June 4, 1993                HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                Vol. XLII  No. 11

The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

On behalf of all hon. members, I would like to welcome to the public gallery eleven students from the Coulnar Community Links Centre for Shea Heights who are doing an education course in preparation for the adult basic education program.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the successful conclusion of National Access Awareness Week, and to thank all those individuals, groups, organizations and government bodies who participated in recognizing such an important week in our country. National Access Awareness Week encourages all Canadians and, indeed, all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, to work together to break down barriers so that everyone can participate fully in community life. The intent of recognizing this week is to create increased awareness that all persons have the fundamental right of equal access to transportation, housing, education, recreation and employment.

As all members are aware, a breakfast was held on Wednesday of this week for the members of the House of Assembly to facilitate meeting with individual members of the disabled community and others who promote access awareness. I am sure I speak for all members when I say that we all have a better understanding and appreciation of the types of challenges certain individuals have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

The Department of Employment and Labour Relations has made efforts to increase accessibility awareness and compliance over the last couple of years and intends to increase these efforts in the future. The department is responsible to ensure compliance with the Building Accessibility legislation in Newfoundland and Labrador. Since 1981, the facilities and entrances in all newly-constructed public buildings in the Province must incorporate specific features of accessibility for persons with physical disabilities.

The department recognizes the particular needs of persons with physical disabilities and is aggressively responding to those needs. The production of our 1992 guide to accessible facilities along the Trans-Canada Highway was reported to be a great success. During National Access Week, last year, the department agreed to work towards a guide for 1993 which would include the accessible facilities along secondary roads stemming from the Trans-Canada Highway. I am pleased, during this 1993 National Access Awareness Week, to announce that copies of this guide to accessible facilities in Newfoundland, along the Trans-Canada Highway and its secondary roads, will be available early next week and will be distributed throughout the Province.

While National Access Awareness Week is intended to focus on issues of accessibility for seven days, efforts are continuing on a year-round basis to realize the objective of full accessibility for everyone in society.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I asked our critic if I might have the privilege of responding to this statement for a very specific reason, and that is, I had the privilege and pleasure of sharing dinner with the minister who represented the government at the National Access Awareness Week dinner in Central Newfoundland, Grand Falls - Windsor, just a night or two ago. Certain things occurred at that dinner that I thought it would be important to relate to the House of Assembly.

Before I do that, let me just say, on behalf of our party and our caucus members, that we were pleased to have been able to participate in the legislative breakfast that occurred at Hotel Newfoundland a couple of mornings ago.

Regrettably, there was some kind of misunderstanding, I noticed from some of the news coverage, about members having left, which was totally inappropriate in terms of news reporting, because I think we all were of the understanding that we were invited to the breakfast and that we had a period of time from 9:30 to 11:00 or 11:30 to attend, and that was it; that is what we understood. But, of course, the way CBC television portrayed it, it was as if we all got up, jumped up and left when they were going on with their forum. That was totally inappropriate and inaccurate, and I am sure the people involved with the organization understand differently.

Nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the National Access Awareness Week I think, is to make not only us, as legislators, in the breakfast on Wednesday morning, but the public at large, more aware of the needs of people with disabilities. I mean, that is the whole purpose of National Access Awareness Week, and my experience over the number of years that I have been attending these functions, in particular, is that it works but it works very slowly. It takes a long time for people to keep in their minds the importance of understanding the needs of persons with disabilities.

One thing I have learned is that persons with disabilities don't want to be treated or talked to as people who are different from everybody else. They don't want to be pitied, they don't want to be shown sympathy, they just want to be understood and assisted where necessary, but otherwise, they want to be treated like everybody else.

At the dinner in Grand Falls - Windsor, the other night, the spokesperson who was the guest speaker, did a tremendous job. She, herself, has gone through a tremendous ordeal in her life, but is very determined and showed tremendous courage I thought, and I joked, in fact, at the dinner, that she would make a terrific candidate for us in the next election, and she assured us that she might consider that.

MR. ROBERTS: Grand Falls - Windsor.

MR. SIMMS: No, actually, she had some thought towards Naskaupi, which we understand is going to be wide open the next time, when the minister resigns. The minister will be leaving with the Premier some time before the four years are up, we understand. Anyway, not to be diverted by the minister, Mr. Speaker, it was a very important speech that that person gave and I thought she put it well in perspective.

The little note that I want to pass on to members of the House, the small note, the sort of an aside note related to National Access Awareness Week is that, during the weekend prior to the dinner a couple of nights ago in Central Newfoundland, the local organization out there, the Exploits Chapter of the Physically Disabled, organized a wheelchair race, in which, of course, they invite persons without disabilities to participate. One of those persons was the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

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

MR. SIMMS: By leave?

MR. SPEAKER: I will allow him a few moments to clue up.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have to report to his colleagues on that side of the House, in case they haven't been made aware of this, and to the Premier, specifically, because he might wish the minister to get up and make an apology one of these days again and he would be wise to know this information. The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, the person responsible for understanding these kinds of issues more than anybody else in his Cabinet, was totally annihilated in the wheelchair race in Central Newfoundland - beaten badly, beaten terribly by people who had neither the qualifications nor the experience nor the knowledge of the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible) on the weekend.

MR. SIMMS: Yes, I would have thought so too, but perhaps he will get up and explain one of these days to the House.

Anyway, I wanted to pass that bit of information along to the House as an aside, because I know he would have been too embarrassed to relate that to his colleagues on that side of the House.

We appreciate the statement by the minister and support it.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to join with the others in congratulating the National Access Awareness Week Committee on putting off a very successful week of events throughout the Province, raising the awareness of people about access to public services. I think, this year, one of the most interesting aspects of it was the emphasis on the non-visible types of disabilities that we must be aware of, because they, too, need to have access to educational opportunities, employment opportunities and other opportunities that may be denied them.

The message that came through to me this week was that best efforts, or what is called `reasonable accommodation' to disabilities is not enough. There must be access as of right, and I think that is a very important message that we should all understand - that people with disabilities have the same right of access to public services, to public facilities, to employment and other opportunities, as everyone else, and that must be underlined under this board.

I do wish, Mr. Speaker, that the Newfoundland Government would join with the other provincial governments all across Canada and make some contribution to this very worthwhile endeavour.

Thank you very much.

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, I wish to give the hon. members of the House a further update on foreign fishing activity on the Grand Banks just outside Canada's 200-mile economic zone.

For the week ending May 24, there were ninety-seven vessels of foreign registry fishing on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks, as well as on the Flemish Cap. One of these vessels of foreign registry was fishing for Northern cod. Our main groundfish stock that had been so ravished by overfishing, in fact, has caused a moratorium to be placed on the East Coast Canadian fishery.

Of the nearly 100 floating fish plants from other countries that were fishing on the Grand Banks for the week ending Mary 24, half were from Spain and Portugal, the two European Community countries that have in the past so flagrantly violated all principles of resource conservation. It is also interesting to note, Mr. Speaker, that for the same period seventeen of these Spanish vessels sighted were on the Tail of the Grand Banks in the 3NO area fishing for cod and turbot. I need not remind this House that flatfish stocks in the same fishing area have already been plundered by foreign vessels to the point that it has had a direct result of closing such Newfoundland deep-sea fish plants as the one in Trepassey.

I would also note, Mr. Speaker, that in recent weeks a number of foreign vessels have begun a directed fishery for shrimp in the Flemish Cap area. This is not a NAFO-regulated species, but like turbot, it is very important to our fishing industry. Clearly, Mr. Speaker, this demonstrates the need for effective action to curb overfishing by the Government of Canada, particularly in the context of the upcoming United Nations Conference on High Seas Fishing.

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

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

The first comment I was going to make was on a light note to the minister and ask him when he was going to stop taking George Baker's press releases and bring them in here as ministerial statements? Having said that, this is a very serious matter, Mr. Speaker, and something that I touched on in debate last Wednesday. It is absolutely appalling that we are going through the crisis in this Province, in our fishery, with our unemployment, with fish plant workers and fishermen not being able to fish, or process fish, and here we get another update from the minister about just how bad again this foreign overfishing is. Now, last Fall the Leader of the Opposition and I were in Ottawa and we met with Prime Minister Mulroney and he informed us then about the diplomatic efforts that the federal government was going to undertake. The Leader of the Opposition told the Prime Minister at that time, he said: go through the diplomatic efforts, Prime Minister, but we do not have much hope that those diplomatic efforts are going to really have any results and are going to reduce the overfishing. The leader said: Mr. Prime Minister, you had better have a plan in your pocket soon, at the end of the diplomatic day, because this cannot be allowed to be tolerated.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, if members would allow me just a minute to finish?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I feel strongly about this, and I am sure all members in this House feel strongly about this. We know the state of the cod stocks, we know what has happened to the caplin, and we know what has happened to the flatfish stocks. It is very alarming what has happened to our flatfish stocks, I say to members, if they are not aware. Right now we have the plant in Fortune that is not even open this year and it's because of the decline and the devastation of flounder stocks. We do not know if Marystown is going to open any more this year, we know what happened to Trepassey and we know what happened to Grand Bank. So, we have a very alarming situation in this Province and it is mainly due to foreign overfishing. There are other contributing factors but that is the main factor.

I say to hon. members that I do not think the federal government or we as fifty-two members of this House, can sit back and hope anymore for results from diplomatic efforts. I say that I am a very patient man, very understanding, but we are talking about the future of this Province and I do not think we can hang the future of Newfoundland and Labrador anymore on diplomatic efforts of the federal government, regardless of what party is in power. I say that we send a strong message from this Legislature. We have got to get those boats off the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks. They are not gong to do it by us talking to them, they are not going to do it by going to conferences in St. John's or the United Nations Conference.

I do not want to be an extremist this morning but I think there is only one way and whether we have the military might to do it or not, or we are going to have to get in cahoots with the United States but I think it is time, Mr. Speaker, that we sent those boats out of there by force.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I join in the frustration of all hon. members to get up in this House and continue to express our disdain about what is going on outside the 200-mile limit. I think that we can no longer pin our hopes on international agreement. I do not think that the High Seas Convention meeting in New York is going to resolve the situation. I think the answer is to remove the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks from the area of high seas and the only way to do that is to extend the jurisdiction of Canada beyond the 200-mile limit to the Nose and Tail of the Grand Bank and the Flemish Camp if necessary -

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

MR. HARRIS: - and that is what must be done, Mr. Speaker, and take whatever measures after that, that are necessary to enforce that extension of jurisdiction.

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I have some questions for the Minister of Finance this morning on a couple of different topics. The first topic I want to address or ask him to clarify deals with a news story that I heard yesterday evening, or I saw, I should say, on the electronic television news channel, and it dealt with what I though was an old issue, But the way the story was reported talked about the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador renegotiating the Hibernia deal. That's the way the story was played.

It seems to me the previous Minister of Finance, now Minister of Health, mentioned a couple of years ago, probably, certainly a year ago, in one of his previous Budgets, about some kind of discussion that was going on that would see us get better benefit in terms of revenue from Hibernia. So it wasn't a news story, I didn't think, until I saw this bit about renegotiating Hibernia.

My understanding is that what is going on is a discussion related to the formula that would not only affect Newfoundland and Hibernia, but would affect other provinces, like Saskatchewan, with its potash industry and so on. So I wanted to ask the minister to clarify this issue of what exactly is being discussed, what is going on, so that the news media get it straight, so that we in the House get it straight, and so that the people of the Province know precisely what's happening. So would he clarify that for us.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'll certainly try. First of all, I want to congratulate the former Minister of Finance for spearheading this particular move over the last couple of years. He did a tremendous job and we all appreciate it.

We are close to getting agreement to have major sources of resource revenue - and the two that come to mind are Hibernia in Newfoundland and potash in Saskatchewan, major sources for provinces - considered to be normal sources of revenue. This is by agreement with all of the other provinces and so on. This has been attempted to be done through consensus and as I say was spearheaded by the former Minister of Finance a couple of years ago. We're very close to getting that agreement right now whereby revenues from that major resource source, Hibernia - and potash in Saskatchewan - will be considered as normal revenue. The same way that revenue from the offshore sources off Nova Scotia and belonging to Nova Scotia would be considered ordinary revenue for Nova Scotia; the same way that if Hibernia were Quebec's source of revenue, that because of the relative sizes Hibernia would be treated as normal revenue for Quebec. What we're trying to do really is as smaller provinces get the same rights as the other provinces in Canada.

It means something for us in that we will, once this is announced in the next short while, we will lose only seventy cents per dollar, which is right and proper, of the revenues from Hibernia. It means a tremendous amount for us down the road. Not a great deal right now.

AN HON. MEMBER: The same basis as Nova Scotia (inaudible).

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

MR. SIMMS: Supplementary question, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Finance on another topic. I also understand that at the estimates committee meeting a night or two ago, and according to one news report I've seen at least, but I don't think it's been well publicized, the minister dealt with the issue of tax harmonization. Whereby they intend to harmonize the GST with the provincial sales tax. I remember at least two years ago in 1991 the former Minister of Finance announced a similar plan. I now understand the Minister of Finance now says that this plan they expect to put in place effective January of 1995. At least that's what the news story alluded to. That would be four years from the time it was announced.

