June 2, 1993                HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                  Vol. XLII  No. 9

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

On behalf of all hon. members I would like to welcome to the speakers gallery the following visitors from the Republic of Vietnam: Dr. Huynh Cong Hoa, the Vice Minister of Fisheries, who is also Chairman of the Vietnam Fisheries Association, and President of Fishery Products Exporters Association.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Mr. Nguyen Van Hung, Assistant to the Vice Minister of Fisheries of Vietnam and Mr. Nguyen Van Quang, representing the International Investment and Trade Corporation with offices in Montreal and Vietnam.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MS. COWAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I am rising today to make a statement about Environment Week which actually begins next week. As I will be out of the House on government related business I am announcing it somewhat earlier than I would under normal circumstances.

I am indeed, Mr. Speaker, pleased to announce that next week, June 5 - 12, 1993 has been set aside as Canadian Environment Week.

Community involvement, individual action and awareness of environmental issues are important factors in keeping our environment healthy. The theme for Environment Week, 1993 is "This Week. Every Week". This theme reminds us that it is important to be environmentally aware and to adopt environmentally conscious practices at all times throughout the year. It reminds us that there is a need for a balance in the relationship between ourselves and the environment and that everything we do has an impact - positive or negative - on the well being of the environment.

Each year, Environment Week is celebrated nationally during the first full week of June. It "celebrates" our precious resource - the environment. The water we drink, the air we breathe, the land and natural resources we use, are all critical for our existence. But as we rely on the environment for our survival, so the environment relies on us for its survival.

Mr. Speaker, we all must take an active role in the preservation and protection of our environment. In this regard my department has teamed up with Environment Canada and the City of St. John's to organize mall displays during the week. As well, my department and the Department of Forestry and Agriculture are cooperating to deliver elementary school presentations at their Mount Pearl Tree Nursery. A beach clean up has been scheduled in the St. John's area for Wednesday, June 9. As well, staff of my Grand Falls - Windsor office will be voluntarily cleaning up a one kilometre stretch of the Trans Canada Highway this coming Saturday, June 5. Activities such as these set an example for both residents and tourists. It tells them that we are proud of our Province and we accept a responsibility for its cleanliness.

One Tuesday, June 8 my department, in association with the Newfoundland and Labrador Women's Institutes will host the Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Awards ceremony. The names of the award winners will be announced at the ceremony. The Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Awards Program recognizes those who have contributed in a meaningful way to the preservation, protection and restoration of our environment. Established in 1990, the program is sponsored by my department and by the Newfoundland and Labrador Women's Institutes. There are six categories of awards: Individual, Citizen's Group or Organization, Education, Youth, Business and Municipal. The awards selections committee is comprised of staff of my department, Environment Canada, the Newfoundland and Labrador Women's Institutes and other professionals who have a background in the environment. Recently the committee met, and I am pleased to say that we have winners in each of the six categories, and that an Honourable Mention will be awarded this year. Mr. Speaker, the aim of the program is to educate, inform and encourage all citizens to play an active role in the present and future environmental health of our Province. Considering the number of nominations received each year, the program has been very effective in reaching its mandate. As Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, we each need to take action in cleaning up our environment - not just this week, but every week. In doing so, we show visitors to our Province that we are proud of the natural beauty with which we have been blessed.

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to proclaim the week of June 5th - 12th, 1993 as Canadian Environment Week and I encourage all the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador to get involved in their local Environment Week activities.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

On behalf of the opposition, I am pleased to support the minister in her proclamation of June 5th - 12th as Canada Environment Week. I agree, we must all take an active role in the preservation and protection of our environment. In her statement the minister mentioned that there is going to be a beach clean up in the St. John's area and a one kilometre stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway to be cleaned up, and just on a point of information just this past weekend, St. Francis of Assisi school in Outer Cove had a clean up on the streets and roads in Logy Bay, New Cove, Outer Cove and they picked up approximately two truck loads of tin cans, pop bottles and that type of thing, so I am very pleased that that was quite timely with respect to the minister's proclamation.

I am also pleased to see that the people in groups and organizations are getting recognition for that type of endeavour and I am pleased to see that the minister is encouraging this type of thing and is actually helping to educate the students and children within our Province to keep our environment clean and on that note, Mr. Speaker, I will say, thank you.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I would also like to acknowledge along with the minister the National Environmental Awareness Week -

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. member have leave to address the House?


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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Environment Week, of course, is a very important opportunity for all Canadians to recognize the need for environmental awareness and concern. I commend the minister for bringing it to the attention of the House. The concern I have is that the government must also recognize that its actions in the area of the environment, and the minister in particular, is not merely a public relations exercise, that there must be action.

We have seen in this particular government a refusal to provide legislation to prevent the importation of garbage into this Province, a matter of great concern to environmentalists here. We have seen no real action on the issue of beverage containers by this government, which had been called for for many years. We do see continuing inaction even on issues such as getting a recycling project going in this House of Assembly, in this building, Confederation Building.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. HARRIS: So, while I acknowledge Environment Week, I ask the minister to be more pro-active.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I announced in my fall Ministerial Financial Statement that, consistent with the objectives of government's Strategic Economic Plan, we will be reviewing the operations of a number of Crown corporations to determine if they currently serve a significant public policy objective and should therefore continue to be government-owned or, on the other hand, if government should consider turning some of them over to the private sector.

One of the Crown corporations that we have been reviewing is Newfoundland and Labrador Computer Services Limited. Today, I want to inform the House that after considerable discussion within government, with the management of NLCS, and with the knowledge of the staff of the company, it is government's intent to make the assets of NLCS available for possible purchase by the private sector. In newspaper advertisements scheduled to begin appearing tomorrow, NLCS, on behalf of government, will be calling for expressions of interest from private organizations or firms to purchase the assets and operations of the company.

Mr. Speaker, last week, I met with the staff of NLCS to make them aware of what is happening. In that meeting and in my comments to the media I said that I did not know for certain if the company will be sold. This is the case today. In making this announcement to the House, I am confirming that government will offer the assets and services of NLCS for sale to an appropriate buyer who can meet government's objectives. This announcement indicates that government is willing to sell NLCS as a going concern but will do so only if its strategic policy and operating objectives can be met. The purpose of the call for expression of interest is to determine if there are organizations which have the interest and ability to acquire the company, and more importantly, are willing to make the kinds of commitments to the future of NLCS which will ensure that information technology rapidly expands as a significant industry in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, NLCS is the single most significant organization in the information technology industry in our Province today. The company was originally incorporated in 1969 to service the needs of the Provincial Government, Newfoundland Hydro, Memorial University and the Medicare Commission, and other provincial Crown corporations and agencies.

The service has been extended to include all publicly-funded organizations in the Province, including some agencies of the Federal Government; however, it has offered services to the private sector only in areas not served by private sector suppliers in the Province.

The assets which will be made available for sale primarily consist of the full complement of IT services currently offered to NLCS clients - the operation of a mainframe computer system, certain capital assets, and the skills and expertise of nearly 200 IT specialists who work with that company.

It is assumed, Mr. Speaker, that potential buyers will also recognize as an asset the potential to continue providing significant information technology services to the government - some of which are limited in terms of local supply.

It is also government's assumption, Mr. Speaker, that upon review of all the information which will be made available to those seriously interested in submitting an expression of interest, that they will also recognize the opportunity to develop private sector national and international markets as well as certain niche markets in the marine and ocean resources sector.

I must emphasize, Mr. Speaker, that government has a number of very specific objectives which would have to be met when considering the sale of NLCS. First of all, we would have to be sure the company would continue to provide government with the information technology, staff and services needed to properly service the public. These are critical services and NLCS is an invaluable source of IT expertise for the government. Secondly, we would have to be ensured that the bidder would add value to the IT industry in Newfoundland and Labrador by introducing or developing leading edge technologies, finding new markets, and developing existing opportunities.

In short, Mr. Speaker, we will want to know that the potential buyer plans to preserve a local company in it services and plans to expand it so that it has a positive impact on the growth of what is still an underdeveloped information technology industry in our Province.

Mr. Speaker, the Strategic Economic Plan identified information technology as one industry requiring continuing and aggressive development. It is government's intent, by this initiative, to evaluate whether the private sector can add value to the NLCS asset for the betterment of the entire information technology industry in the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I want, first of all, to thank the minister for giving me the opportunity, ten or fifteen minutes prior to his reading of the statement, to have a look at it.

Mr. Speaker, there is not much new in this particular statement. It is something that has been out on the street for the last couple of weeks, that government is interested in selling off this particular asset that the people of this Province own. The sale of this asset is supposedly to garner in some dollars that government finds itself short of because of there mismanagement over the last four years of the provincial economy. Now, they are going to sell off some of the assets of the people of this Province to cover up some of the huge mistakes these people have made while they have been in office for the last four years. I would caution the minister that while on the surface it may look good in the sense of selling this particular asset off to the private sector so that it can expand in the private sector and thus create more opportunities for this Province to compete in the private sector, especially the Atlantic Provinces, through the procurement deal we have arranged with the Atlantic Provinces, but I would caution him that we do not get gobbled up if this particular asset is not sold and the job is completely lost to this Province because they cannot compete competitively with people from Atlantic Canada specifically, and Halifax, Mr. Speaker. I would also caution the minister that the people who are presently employed there, the 200 people, that those people have to be given consideration. They have provided a good service to this Province over the last twenty years or so in this particular company and they should also be considered on the sale of this particular asset.

Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. Member for St. John's East have leave of the House?

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would welcome an approach which would encourage people of this Province to view Newfoundland and Labrador Computer Services as perhaps a vehicle for not only providing services to government as it has done over the past twenty-odd year in areas where no private sector service was available but this group has brought together talent and put together a team of people who have provided tremendous service to the government and government agencies in this Province, but my concern here, Mr. Speaker, is that if government decides that it wants to see a computer information technology company provide some leading edge activity, new software design perhaps competing nationally and internationally, and if we are successful in doing that then what we are going to have perhaps is a company that will disappear and go elsewhere. I would prefer, Mr. Speaker, to see the mandate of this company expanded and increased, rather than to try and sell it off and hope that somebody else might want to make something good of it. I have the same concerns as the Member for Menihek with respect to losing the -

MR. SPEAKER: The member's time has expired.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, since this is National Access Awareness Week, this morning at the breakfast, which many of us enjoyed, there was an issue that was raised and which I promised to raise today in the House of Assembly.

In the government's March Budget they callously cut the VRDP funding, which made it easier for students with disabilities to attend post-secondary institutions. During the election - in fact, on April 8, according to a newspaper report at least - the Premier himself promised to review that particular cut, along with some others I believe he talked about at the time. Nearly three months have passed since the Minister of Finance brought down his Budget and since this issue was first raised.

I would like to ask the Minister of Social Services: will the minister take advantage of National Access Awareness Week and announce today that he is restoring the funding for the VRDP program?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition has misstated the circumstances. Part of it was correct, that there had been reductions announced in the Budget. That part of it was correct. Subsequent to that we met with representatives speaking on behalf of the VRDP program and we talked to them about the problems. They agreed with the government that there was substantial waste and substantial expenditure that was unjustified and the amount by which the government cut the expenditure could be properly cut, but if we spent the remainder of it in a different way we would achieve an objective acceptable to them.

So we put in place a committee that was to meet with the Minister of Social Services at the time and that committee has in fact met. To the best of my knowledge they are making progress towards achieving a resolution of the problem. I think their expected time to achieve a resolution was before the end of June. Now I wasn't sure that the Minister of Social Services had that specific knowledge so I wanted to make sure that the minister had that made available to him. What meetings the minister may have been having in the last couple of weeks or so he can now answer for himself.

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

MR. SIMMS: I thank the Premier for giving his minister now the right to answer the question, so I'll ask the question to the Minister of Social Services. I understand the Premier's explanation. My concern with it is, nearly three months have passed since the Budget came down. Nearly two months have passed since the Premier met with this group in April. April 8 I think was the date that he met with them. Students and parents who are affected by the cut made by this government to that program cannot wait any longer. That's the point. They have to make their plans. They have to go through the red tape and the bureaucracy, all of which takes time. Some of those students have to make arrangements to attend post-secondary institutions outside the Province. Indeed, some outside the country. So they need to know whether or not they can afford to continue their education.

So I want to ask the Minister of Social Services: he is aware of it, surely he's aware of it, as a member of the House, and now as the minister. Why isn't the government, why isn't he, why isn't his department, treating this matter with more urgency in view of the fact that there is this problem that I just talked about? People raised that with me this morning. The Premier can smile all he likes. This is a serious and important program and problem for young people and adults with disabilities. Will the minister at least promise to bring a decision to this House by the end of this week so that these people, who already have difficulty in their lives, will be able to get on with their lives?

