May 27, 1993               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                 Vol. XLII  No. 5

The House met at 2:00 p.m

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

I would like to welcome to the public gallery on behalf of all hon. members, the successful candidate for Placentia, Mr. Nicholas Careen.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you.

Mr. Speaker, according to the Budget documents, the Department of Social Services has cut funding for home support services by $3.5 million. Last year it spent $16.6 million, and this year it is planning to spend $13.1 million. Now, this is the money that pays for attendant care and respite care for severely handicapped children and adults, who are being cared for in their private homes. I would like to ask the Minister of Social Services if he believes that such a large amount should be cut from the funding that supports people who most need our help, and I want to ask him specifically: Is it because there are fewer people who need these services, or have the government deliberately decided to reduce the level and quality of care for those particular people? Which is it?

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

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, first of all, with reference to the amounts of money that were budgeted, the hon. member, were he to look at last year's budget, would see that the amount of money budgeted for last year, is the same amount budgeted for this year. However, in the revised expenditures, he is correct, there was I think, maybe an excess of $3 million - $3 million was spent in excess of what was budgeted. We realize this is a difficult area and the difficulty the department is faced with here is allocating the amount of monies to ensure that everybody who needs the care, the respite care and the home care that he talks about is, indeed, offered, as opposed to maybe being a little bit overgenerous. Because when we start these programs, sometimes we get into areas where we ought not to, and last year we found that we certainly didn't have enough money.

I can assure the hon. member that that area is going to be looked into again. If the calls I am getting are any indication of what is going on, I can assure the member that the department is assessing that situation to ensure that anybody who desperately needs the care gets the care - that nobody in this Province is without the care that is necessary for the sick, the handicapped, whatever the situation might be.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am delighted to hear the minister make that statement. I presume he has given the answer in consultation with his colleague, the Minister of Finance. Because that is the very reason for my question. He did spend $16.5 million last year. This year you are budgeting to spend only $13.1, therefore, there is $3.5 million that you are likely to need again this year.


MR. SIMMS: The minister is even confirming it now, and more. So that puts the Budget in even a more precarious position than it was before. It is a trick Budget.

Mr. Speaker, let me ask a supplementary of the same minister, if I might.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair is having trouble hearing the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In case members opposite don't realize it, these handicapped and these youth and adults we are talking about here are those who have been placed in private homes and are looked after by the families in those private homes. Can the minister confirm, though, despite his answer of a moment ago, or is he aware that, in fact, his department has issued guidelines to his local district offices to reduce support to both the handicapped individuals I am referring to and to the people who are providing the care? Is he aware of that, number one. Secondly, can he also confirm, because we are now two months into the Budget year, the reality is that the support being cut is being cut drastically? In fact, it is now being cut by 30 per cent for the remainder of the year in order to get the annualized savings that the Minister of Finance has asked him to get.

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

MR. LUSH: I can tell the hon. the Leader of the Opposition that the staff in every department - not only in this particular division, but the staff in every division - have been asked to meet the budgetary requirements for this year. Whether they have been asked to cut by 30 per cent, the percentage that he specifically refers to, I shall have to check that out. I can only say that all divisions of the Department of Social Services have been asked to meet the budgetary requirements but I say to him again we have also asked to have all these programs assessed and evaluated and we will be bringing a report back as soon as we have determined just whether or not these monies can meet the requirements of the people because we want to ensure that the sick, the handicapped and all the needy people in this Province are looked after and that their needs are adequately addressed.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the response of the minister. The other point I want to make of course is that most of the handicapped people that we are talking about in this particular question and those that are looked after in private homes need constant care day and night, as the minister would know, they cannot be left on their own at all.

In addition to the other help the department provides, they also provide some respite care or time off for the care givers. Can the minister confirm that his department plans to cut the annual leave that is provided to these care givers in half, from thirty days for example down to fifteen days? Can he confirm that that is their plan and is it also his plan to reduce funding to the support workers as well who help out with the care of these handicapped persons, can he confirm that?

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

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, the latter question with respect to people taking their annual leave, I will take that under advisement but with respect to the cutbacks, again I will tell the hon. member that every effort is made not to cut back in terms of people needing fulltime care. If people need fulltime care than the department is going to do everything they can to ensure that people who need fulltime care receive this care. The problem is determining whether or not in a particular instance a couple of hours a day can be cut or whether three hours a day is sufficient. What I can tell the hon. member is that the whole thing is being assessed and evaluated.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a final supplementary question but it is to the Minister of Finance. Mr. Speaker, in view of the admission now by the Minister of Social Services that the money being provided for this particular program is not enough money - he clearly has said that - I want to ask the minister again: why did he perceive to present in this House last Friday or whenever it was now, a duplicate or a replicate of a Budget that was already two months old, when in fact his own cabinet colleagues presumably have been telling him that there is not enough money budgeted or provided to look after the services that we need to give to the people of this Province? What does this do to the minister's budget? This is the question which we have been trying to ask for the last four or five days. Does it not turn it into one big stinko mess?

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

MR. BAKER: I do not know which question to answer first, Mr. Speaker. As the hon. member knows, who once spent some time as President of Treasury Board, budgets are estimates and guidelines that we go by, and that at the end of year we are over on some items, under on others. There are lapsed balances at the end of the year and so on, and we all hope and strive for a result at the end of the year that is compatible with the bottom line in the Budget - that these amounts are simply estimates and we try to live within these estimates. That is all a budget is.

I suppose the day after a budget is presented, if you were to take one day's expenditure and extrapolate for 365 days you could make the same charge, but the hon. gentleman knows that is a lot of nonsense.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture.

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the minister is well aware that libraries in the Province have been experiencing some severe difficulties over the last few years due to government cutbacks. Could the minister now tell the House, and confirm to the House, that the Provincial Library Board has a deficit of some $900,000 and to add insult to injury, that they have been told to pay back $300,000 a year for each of the next three years out of their budget to cover it?

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

MR. WALSH: Yes, Mr. Speaker, the answer to the first question is yes, and the answer to the second question is no.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, could the minister now confirm to the House that his department has sent in a team from Treasury Board - and I refer to the team as 'number crunchers' from Treasury Board - to complete the final chapter and close the book on smaller libraries in rural Newfoundland and Labrador?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Tourism.

MR. WALSH: Mr. Speaker, the same answer. The first part of the question, yes; the second part of the question, no.

What the department has actually done is that we have realized that there is some $900,000 owing in actual fact to the banks, that the board have built up over a number of years, and the banks are now on the hook for some $900,000. Have we sent number crunchers in? Yes we have. When an organization has been given a budget over five, six, seven, eight years, and that amount of money is what they were expected to live with, yet in the meantime they have built up a deficit with a bank to the tune of $900,000 it is only prudent and proper that the people of this Province know what happened and how they managed to run up $900,000 in deficit. So, yes, we have sent number crunchers in there to find out what the situation is. With respect to putting a final nail in a coffin, or something to do with closing small libraries, I think you are on a fishing expedition and just fearmongering and nothing more than that.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, does the minister then realize that libraries in the Province will now have to take money from their book budgets in order to cover this $300,000 each year for the next three, and how can he and his department rationalize on one hand promoting literacy in the Province, in a Province where some 44 per cent of people are illiterate, how can he on one hand rationalize that and on the other hand, Mr. Speaker, turn libraries in the Province into what they call museums and not libraries? Can the minister rationalize that?

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

MR. WALSH: Mr. Speaker, it becomes extremely difficult to, one, rationalize innuendo, and it becomes even more difficult to rationalize fairy tales and to try to rationalize a set of numbers that absolutely make no sense, and have no base of support from the public libraries board themselves. How do I rationalize something that does not even start from a premise of making sense? I do not know where you are coming from so you cannot expect an answer from me that is rational when your premise is not rational.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I have questions for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. As the minister must realize it is harder than ever for students to get summer jobs. Employers who have been hurt by the recession cannot afford to hire as many students as they would like. Community organizations who have lost government grant revenue cannot afford to take on as many students as they used to, consequently there is more demand than ever for government assistance for student employment this summer. Why then has the provincial government cut funding for the student employment program, and by how much has the government slashed the funding, by 25 per cent, from $800,000 spent last year to the $600,000 stated in the Budget Estimates, or by 62.5 per cent from $800,000 spent last year to approximately $300,000 officials of the department told me?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I certainly appreciate the question from the hon. member opposite. I'm sure in our estimates on Tuesday morning we'll examine that matter in detail. However, I can tell the hon. member and everyone present in the House and through this medium to the public, that our budget number for student employment programs for the summer is exactly the same as it was in the Budget last year. Last year this government budgeted $600,000 for a student employment program. This year we are budgeting $600,000 for a student employment program. The details of what exactly we spent last year and how it got to be $800,000 at the end of the day, I'll go into that in the estimates when we have more time to explain it, rather than a short question like now. Whether or not we will spend $600,000 or more this year will be determined between now and the end of the summer, but right now we have budgeted for student employment initiatives $600,000, none of which has been expended to today's date.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Supplementary to the same minister. The minister and his staff have given very little information to the public about this year's student employment program. The minister sent literature to Opposition MHAs about the program just last week, on the eve of the deadline for applications. I understand over 600 applications have been received, nonetheless. Will the minister allow more time for employers and others in the Province who may be able to take advantage of this program who are just now finding out about the opportunity? Will the minister provide fair treatment for people throughout the Province so that everyone has the same chance to participate?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you again, Mr. Speaker. Yes we will. It came to my attention just a few days ago in terms of the letter that I signed after I returned from the election. Because normally, as everyone here would understand, our planning and the distribution of applications and material and information about a student employment program would have normally happened in May month. Those things didn't occur because there was an election on in the Province at the time and we didn't want to predetermine any decisions in case some other result may have occurred in the election. Someone else might have liked to have done something differently. We didn't think that we should put in place in April the plans that would have been made closer to the end of May. When I returned the documentation was done up with the normal dates on it, suggesting that a reasonable closing time would have been about mid-May. By the time I signed the letter that wasn't picked up in the letter. There were only a few days difference, but everybody has been notified that applications are being received. None have been processed to date.

This program continues on, by the way. Because under our student employment program, even students who are high school students going into post-secondary next year, are eligible under the provincial program. Some of these applications are not processed until after the end of June for the last two months of the summer. So there is still room for applications. They are still being received. None have been processed yet to date.

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

MR. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A supplementary to the minister. What criteria will the minister who, evidently, has the final say on application approvals use to rank applications? The information process, in the eyes of members on this side of the House, wasn't fair. What reason is there to believe that the selection process will be fair?

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

MR. GRIMES: I can only suggest, Mr. Speaker, that this government has run a student employment program for four consecutive summers, a fifth one about to start. There's never been a suggestion made to my knowledge that there's been anything other than fair selection to students. Because we work on the premise that all of the students are basically equal in terms of their need, because they all have cost and expenses. They are all eligible. That all of the employers make application because they're willing to pay half the cost. The only thing that's limited our program in each of the four years has been less than an amount of money required to meet every application. That will probably be the case again this year.

There is in fact a situation whereby we'll try to our utmost to make sure that there's a fair distribution in all regions of the Province based upon student population numbers and the need in those areas, particularly when they're matched with the number of opportunities in the areas that are taken care of by the federal programs which are funded through the seed and challenge. So we try to match up the two and make sure that we're not duplicating the federal programs and putting all the money in the same areas. We distribute it evenly so that every student has the equal opportunity no matter where they live in the Province, to the best of our ability.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, last year the government budgeted $121 million for the operation of Memorial University. That was cut to $118 million, and again this year the budget is $114 million.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HODDER: That's a cut of $7 million over the last several years

and because of inflation and other costs, the University says it is short $11 million, money that it needs to maintain the integrity of the programs. I know that the University has kept the hon. the minister informed of how it plans to cope with the shortfall, and I would like to ask the minister if it is true that tuition fees are going to be increasing again this year, they have increased 46 per cent over the last four years, is it in fact -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HODDER: - that an increase in tuition fees would be used to address the shortfall in the University's funding?