I want the minister, if he would, to confirm that, number one. Number two, the former minister said that their tax reform would be revenue neutral. I'd like him to confirm that for the record in the House of Assembly. Thirdly, I'd like him to tell us if in fact what that means precisely is that their intention is to reduce the provincial sales tax by 2 per cent, from 12 down to 10. Can he confirm those three minor items?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, they're very major items. We've been going through analysis of harmonization for some time. We've gone through a process of consultation that is the hallmark of this government - the consultation process.

We have twice now gone out to businesses before we have made decisions with regard to harmonization - gone out to businesses and chambers of commerce and so on all throughout the Province - and we have received hundred and hundreds of briefs, and the former Minister of Finance and myself have had many meetings with these groups. So over the last couple of years we have consulted widely and extensively to make some basic decisions on harmonization.

The first decision was whether to proceed with harmonization or whether to examine harmonization further. We made that decision. Then the question was whether to do it piecemeal over a period of time or to attempt as complete a harmonization as possible when it is done. The consultation process has allowed us to reach the conclusion that if it is to be done then it should be done as completely as possible all at the same time, with the business input and so on. So now we are at the stage where we are formulating our policy, after receiving briefs and having meetings right up until the election as a matter of fact, we are now in the process of developing our position. We have made a commitment to the people of this Province, to the businesses, to the chambers of commerce, and people all over this Province - and I spoke in the hon. member's district one night at quite some length on this issue - we made a commitment. They were very enthused, I say to the hon. member, very enthused. We made a commitment that when our position is known we will put it out to the people again and ask for further input.

So I am getting to the answer to the first question now that the hon. member asked. Because of this process it has taken some time, and it should. It is a major, major decision that requires all that input. Because of the length of time, because of the federal situation where there is a federal election coming and there have been statements made about what happens to the GST after the federal election and so on, and in respect for that we really have to wait for that process. What I have said is that the earliest possible time, because of these factors, to do harmonization, whatever that decision is, would be the first of January, 1995 - that we could not make it by July, 1994. So that was the earliest date - not the date at which it is going to happen - because the process has not been finished.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: I have forgotten the other two questions.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) revenue neutral.

MR. BAKER: Yes, the process - oh, now I remember the third question. The process will be revenue neutral for the government. There will be some shifts in society in terms of taxation and so on. It will cause some shifts, obviously, because of the broadening of the RST base. Mr. Speaker, our fondest hope is that in that process we can somehow reduce the RST level - how much I could not say at this point in time.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the minister misspoke at the beginning when he answered my question - when he talked about consultation being the hallmark of this government. I am sure he misspoke. He must have meant to say, `Confrontation is the hallmark of this government.` That would have been much more accurate.

I am hesitant to ask the minister any further questions because I asked fairly simple questions, I thought, which were reported in the media - or at least one of the media - already. That is why I wanted him to answer the questions yes or no, but it took him six minutes or something to answer one question and we have some other questions.

The point we were trying to make, and he has now clarified a number of things, I think. They do not necessarily intend to bring it in by January of 1995, contrary to a news report. That is important for people to understand. Secondly, the reduction from twelve down to ten is what they would like to do. He has been reported as saying that. He kind of confirmed that this morning although he would not specifically talk about it.

The point I want to make is this, and I want him to confirm this, that if that process continues along the lines in which his predecessor described and which he now has described, and which he described at the estimates committee - can he confirm that the only way this could be done, to broaden the RST tax base to pick up that $100 million for two percentage points of retail sales tax would be to apply the provincial sales tax, obviously, to things like electricity and heating fuel - a significant item - children's clothing, funerals, haircuts. I know you would love to say those are only options, we don't know, and all that stuff, but the reality is, if you are going to pick up the $100 million, Mr. Speaker - and even the Speaker is nodding in agreement with me -

MR. SPEAKER: The Speaker is nodding hoping that the member will come to a question.

MR. SIMMS: Will the minister confirm, if you are going to pick up the $100 million, those are the kinds of items to which you are going to have to expand the provincial sales tax? Can he confirm that?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Consultation is the hallmark of this government. We developed our Strategic Economic Plan through extensive consultations throughout this Province. We have carried on our collective bargaining in a process of consultation that has been unheard of in this country, and I say to the hon. member that we will reach our social contract long before other provinces. So, Mr. Speaker, we have gone through extensive consultation processes every time a major decision has had to be made. Now, this has resulted in the fact that we haven't been hiding our intentions and we haven't been hiding the fallout and so on. So there has been discussion out there. And members opposite interpret discussion as being dissent and lack of consultation, but, Mr. Speaker, they had better think again. We just came through an election - they had better think again.

Now, the question. Mr. Speaker, we are talking about harmonization, as much as possible, with the Goods and Services Tax brought in by the Federal Government. Harmonization means extending the RST base to items covered by the GST, but, Mr. Speaker, I have to say that one of the very serious decisions that have to be made in the process is how far to harmonize. Quebec has not completely harmonized and I don't know if it is possible to completely harmonize, so the question the hon. Leader has asked me is precisely what the consultation over the next few months will be about - the extent of the harmonization.

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

MR. SIMMS: A final supplementary. Mr. Speaker, I apologize for my hesitancy but I had to laugh when I heard the minister get up bragging about his government's record on reaching contracts. Surely, he knows what his government's record on reaching contracts is like throughout Newfoundland society.

AN HON. MEMBER: Breaching them.

MR. SIMMS: Breaching contracts is what he meant to say; I am sure again he misspoke - Friday morning.

A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

My supplementary is this -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: Now, the minister is bragging about all the consultation and everything. He talked about their discussions with the Chambers of Commerce and other business organizations and all that, but there is one group of people in this Province who will be most affected by tax reform of this type and that is the ordinary person, the consumer. I would like to ask the minister, since he is bragging so much about their record on consultation, will he commit now, to hold public hearings on the government's plan before anything is implemented so that the people of this Province who will have to pay the bill, will have an understanding of what exactly is going on? Will he commit to do that by a committee of this House?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, a mechanism is already in place for that full consultation process, as I already outlined, and as soon as we have our decisions made and our position clear, then there will be a full consultation process taking quite some time. Then, if legislation is required, after that period, then the legislation will be subject to the Legislation Review Committees, who can then do whatever they want to do. So that process, Mr. Speaker, is already in place.

As to his comments about consultation in collective bargaining, Mr. Speaker, the change from behind closed doors, hiding away, confrontation, the change from that to completely open consultation was a little bit of a shock to the system, but, Mr. Speaker, I believe that ultimately, we will have a better collective bargaining system as this works its way through.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Health.

Anyone who visits hospitals today can't help but notice that the staff there are overloaded and they are working under extreme pressure. Wherever you go, you get the feeling of extreme pressure and almost frenzied activity that you would normally see only in an emergency room, and then, only for short periods of time. Now, these conditions are causing problems, not just for medical and support staff, but also for patients. People are waiting for medication and treatment, are facing postponements of surgery and are being called in the night for procedures that normally occur in the daytime. I ask the minister: Is he going to do something to arrest what is rapidly becoming a very serious health problem here in this Province?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. member is at his usual scaremongering tactics. What he doesn't seem to realize, Mr. Speaker, is that hospital care has changed over the past number of years. Ten or fifteen years ago, you would go in hospital and probably spend a month there, you would have an operation, perhaps, and you would get over it, gradually you would recover, and it was a semi-leisurely activity at certain periods while a patient was there. What is happening now is that patients go in for a very short time, they get operated on and they get sent home. There does seem to be a great activity, in the turnover of patients, in and out, because of the short stay period. The member shouldn't confuse that changed way mode of operation of hospitals with care that is not as adequate. I believe it is more adequate, because we are not keeping people in hospital who don't need to be there.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The mode certainly has changed - there are long waiting lists. I know people who wait almost a year for surgery. Perhaps the minister has read Dr. Paddy Warrick's column last Saturday in The Evening Telegram. He says, hospitals have not spoken out publicly about day-to-day problems because they fear it would lessen the confidence of patients coming for treatment. Now, the hospitals are not telling the public but I am sure they are telling the minister, and I ask the minister: Is he listening to them, or is he taking advantage of their professionalism to cut deeper into the health care system?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to Dr Warrick, the advice that we get comes not from him but from the Newfoundland Hospital Nursing Home Association and from the various hospital boards that have been put in place. So, if you want people who speak for hospitals, don't read The Evening Telegram.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Well, of course, it is the minister, not the hospitals, who is ultimately responsible for health care here in this Province. The minister keeps saying it is hospitals' responsibility, but it is not the hospitals' final or ultimate responsibility, it is the minister's responsibility and the minister should be aware of what effect those funding cuts are having on patient care and services here in this Province. I ask the minister again, if he would look at setting up an independent committee to take a look at the effect reduced funding is having on bedside care and other services that are provided for hospitals here in this Province?

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

DR. KITCHEN: No, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. I guess, more than at any other time during the year, this time of year is an extremely important time for young people in terms of finding employment for the Summer that would help with furthering their education and furthering their own opportunities. My question is: Can the minister explain - in such tough economic times when young people need more support from the leaders, from the Legislature, and from government - why the Student Employment Program was cut by $200,000?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the hon. member for the question, as well.

The fact of the matter is not that the program has been cut by $200,000, the reality is that last year we budgeted the exact same amount as we budgeted this year.

MS. VERGE: What did you spend last year?

MR. GRIMES: We did an assessment of the need partway through the Summer last year, after we had processed the applications which are just about finalized now and will be released early next week, and found that there was a greater need. We went back to Cabinet, because of that increased need, and got access to additional monies so that we could provide some additional opportunities for students. I know we are all used to talking the phrase of tough economic times, but all of the indicators are that it may not be any worse this year than last year, as a matter of fact, it might even be a little bit better. We will do an assessment after we have processed the $600,000 worth of activity and if, in fact, there is a need - we have shown an ability to respond in the past, but we can't commit to those kinds of things. We have a Budget before us which is exactly equal to last year. We will make the commitments, we will assess the situation and see what happens after that. We spent $800,000 last year because there was an increased need that was determined by us halfway through the season and we responded to that at the time. But the allocation for this year is the same as was budgeted for last year.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: I thank the minister for his response. Student employment centres this year have stated that never before have they seen so much unemployment among students, you can't buy a job out there. There are over 200 people a day going through student employment centres who have no hope of getting jobs. University graduates are lining up at the doors for minimum wage jobs and will now be competing with high school students coming out when the school year ends, who will be after these jobs, as well. Can the minister commit here today that he will assess, or strike somebody from his department, to assess on a daily or weekly basis, the situation, so that if he determines the need exists, they will look at trying to find more funds for student employment programs this year?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I can't confirm the numbers that the hon. member mentioned, of how many people, on a daily basis, are going through the student employment offices, but I would certainly hope that none of us would confuse two different issues. The gradates who are going through the offices looking for work and having difficulty finding work - is not the group of people we try to address with our student employment program.

The government has an initiative which has worked very well for some four years now, a graduate employment program which is again funded this year to assist graduates in trying to get their first full-time job. That is separate from the issue we are dealing with, of students who are still in the post-secondary system trying to secure some employment for the Summer to help with their ongoing education costs. Certainly, as I indicated, we monitored the situation last year; we have been doing that, we will monitor the situation again this year. Whether or not we can access additional monies, as we did last year, that I don't know at this point in time, but it won't be from lack of trying and it won't be from lack of monitoring the situation to try to see that we have a positive impact on as many students as we can in their search for much-needed summer employment.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am having a little difficulty in hearing the minister at times, as well as the hon. members who are asking questions.

The hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to address a question to the Minister of Education. I am pleased to note this morning that there are ninety-three junior high school students in the public galleries. They represent three class groups from two different schools in the region. This means that the average class size is thirty-one students per class, yet, Mr. Speaker, the Department of Education, in its publication, `Profile '92', indicates that the teacher/pupil ratio in the St. John's region is seventeen-to-one, which, in itself, is the highest ratio in the Province. Can the minister explain why the reality of class size in junior high school is nearly double the departmental-stated ratios?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the department allocates teachers to school boards. The board has the discretion, then, to determine how or where the teachers will be sent. I want to reiterate or to highlight what this profile says, Mr. Speaker, that we, in this Province, have the best - the best student/teacher ratio in all of Canada, bar none, Mr. Speaker, bar none.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, while the ratio of seventeen-to-one may represent the overall picture, there is a classroom reality, and that is, that each day, teachers encounter twice that number of students. In fact, Mr. Speaker, in 1961, when I began my first class teaching in Botwood, I had thirty-three students. This past week, when I left the teaching profession, the class size at Mount Pearl Junior High School, an average in Grade VII was thirty-two. Will the minister undertake to subdivide his departmental data to better reflect the actual learning environment?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I'm aware of the problem which the hon. member puts forward. We have a system in this Province where school boards are responsible for the day to day delivery of education. As a result, I'm just looking at some of the ratios which exist in the Province. For example, in the Vinland, the pupil-teacher ration is 12.9:1. Isn't that some ratio? In the Deer Lake school board, 13.5:1. In Labrador West, 14.9:1.

