will be asked to sit again on Monday until we deal with it. I do not want to debate the bill, it is not in order, but there are no new principles in it. It is a matter of correcting some errors that were in the matter we dealt with before Christmas.

So with that preamble, Sir, I would ask if you would be good enough to ask the Clerk to call Order 12.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Amend The Election Act And The Public Service Collective Bargaining Act". (Bill No. 21).

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you.

Mr. Speaker, I do not propose to speak for very long at all in dealing with this Bill. As I mentioned in the House the other day, it has come out of consultations which were held among the leaders of the three parties represented in the House - the Premier, the Leader of the Opposition, and the gentleman for St. John's East. I have also spoken with the single Independent member of the House, the gentleman from St. George's, not to ask his views one way or the other but simply to tell him what was coming in the Bill and to receive whatever comments he cared to make.

Before I discuss the two or three principles or sections embodied in the Bill, let me make the preliminary observation, Sir, that the sections in this Bill - the points that this Bill would make into law if the House is minded to adopt it - all come from the new Elections Act, the 1991 Elections Act which was passed in 1992 to add to the confusion, but the new Elections Act has in it a number of new provisions which the consultations disclosed have the support of all three of the political parties in which it is felt it should be brought into play in time for the next election.

We do not know when the election will be. The Premier may or may not know but if so he certainly has not told me, and he has not told my friend, the Minister of Finance, and if he has not told the gentleman from Mount Pearl, then nobody in the House knows except the Premier.

Be that as it may, it is quite possible that the new Election Act, which cannot be brought into force, as I explained earlier, until some time much later this year, perhaps the fall, it is quite possible that the new Election Act will not be the rules that govern the conduct of the next general election in this Province. So if we want to import into the next general election some of the principles and features embodied in the new act, we have to adopt this legislation with or without amendment as we wish. That is what leads the government to bring it forward, because the consultations among the party leaders, to which I referred, disclose that there was agreement that there were two or three features of the new act which ought to be brought into play.

With that said, Mr. Speaker, let me very briefly discuss what these are. They are set out in the explanatory note. There are essentially three. One is the name of the party will be placed on the ballot, and there is a provision that the leader of each party will designate - will sign a list - as to who are the men and the women seeking election as the candidates representing the leader's party. When that designation is made, the ballot will have on it the name of John Doe, Progressive Conservative, or Pete Smith, New Democrat, or Gillian James, Liberal - whatever may be the case.

The parties do not exist officially in law, so what we have done is by reference incorporated the deeming provision that is found in what I will call the new act. That, if one wants to look it up, is a combination of Sections 278.(1) and 281.(1) of the new act, but essentially what it does, and hon. members I know are familiar with this, would provide that the three parties now represented in the House of Assembly namely, in alphabetical order, the Liberals, the New Democrats, and the Progressive Conservatives, would all be recognized as parties and so the leaders of these three parties would all have the right to designate candidates whose names would be adorned by their party name on the ballot. That is one thing that the new Bill will achieve if adopted.

I do not need, I assume, to speak at length on the reasons behind that. It is in the new act. I understand it had ready support. I think it is correct to say that throughout Canada now, universally, party names appear on the ballots, and that is simply a recognition of the way in which modern elections are held.

Secondly, Mr. Speaker, the bill makes special provision for candidates who are not affiliated with a major party. There will certainly be some in this election, we understand - it would be very surprising if there were not. They have a choice. They will be able to have themselves described on the ballot as non-affiliated, not a term that warms the cockles of my heart.

MR. HARRIS: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, I say to my friend from St. John's East, that for whatever reason, and I wasn't in the House so I don't know the reason, I cannot speculate on it, the new act uses the term 'non-affiliated' - which always struck me as a sort of clumsy one, but the fact remains, it is there - as opposed to 'independent'. Now, I don't know why, and rather than change it without being certain of why it was there, I would be reluctant to change it, so I suggest to the House we go ahead and use the term that is in the new act, which is 'non-affiliated'. However, a non-affiliated or Independent candidate, if she or he so wishes, may file with the returning officer a form which will have the effect of allowing the candidate's name to go on the ballot without any adornment. It will just be simply: Thomas Jones, nothing more than that. So, that is the second thing this bill achieves.

Thirdly, Mr. Speaker, the bill will enact into the present law, two sections that are found in the new act, and these sections 176 and 177 of the present act will, in the new act, become, I think, sections 305 and 306. These direct the advertising that parties or candidates may do during an election. There are two requirements that will be made law: One is that there may be no media advertising - no broadcast advertising, I am sorry. I have to get this right.

It is section 4 of the bill - no media advertising, both broadcast and print before the twenty-first day before the election. Now, in the campaigns in this Province, this administration has adopted the practise of using at least twenty-eight days notice; that would mean, for the first week the election would be spared television and radio ads and would be spared print ads. There is, however, a course in exception that allows advertising in public meetings and districts, announcing districts headquarters and these kinds of things.

Now these sections are taken word for word I understand from the new act that was approved by the House a year or so ago. Secondly, and again this was approved by the new act, the act will prohibit a practise that has occurred, to my knowledge, from time to time in this Province, and which I find most reprehensible, and that is the practise of some media outlets of jacking up their rates when an election comes and they know that parties must have access to broadcast and print media, saying: Well, we have a special deal for you. It is twice the normal rate or one-and-a-half times or whatever. That will be prohibited. They are allowed to charge the same rate to sell the virtues of my friend from Harbour Main, who, unfortunately, will not be a candidate, as to sell the virtues of a brand of soup or nuts. The same rate will apply, and that is put in here.

Now, Mr. Speaker, there is also a provision with section 5 of the bill, that the Public Service Collective Bargaining Act will be amended by - when I say it is adding, the bill will add a section to that act; the effect of that, if one tracks it through, Sir, is to delete from the bargaining unit, the people described and, in this case, a person who is employed in the office of the Chief Electoral Officer. It is my understanding that this provision will affect one individual, the Assistant Chief Electoral Officer, who, at present, is a member of the bargaining unit. It is the government's belief - and we have put it in the bill - that that is inappropriate to that person. The person holding that office is a management level position and should be excluded from the bargaining unit, and this would achieve it if the House is minded to adopt it.

One other point, Mr. Speaker: The present act, as we all know, provides that a candidate's name on the ballot shall include his or her name and occupation. The new act removes the name and occupation requirement. If the House is minded, if members wish, we are prepared at Committee stage to move an amendment that would have the effect of providing, the name on the ballot in an election conducted under the present act - if one is still with me - will not have the occupation and address requirement. In other words, it would just appear: Ed Roberts, Liberal, or Neil Windsor, Progressive Conservative, or whatever.

Now, I am in the hands of the House on that. I have asked the Law Clerk to prepare the necessary amendments should one wish to do it. If there is no unanimity on the point, we won't do it. But it always struck me as a little strange that one's address and occupation are on the ballot. I have never had anybody say to me: I am voting for you or against you because of where you live, or because of what you do or what you don't do.

MR. HARRIS: If you are a carpetbagger -

MR. ROBERTS: I beg your pardon?

MR. HARRIS: What if you are a carpetbagger?

MR. ROBERTS: Well, I was called a carpetbagger in Naskaupi, but the voters of Naskaupi made quite a conclusive answer to that. I went down to White Bay North twenty-seven years ago as a very young man seeking election, and I don't think anybody had the least concern where I was born, or where I lived, or what church I went to. They were concerned whether I was Mr. Smallwood's representative or not. That was the determining factor in the election.

In fact, I say to my friend from St. John's East, I got about 85 per cent of the votes in that election. When I came back to St. John's, somebody asked me how I had done, and I, perhaps with a little pride, said: '85 per cent.' The answer was: 'Gee, Roberts, you only had a chance to meet 15 per cent of the voters, did you?' So I say that to my friend. Think about that.

In any event, Mr. Speaker, should the House wish us to take that requirement out, we are quite prepared to do it. With that said, Sir, I simply move that the bill be read a second time, and if there are any particular questions from members I will try to deal with them either when I close the debate or at Committee stage.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I would like to have a few words on this. First of all, I find it strange to see how far this government will go to try to get Bud Hulan elected. That is the only reason I can see for having this piece of legislation before this House. Because poor old 'Larry' there is going to be left out in the cold. He won't even be able to be an Independent Liberal any more, Plus the other two or three Independent Liberals who are running out in that district.

AN HON. MEMBER: Six or seven now, I think.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Is that right? Mr. Speaker, we spent $800,000 trying to get Bud Hulan recognized around the Province on an agricultural task force that we threw in the garbage. Now we are passing a special bill in this House of Assembly so that he is the only one in that district who can appear on the ballot as a Liberal.