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

AN HON. MEMBER: Long question (inaudible).

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DECKER: - as the hon. member will know we are in a very difficult fiscal time in this Province. I could go into the reasons. There are a whole lot of reasons, Mr. Speaker, one of the reasons is the seventeen years of mismanagement that the hon. member will know about but there are other reasons as well.

Now the University is not exempt, they are going to take their responsibility like other parts of government will. Now in dealing with the University, Mr. Speaker, we recognize the autonomy of the institution and instead of telling them what they should do or what not to do, we gave them their budget and they have the leeway to deal with it as they see fit. In talks with the president of the institution over the last number of weeks, he suggested to me that one of the things that they are looking at, Mr. Speaker - one of the things, there are many they are looking at - is a possibility. Now, Mr. Speaker, that is very vague, is it not? One of the things they are looking at - there is a possibility that they may indeed increase tuition. At this moment, there is no definite decision made but there is a possibility that they might indeed have to raise tuition.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

MR. HODDER: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Last year, for the very first time, first year enrolments at Memorial University declined. Can the minister confirm that the University will raise entrance requirements from a passing rate of 60 per cent to 65 per cent this year, and to 70 per cent next year, and can he tell the House if there are any other actions taken by the University or proposed by the University, to limit enrolments and therefore try to address their shortfall in funding in that way?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will know that the decision of the University to increase the requirement for entrance from sixty to sixty-five, and eventually to seventy, has been blasted in every newspaper and ever media in this Province over the last six months, I mean, that is public knowledge which has been said over and over again.

In discussions with the University, Mr. Speaker, I have been told that this has nothing to do with controlling enrolment. The reality is that only one student in six who goes into the University with a mark below seventy finally ends up with a degree so it is done for academic reasons and even that one, Mr. Speaker, in most cases, ends up having to spend about one in six. Your chances of getting a degree, if you go in without a seventy average, is very, very slim and even the people who do get it tend to be in university in excess of six years, so it is strictly for academic reasons, Mr. Speaker. Notwithstanding that, there are still ways that people without the 60 per cent mark can get in. For example, the mature student is still allowed to enter with a lower mark than that, so I would tell the hon. member, do not blame that on any attempt to control enrolment. It is simply facing the reality that it is extremely difficult for a student without a seventy average to come out of the institution with a degree.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount, a final supplementary.

MR. HODDER: A final supplementary.

Mr. Speaker, decisions have been made, as I understand, to reduce course offerings at the University. Is the minister aware that some students will have to wait probably two or three years in order to get the courses they need to complete their degree programs?

Is he also aware that some teachers in this Province have been granted leave to return to university and now find that they cannot get the courses they need to complete their programs? Can he also confirm that one of the options being considered by the University is to suspend new admissions to the Faculty of Education for at least one year?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, that is a barrage of questions.

I am not aware of any decision to stop enrolment in education for at least a year. I will have to take that part of the question under advisement and have it checked out - whether or not in excess of one year, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DECKER: I have forgotten the first part of the question. Really there were three questions.

MR. HODDER: (Inaudible) university will be cutting courses, and some people who need these courses for their degrees will not be able to get them.

MR. DECKER: Oh yes.

No, Mr. Speaker, I think it is a little bit of hyperbole when people have to wait three years. Now it is a fact of life that all students cannot go into any university in the world and get the course offerings they want at any given time. That has been a fact of life ever since Aristotle taught Plato, or Plato taught Aristotle, whichever way it was. So these things happen, but a two to three year wait is highly unlikely. I will have to admit that every student cannot get all of the courses that he or she wants at a given time, but the situation at this university is pretty well similar to what it is in all other universities around the world.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

I contacted the minister's office this morning to find out if there were any funds available this year for the road from Purbeck's Cove to Westport, on the Baie Verte Peninsula. It is only a five kilometre stretch of road, but I can tell you, after the election experience, that I travelled it twice and to say it is deplorable is an understatement.

Is the Minister aware that the school in Purbeck's Cove will close at the end of this year and all the students will have to be bussed to nearby Westport, which is only five kilometres away? In view of that fact, will the minister have the condition of the road assessed and see if he can find some money to at least bring it up to a standard so that the safety of the students is taken into consideration?

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

First of all, I am aware of the condition of the road out there and the circumstances surrounding the school.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. EFFORD: My plan, Mr. Speaker, is to, in the very near future - hopefully within the next two or three weeks, depending on how long the House is open - to visit that particular area and to see for myself, and hopefully over the near future we can take a look at the seriousness of the condition of the road and see what can be done to address the concerns of the people in that area.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health.

Provision was made in the 1992-'93 capital budget for $1.1 million renovations to the Golden Heights Manor in Bonavista. The renovations were to make it possible for the facility to accommodate level II and level III long-term care patients. The planning work for the renovations has been done, but the construction has not yet started. Will this project be funded in this year's capital budget?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, what was in this year's capital budget will be proceeding, so there is no question about that. I guess what we should do is to check out with the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation just how things are going with respect to that particular development.

I have not checked up on it recently to see just how far it is along, but what is in the capital budget we will proceed with, and what is not in the capital budget we will not proceed with.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: My question is also to the Minister of Health, who on Tuesday said that he was not an avid follower of the Telegram, but perhaps he has now been briefed by officials of his department on the situation with respect to the finding of a blood transfusion bag in or near the St. John's water supply. I wonder could he tell the House whether or not he or his department have any concern about either the safety and the disposal of medical equipment or medical supplies in the Department of Health or in the hospitals or concerns about the St. John's water supply as a result of this finding?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is all excited about nothing, absolutely nothing.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

DR. KITCHEN: Let me say what happens to blood. First of all blood is purified before it is injected into whoever gets it. That must be looked at very carefully and so that must be taken into account, that any blood is pure, so there is no danger of contamination. The second thing is that once the blood is used the blood bag is sterilized and then it is placed as a sterile in the regular garbage and it goes out into the landfill in Robin Hood Bay. Now then, the latest theory is that perhaps a sea gull from Robin Hood Bay might have picked up and dropped this into the water supply but let me say though that the Windsor Lake water supply has been tested daily since this and everything is satisfactory. So there is absolutely no grounds for concern. I understand that we will not be bringing in Dave Winfield to have a go at the sea gulls.

MR. SPEAKER: Question period has expired.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table in the House the Annual Report of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Tribunal for the calendar year 1992, and if I could, Mr. Speaker, just make a couple of comments.

The report highlights the fact that in the calendar year 1992, ending in December, there was, indeed, an increased caseload at the Appeals Tribunal which handled the external appeals of the decision of the commission. It went from 100 cases to 293 that were filed with the Appeals Tribunal. There was an increased number of decisions rendered by the Appeals Tribunal. They rendered ninety-seven decisions in the calendar year 1992 and they managed in that past year to decrease the time frame, even though, from the time of the notice of appeal to the conclusion of the report, sometimes it takes as much as eight months, from the time the thing leaves the Workers' Compensation Commission until it is finally disposed of at the Appeals Tribunal. Once the Appeals Tribunal, itself actually is seized of the case, they have tried to give a commitment to restrict their time frames to ninety days, and they have made a lot of inroads in moving towards that, although they don't meet the objective every time. They have recognized that there is more work to be done and they have started on some re-organization and restructuring to better facilitate the work of the Appeals Tribunal. This is referenced in the report, Mr. Speaker, which I commend to the members for their reading. I take this opportunity to thank the Chairperson of the Tribunal, Judge Seabright, who is in the gallery today with the administrative secretary, Miss Marlene Norman, who handled the bulk of the work at the Appeals Tribunal. I table the report, Mr. Speaker.

Notices of Motion

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act Respecting The Control Of The Sale Of Tobacco To Minors."

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir.

MR. GILBERT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I give notice that I will on tomorrow introduce the following resolution:

WHEREAS the traditional cod fishery on the South Coast has deteriorated, due mainly to mismanagement by the Federal Government; and

WHEREAS the people involved in the fishery along the South and West Coasts of this Province are unsure of their future; and

WHEREAS the compensation package announced on April 23, 1993 is not yet meeting the needs of the people involved in the fishery;

BE IT RESOLVED that this House of Assembly call upon the Federal Government to take immediate action to implement a fair and equitable compensation package for the people of the South and West Coasts of the Province and the Labrador Strait.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture.

MR. FLIGHT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to provide answers to questions asked by the hon. the Member for Ferryland in yesterday's Question Period. I refer to a fire in the Cape Broyle area. On May 19, we received notice of a fire in the Horse Chops area of the Southern Shore. A CL-215 water bomber was dispatched to the area and the action of the water bomber and forestry officials resulted in the fire being brought completely under control on that day.

The fire occurred in barren and shrub, which is to be expected in the area in which the fire occurred. Seven hectares were burnt over and there was no damage to property and no threat to communities. The closest community is Cape Broyle. No commercial timber was burnt, and the fire was apparently caused by a person burning brush and foam seats from a chesterfield. The hon. member should speak to this constituents. The person was burning without a permit and will be charged.

In the same question, the hon. member indicated he had difficulty finding the salary details in the provincial Budget for our fire suppression program. I tell the member that the details he is looking for are in the 1993 Estimates, Salary Details, Page 87. It indicates that the total Budget for forest fire suppression is $1.2 million budgeted for this year, out of which $889,000 is paid to seasonal fire fighters. Mr. Speaker, he also wondered about staying within the Budget, and I would point out to him that in order to stay within the Budget, and with regard to the weather conditions, his region hired eighteen out of thirty fire fighters. They are stationed at Paddys Pond, Whitbourne, Hearts Delight, Hearts Desire, Clarenville, Southern Harbour, Southern Bay, Winterland, and covering the Avalon, Bonavista, and Burin peninsulas. The weather situation is monitored on a daily basis and if the situation warrants, the other twelve fire fighters will be brought on immediately. The system provides for flexibility should it become necessary to extend the employment of fire fighters beyond the end of the fire season. In summary, the Eastern region currently has fire crews on the Avalon, Bonavista and Burin peninsulas, available to respond to fire calls seven days a week.

The last part of his question was: he was concerned that a constituent of his had applied for a job as a temporary fire fighter or seasonal fire fighter. I will provide the hon. member with this information. It was an internal competition. There were five applicants. One was screened out because of lack of experience; one didn't show up for the interview, at all; the successful applicant was given the job because of his competence and his qualifications. Mr. Speaker, he got the job on his merits. I regret to tell the hon. member that his neighbour and friend didn't qualify in this particular competition.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, could we, first of all, deal with Motion No. 2, which my friend, the Minister of Finance, will move in the absence of the Premier, who, as we know, is at Bull Arm on public duties.


MR. MURPHY: He was supposed to be out there a month ago.

MR. ROBERTS: I can only assume the Premier has the permission of his parliamentary secretary.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MURPHY: No, no. (Inaudible) permission from the Leader of the Opposition who - the Premier was supposed to be out there a month ago and the (inaudible) Opposition stopped it.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Can you protect me, Mr. Speaker, from -

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair can protect from one side of the House, but not one's own.

MR. ROBERTS: I am asking protection from both sides, Mr. Speaker. They are coming at me from every direction. 'Bring back Baker' will soon be heard again in this House. When we have done that we will go on -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Let's get on with business.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, when we deal with Motion 2, which I understand is expected to be a relatively short period of time to debate, I would ask Your Honour to call the Budget, which is Motion 1, and my friend from St. George's will carry on.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 2 on the Order Paper is as read: that Wayne Mitchell, of the district of Pleasantville, be and he is hereby appointed as the Commissioner of Members' Interest pursuant to subsection 34(2) of the House of Assembly Act as amended.

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Very briefly, this particular motion is one in a series of major reforms that this government have undertaken in the last few years. It is one in a series of very significant reforms in the system as we know it. One of the things that we committed to was the new Auditor General's Act, and we have brought in the Auditor General's Act and given the Auditor General a great deal more autonomy than previously. The Auditor General is no longer reporting to the Department of Finance, as previously, but is a servant of the House and reports to the House.