There seems to be a problem with distribution. Overall we have the best pupil-teacher ratio in the Province. I don't know what the hon. member would have me do, unless he wants me to go out and take over the responsibility of the boards. That's a thought which I can certainly wrestle with but I don't think it would be too well received by the school boards in the Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the provincial government in the early 1980s reorganized the senior high school structure and introduced Grade XII. They made some other modifications to programs and courses. Of course, there has been some considerable reorganization of the primary and the elementary division. Yet we have the junior high school division seem to be unrecognized, seem to be unaddressed by the government. Our Grade VIII students continue to perform below the national average on CTBS. Class sizes seriously jeopardise the learning environment. Teachers in junior high school have the most difficulty with behaviorally disruptive students. Will the minister commit his government to an independent study of all aspects of the junior high structure and the curriculum needs of our junior high school students?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the provincial government just spent in excess of $1 million on a Royal Commission which dealt with all of these issues. Hopefully, over the not too distant future, we'll be able to implement some of the recommendations which are made in that Royal Commission report. So we certainly don't have any intention of going with another Royal Commission to identify problems which we have already identified. We have now to put in place a process to deal with the problems. I can assure the hon. member that over the not too distant future he will see some action which he will be quite pleased with, I'm sure.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations and concerns Workers' Compensation.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Last Fall the government took away benefits from injured workers because of long-term financial problems in the Workers' Compensation system. The recent report shows that there have been dramatic decreases in the number of injury-causing accidents and also claims being filed as a result, which the minister attributes to the efforts of people in the workplace to prevent accidents. It's also resulted in of course a turnaround in the finances of Workers' Compensation. Will the minister acknowledge that this provides evidence to support the fact that his government's drastic cuts to Workers' Compensation benefits last Fall were both unnecessary and punitive to injured workers, and that in fact the same kinds of economic results could have been achieved by an active injury prevention program in the workplace over the long run?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I expect there may be some continuing discussion of Workers' Compensation in the next little while as a result of the release of the annual report for 1992.

Pointing out as I did in the release of the report yesterday, the information contained in the 1992 report reflects clearly the two things that the hon. member mentioned in his question. The fact that there has been an increased effort. My assessment of it in the estimates committee a couple of days ago was that when the review committee went around the Province a couple of years ago, and brought attention to the dire straits that Workers' Compensation was in, that both employers and employees began to take their obligations at the workplace much more seriously with respect to safety. That reflected itself in the report, showing less accidents. That combined with the fact that there were actually less people engaged in activity that could possibly have an accident.

However, the changes were very necessary. Even though there are some improvements there, the $33 million improvement in the unfunded liability is not a reflection of the fact that the unfunded liability is disappearing or that there's been cash actually infused into the system to buy down the unfunded liability. It's a reflection of the fact that there's been a recalculation on the basis of the new benefit structures. All of those are reduced, therefore the numbers are reduced. It will take another full year, Mr. Speaker, before we can actually assess whether or not the legislative changes will have a real impact in causing the financial situation at the commission to move in the right direction.

The time for Oral Questions has elapsed.

MR. SPEAKER: On behalf of all hon. members I would like to welcome to the public galleries several groups of students. The first is from Mount Pearl Junior High, and it is composed of thirty-one students from Grade VII accompanied by their teachers, Gordon Hicks and Sherry Skinner.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The second group includes eleven Level III students from Mount Pearl Senior High School, in the district of Mount Pearl, accompanied by their teacher, Mr. Darryl Penney.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The third group, certainly not least, is two Grade VII classes, fifty-nine students from Beaconsfield Junior High, Topsail Road, St. John's, along with their teachers, Ms. Jerri Doherty and Mr. Gary Bambrick, and one chaperone, Ms. Alfreda Crocker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, yesterday afternoon, the hon. the Member for St. John's East Extern questioned me relating to regional fire services in and around the City of St. John's. I just wish to reply by saying, yes, the department has written the regional board, as well as the City of St. John's, expressing its concern over the amounts charged to the communities in and around the St. John's area. This minister is waiting for a reply from the board and the City and will not make any further comment relating to that particular question until I have a reply from the board.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, could we call Order 9, Bill No. 7? The hon. gentleman opposite, my friend from Ferryland, was speaking.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, Order No. 9, second reading of a bill, "An Act Respecting The Control Of The Sale Of Tobacco To Minors."

I believe the hon. the Member for Ferryland was speaking when we adjourned the debate yesterday.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I was speaking yesterday on the enforcement aspect of legislation. It is fine to bring in legislation dealing with restriction of smoking, or the sale of cigarettes or tobacco of any sort to people under nineteen, and I agree wholeheartedly with it. I was emphasizing the point that it is very, very important to enforce regulations that currently exist. I asked the minister - maybe he could relate to us a little later - exactly how active they have been in enforcement and taking action against people who sell tobacco to minors and what action they are taking against people who are obtaining tobacco to give to minors, or buying on their behalf.

There are a few points of concern to be dealt with if you increase it now to nineteen. And I understand that vending machines now would only be placed in liquor establishments, because a person must show proof of age in order to get into these establishments and to access a vending machine.

That raises another point: What happens to students who are employed in stores during Summertime and other times of the year? An eighteen-year-old student working in a store on summer employment, who could dispense cigarettes over a counter, I guess, would be now in a position - and maybe the Minister of Justice might be able to pass a comment on this. I know, under the liquor laws, if you are working in a store, you cannot dispense liquor or beer to people if you are under the legal age of nineteen. I would assume now, if you are under the age of nineteen, working in a store during the Summertime, you cannot sell cigarettes to adults. I think that is an implication, too, that we have to look at.

DR. KITCHEN: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: So the Minister of Health is saying that a person seventeen years of age can now pass cigarettes, sell over the counter, if they are working in a store, to adults? Is that what the Minister of Health is saying? In other words, the person is not entitled by law, then, to be able to smoke tobacco or handle tobacco but can sell it to other people? Is that what the Minister of Health is saying?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He doesn't know what he is saying.

MR. SIMMS: A good question. He is saying yes.

MR. SULLIVAN: The Minister of Health is saying yes to that?


MR. SULLIVAN: In other words, I guess, by the same comparison, a person who is eighteen, then, could sell beer in a store, could they, to a person who is an adult?

I think it is an important part of the legislation to make it -

AN HON. MEMBER: The minister will have to check that out - a good question.

MR. SULLIVAN: I think it has something to do with this bill.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, but it is not uncommon during the Summer months to hire students, even though there is $200,000 less spent this year on hiring students. It is not uncommon for businesses to add on students during the Summer months, and I am wondering if an eighteen-year-old student can now sell cigarettes over the counter to adults who come into that store? You are saying they can? Can that same eighteen-year-old sell alcohol to a person who comes into the store?


MR. SIMMS: `Yes', he is saying - the minister is saying yes.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The minister is wrong, he cannot, he must be nineteen.

MR. SULLIVAN: Maybe the Minister of Justice might be able to inform the House on this later because I am sure that is the part of legislation that will have to parallel any justice legislation that is going to have certain restrictions on handling the illegal sale of goods - whether it is alcohol or tobacco, it should be parallel to that. This could cause a serious problem and I think we need something to deal with it, because often you can see, in various stores across the Province, seventeen and eighteen-year-olds who have finished school, have Summer jobs and they are in a position where they cannot legally be able to deal with the sale of these items.

Well, overall, this Province, I know, is depending upon tobacco revenue, actually $16 million more they are planning on collecting this year in revenue from the sale of tobacco than they did last year - the Budget is allowing for $80 million. Last year, I think the Province realized $64 million in revenue, even though the health bill for this Province is $60 million cost, that is not counting the minister indicated, the fees and salaries to physicians for treating people who had various diseases as a result of smoking.

I think we have to weigh the cost and not get carried away too much and be too lenient just because a large chunk of our revenues depend upon taxes being realized from the sale of tobacco here in the Province. Overall I think it is pretty shameful that youth in this Province take up the bad habit of smoking. The minister mentioned some very interesting figures yesterday showing that, where two parents in a family smoke, the rate is much higher as opposed to one, and where none of the parents smoke in the family, their kids - he mentioned a 13 per cent chance that the child will smoke if the parents do not smoke, and that is a very interesting statistic, so interesting that it would make one want to put restrictions on the smoking of cigarettes to people over nineteen years of age.

I think we should get a little tougher, in our society, with the laws on smoking in general. When you look at the $3.25 billion that goes into cigarette advertising across North America - and I mentioned in the House previously that magazines that have a high rate of advertising do not carry any anti-smoking reports or stories. They are not going to bite the hand that feeds them. I think it is important that we look very seriously at the whole total concept of smoking, even as it applies to adults. I think we can place certain restrictions on smoking. It is hazardous to health. I don't think parents have the right to set up an environment that is going to damage the lives of their children. I think we have to look at the total protection of minors in this Province, and if we have to do that through tightening up the regulations and enforcement on adults, I think we should follow that approach.

It is very, very unfortunate to see fourteen, fifteen and sixteen-year-old people smoking, and it is happening, it is becoming very serious; there is an increase, I understand, a big increase in the number of young females who are smoking today. The advertising is focused upon the youth. Cigarette smoking - they are attacking the youth, who are most vulnerable -

AN HON. MEMBER: Smoke control.

MR. SULLIVAN: We don't have, to my knowledge, any controls now, very little enforcement. There is very little action taken now to enforce the legislation, as it currently exists. Are there some plans to take a more active role in enforcing any future legislation for anyone under nineteen years of age? I think it is important that we take this matter very seriously. We have to look at the enforcement aspect. I know the legislation is here and the fines are certainly a deterrent, and should be; the amount of fine should be a deterrent for any offender, but they are not going to solve the problem if there are no prosecutions. You could have a million dollar fine and if nobody is brought to task, it is not going to solve it. So I think we have to take stronger measures, we have to be more concerned, we have to look at the overall problems associated especially with young, growing people; their systems are more susceptible to smoke inhalation than older people.

There are 4,000 contaminants found in cigarette smoke, of which some are poisonous. Arsenic and formaldehyde are some of the substances found in cigarette smoke and studies have shown that 70 per cent to 90 per cent of these contaminants remain within the lungs. They remain there permanently. The effects are like x-ray radiation, they are cumulative on the system. As time goes on, they build and build up to a certain point where then they become carcinogenic and bring on lung cancer. That is just one of the bad effects.

That is only a very minute problem with cigarette smoking. The biggest problems are in middle-aged and older people, with effects on the cardiovascular system. So it is important that, overall, we look at the implications it is having. It may cost a few dollars today, but it is going to save big dollars down the road in the very near future.

So I certainly support the legislation as it is. I would like to see more emphasis put upon the enforcement aspect of the legislation. Anything that is going to even make a small step forward in curtailing cigarette smoking among minors or anybody in the Province, for that matter, I would wholeheartedly support it.

Hopefully, over the course of debate on the bill, and when we get into Committee, we might be able to get some discussion of statistics on enforcement and, over the past, let's say, two or three years, exactly how active we have been in trying to enforce it on people.

Because there are people out there now, under the legal age, who are smoking on a daily basis. They are smoking, I am sure, up to a half-pack a day - kids who are fourteen years of age - and even more. So it is important that we look at the early years before people start to form their smoking habits. It is an addiction that is very difficult to break. If we concentrate on where the majority of people start smoking under nineteen years of age, I think it is a big step forward in trying to lick this problem and have people enjoy a fairly healthy life, at least, free from any cardiovascular problems that could be associated with the bad effects of smoking.

I support it, Mr. Speaker, and with that I finish my discussion on second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Trinity North.

MR. OLDFORD: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask leave of the House to request that we revert to item C on the routine procedures, Presenting Reports by Standing and Special Committees. My request is being made so that I could report on the Government Services Committee.

MR. ROBERTS: Table the standing of the report, so that we can do the concurrence (inaudible).

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: We grant leave.

MR. SPEAKER: Leave granted.

Presenting Reports by Standing and Special Committees.

I again recognize the hon. the Member for Trinity North.

MR. OLDFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Government Services Committee have considered the matters to them referred, and have passed without amendment the estimates of the expenditures of the Departments of Finance, Works, Services and Transportation, Employment and Labour Relations, and Municipal and Provincial Affairs, and of the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation and the Public Service Commission.

Mr. Speaker, in presenting this report, I want to thank the members of the Committee: the Vice-Chairperson, the Member for Bonavista South, the Member for Pleasantville, the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, the Member for St. John's North, the Member for Harbour Grace, and the Member for St. John's East Extern. I also want to thank the ministers and their staff for their level of co-operation. I believe the process of estimate review has been well served by our deliberations, and I thank everyone involved in the deliberations for their co-operation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. ROBERTS: Now, to the (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 7.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I want to have a few words to say on Bill 7, "An Act Respecting The Control Of The Sale Of Tobacco To Minors". I missed an opportunity a few days ago, really, to speak on the previous bill brought in by the Minister of Health dealing with the smoke-free environment in the workplace. I had to leave the House for a few minutes and when I got back they had moved on. As a matter of fact, the minister, I believe, was closing debate.

