May 20, 1993              HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                  Vol. XLII  No. 1

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

Admit their Lordships.

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Mr. Speaker, His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor has arrived.

MR. SPEAKER: Admit His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor.


Mr. Speaker leaves the Chair.

His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor takes the Chair.

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Ladies and gentlemen, it is the wish of His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor that all be seated.

Thank you.

PREMIER WELLS: May it please Your Honour, the House of Assembly, agreeable to Your Honour's command, have proceeded to the choice of a Speaker and have elected Paul Dicks, Member for the district of Humber West, to that office, and by their direction I present him for the approbation of Your Honour.

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR: On behalf of her Majesty, I assure you of my sense of your efficiency and I do most fully approve and confirm you as Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Your Honour, having approved of the choice of this House in constituting me as its Speaker, it now becomes my duty in the name of the representatives of Her Majesty's loyal subjects, the people of this Province, to claim respectfully of Your Honour their accustomed rights and privileges, especially that they shall have freedom from arrest during their attendance in Parliament and that I, as Speaker, may have full access to Your Honour's presence at all reasonable times and that they have confirmed to them all their ancient rights and privileges that have been confirmed to them by Your Honour's predecessors.

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR: On behalf of Her Majesty, I do confirm this House in the enjoyment of all its ancient and undoubted rights and privileges.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

It is my privilege and my pleasant duty to welcome you to this First Session of the Forty-second General Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland.

To members who have recently gained re-election to this hon. House, congratulations and welcome back. To those members who are serving as first time members - a special congratulation and I wish you success and personal fulfilment in the pursuit of the people's business. As returning members can clearly attest, the responsibilities of membership to this venerable institution are onerous and demanding, but they are also rewarding and gratifying as you collectively debate and participate in charting a course for the future of the Province.

I also take this opportunity to congratulate the Member for Humber West, the hon. Paul Dicks, on his election today as Speaker of the House. The skills of a Speaker in exercising strength, fairness and patience in this Legislative Chamber, and in securing the confidence, co-operation and assistance of all members on both sides of this House, are critical to ensuring that the people's business is carried out in a productive manner. The Speaker also has a duty to ensure that the public esteem in which this important institution is held is appropriately maintained and enhanced. I am confident that he will be able to discharge his parliamentary responsibilities with grace, effectiveness and distinction.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the hon. House of Assembly:

On May 3rd of 1993, the people of this Province gave my government a new mandate - a mandate to continue to implement and build upon the reforms and new policy directions initiated over the past four years that are aimed at renewing and revitalizing our society, our economy, and the way in which government itself operates. The goal in this regard is quite clear - to provide a better and more prosperous future for all our people. At the same time, the immediate requirements of the Province and its people must be addressed in a fair, balanced and fiscally responsible manner.

Considerable progress in the pursuit of these goals and objectives has already been achieved on all fronts by my government. The foundations for economic reform have been put in place through the Economic Recovery Commission, through Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, and more recently through the development of a Strategic Economic Plan for the Province. The building blocks for a revitalized education system are being put in place, and our health care system is being restructured to make it more cost-effective and efficient in serving the needs of our people. Significant reforms to preserve and strengthen parliamentary democracy in the Province, and to ensure that government is held duly accountable in this hon. House for the proper discharge of its responsibilities, have already been implemented. Other areas of importance to the general welfare of the Province have been and are continuing to be addressed by my government.

It is of particular note that these major accomplishments have been achieved during the most difficult and challenging period in our history as a province of Canada. Over the past four years, Newfoundland has faced extremely difficult economic circumstances brought about by the deepest international economic recession in fifty years, the virtual collapse of the northern cod fishery, and the delay and uncertainty over Hibernia. Reductions in federal transfer payments and other federal programs of importance to this Province, combined with our own debt and fiscal problems, added further difficulties - all at a time when the needs of our people have been greatest.

While these circumstances and conditions may have been daunting to some, my ministers did not shirk from addressing them. Difficult choices and decisions had to be made in the face of the realities of the day, and my government rose to the occasion. In particular, strong and decisive action was taken by my government in managing the public finances of the Province as traditional provincial tax sources and federal transfers declined precipitously due to the recession and other external economic factors that negatively impacted the Province. The difficult financial measures my government had to adopt were necessary to maintain national and international confidence in the financial integrity and credit worthiness of the Province. These decisions did not come easy to my ministers, but they had to be taken - there was simply no responsible alternative.

Clearly, the people of this Province, through the mandate given to my government in the recent general election, have confidence in the overall leadership and manner in which my ministers have managed the public affairs of the Province over the past four years, including the new policy directions and reforms they have initiated. The people of this Province have conferred upon my government a mandate and perhaps even an obligation to continue on the path it embarked upon in 1989. My government openly, and with vigour, accepts the burden of this mandate and obligation, and commits to the people of this Province to respond to it responsibly and competently.

It would be unfair and misleading to the people of this Province, however, to suggest that a physically, socially and economically healthy future for the whole of our society can be achieved in any short period of time. A brighter future unquestionably lies ahead, but it will take time to fully realize. There are simply no overnight solutions or "quick fixes" to the challenges that face us. In the meantime, we must confront those challenges with openness and directness, and work together in dealing with them. Most important, we must not fail to act merely because the overall process may be difficult.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

A key focus for my Government over the next four years will be to continue its emphasis on economic recovery and economic development for the benefit of all our people in all regions of the Province. The Strategic Economic Plan has laid a solid basis to meet the economic development challenge over the long-term and to guide economic recovery as we come out of the current recession. The implementation of the Plan, which is already well underway, will continue as expeditiously as possible. To this end, my Government will attempt to redirect additional financial resources from existing budgetary sources in support of economic development initiatives over the term of its mandate. This is in recognition that expenditures in the economic development field have, over the past decade, been declining in relative terms as a proportion of overall government spending, and that without a sound economic foundation, the ability of my Government to continue to meet the increasing demands for social and other public services will be severely constrained.

My Ministers wish to emphasize, however, that the private sector must be the engine of economic growth. The primary role of government will be to create an economic and social environment that promotes competitiveness and in which the enterprising spirit of the private sector can flourish and stimulate lasting economic wealth and employment. There must, in addition, be a commitment on the part of all segments of our society - governments, business, labour, academia and others - to work together in building a competitive economy. My Government calls upon and challenges all members of society to come together and join with government in a concerted effort to fully develop the economic potential of our Province.

My Government also wishes to stress that the Strategic Economic Plan is intended to be a "living" document, wherein our approach to economic development is flexible enough to accommodate change in the economic environment and to accept the new challenges and opportunities that such change brings.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

One of the major changes facing my Government during the term of its new mandate will be to manage the adjustment of our economy to the new realities in the fishery. My Government is confident that, with sound joint management, the fishery of the future can provide good and stable jobs, and that it can continue to be the backbone of the economy in many areas of the Province. There is, however, broad public consensus at all levels that changes in the fishery resource itself and in world markets will require fundamental structural changes in the Province's fishing industry if there is to be an economically viable fishery in the future. A viable fishery in this context will be one which is stable and competitive in the absence of continuous government subsidies, where a smaller fisheries workforce can earn an adequate income without excessive dependence on income support, and where the workforce can be professionalized to obtain high productivity levels. Clearly, the character and nature of the "fishery of the future" will be fundamentally different from the "fishery of the past". It is equally clear that acceptable solutions must be found to deal fully and effectively with the consequences of these changes for the thousands of people and hundreds of communities that will be affected.

Recently, My Government released a comprehensive public and industry consultation document on the fishery of the future entitled "Changing Tides". This document outlines the realities we currently face and puts forward a number of alternatives - including My Government's preferred approaches - for managing the new realities and the social and economic adjustments that must accompany necessary new directions. My Government's specific policy and program initiatives in support of the fishery of the future will be guided by public response to this consultation document. My Minister of Fisheries will soon be initiating a series of public meetings around the Province to solicit the views of interested parties.