Then, Mr. Speaker, we introduced a new Elections Act. As a consequence of that, there have been tremendous changes in terms of the election procedures in the Province. We have also had a new returning officer appointed shortly before the previous election. One of the other reforms that, again, is a major reform is the reformation of the Committee structure of the House.

The fourth one, the one I now refer to, is the reform to the conflict of interest guidelines. These guidelines were passed by this hon. House and will now be proclaimed. So, Mr. Speaker, this is one in a series of very fundamental reforms to the parliamentary process that this government have undertaken, and the kind of thing that this government see as being important in the parliamentary process.

It now is up to this hon. House to debate this motion, which moves that Mr. Wayne Mitchell, who happens to be the returning officer, appointed fairly recently, be and is hereby appointed as the Commissioner of Members' Interest pursuant to the new conflict of interest guidelines. Mr. Mitchell is a servant of this hon. House and does not answer to a government department, does not answer to cabinet but is a servant of the House. He is a person of unquestioned integrity, a person who is a very good detail person and obviously will carry out his duties with due concern and due regard for all the regulations pertaining to the conflict of interest legislation. So, Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to move this particular motion, another in a series of major parliamentary reforms initiated by this government.

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

MR. SIMMS: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we do not want to extend the debate on this particular motion as the Minister of Finance just attempted to do. I do not know why he went through all that lengthy history, it was pretty boring and it is not of much interest to the people of the Province let alone the people of the House of Assembly. Nevertheless, recognizing the fact that a motion must be put and it must be approved by the House of Assembly, I just want to indicate on behalf of our party, not that we have had lengthy discussions on it or anything but we do support the appointment of Mr. Mitchell to serve as the conflict of interest Commissioner or whatever the position is called, I just forget for the moment - Commissioner of Members' Interest. We do support his appointment, we think, as I told the Premier the other day, I think it was a wise choice or wise appointment for a number of reasons not the least of which is that I doubt if the conflict of interest or the Commissioner of Members' Interest, I doubt very much if the Commissioner of Members' Interest is going to be working eighteen or twenty hours a day for the next four years.

So, it was important to get a person who would look at the conflict of interest statements filed by members of the House of Assembly in an objective manner and to deal with them objectively. In that respect I think Mr. Mitchell fills the role very well, not to mention the fact that you could probably get him because he is being paid full time as the Chief Electoral Officer and paid very well, which I am sure he would admit to himself. You can get this person now for the same money, two for the price of one I guess is the way to put it. We have two for the price of one and in this particular instance, Mr. Speaker, the person that we have I think fits the bill nicely and I am personally familiar with Mr. Mitchell.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes, he is a competent individual, he is a hard working individual and I know in fulfilling this specific role that he will do it in a very objective manner, not an objectionable manner, an objective manner and we support the motion to appoint Mr. Mitchell.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I thought we were dealing with a non-confidence motion in the government by the remarks of the hon. Minister of Finance. I suppose that that invites all hon. members to comment on the record of the Liberal government over the last four years or so. I am going to refrain from doing that because I understood from the Minister of Justice and the Government House Leader yesterday that we were not planning to have a prolonged debate on that particular issue. As the minister now says, we will have other opportunities to comment on the government initiatives over the last several years and we will have the next four years unless some other crisis happens. So, I will refrain from that but will comment on the motion itself, that being the appointment of Wayne Mitchell. I concur with the comments of the Leader of the Opposition in stating that he regards, as do I, Mr. Mitchell as being an objective and impartial person when he was offered as the Chief Electoral Officer. I had no hesitation in supporting his appointment as Chief Electoral Officer both for his neutrality, objectivity and his ability. I similarly feel that in this role as Commissioner of Members' Interest he will be available and competent to deal with the issues that are raised and will do his very best to be impartial in it. Also, not only in assessing the matters that are put before him but also playing a role which this Commissioner should do of advising individual members on possibilities of conflict of interest and advising them as to what they might do about it. This is a very important role and I do not think anybody is really suggesting it is being sloughed off on Mr. Mitchell because we already have him there on salary. I think we ought not to diminish the importance of the role of this Commissioner by suggesting that, but I think it is an important role and there will come times when the advice or the decisions or the position of the Commissioner of Members' Interest will be under fairly close scrutiny, not only by members of this House but also by the press and the public, so it is regarded by me and by our party as a very important position and one which I feel confident that Mr. Mitchell will be able to perform and therefore offer my support for the motion and for the appointment of Mr. Mitchell.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In formally moving this motion I would like to point out to all members of the hon. House, because everybody is concerned about this and has an interest in this, that the act will be proclaimed tomorrow and will come into effect starting June 1st, so all hon. members should keep these dates in mind.

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to move this motion.

Motion 2 carried.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Could we have Motion No. 1, which would be the Budget Speech?

MR. SPEAKER: Motion No. 1, the Budget Speech.

The Chair recognizes the hon. the Member for St. George's.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. HULAN: Mr. Speaker, in my opening remarks to this hon. Chamber on Tuesday last I referred to my district, the district of St. George's, as an old district in the Province. I have since then been reminded by an hon. gentleman that the district of St. George's is indeed not an old district relative to some other districts in this Province, having been only recognized as a district somewhere around the turn of this century.

What I was trying to portray in my comments the other day was that I am very proud to represent a very old historic area in this Province, and although we were not recognized east of the overpass until around 1900, we were there and established in the 1600's and without question we do have a colourful history.

Mr. Speaker, I ended my remarks on Tuesday by speaking of some of the glorious past of the district of St. George's. Before leaving that area I am reminded that the district I represent at one time contained what is affectionately known as the capital of the West Coast, that being Sandy Point.

For those of you who are not familiar with the district of St. George's, Sandy Point today is a sandbar in the harbour of St. George's, and yet that sandbar served as the centre of government, commerce and trade for Western Newfoundland for around 200 years. It is a part of our past and we are very proud of it. So important were St. George's and Sandy Point, that the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese for Western Newfoundland had St. George's as his residence until about the mid-1970's.

I also want to share with you another interesting story about the district of St. George's - a story that most Newfoundlanders have never heard. As this House is probably well aware, when Benedict Arnold attacked Quebec City for the third time, Quebec City almost fell. Arnold failed to take Quebec City. Why did he fail? His failure was largely attributed and credited to the entering into the fray of a contingent from Newfoundland made up primarily of fishermen and farmers along the west and southwest coast of the Island. Some years later a French author by the name of Pierre Lancott wrote an article, a little book on this historic battle, and I have a copy of that book. It is interesting. The book is published by Queen's Printers in Ottawa and it is interesting that the title of that book is: When Newfoundland Saved Canada.

Mr. Speaker, before I go any further, it would be remiss of me if I did not congratulate our Leader, the Premier, for leading us to victory on May 3rd. The people of this Province have indeed spoken, and they have clearly indicated that they agree with the direction this government has and is taking the Province. I should also like to commend the hon. the Leader of the Opposition and his party for the part they played in the campaign and for running a clean campaign, at least in the district of St. George's it was a clean campaign. I wish also to congratulate the Leader of the New Democratic Party for his efforts in the campaign and for retaining his seat in this hon. House. While on the subject of the election, I should also wish here in this House, Mr. Speaker, to thank all of the workers who worked for me and for my election in the district of St. George's. They worked very hard, we had a special situation, the victory on May 3rd was indeed theirs.

Now, Mr. Speaker, and hon. members, the district of St. George's is blessed. It is blessed in natural resources. It is a district with unsurpassed beauty with its snowcapped mountains, rolling farm lands and forests and untold numbers of lakes and streams, its ocean beaches, its beautiful salmon-fishing rivers and its bay fishery. Because the district of St. George's, Mr. Speaker, is so blessed, it is a prime target of course for tourism development, agra-aqua food production, aquaculture production and forest management.

I first want to turn my attention to tourism. My district has been identified and is taking part in the salmon enhancement and river management program of the Province, and I am sure that this program will have a very positive effect on the tourism industry of the district of St. George's in the future, after all, some of the best salmon-fishing rivers this side of the Northwest Territories are located in the district of St. George's. I would applaud and support very well the efforts of the Cormack Trail Authority and what they are doing in the district for the (inaudible) of tourism, both now and the future and also to provide a facility for our local residents. I am also very supportive of the work being initiated by the Rails-for-Trails Committee in the district and they are getting off to a good start.

I want to look now for a minute, Mr. Speaker, at agra food production and aqua food production. It is fair to say that the district's potential for agra-aqua food production is largely untapped. Prior to 1949, the district of St. George's, Mr. Speaker, basically fed this Island. Today, Newfoundland farmers produce less than 7 per cent of the vegetables we consume; prior to 1949 we produced it all. Mr. Speaker, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians consume over a billion dollars worth of food and beverage annually, and that excludes alcohol consumption, yet, Newfoundland farmers and processors supply very little of these products and we produce virtually no further processed agra food products. In the area of vegetable production and small fruit production on this Island and further processing of these products, the sky is the limit.

Still on agra foods, Mr. Speaker, all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can rightfully be proud of our dairy industry and its success story. I can tell this House, Mr. Speaker, that the success story of the dairy industry in this Province is not only a Newfoundland agricultural success story, but a Canadian agricultural success story. In a few short years, milk producers have increased their share of the provincial consumption of fluid milk from 55 per cent to 100 per cent, yet our consumption of fresh fluid milk is only about 55 per cent of the national average. We have a long ways to go and we have much room for growth. The introduction of the school milk program by this government is changing this consumption pattern in a positive way, and in doing so, Mr. Speaker, is improving the health status of our people, especially our young people, our children.

Just a few words on the quality of products that we can produce here on the island. It is a scientifically well-known fact that the vegetables that are produced on this island are superior in quality to those even grown in the beautiful Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. Blueberries: we have some of the best blueberries in North America. We are one of the few areas in North America that is free of blueberry maggot. Areas like Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Maine, their blueberries are contaminated with blueberry maggot and therefore they cannot enter into the world fresh blueberry market. We in Newfoundland can. We have a maggot free blueberry. Unless you really like maggots, and that is something else.

I just want to say a few words about aquaculture. The district of St. George's has a tremendous amount of inland waters, most of which are now readily accessible by roads as a result of harvesting of the forest over the years. These attributes offer a tremendous potential for the development of the aquaculture industry. As chair of the bio-technology working groups here in the island, Mr. Speaker, I can assure you and this House that indeed there is a potential for aquaculture production to contribute greatly to the economy of not only my district but the whole entire island of Newfoundland.

When I compare the potential of my district, and indeed this Province, for aquaculture production and development, I must remember the similarities of this Province with Scandinavia, and to the tremendous job that part of the world is doing in aquaculture. Last May I was fortunate to lead a scientific delegation to Scandinavia. Based on that study visit, and from my knowledge of the science and technology of aquaculture, I firmly believe that this new field of technology can and will play a vital role in the economic development of our Province, and yes, a vital role also in the return of the fishing stocks.

Looking more closely however, as far as the fishery is concerned, I should turn my attention now to the fishery of Bay St. George. The fishery of Bay St. George has provided a livelihood for coastal residents of the St. George's district and the district of Port au Port and Stephenville for generations. Indeed, the great agricultural development of the district of St. George's had its beginning as a subsistence activity to fishing. Unfortunately, today the fish stocks in St. George's Bay, like elsewhere, are greatly depleted. Yet, I have never seen such dragging and seining operations in St. George's Bay as are currently under way.

I will tell you a story. Last weekend I spent in the district and I stayed in my home at Jeffrey's. I got up on Saturday morning and I looked out through my bedroom window and I saw a dragger in Bear Brook Cove, which is the cove where people fish out off in that area. That dragger was within half a kilometre or nearer to the shore and dragging in eight or ten fathoms of water right in the cove where people would normally have their boats moored. That is a serious problem for our area, and in particular at this time of the year, because this is now when the herring are going in the bay and are spawning. You only have to take a brief visit to the area and speak to some fishermen and they will soon tell you what it's doing to the herring catches in the bay and has been doing in the last four or five years. That would certainly attest to the need again for a joint fisheries management package.