I just want to go on record as saying I think they are two very good pieces of legislation - we are talking about smoking in the workplace and then controlling the sale of tobacco to minors. I guess there are a lot of implications for half the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador, regardless of age. As I said a number of days ago, I think that government really has to be more pro-active in this type of legislation if we are going to get a handle on the expenditure for health care in the Province in the future. It is something that I have felt very strongly about over the years. We all know the harmful effects of smoking, we all know the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, as it is referred to, and the Member for Ferryland, a couple of days ago, had some alarming statistics. He was very well versed on the issue. He had done a lot of research into the harmful effects of smoking and smoke.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who was that?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The Member for Ferryland. He was very, very enlightening with the statistics and research he had done on this.

I just want to go on record as basically supporting the legislation but I want to say that the Member for Ferryland, this morning, has raised a couple of very important questions. I guess, the first think you have to observe about this is that if you couldn't enforce regulations on the sale of tobacco to sixteen-year-olds, how are you going to enforce them on nineteen-year-olds? That is something to which government is really going to have to give serious consideration. There is no point in raising the age if we are still going to have the same abuse. I think that is the real challenge that government, the Minister of Health, and the Minister of Justice will have to deal with. It is going to be more difficult to enforce the higher age bracket, I say to members, because we all know there are thirteen and fourteen-year-olds in this Province who smoke, who go out and buy tobacco products, and if we can't police and enforce that, then how, in the name of God, are we going to police and enforce regulations for the sale of tobacco for nineteen-year-olds, or see that seventeen and eighteen-year-olds don't buy it?

There is another thing I want to say about all this. We are all concerned about individual health. We are all concerned about the millions and millions of dollars that the taxpayers of the Province have to put forward to take care of our health care system, but I think that perhaps the only way for us to reduce our health care costs in the future is to have a more healthy lifestyle. Government has to be very pro-active in promoting that and, as well, government is going to have to put up some very important dollars to encourage Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to be more careful about their diets and to be more fitness conscious.

MR. SIMMS: What did you have to bring that up for?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, because it is so important.

MR. SIMMS: Stick to smoking.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: But it is all related.

MR. ROBERTS: He is against all the pleasures of life.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I say to the Government House Leader, the Minister of Justice, no, I am not against all the pleasure of life.

MR. ROBERTS: Smoking is a pleasure of death, not a pleasure of life.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Precisely.

MR. ROBERTS: (inaudible) a reformed smoker like I am.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That is one thing I never did, Mr. Speaker. One thing I have never done in life is smoke.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) my hon. friend who has never smoked.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, I am not going to get into that here this morning, of what I got into or didn't get into in life. I managed to get this far in life without smoking, I say to the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: I say to my hon. friend, we are (inaudible) for other vices, I think.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, there is no doubt, there are those who would accuse me of having other vices.

MR. ROBERTS: How about driving a nice Cadillac?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That is two days in a row now that the Government House Leader has slapped up to me about the type of car I drive. I want to say to the Government House Leader that I like a challenge and I am realistic about things in life. I knew that I could never have a bigger bank account that the hon. member so I figured I would have a bigger car. He drives a little Miata, a little sports car, a little convertible.

MR. ROBERTS: My two cars together didn't cost what the hon. gentleman's white Cadillac cost.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I can assure the Government House Leader that it surely did. I am not going to disclose what I paid for my car any more than I expect him to do so.

MR. ROBERTS: I thought it was one of these chauffeur-driven limousines. I saw my friend from Burin - Placentia West (inaudible) to get it in one day.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It didn't cost me very much money.

MR. ROBERTS: Did you notice there is a Dwight Yoakum out in the cars and Cadillac?

MR. SIMMS: What has that got to do with smoking?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am not a great fan of Dwight Yoakum - whether he smokes or not, I don't know. The group who watched him perform at the stadium thought he was smoking something before the concert, I say to the Government House Leader.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Did Charest inhale?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Pardon?

MR. SIMMS: Did Charest inhale? he asked. They all inhaled.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, no, Charest didn't inhale.

MR. SIMMS: I wonder did Trudeau inhale?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Kim Campbell - no, Bill Clinton didn't inhale, wasn't it? Charest didn't inhale but Kim Campbell did inhale. That's it, yes, I got the order right. I say to my good friend from Eagle River that I think Jéan Chrétien continuously inhales. He continuously inhales, Mr. Speaker.

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible) polls?

AN HON. MEMBER: That is some poll now, thirty-five - thirty-four.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I just want to say to members opposite, because I -

MR. SIMMS: He was sixty points ahead there about a year ago.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, this debate - I wish the Member for Eagle River would rise in his place after I finish and -

MR. ROBERTS: He thinks he is in his place now.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That is what I say, wishful thinking, I say to the Government House Leader, for the Member for Eagle River, wishful thinking, to think that he is in his place.

MR. ROBERTS: The Member for Eagle River will be in the front ranks before it is done.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, I don't know in the front ranks of what though. As I said to my good friend before, he is the only member opposite who is still in the same seat now that he was in before the last election - still in the same seat.

MR. SIMMS: They are talking about putting on an extra row.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, they are thinking about putting - I told him a little booth back there, in that wall, like Howard Ballard and King Clancy had. That is where they are thinking about putting the Member for Eagle River, because the Premier, now, is not even sure - you have heard it said that it is better you are seen and not heard. Well, the Premier is not quite sure now if he even wants to see the Member for Eagle River, so he is going to insert him in the wall.

MR. ROBERTS: We are putting the Member for Eagle River, then, where he put Mike Kelly.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That could very well be.

It is so hard, Mr. Speaker, to be able to say the serious things I want to say about this legislation and about -

MR. SPEAKER: I will certainly call the House to order.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) harassment.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: What an attack! - vicious personal attacks, Mr. Speaker. I am going to have to call for the protection of the Chair.

MR. SPEAKER: Well, I will certainly call the House to order and allow the hon. member to get on with his serious remarks.

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

I just want to say that in these times of tough economic restraint, I think, governments - and when we were the government we were no different, we sometimes lost sight of what an expenditure of a few hundred thousand dollars can do to encourage and support healthier lifestyles, to develop higher fitness levels amongst our citizens. We lost sight of the effect that a few hundred thousand dollars expenditure in the short-term can have on the long-term budgets of the Province. I have always been a very strong advocate of that.

I think, when I heard over the last few weeks about the cuts that have been made in the division of Community Recreation Sport and Fitness, a very important division of government, I say to members opposite - it is lost in that great big department over there of Provincial and Municipal Affairs. It was a very pro-active division. It did so much good for the people of this Province; every day they were doing something positive. Well, over the last few years, they have been cut to the bone in that division. And the impact of that, Mr. Speaker, is that that division does not have the resources to promote healthier lifestyles for our people. That is really sad, because they are responsible for all the sports and recreation programs in the Province, they are responsible for promoting fitness in the Province and they do not have the resources now to do those kinds of positive things. The impact on the provincial budget in the long term will be such that it will cost the taxpayers millions and millions of dollars, because we should be spending more money on prevention. A few hundred thousand dollars now on prevention to get our people more fit, to get them healthier, will save the minister, whoever the minister of Health will be in ten years - it will save their budgets millions of dollars.

I want to say this, especially to the ministers who are here this morning, that when you get around the Cabinet table and you see a paper coming up from that department and particularly from that division looking for a few measly dollars to promote fitness, to promote a better health lifestyle for our people, support it. Don't look it and say we can't afford $200,000 because our deficit is whatever it is. Because, really, what you are doing is being short-sighted, I say to ministers and members opposite; you are being short-sighted, because down the road it is going to cost you millions because you didn't spend that few hundred thousand dollars today. It is going to cost us millions.

You know, there are only half-a-million of us. There are only half-a-million people in this Province, and with the proper encouragement and support from government, we should have a real positive impact on healthier lifestyles, and it will save us millions on our health care budgets in the future. There is no question about that.

We all know the effects of being fitter. We all know the benefits, but it is so hard - I went through the same, and other members here who were ministers of that very department the same as I was - it is so hard to convince your colleagues of the real benefit of expenditures such as that in those areas when you look at a deficit of $50 million or $100 million. But all you are doing by not spending it is you are going to further increase your deficits in the future, because you are going to have to spend that much more on the health care for those people who will be less fit and less healthy.

So I want to commend the minister for bringing in those two pieces of legislation dealing with smoking, but it is not good enough to just bring the legislation to the floor of this Assembly. There is no point in doing that. That is not going to make one iota of difference because we passed these two bills here in the last week or so. You are going to have to enforce Bill No. 7, I say to the Minister of Health and the Minister of Justice. You are going to have to enforce it or else it will not make one bit of difference. We will still have the thirteen, fourteen, fifteen and sixteen-year-olds out buying tobacco and smoking it, so you are going to have to enforce it.

I look at the bill and I see some of the penalties here, and so on, for offenders, violators, and again, that is not going to make any difference either because someone knows they are going to get a $500 fine if they do this or that or something else, because they have to be caught first. They have to be caught before they can pay.

I don't know what the minister has in mind for enforcement. I don't know what he has in mind to enforce this legislation, but I ask him - and I know he has to probably deal with this in consultation with the Minister of Justice. But it is very, very important that aspect of it be thought out very well because, otherwise, it won't make any difference. I think they are two very important pieces of legislation. We have to control smoking. In my opinion, we have to do away with smoking.

The minister, in his speech when he introduced the legislation, made some very interesting comments - some very interesting comments on the effects. Of course, he touched on other substance abuse, as well. Alcohol was one thing that he really zeroed in on.

MR. SIMMS: I wouldn't touch that.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The Opposition Leader says: I wouldn't touch that. I say, yes I would, because as well - the impact, as the minister said, that substance abuse is having on our health care, and the cost to the taxpayers, is astronomical. Some people think that because people are buying alcohol and drinking alcohol, or buying tobacco products and smoking them, what a great positive effect it is having on the Province's bottom line, but really, it is not. The minister was so right when he said that, because really, because of this substance abuse, the health care budget of the Province has really gone out of whack.

So I want to support the legislation. I compliment the minister for that, and I just hope that they really give some serious consideration to enforcing the legislation so that it really will have some effect with our young people in our Province.

Thank you.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wish to speak briefly on this legislation and endorse the general thrust of the legislation at second reading. We do have a serious problem amongst young people, in particular, with respect to smoking. We have a problem throughout our population, of course, and many people were introduced to smoking at a very young age. In fact, the statistics show that of those who smoke as adults, by far, the majority of them commenced smoking at a very early age, in some cases, twelve and thirteen years of age.

As one who was a serious smoker, I would say, when I quit smoking in a serious way, about 1976, at the age of twenty-seven, I was smoking approximately two packs of cigarettes a day. I am happy to report, Mr. Speaker, that since then I have quit smoking. It is not an easy thing to do. It takes a lot of determination. It is an addiction. It is something that is a very difficult habit to beat and it's better off that no one ever start. Anything that can be done to assist in that I think is very helpful. This legislation I hope will be part of it. Part of the effort to prevent people from starting smoking, particularly young people. When someone is an adult and at the age of nineteen years and wants to go ahead and take up something like that as an adult, well I guess, Mr. Speaker, there's not a lot that government can do about it, a substance such as this which has been so widely available for the last couple of hundred years.

I have a particular concern with young people starting smoking with the availability of cigarettes. We've had the introduction by the cigarette companies, by the tobacco companies, in the last couple of years of what has come to be known as the `kiddie pack'. A little package of cigarettes that contains only five cigarettes. These cigarettes were introduced primarily as a result of the increased cost of tobacco products, mostly by virtue of taxation, so that a package of cigarettes that used to cost, oh, I don't know, a couple of dollars I suppose a number of years ago, now costs six dollars or more to purchase for twenty. It's beyond the reach of people who only have a dollar or two to spend.

In order to get at this market the cigarette companies introduced these packages, which have become known as `kiddie packs,' specifically to make tobacco available to young people. Because they know that if they can get them hooked as young people that they've got a market potentially for life.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: And for death, as the Minister of Health says. For life and for death. So I want to ask the minister to seriously consider while he's outlawing the sale of tobacco to minors, will he not also agree to amend the legislation to outlaw the sale of tobacco and cigarettes through these `kiddie packs,' these five packs of cigarettes.

In fact, I've noticed, Mr. Speaker, that in other provinces, even the twenty pack, which is widely available in Newfoundland - it's probably the most common form in which tobacco is sold in Newfoundland and Labrador, is through these twenty packs. I notice in other provinces the more common size is the twenty-five pack. I think that came about, I suspect, by reason of price. That the twenty packs were in fact cheaper and more readily marketable in this Province because of the lower incomes of many people. So what we see now is the five cigarette pack, the `kiddie pack,' designed and aimed at the market.

There's been a lot of effort over the last few years, in Canada in particular, at the federal level to reduce tobacco advertising. That has had its affects. The minister and of course the government through its research facilities has available this data to it. Talking about the decrease in the number of smokers, adult males have significantly decreased over the last number of years. We see the percentage of adult female smoking increasing. Most unfortunately, we see teenagers as the biggest and the fastest growing market for cigarettes all over Canada. In particular, and unfortunately, teenage females, teenage girls, taking up smoking with, as a result over the last number of years, serious increases in the lung cancer rates for women. The lung cancer rates for women due to smoking has increased substantially over the last number of years, resulting in serious problems and many deaths. Not to mention health care costs.