The fundamental theme that links all of My Government's proposals for the fishery of the future in "Changing Tides" is its long-standing position on joint federal-provincial management of the fishery. Given the critical role the fishing industry plays in shaping the social and economic fabric of our entire Province, and the dramatic transformation which is presently occurring in our most important industry, it is imperative that the people of this Province, through their Government, have a meaningful and effective voice in all fisheries management decisions. The specific proposal put forward by My Ministers for a Canada-Newfoundland Fisheries Management Board is modelled after the joint management regime currently in place for the offshore oil and gas sector, which is operating quite effectively. There is no reason to believe that a similar board focusing on fishery related matters would be any less successful or effective. Not only would such a joint management framework give the Province a meaningful role in resource management decisions, it would also provide an effective structure in which to fully integrate fisheries development policies of both orders of government for the benefit of all those who derive their livelihood from this industry. My government places great priority on this matter and intends to launch a major effort in the months ahead in the pursuit of joint fisheries management with the Government of Canada. It will also strenuously oppose the recently announced fisheries management reform initiative of the Government of Canada, which if implemented will deny this Province any significant role in the management of our adjacent fishery resources. If necessary, my Government will bring this issue directly to the people of Canada as a means of achieving meaningful joint management. Reflective of the importance of joint fisheries management to the future of the people of this Province, my First Minister will take a lead role on this issue.

Efforts by my Government over the past year or so have resulted in widespread support amongst the Canadian people for strong action by the Government of Canada to achieve an immediate end to foreign overfishing on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks. The United Nations Conference on High Seas Fisheries to be held in New York in July represents a critical opportunity to address the inadequacy of international law with respect to the management of straddling stocks on the high seas. My Government will continue its efforts to strengthen the resolve of the Government of Canada to ensure this important conference results in new international arrangements that will provide a lasting and effective solution to foreign overfishing. It remains clear that until excessive foreign harvests outside the 200 mile limit are brought under control, the potential to rebuild key groundfish stocks and to restore the livelihoods of thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will be extremely limited.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

The importance and priority that my Government places on the establishment of a strong economic base in the Province does not mean that social issues will be neglected in the process. Indeed, the two are not mutually exclusive but rather support one another. A strong economy results in the necessary tax revenues to provide essential social programs for our people. Similarly, the availability of a balanced range of progressive and appropriately focused social programs contributes to a productive, healthy and secure citizenry that aids in the creation of a strong and stable economic environment in which the private sector can flourish.

Substantial reforms in the social policy domain have already been implemented by my Government and these will continue. Particular attention will be give early in my Government's new mandate to working co-operatively with all stakeholders involved in the education system to act upon the major findings of the Report of the Royal Commission on the delivery of programs and services in primary, elementary and secondary education. As well, the individual reforms already adopted in specific social policy fields will be placed in their broader context through the development of a comprehensive Strategic Social Plan for the Province. As announced by my Government some months ago, a working committee of deputy ministers from the particular departments concerned, as well as other senior officials, has been put in place to develop the Plan, and efforts are currently underway to formulate a public consultation document along the lines that was prepared for the Strategic Economic Plan process. My ministers believe that an open consultation process in the development of the Strategic Social Plan will ensure that the Plan ultimately produced will meet the full social needs of the people of this Province.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

My Government is committed to the sound management of the financial affairs of the Province such that the financial integrity and credit worthiness of the Province are maintained. It is absolutely imperative that my ministers take all steps necessary to accomplish this objective - not for its own sake - but to protect and enhance our ability to provide health, education and other essential public services in the future and to support economic development in the Province.

It will be particularly important to ensure that there is a solid financial foundation upon which to grow and prosper as the recession ends and economic growth returns in the months ahead. Indeed, signs are present that the recession is coming to an end. If we do not put the financial affairs of the Province in proper order, and maintain them thereafter, we will place in serious jeopardy our ability to take advantage of the many economic opportunities which will be available to us. The result of our failure to do so may well be that the economic recovery which is currently underway could suffer a setback, with an attendant degradation of our standard of living.

While the recent election provided my Government with a general mandate to continue its policy of managing the financial affairs of the Province in a responsible manner, it also gave my Government a specific mandate to implement its announced budgetary plan to reduce this year's overall level of public sector compensation by approximately $70 million. While my ministers intend to implement a budget for the current fiscal year consistent with that specific mandate given to it by the electorate, they must also remain sensitive to the impact such action may have on those who receive their income from the public purse and on members of their families. My Government therefore wishes to reassure those who have given loyal service to the public of the Province over the years that it will be fair to all concerned as it moves to implement the necessary measures to bring the Province's financial affairs into balance. My ministers have been working diligently to achieve this with the full co-operation of the various public sector unions through the collective bargaining process.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

The key message my Government wishes to convey to our people at this time is that, with the reforms and positive new directions charted by my ministers over the past four years, combined with their determination to continue on the solid path already identified, the essential building blocks to establishing a strong future for all the people of our Province are now in place. What is required to fulfil these aims and aspirations is hard work, sacrifice, prudence in the management of public finances, and a co-operative approach involving a total commitment by all sectors of our society. My Government is confident that this can be achieved and will aggressively pursue it over the duration of its mandate.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

The Spring sitting of this Session will deal primarily with the need to finalize the provincial Budget and grant supply to Her Majesty for the 1993-94 fiscal year, and to address some legislative proposals which time did not permit full consideration to be given in the last General Assembly. This will include new legislation to formally create the new Department of Industry, Trade and Technology and the new Department of Tourism and Culture. Legislation will also be introduced to protect the public from the health hazards of second-hand smoke. As well, legislative changes clarifying the relationship between the Auditor-General and Memorial University will be tabled before the House for consideration.

The main legislative sitting of this Session will be in the Fall, and an indication of My Government's legislative agenda will be made public in a timely manner so that all Honourable Members of the House can prepare for the conduct of the people's business.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly.

I invoke God's blessing upon you as you commence your labours in this First Session of the Forty-second General Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland. May Divine Providence guide you in your deliberations.

In our Sovereign's name, I thank you. God bless the Queen of Canada.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, there is an ancient and honourable tradition that we in this House assert our right to do our own business before we do that of the Crown, and to carry on that tradition may I give notice that I will today ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act Respecting A Smoke Free Environment In The Workplace And In Public Places In The Province."

If leave be granted, Mr. Speaker, I shall then ask that we read this bill a first time today.

MR. SPEAKER: Is leave granted?


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

Motion, the hon. the Government House Leader to introduce a bill, "An Act Respecting A Smoke Free Environment In The Workplace And In Public Places In The Province," carried. (Bill No. 1).

On motion, Bill No. 1 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: His Honour, The Lieutenant-Governor, has been pleased to make a speech to the members, met in General Assembly, and for greater accuracy I have obtained a copy. They have been distributed to members.

MR. ROBERTS: If we could dispense, Mr. Speaker, with having it read again if Your Honour will...

MR. SPEAKER: Yes. Is it the will of the House that it be dispensed with?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you.

The hon. the Member for Port au Port.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker and hon. members of the House of Assembly, it is with great pride that I rise on this occasion as the newly elected member for the great district of Port au Port, to propose that a committee of this hon. House be appointed to draft an Address In Reply to the gracious speech delivered by His Honour.

I extend best wishes to His Honour on this occasion of the opening of the First Session of the Forty-Second General Assembly on behalf of the good people of the district of Port au Port, the only bilingual district on the Island portion of the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, everywhere in this Province there is an acute awareness of the challenges which face us. People understand that we are living in very difficult times. People also understand that tough times dictate tough measures. Therefore the people of this Province have given the hon. Premier and his government a resounding endorsement to continue on the direction in which he is leading this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SMITH: In my own district it has been some time since we have known prosperity - not since the close of the American base in Stephenville in the mid-sixties - however, we look to the future with hope and anticipation. We do have a number of things going for us in Port au Port and these, I feel, are the key to turning things around.

If I may, I would like to reference just a couple of these today because I think in a sense they underlie and emphasize what economic development in this Province has to be all about, working at the grass roots level, at the district level and with the entire Province reaping the benefits.

In the District of Port au Port for the past ten years we have been involved in scallop aquaculture, an industry that is relatively new to this Province and indeed is on the cutting edge of technology. We have developed in Port au Port an idea to the stage where we now have in place the technology and expertise which is in demand throughout this Province and indeed has been requested by other areas in this country. This I feel is the way of the future, it certainly holds tremendous potential for my district of Port au Port and I feel in time will certainly hold a lot of potential for the entire Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I also want to reference the community education initiative which we have been involved in in Port au Port for the past two years. Mr. Speaker, my own background as an educator has certainly given me great pleasure in being part of this initiative in Port au Port. The community education initiative talks about education in it's entirety but it also emphasizes the fact, which I think all the hon. members of this House recognize, that education is also the key to economic development.