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

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, I can't add much more substantive information other than what the Premier has said, other than to say that we are treating the matter with as much urgency as possible. A lot of things have transpired since the Budget came down, among them, an election, but my understanding from my department officials is that the meetings are progressing and that both groups are very pleased with what is taking place. As to how soon, whether I could do it at the end of this week, I cannot make that kind of commitment to the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, other than to say that we will do it as expeditiously as possible.

MR. SIMMS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, can I ask the minister if he would make this commitment: Will he seek a meeting with his staff tomorrow morning to get fully briefed on this issue so he is fully familiar with the situation, and make a statement tomorrow in the House of Assembly as to what these students can expect and how soon they might be able to expect some response? because there is a lot of concern out there.

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

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, I am not suggesting that there is not a lot of concern, and I can tell the hon. member that I have met with my officials as a result of earlier questioning on this topic. The only matter on which I am not up to speed is with respect to the time that we are going to announce this, whether it will be tomorrow, or on Friday, or next week. I can only tell the hon. member that we will do it as expeditiously as possible.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the minister responsible for Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

In 1989, the Department of Municipal Affairs changed the municipal operating grant system to mainly four components - the equalization component, the local revenue component, the household component and the road component. Every year for the past four years, Mr. Speaker, the road component has been cut from the original $2,000 a kilometer down to $89 a kilometer in last year's Budget.

Could the minister now confirm to the House that this particular part of the road component has been cut yet again to $39 a kilometer, and could the minister tell the House how he expects councils in this Province, who have to submit balanced budgets by December 31 of each year, to properly operate when, for the past four years, six months into their fiscal year they are told that they have a budget cut?

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

MR. REID: Let me thank the hon. member for the question. It is a question that comes out of last night's estimates, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, the road component grant this year will be reduced to $39, as the member was told yesterday.

MS. VERGE: Shame!

MR. REID: The problem with it, of course, is that each year we send out, early in the year, usually some time in the latter part of the Summer, September or October, asking councils to identify their budgets for the following year and to make known to Municipal Affairs their revenues. Then, it is on what they return to us that we base our MOGs, and quite often councils are - I do not know if the word `lackadaisical` is the proper word, but for reasons that I guess they know themselves, it is quite late before they get those reports back to us.

I understand what the member is saying, and I made the commitment last night to the member and his colleagues and some of my colleagues on this side of the House. I understand fully, sometimes the dilemma that some councils find themselves in around the Province. I was mayor of a large town myself for seven-and-a-half years, and I understand exactly, that changing, I suppose, in mid-stream some of the components or the grants that the municipalities receive from the Province sort of throws things a-skelter. I do appreciate what he is talking about.

I have made the commitment to him that I would do my best, as a new minister, to see that councils abide by our regulations by getting their reports and financial statements back to us on time, and I would then try my best, as the new minister, not to interfere with the MOG process or the budgeting process. I hope that would be satisfactory. I can only do my best in that regard. I can't make any commitments because, really, I don't know what can happen from one day to the next as it relates to the MOG.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, the minister knows full-well that when the budgets come in at the end of December - December 31st - all he has to do is look at the municipalities' budgets and know what is going to happen in the next year. That is trivial.

Could the minister now explain to the House why, then, even with the cuts to the road component, the actual total value of grants, monies allocated for grants and subsidies to municipalities in the Province, were lower this year by approximately another million or $2 million, even based, when his decision - all he had to do was look at councils' budgets and tell what they needed. There is no excuse for that, Mr. Speaker. Could the minister now explain to the House, why that, particularly, is cut?

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, the whole Province is going through a period of economic hardship and restraint. I think everybody in every sector of the Province have been asked, not only by government, but by private industry, to take a serious look at our economic condition and the situation we are in. I can only say that the cuts to municipalities are basically shared. My department was shared or given a certain amount of cuts as well as Education was, Health and Welfare, Social Services and all the others. I can only say to the hon. member that we are living in hard times and let's hope and pray that things get better so that we don't have to make any further cuts.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: It is obvious now, Mr. Speaker, that the road component of the MOG will be gone after this year, it will be history. Will the minister now tell the House what other component of the program will be cut next in order to accommodate the cap on municipal funding?

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

MR. REID: It is incorrect, Mr. Speaker, to say that the road component will be gone as of this year, based on what we have left over from other sections of the MOG. As well, it looks like this year will be a much better year for municipalities than last year and, of course, next year is the final year, which should see some tapering off. If there is money left over from other areas, then that money, presumably - that is the direction we are taking at the present time - will then be left in that fund and transferred to the road component.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. As the Premier knows and members who were at the Hotel Newfoundland this morning know, this is National Access Awareness Week - an important opportunity to make legislatures, both at the municipal and provincial level, and the public, aware of the needs of persons with disabilities to access services. My question is, Mr. Speaker: Why is it that Newfoundland and Labrador, only, of all the provinces in Canada, does not make any contribution to this program that is so active across the Province. Every other province makes some contribution, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador makes none. Could the Premier explain why his government doesn't make any financial contribution to this program?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: The government is very supportive of the program. I don't know that we make or do not make any direct financial contribution, but programs don't absolutely need government financial support to be successful. The National Access Awareness Week Program in this Province is quite successful. That doesn't mean that the government can say, `Well, let us give you some taxpayers' money.' Taxpayers' money is pretty scarce in this Province at the moment and we are not about to throw it at people simply because their particular group doesn't get taxpayers' money for some purpose; that would be grossly irresponsible.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The information provided to me, Mr. Speaker, was that with even a nominal contribution from each government, the organizers of this would be able to say that all provincial governments are contributing and it would help them access corporate funding to improve this program. Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, having a particular province not even make a nominal contribution is certainly difficult. Can the Premier commit the government to looking at providing some sort of financial contribution to this program for the coming year to enable them, as an organization, to get further funding from other sources?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I can't understand members of the opposition pressuring the government to spend taxpayers' money. We have to try to provide public services with the least reasonable tax burden we can for our people. Now, the hon. member may point to this and say, that is not very much but that taken together with all the other things is a lot, so we are going to look after the interests of the taxpayers and protect their interests. Now the National Access Awareness Week Group in this Province gain a lot of public attention and get a lot of support. I believe the majority of members of this House were at the breakfast this morning to give it attention and support. They do not need to spend the taxpayer's money on top of that. I do not know if the hon. member thinks he is really impressing taxpayers by pressuring the expenditure of their money in ways that are not strictly speaking very necessary.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

If hon. members, as did the Member for Terra Nova and I, stayed for the panel discussion after the breakfast this morning they would have heard a speaker talk about how, because of the existence of one of these organizations, he had saved the government $24,000 by not ending up in hospital, where he had been before, by having support from this particular group. We see this, Mr. Speaker, as ways in which not only is the government by contributing to this contributing to awareness, but also contributing, in fact, in the long-term, to government saving by supporting institutions, non-government organizations which are doing the work of government.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: Will the Premier not admit that in the long run by spending a few dollars the government can save dollars in the long run by providing proper services to people?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Not by spending the few dollars the hon. member is asking.

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

MR. WINDSOR: I have a question for the Minister of Finance. The minister has recently come back from a meeting of finance ministers in Ottawa where there was apparently, according to media reports, some consensus on how to deal with government deficits right across Canada and some co-operative effort. Would the minister like to tell us what kind of co-operative effort the ministers are talking about and what impact that will have on the way the minister plans to operate the finances of this Province for this year?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Almost all of the provincial governments have brought down their Budgets for this year and in these Budgets it was obvious that there was a common theme and that was that perhaps at this point in time in our history the greatest danger to the public services of this country is the explosion of debt and the accumulation of debt, and running up larger and larger deficits. This is the greatest danger to the provision of services in the country. That recognition is there. It was discussed at the meeting and it was agreed to that first of all, before we go one step further, we have to guarantee the financial integrity and stability of the country. That is an objective that has to be reached.

The second part of that is, in spite of the fact that expenditures must be controlled, in spite of the fact that deficits must be lowered, and eventually the total debt lowered, and rather quickly lowered as a proportion of GDP, in spite of that we have to be very conscious of the recovery that is now underway, that we do not dampen that recovery, and the fact that by working together we can perhaps assist the recovery in our economy. Now, I know that is all very general but what we have done is, we are putting our officials to work during the summer on a variety of topics. There will be another meeting in the fall when the Governor of the Bank of Canada will be available and so on and we will discuss monetary policy as it relates to fiscal policy. At that point in time the specific things that are being worked on, like government overlap, like the dampening effect of some of the measures on the economy, and so on, the reports will be brought back to the minister, so it is really an agreement to a series of working sessions during the summer with officials to report back in the fall.

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

MR. WINDSOR: I do not think anybody could disagree with the objective of the finance ministers. Perhaps it is a methodology that we are concerned about. The Premier has been quoted as saying, in fact, he criticized the Government of Canada for not being hard enough in the federal budget and not making enough cuts. Would the minister like to tell us, in light of the Premier's approach, any suggestions that he might have made to the federal minister as to how the Government of Canada might deal with the federal deficit and what impact in fact that might have on our own deficits here?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, we had bilateral discussions outside of the regular meeting at which a lot of these issues were discussed. We are currently pressuring for and receiving a lot of support for a change in the equalization formula to more correctly address the objective, to provide reasonably similar levels of services in all areas of the country without undue taxation, so changes in the equalization formula, that we are finding a great deal of acceptance for. The second thing is, one of the issues that we are working on, again bilaterally, has to do with the tax back on the Hibernia project and this also relates to potash out West, whereby we lose, according to the system that was put in place for us, we lose one hundred cents of every dollar that we gain from Hibernia revenue, and the change in that tax back regime would result in us losing only seventy cents for every dollar, which is a more appropriate amount because that is the way that it works with all other type of activity in the Province, so these are two issues that we are specifically working on with the federal government.

The purpose of the meeting was not to tell the federal government what to do. The purpose of the meeting was to reach consensus on general direction because it is important we do; if one province does one thing, another province does something else, the federal government takes a totally different direction, then we will dampen any recovery that is under way in this country.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister knows full well that 60 per cent of federal expenditures relate to transfer payments to the provinces through equalization payments as he discussed, through health care, through education. If the Government of Canada is going to control its deficit, clearly, there is going to have to be some change to the formulas for those. The minister talked about equalization, could the minister tell us does this government support reductions in transfers for health care and education to this Province and in particular, what impact might that have on education and health in this Province, and as a second part of this supplementary question, can the minister tell us now how he is going to deal with his own deficit in view of the long-term strategy that we seem to be dealing with here?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The second part of it first, how we are going to deal with our own deficit. Mr. Speaker, that will be obvious in a very short time. In our Budget we indicated exactly how we were going to do it this year and further details will be forthcoming shortly. In the immediate future, we plan to eliminate the current account deficit and in the medium term, we plan to also eliminate the capital account deficit, so this is the direction in which we are headed. Whether we can totally eliminate it or not remains to be seen, but that is the direction in which we are headed.

In terms of the federal government, Mr. Speaker, I did not discuss with the federal government anything that would mean a reduction in transfers. There is only one taxpayer and the problem is a national one, if it were sectoral it would be different but the problem is a national one and if money is cut down to us, then somehow we either have to raise money or cut our expenses and we are getting to the point where we cannot cut expenses too much more, although there is some leeway, so, we do not support cuts in transfers; what we do support is that the transfer arrangements be more in line with the constitutional commitment for equalization, that is what we support.

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

MR. WINDSOR: On a point of clarification, it is an interesting point the minister just mentioned, talking about eliminating the capital account deficit in the medium term. Is the minister saying that capital works will now only be constructed out of current account in the medium term, that there will be no borrowing program to put in place facilities that will serve the Province for fifty or 100 years?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I will go back to my first answer. If the important problem is accumulation of debt in this country, and there is agreement that that is the major problem that has to be solved first, right? If that is the problem -

MR. WINDSOR: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: -then somehow - no, the accumulation of debt at this point in time. Somehow as a country, we have to try and first of all, slow down the growth of that debt but to reduce the debt at some point in time. Now, if that is to be done, then we have to pay our way at some point in time. Now how quickly can we pay our way? I do not know.

I'm hoping that as the economy turns around it'll be sooner rather than later. We'll stop adding more and more money to our debt in this Province and burdening the taxpayers of the future more and more. We can't continue to do that. So I'm hoping that the economic growth will allow us to balance our Budget totally at some point in time in the future. That's the objective we must have and that's the objective that all governments must have at this point, to hope for a future where we can pay our own way for a change.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Premier. In the Saturday Telegram the Premier expressed some concerns about loan arrangements between Enterprise Newfoundland - I think short-term bridge financing - to Triton Airlines. However, certain arrangements were entered into. The principals of that airline did some business in Ireland on the weekend based on financial arrangements already arrived at. Today they find themselves in the offices of Enterprise Newfoundland dealing with a whole bunch of new terms and conditions on what was already considered to be a done deal.