I say not to mention that because I don't think we need necessarily to look at health as an economic problem, although obviously there are serious economic costs to government. More realistically, it's a health problem. Whether it's a health problem related to someone having a cough, more colds than they would ordinarily have, increasing chance of pneumonia, any kind of cardiopulmonary disease or respiratory disease, obviously all increase as a result of smoking. It's a serious health problem for individuals and of course, a serious health problem and cost problem for governments to try and deal with it, so I see this piece of legislation, Mr. Speaker, as a positive step, not one which is going to prevent smoking amongst teenagers or those in their legal minority, it is not one that is going to prevent it or eliminate it, but one that is going to make it more difficult or somewhat more difficult for children to have access to tobacco and continue to make it a little bit less socially acceptable by making it illegal to sell of course tobacco to minors then it is also an offence.

I think it would be, and perhaps someone has explained this already, it should also be illegal to supply tobacco to minors by adults not just retailers; this is aimed primarily at sale to minors. It should also be illegal for any adult to supply minors with tobacco, whether it be a parent or whether it be a stranger at law to the child. It should be illegal for me to give a child cigarettes, to allow my own child to smoke before the age of nineteen, should in fact be considered to be illegal.

I think the government should consider that, but I think, since we are dealing here with a piece of legislation that controls the sale of tobacco to minors, that we should also make it very difficult for minors to have access to tobacco by having it given to them by adults. The same thing applies, Mr. Speaker, it is illegal for, under the Liquor Control Act, adults to supply liquor to minors or beer to minors, and we do see some deterrents to underage drinking as a result of that, we see individuals who are bootlegging, essentially bootlegging beer or liquor to minors being charged and fined in the court. Quite often people get adults to go and buy beer for them, teenagers may do that or we see them getting caught and getting fined and some deterrents associated with that.

If the only result of this legislation, Mr. Speaker, is that teenagers get their nineteen-year-old friends to buy their cigarettes for them, the `kiddie packs' or loose cigarettes or a full package and divide it up themselves and essentially bootleg it to their younger friends, then that is not going to be very successful, so I think that the minister should also take whatever measures are necessary, legislatively, to prevent the distribution, not just the sale by retailers, but the distribution and the provision of cigarettes to minors just as it is illegal to provide beer or alcohol to minors, so I would ask the minister when he concludes his address on this, concludes debate on this, to address these points.

First of all, the provision of 'kiddie packs' which would be a simple amendment to this to prevent the wholesaling and retailing of cigarettes in packages of less than twenty, and secondly, to find a way to make it illegal for minors to be given cigarettes by adults, just as it is now illegal to give alcohol to minors by adults as a further deterrent, and as a further indication by society that it is socially unacceptable to put these children at significant health risk by allowing them to smoke.

It is not a moral issue, Mr. Speaker, it is not a moral issue as smoking is bad because smoking is some sort of evil, it is a health issue, Mr. Speaker, that young people under nineteen years of age ought not to be exposed to this health risk which will be a continuing risk to them, the risk of addiction, the risk of continued dependence, psychological and physical dependence on cigarette into their adulthood, is a significant health risk, and it is on that basis that the government is passing this legislation.

I appreciate and commend the government for bringing in this legislation, but I would like to see it go further in those two respects to prevent `kiddie packs' from being allowed to be sold, and to prevent adults from supplying, whether for profit or otherwise, cigarettes to minors.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CAREEN: While I can concur with all members who have spoken before me on this Bill, I personally am not interested in extremes. While the Bill has a big heart - like the minister - it is the extremes of things that always get me worried.

In Russia centuries ago people were executed for smoking - the first smokers. This Bill, and my age group - and I am going back to the sixties, where we were told to never trust anybody, and we agreed, over thirty. Now only for the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, in this House everybody is over thirty. Who is consulting the young?

When I started smoking, and it was a good many years ago, our heroes were all smokers. You can remember Bogart, Gilbert Roland, the way he twisted his cigar, Burt Lancaster, the way he could steal a scene -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: That is right. Jackie Jensen, Detroit Tigers, advertising certain cigarettes - our heroes were smokers. Our peer what we looked at. Now today with our young, who are they looking at? Are they smokers? Are they what? Some things never change. Some things, the more they change the more they stay the same.

I do not like to be driving things underground to see things surface in other place. Like my friend from Ferryland yesterday was saying about banishing vending machines, well if you drive them one place, things surface in another.

The minister talked about lungs yesterday. I have had friends of mine die of lung cancer, and it is not easy. I have seen friends of mine die with lung cancer, who never smoked. So while the Bill is good and means good, I think that we should continue to consult with the young - those who smoke and those who are inclined to smoke. There are a lot of pressures out there - more so now.

Also in this Bill, and there has to be some temper in it, those young people who find themselves in one of our institutions from time to time, whether it is inherited disease, mental disorder or chemical induced, you have a sixteen, seventeen, eighteen year old who is crawling the walls, climbing the side of the walls, and if they want a cigarette, regardless of if they think it just calms their nerves, there has to be someone there to be able to have the move aside to be able to give them the smoke they need, or they think they need.

The only thing I would caution the minister, while it is a great heart Bill -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: Well, whatever they think they need - whatever they think they should have - let them have in some kind of small doses, because in the time they might be in there we might be lucky enough to wean them off smoking.

I compliment the minister on the Bill, and I do support it, but in saying that I think that from time to time we should continue to consult with the young who are smoking and the young who are inclined to go smoking.

I thank you all.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: If the hon. minister speaks now he closes the debate. The hon. the Minister of Health.

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My remarks will be few and I want to thank hon. members opposite for their thoughts and their support.

The main purpose of this Bill is to address the problem of: How do you get people to stop smoking? That's basically the thrust. How do you get people not to take it up and how do you - as part of an even broader thrust - how do you improve lifestyles generally, from my point of view, so that the health care system can be contracted? So that we don't have to operate all these hospitals and hospital beds and spend such a large proportion of our funds on caring for sicknesses that can be prevented. That's really what we're trying to do.

I believe that the fact that this Bill generally has had so much support within the Legislature indicates the general support that it will be receiving throughout the Province. I'm getting quite a lot of mail on this issue and all of it is in support. Many letters and phone calls are coming in. I can't get my work done when I go over there because of the phone calls I get from people who tell me that this is the right way to go.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. KITCHEN: Yes, I used to smoke too. We're all reformed smokers, I guess, a lot of us are. I quit a long time ago.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not all of us.

AN HON. MEMBER: How many of us in the House?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: How'd you quit? Patch, you were on the patch.

DR. KITCHEN: No, I quit by taking up Coke. I used to -

AN HON. MEMBER: Coke? There's (inaudible).

DR. KITCHEN: You have to suck something, so Coca-Cola was what I used to suck. From smoke to Coke. Then gradually I got weaned off Coke.

AN HON. MEMBER: I'm not sure the hon. gentleman means what he's saying. Coca-Cola, you mean.

DR. KITCHEN: Coca-Cola, yes. I don't know any other kind of coke, except what you burn in a stove. I want to read part of a letter I got from a constituent. Not a constituent. Actually, it's from someone else's constituent:

I'm writing to applaud your proposed legislation to raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco to nineteen years and to ban smoking in all public places. This is a giant step forward toward the prevention of illness and premature death from one of the deadliest and most addictive substances in modern society. It's a shame to see children, for that's what they are, become addicted at such an early age when they have no idea of the long-term consequences of their actions. I don't know the full details of the legislation; however, I would like to make the following recommendations which I believe would make people realize just how serious this problem is, and how serious your government is about doing something about it.

First, provide stiff fines for people who disobey the law, especially the ban on smoking in public places. I get the feeling people don't think this is for real. Use undercover teenage operatives to try to buy tobacco at a retail store. Implement fines or loss of licence for businesses who sell tobacco to underage persons. This has been done in some mainland towns with excellent results. Raise taxes drastically on tobacco sales. From what I have seen in the past couple of years this is the single biggest deterrent towards smoking, both for older people and young teens. This has been confirmed as the major deterrent by a recent study in the United States. It would also provide much needed revenue for the Province in the short term, as well as saving money on health expenditures in the long term.

Mr. Speaker, this is the type of letter that we've been getting. There are always some excellent ideas there. We have an organization called Allied Youth, and I expect that they will be helping us to enforce this legislation. That would be a very important point. So we'll be doing this.

As far as the enforcement, I agree with hon. members opposite. There's not much point in having legislation such as we have now which is not enforced. It's up to sixteen now. Some people enforce it, some people obey the legislation, but most don't. A lot of people don't. Our thought is that not only would health inspectors be enforcing this legislation, but also we have the Newfoundland Liquor Licensing Board inspectors as well. They're going around to various shops and so on, so they could do it as well as the police.

But we need public support. No legislation can be enforced unless it has widespread public support. As the Member for Placentia indicated, you have to have the support of the teenage population as well. I believe we have that. I was privileged the other day to attend a meeting in Shea Heights where a video was shown about some of the problems that teenagers have in maintaining healthy lifestyles. There was a great discussion before and after that video. I believe that school children, teenagers generally, are very supportive of anything that contributes to a healthy lifestyle. I don't believe that George Burns is the hero of most children any more. In fact, very few people watch him any more, even though he tries his best to appeal to a certain generation. But he's not the hero of the young people for sure.

One point that was mentioned opposite was the question of health promotion. I believe the Member for Grand Bank mentioned the difficulty of getting money in the budgets for health promotion. I certainly appreciate your support of that. I'm sure that your remarks will trickle through to my Cabinet colleagues so that when the next budget comes up there'll be less difficulty getting more money for health promotion. We do have a serious budgetary problem in the Province and we have to be sure that we are addressing the problems of the long term, rather than just meeting short term band-aid approaches to life. I appreciate your support.

I appreciate very much the efforts of my predecessor in the Ministry of Health, who's laid the foundation of all this. Because it's a matter of moving in and carrying the ball forward. He had virtually all the work done in preparing for this legislation.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. KITCHEN: I'm not blaming it on him. I'll take the blame, but I'll give you the credit where you -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. KITCHEN: (Inaudible), right. I won't take credit for that. I'm not a circle person.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

DR. KITCHEN: As far as the `kiddie packs' are concerned, I'm very glad the Member for St. John's East mentioned that. Because we have been thinking about that very much. It's a question of which legislation it's to come in. That basically requires an amendment to a bill which doesn't come under our department, and in all possibility something may happen there. So that's in the works. I don't want to say any more than that because it's not my department, but it's in the works. Hopefully that will come in too, so that we can ban the sale of all small packages, say less than twenty anyway, as you suggest. That'd be a great idea.

The other point about making it illegal to give cigarettes to young people, that's not covered in the Bill and I think we should give some consideration to that. So I'll be thinking about how to work on that. I've made a note of that.

One more point I wanted to make. We need public support for this measure and for the whole anti-smoking thrust. So I think it's very important that this Bill be referred to the Social Legislative Review Committee. That'll be my recommendation to our House Leader, that that's how we'll handle that, so there can be good public discussion and that the Committee can have interaction with the public. That will help us help the Province get the proper focus. The publicity. To get the public involvement. That's what I'm looking for. To get the involvement of the public in bringing forward this legislation so that the whole public of the Province will be behind the problem that we're trying to address. If we can get the public of the Province behind it, make the public aware of the whole problem and what this legislation is designed to do, and perhaps any weaknesses in the legislation that we can correct, then we'll have been successful.

I believe that the next step, the referral of this to the Social Services Legislative Review Committee will be a major step in addressing the general problem. With these words, Mr. Speaker, I move second reading.

On motion, a bill, "An Act Respecting The Control Of The Sale Of Tobacco To Minors," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill No. 7)

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, could we call the Budget please? Order 2.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance to move that the House resolve itself into Committee of the Whole of Ways and Means to consider the raising of supply to be granted to Her Majesty. In the regular House the rules of debate are thirty minutes. The hon. the Member for Humber East adjourned the debate.

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It was a week ago that I adjourned the debate. I have eighteen minutes remaining and after that I will be interested in hearing the maiden speech of the new Member for Torngat Mountains.

Mr. Speaker, last Friday I made a few preliminary comments about the Budget and then I started to tell members about the priorities in the district I represent, the needs in that area for government attention and appropriate budget provisions. In terms of the Budget as a whole, Mr. Speaker, it is an incomplete and unreliable document. The Wells administration has not been able to stick to a Budget yet. The administration has consistently been either high or low in estimating, typically high in forecasting revenue and low in estimating spending.

Last year the government introduced a mini-Budget in early December in which it instituted yet additional tax burdens. This particular Budget was prepared early this calendar year, in the Winter of 1993, and was brought down in late March before the election was called. This Budget does not represent even the same effort that government put into preparing earlier Budgets. The document was hastily put together without more than a superficial examination of the operations of departments of government programs and services. It is obvious that many of the estimates are unrealistic. The social assistance estimate is $20 million less than what was actually spent last year. Now, obviously that is not realistic. The social assistance caseload has been growing at an alarming rate and it is still increasing.