In the area of Port au Port, through the community education initiative, we are endeavouring to create a learning culture. We are talking about education from the cradle to the grave, at all levels, and this I feel strongly is something that we have to continue to support, not only in Port au Port but indeed throughout the Province. However, in Port au Port we are being afforded the opportunity to experiment with a novel idea that certainly, as I indicated, has tremendous potential for all areas of this Province. As the newly elected member for Port au Port, I will certainly be endeavouring over the days and months ahead to influence the hon. members of this House to support the efforts of the people of Port au Port in working with this idea to see where it can go and in time what kind of implications it can have for the entire Province.

In tourism in Port au Port, just as in all of this Province, it is pretty much an untapped resource. However, in Port au Port, I do want to point out the importance of the recently announced road link between Mainland and Cape St. George, an idea that has been actively promoted and lobbied for by many individuals and groups over a period of twenty five years. I am pleased that this government has seen fit to make that a priority and I am pleased for the people of Port au Port that this year we are finally going to see some action taken on that very worthwhile project.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, in the District of Port au Port, relying on the natural beauty of the area and marketing the fact that we are a bilingual district, representative of the two great founding cultures of this nation, I do feel that we have tremendous potential in terms of developing a tourism industry. I do want to recognize the efforts of this government and also previous administrations for their efforts on behalf of the Francophone population of my district, in their efforts to preserve their language and culture, especially through their support for French education.

Mr. Speaker, economic recovery in this Province, I contend, will come about through the efforts of districts like Port au Port, efforts which I have just alluded to, it will come about because of the initiatives undertaken by the people of the various regions. The role of government then becomes, as it should be, one of support for these initiatives. Along that line, this government has undertaken some significant steps to support development in the regions.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to reference the creation of the Economic Recovery Commission. I had the privilege to see this group in action and to work closely with them in an advisory capacity, and I am convinced that what they are doing is a valuable contribution to the overall economic development of this Province. I am pleased to see that this government is committed to seeing the work of this group continue, because I really feel right now they are an important part of the overall structure to deal with these problems.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I also want to commend the creation of Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, an attempt to decentralize the delivery of programs and therefore provide greater assistance to the various regions of the Province. In my many years in rural development at the local and provincial level it was always of grave concern to the development associations that the resources were always centred in St. John's. I am very pleased to see that with this initiative, the effort has been made to move these resources and to make these services available to the various groups on a regional level. As I said, from my own experience, I think this is certainly a step in the right direction, and I can report to this House that in my own area I can certainly attest to the fact that this idea is working.

On the Strategic Economic Plan, I would like to reference just briefly since - I think we - it is generally recognized, the importance of having a blueprint for development. What I do want to point out in terms of the Strategic Economic Plan is the manner in which this plan was developed. It was not something that was created by the bureaucrats here in St. John's or created by the politicians. It is a product of the people of this Province. This government has gone through a consultation process whereby, at the grass roots level, individuals and organizations in this Province have had an opportunity to say to government: This is what we think needs to be done, and this is how we think it should be done. I am very pleased to see and to have been part of that process, and to recognize in the final product that, indeed, government was listening. I think, in the Strategic Economic Plan, what we do see there is a reflection of what was heard from the people. This, Mr. Speaker, I feel is the way that things have to proceed in this Province.

Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to hear in the Throne Speech that this government will continue to press for joint management of our fishery. In an industry that is so vital to our very survival, it is inconceivable that we should not, as a province, have a greater say in the development and management of this resource. Regardless of what our federal counterparts may say, I am confident that the ordinary citizens of this great country will have no difficulty in seeing the justness of our cause.

Mr. Speaker, and hon. members of this House, I am sure that all of us assembled in this House today recognize the great challenge which faces us. The people of this Province have honoured us with their trust, but they have also entrusted us with a tremendous responsibility. At this time in our history, there is a need for visionaries. It is a time for total co-operation, for it will take a concerted effort to ensure a bright future for the people of this Province. Our fellow Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have every right to expect that this will happen, and, indeed, they should not be prepared to accept any less.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I again thank His Honour for His attendance here today, and I formally move that an Address in Reply to the Gracious Speech from the Throne be drafted by a committee of this hon. House of Assembly. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Terra Nova.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. YOUNG: Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to have the privilege of seconding the motion put forward by the hon. member for the district of Port au Port. As the newly-elected member for the beautiful and historic district of Terra Nova, I humbly offer my services, not only to the people of the district, but to the Province.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a few minutes to speak of the district of Terra Nova. I am very honoured that the people of the district elected me to represent them in the House of Assembly. After ten years, the district of Terra Nova has been returned to the Liberal fold.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. YOUNG: I want to thank those who supported me and I will represent all residents of the district to the best of my ability.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. YOUNG: The people of the district will be served well by me. They will come first. The district of Terra Nova has a great deal of natural beauty and lends itself well to the tourism industry. The fishery was the main industry in some communities and there are people who are very concerned about their futures. Aquaculture is an industry which has great potential. Traditionally, logging has been the backbone of the economy of many of our communities and it must be preserved and we should ensure that a sustainable forest industry continues to play a major role in our rural communities.

Farming has gone from diversified to specialized and now the trend seems to be toward diversification again, but we need secondary processing to create jobs and that will expand the industry. Manufacturing must be encouraged and, of course, this could lead to some exporting. During my term of office, I will work with my people to develop our industries and thus create jobs. Of course, the district of Terra Nova has many needs and concerns, and I have already commenced the task of addressing these needs, but I want to compliment the government on providing funds for the upgrading and paving through the community of Brooklyn.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to comment on the Gracious Speech from the Throne which has been presented today by His Honour. I am looking forward to my role in the implementation of the Strategic Economic Plan which had the input of the people for the people.

Provincially, the education of our youth must be of prime concern. We must take every measure to encourage our youth to complete high school and go on to post-secondary education. I am concerned about the people who are unemployed and have no skills. We must do everything in our power to help these people further their education and/or training, so that when our economy improves, people will have the necessary skills that will lead to employment.

Mr. Speaker, quality health care, child care, care for the elderly and handicapped are essential for the wellbeing of our society. The consultation process for the development of the Strategic Social Plan is important and I will encourage the residents of the district of Terra Nova to input into the process so that it, too, will be the people's plan.

The fishery industry is foremost in the minds of many Newfoundlanders, and without a joint, federal-provincial management of the industry, the future of the fishery is questionable. We must have greater control of the destiny of our future. Hibernia seems to be once again on the upswing and is providing much needed employment, however, the need for jobs is greater than the Hibernia project.

Our environment is important and must be cared for so that the delicate balance of nature is not upset to the point of no return. We are the stewards of this earth and are just passing through. The legacy we leave behind must be favourable to future generations. Over the years, the pride I feel for my Province and its people has intensified beyond measure. In times of turbulence, most Newfoundlanders and Labradorians seem to take the good with the bad. We must act in a responsible manner to ensure that our Province can look forward to financial stability in the future. There is hope because we believe in ourselves.

As my travels have taken me to other parts of Canada over the past few years, I have been extremely delighted to hear praises expressed over the leadership of our Province. Although we may not be the richest Province in Canada, we are often envied by other Canadians because of the strong stand our hon. leader has taken on many issues, and I am proud to be part of this government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. YOUNG: The hon. members whom I will be working with closely during my years in government have been most helpful and supportive to me over the past few days and, in turn, I hope that as I, too, adjust to my new responsibilities I will be an integral part of the government which the people of this Province elected to speak on their behalf.

Our government has a mandate to exercise financial responsibility while addressing the needs of the Province. This is indeed a challenge to all hon. members of the House of Assembly, but by working together all things are possible.

Again, I want to assure you that I am honoured to be here today to work for the betterment of this Province and its people, and it is with pleasure that I second the motion made by the hon. member for the district of Port au Port.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

First of all, I would like to extend my congratulations to Your Honour on being elevated to the Chair. As a former Speaker I can tell you it is the best job in the House, without a doubt, but I hope that Your Honour will read through some impressive and historical rulings made by previous Speakers - not just mine, of course, but his predecessor, the Member for Bonavista North and others. I think he will find that there are some useful rulings there, some pretty standard ones, such as it is a difference of opinion between two hon. persons. That is always one that is easy to use when Your Honour is not quite sure how to rule on anything; and, of course, he has great advisors - great people at the table - but I do congratulate Your Honour. I think you will enjoy the role and we look forward to your non-partisan role over the next four years as opposed to your previous life in politics.