Rumour has it, the pipeline says, the orders came down from Confederation Building to throw a spanner in the works. I'll ask the Premier: did he or his ministers or senior officials direct Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador to disrupt or cancel the done deal with Triton Airlines?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, it's been a long time since I've heard such utter tripe as what just came from the hon. member. Now the hon. member may honestly believe that. I don't know. He may be genuinely misinformed. But nothing could be further from the truth.

To start with, I did not suggest that it would be inappropriate to help Triton Airlines. Somebody asked me a generic question about whether or not ENL should be giving financial assistance to an entity that might be competing unfairly with somebody else. I expressed a general opinion on that. They referred to Triton Airlines. I asked the minister to provide me with the information on which the decision to assist Triton Airlines was made. That information was provided. I also responded to an urgent request by Mr. Roberts to meet with him, I believe, on Monday of this week. Monday morning he requested an urgent meeting that be held he requested before that day. So I met with him before the end of work day on Monday. I reviewed the letter that had been written, the original offer of assistance.

They explained to me the basis on which they gave the offer of assistance. I can understand ENL offering that assistance in the circumstances. I have no quarrel with it. They showed me the terms. They showed me something else. They showed me Triton Airlines' acceptance of the terms and conditions. They signed the acceptance of it and sent it back. Then they showed me a request by Triton Airlines to vary one of the terms and conditions. ENL met and considered it and agreed to further accommodate Triton Airlines. They varied one of the terms and conditions. Again, Triton Airlines signed and agreed and accepted it.

To the best of my knowledge there have been no change whatsoever in those conditions. They were as they were originally put forward, as they were accepted by Triton Airlines, except to the extent that Triton Airlines specifically requested a change. All of which has been signed and endorsed by Triton Airlines. So the hon. member will now understand why I say it's been a long time since I've heard such tripe as he just proposed in the House.

MR. HEWLETT: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Mr. Speaker, the information I had this morning - and I was speaking to one of the principals of Triton Airlines, an extremely exasperated individual who claims that a number of variances not coming from Triton Airlines but coming from ENL had all of a sudden come into the picture. That was the question I asked the Premier. Has there been a recent change of heart on the part of the government to cause variances from the point of view of ENL?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker. There was one variance to the original terms and conditions. That was the one specifically requested by Triton Airlines and specifically acknowledged by Triton Airlines. So if the hon. member is getting that nonsense from one of the principals as he says, then he's getting fed a totally untrue line from the principals.

MR. SPEAKER: Question period has expired.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Section 49, Paragraph II of the Financial Administration Act, I wish to table the attached list of temporary loans raised under Sections 48 and 49 of the Act between the period March 4, 1993 and May 19, 1993.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, in response to a question asked by the hon. Leader of the Opposition yesterday, and the question was relative to a letter he had sent me some time ago requesting information that had been requested under the Freedom of Information Act, I now table the information and attach to the information being tabled the letter to the hon. Opposition Leader.

MR. SPEAKER: Petitions.

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, under the heading `Answers To Questions For Which Notice Has Been Given`, yesterday I asked the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture a simple question - namely whether the animals, the genetically superior swine produced at the Western Swine Breeding Station, still exist. The minister said he would have to take that question as notice. I still have not gotten an answer. Do those animals exist?

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

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, I thought that I had -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I cannot hear the hon. minister.

MR. FLIGHT: Mr. Speaker, I thought that I had adequately answered the question verbally yesterday in Question Period, but if the hon. member thinks that I should provide some information that I did not provide yesterday, I will take that under advisement and provide the information; but certainly I do not think I am under any particular deadline to provide information requested by the hon. member.

Orders of the Day

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 3. I understand that the hon. Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir will be leading Private Members' Day.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GILBERT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Before I get into the Private Member's Resolution that I am going to discuss today, I suppose as is customary this is the first time that I have had an opportunity to speak since we have been back in the House this time, so I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your election, to welcome back my colleagues on both sides of the House who have been reelected, and to welcome the new members who were elected for the first time.

It reminds me of a little story that someone told me. First when I was elected they said that when you stand up to speak in the House when you are first elected you will realize very quickly that you are speaking to an audience of one; but, they said, when you are reelected the second time you will begin to like the audience; but by the time you are elected the third time you will love the audience.

I am now into my third term here and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir who did me the great honour of electing me again for the third time, and with the majority that they gave me this time. My pledge to them, as it has been in the three terms that I have been elected, is that I will serve them in the best way that I possibly can.

I heard some of the members stand up, and the new members say that is the only thing they ever promised their constituents. I tell them that is a good promise. If you can live up to that one you will be very, very well rewarded and you will get elected again.

With the pleasantries over, Mr. Speaker, I will now start to talk about the resolution that I have brought forward today. I would like to thank my friend from Eagle River who let his motion stand aside so that mine could be debated today. The reason for it is the fact that this is a very pressing problem to the West and South Coast and to the Straits of Belle Isle - the problems that the fishermen are experiencing there - because as of today, or as of May 31st, I suppose, their unemployment ran out. Many of them do not have any way now of making a living, and they heard the federal government make an announcement some time in April, which was a very broad sort of thing - `there is going to be something.' We heard the federal minister say that they were going to spend $190 million to look after the fishermen in five provinces, Nova Scotia, PEI, New Brunswick, the Gaspé Bay part of Quebec and the South Coast of Newfoundland. So they were waiting with bated breath to see what happened. Sometime in May, the Federal Government issued a news release saying that they had now solved all the problems, and all the fishermen had to do was contact the DFO or the Canadian Employment Office. It happened that one of the employees of the Federal Government gave me this book with fifty pages of instructions that were given to the Federal Government as to how to answer the questions that were going to arise because of this simple program that Mr. Crosbie had announced for the South Coast of the Province. So, when I saw that, and then, with the calls that I have been getting from my district, I thought it was fitting that we should discuss this problem here in the House and see - and again, I don't want anyone to get the idea that we are needlessly bashing the Federal Government, because the Federal Government -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, you wouldn't do that.

MR. GILBERT: No, no, the Federal Government, themselves, are solely responsible for the fishermen and I wouldn't do it. I just want to say what the feds are saying about why the groundfish have declined. But in this document, on page 18, of one of three sections, is a question that the Federal Government published for their employees - a question they were going to be answering the fishermen: Why have the groundfish stocks declined? Answer: Scientists do not fully understand why stocks are declining, but certain factors are known. Some of these factors are abnormal environmental conditions such as colder water temperature, fewer younger fish entering the commercial fishery since the early 1980s, a decline in the average weight of fish, irresponsible fishing practices such as dumping, discarding and misreporting. Now, this is the answer that the Federal Government told their employees to give to the fishermen when they called in. So, this leads me to the first `Whereas' in my resolution:

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

Now, the Federal Government, themselves, have admitted that they have known about these problems since the early 1980s and they are the only ones who had any control over it. So, Mr. Speaker, if they knew about it since the 1980s, why are they waiting, right now, to try to correct some of those problems?

What they have done with the package that they have just announced, under Mr. Crosbie's new joint management deal that he is talking about between the five provinces; Quebec, New Brunswick, PEI, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, is, they have put $190 million in to solve these problems. They knew there was a problem in 1980. They talked about, you know, why were we standing up and saying there is mismanagement in the fishery? when the Federal Government, themselves, knew there was. We are talking about right now what caused it. That is history. It is great to stand here, we can - my colleagues, both on that side and this side, have talked about foreign overfishing. That is a good one, you can always blame it on the foreigners. Well, you can blame it on our own Newfoundland mid-distance fleet, I suppose, our local sixty-five footers - we licensed 200 of them to go and fish anywhere - the mobile fleet, we like to call them. We could blame it on them, and I am sure they have contributed somewhat to it. We can blame it on the trawlers that the Federal Government forced the fish companies to get involved with, in the late 1970s and the early 1980s, and telling them, `Look, there is this great supply of fish, the Northern Cod is there and if you don't get ready and go out and harvest this, the Russians are going to come and harvest it and you are going to be left behind.' So, most of the crisis that was started in the fishery, with the fish companies, in the early and mid-1980s was brought about because again the Federal Government told those people, `Go and modernize your plants; get ready to take this supply of fish that is there, this one that we can't catch enough. There is going to be 485,000 metric tons by 1987, so you must have your plants ready for this. You must have your plants geared up, you must have new trawlers available. This is what the Federal Government was telling the fish companies in Newfoundland. Most of them got in trouble by doing this. The fish plant in Ramea is one of those that is in jeopardy this day. It started, Mr. Speaker, because again, the Federal Government -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. GILBERT: That's what it is, he doesn't enjoy the audience.

Anyhow, it started, Mr. Speaker, because of the fact that Penney's were told: Upgrade your plant and build some new trawlers. They spent millions of dollars getting a trawler upgraded in the plant in Marystown, they spent another $15 million getting one built in South Africa. When they came back they didn't have any business left, there was no fish to harvest and the plant has been in trouble ever since. So that, again, is federal mismanagement. And let me tell my friend from Humber Valley that no matter which government it was, either the federal Tories or the Liberals, they have mismanaged the fishery. The only thing is, since 1984, the fellows who have done it are the ones who are there now and they have to take the blame for what has happened since 1984. I have no problem with that.

Now, we talk about the imponderable in the fishery and where the Federal Government mismanaged it. We can talk about our friends, the scientists, and the seals, both of them together, and I do not know which one should get the most blame at this point. But, you know, they talk with forked tongues and they don't tell you - the seals don't talk but the scientists do, and I am telling you right now that sometimes I think it would be a lot better if we listened to the seals, because they have been catching seals on an experimental basis along the South Coast for the last ten years, and what that has turned up, is that - I think it was a member from over there who said originally, they found out that seals really don't eat hamburgers, they eat anything. And from the stomach content of the seals that they have found along the South Coast in the last eight to ten years, they will tell you, yes, seals eat anything. They eat cod fish, they eat flounder, they eat crab, whatever happens to be there, they eat it. So that is another one of the reasons where everybody have put their heads in the sand and said, We can't say anything about the seals because we are going to get Brigette Bardot and the Greenpeacers out again.

But we are going to have to look at that, because that is one of the problems with our fishery - if it is ever going to rebuild. The seal population is built up. I talked to the federal scientists, not too long ago, and they tell me that, well, they really don't know the current population of the seals, but they know there is an increase in the seals that come down around the South Coast of the Province. In the district I represent, the district of Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir, in the waters off the coast there, they never saw any seals until the last five or six years. Now, it is not uncommon for fellows, in their lump nets and in their nets to haul up ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty, forty seals a day, where they never saw seals ten years ago. So that is another one of the things that is a mismanagement; I don't care who wears the hat but the Federal Government has the control and the management of the fishery, so if the seal population is building up and they are not doing anything about it, that, again, is another example of mismanagement.

Now, if you want to talk about a local one, and one that is nearer to home in mismanagement, and one about which I have become very concerned, if you want to see a real example of why we should have joint management of the fishery, there is a situation that has evolved in Burgeo over the last four years. In 1989, we had the Federal Government, without any consultation with the Provincial Government, enter into a deal with a fish company from Nova Scotia and Barry's, a fish company from Newfoundland; I don't know the name of the - a fellow, Blaize in Nova Scotia. And they formed a company called Seafreez Inc., a deal that was put together so that the fish plant in Canso, which had been closed in 1987 because National Sea didn't have any fish to keep it open, and the fact that the plant itself was defective due to the fact that it had been built with the freon system built into the walls and if there were any leaks in the freon system it meant they had to pretty well tear down the plant in order to repair it, as it was just too expensive to operate as a fish plant. Initially, it was not the fact that National Sea did not have the quota, it was just that the plant was not an efficient operation. We had the federal government, a man by the name of Mr. Valcourt who was the Minister of Fisheries at the time, and a man in Nova Scotia who was the federal minister for Nova Scotia by the name of Elmer McKay decide that they had to come up with a plan. They thought there was going to be a provincial election in Nova Scotia so they had to come up with a plan to open up this Canso plant and put 400 people back to work.

Now, what is the best way to do it? Oh, now they came up with it. National Sea has a plant in Burgeo. When National Sea closed an unproductive plant in Canso in 1988, the same year, in December of 1987, they came into Newfoundland and they paid the Newfoundland government back $8 million that was loaned to National Sea on the plant in Burgeo, they paid that plant off in December 1987, and then in 1988 they closed up the plant in Canso. Now, all of a sudden they came and said to National Sea in 1989, we have a political problem here we want to solve. We have a plant in Canso that needs to be opened. You have one in Newfoundland that you do not owe any money on. National Sea owes the Nova Scotia government $13 million so what about if we cut a deal here now? If you decide to open the plant, Seafreeze, we will give you the benefit of reducing your loan, letting it be paid off by grants over the next six years. If you keep the plant in Canso open for six years and employ 400 people the loan will be forgiven, the one you owe the Nova Scotia government.