I would say this change also might have some consequences for other Liberals, other members on that side of the House, if they decide to run as other than a member of the recognised party. Some of them will probably lose their nomination in the near future.

MR. HARRIS: (Inaudible) can't call himself Minister of the Crown as his occupation either.

MR. R. AYLWARD: No, Mr. Speaker. Some of them, maybe three, but two, I think, are going to have a tough battle. One of them is going to win, by the way. One of them is working pretty hard at it and he will win his nomination. But if he doesn't and he still wants to be a part of the elected House of Assembly of this Province, and they still want to put their name on the ballot, that person, or those people, will not be allowed to be called independent Liberals or NDPs or Progressive Conservatives any more.

I must admit, I sat on the Committee that dealt with this legislation, by the way. Has the Minister of Justice just said, he doesn't know why 'non-affiliated' is left in there and, as a Committee member, I don't know either, I really don't. The only reason I can give for that is because everyone on that Committee, I would expect, and everyone in the House of Assembly at the time it was being discussed, had all planned to be members of affiliated parties. There were no independent people here to give a different perspective. I think, at the time, I was planning to give it up, so it didn't matter to me one way or another what that designation was, but now that the point is raised -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: I really can't remember. I hope our Chairman gets up. Maybe, in Committee I would like to give that option - unless someone can give me that idea. Whatever the thought was, I missed it when we were in Committee, if it was brought up. I might, in committee, wish to make an amendment to Clause 2. Not only does the candidate have the option to not have 'non-affiliated' on the ballot but might also change 'non-affiliated' to 'independent'. What is the difference? That is fairer, I think.

If a person is a Progressive Conservative candidate, a Liberal candidate, or a New Democratic Party candidate that is all on the ballot, and the other person is an Independent candidate. Well, that is not bad. I can see you wouldn't want to have Independent Liberal or Independent Conservative, because it does cause some confusion amongst the electorate, but 'Independent', period - well, that should be a recognized designation in our political field. Some people would like not to be affiliated, would like to be considered as independent and would not like to be toeing party lines when they vote on certain issues.

So, Mr. Speaker, maybe I will consider an amendment, too, in Committee, to see if members agree with that. There will probably be two or three in the House who may agree with me. Maybe I will get a forth one, so we are building, and if I talk for a little while longer we may get a few more because, if not in this election, maybe at some other time in the future -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: I might lose the (inaudible) if I keep going. I am serious. I do not know why 'non-affiliated' was there. I can't remember, even though I served on the Committee - and the Minister of Justice can't remember. It was probably taken from some other act and put in there, I would suggest, but if we had to have some person sitting in the House at the time who was an independent member and planned to run as an Independent again the next time, we certainly would have a different perspective on that. I agree with the Minister of Justice, that 'non-affiliated' seems like some kind of disease. You would not want that on the ballot. I wouldn't want it behind my name. It is a negative term, right off the bat. I might try that in second reading. I will check with my own colleagues here because I didn't mention it to them before. I guess it was my responsibility, as a Committee member, to have raised this before in our caucus but I did not. I must admit that it just slipped by me completely.

Clause 4: The change in Clause 4 is that there can be no advertising until twenty-one days before election day. The Minister of Justice didn't give me any good reason why that should be. Someone could start today, advertising for their campaign, I think, if they wanted to.

AN HON. MEMBER: Once an election is called they cannot campaign.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Why? That is what I mean. They could be doing it now for three months and then when the election is called they have to stop. We should get an explanation for that one. It is in the new act again. It is something else I missed. I very lax when I was on that Committee, I must say. I don't understand the reason for only having advertising twenty-one days before the election. There could be a very valid reason, and if there is a valid reason I wouldn't have any problem supporting it - but I would like to know that there is a valid reason.

AN HON. MEMBER: Your leader (inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: I know - I didn't talk to him.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Maybe he did.

Then clause 4 suggests that government is expecting a strike in the public service, no doubt. They want to have an election now and they know they are going to have a strike in the middle of it so they have to take that person out. I don't know if that person was always a member of the bargaining unit or if he was put in just recently. We ran elections with threats of strike before and didn't see any reason why this person should be in or out of the bargaining unit. If the government is nervous of a strike coming I can see that they would want to have this person out of the bargaining unit because it certainly would put a big strain on the electoral office to have the number two person over there not participating in the organization of the mechanics of the election if that person happened to be on strike. I don't know if that person was always in the bargaining unit. It certainly is an admission by government that they expect a strike to come fairly soon. Mr. Speaker, the other thing I cannot remember, now maybe the Minister of Justice would address it when he gets up but I do not have a copy of our old act, is the definition of a new Party. I know it says here that the definition is the same as in Elections Act 1991 will come into force and so on and so forth. I cannot remember the definition but is it possible that a person could start up the Liberal Party 1991 and put that on the ballot?

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, by leave.

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

MR. ROBERTS: The answer would be, no. To become a Party one must meet certain requirements which are set out in the Act. The easiest way to do it would be to run candidates, I think in thirteen constituencies in the last general election, but secondly there is a general prohibition against names that are confusing. The idea is to give the electorate a fair choice. One can start a Party easily but you cannot call it the New Progressive Conservatives or something like that. No, the answer to the hon. gentleman's question is simply, that would not be possible.

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

MR. R. AYLWARD: I thought that was the answer but yes, that is fair enough. I have no problem with that as long as people cannot - the less confusion the better. There is enough confusion in that twenty-one days or that twenty-eight days without adding to it. With those few comments, Mr. Speaker, and my proviso on this non-affiliate designation, maybe we should consider putting Independent on the ballot along with non-affiliated if you want it or nothing if you want it or Independent but not Independent Liberal or PC or NDP but just plain Independent. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to rise to speak in support of the legislation in principle on Bill 21, to amend the Elections Act and The Public Service Collective Bargaining Act. I do think it is important that in the upcoming election we adopt the procedure followed by the Federal Elections Act and by a number of other Provinces. I am not sure if they all follow this procedure or not, Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Justice said, perhaps he has had someone research it but having the political party's name on the ballot paper I think is important, particularly where you have so much party identification going on through advertising and through the vote of the people. People who are coming to vote ought to know, not only what individual they are voting for, but what political party they are supporting as well.

I know that the committee and the House in discussions about the legislation did not really come to grips with the issue of what do you do with people who are not members of parties. I do not think that aspect of it was really considered until we have in fact come to the point where an election is imminent. We do have some individual circumstances to reflect upon, particularly the Member for St. George's who is now seeking to be returned to this House but does not have the endorsement of the Party. It is only sometimes when we are faced with individual facts and circumstances do we actually come to grips with thinking about what the consequences of certain designations on a ballot paper might or might not be. In thinking about it and in thinking about an individual who might want to run as an independent as opposed to one affiliated with a party, why would you want to have a negative word after your name and not something else, a non-affiliated as opposed to independent?

One reason which made me think of it, Mr. Speaker, was a novel which I recently read and it was written in the 1920's or 30's in the United Kingdom. The novel was actually a murder mystery but the whole plot revolved around this individual who was a professor at Oxford or something, who was running in an election, a by-election in England and he ran as an Independent candidate. As part of his campaign he was extolling what he called the virtues of independency that by not being associated with a political party he would be able to deal with the issues of the day as they arose and would not be entrapped by party politics and by the requirements of having to meet the discipline of party politics, that he was prepared to offer to his constituents or prospective constituents the virtues of independence. The fact that he was in fact running as an independent was a positive thing. It was not the fact that he could not get the endorsement of a political party, that was not his problem. What he wanted to do was to run as an independent because he believed, and he believed that the constituents believed, that to have a member who was not going to be swayed by the discipline of party politics was a positive and good thing.

So to use the word independent and to have it in that way I think is probably a good thing, and if individuals want to choose non-affiliated as part of their appellation on a ballot paper then so be it, but I think that the more common term throughout the political history of this Province and other parts of the British parliamentary tradition have been to call yourselves, at least, an independent as opposed to a non-affiliate, and I think that would be appropriate and I would certainly welcome and support an amendment by the Member for Kilbride to the legislation.

I think it is probably appropriate, coming from a member who is, in fact, retiring and resigning from the House to come up with this amendment, because it shows it is not coming from someone who has some partisan motive or personal motive but rather wants to improve the legislation so that the legislation better reflects the traditions of electoral politics.

I think I, as he, sat in on committee meetings. I was not a member of the committee, but I do not think that issue was even discussed - why the term 'non-affiliated' or 'non-affiliate' was used. I think it was just something that was passed over because it was not an issue before the House.