I extend my congratulations on behalf of our party to the Deputy Speaker and Assistant Deputy Speakers once again. They have proven their worth, I guess, over the last three or four years and I presume that one day down the road, you never know, maybe one of you will have the opportunity to sit in that Chair, or some other chair - preferably on this side of the House - one of these days.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to extend my congratulations to the newly appointed, or reappointed as the case may be, Ministers of the Crown. I am not going to comment in too great detail, but I think I would be remiss if I did not say it was almost kind of - well if we are going to have to stay on this side of the House then I suppose it is kind of nice to see the Member for Port de Grave back in the House. I have to say it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: I think he has proven one thing, the best way to get into the Cabinet is never shut up, and it has worked, aside from the fact that he is competent and capable, and we look forward to his performance. I assure him that we will be doing our best to hold him to account, keep him on his toes, and I am sure that he will look forward to that as well.

To the Member for Bonavista North, a man who has been around politics an awfully long time, deserves a chance to sit in the Cabinet if he is going to be a member of the government, and I commend the Premier on his choice in that particular regard because I have worked with the former Speaker and now Minister of Social Services on many occasions. I think he will do a good job and we wish him well in that portfolio.

To the new Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, an enormous task and an enormous portfolio, as he probably knows by now for sure, if he did not know before, which I am sure he did. There are a lot of problems in that particular area and I am sure with his experience, particulary in the municipal field, both at the Newfoundland and federal level, will augur well for him and help him in that regard. Of course we will not be sitting back and just waiting and watching, we will be trying to prod you along from time to time and I am sure he will appreciate that, but I do congratulate him and wish him well - all three ministers in their new portfolios.

Mr. Speaker, I want to also warmly welcome all members of the House of Assembly who have been elected to sit in this Forty-second General Assembly and I particularly want to express my congratulations to the newly elected members. For those who are re-elected, there is the old saying: anybody can get elected but it is always difficult to get re-elected, and those who have been re-elected have proven that and I say that with all the modesty I can muster here myself today. But to the newly elected members, I can assure them they have a tremendous challenge ahead of them. Most of them sit on this side of the House I guess, although there are a few over there as well. Well, there is one who is sort of not so new over there from Fogo, he is back again. But there are three or four or five new ones on that side and we have most of - just about half of our caucus, I guess, eventually, depending on the outcome Friday morning with the Torngat Mountains saga; it will be roughly 50 per cent of our caucus who will be new members and I can assure them that they have a great challenge to face, and we all have a great challenge to face in dealing with the problems of this Province and in trying to address them in our own particular way and we have been given an enormous task by the people of this Province and we must never lose sight of that particular responsibility.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to congratulate the Premier, as I did on Monday night, May 3rd, both privately and publicly and I congratulate his party on winning the election campaign. It was, as I said then, a campaign that I felt was fairly fought and fairly won and I still believe that, even having had now two or two-and-a-half weeks or so to reflect on it. I still feel the same way and I congratulate him on the election and look forward to the next four years of keeping him and his government on their toes and we will do our best to do that.

I would like to take the opportunity, if I may, Mr. Speaker, to extend my appreciation to my own constituents in the district of Grand Falls who saw fit to re-elect me. I am most appreciative of their support, particularly as this was the first time in five election campaigns where I did not have as much opportunity as I normally would to knock on doors and to go around during the election campaign. I was there maybe on only two or three occasions so I was very appreciative of that, and I thank them for their support.

I want to also mention, Mr. Speaker, and extend my congratulations to the individual in this House who received the biggest victory on election night. Now there is a bit of a myth going around that my friend from Port de Grave had the biggest victory. He had the biggest majority I believe, no question about that, but the victories generally are measured or should be measured by percentage of popular vote, the vote that was cast in your riding because some ridings are bigger than others, and in that regard, in case members were not aware of it, the individual in this House who received the biggest victory with 74 per cent of the votes cast for that individual, was the Member for Ferryland, and -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: - that is how you judge the victory. The Member for Port de Grave had, I think 73.4 or something, he was about .6 points back, so I could not let the day go by without mentioning that, because my friend from Ferryland - well, I would not say he would not forgive me because he has not even mentioned it, but others who have mentioned it to me would not let me get through the day.

Mr. Speaker, there were also other MHAs who we did not have a chance to express our best wishes to, who did not seek re-election, who decided not to run in the last election campaign, and because of the events as they unfolded we did not really get a good opportunity to wish them well, and I do that without mentioning all of their names; most of them I guess were on this side of the House. There was one on that side who did not run again but I think we did have a chance to wish him well - Dr. Warren - and so I wish all of those people well in whatever their futures may hold.

To those who did not get re-elected, incumbents who were not fortunate enough to be re-elected, and they occurred on both sides of the House, that is always a difficult blow but they deserve the thanks I think of the people of the Province for the service they did provide, for serving the public, it is not an easy task, and a difficult role, and for all of those people there are always other days ahead, I guess, is the way to look at it. But we do commend them for their work, and of course to all candidates who offered themselves for election in this campaign, for all parties. Because as I said on Election Night, any time you offer yourself for public service, whether it's in this Province or any other jurisdiction, you deserve commendation, because it is a difficult challenge. So I pass along those congratulations.

Mr. Speaker, traditionally, on Throne Speech day, the speeches are meant to be and expected to be fairly brief, so I'll try to contain myself and keep my remarks within that tradition. I do want to express my congratulations to the mover and the seconder of the motion that was put today to draft the Address in Reply. I say to both of them - one of them I've met before, and know a little bit, the Member for Port au Port. The Member for Terra Nova I think I may have met on one occasion or so but I don't know her very well. I have to tell you today, both of your speeches were very impressive and I'm sure they are the first of many speeches for you, at least in the next four years. I can't go beyond that, and nor would you expect me to. I do wish you well, and I congratulate you on your comments and your speeches here today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I just want to say, in as kind a fashion as I can, I wasn't moved too much by what I heard in the Throne Speech, with all due respect to His Honour, of course, who did a great job of reading it. The Speech, as we all know, is developed by the government and the Party, and it's supposed to outline what people can expect and what their plans are for the next twelve months or so before the next session of the House, et cetera. I listened as intently as I could. I didn't get a copy of the Throne Speech in advance, by the way, and I'm sure that was an oversight, because it's normally the case. The Minister of Industry was kind enough to send me over a copy. So I couldn't follow it beforehand.

Nevertheless, I listened intently and I did catch up as time went on. I really didn't see a lot in here that provided much hope for the people of the Province. I think that's what the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are looking for more than anything else, is hope. Hope for the future. I know we've just come through an election campaign and that was one of the issues and part of the debate that took place, but we must remember that the results of the election campaign can be interpreted in all kinds of different ways. Certainly one thing that cannot be questioned is the fact that the Liberals won the majority and won the government, and I don't question that at all. But there are a lot of issues that were raised during the election campaign, and there are a lot of things on the minds of the people of this Province. We speak for 42 per cent or so who voted for our party, but I suspect we speak for a lot of people who voted for the government and the governing party.

When I talk about the real concerns that people have out there, just to narrow them down a little bit I'm going to mention them very briefly only for today because we'll have lots of opportunity down the road to debate them further. If there was one message, Mr. Speaker, that I received and heard consistently, and was echoed throughout this Province during the four-week election campaign, everywhere I went, was this issue of people being concerned because government doesn't listen to them.

That is a genuine concern, a legitimate concern. Whether or not the government feels it is an inaccurate description is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that the people feel strongly that they aren't being listened to. That was one of the issues that was more dominant, I suppose, than almost all the other big issues that we talked about from time to time. The compensation issue, the $70 million in reduction of wages and compensation, the fishery, or whatever the other issues were. There was always this one underlying issue, and it's an issue that people have on their minds. They have the feeling that their government doesn't listen to them.