I want to turn now to forest management. The forest industries have been and are very important to the District of St. George's from an employment and economic development standpoint. Yet, I have to express a grave concern over the fact that much of the timber resources of St. George's District were harvested, and there are some that will say even raped during the 1970's and 1980's, and at that period in time few if any trees were planted. On that point I am reminded of a statement made some forty years ago in New Brunswick by the late industrialist, K. C. Irving, and I quote: 'For every tree I cut down I will plant one.' Today New Brunswick's forest industry is as strong or maybe stronger than ever.

As a result of the clear cutting carried out in the 70's and 80's without replanting, not only are we now faced with a greatly depleted timber reserve but we are also faced with such problems as water run-off, beaver fever and worst yet to come, soil erosion. It takes, Mr. Speaker, fifty to a hundred years to replace one inch of soil under Newfoundland's climatic conditions. I am pleased to say however that the Silviculture and forest management programs initiated by this government is having and will continue to have a positive effect on the situation that I am talking about.

Mr. Speaker, as the Member for the District of St. George's I am indeed pleased to endorse the past performance over the last four years of this government and to also endorse the Budget it has presented to this hon. House.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am very happy today to rise and to offer congratulations to previous speakers, to offer congratulations to all hon. members who were elected in the May 3rd election. I would like to offer congratulations to the leaders of the three political parties, to the Speaker, to the Deputy Speaker and to the Chairman of Debates.

I would like to thank the people of Mount Pearl for their continued encouragement, for their support over the past twenty-three years. In fact, Mr. Speaker, I was first elected in the City of Mount Pearl on November 10th, 1969 and twenty-three years and a-half to the day on May 10th, 1993 I vacated the office of mayor. I served one term as a councillor, one term as a deputy mayor and four terms in the position of mayor.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the people of Waterford - Kenmount for their vote of confidence on May 3rd. It was a very well fought election. I want to compliment my opponents. The election in Waterford - Kenmount was very cleanly fought. It was won on a door to door basis, it was won on personal contact and I can say that it was due, in my campaign, to the tremendous organizational effort and to the exemplary dedication of my many, many dozens of campaign volunteers.

Mr. Speaker, we often say that the heart of every community is its volunteers and I would like to say that in my campaign the heart of my campaign was indeed my volunteers.

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to stand here today to say that the District of Waterford - Kenmount, spread as it is over the two large municipalities, 30 per cent of my constituents are in the City of Mount Pearl, 70 per cent of them are in the City of St. John's. I am very proud to say that in both those large municipalities a majority of the voters, voted for my candidacy. Mr. Speaker, the return of Waterford - Kenmount to the Progressive Conservative Party is of course a change. I note that some years ago, five years ago to be exact, the Liberal change in the St. John's area occurred in Waterford-Kenmount, and, of course we would like to say now that the change that has started in Waterford-Kenmount is going to continue on.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HODDER: Hon. members will note that there are a chain of events that we are about to see unfolding in this Province.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I am quite proud to be a member of this House. I well remember back in the 60s as a student at Memorial University I would come over here to the Chamber upstairs and listen to the debates. I was present for most of the important debates over the last twenty-five years and it is a great honour for me personally to find myself elected to this hon. Chamber. I am quite proud to say that I have worked with and have known all five Premiers since Confederation and I can assure you that the quality of the dedication as shown by all hon. members in this House over the great numbers of years is to be commended. I can assure you that if you read Newfoundland history and if you look around this Chamber and look at the pictures of the people who served as Speaker you cannot but be impressed with the dedication and with the fact that so many people in this Province have given of themselves to serve in this hon. House. I do believe that all of us here have the interest of our constituents, we have the interest of our Province, and we are trying our best to make the very best opportunities for all the people in our Province all the time.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to address some of the issues that were brought forward in my campaign by the people as I met them on their doorsteps. One of the things I met most often was youth unemployment. It is so sad to go up to a House and to meet a family in which there are people in their twenties and some of them with university degrees. I met on two occasions people with PhDs who did not have a job and I can assure you that this is very frustrating for the candidates and very frustrating as well for members of the government, but it is a reality. I do believe that youth unemployment is one of the issues that all governments, federal, provincial, municipal, and all the private sector employers is something that we have to try to address because it is so sad to see so much talent, so much ability, so much energy consumed in getting ready for the workplace then to find that one does not have the opportunity to get employment in ones own Province. While I am not against going and training Newfoundlanders for a Canadian workplace, not at all, I would much prefer, however, if young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians were able to find employment right here at home in our Province.

Mr. Speaker, also, tuition fees at post-secondary institutions. It has been said that at the turn of this century it will be necessary for most people who are entering the workforce to have between six and seven years of post-secondary schooling. What has been happening in this Province in the past few years, we are gradually, very gradually seeing access to post-secondary institutions being denied to our young people. Memorial University has had a 46 per cent increase in tuition fees in the past four years. Mr. Speaker, we have to be very cognizant of the fact that we have a situation developing where only the very rich... the ordinary Newfoundland son and Newfoundland daughter will not be able to go to the university, will not be able to access post-secondary institutions, and that is the time when we as a people start to move backwards.

We have a great deal of responsibility to our youth. We have a mandate to give them the very best opportunities we can, and it saddens me to see the fact that the enrolment for first year university students has been going down instead of up - to find that we do not carry forward our commitment to our youth by making sure that student loans are available. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, student loans were a very important issue in my discussions as I was carrying on my campaign in Waterford - Kenmount. People are finding that average Newfoundland families cannot anymore afford to put their children through university without access to student loans. What is happening is that ordinary families in my constituency are finding that they do not have the same access in many cases because of their residency, because they have certain levels of income, and there is a real frustration out there.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to address some of the infrastructure needs in the St. John's and Mount Pearl areas. Each day the people of Mount Pearl and St. John's drive out over Blackmarsh Road. The road is in serious need of upgrading. There needs to be a concerted effort by both cities - by Mount Pearl, by St. John's - in conjunction with the Province, to find funding to make sure that this artery, this roadway leading into the capital city, is upgraded.

Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, there was some discussion in this House on the Outer Ring Road. The Outer Ring Road is supported by the City of Mount Pearl and by the City of St. John's. We believe that it is appropriate that we address this issue of the urban transportation needs in 1993 instead of waiting until the year 2005.

Mr. Speaker, we also need to address the issues of the environment. We need to address the issues of St. John's harbour - its cleanliness, the cleanup that is necessary - and one of the things we have to try to do is focus our attention on getting more federal/provincial/municipal co-operation. We need a tripartite approach to solving infrastructure problems. There is only one Canadian taxpayer. Mr. Speaker, we have to remember that this one taxpayer, whether he is paying taxes federally, provincially or municipally, this is the same person, and what we have had happen the last number of years is that the federal government has been decreasing funding for infrastructure. It started back in the seventies and has been going downhill ever since. What is happening in our communities is that we are finding that our streets are falling apart. We are finding that we cannot build the first sets of water and sewer services while other Canadians are talking about rebuilding or doing these things for the second or third time.

Mr. Speaker, in certain parts of my district there is a need for recreational facilities. There is a real need for community centres in certain parts of the district - in the Waterford Bridge Road area, in the Cowan Heights area. Citizens would like to be able to have a sense of community, a sense of belonging, a sense of being involved, so we have to assist municipalities in providing these kinds of facilities.

Mr. Speaker, the Regional Services Board, which was adopted by this government several years ago, is causing tremendous frustration in the Avalon North. When Bill 50 was passed, I gave a commitment to the hon. the Premier that I would try my best to work with it. All hon. members know that I was opposed to Bill 50. I gave my commitment and I said I would try to make it work; I would try to do my best to make the Regional Water Committee work; I will try to do my best to make the Regional Fire Services Committee work; but what has happened, Mr. Speaker, is that, we are into a situation today where it is not working. And why is it not working? because some of the smaller communities -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HODDER: - are not able to pay the kinds of monies necessary to be paid to support the system, and today, on this very day, the City of St. John's, as the operator of the facilities, is owed $1,100,000 in back fees. Something must be done to address that particular issue. If it is not working, therefore, we must recognize that it is time for us to address it. Mr. Speaker, I say on behalf of the City of St. John's and the City of Mount Pearl, that we want to enter into a dialogue. We have asked the hon. the Premier and the previous Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs to try to address this issue, because this cannot go on forever and ever.

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of representing a great number of seniors. In fact, in the district of Waterford - Kenmount there are eleven different senior citizens complexes. Mr. Speaker, one of the things mentioned to me, when you talk to people, when you talk about who is responsible for pensions, talk about provincial civil servants, who had their last increase when the Progressive Conservative Party was in power. Since 1989, there has not been one single change in the rates paid to senior citizens who are in receipt of provincial pensions. Many of our seniors are finding that with inflation, they are certainly trying to pay greatly increased bills with very shrinking dollars. I think it is somewhat tragic that we have so many people in their senior years who are having real, real frustrations - and I am not saying that they are impoverished but they are certainly finding that it is very difficult to make ends meet.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to offer support for day care. I believe that we have to address day care - not day care where people can pay. I am not saying that we should have day care which should be simply open to everybody, but we do have to recognize, if we are going to have programs whereby the people who are on low incomes can get jobs and can have the chance to improve the quality of their lives, then, Mr. Speaker, we have a responsibility as a Legislature, to make sure that these opportunities are, indeed, provided. If we are going to help people improve themselves, then we have to put the vehicles in place to make it happen. And, as a Legislature, we have to look carefully at every case where people who cannot pay for day care and who have job opportunities, who want to go back for upgrading and training, that these people can have access to appropriate levels of day care.

Mr. Speaker, I want also to speak about the frustrations that people have with the collective bargaining process in this Province. We all know that we are in very difficult times. We all know that every government in this country, every government in the Western World, is having great frustrations. We know that we have spent money that has caused a tremendous debt to build up. We all take a collective responsibility for that. But we do have a great number of people in our constituencies who feel very frustrated, very anxious, very much uptight with the collective bargaining system.

What is happening is that there is a lack of trust. The people I talked to - I haven't met one single person, not one, who said that they were not prepared to take their share of the responsibility to address the money problems of this Province - never met one. I did meet a lot of people who said that they need to be convinced that what they are asked to bear is, indeed, fair and equitable. What we have is not a group of people who are saying that they are not willing to help out; what we have is a great number in the population who need to be assured that what they are asked to bear this year will be the end of the frustrating years for them.

Many of the employees of the Provincial Government, who have gone on for several years now with no increases at all, what they want to be assured of is that after this year, they can look forward to some change, look forward with some hope - that they can say that the pain of the last few years is gradually going to be improved and that they can look forward to some changes that are positive for them.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank hon. members. I certainly want to express my pleasure, after twenty-three years in municipal government, to be occupying a seat in this House. I look forward to working with all hon. members for the improvement of my district, but also for the improvement of this Province, in general. Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WHELAN: Mr. Speaker, hon. members of the House of Assembly, it gives me great pleasure to stand in the Budget Debate as the new member for the historic district of Harbour Main. First of all, I want to offer general congratulations to all members who have been elected to this hon. House. More specifically, I want to congratulate the Premier of the Province, who, in no uncertain way, won the support of the people, basically on the policy that he promoted. This, I believe, says something for the ability of Newfoundlanders to think for themselves and to stand fast, and to steadfastly stay the course they knew would see them through rough economic times.

I would also like to congratulate the new Speaker, the Member for Humber West. I am sure he will carry on the tradition of competency and fair-mindedness set by his predecessors, several of whom are still sitting in this hon. House. As well, let me congratulate the members of the Cabinet, especially the newly-appointed members. Let me join the ranks of those who have preceeded me in wishing them well in their new positions. I am sure the overall image of the Wells Government will be enhanced by their addition.

At this time, Mr. Speaker, I would also like to offer a very sincere thanks to the many workers whose energy and enthusiasm were the greatest single factor in the success of my campaign.