With respect to party endorsement, as I say, I am happy to see that there. I would agree with the Minister of Justice that it is time - that it is not necessary to have a person's occupation or a person's address on a ballot paper. The address should be of no political significance. I think the real purpose of having an occupation and an address would be to identify who the person is. If there were twenty-four Art Reid's in Carbonear, for example, it might be necessary to identify the Art Reid who happens to be running in the election. I do not think that is really of any practical significance because a modern election campaign would make it very clear through the advertising brochures and literature that is available during election campaigns of quite clearly identifying who the person is who is in fact seeking the election on behalf of a political party or as an independent. I think that is really not something that needs to be left to the ballot paper. It is something that really can be looked after in the campaign itself, so I would support an amendment by the government to delete the requirements of putting in an occupation and an address on the ballot paper. I think we are happy to see that removed.

Occupation, of course, is something that is very subjective. Some person might want to call themselves a member of the House of Assembly. Some people might want to call themselves unemployed, and to be honest about it, if they do not have a job. Their occupation may be some occupation that they have training for but do not have work in. It can be subjective and people can be more scrupulous than others and use it, perhaps, to their advantage or disadvantage.

I think, from the elector's point of view, having the name of the individual, the party affiliation, if any, and/or independents if we accept that change, would be quite sufficient and in keeping with the new legislation, so I would be happy to see that amendment from the Minister of Justice, or from the government caucus, and I would support it. I believe there is also support from the official Opposition for an amendment of that nature.

With respect to campaign advertising, the Member for Kilbride was unclear as to what the purpose of it was. In general the purpose is to restrict the extent of advertising to try and level the playing field as much as possible rather than to give an advantage, for example, to the government. If the government were to - such as the previous administration used to do - Premier Peckford would, as I was informed yesterday, get up some morning and tell the rest of the world that there was going to be an election that day. Well he could have spent the previous three weeks preparing campaign advertising and being ready to go so that the day he calls the election there is a media barrage starting that night and continuing until election day, Mr. Speaker. That would have been unfair to have that kind of advantage.

It would give the government in power, which determines when an election is, the advantage in having not only prepared and done all the pre-production of an advertising campaign, but also to acquire space and to buy up the space and take over the whole field prior to an election being called, so that as soon as the election is on they can hit the media with a barrage.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: But at least now, Mr. Speaker, they have to wait seven days before they can start it. I think this provision is not strong enough, frankly. I think twenty-one days of a twenty-eight day campaign is more than enough to have a barrage of media campaign. I'd like to see it restricted even further. Fourteen days would seem to be more appropriate to me. It would certainly level the playing field a little more for our Party with our very limited resources as opposed to the resources of the other two parties. So I would see it as being appropriate to shorten that. That's the rationale for it, for the benefit of the Member for Kilbride.

The other element, the rates for advertising, I would agree. In addition to charging higher rates for political parties during elections I understand it's been a media practice to give different rates to different parties, depending on the kind of support that they might or might not have, or wish to support a particular political party. So I think that's another activity that can in fact level the playing field for all political parties. So that some are not getting special deals, and some are not getting over-charged, as the Minister of Justice has spoken about.

As to the change in the Public Service Collective Bargaining Act, I don't know what consultation there was made with the bargaining unit. I think that should be a pre-condition to all-party agreement in the House on this. I understand the rationale for it. I understand that the one position that we're talking about is in fact a bargaining unit position, but is really in a supervisory category. Although there are many supervisory categories within the Public Service Collective Bargaining Act bargaining units, this is somewhat unique, in that there's only one position and there may only be one other person in that office who's above that position. I think there are perhaps one or two positions there. I think it's probably appropriate that these positions not be in a position where services can be withdrawn during a strike, because one ought not to be able to interfere with the process of elections. That's one of the more fundamental aspects of our democratic society.

I'm inclined to think that in principle that could be supported. I think it's something that ought to have been discussed though with the bargaining agent involved before it was brought it. I don't think it has been and I think it should be. I would ask the Minister of Justice to have someone consult with the bargaining agent involved to advise as to what they're doing and to get their views. There may be some protections needed in the office of the chief electoral officer to ensure that those people who are being deprived of the representation by a union are protected in other ways. That may be something that we could be advised of by the bargaining agent involved. I think that consultation should take place, if it hasn't already. Perhaps the Minister of Justice can advise the House whether it has.

In principle we support the changes set forth in the legislation. I have some quarrel with the twenty-one days. I think fourteen would be more appropriate. I think that we could go further in adopting the provisions of the new Act by removing the requirement of occupation and address from the ballot paper, and also to allow a candidate who is truly independent, who wants to be designated as an independent, to use that word and that word only.

I know that this notion of being an independent candidate who is truly independent who wants to be designated as independent to use that word and that word only. I know that this notion of being an independent candidate sometimes is by people's choice and sometimes it is by the problems that politicians sometimes encounter in trying to get the support of a party for which they wish to run, in fact sometimes it is a problem of the nomination process itself. Some parties do not take the care to ensure that their nomination processes are really conducted in a proper and appropriate way, and sometimes sitting members or others find themselves on the wrong side of a nomination process because they have not been prepared to play the game, so called, that others are prepared to play and do the kind of things that other candidates are prepared to do to get themselves a nomination.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I say to hon. members that there may well be some, as a result of these rules, who will not be back here again. The Member for Kilbride talked about certain Cabinet Ministers who may have trouble getting their nominations and that could lead to certain difficulties. They will not be able to now, if this legislation is passed with the changes made, they will not be able to call themselves Minister of the Crown on the ballot paper to try and convince the people that despite the fact that they do not have the Liberal nomination, does not mean that they do not still have some power and influence, they will not be able to do that.

In fact, Mr. Speaker, I have heard some members opposite, some Cabinet Ministers say that they were not really worried about the legislation to roll back the wages. I know the Member for Kilbride would be interested in this. I have heard Cabinet Ministers say on the other side that they are not really worried about the roll back of wages because it is not going to affect them, that it would not affect them, the roll back of the wages is not going to affect them and my only response to that was, well, does this mean you do not think you are going to get re-elected, and all that produced was a chuckle and a laugh, but I will not embarrass the hon. member involved by indicating to the House who it was, but it may well be one of those members who is having trouble getting his nomination, Mr. Speaker, so I think that may speak for itself, but it is not really necessary to -

MR. MURPHY: (Inaudible) your nomination.

MR. HARRIS: No, I say to the Member for St. John's South, no, I had no trouble getting my nomination and there is a very good reason why, Mr. Speaker, a very good reason why I had no trouble getting my nomination -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: That is right, not only do those in my party have the kind of respect for their sitting member that they will not seek the nomination against me but people in other parties seem to be shying away as well, so I am very pleased to say -

MR. MURPHY: I think young Sean (inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Well, we will see, Mr. Speaker. I understand that young Sean was very active in your party not too long ago and in fact on the executive of one of your sitting members a very short time ago, and he was President of the Young Liberals, so I guess there are probably two Liberals running in St. John's East, and I suppose one of them has the Liberal banner, the other one is going to have the PC banner, so, Mr. Speaker, I have no difficulty with the nomination process for St. John's East, I am very pleased with the way it worked out and I am not surprised at all that we were so successful.

Mr. Speaker, those are my remarks on the Bill and I would like to see that we can move forward with the legislation and hopefully make those two amendments and perhaps a third by changing the twenty-one days to fourteen days instead for the advertising.

Thanks very much.

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

MR. REID: Very quickly, Mr. Speaker, maybe my hon. friend from Kilbride can agree with me on this one, but I believe the question was asked in our committee, questioning the word non-affiliate, and we did discuss non-affiliate and independent, but we thought at the time, Bob, if you remember, we thought that it had to be either one or the other, it could not be both, and the reason we said that was, just picture the ballot with NDP, Progressive Conservative, Liberal, Non-affiliate, Independent, Non-affiliate, Independent, Non-affiliate, Independent. It would be too confusing. I think the argument was that the Committee thought that the word "independent" was better than "non-affiliate." "Non-affiliate" just showed up in the Act. We asked the Justice people, if I remember, to explain to us why "independent" had been taken out and "non-affiliate" had been put in.

I'm almost sure that the answer that they gave - I don't know if they gave it to the Committee or not - but I'm almost sure that the answer they gave was that a candidate can campaign in a district and call himself or herself an independent. That candidate then in the campaign is labelled as an independent.

Now if he or she is calling himself or herself an independent Liberal or an independent Progressive Conservative, if he I suppose or she can convince the electorate that he or she is an independent Liberal, than automatically when you go and cast your vote, if you vote for that person - you're almost in some cases confusing the electorate to the point where there isn't a distinction between the true PC or NDP candidate and the independent candidate. I think that was the answer.