I thought back to the days when the government brought in the legislative review committees back in 1989. When they brought in that legislation and that change, they made a commitment then to give the people some say, to allow the people an opportunity to put forth their views and opinions. Unfortunately, as we saw over the last two or three years, from time to time, all to often I am afraid, legislation was rammed through the House of Assembly - legislation that affected the lives of people. The Workers' Compensation is one I can think of, and the utilities tax legislation. These were pieces of legislation that often were rammed through from these famous all-night, twenty-four hour sittings, and that was not the intent of the Legislation Review Committee. I make the point only to bring it to the attention of the Premier and the government, in the hope that they will see it - rather than just a criticism that they will perhaps try to find ways to improve upon it. All I am suggesting is that there are ways. There may be ways, perhaps, even by letting the committees decide and determine, or recommend, at least, what legislation should be given public hearings so that the people will have a chance to have their say from time to time.

The other issue that came up was the issue of economic stimulus, the approach to economic growth, and the decisions of the present government in the previous four years in somehow avoiding responsibility for the economy. We heard it from time to time, all over the Province, where people wanted the government to be more aggressive in trying to create economic growth, in trying to stimulate investment, in trying to create the climate to create jobs. It was an issue in this election campaign, a very big, big, issue, as a matter of fact. I think what people want to see is some aggressive action on the part of government rather than just sort of standing back, or sitting back, and saying, let us leave it to somebody else, or we can't do anything, or blaming this or blaming that. People are sick and tired of hearing that. They want to see some action, and this is the government, and the Premier, himself is an individual who promised economic recovery, economic reform, and economic growth, back in 1989. So I say to the Premier, notwithstanding the fact that he has just received a mandate for the next four years, please do not lose sight of the fact that people out there are hurting and people out there really feel that the government needs to be much more aggressive in their economic management approach.

In their dealings on fiscal management, I think, the underlying question that I found, at least from people who talked to me throughout the election campaign, was not so much that we didn't agree with the necessity and the need to restrain and control spending, or the need to restrain and control your deficit. People didn't have an argument about that. The argument was always about the approach by which it might be done, but the bottom line for all people I spoke to, at least, was the issue of compassion for those people who were going to be affected by any of these serious and major fiscal management decisions. I hope the government is aware of it. I believe there was some reference to it in the Throne Speech. I did not quite hear the exact wording, but I think they were going to take into consideration these kinds of decisions that might affect people in a serious or damaging way.

So, I just say again, for the benefit of the government and the Premier, when you are doing this fiscal management plan, or program, your Budget, and the decisions you are going to have to make, please, do it with compassion, because that is what people deserve and certainly, what they expect, not only in this Province but everywhere else.

Mr. Speaker, I guess, the final comment I want to make today is about this approach to economic stimulus, or to attracting economic investment. The one you keep hearing about is Frank McKenna, the Premier of New Brunswick, who has earned himself a reputation, written up in "Fortune 500", I guess, last year, for aggressively personally getting involved in trying to attract investors to his province - in going out and selling, in his case, New Brunswick, as a good place to do business and a good place to live. I think that if the Premier is intent on travelling across the country again, as he mentioned to us two months ago he wanted to do, related to the fishery management issue - and I won't get into the fishery management issue because we are going to deal with that separately in a few minutes time. But if he is intent on travelling across Canada on some mission or other - in this case, he has talked about the fishery - may I suggest to him, if he is intent on doing it, and if he has to do it, let it be a mission to the boardrooms in the world, to try to attract investors to come to Newfoundland and Labrador. Let them know that this is a good place in which to do business and that we do have a lot to offer, and, as a government, provide the incentives that might be required to encourage them to come here. Because Frank McKenna did it, and did it well. I remember seeing an ASN news story, a television Atlantic news story, where the Minister of Development in Nova Scotia was extremely upset, one time - this was a few months back - because the New Brunswick Government had successfully attracted a high tech industry and company into the Province of New Brunswick from Toronto. The Minister of Development was on television trying -because they had lost this opportunity, and he was really upset. But I said to myself, I wonder where 'Chuck Furey', our minister is; I wondered where we were. Why were we not in on that? Were we in on that? That was only one example. I forget the business now but it was a high tech industry that brought in about 300 jobs, last year.

So, if there is any message at all that I would like to leave with the Premier specifically in the area of economic development - because I think it is the biggest issue that we have to face, by the way. Economic development, economic recovery, economic growth is the biggest issue, because if you have people working, people earning wages, then they are going to be contributing to the Province's revenues and that will address our revenue problems, at least in part. So, I say to the Premier, if you are intent on doing something, maybe that is something you could take a look at, and do it in an aggressive fashion, because the Premier has the ability to do that. And I don't say that reluctantly, I say in fact, he has the ability to do that, and if he were to turn his efforts into that area alone, over the next four years, then we may have something to look forward to in terms of economic growth and economic renewal. So, I suggest it to him, leave it with him, and hope that he may give some consideration to those ideas.

Mr. Speaker, the only thing I want to say in conclusion is that, as an Opposition - people often don't understand the role of an Opposition. And I have said it before, but I am going to say it again: the role of an Opposition is to pick out the flaws, the errors, and criticize the things in government policies or legislation that we feel need to be improved. The idea is that if we speak loud enough and criticize enough, maybe we are saying - certainly, in some cases, we would be saying something sensible. And if they are sensible suggestions that we put forth, then maybe the government will listen and change its legislation or its policy so that, in the end, you get better and more improved policy or legislation. I mean, that is what the process is all about. As an Opposition, that is our obligation, and I want to say to you, Mr. Speaker, and to other members of the House, that this party and this Opposition will fulfil its obligation to the people of the Province in that regard. We will be tough as an Opposition, we will be aggressive as an Opposition, we will be supportive where we can. When the government brings in good legislation, we are quite prepared to be supportive, as we have done in the past; everybody knows that. The perception is, all you do is sit and criticize. Well, that is our role, that is our obligation, to try to pick out the flaws, to try to improve upon the legislation - or ask the government to improve upon the legislation. We will continue to fulfil that role and that obligation but, as always, the next election is less than four years away, so we have to fulfil the other obligation and continue to put ourselves forward as a credible alternative, which we will do over the next four years. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I will join with the Leader of the Opposition in his long list of congratulations and start out by congratulating him on what I would describe as a genuinely magnanimous speech today and I express appreciation to him for it. If that contributes to the tone of this Assembly, four years from now, if not five years from now, as it might be, I will express appreciation to him for leading the way in that regard. He can make a great difference to the nature of this Assembly and how it performs and I sincerely offer congratulations to him today for the lead that he has shown.

I want also, Mr. Speaker, to follow on and offer to Your Honour, congratulations on your being selected by your fellow-members of the House to fill the very, very important role of Speaker of this Assembly. I won't spend any great amount of time talking about the importance of the independence of the Speaker. Your Honour knows that very well, having sat through this Assembly for the last four years. But I know, the ease with which the election was achieved, in Your Honour's case, indicates the high level of confidence that all members of the House have in Your Honour's ability and integrity, and we look forward to Your management of the affairs of the House over the next four years.

I want also to express appreciation to, and also congratulate, the Deputy Speaker, the hon. the Member for Trinity - Bay de Verde, and the hon. the Member for Bellevue, who is the Deputy Chairman of Committees. They have, as has been noted, performed their offices quite well in the last four years. I think there was a general consensus that if we had to break in a new Speaker, we wouldn't want the challenge of breaking in a new Deputy and a new Deputy Chairman of Committees at the same time. So I am confident that the team of the three will guide us through these next four years very effectively.

I want also to offer sincere congratulations to all members on both sides of the House, on their election. Let me join with the Opposition Leader again in sharing his point of view, that this election was fought as fairly and with as little bad blood or ill will expressed as I have seen in any general election. For the role of the Leader of the Opposition and the members of his party, and for the role of the Leader of the NDP in that, I express appreciation and congratulations. Let's hope that the next one is conducted in exactly the same manner. The issues were what was discussed and that is the way it ought to be. So again, I express congratulations.

I want to also congratulate the mover and the seconder. As the Leader of the Opposition has noted, they did a superb job. They were quite impressive speeches. I expect that also augurs well for the contribution that those two members will personally make to this House and to the process of governing the Province.

I want to share, as well, the regrets expressed by the Leader of the Opposition both to those former members who chose not to be re-elected - I note that one of them, the hon. Dr. Phil Warren, is sitting in the gallery today. It is pleasing to see that he still has sufficient interest to be here and watch his former colleagues on this occasion. But I express the regrets to all of those who offered themselves for public service and were not endorsed by the public. I thank them for participating in the democratic process and commend them for their efforts.