The minister admitted those statistics here last week. He said the last month for which figures are available, I think that was April, there were almost 70,000 individuals, children, women, and men in the Province on welfare and that number has been rising steadily. There has been about a 50 per cent increase since the Wells administration took office four years ago. The government, in the Budget document, are saying that there will be very little economic growth in the Province and that there will actually be a loss of jobs. There has been a loss of jobs over the past two or three years. Our official unemployment rate is higher. Our youth unemployment rate is alarmingly high, and those unemployment statistics do not count the 20,000-odd people who are getting the federal Northern cod package INCARP.

Mr. Speaker, when we in the Opposition asked members of the Cabinet about particular budgetary provisions - as one of my colleagues asked the Minister of Social Services about the VRDP program, or another colleague asked the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations about the youth employment program - the ministers say: we may not stick to those estimates. Those are only estimates. We'll adjust as we go along. We may end up spending more. The ministers don't show any serious commitment to the numbers in the Budget document.

This is a Budget that's currently before the House of Assembly. It's being debated, it's being examined in detail in House estimates committee meetings. Yet already ministers are backing away from the numbers in the document. They seem to have no compunction about asking the House to pass a document which is unreliable, which they themselves don't believe in, don't intend to stick by.

Right off the top the government indicated that the arithmetic in the document is wrong. That there won't be a current account deficit of $121 million, which is what the figures indicate, because the government will subtract $70 million from different heads and subheads by taking it out of public sector compensation. For example, in the case of the grant in aid for Memorial University, shown in one of the Department of Education heads, the total the government intend to give the University is not what's shown. That is not an accurate figure. The total grant in aid the government will be giving the University will be considerably less than that.

According to the University president and the faculty association president, what the government intend to actually grant to the University this year will fall $11 million short of what the University needs to carry on the present level of operations. The University president is talking about downsizing, of making the Province's one and only university a smaller institution.

This coincides with the shocking unemployment problem we have, the dramatically high rate of unemployment of young people. The government ministers themselves hold up their so-called Strategic Economic Plan and say that education and training are the answer, that the key to economic advancement is better education. What the government is actually doing through their Budget is quite inconsistent with that philosophy.

In the case of the district I represent, I've said that the most important opportunity for economic advancement within the control of the provincial government is Grenfell College, a campus of Memorial University. This administration was elected to office four years ago promising to expand Grenfell College immediately by adding new facilities and allowing the College to expand course offerings to include full four-year undergraduate degree programs in select subjects in arts and science.

That has not happened. The facility has not been enlarged by one square foot in the last four years. The Grenfell College buildings have been altered with former common space, cafeteria space, being taken for offices, because it is now seriously overcrowded. The facilities were built in the mid-1970s for a student population of about 650, and they now house double that number. Not only is there physical overcrowding, but there is a serious shortage of lab space, and the library facilities are quite inadequate.

Mr. Speaker, the government seems to have abandoned its commitment to Grenfell College. Instead of proceeding with the stated plan from the 1989 election campaign, the government has made modest provision for expanded university offerings elsewhere in the Province. In the second week of this election campaign the Member for Gander, the Minister of Finance, and the Minister of Education, announced government plans to spend $500,000 for new science labs in Gander and about $750,000 for staffing first year university courses in Gander starting this September. The Minister of Education is muttering there. I have a copy of the news release of the two ministers.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) the election.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, the announcement was made during the election campaign.

MR. DECKER: Who made it?

MS. VERGE: You made it. The Minister of Education and the Member for Gander made the announcement, and I have the exact text of the announcement.

The announcement was made during the election campaign. I will remind the minister by handing him a copy of his announcement.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS. VERGE: I have a copy, I say to the minister. I have a copy. People at Memorial University have a copy as well.

Mr. Speaker, this funding is not being given to the University. It is being given to the community college system. Whether this campaign promise is kept remains to be seen. Certainly the 1989 promises for Grenfell College were not kept.

Grenfell College has taken more students - and as I say, the facilities are badly overcrowded now - but the students who are there are not getting the quality education they deserve. Many of them have not been able to get science courses because of the inadequacy of the science lab facilities, so in some instances students are taken into Grenfell under false pretences. They assume that they will be able to get first and second year arts and science courses, but in many instances they cannot get the particular courses - particularly science courses - that they need for their degree programs or for their career plans. Consequently they are either taking other courses - for example classics instead of chemistry - or they are not taking a full load of five courses. They are there doing four courses or three courses.

Mr. Speaker, I urge the government to reconsider its position on Grenfell College and to allocate a reasonable amount of funding to enlarge the facilities there. There is a master plan for development of new facilities, and I would commend that to the minister and his colleagues - particularly the Premier who represents the Bay of Island, one of the districts served by the college. Of course the minister himself, as the Member for the Strait of Belle Isle, is elected for another district served by the college.

Mr. Speaker, health services in Humber East, where Western Memorial Regional Hospital is located, are a concern for many residents there. There have been cutbacks at that regional hospital, the same as other facilities, and there have been greater demands put on the regional hospital with cutbacks at smaller institutions throughout Western Newfoundland. Services to cancer patients have been a topic of conversation on the part of many people in that area over the past year. Last September without any warning or consultation with people affected the government suspended the visits of radiation specialists to the Western Cancer Outreach Clinic in Corner Brook, and for seven months there were no visits of radiation specialists and Western Newfoundland patients had to go to St. John's for services they had been able to get at the Corner Brook Outreach Clinic for twenty-one years. That involved a considerable hardship. Some patients who needed checkups did not go to St. John's because it was to difficult. Others went to St. John's at considerable expense. The government provides only limited financial assistance to defray the cost of travel for medical services that are available only away from home and has not publicized even that limited program adequately.

Yesterday, during Question Period I raised with the minister the need for government to improve financial reimbursement for patients who have to travel, and I asked him if he would provide reimbursement to patients for all reasonable travel accommodations and meal expenses, and I was glad that he undertook to review that program.

I remind the minister that the government has decreased spending on the limited program that exists quite sharply. $350,000 was spent last year and the same amount is budgeted for this year, but if he checks only two or three years ago close to twice that was spent. I would like him to look into that situation when he is considering improving the program overall.

Even with the radiation specialist visiting the Outreach Clinic in Corner Brook once again, and we trust that the visits will continue on a regular basis and will be frequent enough to at least give the level of service that was provided for twenty-one years up to last September, patients will have to come to St. John's for radiation therapy and other services that are available in this Province only in St. John's.

At a time when the Maritime Provinces are expanding the provision of radiation therapy by setting up additional units our Province is embarking on funding a new $13 million cancer clinic in St. John's with no plan to provide any new facility anywhere else in the Province, so once again I urge the government to at least study the feasibility of putting a cancer radiation unit in Corner Brook to serve roughly one third of the population who live in the Western Region.

Mr. Speaker, the minister said yesterday that a clinic in Corner Brook, or a radiation unit in Corner Brook would not help people on the Northern Peninsula. Well, I would suggest that if he talks to his colleague the Member for St. Barbe, or his colleague the Minister of Education, he will find out that people in those districts would much prefer to go to Corner Brook for these kind of services than travel all the way to St. John's. People on the Northern Peninsula frequently come to Corner Brook for services.

Mr. Speaker, forestry and land use planning are extremely important to the Corner Brook area since the newsprint mill is our most important basic industry. It is an industry which is employing fewer p**eople in the Province than ever and which depends for its future survival on good forestry management and good harvesting practices. Now, yesterday my colleague the Member for Baie Verte -White Bay asked the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, who also happened to be filling in at the time for the Minister of Environment and Lands, whether the government has assessed the environmental impact of the harvesters that the paper companies are using more and more for their harvesting.

Mr. Speaker I was shocked, actually, to hear the minister blithely, glibly, say that no, the government has not considered the environmental impact.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

MR. WILLIAM ANDERSEN III: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I hope I do not have to sit down in the case of my wrong move again. Otherwise I will be very tempted to do what I read in The Globe and Mail last week about this British lord who made his maiden speech last week. This British lord sat in the House of Lords for forty-three years, and after forty-three years decided to make his maiden speech. Mr. Speaker, I will not wait that long; however, I would like to, in my initial address to this hon. House, without prejudice due to, and without disrespect for the hon. House, I would like for a few moments to address my constituents in my own native language.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WILLIAM ANDERSEN III: Itsivautak, sivullipamik tamani ukagumavunga Kujalitlatunga Labrador Taggani Torngait Kakkasuangit taijaujunik Kiggatuktiugiamut. Ammalu itsivautak, uvannik annigusulauktuit angijualumunik nakummejakka. AmmaliktauK Kujalitlamijunga sivullipangugiamut InullagiujuK Newfoundland and Labradoriullu Kavamangani Kiggatuktiugiamut. Ammaluliktauk ilitsinik ilongnai sinik salottimijunga tamaunga-titausimannisi pitjutigillugo.

Itsivautak, imalli uKagumavunga Kiggatuktiugiullungitunga inunniK jarinik 17-nakasanik KiggatuKtiusimaligama Ammalu ikpigusugaluangmitlunga InutiunnanilungituK KiggatuKtiunialiKtunga Taimaimmat inongnigijaga Kaujimajaugaluaktilugo tuKisikKujivunga Torngait Kakkasuangmiungit ilongnatik atjigetilillugit KiggatuKattaniaktaKa piginnausiKKut.

Mr. Speaker, these are a few words I have addressed to the hon. House and to my electorate, and I will interpret them now into English.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WILLIAM ANDERSEN III: My hon. colleague understands Inuktitut, so...

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WILLIAM ANDERSEN III: Mr. Speaker, first it is an honour for me to be the first ever, I believe, Inuit, or formally known as an Eskimo, to become a representative in the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WILLIAM ANDERSEN III: For the district of Torngat Mountains.

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to now address the people who elected me, and to assure my people, be they Inuit, Innu, the settlers or the newcomers into the district of Torngat Mountains, that I will do what I believe to be the honourable thing for and on behalf of that district.

It is also a pleasure to become a part of, on one hand a restrictive kind of representation in that I am now in the provincial Legislature as opposed to the past nine years I have been very much involved in the regional, provincial, national and international forum as far as Inuit are concerned.

Mr. Speaker, I will now speak to the issues that are a priority to my district, not only to the Inuit and Innu but the district as a whole. With respect to the fishery issue, not only the Cod Moratorium but the fishery issue overall, the District of Torngat Mountains on one hand is seen as a fulltime fishing area but on the other hand, Mr. Speaker, the best our fishermen can ever carry out in the way of the fishery is four months per year, which I think is very much a toss up between fulltime and part-time.

However, with respect to the Cod Moratorium there are only a small number of people in my district that are benefitting from the Cod Moratorium. Yet, there is a large number of fishermen who lost their cod fishery some twenty-five years ago by the overfishing of the inshore fishery by the maritime fishermen, not only on the Island of Newfoundland but the maritime fishermen in general. These fishermen who are not eligible to be recipients of NCARP or anything to do with the Cod Moratorium, lost a fishery and are not receiving anything for that loss. They are not eligible for NCARP, they are not eligible for any benefits through the Cod Moratorium but yet they were cod fishermen for generations and generations. It is my intention, Mr. Speaker, to ensure that these fishermen do get something in return for what they lost.

Mr. Speaker, continuing on with the fishery issue - the sealing industry. Labrador Inuit were the first ever North American residents to deal internationally in the seal trade and ironically enough that international trade was with Germany some 200 years ago. Yet, when the seal fishery was demolished by animal rights activists there was nothing in return for that loss, no compensation - well there was compensation and the compensation offered by the federal government some five years ago was a slap in the face to what the people lost. A $50,000 compensation package for all of the families that lost their right to the seal fishery.

Mr. Speaker, there are social problems I think in my district that are unparalleled anywhere in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Problem suicides, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, substance abuse and these problems have to be answered and dealt with. I am hoping that I will be of some relevance to the way in how my hon. colleagues here in government and hopefully with the support of the hon. members of the Opposition and of the NDP, that we will start to look at answers to those social problems in the way that aboriginal community might see best to do it.

I was hoping, Mr. Speaker, that my understanding of not only the aboriginal language but the culture and traditions will be of some assistance in how the answers to these problems are approached from the provincial government level.

On the issue of health care, Mr. Speaker: I have heard over the last number of days the problems with the health care system. Regardless of how good the system is, we still face one problem in my district, that of interpretation; and it is twofold because we have two aboriginal cultures. We have many people in my district, Mr. Speaker, who are unilinqual, Inuktitut speakers or Innuin speakers. Oftentimes, even just to get a checkup, there is no interpretation for that. I think it is the right of every individual in this area, not only in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador but in Canada, to have access to understanding what it is that is being delivered to you, especially in the area of health care.

Mr. Speaker, it is my intent - and hopefully I won't put my foot in my mouth here - to ensure that Labrador gets a regional hospital. Right now it does not have a regional hospital. The little services, like X rays and checkups - people from my district have to fly away from home to get an X ray. People from my district of Nain, Labrador, a community of 1200, have to fly to Goose Bay to have work done on their teeth. In a lot of areas of the country, and in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, it is taken for granted that a service is available at any time. In my district that is not the case.