Now, in order to make this a viable deal so we can sell it National Sea will now sell the plant in Burgeo to this company Seafreeze. The Burgeo plant is debt-free. National Sea in Canso have $13 million but by giving you the benefit of the write-off in Nova Scotia that will make it a good deal. What we will also do in order to make the plant in Nova Scotia efficient we are going to give you $8 million to upgrade that plant and fix the problems with the Freon and all that, to do the job that has to be done on that plant there. Then, after that is all done we will take 20,000 metric tons of fish that is normally processed in Burgeo and will give that to this new company, Seafreeze, which is to be produced 50 per cent in Newfoundland and 50 per cent in Canso.

Now, as everybody is aware that deal did not work exactly like that. Right now we have the fish plant in Burgeo that is closed down indefinitely, we have the one in Canso open, and we heard Mr. Crosbie say the reason for it was that the plant in Burgeo was now not a viable entity and could not be economically sustained. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I received a letter from Mr. Crosbie saying this was the reason, that it was not viable to keep the plant open so now the one in Canso is open.

That reminds me of the sort of thing, was it Aladdin and the lamps, the old lamps for new, and we got the new one here in Newfoundland but that is the one that is closed. They got the old one in Nova Scotia and that is the one that is open, so we have some serious problems there. The thing that really makes me mad about that is that when Mr. Crosbie had his meeting with the editorial board of the Evening Telegram a week or so ago one of the points made was that there was a positive reason why Mr. Crosbie wants to have this five member management board with the man from Nova Scotia, the man from New Brunswick, the man from PEI, Gaspé, and one from Newfoundland managing our fishery. This Burgeo deal was touted as one of the things that was very positive, because of the fact that this deal was put together this was the sort of thing this management team would be doing so I assure you there seems to me to be something awfully wrong with a five member board that would think that this was a positive thing for Newfoundland. I think it points out again another example of the mismanagement of the federal government of our fishery. Those, I suppose, are some of the mismanagement things.

Go to the second `whereas': and whereas the people involved in the fishery along the South and West Coast and the Strait of Bell Isle of this Province are unsure of their future. Let me tell you, it's not only the plant workers in Burgeo and Ramea who are unsure of their future, but it's the inshore fisherman. The fellow who's been fishing in the twenty - to thirty-foot boat along that coast. I'm speaking now particularly of my district, because I'm sure my colleagues who will be speaking on this will become parochial as I am.

When you go and talk to the inshore fishermen in Ramea, Burgeo, Grey River, François or McCallum in my district, they'll tell you how unsure they are. They've been telling everybody for the last nine years that I've been the member there how unsure they have been. They've been telling them that because this thing hasn't happened overnight, Mr. Speaker. The fishery along the South Coast has been a gradual dying thing that has eroded down through the years. You have seen the fishermen along the coast telling everybody who would listen - their unions, the people who work with the provincial and federal Departments of Fisheries - everyone who was there. I as their member for the last eight years have made this statement many times in the House.

As a matter of fact, it was about this time last year I was debating another private member's resolution talking about the fact that the fishery was a failure on the South Coast and asking Mr. Valcourt would he extend the unemployment. I wrote him in April of last year, I got a letter back in September telling me he wasn't going to do it. So obviously they don't listen very much.

The fishermen along the South Coast have been telling everybody what problems they have experienced. It wasn't this year or last year. It was 1985 and 1984 that this thing started. They saw that they were using more gear to catch half as much fish. Right now, this year, it's reached the stage where no matter how much gear they use they're not catching any fish. I was talking to Roy Giles from Ramea last week and he was telling me he was out on St. Pierre bank, sixty tubs of gear, and he came back with 300 pounds of halibut and 400 pounds of cod, or one or the other. Just to tell you, there is nothing there. No matter what they do now there's no fish.

All of a sudden we have the band-aid treatment now that's going to be put forward by the federal government to solve their problems once again. Again it shows typical mismanagement on the part of the federal government. The people along the South Coast have been forced, down through the years, to change their methods of fishing. They're had to change from trawls to gill nets. They've had to change to trying to catch different species, such as lumpfish. They've tried experimental fishing. When this program was announced by the federal government a couple of weeks ago, one of the things that was said was that 50 per cent of their income had to come from groundfish - they wouldn't qualify for this band-aid treatment they're getting anyhow. In other words they were forced out of it.

I will submit that many of the fishermen along the South Coast right now, because they had to try and make a living and because of the fact that they've been saying for the last ten years that their traditional fishery, the ground fishery, has disappeared - particularly cod, which was their main one; and you know they had a certain by-catch I suppose, of haddock and pollock and redfish - but the traditional cod catch has disappeared, and they've had to resort to catching lumpfish and lobsters. I will say to you that most of the income of the inshore fishermen along the South Coast, has been derived from the non-traditional types of fishery, rather than their traditional fishery, the cod fishery. So it means that a lot of them are going to be denied even this band-aid treatment that was put forward by the federal government in this program that they've put out there right now.

When you say they can go to experimental fishery, one of the things that they talk about in this program that the feds are going to put out is an experimental fishery. I understand that even the provincial government has been involved a little bit in experimental fishery. I'd like to tell you a story now just to prove that the provincial government is not lily-white in this program

Last year the provincial -

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. GILBERT: Last year the provincial government went into Grey River.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member's time has expired.

The hon. the -

MR. GILBERT: Would you like for me to tell that story before you start, Bill?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the member has leave.

MR. GILBERT: Alright. Well, anyhow, seeing that I am talking about the provincial government you will let me.

Anyhow, the provincial government went into Grey River last year and told this fellow Ephram Warren - they said: Ephram, look, get involved in an eel fishery here now and we will give you the money to take care of it. So that was fine. He went ahead. Now he had caught and sold about $18,000 worth of his traditional groundfish, and he had sold it to Ches Blackwood down in Hermitage - and he had a loan with the Fisheries Loan Board. This is where I am saying that the provincial government is not without fault in all of this. He had a loan with the Fisheries Loan Board. He had an agreement that 20 per cent of his net income was going to go to pay off his loan. Out of the traditional fishery that he had last year, 20 per cent of that - out of that $18,000 worth of fish that he caught - went to the Fisheries Loan Board.

The provincial government came in and said: We will pay you $1,300 for your out-of-pocket expenses, Mr. Warren, to go out and have this experimental eel fishery. He went out and incurred $1,300 in expenses. He sent in his bill. When the provincial fisheries issued the cheque, what happened? It was seized by the loan board.

I think this will be straightened out, because I did go to the Minister of Finance and he is saying that he thinks this is wrong and he will be looking after this, and hopefully I will get the rebate back for Mr. Warren; but why, in the name of God, in the one government could we not have made the arrangement that that money had gone out to the man? It seems to me that there are ways that we could straighten out those problems too.

Anyhow, I will sit down now, Sir, and you can carry on.

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

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I want to take a few moments to participate in the debate, to the Private Member's resolution put forward by the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir. There are a number of other members on this side who want to speak. I do not know if there are others on the other side, so I will not take the twenty minutes allotted to me. I will just make a few remarks dealing directly with the members' resolution.

There is not a lot, I guess, that I can take issue with in the resolution. Where the member says that the traditional cod fish on the South Coast has deteriorated due mainly to mismanagement by the federal government - no one can refute that. That is the case with the fishery all around our shores, regardless of the coast. The federal governments in succession have mismanaged the fishery and we are now paying the consequences.

I want to say to hon. members that my greatest fear, and I am not the first one to say this - there are other members of this Legislature before me, and others outside, who have expressed the grave concern that exactly what we are doing to what is left of our fish stocks -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, the Member for Fogo mentioned - yes, we heard some alarming statistics yesterday morning, I say to the Member for Fogo. It is not only with the cod stocks either, I say to the member.

If you follow what has happened with the fishery resources, first it was the caplin - and we did not seem to take a signal or a message from the Province with our caplin. Then, of course, it's the Northern cod stocks, and we did not really take the message from there either because now we see a severe decline in our flounder stocks and Fishery Product International and others are having trouble catching flounder. Then we know what is happening to our turbot stocks. So it is our entire fishery that we have to be concerned about here, and I think that if we do not stop fishing altogether we are going to totally eliminate and decimate and do away with the Newfoundland fishery in its totality and that is - I do not want to sound extremist or alarmist, but I really think that is where we are headed if we do not stop all fishing for a period of time.

In the second part of the member's resolution, where he says the people involved in the fishery along the South and West Coast of this Province are unsure of the fishery, no one can take exception to that remark. That is certainly true. Anyone involved in the fishery, regardless of where they are located in this Province today, are certainly very unsure of their future.

Those who do not have form of income are the people who I guess right now are most affected. The anxiety levels are certainly very high. I do not know where they are going to find enough money to keep body and soul together. That is exactly what we have along the South and Southwest Coasts of our Province.

Whereas the compensation package announced on April 23, 1993 is not yet meeting - I say to the Member for Burgeo Bay d'Espoir, I do not know if he did this intentionally, but he said: Is not yet meeting the needs of the people involved in the fishery. Then: we call upon the Federal Government "to implement a fair and equitable compensation package".

Mr. Speaker, I did a bit of research. Being fairly familiar with the program anyway, having extensive experience with the NCARP program, and now with this - we call it the newer package announced for the South - well, for the Atlantic fishery - of $191 million. There are certainly some problems that have come to surface with this program. When do people qualify? is one of the big concerns. People have to go on job creation projects or activities to qualify. A lot of those make-work or job creation projects have not yet been identified. So that is making for a lot of uncertainty. People are not quite sure. They don't know when the program will begin. There is a training component supposed to be attached to the program.

I don't think people take too great an exception to the training component. It is just that our past experience with training components as they pertain to the job strategy programs sometimes have left a lot to be desired. It is not that anyone resists training or upgrading, it is just really, a lot of times those training components are not all that pertinent to what people have done in the past or what they would like to do in the future. So, while no one resists it outright, there are some very serious concerns about the training component.

This recent package does not cover off early retirement. There is no provision for early retirement in this package as there was with NCARP. There is no licence buy-out provision, which has caused more concern, or another concern, amongst a certain segment of the people who would like to have early retirement or would like to take advantage of a licence buy-out to get them out of the fishery. These seem to be the obvious weaknesses, I guess, I say to the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir, of the program, as far as I can determine. I am sure the member will have others and he will probably highlight them before he concludes the debate before 5:00 p.m.

The other thing we really have to recognize here is that we are really not dealing with a moratorium here on this new package. It is not a moratorium such as is covered by NCARP. There are those who will argue that it should have been a moratorium, and I tend to support that it should have been a moratorium, when you look at what is happening to what's left of our fish resources. But it is not a moratorium package - really, it is a quota reduction package. Consequently, the program is looked at in a different light. I understand there is some vessel support, as well, as a component of this program, some limited vessel support. Whether or not it is extensive enough, I guess, is open to debate, as well.

The weaknesses I see in it are: people don't know when they will qualify for the benefits; there is no early retirement provision; and there is no licence buy-out provision. I think these are the three major flaws in the program. There is a lot of uncertainty, I say to the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir, and others, a lot of uncertainty about the program, a lot of unknowns. In Montreal we have an occupation, I believe, of DFO offices by people concerned about the program.

MR. GILBERT: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Pardon?

MR. GILBERT: Every province in Canada has them.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, but I know, yesterday, there was some news out of Quebec where people have occupied some offices there and protested the program, trying to get some improvements. I know there were some discussions that took place yesterday on this particular situation.

As I was reading The Evening Telegram last night, somewhere back fairly far in the paper, I read where Mr. Valcourt made a statement yesterday that said they have some - `Improvements to the package are under consideration,' he said. But he said that the Federal Government would not be pushed into making decisions because people have occupied offices in different parts of Atlantic Canada.

But at least, I thought it was encouraging that the minister had made a statement saying that they were considering improvements to the program. Now, how much consideration is being given to improving the package, I don't know, but at least that is a good sign, as far as I am concerned, that at least they are considering that. I think most of us will agree that there certainly are improvements needed for the package, so hopefully, before too long, we will see that.

I want to return, Mr. Speaker, to my original comments. That is, for, I guess, the state of our fishery. Others have said it before, both inside and outside the House, most of us came here, were re-elected or elected for the first time, to try to make our Province a better place in which to live. I think that is why most of us came. I am sure all of us came here for that reason. We thought that we had some contribution to make and, by our actions both inside and outside the Legislature, we would make this Province a better place in which to live.