Now I don't know if you're following me or not, but I think that's the reason why the answer to the question of why the word "non-affiliate" was there. If you think about the upcoming campaign, and in some previous campaigns, somebody out saying they're independent Progressive Conservative. Every sign and every poster shows independent Progressive Conservative, then it causes confusion.

AN HON. MEMBER: Or independent Liberal.

MR. REID: Or independent Liberal. It causes confusion for some of the electorate. Okay?

AN HON. MEMBER: They can still do that.

MR. REID: But on the ballot they can't do it. When the ballot comes out then the word "independent," if we put "independent" there, then the word "independent" would be on the ballot, then people would automatically turn around and possibly some people would vote, thinking they were voting for Progressive Conservative or NDP or Liberal.

I remember us asking Justice to check that for us,. Because that was one of our - and I confirmed that with Elizabeth at the Table. She said that in her notes that was one of the negative things that we asked about. We didn't think that the word "non-affiliate" should be there. But I'll say this. That if your changes are taken into consideration I believe personally that it has to be either "independent" and nothing else, or "non-affiliate" and nothing else. I don't really think that you should be allowed to use "independent" or "non-affiliate". Because just imagine what you're going to have on a ballot. If you get more than, say, four or five or six people running, it's going to be confusing.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. REID: The other question I have to, and maybe when the minister speaks to end debate on this, is Section 176(1), which says: "A political party or candidate, or a person, corporation or trade union acting with it's or his or her knowledge...." Another question came up that I think maybe should be explained. Maybe the minister can explain this.

We talk about trade unions but we have a number of organizations in the Province which sometimes don't consider themselves trade unions. Example: Newfoundland Nursing Association. Is the Newfoundland Nursing Association a trade union?



MR. REID: It's not.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes it is.

MR. REID: It's not!

AN HON. MEMBER: Not trade.

AN HON. MEMBER: Nurses union (Inaudible).

MR. REID: It's not. The nurses union is a trade union, but the Newfoundland Nurses Association is not a trade union.

AN HON. MEMBER: There is no (inaudible).

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).


MR. REID: Yes, okay. They're not political.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) professional organization.

MR. REID: Okay, here's another one. Has anyone yet determined whether the Newfoundland Teachers - legally, under jurisdiction, Newfoundland Teachers Association - is it a trade union?


MR. REID: It is. It's written somewhere that it is.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. REID: Okay. Well, with that said, I still don't believe that an association like the Association of Registered Nurses should be exempt from this piece of legislation. Or any association like that. So under the definition of trade unions -

MR. HARRIS: You're getting into the whole third-party advertising (inaudible).

MR. REID: Third-party advertising or not, Jack, why would you restrict NAPE, CUPE, the Fishermen's Union and the NTA, and then with other organizations out there, why should they be allowed to turn around and advertise and not fall under the restrictions? When others are allowed to do it and trade unions are restricted? I think when you stop to think about it, what it really - I know there's a difference. My wife is in the association but not in the union. Because she's a supervisor. You are probably in the same situation, I do not know, but really what is the difference when you look at a trade union and you think about the Association of Registered Nurses?


MR. REID: It is a good question. I do not know. Are there any other groups in the Province like that, the Newfoundland Nurses Association? What about the Newfoundland Chiropractic Association? Would they be able to do it? Would the law society be able to do it? I do not know. I am just wondering so maybe he could answer that. The last comment I want to make is on the broadcasting time and rate. If there is a twenty-eight day election, well, twenty-one days is sufficient.


MR. REID: Sure it has. Think back to the Liberal reform when Mr. Smallwood ran.

AN HON. MEMBER: That was a registered party.

MR. REID: At that time was it even considered a registered party? I do not know. I do not know the answer to that. My hon. colleague here to my right wants me to sit down but I am going to make one final comment. He is up on a daily basis, every time somebody on the other side asks a question of the hon. Minister of Education, but I do not get a chance very often to stand in the House, not as often as he does anyway.

Broadcasting time, twenty-one days.

AN HON. MEMBER: Your last chance, Art.

MR. REID: It could be my last chance.

I find that in my area, in Carbonear, the rates for advertising for politicians for political ads vary from day to day. It is unbelievable sometimes what a person has to pay. I remember in 1989 a full page ad in the local Compass out there was $1200. My financial administrator at the time owned a business in Carbonear and he was getting a full page ad in the Compass for $639. The monies those people have made off politicians and off political parties over the years must be staggering.

AN HON. MEMBER: Let us make the Legislation retroactive.

MR. REID: That is right. That would be a good idea, to make the Legislature retroactive from 1989. I think it is a good piece of legislation, Mr. Speaker, with no problems. I sat on the committee with Danny Dumaresque and a number of other members and we spent hours and hours going through this clause by clause. There were a few little things we could probably adjust in it but it will certainly make for one of the best elections acts we have in the country. I commend and congratulate the minister and his staff for doing such a wonderful job on it.

Thank you, very much.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I just want to have a few words on the legislation in principle, just to confirm what I understand the Government House Leader has indicated to the House, that we did have some discussions with respect to this, the party leaders, and the House Leaders, at least the Government and Opposition House Leaders, and the NDP House Leader who also serves in a dual capacity, I guess.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is also their whip.

MR. SIMMS: And he is also their whip, and caucus chairman, yes. I just want to confirm that. We are all very disappointed, of course, with the obvious fact that the legislation, the much touted elections legislation, is unfortunately not going to be able to be proclaimed for some technical reasons and because of some difficulties. I guess that government would claim it is beyond it's control and the only thing we would argue about that, of course, is if it had been done earlier maybe it would have been in their control.

AN HON. MEMBER: After fair criticism.

MR. SIMMS: After fair criticism. Of course if the election does not come until maybe in the fall or beyond that time there is a

very good understanding that it may very well be in place for that time so we will just have to wait and see with respect to that. I think it is disappointing that if the election is held in the next little while, as most people anticipate, it is disappointing that legislation is not ready because it is good legislation and we supported it right from the beginning. With respect to these particular amendments to the existing law we really had no great difficulties. It is no big deal. I think they are important points but it is hardly enough to spend an hour on in debate in second reading. The party label's issue is not a big issue for us at all. Whatever candidates are running should be able to win the seat if they want to win the seat based on themselves and their own records and everything else.

I am not quite sure if what appears on the ballot in terms of party label really makes much of a difference for most people. If the candidate has done a good job in the campaign then people should know who that person is. It is not a big issue with us but I do know that the Government House Leader feels fairly strongly about it and that is fine with us. We have no difficulty with it. We support it. The restrictions on advertising basically is at least part of the legislation in the new act. The new elections act is basically taken straight from that legislation, basically, the prohibitions or restrictions on advertising. We like that idea and we suggested it to the government and it is included here. That is for obvious reasons, I guess. I think it is wise to have some restrictions up front to give everybody the first few days at least to plan, prepare, and put everything in place. That takes a few days and it does not give one party an advantage over the other.

The restriction at the end of the day, the restriction on the advertising, specifically twenty-one days immediately preceding the day before polling day which would mean that if polling day was on a Tuesday the advertising cutoff restriction would end, say midnight on Sunday. That is the way I read it and I hope that the clerk at the table can nod and say, oh, yes, that is exactly what it means. I presume that is what it means. There is some restriction there, like a day or so before, to give the public a day to sit back without being harassed by all the television and radio ads, and everything else, to give people a chance to clear their minds and come to a conclusion so that the next day they will be happy to go to the polling booth and support the candidate of their choice, whatever party that candidate might represent.

We support that and we also support the prohibitions that are here about increases in advertising rates, and that businesses that are in that business should not be able to, just because an election is called, shoot up the rates all of a sudden. We really do not have too much difficulty with that. There is only one question that maybe the Government House Leader can address when he closes the debate on second reading. There is some confusion, I guess, with respect to Section 4 176(b), up on the top of Page 5 which talks about (b) procure for publication, publish, etc., etc., and the last bit, in magazine, newspaper or other periodical publications or through the use of outdoor advertising facilities.

Now, if the restrictions would apply, does that mean, for example, some of my colleagues on this side have asked me, does that mean, for example, that you would not be able to put up, you know, the 4X8 billboards that candidates have, or 4X4 billboards that you put up in various locations around the Province. Does that apply to that specific point?