Mr. Speaker, this session is intended to be a fairly limited session. It is to deal, in the main, with the Budget that we did not conclude before the last House of Assembly was dissolved, and to deal with some fairly urgent matters of legislation that need to be dealt with that we also did not have time to conclude. I would not expect that the House would be in session for a very lengthy period because it will be asked by the government to conduct limited business. The government would intend to bring, in the sitting of the House in the fall, a more expansive legislative program.

The Speech read by His Honour generally sets out the general objective - not the specific objective for this session of the House, but the general objective of the government and the general approach that we intend to take in terms of managing the financial affairs of the Province and the economy of the Province and in terms of providing for the social and public services that our people need. It follows, generally speaking, the pattern that has been established over the last four years, because we believe that is the right pattern for the people of this Province at this particular time. When we came to power some four years ago we set about the reorganization and restructuring of government. There was some reorganization and restructuring in the House of Assembly.

The Leader of the Opposition referred to the Legislative committees that were put in place and expressed regret that they did not perform better, I believe was the way he put it, or that they had not provided the level of public input into legislation that he felt was appropriate. I would remind hon. members that prior to this session none existed at all, so there was no opportunity. It was never intended or expected that every single piece of legislation would be taken by a committee and taken around the Province, but in many cases committees did a very good job of soliciting public views on important legislation being brought before this House.

I was interested in his comments about ramming legislation through the House. It is marvellous how your perspective can change if the position from which you speak changes, because if you looked at the sitting time of the Legislature in the last four years, it was more than twice the total sitting hours of the Legislature in the previous four years, so if we rammed through Legislation we must have put through an awful lot of legislation that the former government did not. So I suspect that while the Leader of the Opposition may be right in that there is room for improvement on the committee process - and I would readily agree with him; I think there is - I would hardly think that his comment about ramming legislation through the House is fair in the circumstances, so he and I will have to differ at least on that point.

We have restructured government. We have reduced the number of departments from twenty-one or twenty-two down to fourteen. We have provided for a new Auditor General's Act. We have provided, generally speaking, for decentralization of government process and we intend to provide more.

The Member for Port au Port spoke eloquently about the importance of decentralization in the provision of economic development assistance that Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador provides. I believe we have provided for a fairer and more balanced treatment of all parts of the Province in the provision of public services in terms of municipal grants and municipal assistance, in terms of health care, and in terms of other public services that we provide, and we place great emphasis on ensuring that the funds of all of the taxpayers of this Province are expended in a fair and balanced way. We hope, or we intend, to continue along those lines.

We have restructured to a significant degree the delivery of health care. We have made significant improvements in the delivery of education services in this Province, and we are now in the process of a further restructuring of education in concert with the churches, who have a particular and constitutionally entrenched interest in the provision of educational services in the Province. We are working with them to try and devise an improved method of delivering education services in the Province jointly with the churches.

We are also in the process of developing a strategic social plan to enable us to better provide the kind of social services that our people need, but the emphasis on the future must be on rebuilding the economy. That was really our emphasis when we came to power four years ago, and one of the first things we did was put in place the Economic Recovery Commission, and again I was impressed to hear the comments of somebody who knows, somebody who worked with the system, somebody who saw the impact of the Economic Recovery Commission - the hon. Member for Port au Port. He saw the value that it is and saw the contribution that it made, often unheralded, frequently severely criticized, and sometimes even ridiculed, but quite unfairly so, Mr. Speaker, because starting with what they did with Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador and restructuring that organization to ensure that it operated in a decentralized way and provided the kind of services that the hon. Member for Port au Port mentioned, and working through a variety of things - some of which will only become apparent over the next months and years ahead - to the work that it is presently about to conclude on the income security proposal. If it did nothing else other than its achievement of the decentralization of Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador services, and the income security proposal, an effective one, then it will have been worth its weight in gold to the future of this Province. So, Mr. Speaker, we started from the beginning to seek to achieve this, and that took us into the development and implementation of the Strategic Economic Plan, but I will not detail that today, it has been mentioned also by the two former members who spoke, but clearly, it has worked to a significant degree. It has not been perfect. I do not think anybody could have expected it to be perfect, but it worked to a sufficient degree that this little Province, with its weaker economy, was better able to withstand the ravages of the recession than most other provinces of Canada, and that is no mean feat in these times, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Look at the statistics, and it is clear to anybody who is prepared to open their eyes and look at it, you will see that the growth in unemployment in Ontario and other provinces far exceeded that of this Province; we did something right, we may not have been perfect but we are operating clearly in the right direction. Our intentions, Mr. Speaker, to rebuild the economy or to start a major rebuilding during that four-year period were greatly hampered and interfered with as a result of the recession, as a result of the moratorium on the northern cod, and as a result of having to deal with the debt and the deficit crisis that the entire nation and all of its individual provinces had to deal with.

I note again, and I must refer to it, the comment of the Opposition Leader, that the government was not doing anything for the economy, all it was doing was blaming others, blaming the recession and was not doing anything. Again, Mr. Speaker, it is marvellous how your perspective changes, and just by way of demonstration as to how one's perspective changes when you have a different point of view or you are speaking from a different platform, just let me read this: The Peckford Administration was elected to govern this Province in 1979, at a time when our unemployment rate was relatively lower and people's expectations were fairly high, those of us in politics at the time, talked about the challenge of the 80s. How little did we know how greatly challenged we would be. As the old saying goes: The best laid plans of mice and men were about to undergo a bruising, the likes of which, we had not seen since the great depression of the 30s.

We had set a target for the administration's management of the provincial economy. We set out to create 40,000 jobs, but in the face of the great recession of the early 80s, we were as mice. The economies of the United States, Canada, our own Province and indeed the western world went into a severe tailspin; gone was the talk of job creation, replaced with talk of job salvation, replaced with talk of retrenchment, restructuring and deficit control.

Now the person who spoke those words recognized the fact that a little economy like Newfoundland and Labrador cannot possibly hold off a recession of the magnitude that we have just gone through, that no province of Canada could do it, the country could not do it, the United States could not do it. Why would we expect that the government of this Province would do it? This happens to have been a quotation from a speech delivered by the present Leader of the Opposition, on Tuesday, October 6, 1988 in St. John's. Now, if he was right then, as he was, then with great respect, I believe I am right now.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: So, Mr. Speaker, we have had to deal with these very difficult times and I believe we have dealt very effectively with them, providing for sound financial management for the Province, and built and put in place a Strategic Economic Plan that will allow us to go forward and rebuild the economy and take advantage of the opportunities that are there, and this must be the focus of governmental activity in the four or five years ahead. It must be the new focus of this government. When we look at the thrust of it or the directions in which we will go, we must, first and foremost, focus on the traditional part of our economy that has sustained the people of this Province for nearly 400 years. That is a rebuilding of the fishery.

As the Opposition Leader says, this is not the day to deal with it in detail, but it is the day to recognize the priority that it must be given. It is the day to recognize that it is not sufficient to only deal with rebuilding the fishery, because we all know that it will not provide the employment opportunities for the numbers of people that it provided in the past. It will not provide the economic support for the numbers of communities that it provided in the past. So in the process of building a better fishing industry we must also deal with the financial, economic and social consequences of the reduction in the numbers, and of the reduction in the number of communities that will have fishery related activity.

We must find a solution to that problem. It doesn't just exist to be taken out of the air. Nobody has come forward with a solution. Everybody has commented on it. A great many have I believe unduly criticized both governments, federal and provincial, for not suddenly providing the magic solution. There may not be a magic or easy solution. If there were it would have been identified a long time ago and it would have been implemented by now. It is a massive and difficult problem that must be faced, and must be faced with diligence and conviction and every conceivable effort to find the right solution.

Let nobody expect that merely because one particular group or another says: the government is not doing enough, or the government doesn't have the solution, and why doesn't it have the solution. It may be that that solution is not so readily promoted or readily developed or identified. It is a massive problem, and we would all make a greater contribution by working together to find the solution rather than sniping at one another from distances. I would hope, Mr. Speaker, that all involved in the fishing industry - the fishermen, the fishermen's representative unions, the owners of the fish plants, the federal government, the provincial government, and other interested groups in this Province, including the group of church leaders who have expressed strong opinions on it - will seek to work together rather than in opposition to each other to find a solution.