I want to echo the remarks that have been made on a number of occasions by the Member for Port de Grave. The Member for Port de Grave, in a number of speeches here, on a number of occasions, has said that we come here, we debate resolutions, three or four people get up and speak, and that is where the concern seems to stop. That is where the concern seems to stop.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You know, I share his concern. Because what we are talking about again here in this resolution, and previous resolutions, and the resolution that will be brought forward by the Member for Eagle River, and others this Spring or Summer or Fall - we are talking about, really, the future of our Province and we are talking about us as a people. And I don't know - it is kind of difficult to get the message out, but unless we take immediate action - in my opinion anyway - to curtail whatever fishing activity is taking place, both inside and outside the 200-mile limit, then I think our future as a Province is very bleak - and I say that very sincerely. Our future as a Province is going to be very, very bleak. Because we know the fishery is the backbone of our economy. We know we have to diversify and try other things, but any way you cut the cake, when it comes down to the bottom line, the fishery is the backbone of the Newfoundland economy, and unless we take immediate, swift, strong action to cease all fishing activity -

MR. TULK: I wonder if it is too late now.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You wonder if it is - yes, I can say to the Member for Fogo that usually I consider myself to be a realist. I am cautious by nature, but I can tell you, for awhile I thought that yes, our fish stocks will recover; but for the last twelve months or so I cannot find it within myself to be so optimistic, I say to the member. I share his feelings and his views that I wonder if we haven't gone too far, and really, if we are going to see a regeneration of our fish stocks. I have to wonder out loud now if we are really going to see it. The member knows the statistics that were tossed around yesterday. The Member for St. George's was there, and the Member for Humber Valley, the Member for Baie Verte and the Member for Trinity - Bay de Verde. When you heard those statistics, that a spawning biomass of the Northern cod stocks went down to 70,000 metric tons and it was, what - 1.2 or 1.3 million tons?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: We have 70,000. That is right. So that tells you just how critical that spawning biomass has become. Now, as I said before, it is not only the Northern cod stocks - it is the flounder fishery; it is the turbot fishery; whatever fish stock or whatever fish species you talk about, they are in trouble. When I talk to people at FPI who have been flounder fishing for so many years and they tell me that they are unable to find flounder this year, in areas where they caught flounder last year, then that tells me that that flounder stock is, as well, in very serious, very grave danger.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) there somewhere.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I say to the Government House Leader, it started with the caplin and we practically ignored that; then came the Northern cod - we didn't ignore that - and now it is the flounder, and we know the turbot has been in trouble for years.

MR. ROBERTS: The hon. gentleman would agree with (inaudible) observation that those who ignore their histories are condemned to repeat them.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: There is no doubt.

So I guess what I am saying, and I don't want to take up any more time, because other speakers want to speak, but my honest-to-God feeling on this is that we should stop all fishing activity - all fishing activity. Because, while it is very popular to blame the foreigners for doing all the damage, we know it hasn't been all foreign effort; they have certainly contributed, but the seals have contributed and we have contributed. We, being Newfoundlanders, Labradorians and Atlantic Canadians, we have to take our share of the blame, but having said that, unless we stop all the fishing, I don't think we are going to recover.

AN HON. MEMBER: The big problem is to stop the foreigners from (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: The really big problem is to stop the foreigners from (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The big problem is to stop it - yes, I agree, I totally support that. As I said, I think it was last week or the week before, I think the Minister of Fisheries made some statement here about the reduction in the foreign effort by twelve or fourteen boats. I said at that time, let's not be bamboozled by that, because 100-plus foreign vessels fishing on the Continental Shelf are still far too many and we have to stop it. Now, how we go about doing that, how we deal with it, is certainly a federal responsibility. It is an international matter and the Federal Government certainly has to be very strong on it. But, having said that, I think that we, as fifty-two members of the Provincial Legislature, have to take our responsibilities, as well, and we have to press the message as strongly as we can. It really comes home to me now - because it is not too often in here that too many people listen to you when you speak. Some of us in this House never speak about the fishery, and I say that of both sides; some members never stand in their place and talk about our most important industry and the crisis that it is in, or what it means to the future generation of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. That tells me something. Because we, who are elected by the people to represent them, if we do not get serious about this issue, then how can we expect anyone else to get serious about this issue? I say to members. This is the most serious problem we have facing our Province today. You can talk deficits, which are a problem and have to be dealt with; you can talk about problems in health care and education, Mr. Speaker, which are important and have to be dealt with; you can talk about employment and unemployment, you can talk about the future of youth, but I guarantee you -

MR. TULK: All the (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes all that I have mentioned, the Member for Fogo is correct. Everything that I have mentioned is directly connected to the state of our fishery, and if we, as elected members of this Legislature, don't become stronger and more vocal on this issue, then there will not be a need, I say to members, for this Legislature much longer, because there will not be a future for our Province. Now, that is just how serious it is - that is how serious I think it is.

AN HON. MEMBER: You won't need a member for your district.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I won't need a member for the District of Grand Bank, there won't be a need for one. There won't be a need for fifty-two members here and eventually there won't be a need for the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador. So, we all had better start thinking about that and we all had better start talking about it. We have to be very strong on this.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I think I have said enough about that and I think a lot of members agree with me, but I just want to say to the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir, whose resolution we are debating today - it gives me a great chance to talk about the fishery in general - that I have no great difficulties with his resolution. I know there are obvious weaknesses in the program. I hope there will be some improvements announced before too long. I hope the federal Minister of Employment was serious when he said that he is considering improvements. I hope that is the case. I hope there are some improvements to this program. I know the weaknesses of the program. In calling upon the Federal Government to take immediate action to implement a fair and equitable program, I have no difficulty whatsoever. So, I guess, really, what I am saying is that, in essence, I agree with the member's resolution.

Just in concluding, I don't know if the member is aware of this, but Nova Scotia and Quebec have brought in their own provincial programs to complement the federal program. I don't know what areas they are going to complement in, but at least they provided a few dollars to go along with the federal program to take care of some of the difficulties that have been encountered. I don't know if there has been any suggestion or thought by the member with the Minister of Fisheries, the Minister of Finance or the Premier or the Cabinet or whatever, along those lines. And I am not trying to take any responsibility away from the Federal Government, but I am just wondering if there has been any consideration, perhaps, given to some small component from the Provincial Government to complement the federal program, and maybe that would be a way of dealing with some more of the difficulties that are encountered in this program.

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

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to compliment the previous two speakers, the hon. the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir, for the timeliness in putting this issue forward, and also to the other hon. member, the Opposition House Leader, who certainly is one of those who are very knowledgeable about the fishery, who speaks with the voice of a Newfoundlander, and not necessarily a political voice, in his dealings with the fishery, and it is that kind of thing, I think, that makes this House of Assembly speak with a common voice on issues such as the fishery, when we can put our own differences aside, and see that the efforts we make here as legislators and as representatives of the people of the Province, are put forward in a lot stronger fashion when we speak as one.

The resolution, itself, is similar in text and in intent to the resolutions that have been offered by myself in this House in the past, in dealings with the people of my district and other districts so affected, through the problems with the Gulf cod stocks and other fish stocks in that area. And, as well, the issue is the same with people who are having income problems because of the problems associated with the state of the fish stocks out there; and if we look at it, it is a continuing problem since I have been elected. Over the last four years and even prior to that, the problems associated with the Gulf fishery have been the most pressing issue in my whole district.

Entire communities which based their livelihoods on the fishery in the isolated communities along the coast that I represent, are very similar to the ones represented by the hon. the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir, and no less than those that are represented by the hon. the Member for Eagle River. And others here, of course, such as Fortune - Hermitage, which is right next to Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir, have a number of these isolated communities. It is that kind of thing, I guess, that brings home as to the future of the isolated communities in our districts, in the Province, for that matter, the future of those involved in the fishery and the future of the Province, if you extrapolate it, to the point, where we have to see just how it will affect the provision of public services that we try to provide for the people of the Province and the provision of a society, within which the people of our Province will function.

Now, to look at the situation that has arisen because of mismanagement of the fishery - there are those who will say that we, as a people of the Province, have to take some responsibility. Of course, through the electoral process, with the process of electing governments here in the country, we have to take our fair share of the burden for the problems that are there now in the fishery, the problems that we are dealing with. But to suggest, I think, that it is a problem that the fisherpersons, those who are involved in fish plants, those in the industry, would have to share their part of the burden, I think it is unfair to suggest that the responsibility lay anywhere other than with those who are in charge of management in the fishery. The responsibility has to lie somewhere. We share our burden as electors of a Federal Government who, in turn, do have the constitutional responsibility to deal with fishery questions and problems and the future of the fishery, as far as what opportunities may lie in it for the future are concerned.

Now, some time recently, a compensation package was announced. I do feel that efforts that were made on behalf of the people of this Province, through this Legislature and through the Minister of Fisheries in this Province, and the people of the Province who were so affected, did have something to do with this compensation package that was announced by Minister Crosbie and Minister Valcourt. I think that had something to do with it but I do feel that this compensation package was driven part and parcel because of the Nova Scotia situation where Nova Scotia was very adamant that something had to be done, that they had been left out of the Northern cod moratorium package, and therefore something should be done to accommodate their fishermen and plant workers. If you bring that to the necessary extension you will then see that we were included by virtue of being a part of the gulf fishery region and not necessarily because of our people being hard-hit. The problem was ignored during the period of time under which NCARP was brought in, from the period in which NCARP was announced until this particular time, so what is the rationale for that? I don't think there is one. I think it is just a matter of dealing with the problem because of the public issue that was made of it.

Now, Mr. Speaker, to look at why the wait was there. During the last two or three years, as the member representing the district of LaPoile, I was dealing with a lot of people who over that period of time were protesting, people were writing letters, petitions, offering them to the federal minister, and again as the hon. member has suggested you would get a four month delay, four months before you would get a reply from the federal minister in response to your concerns. Likewise some of these people had yet to receive a response the last time I spoke to them about the problem. It is not the kind of thing that it seems that protests of any kind are ever again going to allow the problem to be dealt with as a public issue. Protests, other than something very inventive, other than something that is substantive in some way, will not give the required public attention to the issue, so what do you suggest to the people of our area that you do?

We as representatives of them here in this House of Assembly can bring the issue up, deal with it in this way, try as hard as we can to get the public attention through the media but again it is the old story, if there is anything with the words NCARP on it, it is in the first page of the newspaper, in the second page of the newspaper, and all over the place. It receives full coverage. Anything to do with the gulf cod stocks, mainly because it is on the West Coast, I do not know, but I have been harping on this for the last four year, receives little or no attention in the media in comparison to the Northeast Coast and the rest of the Province, and that is a problem associated with where our population sits in the Province.

I suppose they focus on issues which affect the majority of people of the Province, so if we look at all of Atlantic Canada we get better coverage on this issue on the ASN news out of Halifax, and we would, because it is a problem associated with the rest of the Atlantic Provinces, so in that way the West Coast does have a reason to believe the overpass syndrome, the idea that if it is outside the overpass it is not going to be paid attention to and henceforth the reason why groups and Crown corporations such as CBC when they need us to support the issues of the day such as issues of closing down a CBC office in Corner Brook, in Labrador, or what have you, they are right there to look for our support, but when we need them to make a public issue of things like this they do not pay as much heed to it. If they feel I am wrong in what I am saying then I ask them to challenge it, but I certainly feel this is the kind of thing that deserves the necessary attention in order to become that public issue.

Now, we as legislators and as members representing the people of our districts do need to offer some solutions. What kind of support can we offer to these people in representing them in trying to get the federal government to respond in a manner that would be favourable, would give then some improvements in the criteria to get the federal government to shut the fishery altogether as was mentioned by both previous speakers. Just as an example. I was speaking to a gentleman this morning. This man was distraught. His unemployment benefits will terminate in the next couple of days. He lives in the community of Isle aux Morts. He's my own age. The gentleman is just thirty-two years old. A young man with a family, plant workers, he and his wife as far as I know both work in the fish plant. Little or no income coming in right now, and nothing to look forward to in two or three days' time.

He said: I don't know what I'm going to do. Can you tell me what the federal government is doing? Really, I couldn't tell him anything. I know they developed a criteria. I said: we're trying to get the information from the federal government as to exactly what it is. They've decided to go back and try to make some changes. They sent out application forms to DFO offices. They then asked them to send them back again. It's a real hodgepodge. You would think they would have gotten it right by the time they had dealt with the NCARP program. That they would know some way of doing it.

What I think is happening, in my estimation of it, the NCARP program will be headed the way of the program that they're trying to implement. They're doing stage two on our Coast and in the rest of Atlantic Canada. This is what NCARP will turn into. They're going to weed people out of the fishery through making the criteria so restrictive that those people will then be dealt out of it by having certain requirements made of them. By having the criteria made more restrictive. By requiring them to go and do some fishing and using the NCARP or the compensation as an income supplement type program, but only after they go out and find out that they can't earn anything.

This is the way that it's going to work on the Coast, as I understand it. They'll be required to do some fishing. They'll be required then to supplement their income through participation in some of the programs which are going to be good for the overall social fabric of the area. Improvements in literacy, improvements in training people for other occupations that they would be interested in. But there's going to be a lot of upheaval.