Say your posters, for example, your campaign posters, I certainly would not want to see any restriction on that. If candidates have their billboards and their posters ready to put up on day one of the election they should be able to proceed with that if they want to. I am not sure if this prevents that from occurring and that is the question I ask the Government House Leader to ponder and maybe deal with, and if it requires an amendment or just an agreement or understanding. I do not know precisely what outdoor advertising facilities might be. I am not quite sure what that means so maybe he could address that when he closes the debate. On the final point, Mr. Speaker, the issue of the removal of the individual at the Chief Electoral Office from the bargaining unit, I think, it really makes sense to do that, because you cannot have the electoral process and the election itself being jeopardized by a strike. I really don't think that would be fair to the people of the Province, to the public of the Province. So I think that's a sensible amendment to remove the individual from the - is that in this Bill?


MR. SIMMS: Yes. To remove the individual from the bargaining unit. It makes a lot of sense. They need all the help they can get down there, I guess, because it is an enormous undertaking. They don't have a large number of staff, as I understand. I'm not sure how many are down there, but not very many,

Mr. Speaker, with those few words I just want to confirm that yes, indeed, we support the legislation. We were party to the consultation. I think it's an example of how the consultative process can work. If the Government House Leader was able to be that approachable, friendly and serious on more legislation and so on, who knows? Might have the same kind of cooperation in the future. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: If the hon. the Minister speaks now he will close the debate.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I don't see anybody else rising so I'll make a few remarks. I would first of all thank my friend, the Leader of the opposition, for his closing remarks. I hear what he says. We shall see what happens. I would simply say to him that cooperation is a two-way street, but certainly this Bill is an example of what can be achieved when there's a common purpose among the parties in the House, among the members in the House. That's a good thing and I acknowledge that quite gladly.

Just a few very brief comments to respond to questions that members have made. I thank them for their approach and for the support for the legislation. Let me deal first with the non-affiliated question. I can offer no wisdom or answer on this point. I've heard what my friends for Carbonear and Kilbride said, both of whom sat on the select committee, I guess it was, that dealt with - or the Committee on Privileges and Elections - whatever committee dealt with the Bill.

What I must say though - and I've heard what my friends for Kilbride and St. John's East have said - is that I cannot ask my colleagues to support an amendment at this stage, simply because I've learned - and we're going to be dealing with a bill very shortly that confirms what I'm about to say - that amending matters without having thought them through is inevitably a prescription for getting oneself into further trouble.

I don't know why the term "non-affiliated" was used. I really don't. I can only tell the House, as I said before, that the term was used in the new Act. I can only assume that those who drafted it in the first instance, and those who pondered it on the Committee in the second instance, and those who adopted it here in the House in the third instance, had some reason for doing so. Now whether that reason was good or bad I can offer no judgement. I can offer no view. But I'm reluctant to accept an amendment on the point, and so I will have to ask my colleagues to vote against it. I'm not saying we can't review the question another time, but this is not the way or the time to do these things, in my judgement.

My friend for Carbonear asked about trade unions. I would simply say to him - he's not in the Chamber, but I've no doubt he'll be listening to my every word and he'll take Hansard home and sit up at nights reading it to see what I've said - the term trade union as it's used in the section before us is defined. It's defined in the new Act, which doesn't apply to the old Act, but is still the law.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: My learned friend for St. John's East is right. The trade union act, means a trade union as defined by the Labour Relations Act or the Canada Labour Code, that holds bargaining rights for employees in the Province. I have no doubt that a court that looked at the new Section 176 where it appears would simply adopt the definition in law. I don't think there's any question about that but I can assure anybody who's concerned that the matter would stand on that point.

My friend the Leader of the Opposition made some comments about the desirability of having a new act in place for an election. I can only agree with him. If we'd gotten an earlier start on it we might very well have been able to do it. I accept whatever share of the responsibility is mine. Last year perhaps I should have spent more time on that and less time on trying to save the country, but the first six or eight months I was in office, Mr. Speaker, I think I probably spent more time out -

AN HON. MEMBER: Didn't have any success with either of them.

MR. ROBERTS: That is true. I spent more time outside the Province than I did in. It was awfully good for Air Canada and for a number of hotels and for a bunch of consultants and what have you, but be that as it may, we believe that we should take our share of the effort led so well by Mr. Clarke, whom my hon. friend from Grand Falls has supported so consistently over the years and who did such a splendid job. So, be that as it may, it is not possible as I know my hon. friend will accept to run an immediate election under that act, who knows, maybe his wish will be granted and the election will not come until later this year. But Mr. Mitchell is under instructions and has been from the start to move ahead with all speed on this, we have provided him with whatever he has requested by way of facilities and support, and we can only say we will get the new act up and running as quickly as we can.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, I dealt with enumeration -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: - I dealt with enumeration in the House a week or so ago but the instructions to CEO are to get on with it and yesterday at the Cabinet we appointed - there were some procedural things to be done, we had to appoint revising Justices who are the returning officers. I think there was one case where the returning officer is not available to act as a revising Justice, and the chief electoral officer has been appointed, whatever the official title is in the present act, the chief supervisor anyway, so all the machinery has been put in place. The enumeration is going ahead even as we speak I assume. Should the Premier decide this is the day, then the enumeration will be put on hold obviously, but we are going ahead full steam.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible), door to door enumeration.

MR. ROBERTS: The chief electoral officer tells me that you know - I have used the figure four to eight weeks.

AN HON. MEMBER: Ten days?

MR. ROBERTS: That would be perhaps reasonable, but then you have to post the list and revise them and all that - Part of the problem, Mr. Speaker, and I will take just a minute, part of the problem the CEO tells me and I accept his advice on this, is that we do not have a permanent group of people in this Province who do these things. In the federal system they have a more or less permanent one. Now I know the winning and the second candidate in each federal constituency get to name the enumerators who take up the voters lists but even so, parties generally use the same people, once polls captains are brought into play and get a few dollars to make this bit of work, but they have a permanent returning officer staff federally and all of the mechanisms in place, we have never had that here, in fact until Mr. Mitchell came along and he and I began to get into this, I think it is fair to say the chief electoral officer's office was a very much catch as catch can, and I do not say that in criticism of anybody who was there, but it was never run on a permanent basis and I never figured out what the CEO did between elections but the answer is, not a great deal that I could ever determine, but be that as it may, Mr. Mitchell is a thorough going professional and I have said in the House earlier, he really has cracked on with this and is doing a splendid job.

The question on billboards or outdoor advertising, I cannot answer definitively, Mr. Speaker. I can only say that my judgement looking at it, there is no definition in the act, I checked. Looking at it it would seem to me that outdoor advertising facilities could arguably mean billboards or 4 X 8s that we all use. I would only hope that those responsible for enforcing the legislation approach it in what I would call an intelligent fashion. I do not think there is any desire to prohibit one putting up the 4 X 8s we all use, mine are all saved from last June, ready to go and we will have a strong voice from Labrador once again -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) the NTA took theirs down, I took mine down, I got one of theirs, they ain't got one of mine, but, Mr. Speaker, the intention is to prohibit the commercial advertising facilities. Again, I could only say that one assumes the committee looked at this and I am not saying they did, one assumes they did. Mr. Speaker, I think those are all the points; my friend from St. John's East made the suggestion we should collapse the twenty-one days to fourteen. I do not think we are going to accept that simply because the twenty-one days is the traditional length of a campaign in this Province; we are lengthening the campaign but will (inaudible) to election day period because more time really is needed but surely to heavens, twenty-one days are enough to expose us to and fourteen is arguably too little. We want to give parties every chance to make their pitch to the electorate and then you get a day off, I think that is a federal rule, and you go in and make your decision, as my friend from Grand Falls said.

With that said, Mr. Speaker, I will commend the Bill for second reading.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The Election Act And The Public Service Collective Bargaining Act," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House presently by leave. (Bill No. 21).

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, before we go on to Committee stage, my friend from Gander, the Minister of Finance, wants to put us out of our misery and bring in this bill to reduce our salaries - the one that met with such wild enthusiasm from members on all sides.

I would ask if Your Honour would be good enough to call Order 10, which is Bill 17.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Amend The Internal Economy Commission Act." (Bill No. 17).

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am very pleased to introduce this bill, "An Act To Amend The Internal Economy Commission Act." Essentially what it does is remove a percentage - it happens to be 4.5 per cent - from the salaries paid to politicians in this House.

Mr. Speaker, this is in line with what we are asking the public sector unions to come up with in terms of negotiating a reduction in the overall compensation package.

The discussions with the public service unions have been hot and cold. Sometimes they are encouraging; sometimes they are not, but at least I can say to you now that all unions have, at this point in time, at some point in time, had discussions with us regarding reduction options. So progress has been made and we hope that further progress will be made; however, we feel that because we have to make decisions now with regard to the politicians in the House of Assembly, that we would introduce this bill to indicate to everybody that we are indeed going to take the same share of the burden as we are asking all public sector unions or workers in this Province to take to help overcome our financial problems.

So, Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to introduce this bill into the House.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, just a very quick word on this on behalf of our caucus. It is not a matter that requires debate - at least not the principle of this particular bill. The whole issue of how the government has handled their fiscal problems and their financial problems is a matter that could warrant a considerable amount of debate from our perspective, but that is not the principle of this particular legislation. The principle here is that the government has decided, in its wisdom, or lack thereof, whichever way you look at it, to roll back or cut the wages of the members of the House of Assembly.

The principle of rolling back wages is one that nobody supports or agrees with, I would not think, in principle. Nevertheless, it would be rather foolhardy for us, as members of the House of Assembly, to get up and try to argue that this should not occur. So I just want to make it absolutely and abundantly clear that the members of the Legislature, elected members of the Province, have a responsibility, ultimately, to the people of the Province to assist in whatever way we can, as hard as it is for anybody to take a significant cut, like a 5 per cent cut, we have a responsibility, I think, to the people of the Province to help the government in any way that we can, and for our money's worth on this side, in principle, in support of the bill, we would have to say to the government that we do not anticipate any major debate on this thing and we should just move to it and get it done so that the accounting people can start putting the situation in order. We should not forget, it is a significant cut for some people, obviously, but the ones who make more should pay more, and that is rightly so.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have to say I was amused to hear the Leader of the Opposition speak in that manner about this issue. You know, it is very difficult for people in the opposition to try and object to a proposal like this because, of course, they are afraid they will leave themselves open to the criticism of the public, that they are trying to save their own dollars for their own pockets. I think, in a piece of legislation like this, it is worthy to point out that what the government is really trying to do here, is put forth some symbolic gesture which is designed to convince the public sector unions that they should voluntarily go and take money out of their member's pockets without the government sitting down and negotiating with them.

This legislation that is now before the House, while it is ostensibly about taking money out of the pockets of individuals sitting around this House, and I suppose it is fair and reasonable for the people in this House to be able to debate that thing, the reality of the matter is that the public sector unions are being asked to take a similar amount of money, percentage-wise, out of the pockets of the poorest of the public sector workers, many of whom are living below the poverty line, Mr. Speaker, on an across the board cut. They haven't been prepared, to date, to negotiate with the public sector about that issue and to say, Well, here is what we want and here is what we are prepared to give of all the items you have on the table. That hasn't happened, Mr. Speaker, so this is really a smoke screen so that the government can go out and say, We have done our bit and now we want you public sector workers to do the same.

Well, it is not that simple, Mr. Speaker. I think it is worthwhile putting on record for the public record right now that the salaries and whatever else goes with being an MHA is determined by a separate independent body formed back in 1989, long before I was in this House, to decide what was an appropriate level of compensation for members of the House. I think that process is a good one because the reality of life is, now that we have the matter before the House again, politicians are put in a position of saying, well, you know, you are the ones who can make your own salary. Why don't you decrease it by 10, 15, 20, 30, or 40 per cent?

AN HON. MEMBER: Cut it all out!

MR. HARRIS: Cut it all out, work for nothing. Bring in here only people who can afford to because they are already well-off, rich people like before, the merchants and lawyers.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: That is right, or anyone who can come in here because they already have their money made, Mr. Speaker, because they are rich already or because they can have people deliver $50,000 a year to them in brown paper bags from so-called unnamed sources. That is the kind of stuff that goes on when you don't have proper and independent recompense for members of the House of Assembly.

Now, I am not speaking about the reduction that is being proposed now. It is something that government is doing as a symbolic gesture. The minister didn't say in his speech, what the contribution to the public purse would amount to, because that is not important to the minister. All the minister wants to do is be able to go to the public sector unions tomorrow and say, Look, we have done it, we are taking a cut, and I want you to do the same thing. Never mind all the items on the bargaining table that we have had there for the last six months, or more. Never mind the fact that there are dozens and dozens of items for collective bargaining that are out there and that have not been responded to. Never mind that government has not responded to the suggestions of the public sector unions as to ways to save money. Never mind that any of this is going on. We want a decision of this House today to be part of our propaganda with the public. We want to be able to say to the public - Mr. Speaker, this is the government speaking now in their cynical way - we want to be able to say to the public that we have done our bit, we have taken a 4.5 per cent, or whatever it is, from the wages of all members of the House of Assembly, of the members of the Cabinet and of the Premier. We have taken that 4.5 per cent away, and therefore we can go out and blow our horn and expect the individual who is working in the health care sector -

AN HON. MEMBER: What do you want us to do?

MR. HARRIS: It is part of the government propaganda scheme, Mr. Speaker, that is all it is. It may cost the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture a couple of dollars for a few weeks until he gets defeated, Mr. Speaker. It may cost him a couple of dollars until he gets defeated in the election but that is alright. As other Cabinet ministers have said, it is not going to affect them anyway.


MR. HARRIS: I guess it is because they are not going to get elected, I don't know, but that is what one of your colleagues said, I say to the Minister of Finance. One of your colleagues said to me, the day that this was announced, Well, it is not going to affect him anyway. I say to him, for someone who is running again, I am not sure whether he is running for your party or not but he is certainly running again. His comment was, 'Well, it doesn't matter to me - it isn't going to have any effect on me'. Mr. Speaker, that is the kind of attitude we have over there: 'It isn't going to really affect me, but we are doing this as part of the political propaganda that the government has to try to sell this Budget of deceit and despair, the one that they go around calling the Budget of truth and hope.

It is a very cynical move, Mr. Speaker, to come into this House - and I am disappointed to see the Leader of the Opposition make a speech like he made here today, trying to say, Well, of course, we have to do our bit.' I had to crack a smile, Mr. Speaker, because I frankly don't think it was sincere. I think the reality is what is being foisted upon the members of this House is part of the political propaganda of this government trying to sell to the public sector workers the fact that they are not prepared to sit down and bargain collectively.

The legislation that was introduced here today is a hallmark of the legislation that is going to be introduced in the next session, when we come back after Easter, whether it is with the same government in place or with a new government. If they get back in again there is going to be legislation - this is legislation, Mr. Speaker, is a blueprint for the piece of legislation that is going to be brought in to attack public sector workers, after the election, if the people of Newfoundland happen to be foolish enough to re-elect them. It is a blue print for the public sector workers.

So, I say, I am not going to argue about this in terms of dollars and cents. No member on this side of the House is going to argue about this in dollars and cents. It would be political stupidity in the face of the onslaught against politicians that is being brought about by the media and by people who are encouraging cynicism about politics and politicians. So, I am not going to make any comment about that. The government decided several years ago when I was not here, to have this as a matter for independent assessment. That has been decided and I have no quarrel with it but, Mr. Speaker, to expect us all to roll over and play dead on this side of the House because we are talking about a sensitive issue and ignoring the political reality of what is going on, will be a mistake.

In terms of the dollars and cents involved, I am not going to get up and oppose that and say that an MHA should be paid more, or $10,000 more, or say that the Premier should make up the difference of 4.5 per cent. Perhaps the Liberal Party has some scheme to look after the 4.5 per cent for the Premier, for the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Finance and the backbenchers over there. Perhaps the Liberal Party has enough money already from these mysterious sources that they seems to be able to get to make up the difference between what they think they want and what they think they need to live and what they are able to get from the public purse through legislation. Mr. Speaker, that seems to be the pattern of the Liberal Party in this Province, in Nova Scotia and other places.

So, I am not surprised that they will come here with this two-faced bill, Mr. Speaker, saying that we will reduce our official support from the people of the Province and maybe we have other schemes in our back pocket as ways to increase our personal financial remuneration. Maybe the Liberal Party has a separate fund to look after the Premier. They are giving the Premier 5 per cent of his salary; instead of the $50,000 that he was given before now they are going to give him 5 or 6 or whatever it is he is losing from the official salary because of this legislation.

I don't know, maybe there is a separate scheme in place. We haven't been told about it. Of course, it is not the kind of thing that the government would tell about. But I say this is a two-faced piece of legislation. It is two-faced. They should be exposed for what they are doing, and that is why I am making the remarks that I am making today. It is not good enough for us to say, 'Well, we should do our bit,' because the implication of that is that public sector workers should do their bit without the negotiation process, without sitting down to the bargaining table, without saying to the workers: 'Yes, we would like you to do your bit, and here is what we are prepared to do in response to your demands at the public bargaining level under the legislation that we have here.'