This sitting of the House has gotten off to a relatively good start as far as decorum is concerned. There may be a few exceptions but, for the most part, I believe things are looking up. Although I am a new member to the House, I have sat in the gallery on a number of occasions, and I have to say, when it comes to politeness or respecting another person's right to speak, on occasions something is lacking or left to be desired. There are those on both sides of the House, who may need to take a look at their behaviour with a view to streamlining their periodic outbreaks. Each and every person here, at one time or another, has something worthwhile to say. It would be to everyone's detriment if hon. members' words were lost in the drone of other voices.

On Tuesday, the hon. the Member for St. John's East rose on what I believe to be a very interesting matter. He talked about, or speculated on, the idea of harnessing the wind as a source of renewable energy. There are those who may say it has been tried before. The question is: Were the earlier attempts the best we could do? The potential for this type of energy is unlimited, and I believe that every effort should be made to determine the viability of wind-powered energy production.

Mr. Speaker, in making reference to my district of Harbour Main, let me first of all establish the fact that the Harbour Main -Kelligrews area is one of the first areas to have established settlements. The reason for this, of course, is its abundance of natural resources. The Harbour Main - Kelligrews area has an agricultural background and, hopefully, an even greater future. More and more younger people are becoming involved in this industry, and although there may be a number of stumbling blocks, such as the lack of adequate storage facilities for over-winter keeping, I have every reason to believe that the future will treat this industry well. I know that there have been great strides made in the production of hay and milk, the production of non-traditional vegetables, and, in the area of blueberry production, I believe cultivation has taken on a greater concentration and scientific approach.

I am sure most of us here, as we stand to speak, will promote our area as being the most beautiful, the most picturesque, in the entire Province. Well, my case in somewhat unique, I suppose, because I know that most of you realize that the area of Conception Bay that I represent is, in actual fact, the most beautiful jewel in the crown as far as scenic beauty is concerned. The potential for tourism is virtually untapped. Whether it is fishing, canoeing, camping, a day on the bay, or just a leisurely drive through, the time and money spent in this area by any tourist is time and money well spent.

I suppose, if one were to ask: What is the main industry, or the main source of income for the people of Harbour Main - Kelligrews, one would have to say, the construction industry. With the advent of the American bases, people in this area became more and more dependent on construction and, to this day, many of our people travel North America and, indeed, the world over, plying their trade.

Presently, we find ourselves in the lucky position of being close to one of the major construction jobs in the country, that being the Mosquito Cove - Bull Arm site. Without a doubt, we in Newfoundland have some of the best construction workers in the world, and a great many of these people were born and bred in the Harbour Main - Kelligrews area. I would say, there is not a trade on this site for which we do not have a number of qualified people, whether it be carpenters, welders, rodsmen, riggers - I could go on and on. So, Mr. Speaker, as construction picks up at Bull Arm, I am confident that many of the qualified people in our area, who have had years of experience on jobs around the world, will, indeed, find employment. That is one of the reasons, I believe, I should be optimistic over the employment situation in the Harbour Main - Kelligrews area.

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that there are reasons to be optimistic; however, there are pitfalls, because quantity of life does not necessarily mean quality of life. I have concerns, because the social fabric of any society tends to take a beating when affluency is on the rise.

I know that, relatively speaking, we are not an affluent Province; however, already, there are problems among our youth, as well as the adult population. Some areas are more affected than others, but I say that this problem must be given careful consideration. I know the Department of Social Services will be keeping a close eye on the situation and monitoring it as the developments take place.

I have to say that, as a district, Harbour Main - Kelligrews is one of the fastest growing areas of the Province. This, in itself, is a good thing; however, demands on municipal services such as road construction, water and sewer services, etc., tend to put a strain on towns' budgets. The need for improvement in additional recreational facilities such as ball fields is certainly a priority, especially in the Kelligrews - Seal Cove area. There is only one ball field to service the entire area, certainly nowhere near the number needed. I am hopeful that in the upcoming term of office, we will see continued spending in this area. Some of our towns are taking inventory of their fire fighting capability and, in some areas, they find themselves lacking. I am certain that as these matters are brought to the various departments they will be dealt with in a manner which reflects the importance they deserve.

Mr. Speaker, there are a number of fish plants in our area, each and every one of which, hopefully, has a future in the new fishery. These plants provide much needed jobs, more particularly for the women in the respective areas. If these plants remain closed for an indeterminate amount of time, the consequences will bring hardship on quite a few families in our area. The plants depend on caplin, squid, herring, and mackerel more than they do on the cod fishery. As a consequence, I am very hopeful that the status of these plants will remain unchanged.

Mr. Speaker, as the session proceeds, I will again be addressing these and other matters, as the need arises. I want to finish my remarks by offering my support to the Budget that has been put to the House.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to take part in the Budget Debate and to express my views on some of the issues facing our Province at this time, but first I must take a moment to reflect on the 1993 election. I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to the wonderful people of the historic district of St. Mary's - The Capes, who elected me with a strong mandate on May 3, to represent them for the next four to five years in this hon. House of Assembly. The support I received was overwhelming, and I intend to live up to my one and only promise during the campaign, that is, to do the best I can at all times for the people of my home district, and to be there for the people of St. Mary's - The Capes. I would also like to thank the over 400 volunteers who played a vital role in my success on May 3. From Portugal Cove South to Little Barasway and all the points in between, they came through, as always, with flying colours. To my family, who stood by me every step of the way, a special thank you. I would be remiss today, Mr. Speaker, if I did not thank the very special friend, my campaign manager, who is no stranger to the hallways of the Confederation Building, the hon. Loyola Hearn. His guidance and direction, I am sure, played a major role in my being able to stand here today in this House and represent St. Mary's - The Capes.

Mr. Speaker, I would like, also, to congratulate the Member for Humber West on his election as Speaker of the House of Assembly and to the Members for Trinity - Bay de Verde, and for Bellevue on their election to their respective positions. I would also like to congratulate the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Simms, on a job well done. We ran a high road campaign and I was proud to be part of that team. I would like, as well, to congratulate the Premier and the members opposite on their election and, especially, the new ministers who have been appointed. I have watched their political careers with interest over the past number of years and I wish them well. I was especially pleased to see the colourful Member for Port de Grave returned to Cabinet and, along with wishing him well in the future, I hope that his new position is not a substitute for a muzzle from the Premier, because I believe, not only would it be a loss to this hon. House, but I believe it would be a great loss to this Province of ours. To all members of the House of Assembly, I congratulate you on your success on May 3 and wish you the best. And to my good friend from the district of Placentia, your seat is ready beside me. I await, with great anticipation, your arrival and debut in the House of Assembly. To my fellow rookies of the House of Assembly, special congratulations. Remember, the distance is nothing, it is only the first step that is difficult.

Mr. Speaker, as the youngest member of this hon. House during this session, I want to assure all members that I intend to listen and to learn. When the time dictates to speak on the issues that concern my district, the district of St. Mary's - The Capes will be my top priority in the years ahead. I intend to deliver the strong representation that our district has been used to over the years, and I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead.

Mr. Speaker, as I study and reflect on the Budget, I am very concerned, not only for my district, but I am concerned for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. As I travelled and knocked on over 2,400 doors in my district during the campaign, I felt a sense of hopelessness in the future coming from the people. What Newfoundland and Labrador needs now is a renewed sense of hope, a renewed sense of pride, and a renewed sense of vision, and neither this Budget nor this government gives us that. I am worried, because, as the great Helen Keller once wrote: the only thing that is worse than being blind is being able to see, but not have any vision.

As I read more and more of this Budget, I begin to reminisce. I believe that instead of calling this document the 1993 Budget we may call it the 1993 resettlement program. Because I believe that this Budget will have drastic effects on the lives of thousand of people in rural Newfoundland. In my district, alone, the cuts are already starting to take effect. The cut in the electrical power subsidy for recreation facilities, which I questioned yesterday, is playing a major role in the possible shutdown of the only arena in my district, that which is in Trepassey. This $10,000 subsidy, divided between the thirty-three communities of my district, is just about $300 per community for recreation. I believe it is a shame for this government to allow this to happen.

Other recreational activities are also being substantially downgraded or eliminated because of this funding cut. I call on this government to rethink this proposal, because a healthy, active mind means a healthy, active person, therefore, a healthy, active Newfoundland and Labrador.

The skyrocketing costs of education is a primary concern in my district, Mr. Speaker. The proposal to reduce from 50 per cent to 40 per cent, come September, the subsidy paid by the Province for high school textbooks will hit the pocketbooks of many poor unemployed Newfoundlanders. The effects these cuts will have on the students attending, and hoping to attend Memorial University will be drastic. I foresee the day, and it ain't too far away, when only the elite of this Province will have access to the better education. Tuitions are expected to jump by 50 per cent, come September, and this government preaches fairness and equality. Oh, please forgive me, but it is hard to stomach.

Then, the day is coming when the President of Memorial University will not have to answer to the Public Accounts Committee of this hon. House. Education accounts for 24.4 per cent of the total expenditures in this Budget, with $118 million for MUN, alone, and the President of Memorial University will not have to answer questions. Again, I find this hard to believe.

The provincial roads program will maintain the same level of $25.5 million this year. I am sure this is another major concern of the people in my district, especially those wonderful people of the community of Mall Bay, who have been waiting for a long time now to have their road upgraded and paved. This vital link should be looked at by the Department of Works, Services and Transportation as soon as possible. I will look forward to meeting with the minister responsible in the not-too-distant future to discuss this issue and others.

Mr. Speaker, having worked in a small business in rural Newfoundland for most of my life, I can attest to the effect that the payroll tax is having on our economy. This tax is counter-productive. Employers are not hiring because the basic limit is too low. Small business is one of the keys to putting this Province back on an even keel. I call on the government to either increase the basic amount or withdraw this hindrance to economic growth, altogether.

The health care situation in this Province is not only a concern of the people of my district, this entire Province has been dealt a heavy blow. In the 1989 election campaign, this government promised to open up hospital beds if they were needed. Was this a joke, Mr. Speaker? Because I can relate an incident to this hon. House that happened only a few days ago, that showed a clear need for more beds. First, I want to assure that what I am about to say reflects in no way on the services of the doctors, nurses and staff of this Province. I believe, considering the conditions that these professionals have to work under, they all should receive the Order of Canada when they retire. On Thursday, May 13, myself and my wife were blessed with the birth of our second son. When we arrived at the hospital, my wife, who was in labour, was instructed to sit in a rocking chair until a bed was made ready for her. Two-and-a-half hours later, Mr. Speaker, she was taken out of that chair and put on a hospital bed, which was in the delivery room. It was the only bed available at the Grace that day. Have any of the government officials or members been to their hospitals lately to see the conditions they work under?

When I look through the Budget and see the cuts in education, health care and recreation and, on the other hand, see almost $2 million allotted to the continued operation of the Economic Recovery Commission, I am appalled. Being involved with rural development over the past five years, I question what economic recovery this commission has produced. The only recovery I have witnessed is that of the audience trying to wake up after Dr. House delivers his speech on his grand plan for Newfoundland and Labrador. I encourage this government to wake up and put the taxpayers' money to better use, somewhere where you can see a more useful finished product than what the Economic Recovery Commission has so far produced.

The cuts in the municipal grants are seriously affecting many communities in my district, Mr. Speaker. Many of the basic services that my people have been used to, are, for the first time, in question. Councils, etc., are finding themselves in very tight situations. Just a few hours ago, I spoke to a member of a council located in the center of my district and he expressed concerns to me that basic services, such as garbage collection, street lighting, water supplies are in jeopardy right now. I ask, Mr. Speaker, do we all have to live in the cities to be able to avail of these basic services? I say not. The provincial government has a responsibility to the people of rural Newfoundland, as well as the urban areas, to provide them with these services, and I encourage the government to have more compassion and consideration for those of us who chose to make our homes in rural Newfoundland.