We must also take advantage of an opportunity that the Province has to build a great oil based industry. The Hibernia project is now clearly well established, and I cannot foresee anything, short of an absolutely earth-shattering, catastrophic event, that would stop the conclusion of the Hibernia project. It is so far under way now that I am satisfied that it will go to conclusion without the kinds of difficulties we have experienced as short a time ago as about a year or so ago. I believe that we are now well under way. But we in Newfoundland and Labrador, if we are to build a great oil based industry in the future, must ourselves put forward the best possible effort. When the work gets started now at Bull Arm by the construction workers who are out there doing the more technical work that is now just getting started, every one of them involved must dedicate themselves to produce the best possible productivity, the best job, on time, with the least possible interference, at the lowest possible cost. Because those are the things that will assure us of future opportunities to build and participate in the building of other fields.

If we don't give it our very best effort and produce the best product at the lowest possible cost, we will not attract support from other investors for other fields. So it behooves all of us - governments, labour organizations, and the individuals involved - to make sure we do our very best. It also behooves those people who - people from the area who have been blockading the highway in the last couple of days - to sit back and think about the irresponsibility and the unfairness of their action. Every person in this Province is an equal taxpayer. The people who live in Sunnyside or Come by Chance have no greater claim to a job at Bull Arm than do people who live in St. Anthony, Burgeo or Ferryland.

AN HON. MEMBER: They have a right to protest.

PREMIER WELLS: They have a right to protest and express their views, but not to stop the work or block the highways, and the government will not tolerate that kind of behaviour, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, we do have a good opportunity to build and expand that industry, but we have to behave responsibly, all of us. We have to make sure that the efforts that we have made produce results - the effort that both the federal and provincial government made in building that great facility at Cow Head. We did not build that facility to become a white elephant. We put money into that facility in the expectation that we would achieve a major contract that would justify its existence, and we expect the fairest and fullest possible consideration of the companies and the Government of Canada in ensuring that the work is there.

We can, Mr. Speaker, I believe, reasonably expect that over the next number of years we will see the start of development on other oil fields. Before we go back to the electorate again I believe there will be plans in place, if not operations in place, to start the implementation work on other oil fields.

We are looking now - we are not looking - activity is under way now in terms of exploration, seismic work, on the West Coast of Newfoundland, and one always hopes that will produce great results because few people may know it, but there were pumping oil wells out there 100 years ago. Now, mind you, they pumped only very small amounts and used for very limited purposes, but they were there, so the prospects are there for the future.

We must also, I believe, as has been mentioned by the hon. Member for Port au Port and the Member for Terra Nova, develop our tourism industry. This is an opportunity where we can give hope to people in all parts of the Province. This is an opportunity where we can share with hundreds of thousands of people in the rest of the world the great joy and pleasure of living in this Province - and it is a great joy and pleasure. When you think of what we have and we take for granted, whether you are on the West Coast or on the Avalon Peninsula, or you are in Bonavista Bay, or where you are, you have the ability to walk out your door and enjoy God's creation, little impaired by man except to the extent we have been a bit untidy here and there, and we have to change our ways in that respect, but with the freedom to enjoy nature that the millions of people who live in Europe can never imagine having and would pay vast sums to enjoy - the so-called 'adventure' or 'echo' tourism, and we have the opportunity to develop and expand it. The government, in the past four years, have put more and more money into the promotion and development of tourism facilities, and we will be doing even more in the next period.

We must also, I believe Mr. Speaker, take advantage of a phenomena that has been happening over the last few years - the development of technologically-based industries. There are some seventy separate ones functioning now in Newfoundland and Labrador, nearly fifty of which are producing products that are sold not only in this Province but in other provinces of Canada and in other parts of the world, some of them employing seven or eight people, some of them employing fifty or sixty people, but all contributing to the economy, and I believe, Mr. Speaker, we can do a great deal more of that.

The Leader of the Opposition made another good point. His timing on making the point was valid, but his criticism of not having done it in the last two or three years, I suspect, was not quite so valid. This was not the time to try and steal industries and businesses from Ontario to promote them to come to Newfoundland. Even if we could do that, most of these things are bidding games by Provinces prepared to pay the highest price to get the activity, and we have seen some of that. We were talking about it last week at the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers - these bidding wars for activities that this Province cannot possibly get involved in; but I agree with one comment the Leader of the Opposition made. It is important to sell the virtues of this Province. First we had to get the Strategic Economic Plan put in place. We then had to make sure that we developed a good, sound, labour relations environment to attract industry and investment. People laugh, but in the private sector our labour relations are pretty good.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Don't be disdainful of what they have done.

We must also, Mr. Speaker, make sure that we put in place a fair taxation regime that will act as an inducement, and this is what we have been doing over the last three to four years. While we were coping with the recession, we were also laying the foundation to rebuild the economy. Well, that foundation has been laid and I believe now is the time to start doing it, and in the prospects of being able to do it, I see signs of improvement every day.

During the conduct of the election campaign, I was indicating to people that I was seeing signs, because I was asking people specifically. Last night, I was happy to note the CBC News report confirmation of what I was seeing: Increase in sales over the last six to eight weeks - and it has been as recent as that. The signs are there, but it is not a strong, forceful growth. It is still fairly weak, it is still struggling, and we have to nurture it, and we cannot make bad governmental decisions that will cause a setback. That is why it is important, Mr. Speaker, that in the pursuit of the new mandate, the government maintain its position of sound fiscal and financial management of public affairs and build a sound economic and social structure that will enable us to give the people of this Province the best possible economic opportunities they can achieve.

So, I am happy, Mr. Speaker, to hear the motion made by the Member for Port au Port and the Member for Terra Nova and to support their motion that a committee be appointed to draft an Address in Reply. I am even more pleased to hear the strength of the conviction expressed by those two hon. members in the future of the Province and in the course that the government is following.

Thank you again, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: It has been moved and seconded that a committee be structured to draft an Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. The committee will comprise of the hon. the Member for Port au Port, the hon. the Member for Terra Nova and the hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

Notices of Motion

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I rise to seek the leave of the House, not to give notice, but to actually move a motion. I am doing so on behalf of the hon. the Leader of the Opposition and the hon. the Member for St. John's East, with their full support. This is a matter that is of such grave importance to the Province that we felt it ought to be given immediate attention after the House opened. The issues and views of the members of the House have such a level of unanimity and consensus that it is not necessary to debate the motion at any length, but let me read it and just make a couple of brief comments on it, and then, the Leader of the Opposition and the hon. the Member for St. John's East, I believe, will also express their views. The motion is this:

WHEREAS the critical role that the fishing industry occupies in the society and economy of Newfoundland and Labrador demands an effective voice by the Province in all aspects of fisheries management; and

WHEREAS the people of Newfoundland and Labrador have been deprived of such an effective voice through the present fisheries management structure; and

WHEREAS the proposal by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to establish an Atlantic Fisheries Board as reflected in Bill C-129 in Parliament will further deprive the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and its duly elected government from having an effective voice in fisheries management; and

WHEREAS the proposed Atlantic Fisheries Board will have the effect of seriously compromising the interest of Newfoundland and Labrador relative to decisions respecting the management and allocation of fish stocks in waters adjacent to this Province;

BE IT RESOLVED that this House call upon the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Government of Canada to immediately withdraw Bill C-129; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this House call upon the Government of Canada to commence discussions with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to put in place a Canada-Newfoundland joint management agreement that would give the people of Newfoundland and Labrador a more effective voice in fisheries management.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, this resolution, as I said, is not a resolution that is moved by me, it is a resolution to which I happen to be speaking first, ahead of the other two members. It is a resolution that is effectively moved by all three of the parties of this House. The level of unanimity in the House, I believe, clearly indicates the total unacceptability of the federal proposal and indicates the essential nature of joint management in waters around Newfoundland and Labrador.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to make a lengthy explanation of it as most members of this House understand it, and most people in the Province readily accept the position, but there are two or three key reasons that, I believe, need to be mentioned briefly. First, the proposal of the Federal Government that is before Parliament at the moment would provide for management of the fish stocks in the waters surrounding this Province - the Island part of the Province and the Coast of the Labrador - would provide for the management of those fish stocks by a board constituted of representatives from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, PEI, Newfoundland, and one from the Government of Canada. That will leave this Province with one voice in six in managing the waters surrounding this Province. Now, if we think we have had difficulty with managing our fish stocks when we only had to deal with the Government of Canada alone, God help us, Mr. Speaker, if this were ever to go into effect. It would destroy the fishery of this Province, and anybody who stops to think about it for a moment, and stops to think about what has happened over the last forty years, since we have become a Province of Canada, in terms of management of the fishery, will readily see why that would result.