I note for hon. members' attention the headline in today's Evening Telegram. It says: Fishermen lambast minister. The Minister of Fisheries for the Province is out around. He has the difficult task of going around and explaining to the people of the Province in a lot of these communities just how difficult it will be in the future. We're offering up some of the possible situations that may arise, things we have to deal with, decisions we have to make. It is not going to be easy. He is then going to be the one of course who will create headlines like this by virtue of going out and talking to the people, and being a lightning rod for some of the frustration that's out there.

I tell you it is - I met it head on in the election campaign. Although I was re-elected by an increased majority, the people are extremely concerned. They don't know where they're going to turn. I have fishermen out in my area who are scrambling to try to make a living. One gentleman for instance, who is known as the `Highliner' in his community, is trying to purchase the vessel that he's fished on for years. I've been working on that for that gentleman. I give him all the power in the world. Anyone who has the guts, in this day and age, in our area, to go and buy a sixty-five foot long-liner, hook and line vessel, and do some gill nets, what have you, and go out and take on a task that from what it would look like - he does some halibut as well - I mean, it looks like an impossible task for someone to take on the fishery.

Because unlike those who have experienced a decline in the northern cod area over the last - you're talking about a situation that would warrant a moratorium over the last five to six years. It's not something that's just crept up in the past short while. It's something that has been like this over that period of time. Some people have been able to go out and make a living. Some of the otter trawl, the mid-water fleet otter trawls from the Northern Peninsula - there's a few on our Coast as well, but they congregate in Port aux Basques and fish the winter fishery - they've been able to do okay. I say "okay". Their quotas have been lowered to make them marginal enterprises. Also, they've had to rely on catches of very small fish. Sixteen inch rule, if it was enforced to a `t', I'm sure all of them would have been a lot worse off over the last number of years.

There were problems such as dumping of fish and problems associated with using the liners in the cod end of the trawls, and this sort of thing, but those are not the problem. They're I suppose a symptom of the problem more so than the problem itself. So to look at those as contributors to the overall problem, yes, but to say that is one of the key contributing factors, I would not say that it is a key element of the overall situation.

Those vessels - they licensed somewhat more than they did in the rest of the Province. I think there are 115 or 113 vessels licensed of the Otter Trawl fleet - most of them steel, some of them fibreglass and wood, but most of them steel - that are out otter trawling in the area, in the Gulf winter fishery. These vessels perpetrate their fishery trying to do well and make a living. Occasionally you have one vessel fishing two quotas in order to make enough to make an enterprise function. This kind of a situation has really made it difficult for the fish plants not only along our coast but fish plants on up the Northern Peninsula that depend somewhat on the quotas that these vessels bring in to provide work for the fish plant workers.

Now to look at the - and I suggested this on the way through - what will we do as legislators? The only thing that I can see that we can do, along with the representations made by the Government of Newfoundland on behalf of the people of Newfoundland, specifically for the Gulf fishery, is to take the issue on in a legal sense. If this could be done I would strongly support and work with the people in the Gulf fishery to take some kind of legal action to say that if the rest of the Province is being treated a certain way, the fishery mismanagement is Province-wide, so why do you have one group being treated one way and another group treated as poor cousins, a different way? It just does not make sense to have our Province with a line running down the middle because there are two different federal fishery management zones, because one is run out of one office, one is run out of another, and then all of a sudden you have that imaginary line running down through the Province dictating as to what people in a given area of the Province will receive.

It is a discrimination issue. It is an issue where the people along the South Coast and up the West Coast and the Straits of Belle Isle have been discriminated against and it should be rectified with the assistance of the Province. I have written a letter to the hon. Minister of Fisheries along these lines, looking for some indication as to whether this kind of issue could be fought in a legal sense, and I hope to have the Ministry of Justice - because we, as members here in this House, do have a responsibility to the whole Province.

Now if people are suffering, along the South and West Coasts, immeasurable hardship because of the lack of proper federal compensation, then we will all suffer here in the rest of the Province financially through the tax revenues that are dealt to the Province. So it is the same argument that is used to justify the NCARP program that we have to use to see to it that people along the South and West Coasts are compensated adequately - and again through the rest of Atlantic Canada.

The compensation has to be there. It is a matter of damage done to the fishery. If I understand correctly, the NCARP program was brought in as a payment for damages incurred, and not necessarily as an income replacement program. So therefore the same kind of damage has been wrought on the people of our coasts, on the South and West Coasts, and they should be compensated accordingly. I will be following up on that and I would encourage all hon. members to work with us in trying to take the legal route if the public issue route does not seem to work, and through the pressure applied that way, maybe that will help our case. It is certainly an issue, that the whole fishery is a problem right now with the state it is in, but the specifics along our coast, I think, do need to be addressed. If they are not addressed there will be so many more people to suffer hardship and again the whole Province will suffer because of the extension of the problem and how it will affect the provincial Treasury and the overall social fabric of our area, causing untold hardship for the families, difficulties that will have a tremendous impact on the future generations with people being displaced, with children having to suffer because of the fiscal problems of their families, and children having to suffer because of the inherent social problems that go along with that.

I would urge every hon. member in the House to support this resolution put forward by the hon. Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir, and also, if they have any suggestions to help those of us who are working on the South and West coasts on behalf of people there, I would appreciate the suggestions, the input and the help of all hon. members in trying to get this issue resolved in the best way possible.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I will allow someone on the opposition now to have a few words.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to have a few minutes to make a few comments pertaining to this resolution. I think it is a good resolution, I think it is a timely resolution. In his first Whereas, the member says: "WHEREAS the traditional cod fishery on the South Coast has deteriorated is due mainly to mismanagement by the federal government; I think, Mr. Speaker, that the member could carry that a little further and say that: Whereas the traditional cod fishery in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador has deteriorated due mainly to mismanagement by the federal government, and as the member stated earlier and the other member stated and members in the past have said, on both sides of the House, that it is not due primarily to one specific culler. This has been going on for some time and it is not only because it is a PC government in Ottawa today or the past eight years, it is going right back, I can remember the days of Romeo LeBlanc; I can remember the days of Michael Kirby, coming in and suggesting that we should take 350,000 tons and it is rather ironic and it is a sad and cruel irony in some of that, Mr. Speaker, when you look at the dates that he gave-

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: That is right, he went higher than that, and predicted the figure we should take, 350,000 tons either this year or last year, I just forget exactly the year but that was the prediction so, Mr. Speaker, when we look at the predictions, the evidence of scientists and so on, I like the old saying that you used to hear years ago and we still hear it every now and again out around the bay: the eyes believe themselves and the ears believe other people, and I think the time has come when we have to believe what our ears tells us and what our eyes tell us because we cannot go by other people anymore.

We have to take the bull by the horns, as rough as it is, and as sharp as they are and as hard as it could be, we have to start doing something about this. Hon. members opposite, this is a very serious topic and I would not want to make light of it. Mr. Speaker, some of the evidence and some of the talk we are hearing lately, is frightening. Why the whole fishery in the Province is not closed down is beyond me, why a moratorium on Northern cod? Why close the South Coast, why not the Gulf and the whole area in this Province? We were told, I have heard it the last couple of months and I heard it yesterday in spades what the biomass is for the Province, what the biomass is for the cod, it is unreal. Do we realize I wonder, do the people of this Province realize that the minimum biomass should be out there for the cod, for spawners, seven years old and up for spawners should be at least a minimum of 1.3 million tons? and, Mr. Speaker, do you know what is out there today?

The latest statistics show that there is a miserable, pathetic 70,000 tons - 70,000 tons. Just imagine, if that had anything to do with any other parts of the world, if that had anything to do with a moose population or an elephant population or a lion population, it would be considered an endangered species, and do not touch it. The areas would be closed, it would be off-limits, you cannot touch it, do not go there you will be fined and sometimes you will be shot, in some parts of the world, but here, we have a tendency to endure this type of punishment for a long time before we really get down to where it hurts and where it cuts. You can cut to the bone, Mr. Speaker, but where do you cut after? As far as I'm concerned we are to the bone when it comes to the fishery in this Province, and what do we do next?

A few comments on the package. I have to make reference to my particular district. Because I've got a fishery in the White Bay part of my district, namely in Jackson's Arm, Sop's Arm, Pollards Point area, and somewhat smaller in the Hampden area of the district. I've witnessed and experienced first-hand what came under the moratorium package that was announced there just last year. We've got to be very careful and we have to stress to the powers that be, and especially in this case the officials at DFO, they are the people who will determine whether a plant is designated.

From my understanding, the processing plant may be designated if at least 25 per cent of its total through-put in 1991 and 1992 is from specific groundfish stocks subject to quota cuts in 1993.

I had a situation under the so-called package whereby all plants in the Province in order to be designated had to have at least a 10 per cent through-put of northern cod. Now I had two plants in my area - namely Sop's Arm Fisheries and the White Bay Ocean Products plant - that were designated by DFO to come under the program. Eight months after people got the NCARP payments, after people became eligible for those particular payments, payments coming in every month, all of a sudden DFO rules that the plant in Jackson's Arm should not be designated.

I don't have to tell any member of this House or any person in this Province what that means to individuals who have absolutely no other income. They were told all of a sudden that they were off the package because the plant is not designated. All it took was a phone call by someone in the office of the DFO to P Janes and Sons in Hant's Harbour or White Bay Ocean Products in Jackson's Arm to tell them that there wasn't a 10 per cent through-put of northern cod. About two minutes work.

What happens to those people today? I had forty-eight plant workers in that particular community who were taken off overnight, told that they did not qualify. Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes. They were getting it for eight months. What I'm afraid of in this, and members opposite should take note, that if you know of any plants in your district that you know full well don't reach that 25 per cent - because a lot of other people knew it - don't let the people get right up to their necks in debt and get those payments. Because if the plant hasn't a 25 per cent through-put they're not eligible. Never mind the criteria for the job creation on the other end of it. Just look at the criteria for the plant to be designated, and don't let the plant workers in your communities be sucked in by DFO or anybody else. Because that's what's going to happen. I've witnessed it first-hand, I've witnessed it in spades, and my people today are hurting because of it.

The other thing, Mr. Speaker, I think other members - members opposite have mentioned it already, is other species. We have a tendency that: northern cod, the groundfish or whatever, there's a moratorium on northern cod, groundfish and so on, on the South Coast and in the Gulf and somewhere else. What do we do? All of a sudden everybody is interested in underutilized species. All of a sudden we're going to hit the underutilized species. All of a sudden we had fisherpersons and communities and fish plants around this Province that could never fish underutilized species: we can't catch them, we need a program or a grant to do it. All of a sudden everybody and everything is after it.

You know what's going to happen now. The same thing that happened to the groundfish, and, as the hon. Member for Fogo said, a lot of it doesn't exist. You know part of it is because of the by-catches all along. They were catching this and throwing it away years ago and up as late as a couple of years ago before the announcement on the suspension of the Northern cod, I mean this was going on for years. Now, we are out there and we are going to catch the flounder, we are going to catch the hake, we are going to catch the grey sole and we are going to do wonders. I have a plant in my district, I think it is the only one in the Province that has been given an offshore quota for squid, a 1,000 ton quota for offshore squid. All kinds of sales but more sales now for the dried squid. You cannot get anybody to touch it. I am in a real dilemma now, people in my district are in a real dilemma now.

Another example of this is that people who are on NCARP, fisherpersons who are drawing their UI are finished in May, UI is finished in May. Now, I do not know about other members but I know in my area and along the North Coast and I think down in the Member for the Straits district, and Eagle River, I think they are socked in down there now, all up my way, socked in with ice. Jackson's Arm, White Bay socked in, Hampden socked in, Pollards Point socked in, they had their lump nets out and had to take everything in. So, what happens now is that the fisherpersons who did not come under NCARP and getting their UI are finished. They have absolutely no income. The people who are on NCARP can go right back on NCARP and still get their checks. The people who are drawing UI are out to pasture, out to lunch, forget them. What do you do?

Here we had the caplin fishery announced the other day, by the minister, now I know it does not open in White Bay until June 25th, the caplin fishery until June 25th. The ironic thing about that, Mr. Speaker, is this the only place on the island last year that there was a caplin fishery was in White Bay. It was the only place that there was a caplin fishery and they had to watch it on the end of it. I say to members, to the DFO officials that they better watch it when it opens this year because on the end of that catch last year there were some very, very small caplin. Sparney's, when you see little trout in the river we used to call them sparney's years ago, sparney or whatever, that is what it looked like to me. Mr. Speaker, they are going to have to be very careful because I am afraid.