Any cuts proposed that would affect social services recipients, hit home to many people in my district. I ask government to think about those people, who, through no fault of their own, have found themselves having to turn to the Department of Social Services at this time. I trust that the new Minister of Social Services, whom I believe to be a compassionate person, will think about the people affected when he tries to deal with an ever-increasing work load with less and less money to operate.

Mr. Speaker, the great district of St. Mary's - The Capes is abundant with tourism potential and I was quite honoured when the Leader of the Opposition appointed me tourism critic in his shadow cabinet. I look forward to working with the Minister of Tourism and Culture in making sure that this industry in our district and Province is developed in an orderly and beneficial way that will not only benefit the people of St. Mary's - The Capes but the Province as a whole. I look forward to assisting in the development of the Caribou Interpretation Centre on Trepassey barrens, small cottage industries, secondary processing, a full-fledged golf course for our district, the Cape St. Mary's ecological reserve, and many other great tourism ideas, especially the development of our proud Irish heritage, into an economical and vital stimulus to our area but, at the same time, making sure we maintain our traditional way of life.

Mr. Speaker, I have left the most important issues for last, because I want to impress on the members of this hon. House that these two issues are the greatest concerns of mine, as I begin my tenure in this House, for the people of St. Mary's - The Capes. These two issues are brought together because I believe that the success of one will spell success for the other: they are the fishery and the unemployment situation. The fishery was, is and always will be the backbone of Newfoundland's economy; without it we, like the unicorn, will disappear. Today, as we sit here in this House, many of my constituents are lucky enough to be involved with the cod moratorium package, but it is not the end to all our problems, it is only a temporary solution to a long-term problem. What happened to our fishery? I am sure we all have our viewpoints on that question, but I believe there is enough blame to go around for everybody, therefore, I believe that everybody has the responsibility to our Province and to our people, to do our part to revitalize the fishery of Newfoundland and Labrador. I call on all levels of government, all leaders and ministers to cast away our political differences and stop trying to score brownie points at the expense of each other. I can remember my father telling me stories about walking on the beach in Cuslett, as a child, and kicking the piles of mackerel and herring ahead of him. I can remember as a boy, and I am not that old, Mr. Speaker, watching the caplin come ashore, home in St. Brides, and the horses and the carts would be from one end of the beach to the other gathering the caplin together. I can recall when it would take two strong fishermen to throw the big cod up on the wharf. Today you cannot kick the mackerel ahead of you anymore; the horses and the carts don't head for the beach because the caplin do not come ashore and there are no big ones left to throw up on the wharf, Mr. Speaker.

I beg our leaders and our governments, and I look forward to working with the Minister of Fisheries, who represented our district many years ago, to steer clear of their petty differences and to get to the issue at hand, and that the survival of the fishery of Newfoundland and Labrador be uppermost in their minds, because, only if our fishery survives, do we survive as a people. In closing, I would also like to ask the government to look and work with the federal government in making sure that we have another rural development agreement for our Province. Working as a co-ordinator over the past three years, and over five years involved in the rural development movement in our Province, I know, and speak from experience how important it is to the rural parts of our Province.

In closing, I would like to thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this great opportunity to express my concerns today, in this my maiden speech to the House of Assembly, as the member for the great district of St. Mary's - The Capes. I will once again, thank the people of that district for this great honour that they have bestowed on me and I look forward to working on their behalf with all members of this House of Assembly in the years ahead, and I reiterate my pledge, that I cannot move mountains, but there ain't a mountain I would not climb for the people of St. Mary's - The Capes.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and for that resounding applause. It makes you know you are back where you belong, back to the grind. I also, Mr. Speaker, want to congratulate you, Sir, in the Chair, on your re-appointment as Deputy Speaker of this House, and to His Honour, the Speaker, the hon. the Member for Humber West on his appointment to the office of Chair, one, which we all hold very dear in protecting us from the incessant, at times, Opposition and sometimes our own, and also to the Assistant Deputy Speaker, the Chairman of Committees, the hon. the Member for Bellevue.

On a political side I suppose, I want to congratulate all hon. members sitting here in this House on their re-election to the House, and to the Opposition, on a campaign which was very well run. It was a high road campaign on all parts and I think that is the kind of thing that will bode well for the political process and also bode well for the future of the way that politicians are held in public esteem. I also want to offer the heartiest congratulations to our Leader, the Premier of the Province, on the exemplary job that he did in running the election campaign and in leading us to victory on the 3rd of May. It is nice to see new faces here and on the other side of the House, and to get to know the hon. members well and the way that they speak, their style of speaking, the way they operate and deal with their constituency matters and matters that concern them greatly. It is really impressive to see members who have certain key things that they want to concentrate on and focus on.

I remember four years ago, coming in here as some would say, all full of the two elements that you cannot say in here, but ready to roll and being I suppose, a member who was somewhat eager to change the world, and to offer all the solutions and to feel that pragmatism could be put to one side and you are just going to go and do it, and of course, in the course of attempting to do that over the four years you take your knocks and you learn sometimes the hard way that the system we are dealing with in a government, and the overall system of public administration throughout the Province and in the country for that matter, is one which changes slowly. It is a giant, it is a thing that sometimes small changes really cause a lot of pain for people and if you keep people in mind you realize sometimes that although the end does ultimately justify the means, you want to do it for the benefit of the people of the Province, and I am sure that those in the opposition have no less solid intent on wanting change to be for the right reasons.

I want to comment on some of the issues that came up, of course, in my own district throughout the election. Going around knocking on doors you meet people of all different backgrounds, of all different, I suppose, abilities, and people who come from the different sectors of society - those who are very poor; those who are very able to pay their way and have had, I suppose, some luck and through some hard work have done well; and those in the middle, in what we would refer to somewhat as the middle class, which some would also, in that area, refer to it as the paying class of people - those who seem to pay the most for their share of what society offers. Through that you do get, I suppose, a re-education as to what the people of the Province have experienced over the course of a mandate of a government, and what they have concluded to a point of how it affects politics, and also what they have concluded in their general view of what society now offers them.

There is one point, I suppose, of hope that the future will bring better things. There is, as other hon. members have mentioned, a certain element of despair out there. I remember on a visit to my district the Premier and I sat in the back of the campaign bus after one engagement where we spoke.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I wonder if the hon. member could take his seat for a moment while I inform the House of the questions for the Late Show.

The first question is: "I was not satisfied with the answer provided by the Minister of Health to my question re the HIV contaminated blood." That is from the hon. Member for Placentia.

"I am not satisfied with the response to my question from the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs concerning the reduction in recreational grants in the 1993-'94 Budget and the effect this cut is having on recreation facilities in our Province." That is from the hon. Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

"I am not satisfied with the answer I received from the hon. Minister of Health re the funding for the renovations of the Golden Heights Manor in Bonavista." That is the hon. Member for Bonavista South.

The hon. the Member for LaPoile.

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am more than pleased to offer you the floor.

Just to get back on speaking about the bus trip, and I suppose one would call it - to a point we were discussing our previous stop in one of the communities in my district. We were almost, I suppose, left just to think and not say much about what we had experienced in dealing with some of the people. After we spoke and were going around shaking hands and talking to some of the people, the Premier, who was very, very apt to stop and listen to people, and if they have a concern he will do whatever he can to take the time to talk to these people. On speaking to some of them, to hear some of them and to see their eyes filled with tears at times at the situation that they have had, as no result of anything they have done, but in the fishery and problems related to the fishery, he said to me: It seems almost like some people along the coast of your area have resigned themselves to the despair. He said to me that it's really the kind of thing that we want to improve on. Again, finally we have, although an inadequate, but a compensation package that has been offered up through the Department of Employment and Immigration federally, and the Department of Fisheries.

The people out there were left out when the fish stocks on the south and west coast have been suffering as they were suffering everywhere else along the northeast coast and for a longer period of time. When fishery problems crept up I suppose as late as last year along here a compensation package was brought out and the fishery was shut down.

Out on our coast there are a lot of problems that had not been addressed. I've brought them up in this House of Assembly many times; through correspondence to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans many times; through correspondence to other federal ministers; through press releases in the media. Trying to bring attention to it. Finally I guess it has been addressed somewhat, but not to the satisfaction of trying to satisfy the needs that are there of all of the people who have been displaced by problems in the fishery.

So for us at that time it really came home, to see people who were hurting, who were suffering, who had given their lives to the fishery, and now the fishery was not able to provide to them a livelihood. It was certainly a touching moment for some of these people to be able to meet with the Premier and discuss the matters with him and myself. I certainly feel that's the kind of thing that has an impact and makes me as an elected member, and I'm sure the Premier of the Province, want to perform that much better for the people of the Province. To try to do everything that we can to make this a better place for all of our residents to live.

If we look at the comments of some of the members opposite - and of course an opposition's role is one to object to things that are not in what they would deem to be the public interest. Also, to offer an alternative should they think that the way the government has proposed to deal with the fiscal situation, to deal with policy objectives, is not the way that they feel it should be done. To offer the alternatives.

Again, as we go along, and you note certain things that are brought up often by oppositions, the specifics would be along the lines of: not enough money for recreational funding, the cutbacks in the transfers to municipalities, the problems associated with individuals having difficulty getting the health care services they require at any given point in time, and having to wait longer. The various things that are brought up here daily.

I suppose when you're in government you look at them a little bit differently, when you sit on the government side of the House. It's not that you feel any different for people who are having problems. But when you are over here and you know that your mandate is one to deal with the financial situation the government is in, the people of the Province, services that they require and they need and the services that they as citizens of Canada here in Newfoundland demand, you wonder as to: okay, we want to provide these services on into the future.

To look at it that way, as opposed to looking at the immediacy of wanting this now - the desire to have something provided immediately, the desire to have the cutbacks made to balance the books, but to not experience any pain. You see it more and more now. I note in the United States they're going through the shock of the experience, I guess, of having to suffer through increased taxes and decreased services more so than ever before as a result of the way that they're trying to deal with their $4 trillion debt. Which if you look at it to a point as a percentage of their overall gross domestic product is quite a bit less then what the Canadian governments are dealing with. We're at a 44 per cent level, our debt as a percentage of our GDP; in the United States they're only at 7 per cent. Again, relative taxation figures. They don't have the taxation either to offset the debt as a percentage of the GDP.

So if you look at it that way you tend to see that Canada does have a much more difficult situation to face as far as debt problems go. We here in this Province do have a larger problem to deal with than any other province, if you take into account our debt and the servicing of this debt. How do we prevent our future from being decided by the credit managers at Moody's and Standard and Poor's?

So when you are in government, to get back to the way I was discussing this, you see it a little differently, and not entirely from a political perspective but mainly from the perspective of upholding the integrity of the Province's finances and then saying: Okay, some tough decisions have to be made. It is not going to be without pain, but the pain we will try to mitigate as much as possible and make sure that we are keeping in mind the interests of the people of the Province in seeing to it that decisions are made, with a sense of fairness overall, in how you go about that. That is a little bit of difference, and I know that opposition members will also offer the alternatives.

I think that if we look at the $70 million as a question, and how that would be dealt with, I would like to hear the way the opposition plans to deal with that, because I was waiting with bated breath through the campaign. I say that seriously and not with any sense of being flippant or anything, but I wanted to see how they would do it, to see if there was an alternative that looked better to me - not that I was going to jump ship or anything at that point in time, but just to see if maybe something could be integrated into the approach that we are working with now, and just how we would go about it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Next Thursday.

MR. RAMSAY: Well maybe it will be in four instalments or whatever.

Anyway, I suppose we have to be willing to accept some of the pain, and if we do not offer the alternatives then it is very difficult, I suppose, to assess the difference between what we are offering and what they purport to be offering.

We also, I think, can gain as politicians with our electorate if we, on a whole, try to depoliticize - and of course the new hon. Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is certainly a case in point of having difficulty in depoliticizing the whole political process in our Province. It is one which does not bode well for the hon. member.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: Hold on now. Now the other hon. - the very political Member for Fogo - if I speak of depoliticization, maybe that has to do more with the idea of improving the decorum and the co-operation here in the House of Assembly and getting away from this overall attitude of -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: Anyway, Mr. Speaker, some of the members - like I say, occasionally you need protection from your own and not only those opposite.