We heard the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board say in this House in the last week or so, and say to a public forum the other night, that it is time to end this confrontational approach in public sector collective bargaining. What he really means is that it is time to end public sector collective bargaining altogether, because that is the approach that his government has taken. It is one of confrontation. It is one of taking the position that we have a bottom line here. We are going to take $70 million out of public sector wages, and we are going to do it whether you like it or not. We are not going to do it at the bargaining table. We are going to do it in the public press. We are going to do it in the Budget Speech. We are going to do it in the Throne Speech. We are going to do it in the public press. We are going to do it through press conferences, but we are not going to do it at the bargaining table because we do not really believe in public sector collective bargaining.

That is what he is really saying, and he is saying that we don't want to have this confrontational collective bargaining, but what he is doing is everything that he can possibly do to promote confrontation. He didn't come to the bargaining table and say: 'We want to open up collective bargaining and we would like to put this on the bargaining table.' He didn't do that. He came into this House with the Budget and said: 'Here is our Budget and we have a minus $70 million at the bottom,' and then expects the public sector unions to roll over and play dead and to ignore the fact that they have dozens and dozens and dozens of items on the bargaining table that are non-monetary, that won't cost the government money, that will provide for better public sector collective bargaining.

That is what this government has refused to do, and they bring this cowardly piece of legislation forward, this two-faced legislation, because perhaps - and I defy the President of Treasury Board to tell us that it is not so; that we cannot expect to see the Liberal party make up the difference to these members opposite, as is their habit. We will probably know - we might now, I suppose - when they bring in the new Elections Act whether there were any trust funds lying around. There may be. We don't know, because there has been no disclosure about that.

We do know there was a brown paper bag exercise going on for awhile when the Premier became leader of the party. We don't know all the details of that, although a recent publication, a recent book, has disclosed a fair bit about it. So we do have a very good idea of the kinds of things that can go on, from the past, both in this Province and in Nova Scotia, as to how the government or the Liberal party looks after its elected representatives.

So, Mr. Speaker, I say this is a cowardly piece of legislation. I don't quarrel with the actual cash reduction. I think that is something that we may well have to endure as individuals, so I am not going to quarrel with that, but I am not going to let the opportunity pass to say that this is two-faced legislation that is designed to be part of the political propaganda of this government, expecting, because members of this House might be able to afford a rollback because their salary and benefits are sufficient enough, and more sufficient than the ordinary person in Newfoundland, we can afford to take a rollback. But that is not the case for someone making $14,000 a year, working for the government. That is not the case - someone who can't afford to pay their rent as it is now, who can't afford to look after their family in a sufficient way. That is not the case for them. So let's not fool ourselves and let's not participate on this side of the House in this government's plan to fool the people of Newfoundland into thinking they can roll back everybody's wages and not hurt them.

Let's not participate in that farce, I say to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture. The farce is being perpetrated by his government. I don't want to see us participate in that, because it is a farce. The situation of hon. members in this House and

cabinet ministers who are making a great deal of money, it is not the same as someone working in the Central Laundry down in Pleasantville making $13,000 or $14,000 a year or something of that nature, so things are very different and we cannot assume that this gesture on the part of members of this House is going to make any difference.

When the President of Treasury Board is not sitting down and negotiating with the public sector unions, is not looking at the other items on the bargaining table, all he has is one - the President of Treasury Board - I know he taught high school science, maybe he did not teach math, I do not know, maybe he is revisiting now, he is learning about minus signs. He has figured out that you could actually make a Budget and then say, by the way, at the bottom here we have a minus, minus 4.5 per cent here, minus $70 million here, take a whole bunch out of block funding for so-called third party organizations and we will let the chips fall where they may, take 4 per cent or 5 per cent or 6 per cent out of someone's salary and let the chips fall where they may, if they cannot pay their rent, too bad, if they cannot buy sufficient food for their children, too bad; if they cannot provide a decent livelihood for their children, too bad, Mr. Speaker, let the chips fall where they may, I have learnt about minus signs. If I could knock out $70 million I can please the bankers in New York and this piece of legislation, Mr. Speaker, is a blueprint for the legislation that this government plans to bring in after they have had the confrontation with the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I say to the Member for St. John's South, if the Member for St. John's South did not move out of his district after he was elected, the people of this Province would probably be better off to the tune of about $100,000, Mr. Speaker, if the Member for St. John's South did not choose to move out of his district after he was elected, the people in this Province would be $100,000 better off, Mr. Speaker, I say that to him, and that would look after the 4.5 per cent for about twenty-five or thirty members of this House, so let us not fool ourselves about this being an economy measure.

If we really want to make an economy measure there are ways that we could find the 4.5 per cent times however many people there are, I do not know if it is $200,000, the Minister of Finance has not said it in his speech, there would be no trouble to find $200,000 if people like the Member for St. John's South did not move out of their districts after they were elected and collected $100,000 in expenses, or more from the people of this Province, I say to that member. And if we are really serious about finding $200,000 or $250,000 it would be easy enough to do that rather than put out this propaganda that they are doing here. Those are my comments on this legislation, Mr. Speaker, I cannot let that go. I cannot let it go, it is the way that the Opposition House Leader did by making some - the Opposition House Leader is going to get up and make a similar speech to mine now, I expect. I expect after the dressing down that I just gave the Leader of the Opposition, I expect the Opposition House Leader is going to get up and make a speech similar to mine and take a few cracks at me while he is at it, but that is to be expected, Mr. Speaker, but I think that this bill does not deserve to be passed without those comments being made.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the - Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. MATTHEWS: Most of the things that the Member for St. John's East said, I have to agree with. Well he said the Leader of the Opposition was not sincere in what he said, but I assure him that he was, because I am sure like all members here, that this particular piece of legislation and this measure has received a fair amount of consideration and discussion by all members and no one wants to give up anything, Mr. Speaker, that they have had. No one wants to give up anything they have had, I would rather be getting a 10 per cent increase today than getting a 4.5 per cent reduction in salary, I really would, I really would, but who wouldn't?

But I was convinced, Mr. Speaker, that government was going to take measures with the public service of the Province. I was convinced of that, I say to the Member for St. John's East - totally convinced - and they are going to. They have not said what measures, and the member may be correct, that we will see a bill similar to this very soon, that mirrors this piece of legislation, for the public service of the Province; but having said that, I was convinced, and I felt very certain within myself, that government was going to take some kind of action that would see a reduction in salary/compensation/benefits of the public service of the Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: Rollbacks.

MR. MATTHEWS: Rollbacks - some way they were going to get that 4.5 or 4.7 per cent that they wanted. I felt convinced of that. So then you have to ask yourself the question, as a member of this Legislature, as a member, one of fifty-two -

AN HON. MEMBER: Fifty-one.

MR. MATTHEWS: Fifty-two.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Garfield.

MR. MATTHEWS: Oh, God. Well, you see how quick - well they say there is nothing more ex or whatever former than a former, or ex or whatever. Anyway, I am sure Mr. Warren is not thinking too much of us, and I guess that is why I was not thinking of him, where he is down in Florida.

Having said that, then you have to ask yourself the question: What role do we play as Parliamentarians - as representatives of the people? That is the question I had to ask myself, and those who are on the Internal Economy Commission, of which I am a member, know full well, and I would say that it was unanimous amongst the Internal Economy Commission that whatever anyone else in the public service of this Province was expected to suffer or be cut - not that I support any cuts or pain for the public service; I certainly do not. I do not support that. I think it is wrong, and the member is right, there are people who cannot afford - there are people now who are really hurting financially, who have obligations they cannot meet, and any further reduction in salary or benefits are really going to be devastating.

Having said that, I felt that I, as one member of this House, should accept the same amount of pain as anyone else is going to take in this Province. I felt that. I say that very sincerely. I could not justify trying to make a special case for members when I knew full well that everyone else was going to get cut, some way or another. I could not do that, I say. I could not do it. I said, certainly God, as a member of this House, receiving the salary that I am receiving, then certainly God I could not argue not to have members' salaries or benefits touched, when I was fully convinced that this government was going to reduce the salary or benefits of public servants by that amount. I could not do it, I say quite honestly. As a matter of fact I said, and I don't mind saying, Mr. Speaker - and you know, you were there - that let members take the same amount of pain that this government is going to expect everyone else to take. No more, no less. That was my argument. I thought that was fair.

Because we have to be very clear and fair about this. That salary and benefits for members have certainly improved over the last number of years. I can assure you that if the salary and benefits rate for members was the same as it was when I came here in 1982 that I don't know if I could stand on my feet today and say what I'm saying now. I don't know if I could do that. Because the first four years that I was in politics my financial position, and I don't mind saying it, worsened annually. I don't know if I could have taken another term financially. I say that very sincerely.