The second point, Mr. Speaker, is that the legislation would also change the principles of management. The high priority given to adjacency and historic dependence is now greatly diminished under this, and ranking ahead of it would be matters such as economic need and the viability of those involved in the industry, including fishing companies elsewhere in this nation. So, Mr. Speaker, those two major changes can have the effect, I believe, of devastating the fishery of the future. It is essential to protect the fishery and that we stop in its tracks that proposal and insure that we put in place a proposal for joint management by the Federal and Provincial Government of the fish stocks in the waters around Newfoundland and Labrador.

I want now, Mr. Speaker, to thank all hon. members for their support in a non-political and non-partisan way, for this proposal.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to support the resolution put forward by the hon. the Premier. We did have some consultations beforehand to agree on the wording and it is quite acceptable to our party and our caucus, and I just want to refresh some memories. It wasn't too long ago, in fact, just a couple of weeks ago, that our own fisheries critic, the Member for Grand Bank, put out a public statement which reflects the view and opinions, I think, expressed by the government on many occasions about this proposal by the federal fisheries department with respect to the role that it wishes to play in the development of the board that it talks about establishing. We said then it was the wrong approach, that it would give the power to the wrong people, and we did not support it at all. In fact, the issues that this board would be dealing with are really the very powers that should form the core of provincial responsibilities of fisheries management. During the election campaign, we articulated our position clearly along the same lines. Last April, 1992, I went to Ottawa and met with the Prime Minister then, Mr. Mulroney, and raised the same issues with him. In 1991 -as far back as 1991, Mr. Speaker, on November 28, 1991, in this House of Assembly, the Member for Grand Bank called for an emergency debate in this House at that time on the federal proposal announced by Mr. Crosbie. A request was then put by the Member for Grand Bank for the very same reason we are doing it here today and it was rejected by the government side, sad to say, the then Government House Leader, but it was for that very same reason, Mr. Speaker, that the Member for Grand Bank said we should be wasting no time in sending an unequivocal message to Ottawa that we will not accept this proposal. That's a year and a half ago, nearly two years ago.

Finally, just in case there's any doubt about our position on it, back in October of 1991, eighteen, nineteen months ago, in an appearance before our own provincial constitutional committee, we made the same proposal that we're talking about today, that we in this Party have talked about for fourteen years. Only the name has changed. Shared jurisdiction versus joint management, I think. But the issue is the same. The areas which we want to have some say in and jurisdiction over are the same areas, I believe, that the present government is looking for some say and management over. Nothing has changed in that regard. Sadly, and unfortunately, nothing has changed at the federal government level either, for whatever government has been in power for the last fourteen years. Both political parties have not seen fit to give Newfoundland its rightful say in some of these management issues.

Lest there be any doubt whatsoever in the minds of anybody in Newfoundland and Labrador where this provincial Party stands, with respect to the position taken by the federal - at least, the federal Department of Fisheries at this stage, I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, and I can tell members of this House, that not only have we spoken out publicly about it, not only has the fisheries critic spoken publicly about it on several occasions, not only have we requested in this House that there be an emergency debate, but I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, and all other members of this House, and the people of this Province, that I have told Mr. Crosbie personally in no uncertain terms how we feel about this particular proposal.

I can only hope -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Kim Campbell (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: - that somewhere - and I told Kim Campbell yesterday in the meeting, as a matter of fact, and we'll be telling Mr. Charest tomorrow morning in a meeting, in no uncertain terms, how we feel about this particular proposal.

So hopefully with this kind of pressure and this kind of effort in a joint manner, nonpartisan as it can be, the message will somehow get through that they best back off. Because that's the easiest way for them to resolve the matter right now. I hope, and I asked Ms. Campbell and Mr. Charest the same thing, I asked the Prime Minister, I even asked Mr. Crosbie, to put aside whatever's gone on in the last couple of years, whatever confrontation may have existed, whatever differences there might be, whatever petty jealousies might exist, whatever the problem has been over the last two or three years, put it all aside, and be prepared to sit down and negotiate, discuss, with the provincial government the issue of joint management. The issue of giving some responsibility in the fishery to Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, there isn't much else I can say except that we support the resolution and we'll be voting for it.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to rise in support of the motion and thank the Premier for being willing to, in discussions with the Leader of the Official Opposition and myself, come up with the wording to the resolution to make it acceptable to all parties. As all hon. members know, the three parties in the election campaign previously have taken different positions and emphases on this issue, but all agreeing that the situation as it exists right now, and certainly with Bill C-129 before the federal House, all agreeing that that is not an acceptable way to go in the fisheries management in this country.

All hon. members I think will remember back several years ago when it was proposed by a consortium called Nova Nord, a Quebec-New Brunswick consortium of business people, who sought a right to claim an access to northern cod as part of their right as Canadians. That I think brought home the problems that we face if we see a situation where we have five or six governments, in this case, six entities having a say in the allocation of fish, in the management of fish resources, and the operation of the fishery around our water. I think we see a grave danger if we have that kind of a board operating. I think it's quite clear that it would be very difficult for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to have not only an effective voice, but any real participation and control over the fisheries around our Province, or participation, for that matter.

It is one of the areas of government, and I think all again will recognise this, that where there is more power in a Minister of Fisheries in Ottawa in terms of the direct say, discretion, and unfortunately arbitrariness, in any other field of government in our country, and it is something that has to end, there has to be an involvement, an effective voice for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Our approach would differ from that of the government in the specifics as mentioned in the Throne Speech, but we see a situation where there is not only arbitrariness on the part of government officials and the minister in Ottawa, but a non-involvement in an institutional way of the fishermen and women and fishery workers generally in the processes of fisheries operation.

The principles of adjacency are paramount to the interest of Newfoundland and Labrador in the operation of the fishery and we see these threatened very much by the federal proposal. The control of regulations, the opening and closing, gear considerations, are all being done arbitrarily and in many cases without consultation with anybody in the industry and even more important, as we face the problems and the development of the fishery of the future, there must be, at every level, the participation and direct involvement of the participants in the fishery in determining, not only in making suggestions or being consulted, but in, in fact having a say and determining the nature of the fishery of the future. So it is very important that we speak at this time, particularly right away in response to this in this session of the House, with one voice in condemning the actions of the Government of Canada and in Bill C-129, and sending a very strong message that all parties and all members of this House are opposed to the approach being taken by the government and I am happy to support it and I thank the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition for coming up with a wording that finds acceptance with all members and enables us to send a strong voice to Ottawa to all parties in the House.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

All those in favour, 'aye'. Those against, 'nay'. Carried.

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I give notice that I will on tomorrow move that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole on Ways and Means to consider the raising of supply to be granted to Her Majesty; and also, Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow move that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole on Supply to consider certain resolution for the granting of Supply to Her Majesty.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Memorial University Act."

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill, "An Act Respecting The Department Of Industry, Trade And Technology."

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Tourism and Culture.

MR. WALSH: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill, " An Act Respecting The Department Of Tourism And Culture."

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Taxation of Utilities And Cable Television Companies Act".

As well, Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Municipalities Act."

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, this is not a Notice of Motion. I rise in accordance with Standing Order 84 (a), to move that the following members of the House comprise a striking committee: the Member for Naskaupi, the Member for Gander, the Member for St. John's South, the Member for Grand Bank and the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SPEAKER: Any further motions?

MR. ROBERTS: Just the motion to be put, Sir.

MR. SPEAKER: All those in favour of the motion.


MR. SPEAKER: Contrary minded. Carried.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House adjourn until tomorrow, Friday, at 9:00 a.m. and for the benefit of hon. members and others, may I say that tomorrow will be a regular business day and there will be a Question Period and the Orders of the Day. We will then call the motion which stands in the name of my friend the Minister of Finance, the Ways and Means motion. We will then do the Supply Motion which will take only two or three minutes, it is just a matter of simply tabling the message of His Honour. We will then propose to call the Budget debate, at which time I assume the gentleman from Mount Pearl or some member of the Opposition would speak. We propose to adjourn at noon tomorrow, my friend from Mount Pearl will be pleased to hear.

MR. SPEAKER: Before adjourning, I would like to invite all members present and invited guests to a reception to be held in the lobby.

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Friday, at 9:00 a.m.