AN HON. MEMBER: How do you spell that?

MR. RAMSAY: Depoliticization? Well you can try it.

Anyway the other thing, and this, of course, would go to the hearts of the new Cabinet members, but I think that we have to desecretize if we want to get into more expounding on words.

The way that the Budget process was done this time was a very open process that was offered up to the people of the Province. It was offered up to the public service unions as a process; here is our Budget situation and it was the most open Budget process in history, as we understand it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: What was that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: I beg your indulgence, Mr. Speaker.

Anyway, to get back to the Budget -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. RAMSAY: I guess silence is allowed on occasion, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I think I will just take a seat and let the member opposite have a few words.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I thank you, Mr. Speaker, but this is a first, when you get in your place to provide - I was not going to say comic relief because obviously there has been enough of that, but just to let the member get himself - I will, by the way, yield when the member wants to continue. I will just fill in with the understanding, of course, if members would agree, that it will not be my time on Budget.

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

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What I was getting into there, and I talk about an open Budget process. If you get into the openness of the Budget process one only has to look at what is happening in large corporations throughout the world now. They have opened the process of their deliberations, the process of their decision making, so that it is fairly transparent. It is the kind of process that will, I would say, improve the confidence level of those involved. It is the kind of process where you gain the confidence of those who are involved in the making of these decisions when they have knowledge of the reasons why you are making the decisions, and this government like any government, I suppose, to a point, has at times made decisions and people have wondered why the decision was made as it was.

So, if we do not know the reasons why it is like the selling of any product or the selling of any decision to a board of directors or to the people of the Province who ultimately are our board of directors, I guess you would say. If you are able to offer the reasons and the rationale for doing things a certain way then that process is held up in a much higher esteem as opposed to the secrecy which does have a reason. Originally, I believe, it was brought about because those who were in Cabinet were in consultation with the Queen and therefore the secrecy came about because of that reason and as you see with the Budget deliberations this year everything is becoming more open.

If you look at the federal Cabinet, the reporters seem to know what is going on inside the federal cabinet room before the decisions are even taken later that day. They talk about what is going to be discussed in the federal Cabinet and this sort of thing. It is not that we need to pry into everything because there are matters that need to be dealt with in secret and also there are matters which, if members of the Cabinet are to allow their own feelings on it to be known, then there is a division that can occur, so therefore they speak with one voice. The rationale and the reasons for coming to certain decisions and the reasons why, I suppose, to offer to the people of the Province it is a very important thing to be able to explain this and to tell them this is why we have to do this. These are the figures on our Budget, these are the reasons why we make this controversial decision and based on that you gain the support of the people of the Province and the understanding.

Now, if you look back at the record of our government over the last four years we have always tried, even with the bad news, to offer to the people the explanation: look, we are doing this because - and it is good to offer that, Mr. Speaker, to the people of the Province. I think that the honesty and being forthright with the information, telling it like it is so to speak, to the people of the Province went a long way during this election campaign because I heard at so many doors, and I am sure that all members did: well, the government is telling it like it is, and I think even in districts where Opposition members sit, that kind of feeling was there. In some cases that - we know there is not a lot of money, I am sure a lot of them heard that. We all like to have things for our district but there does not seem to be a lot of money there. These sentiments were coming across very clearly to me during the election campaign and certainly it is the kind of thing that we have to try to improve for all of our districts for the betterment of the people that live there.

I wanted to point out, Mr. Speaker, that there is a magazine article in today's Globe and Mail, one of the magazines report on business, which I want to refer to and it was written by a Newfoundlander, one of our local authors, although I guess he is of Irish decent, Patrick O'Flaherty. Some of the comments that he has made in there are speaking of Newfoundland and its population and how that should happen in consideration of what Parzival Copes, I suppose his name was -


MR. RAMSAY: Copes? Okay, he brought about a study in 1961 and he brought in the -

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: I was not born then, to the hon. member, I was minus one, if you look at it that way.

Anyway when Copes originally reported on the Newfoundland economy there were certain things he said that we were overpopulated for our resources. If you bring that up to today and look at it in comparison to what - not only the resource situation but also with reference to the situation when you take a look at what we have to offer and the way that the resources increased and improved and our ability to use our resources, the premise on which the dissertation was based back then, could certainly have been in error but of course, I suppose hindsight is 20/20 for anyone if you look back on that kind of thing.

I would just like to quote from O'Flaherty's remarks and of course people could react as they wish, he said why did Copes generate such anger at that time and it was very much - he did generate a lot of anger in the populace. To argue that any region would do better if partially depopulated is bound to create resentment as does blunt talk about the seasonally idle outport workers who fish for UI stamps and should not be subsidised. This was what Copes had to say at that time and again if you look at what O'Flaherty had to say about it, he certainly was one who looked at what the future would hold, that Newfoundland would continue to have problems and really have we gotten that much further ahead? He thought that the Newfoundland population would be up around 700,000 by now and it is still around 565,000 or so but he spoke of the work ethic of Newfoundlanders.

Now I know from my own family situation, I have family members who travel to the Great Lakes every year, who go up there to earn a living for their family. If you look at that, when you talk about Newfoundlanders as not being productive, which is the premise on which Copes and Patrick O'Flaherty based their essay, than are you really looking at the reality of the situation when people will remove themselves from their family, to travel to mainland Canada, to work and earn a living for their family on into the future. So, the premise of us not being productive is one that is entirely wrong. We are of course offering up our services and we are - you could also expound on it, that we are part of a system that is one which rewards small periods of time working. It is a system to a point that has our people dependent on it and that is the kind of thing that we have to try to get away from. Whether we will be able to, through community education programs, as was mentioned by the hon. Member for Port au Port, speaking very highly of a community education initiative. That could very well be the way that we change the people of the Province, to improve upon the past and build on our future. To offer to the people of the Province some hope in saying: we need to get the people of the Province thinking of entrepreneurship, interested in working on their own ideas and activities. Being more industrious with it. Improving their literacy training through some of the programs that are available not only through the Northern Cod Adjustment Program, but now hopefully, on our coast, through the other programs.

Mr. Speaker, if we can do that we can improve it for the future of all the people of the Province and become a much more productive place. As I said earlier, the other thing that we as members here can do is to is to... maybe the word is not de-politicize, as I mentioned earlier, but to cooperate as much with each other if we have matters of mutual concern, to see to it that we can do things for the betterment of all of the people in our districts and the districts of those members in Opposition. Hopefully that will see us held in higher esteem as politicians, and also will serve well to protect the interests of the people of the Province.

With those comments, I'll sit down and allow a member of the Opposition to speak for the remaining time before the Late Show. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Finance has done a tremendous job of conning the people of this Province on a budget with $70 million in compensation measures, and we're two months into the fiscal year. There's no indication where these compensation measures are going to come from. He doesn't indicate what departments.

AN HON. MEMBER: We're not dictators.

MR. SULLIVAN: We're debating estimates. They will dictate I guess with their new mini-budget in November and December. They'll be dictators of the highest degree when ultimatums go out to school boards and the health facilities across the Province, saying: $10 million has to be chopped here and $6 million chopped there.

Basically, can you imagine being told you have $3.5 billion to spend and on operation budgets, $71 million or $70 million have to be taken out of that, and you don't know where it's going to come two months into a fiscal year? I asked the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture yesterday, and he said: we know what our department's budget is. He said it in Hansard.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I would ask him - I had that yesterday. The compensation measures are not factored into that budget. I'm wondering if you have the budget minus compensation measures. He didn't. In fact, I asked the minister yesterday if the person who was hired internally to move up to my area from Labrador and was told the person would go to work on May 19, who's now living in the area, and had to set up residence there, and hasn't gone to work there, and he came back with an answer today questioning the person who was hired. I asked: will you hire the person that you moved in? I wasn't questioning the person got hired.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Read Hansard. No, I said that person - the person, eighteen years experience I said, has always been hired earlier, and he hasn't even been hired also. It's all in Hansard. Just read it, hon. minister.

One of the biggest problems I think we're having here, and the hon. the Minister of Finance indicated, that one of the problems with the credit rating service, with the downgrading, is that they have concerns, not over this Province's ability to be fiscally responsible, but because of the decline in transfer payments over the past number of years, and the fears that the federal government portion of that is such a significant part of our budget. I'd like to inform the minister, I think there is another real reason behind the bond rating agency downgrading our status.

I think they have a lack of confidence in this government's ability to be able to manage.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: You can only fool the people for so long, and that has happened I guess since the beginning of time. One of the reasons why - and we will see it again, probably in November or December - we will see another mini-budget or a financial statement. We'll see the rating agencies do not have faith in the government's ability to budget. They have to come back each year with a mini-budget looking for $10 million, $15 million, $20 million, and $50 million and $60 million. They call the Budget a 'Budget of truth and hope'. A Budget of deceit and despair would be more appropriate for the Budget.

We have been operating on about two budgets per year for the past couple of years, when one of the reasons why this Province is low on the credit rating is because our debt ratio is 75 per cent of our GDP, and the responsibility to increase the GDP in this Province is the responsibility of this government to entice and increase the opportunities to do business and improve the business and investment climate in this Province. That is one of the reasons why the bond rating agencies have downgraded us. We are getting to the highest percentage, our debt, of the GDP, of any province in Canada. That is why they are concerned here in this Province. The former Minister of Finance failed to realize that. The current Minister of Finance failed to realize that, and they have done nothing to stimulate the economy and get the economy moving again.

Now the minister indicated that he thinks his projections are going to be very conservative. In fact, growth is going to exceed what he projected earlier, in spite of Ontario and Quebec's effect - almost 0.9 per cent effect on the economy of Canada - the Ontario and Quebec Budgets are going to have.

At the same basic time, the estimates the Budget put forth show, in many, many cases, across various departments, the actual expenditures for last year, and it shows the Budget for last year. In a lot of cases the expenditures exceeded the budgeted figures in certain areas, and they have come back again with a Budget this year, putting figures again to the budget levels of 1992-'93, when in reality there are about fifteen to twenty areas there that they have figures there that do not dictate really the real need that is out there.

Our hon. leader today, in one of his questions in Question Period, pointed out just one of these many areas there that are not true figures, and we are going to come back again this fall with another Ministerial Statement to correct the, I guess, deceit that was there in the Budget when it was presented, with no realistic hope at all of being able to meet these expectations. It is not realistic budgeting. We have seen it for the past couple of years and we are going to continue to see it unless some positive action is taken.

They have turned around in this Budget and hit very crucial areas that affect, really, the life in many areas in urban and particularly in rural Newfoundland.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I point out to the hon. member that the time is now 4:30 p.m. It is fortuitous that the hon. Member for Ferryland is speaking, as I understand that his is the first question on the Late Show. So you may proceed to that question please.

Debate on the Adjournment

[Late Show]

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I now get back to the Minister of Health. I asked the Minister of Health a question yesterday. I asked him: Is the minister satisfied that all persons who have received blood transfusions before mandatory testing for contamination have been contacted and tested for the HIV virus?

Now the minister said he would like to assure us that the government is doing all it possibly can. I just asked him: Was he satisfied that things had been done? He has not answered the question reasonably at all. I just wanted a reasonable answer. I know certain things under review by courts are not at liberty, and I appreciate that, but a reasonable answer for a change would not be too much to expect.

I went on to the next question and asked: Will the Province require that all hospitals contact patients who received blood before the mandatory testing of donated blood since it began in 1985, as the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto has done?