The issue of municipal services falls under the Canada/Newfoundland Native Funding Agreement, an agreement that is outdated so badly a lot of the civil servants, not only within the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador but with the federal government, say they cannot understand why it continues. Yet, Mr. Speaker, through this Canada/Newfoundland Native Funding Agreement the communities of Nain, Davis Inlet, Hopedate, Postville, Makkovik and Rigolet, with a $35 million agreement over five years, are supposed to get housing, water and sewer, municipal infrastructure, education - elementary education, that is - and cultural and economic development programs. This agreement has been more of a penalty to the District of Torngat Mountains than it has been an asset. It is my intent, as the representative of that district, to ensure that that changes.

I have always been a believer of compromise and of working in harmony. I am sure, with the understanding I have of that funding agreement, that I will eventually persuade my hon. colleagues to work on changing that so that it is more beneficial to the district itself. If it is not, then it should be done away with.

Education and training: Over the past ten, twelve, or fourteen years I have been very heavily involved in the need, and work towards the education and training needs of Labrador in general, but now it is going to be the district of Torngat Mountains. In my tenure with the Labrador Inuit Association I negotiated two programs and services that are now implemented for the benefit of the Inuit of Labrador. The post-secondary education support program which up to 1985-86 was worth $100,000 a year through the native funding agreement, today is worth $1.6 million a year, and I am proud to say that we, the Inuit of Labrador, are funding 160 students this year to attend post-secondary institutions, but there is the need for counselling people entering post-secondary institutions.

A lot of our students wanted to go to university just because you are going to university but there has to be an objective, and it will be my responsibility, Mr. Speaker, along with my colleague, the Minister of Education, to earmark what the training needs are with respect to how the future might look in the district of Torngat Mountains, whether it is in the area of tourism, fisheries development, conservation, justice, health, we need to have specially trained people in all those areas.

Mr. Speaker, it is also my pleasure to become party to a government just some months ago that signed an intent to create a national park in Torngat Mountains. It was a pleasure for me as president of the Labrador Inuit Association to sign an undertaking to carry out a study to develop a national park in the Torngat Mountains, and now I look forward to being a party from the government side in continuing that project.

Mr. Speaker, back to education, I would like to, without being pushy about it, see the Inuktitut language come back and to have it taught in the education system at the highest levels, and I say the same for the Innuin, the Naskaupi Montagnais Innu of Labrador. Even though I do not speak their language I can understand the assimilation of a language. I speak about it because when I entered school in the 50s I could not speak a word of English but by the time I left school in the 60s I nearly lost my language on the one hand but on the other hand I left school being ashamed to be an Eskimo. I have worked out of that and once again I am not afraid to say that I am proud of who and what I am, and I am going to promote it in that way.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WILLIAM ANDERSEN III: Mr. Speaker, this is not to push it on people who do not want it. All we need is a mutual respect of who and what we are, and I certainly look forward to working with this hon. House to achieve those ends.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the member for Baie Verte - WhiteBay.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. First I would like to commend the member for Torngat Mountains for his fine address to the House today and especially for his choice of using his native tongue to address his people. I think that his people will respect that, and members on this side I'm sure respected that.

I've also got to say that for the first time since I've been here anyway, which is only a short time, I don't know what secret he has, but it was the most attentive group I've ever seen in this House, and nobody understood what was being said, so....

MR. ROBERTS: Say little but say it well is good advice.

MR. SHELLEY: Yes. It's good. I commend him on his choice of using his native tongue. I must say that it was a very informative part coming from the member.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: You did. Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I'd like to first of all say how honoured I am to finally get my chance to stand in this hon. House as the newly elected Member for the district of Baie Verte - White Bay.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SHELLEY: I thought it would be a little bit sooner but I'm glad that we didn't have to wait the forty-three years as the hon. member mentioned earlier. First of all, I'd like to congratulate the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and the Assistant Deputy Speaker for their elections. So far things have been going fairly well and I hope they'll continue. I'm sure they will.

I want to bring up a few things about during the election and also especially about my district and some of the resource related issues there. Because it is a district that I come from that is basically what I call a full rounded resource district. First I'd like to mention a couple of things, especially some thank yous. During the election, as a lot of you people have mentioned as you've gotten up, are the workers and the organizers during the election. It was a new experience for me, being a first attempt at it, and it's amazing how much time people give. So I want to first of all go on record here today as saying to the people of the Baie Verte - White Bay district, especially the organizers and workers who put in a lot of hours for me, that I'd like to thank them personally for the dedication and all the hours that they put in during the election.

Also, added to that, the support that I received from the district of Baie Verte - White Bay. I, of course optimistic like everybody who runs, but I certainly didn't expect on Election Night such an overwhelming majority. It did come to reality. Of course, the first time you hear the word that you are officially elected by CBC - although I think they're a little quick -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: That feeling certainly gives you a chill for the first time. I must say I felt very honoured that night. It was a special night that I'll never forget in my district. I thank the people for coming out on Election Night and showing their support again.

I'd also want to thank my opponent in the district for running a good election. We had no problems. It was a straight-up election. There was no dirt, or any way you want to put it. I'm sorry I can't say the same for their nomination, and it's not a secret I'm saying to you today, because it was splashed in the papers and everything during the election. It's a shame that those things have to happen. But I must say that when the election was started myself and my opponent, we ran a straightforward campaign on commitment and hard work. I happened to be the victor this time.

I would also like to thank our Leader, Mr. Simms. Throughout the election campaign he gave me a lot of support, a lot of moral support, and a lot of encouragement. Of course, especially for people trying this for the first time, it's very important to have that type of support behind you. It's a new thing, it's something that I really enjoyed, the election itself. Especially I focused my campaign on a door to door which many of you have. It was my commitment to complete the 100 per cent door to door. I got to ninety-six point something per cent, so I missed about 4 per cent. I told them that as soon as the House closes I'm going to go out and do those few houses that I did miss. So I'm going to try to get there.

Mr. Speaker, now I want to move on into things in my district that I wanted to bring up today. I just mention in the beginning that I look at my district of Baie Verte - White Bay as a resource rounded district. The resources go from mining, forestry, tourism and fishery. All of those are an important part of the Baie Verte Peninsula.

I'll start off as briefly as I can in the time I have to go through each particular issue. The fishery issue of course keeps coming up in most districts. In mine it's no exception. The big question I got during the election was: we have to start answering the question, what are we going to do when the moratorium is over? I know the timing of that question is hard to come up with now. It may be extended. But the point is, we've got to start talking about it now. There's too much being put on the back burner, I find, and so do fishermen feel that way. We do not have that complacency there, so all of a sudden, boom, the moratorium is over now we have to deal with another crisis. That was a big thing that came from my constituents that I wanted to mention here. We have to sit down with these people now and start talking about what is going to happen in the future when the moratorium ends.

In my district the NatSea Plant in La Scie, it is a major part - especially that part of the district. It has to be, as in many plants around the Province, the question has to be answered. It is something that I am going to be bringing up to the Minister of Fisheries here and also to the federal Minister of Fisheries that we all have to represent our districts and of course we have to justify the plants in our own area, I will be doing that as strongly as I can.

The crab plant in Fleur-de-Lys which is getting immediate attention, it is ongoing right now and I am expecting an answer from the hon. the fisheries minister by next week. I am hoping that I am going to have that because I have some people now sitting on pins and needles wondering if they are going to have a job this summer. Last summer it was the sole biggest employer on the Baie Verte Peninsula, it employed 285 people, that is a tremendous amount. Where it was usually a mining district, this has now taken over as the sole biggest industry on the peninsula. I am expecting an answer from the minister like I say by next week. People are waiting and we have to let them know what their fate is for this summer and not only for this summer but for the future.

Mining; the Baie Verte - White Bay District has been known for mining, that is its history, basically. As you know the mine shut down a few years back. Terra Nova mine is now on its way to becoming, hopefully, a long-term project. There are a few problems right now but we are trying to rectify those and it looks positive for that mine. It is a small employment, somewhere in the area of 100 people and that varies but it is long-term. It can go from twenty to twenty-five years, I think is correct, after hearing the minister say. So, it is something long-term which is good.

While I am on the topic of mining and from my discussions with the minister during the resource meetings a few nights ago, the Baie Verte Peninsula has one of the highest potentials, if not the highest potential, for mining in Eastern Canada. Friends of mine who are geologists have all talked to me on and off about this and they say the geological structure of the peninsula has a great potential. A few years back when the flow through shares were moving, it was a positive thing, it is too bad that they died out. That ended because exploration was heavy and there were five I think to date or maybe even six significant finds. As a matter of fact, we are right on the verge right now and I hope it will become a reality within the next couple of weeks, of the Pine Cove gold mine going ahead into the construction phase. That will be a positive thing for that district, especially right now with everything else moving downwards.

The Pine Cove situation, I use the analogy of the Hibernia situation and let me explain that. I have always believed that if Hibernia took off it would be the catalyst for other oil wells to get moving in the future and I still think that will happen. Well, the same in respect to the Baie Verte Peninsula, we have five or six finds right now which are significant and we still have not touched, the `mother load' that they are looking for and I still think that is there. The Pine Cove could be the catalyst for these other mines which are smaller mines, they are not huge deposits, so they can move forward. So, I am going to be pressing every way I can to encourage that Pine Cove moves ahead within the next few weeks so that we can get some movement on these other smaller deposits that are on the peninsula.

My whole idea of always bringing up these resources for the peninsula, especially the mining part, is that I want the district, as I am sure you want your districts to become self-sufficient basically, where we are not a `have not' district in our Province but a `have' district. I think that is possible instead of the doom and gloom and the negativism that we all see and hear so much. You will notice that I will lean mostly toward the positive end. I could talk doom and gloom for hours too I guess, like many of us could but I lean towards the positive end. I think it is an attitude and I want to work on that. I want to move my district and I am sure all of you do, into a positive mode. An attitude where we can do something for ourselves and create jobs and develop industry such as the mining.

On tourism: I was very interested the other night in speaking to the minister on the resource committee on this, it excites me, this particular one, because I used it during the election and I say it was untapped. I'm sure a lot of you would say it in your own districts, that it's an untapped resource here. As a matter of fact, I think that one day it may come down to our main resource, tourism. We always talk about the nice people of Newfoundland and I've talked to so many visitors who come here. We still haven't really tapped into our tourism.

In my district in particular - I don't know if you know the geography as well as I do, of course - but we're sixty-three - when you come to the Baie Verte Peninsula to turn off from the main highway, where we have the big problems - I mentioned signage the other day - I said during the election, my election speech: here is tourism (inaudible) on the Baie Verte Peninsula. We have a sign at the junction which says: Baie Verte - 63 kilometres. That's all that any tourist ever knows about it. It's a real shame.

Signage on that Trans-Canada. We've got to entice people to move off the Trans-Canada and up the Northern Peninsula and down the Baie Verte Peninsula, and down the Burin Peninsula, and on out to Bonavista. That's the real Newfoundland to me. Out to the coasts and out to the people who make it so popular with tourism. I'm really going to be pursuing that one because it's always been an interest to me, even before I considered politics. It was something that - I've always looked at it and said: I've seen people come here and they say: my God, it's beautiful down here. We never knew about it, we just happened to come down. Imagine a sign on a highway that just says: Baie Verte - 63 kilometres, and an Eskimo carving site 89 kilometres on a little small brown sign. It's not enough, it's not good enough. I've told the minister I'm willing to work with him and his department on trying to encourage that tourism. I'll be there every step of the way to make sure that hopefully it will come full circle.

The forestry, that's also very important on the Baie Verte Peninsula, and in the Baie Verte - White Bay district. I've gotten so often throughout the election campaign, and I'm talking to many on both sides of the House now since I've been here, about loggers' concerns. We go on and on about the fishery and the mining and the tourism even, but when it comes to the forestry loggers are unheard of. I haven't heard their concerns. I'm getting this from constituents, now, not from just what I feel, although I feel the same thing. They say: when is somebody going to stand up and say something for loggers? When are they going to meet the concerns of loggers?

While I'm on that very topic - I'm going to bring it back again, as I've also told the hon. Minister of Forestry and Agriculture - in my question yesterday, although I enjoy humour, and I appreciate it many times, and you'll find out that as I'm here a bit longer, but I have to be quite frank and say that I personally did not appreciate his answer when I asked him for the concern of harvesters in the forest. "Trees do not swim" is great, and we'll joke about it some time, but I did not appreciate it. It's very serious to me. I'm going to be saying it a lot more. I can tell you right now, that ten, fifteen years ago I remember fishermen saying to me: you know, I said this ten years ago we should be slowing down the fishery, we should be doing something about the fishery.