Now I think the situation has changed for the better. I really do. We are able now as members to live reasonably comfortably. We'd like to live better, like everyone else. We can make ends meet. I know in my situation I'm a single earner in my family. We can make ends meet now. I couldn't do that before. I really couldn't do that from 1982 to 1985. I couldn't make ends meet on what I was being paid as a member with the district I represented and what was expected of me, as members know. I can make ends meet now. I'm not going to be rich or be able to retire, or go to Florida, not even for Easter. But I can make ends meet. Why shouldn't I, as one member of this House, be expected to at least take a reduction in salary or benefits equal to what the government is expecting other people to take?

Now as I say to the Member for St. John's - I agree. There are people who cannot afford to lose one penny. They can't. Members know that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: What's that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: No he can't. Anyway. That's what I want to say about it, Mr. Speaker. I don't think I need to say any more. I just hope that the unions and the President of Treasury Board can find a way out of this so that there's not too much hardship inflicted upon those people, particularly those in the lower salary scales who really can't afford to lose another nickel. They can't afford to lose it. They have financial obligations as we all have, on homes and cars and children in school or post-secondary education. A lot of them can't afford any reduction. Their wages have been frozen for the last two years. To expect them now to lose benefits again is going to be very hard on a lot of those people.

Having said that I want to conclude by saying yes, the Leader of the Opposition was sincere. We discussed it as a caucus. I'm sure all members did. I am sure your caucus discussed it as well and the hon. member put a lot of thought into it but I think as members that I have to stand on my feet as one member and say, yes, I accept to take the same amount of pain as anyone else in this Province is expected to take. If you look at it, I guess, sincerely, as members we can afford to take the pain a lot more than most of those public servants. That is how I justify it, Mr. Speaker, and as I said if it were five or six years ago I could not speak the way I do now because I would be hurting just as much, or more, than most of those public servants. Our benefits package has improved over the years for the better. I think it makes for better calibre people that offer themselves to come here. I think it makes for better government and that is what it is all about. Mr. Speaker, we are sincere and we just hope that those public servants do not have to suffer too much pain under the axe of my good friend and comrade the President of Treasury Board.

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

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move second reading.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The Internal Economy Commission Act," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the whole House presently by leave. (Bill No. 17)

MR. ROBERTS: I ask if we could go into Committee to deal with Bill 17 and Bill 21, and may I advise members that we will be asking the House to meet on Monday. We may go a few minutes after noon today to clean up the committee in third reading stage but we do not plan to go beyond that today.

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I am just wondering if we are going to do that why do we not do the committee on those two bills and the Utility Tax Bill on Monday? If we are going to come back Monday why not be sensible and do it all on Monday or Tuesday?

MR. ROBERTS: Why not take these two and on Monday only do the Utility Taxation Bill?

MR. MATTHEWS: I do not see the difference. We are going to be here on Monday anyway.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

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

MR. MATTHEWS: As my colleague for Mount Pearl says you cannot do third reading of it now anyway so that is going to have to be done on Monday I suppose.

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

MR. ROBERTS: The position is we can do committee stage and third reading on one day I say to my friend for Mount Pearl. He is nodding his head. He is wrong again. We can do both but we cannot go from second reading into committee stage without leave. I asked for leave and I understood we had it.

MR. FUREY: That is right. You can do it all now.

On motion, that the House resolve itself into Committee of the Whole, to discuss the bills that hon. members just heard. Mr. Speaker left the Chair.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Internal Economy Commission Act." (Bill No. 17).

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would just like to say a few words at this stage of the legislation so that my previous remarks not be misunderstood. I listened to the remarks of the Opposition House Leader and I wish to acknowledge that his remarks were both sincere, thoughtful and full. I do not have the experience of having been here before the new Internal Economy Commission rates were published before the Morgan Commission was there. So, I have not experienced any change whatsoever in the provisions for MHA's salaries and benefits.

I know that the hon. the Member for Grand Bank and Opposition House Leader and many other members who have been here for a long period of time, have in fact gone through a very difficult sacrifice to be members of this hon. House. So, I do acknowledge his sincerity and his situation, as I have privately to him and other hon. members, about the situation that they found themselves in, leaving jobs and professions that provided them with a secure and satisfactory income, to come to this House and have the insecurity that goes with being hon. members and also see their own personal financial situation get worst. I do agree that hon. members here will have to and should have to share in any economy measures that are being taken to reduce the cost of the public treasury. My remarks were really about the cynicism of this process and the fact that this is being done now, prior to any arrangement having been worked out with the public sector unions, and in view of the efforts being undertaken by the President of Treasury Board to essentially undermine the collective bargaining process and the collective bargaining system.

So I say that at least this legislation is being before an assembly or group that has the power and legal authority and right to cut back its own wages and its own benefits if it wishes.

I support the effort that we all must make to be frugal with the public finances and to cut back hon. members' salaries and benefits is not an inappropriate way to do that. I do not see any special exception being made for members of this House, as the Member for Kilbride has suggested should be the case, that no exception should be made for hon. members here. So we will all be participating in any cutbacks that will be made and I do not have any objection to that. What I have objection to is the cynicism with which this is being done and I object to the procedure which suggests that the fact that a 4.5 per cent wage rollback or benefit rollback which might cost hon. members in this House $3,000 or $4,000 - a little more for Cabinet ministers - is not the same thing as cutting back 5 per cent of the salary of a worker who is at the lowest level of the public service.

I think that is a very important point that has to be made. When you start talking about across-the-board rollbacks you are talking about hurting people who are very vulnerable, and that I cannot support. I am not speaking against this legislation and I am not suggesting for one minute that there ought to be a special case made for hon. members of this House. It is one of those areas which is politically sensitive and I think that the government is being very cynical about its approach to this, bringing this measure before this House now when it does not have the public sector situation resolved, when it has a dishonest Budget before this House that has not been fully explained, and has not been resolved how they are going to solve their problems, when they have not dealt fairly with the public sector unions, when they have not continued the collective bargaining process, it is very cynical and it is basically made for public consumption, and as a gesture on the part of this government to try and save its own political skin.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr Chairman could we, with leave of members, stop the clock long enough to do Bill 21. There is an amendment which I think the Law Clerk has given to people, and that is simply to take off the address and occupation. I believe members have a copy of the amendment?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I'm sorry. I say to my friend for Grand Bank, Bill 21, which is the Election Act amendment, that we have an amendment in Committee to incorporate the removal of the address and occupation from the ballot paper. It has been prepared by the Law Clerk and I believe copies have been provided to members in the House. It is 11:58 a.m. by the clocks in the House. If we could stop the clock for a couple of minutes and take it through Committee and third reading.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Shall clause 1 carry?


MR. CHAIRMAN: Shall clause 2 carry?

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, I can't amend my own bill, but my friend, the Minister of Education, has asked me to move - he is moving the amendments. There is an amendment to clause 2, an amendment to clause 3 and an amendment to clause 4. It is not often my friend from the Strait of Belle Isle is this silent, but I think we should be grateful for these mercies.

On motion, clauses 2 through 4, as amended, carried.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Chairman?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

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

MR. HARRIS: (Inaudible) the Minister of Justice. Clause 1 of the amending bill repeals two sections of the act, or three sections of the act. Could the minister explain the purpose of that?

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

MR. ROBERTS: It doesn't change the principle. If the Law Clerk would be good enough to pass me the present Elections Act, I will point out what 46(1)(b) and 46(1)(c) do, and these are the ones that are amended. I am sorry, my friend for Mount Pearl, once again, is ahead of me.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: My friend says, 'As usual.' I am filled with the spirit of something and I agree. Section 46(1)(b) says that: the nomination paper shall include the ordinary place of residence; and 46(1)(c) says: it will include the occupation. Those are the two things which, in fact, we are removing.

On motion, Clause 5, carried.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Election Act And The Public Service Collective Bargaining Act." (Bill No. 21).

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill with amendments, carried.

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

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

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

MR. L. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole have considered the matters to them referred and have directed me to report Bill 17 without amendments, and Bill 21 with amendments, and ask leave to sit again.

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

On motion, amendments to Bill No. 21 read a first and second time.

On motion, the following bills read a third time, ordered passed and their titles be as on the Order Paper:

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Internal Economy Commission Act," (Bill No. 17).

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Election Act And The Public Service Collective Bargaining Act," (Bill No. 21).

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I thank hon. members on both sides for their co-operation. Before I move the adjournment, may I say that we shall be calling the Utilities Tax bill, which I think is Bill No. 11, for debate on Monday. That will be the first order of debate. We will see where we go on from there. I understand it will cause some controversy, so we will see how long it takes to deal with it.

I move that the House do now adjourn, Sir.

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