Last year when the caplin came into White Bay all along the shoreline outside of Jackson's Arm there was a body of caplin, when they went out for two kilometres, there was absolutely nothing and just outside of that there was a larger body of caplin. What they were doing was swimming down inside, they would not cross it. The water temperature was seven degrees different in the matter of two kilometres. That is what it had dropped, seven degrees in the difference and the caplin would not swim through that particular body of water. They went further on down the Northeast Coast and then came in to shore and that is why they referred to it at that time, the fishermen were referring to them as a bay quota, bay stock instead of the offshore stock of caplin. I had never heard it before until then but fishermen have been saying that for years, that there are two different stocks, that is the first time I have heard it.

Mr. Speaker, I did not want to take up too much time because other members wanted to speak. I will say to the member opposite, the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir, that it is a timely resolution. I can go on talking about the fishery and especially as it pertains to my particular area for some time but I would like to give other members a chance, at least another member a chance to speak and I commend the member for bringing in this resolution. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am very pleased today to rise in this debate. I am very pleased to support the resolution so ably put forward by my colleague from Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir and I might also, Mr. Speaker, say that I am very pleased and impressed with the support that the members of the Opposition have given this resolution. I believe their hearts are in the right place, and I think that all of the people of this Province would be happy to know that we are in here today debating this resolution in the spirit that we are.

I want to support the resolution, Mr. Speaker, but particularly I want to focus on the mismanagement of the fishery - the mismanagement of the fishery that has taken place over the last number of years. I will not belabour that aspect of it, but I will address the mismanagement of the future that will occur if this Atlantic Fisheries Board is put in place which the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is advocating, that he now has into the House of Commons in Ottawa to become law.

Mr. Speaker, I want to address the inaccurate statements and totally misleading statements that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has made up to this date in relation to the structure and resource allocation aspects of this legislation. I do not want for a minute to understate the importance of the two things that I just mentioned - the structure of that board and the resource allocation aspects of this piece of legislation.

I want to premise my next few minutes on two things. Earlier this year the Premier of this Province said: Mr. Crosbie is going to have to answer to future generations for the devastation of the fishery of this Province if he proceeds with what he is proposing today. Mr. Speaker, shortly after that The Evening Telegram came out and said, in an editorial: This is not a partisan issue. It is an issue of Newfoundland's survival, and people here know it. It is time the fisheries minister recognized it too.

That, Mr. Speaker, is the premise that I want to set out today, to talk about the aspects of that board that is so critical, because just last evening in the meeting in Bonavista a couple of fishermen have been quoted - and I know one fishermen in particular has been quoted as saying that he is not aware of some of the factors that are involved in this piece of legislation. I guess he has been led to wonder why there has been such an outcry from Mr. Crosbie, such utterances that we have seen in the paper and on TV, that he is going to take such actions. Why is he doing this when there seems to be such a consensus and such a cohesive position taken by members of this House and the Premier in particular?

Mr. Speaker, I want to set out the situation and let all hon. members judge for themselves how this situation could impact upon our future and what exactly this situation is, first of all in relation to the structure of the board. The structure of the board, as far as the Premier is concerned, on May 20th said: The proposal of the federal government would provide for the management of fish stocks by a board constituted of representatives from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, PEI, Newfoundland, and one from the Government of Canada. This will leave this Province with one voice in six in management of the waters surrounding this Province.

That is what the Premier of this Province said to the people of this Province, and it was one of the main reasons - one of the two main reasons - that he has noted, since this board has been put in place, why he is so opposed to it and why this government is so adamant about seeing that legislation killed.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Crosbie, the federal minister, in reaction to this statement, has gone on record in a statement that he made to the Rotary Club on May 25th. He says, and I quote: "It would favour no province and create a degree of stability, certainty and predictability in allocations that does not exist today."

Now, Mr. Speaker, obviously here we have two different ideas of what that board would mean, what that structure would mean, and if, in fact, it is as is said by the Premier or if it is as it is stated by the minister. I am sure that the people of this Province would like to know.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to now look to the Act itself, Bill C-129. I do not say that many members of this House or many members of the public have had a chance to see this piece of legislation, but if they look on page 6 of this Bill, article 10(1), which governs the residency of the Board.

I quote: five executive members of the Atlantic Fisheries Board must be ordinarily resident in Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland respectively at the time of their initial appointment to the board. He also goes on to say that: the governments of Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland may at any time submit to the minister a list of names, but the Governor in Council may, but need not, appoint as an executive member a person whose name is submitted by one of these governments, Mr. Speaker.

I submit to the people of this Province that those are the facts. That is the law as it's proposed right now in Bill C-129 on the floor of the House of Commons that Mr. Crosbie has staked his political future on and the Government of Canada on, saying that he will go to every length to see that this is in fact law before he is finished as Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in Ottawa. I submit that the people of this Province have every right to be concerned. Because it is clearly in this Act that we will be only one voice in five. We will only have one say at that table. Who knows? It certainly won't be the voice of the legitimate people's representative of this government, for sure, because we are not going to be given a chance to do what is right in this particular case.

The second thing, and the most important thing in my view. I want to tell the hon. members of this House, the most important thing that has the Premier and government of this Province so upset and so alarmed is the aspect of Bill C-129 as it relates to resource allocation. I know that these are nebulous terms to some people in the Province. Many people out there do not understand. I'm sure that the Member for Waterford - Kenmount doesn't understand. That's not to discredit that member, but there are many members who are not here from rural Newfoundland and Labrador who do not understand the implications of resource allocation.

I want to submit to the people again, as I just did in the other instance, the principles as the Premier stated earlier this year. If they are implemented as they are said to be in this piece of legislation then it will subordinate this Province to the point that we will be barred from our own fishery. That is the Premier's position, that is the position of this government, that is the position of this House.

Mr. Crosbie, no, he does not believe that. He believes that these directions are fundamental to the Board's operation as the Board could take no major decisions except as directed by the minister, and could certainly not - and I repeat not - decide to transfer allocations between the Province - and I mean not ever. That is what the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans said on May 25 to the Rotary Club here in St. John's. As I just said, this is the most important aspect of this piece of legislation. It has the most consequential impact upon the future of rural Newfoundland and Labrador that we can ever imagine. On May 13 of this year Mr. Crosbie proudly produced the legislation to the House of Commons. I quote: under the legislation the minister will give up absolute discretion over licensing and allocation. That is what he directed that piece of legislation to do.

I want to spend a bit of time on these principles of resource allocation and I will give a couple of examples on how these principles have such a significant impact upon the future of rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

Now, Bill C-129. Article 52 of Bill C-129. In making an allocation order the executive committee of a board shall have regard to the following allocation principles: Number 1, resource users have reasonable secure access to fisheries resources. That is the number one principle of fisheries resource allocation to be the principle of the future. Number 2, the needs of resource users who are adjacent to our particular fisheries resource. Number 3, the relative mobility of fleet sectors, and that is essentially historic use, Mr. Speaker. Number 4, relative dependence of resource users, and finally, the economic viability of users. These are the five principles upon which this Atlantic board have to decide on who gets the fish, where, and how much. As I said earlier the Premier of this Province and the government of this Province have sounded the alarm because I can tell you it is quite real.

I tell you it is quite real by also indicating to this House and to the people of the Province what the existing principles are right now. The primary principle, Mr. Speaker, that is in place right now, the principles upon which Canada got the 200-mile limit in 1977, the principles upon which the resource is being allocated since then, I would like to illustrate, Mr. Speaker. The first principle that is being talked about and that has been put in the management plan since 1977 upon which we went to the Law of the Sea conferences and got the 200-limit is the principle of adjacency. That is the first and foremost principle, Mr. Speaker, and that means those closest to the resource must get the greatest benefit.

The second principle, and I want to call member's attention to the exact wording: the relative dependence of coastal communities. Now, if you go and compare that to the second principle that is in this particular document, it says: the resource user will get priority access for those adjacent to the resource. Now, the resource user. All of a sudden community is gone and now it is a resource user.

The third principle upon which we got the 200-mile limit was that of historic use and again that is the principle that is talked about and put into Article 52. Then it is the economic efficiency. That is the other principle that is there. Then we see in the mirror legislation, or in the legislation in Ottawa, it is the relative dependence of resource users, so as we can see, from the legislation that is in Ottawa right now we are talking about a fundamental re-organization and re-emphasis of the fundamental principles of resource allocation. I want to say them again and illustrate what they mean in today's present situation in Newfoundland and Labrador. The first principle, as I said: resource users have reasonable secure access to fishery resources.

The principle of adjacency is now subordinated to that particular principle, and I want to submit to the people of the Province through this House, Mr. Speaker, and I know the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay is listening there, does this mean, for instance, that when the Atlantic groundfish management plan is put in place in 1994 that National Sea Products will get 24 million pounds of turbot to take from the 2J+3KL zone directly adjacent to Newfoundland and Labrador, take it 1000 miles back to Nova Scotia and be able to keep their plants open in Nova Scotia? Is that what it means by resource users reasonable secure access? I submit that is indeed the case.

I further want to say, does this mean, for instance, that with the Northern shrimp fishery, which starts off Cape Chidley up in Northern Labrador and comes down along the Labrador Coast, the Hamilton Bank, the St. Anthony Basin, and works its way out off the Northeast Coast, off Fogo. I would like to submit for the members' understanding of the issue that at the present time, and up until that particular plan was put in place, there was not one shrimp caught south of Fogo Island, south of the 2J area of the fishing zones adjacent to this Province. Yet, as we are here today, over 50 per cent of this resource - 600 of the 1,000 jobs - and each job represents a $50,000 salary for a person in this Province. I know that because many members of my riding, through their employment with the Labrador Shrimp Company, are working on these boats. Six hundred of those 1,000 jobs - over 50 per cent of that quota - is allocated to non-Newfoundland and Labrador companies, and these boats are staffed and manned by people from Nova Scotia, Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

AN HON. MEMBER: Anywhere but Newfoundland.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Anywhere but Newfoundland. I submit that what this number one principle means in that legislation, which they will not be able to ignore anymore, is that they must keep that status quo and enhance it as they are going to by virtue of the structure and the voice that they will have around that table.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I would like to submit this other example. In the Northern cod fishery, when the Northern cod was closed on July 2nd of last year, hon. members may not know, but 24 per cent of the total allowable catch of the Northern cod - some 70 million pounds of Northern cod - was allocated to non-Newfoundland companies, and 95 per cent of that was allocated to Nova Scotia based companies. Not one fish of that 70 million pounds of fish was landed in this Province. Not one job was created.

AN HON. MEMBER: And they have no historical rights.

MR. FLIGHT: And they have absolutely no historical right to it.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that what we have here is the makings of the ultimate death of rural Newfoundland and Labrador. I wish I had more time to expound on it, but I would like to say to the people of this Province that the obituary on rural Newfoundland and Labrador, our communities have been given the signal - clear and unequivocal, supported and enhanced and doubly reinforced by our own native son, Mr. Crosbie in Ottawa - that your time is coming. Your obituary is written. It is signed. It has been signed by our own native son, John Crosbie, and it is only a matter of time before it becomes a public document, but that is the case. That is reality, and I say to the people of this Province, as the Member for Grand Bank also quite eloquently said, as also the editorial board of The Evening Telegram said: This is not a partisan issue. It is an issue of Newfoundland's survival, and people here know it.

I would say, Mr. Speaker, that all of the people of this Province should come together on this issue, as all members of this House have come together on this issue. Rise up to the challenges that are there before us, because if we do not there will be no Newfoundland and Labrador as we know it today, and it cannot be avoided.

This particular legislation must be defeated. This resolution as we have here today must be endorsed and supported. I thank hon. members for their attention to this issue today, and I hope that we will be able to go out here again united to see that there is a call to action from the people of Newfoundland and Labrador - a call to action to take back what is rightfully ours, to bring back the fishery to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I am quite delighted this afternoon to rise and to support the resolution of the hon. member. As members know, Waterford - Kenmount is not a district where there is active or great numbers of people actively engaged in the fishery on the basis as they would have in some of the other districts of this Province. However, I am quite pleased to rise and to note that contrary to what the hon. member for Eagle River indicated, that there is a great deal of sensitivity, a great deal of knowledge. My own background on the Burin Peninsula, having grown up on the Burin Peninsula, is in the fishery. My father built 133 boats that were engaged actively in the fishery, that is where my roots are, that is where my livelihood when I was a boy, that is where our families livelihood came from, in the fishery.

I want to say to hon. members that this resolution is for all members of the House; it is not just a resolution that affects certain parts of the Province, albeit it affects certain parts of the Province more than it does others. However, I want to tell hon. members that when the cod moratorium was announced, the City of Mount Pearl, at the time when I was the Mayor last year, we commissioned a study, a social economic study to tell us what the impact would be on the City of Mount Pearl and I want to share some of the information with hon. members because people sometimes feel this is a rural Newfoundland issue, and what it is, that in its primary sense, it is an issue for all members in this House and I should say to members that that study showed that the impact is significant in all of the urban areas as well as in all of the rural areas, and I should say to members that in Mount Pearl alone, which is very much an urban area, we have fifty-five plant workers, ten inshore fisherpersons and three people engaged as trawler people, therefore, we do have impacts in St. John's, in Mount Pearl, indirect impacts although we do not have fish plants and that kind of activity. However, the economy of Newfoundland is such that every single community - I cannot name one community that would not be tied up and concerned with the fishery and I just want to share part of the study, but I know my time is very short.