The minister said: I will have to take it under review. He said: I think the answer is yes - they will, in other words, require the hospitals to contact them. He said: I think the answer is yes, but I will take it under review. Then he went on public television that evening and the public airwaves - that same evening and next morning - and said: We will not require. If he had to say: I think the answer is no... He went on and said: We will not require them. There are avenues open for people who want to be tested. They can come up voluntarily and get tested, and I appreciate that - I do not have a problem with that - but the minister could not give the proper answer in the House. He had to go scamper off, get an answer and get on public television just a couple of hours later and give an entirely different answer than he gives here in this House. Either the minister doesn't know or he is misleading the House on that question, one of two things. So, I would appreciate just a straightforward, simple answer to a very straightforward and simple question. And I ask the minister: Is this government willing to negotiate a compensation package for persons who have been infected, in this Province? The Nova Scotia Government have done that. The minister acknowledged the Federal Government have been doing it for the past four years, and he said, the matter is under review by the courts, he is not going to say anything more about it. At least, he could give us the general intent of what the government is planning on doing - just three simple, straightforward questions that did not get one, simple, straightforward answer. I wasn't pleased with the response to it and I would appreciate a little directness and honesty, up front, in response to some of the questions.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On the matter of whether we would be requiring hospitals to trace people who had blood transfusions, I must apologize to the hon. member. I don't know if it is my hearing or your accent, but I really couldn't quite understand what you were saying there and I should have asked you to repeat it, but when I read it in Hansard the next day, I realized what had been asked. And, in the meantime, when the media came after me, I answered the question because I could understand what they were saying, I overheard them or something. So, I am sorry about that, but basically, the problem with tracing it back, as I understand it, is that in 1985, we began testing all donations of blood for HIV and rejecting any blood that was contaminated.

Now, of the blood that is used in Newfoundland, almost all of it comes from Newfoundland - local donors; it is not like it is coming from San Francisco, it is coming from local donors, and the proportion of the blood that is rejected for HIV-Aids is extremely small, that is the first thing to keep in mind, so that if you go back before 1985, back to 1984, 1983, 1982, 1980, and so on, back to these years, the chances of catching Aids from that blood is extremely limited, just as it is extremely limited now. The other question is, you have to go back to the time - it is hard to know how far you have to go back.

HIV became fairly common in the late 1970s and we became aware of it then. It might have been around in the mid-1970s, but in any event, you have a number of years there, that if you wanted to trace people back, you would have to go back for quite a long period of time, maybe eight or ten years or more, and I don't quite know how many - I have asked our people to tell me how many transfusions - how many people get blood in the run of a year, and there are quite a few hundred. Now, then, how do you trace these people back? Do you trace those who have left the Province? What about the people who are here from other provinces, who have had blood transfusions? And the question is, that the risk is so slight. But I think we have to be very careful, because Aids is a very serious disease and we have to be extremely careful with it. The way it is in the Province now, people should probably be tested for Aids if they think they are at risk, whether from its being sexually transmitted or through blood or whether it might be through the use of contaminated needles, if they are drug users. It is a very simple procedure, you just have to go and see your doctor and it can be done without revealing a person's name, so it is just a matter of going in and getting the thing done. As far as the government is concerned, it is not an expensive procedure to have the test carried out, it is very, very cheap. There is no cost to the person, and it is generally available, so I would recommend that anyone who is concerned should have it done. In the meantime, the recommendation I have had from the expert committee that we established - seven medical doctors who are related to this, our infectious diseases committee - is that it is not an appropriate procedure, and it is not necessary for us to do at this time, so we are not going to do it.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I asked a question of the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs concerning the cutbacks in recreational grants funding, and understanding the minister is new in his portfolio, as I am new as a Member of the House, I realize that he could not come up with the answers right off the top of his head. But I just want to reiterate today how important this problem is to my district and, indeed, I would like to touch on some of the items today. As he was answering my question, the minister stated that they were concerned about the cost and the fiscal restraints that the government now face. I understand this completely, but I would like to add that it is a $10,000 subsidy that would guarantee that this arena in Trepassey, for example, would remain open. I am very concerned, as I am sure, the minister is concerned, about the social problems that could come around if our stadium doesn't open this year.

It is very important that we realize there are thirty-three communities in my district and, with a $10,000 grant, there would be an average of $300 per community for recreation purposes in the district. It would cost $90,000 a year, Mr. Speaker, to keep somebody in a correctional institution in our Province, and I believe that a $10,000 subsidy would be well used versus what it would cost to house those people who may fall by the wayside due to no recreational activities in their area.

The elimination of the electrical power subsidy for recreation facilities will be felt, as the minister alluded to, in his district, as well, and, I am sure, in many districts across this Province. I just ask the minister to remember that there are special circumstances in the community of Trepassey and that I realize and hope that some of these communities can raise this money they are losing through taxation systems in their communities or by whatever other means. Trepassey is a special case. The taxation base in Trepassey, as we all know, has dropped substantially and I ask the minister, when he is seeking the answers to my questions, that he remember the special case of Trepassey. I look forward to a positive answer from him in the next few days.

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

MR. REID: Maybe, Mr. Speaker, I can give my hon. colleague an answer right now. Last year, there were $595,000 worth of requests - and that is an approximate figure, by the way, because there are a couple of communities in the Province that, in addition to an electrical subsidy, also get other subsidies, for various reasons. St. Anthony, for example, is one. An approximate amount requested was $595,000. The hon. member said it is important to his district that $10,000 be found somewhere to keep open the Trepassey stadium. Well, I can sympathize with the hon. member, and I am sure he sympathizes with a number of us sitting all around this House because we are all going to be basically in the same situation, or a lot of us are. I have a swimming pool in my district in Carbonear, for example, that gets an electrical subsidy of, I think, $5,000 a year. My hon. colleague from Harbour Grace has a stadium in his district - that is $10,000 there, and I feel I am going to have to answer the same questions to my constituents in Carbonear and Harbour Grace as you are going to have to answer your questions in Trepassey.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member said he had thirty-three communities using that particular facility, and that amounts to $330 per year, per community, but I don't look at it that way. I would think that in Carbonear, for example, at the swimming pool, the swimming pool would be more or less given the orders by the council in Carbonear to pick up that excess amount of money. Either by increasing their fees or by some way of raising that extra few dollars, that extra $5,000. I don't know if that can happen down in Trepassey or not, or in the area. I'm suggesting that that's another way of doing it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. REID: The hon. member says there's no economy. I agree with him and I can sympathize. There's not much of an economy left on the east coast of Newfoundland in general.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Trepassey (inaudible).

MR. REID: Trepassey is an important case. In the 1993-1994 Budget we lost approximately $1.3 million in recreation. That's what came out of our recreation budget, $1.3 million. I'm here trying to defend something that I was no part of, but as a minister of the Cabinet right now I'm responsible for defending that. I can't give you a breakdown of what the $1.3 million actually was. I can say that we lost $1.3 million on an average, of approximately $1.3 million, and $595,000, $600,000, of that was the power subsidy.

It all comes down to one thing. In the budgetary process when the hon. Minister of Finance and the Cabinet, before I was in Cabinet, decided where they were going to make the necessary cuts, as we understand, and you admitted that you understand as well, I guess - I'm guessing - they looked at the education and health budgets and they looked at all the budget. They figured that $1.3 million in recreation would probably have less effect on people's lives in this Province than if they took $1.3 million out of health or education.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. REID: No, I'm saying that. I don't know if that's true or not. I would imagine in the budgetary process that those are the types of thing that they look at. So, Mr. Speaker, I sympathize with the member. I do recognize that Trepassey is a unique case. I'm sure there are other towns in this Province that would consider themselves a unique case as well. I'm open of course to the member to make representation on their behalf to me. I don't know what can be done about changing, at this particular point in time, our decision as it relates to the power subsidy, I don't know.

Hopefully by next Thursday I may be able to make some announcements on capital spending for recreation. I don't really know if there's anything in there that will help Trepassey possibly offset in some way the cost of the power subsidy. Until that goes through Cabinet I can't announce anything about that.

I do sympathize with the member, but it comes down to government budgetary fiscal policy and restraints in the times that we're living in. Hopefully I'll be in this portfolio long enough to see things get better and that power subsidy, along with a number of other sports and recreation subsidies and grants, will be reintroduced into Cabinet, and hopefully in the next few years we can get back to at least where we were some years ago.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Earlier in the afternoon I asked a question to the hon. the Minister of Health and the minister was very evasive in his answer. I suppose myself, being a novice at the political game, was slow to respond and before I knew it somebody else had my place.

Anyway, I can assure the minister that the answer he gave me was not the answer that I was looking for, and it was not the answer that the people in Bonavista South were looking for.

As I stated earlier, Mr. Speaker, $1.1 million was earmarked for this project in the 1992-'93 Budget and up until now no work has been done. Some of the work that has been identified to do - I think it is the renovation of approximately fifteen rooms in a block of the Golden Heights Manor - some of the work to be done is the enlarging of doorways, enlarging rooms and other areas in the facility to accommodate level II and level III care.

Since this funding was announced in the election on at least two occasions, I thought it was only fair that I should come back and ask the hon. minister once again: Will this project be funded in the 1993 capital Budget?

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

DR. KITCHEN: I am not sure if the hon. member wants me to proceed with it or cancel it! Do you want me to proceed with it?

MR. FITZGERALD: Absolutely.

DR. KITCHEN: Okay. I was not sure. I thought you were asking me to cancel it, because there are all kinds of members lined up here looking for hospitals and looking for... Look, they are all around. So if you do not want it, any one of a dozen people would love to have it - but let me say this: while I am here in this portfolio, while that Premier is there, and while this Cabinet is in place, every district will be looked after according to their needs, and will be treated appropriately and carefully.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: I can assure the hon. member that the $1.25 million that was put aside in this Budget for the renovation of Golden Heights Manor will take place as scheduled - no problem whatsoever.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: Let me tell you this. This was done very carefully because we are overbuilt in this Province as far as hospital beds are concerned. We have hospitals that are too large.

AN HON. MEMBER: Overbuilt?

DR. KITCHEN: Overbuilt. We are overbuilt. You guys built a hospital in Grand Falls far larger than is necessary. You built one out in Port aux Basques - a fifty bed hospital - and there are only twenty acute care beds in use. We had to find some use for them so we put them in long-term care. We cannot overbuild these expensive buildings and the same is true for nursing homes. Do you know what it costs for a nursing home? We are going to open up beds in St. Lawrence, it is going to cost $85,000 a bed, $65,000 when it is fully opened.

Now, that is a tremendous amount of money that we spend. We cannot waste it but we must build as needed. I am told that we have enough nursing home beds in this Province. We have enough nursing home beds in this Province when these few are done and the problem is that they are not all located where they should be located, now that is the problem. So, we had to determine as far as Bonavista was concerned whether there was a genuine need and there was some doubt as to whether there was a need. So, what we did, we took the 1991 census and looked at the number of people who are over sixty-five and calculated the percentage by national standards who would need, probably need, nursing care.

Then we went to Bonavista, we sent our consultants down to Bonavista and said, now do not just go by that because people may not want to go to Golden Heights Manor, they may want to go somewhere else. So, we went down and we checked the waiting lists. We checked every person on the waiting list to see if they really needed level 111 care or whether they were just looking for level 1 care and there was a genuine need. I satisfied myself after looking very carefully, not only at Bonavista but a whole series of other proposals that were looked at, that Bonavista was the priority place and that is why we are going to go ahead in Bonavista.

Now, the reason it is not started yet is because they are working on what is called a functional plan. You just cannot go in and drive nails and tear up stuff. What we are doing, we are converting an old forty-seven bed place into a place that can accommodate long-term highly sick people over chronic - there are going to be thirty beds there. So, they are going to alter the doors and they are going to change the Chapel a little bit and they are going to do this. It should be a really good place in Bonavista that both the member, myself and everybody else can be proud of. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the House do now adjourn until tomorrow -

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, before we pass it, members may want to know what we are proposing to do tomorrow. I realize that a different and even more confusing adjournment procedure is in place on Thursday's and most days of the week but tomorrow we plan to carry on with the Budget. We are making such splendid progress with the Budget Debate that we shall have a number of speeches and then we will adjourn until Monday. We have to work this Monday, I say to hon. members, because it is not a holiday.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: No, Mr. Speaker, this is not the administration of which my hon. friend was a part. We do believe in working - and it showed, Mr. Speaker, it showed, anyway thank you, Sir.

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