For example, in Mount Pearl alone, our study showed twenty firms that are negatively impacted by the cod moratorium and indirectly impacted were twenty-three firms. The impact is in transportation industries, they would be into industries that deal in supplying fishermen the containers and packaging, the marine contractors, all of these people have had to lay off personnel and that certainly has an impact in a community like Mount Pearl or in St. John's or Corner Brook or Grand Falls, and certainly, we as a Province have to be firm and stand up and say that this issue is so important that we cannot as a community of people all across this Province say that we have to preserve our heritage because this is a primary industry of all the Province not just in rural Newfoundland.

Mr. Speaker, many of the impacts that we found in our study show that there is a significant unemployment problem being created because of the cod moratorium. I think all hon. members would share in the comments of the Member for Eagle River as far as his intensity, his ability to be able to talk about rural Newfoundland. We all share that kind of intensity. Having grown up on the Burin Peninsula, I know first hand what it is like to grow up in a rural area and to know the impact. Members of my family are still engaged in the fishery.

Mr. Speaker, I do want to say, in supporting this resolution, that we, as a party on this side of the House, are saying that we believe in these initiatives.

In closing, I just want to say to the hon. mover of the motion that this particular resolution is at the heart and soul of our Province. I am pleased, in the few minutes that were available to me, to stand and support it.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GILBERT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am very proud that I was able to introduce such a popular motion here this evening and that we have this unanimity that you very seldom see in this House. It is sort of nice to be here, to be speaking to clue up a resolution that has met with such agreement.

In the first twenty minutes I had, I only got through two of the `whereases` and I have a couple of more to go, but I listened to some of the members over there and, by and large, I must say, there was a degree of support. But I noticed the Member for Grand Bank -he couldn't sit down; he had to do something to support his buddy in Ottawa. And at the end of it - he stayed right until the last moment and he talked about how, in Nova Scotia and Quebec, the provincial governments are topping up this program, that the fishermen in Nova Scotia and Quebec are occupying the offices, because they don't think it is any good. I am sure that the gentleman from Grand Bank is aware that we have said that unless we have some control over the management, there is not much point in our putting money into federal programs to cure the mismanagement.

What this resolution is all about this evening is the fact that there are lot of fishermen in Newfoundland who are not being treated fairly and their is Band-Aid treatment put in on one part of the coast and a moratorium on the other.

Before I get on to that, the question that I will ask my friend from Grand Bank - it is very good that Quebec and maybe Nova Scotia are going to talk about top-up money for this inadequate program that the Federal Government has put in - but I asked him to ask his friend, Mr. Crosbie, the next time he is talking to him, what percentage of the provincial economy is dependent on the fishery in Quebec and in Nova Scotia, and what percentage of the provincial economy is dependent on it in Newfoundland? I think, the member, himself, agreed that without the fishery there wouldn't be any need for a province.

We are talking about a lot different dollars to top up a program in Newfoundland than we are on the Gaspé side of Quebec. That is why, Mr. Speaker, the `whereas' that I have is: `WHEREAS the compensation package announced in April is not yet meeting the needs of the people involved in the fishery' - and that is on the South Coast; it certainly is not.

It is a Band-Aid treatment and it is separating one part of this Province from the other, because last year, in July, the Northern cod moratorium recognized that there was a failure in the cod fishery. As members have stated here today, that is not only in the cod fishery, but in the total fishery the biomass has been reduced, and there are serious problems in the total fishery, not only cod. There is halibut; there is flounder; there is caplin. Every fishery that we have prosecuted in Newfoundland down through the years has been affected. The fish are not there anymore.

So when you are saying that we are going to put in this Band-Aid treatment for the people of the South Coast, you are talking about a situation where their unemployment has run out, they don't know where to turn next, and they can't look for any relief. The stock is gone for the people on the South Coast just the same as it is gone for the people in Bonavista or the people in St. Anthony. That stock is gone.

So what this program is doing - what the feds have done is created a situation like the make-work projects of years ago where we built fences around graveyards and wheeled rocks from one side of the harbour to the other, because right now the people who are out there, those fishermen who can qualify for this Band-Aid treatment, don't know how to go about it.

As I mentioned earlier, this is a book that one of my friends who is a civil servant in the federal Department of Fisheries gave me. This was a book of instructions given to them on how to answer the questions of those poor people when they started phoning in to the DFO looking for answers - you know, just a confusion in the department. Here is a spreadsheet that they have, where the two departments are involved. Here is the DFO part and here is what they will answer. Here is what the CEIC will answer. Just imagine when a fisherman from François has to phone in. They have to tell him, if you are this, you go this way, and if you are that - I mean the people are more confused, and now their unemployment has run out. This is why I say this program is an abomination to the fishermen of the Province, of the South Coast, in particular.

My friend from Grand Bank referred to one of the very important issues in this. You take, for example, a fisherman along the South Coast of this Province, say, a man who is sixty years old - I know a man who is sixty years old, who raised a family of five or six, all of whom went on to some sort of post-secondary education. He took the advice, as everybody was doing in the 1950s, raised his children, and sent them to university for post-secondary education. This man is in Burgeo today, sixty years old, and he has to have operations to replace two hips. He can't fish anymore. He has gone to see if he can get early retirement through whatever program they have for disability under the Canada Pension Plan, but no, he can't, because he is not disabled enough for that. His family doesn't want to buy his business. All of them are working in other industries where they have gone and taken advantage of the situation that Mr. Smallwood's government put in the 1960s. They got their education so they are now out as doctors, lawyers, indian chiefs, or something like that and they don't want to buy this man's business. He has had a lifetime where he has developed a business, where he has built up a lot of assets, and now, nobody wants it, and this program doesn't address anything at all for him.

I am sure, while I take this man I know very well as an example, that there are many people in Newfoundland in need right now to be given an `out'. If the Federal Government's intent is to reduce the number of people in the fishery, then what better way than to give the older workers, the older inshore fishermen - they talk about plant workers and trawler workers, but the man who has worked in a twenty-five foot boat for thirty years, there is nothing for him only to stay on. Because, even now, if he does have to give up, who wants to buy any equipment now for the fishing industry in Newfoundland? This man has worked all his life and the Federal Government are certainly not being very supportive, or doing anything to support him in being able to maintain some of the assets that he has built up and give him some dignity when he retires.

Mr. Speaker, the final: BE IT RESOLVED, that the 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 Coast and for the Straits of Labrador.

When we look at it, we can see there is nothing fair or equitable about the package that was presented to the fishermen on the South Coast. When you take into consideration that last year in July the Federal Government announced a program for the Northeast Coast where they were going to spend $900 million - they recognized the fishery was a failure and they put in $900 million to take care of this situation for a couple of years. Now, we realize that was only the start, but what we know is that at least it is recognized that the total stock had failed and the fishermen couldn't make a living there, so they put in $900 million to service the Northeast Coast of the Province.

What have they done with the South Coast? One thing that you have to remember is that the South Coast of this Province is the place where you had the only full-time, ten-or-eleven-months-of-the-year, fishermen. These people on the South Coast fished ten or eleven months of the year. They would still do it but for the fact that there is nothing there for them to catch. The scientist have given them all the statistics now, made it all available to everybody and all you have to do is go to DFO. They haven't been catching fish on the South Coast and there has been a gradual decline for the last nine or ten years. What have they done on the South Coast? The full-time fishermen in this Province, the ones who worked at it for ten or eleven months of the year - what have they done? The Federal Government announced a program that says they are going to spend $190 million on a Band-Aid Program that is going to take in the South Coast, the Labrador Straits, and the West Coast of this Province to top up the failure in the fishery for this year. They say that they have not recognized that there is a moratorium, because they really don't think there is. And the reason they say it is that they don't want to put a moratorium, it is not serious enough. The reason they say this is they don't - they say that the fishermen along this area of the coast have multi-licenses. So, you have people who are fishing lobster and lump fish or something like that. I say that may be the case in Nova Scotia, it may be the case in New Brunswick, it may be the case in PEI and maybe in Gaspé, but it is certainly not the case along the South Coast of Newfoundland. The majority of the fishermen along the South Coast of Newfoundland were fishermen that traditionally fished groundfish.

So what have they done? They put in $190 million into this program to take care of the South Coast, the West Coast, the Labrador Straits and the four Atlantic Provinces. I heard Mr. Crosbie when he announced it. He said that the majority of the people affected would be living in Newfoundland. I have written him saying: `Mr. Crosbie, I heard you say that the majority of the people that were affected would be living in Newfoundland. Now, could you tell me what percentage of that $190 million is going to come to Newfoundland?' I haven't had an answer to that one. But when he talks about it, that it is going into ACOA and it is going in to top up CEIC and stuff like that, I really don't think that we are going to see much of that money come into Newfoundland. Those people who are affected by this last program, do not know right now where their next meal is coming from, they do not know how to apply for this. They have to go to DFO and be certified one time and they have to go to CEIC, so we have heard everybody who spoke in this debate today talk about the serious problem with the fishery and it is not just the South Coast right now, but the whole Province should be involved and the whole area of Newfoundland should be involved in a total moratorium in the fishery.

Now that again is the crux of this resolution that I have put forward. If it is put forward to talk about a particular area of the coast, the area that I represent, but I mean, the whole Province is involved in it and everybody here has agreed and the gentleman from Humber Valley there, when he got up he talked about a full, total moratorium and I think yes, Mr. Speaker, that is the only way that this thing can be taken care of, is if the federal government listens to the people in Newfoundland, this House of Assembly today, and they put the whole Province under a total fishery moratorium, not a cod moratorium anymore, but a total fishery moratorium until we see what is going to happen.

We see fishermen in Bonavista where they had meetings last night now frustrated because they do not know what is going to happen in a year's time, but at least they have the comfort of knowing that they are going to get an unemployment cheque or a moratorium cheque or whatever you want to call it for the next year and the government has recognized that there is a failure in the fishery in their area. How do you think the people on the South Coast, those people who are now unemployed, who have not made enough money this year to qualify for unemployment insurance for the season that is now coming up, how do you think they feel? They do not have this comfort of knowing that the federal government is going to look after them.

They are now being told that they must go out and get involved in make work projects, one of them being catching ghost nets, I think, going out and dragging for ghost nets, that is a good policy to have in the fishery, in a restructured fishery. That is the sort of nonsense and thought that went into this by the federal government when they introduced this and they said: okay, if you qualify for unemployment, we will give you some sort of a top up if you did not catch enough fish this year to get to what your average income would be -

AN HON. MEMBER: By God, by God. Keep it up, keep it up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GILBERT: Now that means I will have to put on my glasses, Mr. Speaker. Now with all that I think I am going to have to really get down to being very serious about this. I am so encouraged. I was just about to clue up but now by that applause I am going to have to continue on for the sake of my colleagues.

I tell you now, Mr. Speaker, I am so glad that my colleagues are taking this as seriously as they are because if they were living in François tonight they would be pretty concerned about it, and I am sure there are other areas in Newfoundland where they are concerned about the fact that this program is not adequate. It is alright for someone who is under the cod moratorium, but those of us who represent people who have to go out tomorrow morning and not know where their next meal is coming from is serious for us.

Mr. Speaker, I do agree with the members who say: Yes, the whole Province should be put under a moratorium as far as the fishery is concerned. The whole fishery in this Province should be put under a moratorium. The purpose of this resolution was to point out again that the people on the South Coast of this Province have been considered and treated as second class citizens by the federal government. Again it is a perfect example of mismanagement on the part of the federal government, and it points out again why this government is being so staunch and standing so firmly on the fact that the board that Mr. Crosbie has recommended to look after the fishery in Newfoundland is not doing the job, and the only way that it can be done is if this Province has some say in the management of the fishery.

It is for this reason, Mr. Speaker, that I ask all members to support this resolution and send a strong message to the federal government that we want to be treated, and the people of the South Coast want to be treated as equal and fair citizens of this Province!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GILBERT: Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Motion carried unanimously.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, before you adjourn pursuant to the Standing Orders, we will meet tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. and the government will ask that the House deal first with the taxation of utilities bill. The debate began yesterday, and if we finish with that before the Late Show at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow we will go on then with 1, 3, 5 - we will go on with the bill to raise the legal age for the purchase of cigarettes, which I think is Bill No. 7. My friend, the Minister of Health, is on a real kick here and we are going to give him his kicks.

MR. SPEAKER: The House now stands adjourned until tomorrow, Thursday, at 2:00 p.m.