You've heard it. Fishermen come up and say to you - I've said it for ten years. I've been telling them for ten years. Then all of a sudden finally the hon. minister John Crosbie finally had the gumption to do something about it and stop it. If he did. Finally he did it. He was in the portfolio for less than six months.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: It had to be done. Do you agree it had to be done? Why didn't you do it? Why didn't somebody else do it? The bottom line is, it had to be done. How it was done, and procedure and process, is not what I'm talking about. Right now I'm saying that all federal, provincial, you, me, everybody, should have stepped up and done something about this earlier. My point is not John Crosbie or anybody else. Somebody should have done something about this earlier.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)!

MR. SHELLEY: My point is - if you'll allow me. The point is, what I'm making to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, is that something has got to be done about the forestry now, not ten years from now. I don't appreciate the joke. As a matter of fact I was appalled by it. If I had a chance to continue, which I couldn't in the House, he would have heard a come back on that one. Because I believe that deep down. Listen, the forestry - and if any of you guys travel in the woods as much as I do, hunting and fishing and everything else, it's a disaster in there. I've gone in. It looks like a hurricane went through some of these places on my peninsula. Forestry is important down there.

My father worked in logging. I know all about it. It's a devastation zone. Something has to be - so I just used the analogy to the fishery. But I'm going to use it again. I'm not talking about Crosbie or feds or provincial or opposition or anybody. Something has to be done quicker on the forestry and it has to be done now. I'm going to keep needling this until some action is taken on it. I've been talking to loggers and we've come up with some possibilities. I'm going to tell you, I'm going to be driving home that point. I'm really glad I ended up in this particular shadow cabinet for forestry, because it's something that is very dear to me.

I have talked to loggers and I met with groups during the election. We have got to start to deal with the forestry issue now, the harvesters, the environment, especially the environmental impact on it, if we are going to have something ten years from now. The big thing about the forestry is that we know how many trees we have. We can go out and count, and we can count we know how many trees we have. We don't know how many fish. I don't care what experts they are talking about in Ottawa - "experts", quote, unquote for sure, because we have been told so many different things, biomass and different things. Nobody really knows. But we do have an advantage in the forestry, we can actually go out and count the trees. We can count how many have been planted, how many are growing and how long it takes them to grow. So I will be pursuing that one very heavily over the next little while, and especially in the Fall when I come back.

So, my warning, or whatever you want to call it, is that the minister better take heed of the forestry situation and the harvesters situation in this Province. It is going to become a big issue, and we should make it a big issue. I don't want to do it in confrontation with him, I want to work with him on it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Does the member feel that (inaudible) as much a matter of public perception too?

MR. SHELLEY: Public perception! To who?

AN HON. MEMBER: They don't look at it the same as they look at the fishery.

MR. SHELLEY: Exactly! I agree with that hon. member.

The problem I have with it is it has been put on the back burner. I mean, it is just shoved back there and shoved back there.

The big thing we have to remember here is that it is a provincial jurisdiction. Ten years from now, maybe we will be over on that side, we will be over on that side. Well, whoever is on whatever side -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: We will be there. The point is we won't be able to say, John Crosbie or the federal government or blame it on somebody else, because the Province has that. We have the control; we cannot blame it on somebody else. So, we have to remember that, that we cannot blame it on the federal people, we cannot blame it on the foreigners anymore, can we? We can only say it is us, we have to take care of it.

AN HON. MEMBER: It goes back to education, Paul, education.

MR. SHELLEY: That is right, the attitude and the education. We have to educate people in that particular field.

So, as you can see, the forestry issue has become a very important one to me, and it is going to be the heart and soul of, hopefully, my next four years here, every day if I have to.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to, just very quickly, touch on small business. I was at the resource committee last night with the hon. Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, and I must say it is one of the most exciting portfolios to be involved in these days. It is one where being young of heart sort of helps you. I have always believed that we have to change the attitude of the people in the Province. I concur with the minister, when he said last night: The attitude has to be changed with regard to putting people back to work and with them creating their own initiatives. Getting the young people involved, and the small businesses, the people who are coming up with new ideas to go out and make work for themselves, that is the attitude that we have got to bring about.

As I said before, stop the doom and gloom and the negativism, so we can encourage, especially the young people, these young entrepreneurs. I am sure you have had it and I have had it too, young people have come up and said: I have this idea about a small business. Where do I go and what do I do? As I brought to the minister's attention last night at the resource committee meeting, too often these young people get discouraged because they get tied up in red tape and bureaucracy. I am sure you have had the same thing - the minister agreed with me last night - where a young person gets a good idea, he comes to you and, all of the sudden, you feed him into the system and he gets choked in the system by red tape. Then he says: This is too much, I am going to drop my idea. The minister has agreed with me that the red tape and bureaucracy has got to be cut down, so that it does not scare away people who have some good ideas; and there are a lot of good ideas out there for business and for entrepreneurs. So that is something I will be pushing.

Some services I want to mention, and I want to mention something that was brought up in the House a little while ago that is pretty close to me, and that is the University situation right now. Recently being a student of Memorial University who went through there on loans, because I come from a single parent family, I can tell you right now, from personal experience, that I can understand how these students who are now at Memorial feel. I lived in the residence and I lived in the Hillview Terraces and, I tell you what, it was tough going when those loans got smaller and the fees got higher and the cost of books got higher, and you went down and the prices for your dinner at the Thompson Student Center was higher, where one day it was $2.00 dollars and the next day it was up to $2.50. I remember one day trying to buy something and that is all I had. I am telling you, I remember from personal experience because it was only just a few short years ago that I graduated from there, and I really feel for those students at Memorial. Those people have genuine concerns. I know, because I have talked to them - some students I taught in High School, who are in here now - and they say: `Well, I am trying to get groceries this week. This is how much money I have, but the price of food has gone up at the cafeteria. I have to get a fourth edition book, which is not much different from the third, but I have to buy it to do the course, and I can't afford it.' I mean, it is terrible what is going on now. So we have to give a lot of concern and a lot of thinking to this whole issue concerning Memorial University students, and we have to think about that very, very hard.

I have to go back to the local issues now for a little while. The community college in my district - I just want to remind the minister responsible that this is very, very important and crucial to our district, as it is to any district that has a community college. It is encouragement for the young people there to further their education. It is very vital to the district, as a whole. It brings in very important courses that we can do for the young people, especially, and for the people now who are from the NCARP, who are trying to retrain in different fields; but it is a very vital role that it is playing right now and I hope this government considers very heavily before they do anything to disrupt that service to these communities.

I have to mention health care. I hope the minister is over there. One of the issues that struck me most when I decided to enter the political race, was health care.

I moved back to my district after being away for ten years, through work and through university. After going back there - I was born in 1959, in a small hospital there. Now, I moved back there and here it is, 1993, and children - young couples I know especially, and myself, having children, have to go sit in an hotel room in Grand Falls or Corner Brook while our children are being born. We can't have them born in our own district. In 1993, with a population of 15,000 people, I can't have a child born in my own district, I have to go to Grand Falls or Corner Brook. If my little girl or little boy has to go for a tonsillectomy or an appendectomy -

AN HON. MEMBER: What is wrong with that?

MR. SHELLEY: - you have to go sit in an hotel room while your child is in hospital in Corner Brook. What is wrong with that? It is not worth the comment, I don't think.

In 1993 you cannot have a child born - you have to drive for miles. People in La Scie - it is bad enough for the people in the Baie Verte area, like the Seal Cove - Fleur de Lys area, if you know the geography. People in La Scie have to drive over a road which is another matter altogether that is ridiculous - drive for an extra hour, then a three-hour drive. Can you imagine you wife in labour, driving for three hours over a bumpy road to Grand Falls and Corner Brook? Let me tell you, this is not politics I am talking here, this is reality. I have talked to people, I have friends -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) the hon. gentleman believes it.

MR. SHELLEY: - I have relatives - and I do believe it.

MR. ROBERTS: I know, I accept that the hon. gentleman believes it, and that is the sad part.

MR. SHELLEY: Well, it is true. Why should I not believe it? What is the fallacy? I don't think you could answer that. This is reality, it is not politics. In 1993, a person in La Scie whose wife is having a baby has to drive for three hours to go to Grand Falls. That is it. What else do you want me to say? It is simple and straight, and it is very clear to me that you don't understand and you don't appreciate it, but I do because I live there. I can tell you that right now.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SHELLEY: Before the election, before politics was considered -it is a personal thing, I take it personally, because I had to do it. I had to sit in the Mount Peyton in Grand Falls by myself while my first child was being born, although, in 1959 when I was born, I was born in a hospital in Baie Verte. There are 15,000 people there and we have to go to Grand Falls. It is ludicrous.

AN HON. MEMBER: A hospital in every home.

MR. SHELLEY: No, just in your district. It has to be considered.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is going to put the Labrador regional hospital in his district.

MR. SHELLEY: I want to move on to more services, since time is running out here. Water, sewer, and roads is in everybody's district and I appreciate that. I am not looking everything to be moved down into the Baie Verte - White Bay district. I am reasonable and fair about those things. I don't mind that. I know there are other places which have problems, but I am just telling you what the problems are in my district. I know, because I am there. I was born and grew up there. I know them. I have been to every community dozens of times and I know people in every community.

The water, sewer, and road situation, as in my districts, is deplorable in some parts of the district. I brought to the attention of the hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, the road in Purbeck's Cove, and I must say, I was glad of his co-operation and his being sympathetic to the situation. He has committed to me that he will look into it and I thank him for that.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to try to sum up, because I am running out of time, but I could go on a little bit longer. When I decided to run, as many of you have said as you have stood in this House, I made a commitment to work. I did not make one single promise, as a lot of you said, during the election. I never did believe in that type of approach because we have seen it so often federally and provincially, promises broken, broken, broken. I just made a commitment to hard work. I know the district and I am very sincere when I say I am going to do the best I can for my district, and on that note I would also like to say that, yes, I am the Opposition MHA for Baie Verte - White Bay, and I tell my people in the district, and I say to you as the government, that I am a very reasonable person. I like to use diplomacy. I don't believe in criticizing for the sake of criticizing, and nit-picking, or whatever. I am learning a lot in this House, I must say, but I am hoping it all doesn't rub off on me from the hon. members. I must say, I am a little bit surprised at some things that happen here, but I guess that is something that grows on you after awhile; but my own personal approach has always been to be diplomatic, to be reasonable with people.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Don't do that.

I just want to say that I am a reasonable person, as are the ministers that I have talked to. I must say, they have been very co-operative and they listen very well. I plan to work with the ministers and the government to better - we were all elected by the people of this Province. That is what we have to keep in mind. We were all elected. We all have to work together to solve the problems of every Newfoundlander.

The fairness that we have talked about, and the government mentions, is what I am going to see that they stay accountable for. As long as I can work with ministers and the government to better the lives of the people in my district, I will keep doing that, but I will be relentless in my duties to pursue anything that comes up in my district that I firmly believe in and that my constituents want me to pursue. I will not give up until I get a reasonable answer, until reasonable things are done, and I can tell you that the people in the Baie Verte - White Bay district - although I am in Opposition, I will be committed to hard work and to working with the government and their ministers in trying to better the lives of every Newfoundlander - not just the constituents in my own district, but every Newfoundlander and Labradorian.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Fortune - Hermitage.

MR. LANGDON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANGDON: First of all, I would like to thank my constituents in the district of Fortune - Hermitage for giving me the opportunity to come back to the House of Assembly and to represent them for the next four years.


MR. LANGDON: Or five years, whatever the case might be, and then an election for another five, and then after another election for another five, and by that time I will need to retire because of age.

I would also like to congratulate all the people who have been elected in the House for the first time, and for those who have been re-elected for the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth - however many times that might have been.

I remember, during the election campaign - I must say this - one of the members that I know - and the Member for Eagle River refers to him often as the other Member for Mount Pearl, but he is the Member for Waterford - Kenmount. I was going into the VOCM building to get some voice tapes done and, of course, I met the hon. member there. He asked: `How are things coming up in Fortune - Hermitage?' I said: `Very, very well. I figure I will get elected.' He said: `Yes, that is fine, but the only thing about it' - and the way that he said it - `the only thing about it - you know, in the way that he says - the only thing about this is the fact that after the election you're going to be sitting on the right-hand side of the Speaker and I'm going to be sitting on the left-hand side of the Speaker. We're going to be forming government and you're going to have to come to me.'

AN HON. MEMBER: Who said that?

MR. LANGDON: The hon. Member for Waterford - Kenmount. The thing about it is, the possibility - I think it's Newfoundland and one other Legislature has this arrangement, but nowhere else in the Commonwealth. I thought I'd share that with Harvey.

AN HON. MEMBER: Bill Matthews told me the same thing too.

MR. LANGDON: Bill Matthews told you the same thing, did he? Yes, okay.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).


AN HON. MEMBER: You did.

AN HON. MEMBER: No I did not.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. LANGDON: Mr. Speaker, this last election, there was no doubt about it, that there was a tremendous vote of confidence for the Premier and for the Liberal Party. The approach that the Premier took was applauded not only by the people in this Province but also by people across the nation, for his honesty and integrity and telling the people the way that it was and is and so on. That obviously I believe became the basis for the massive victory that he had.

I also think that during this last election Newfoundlanders - not for the first time - but I think this time they came of age. They were not intimidated, they were not led, and they were not pressured by interest groups. They voted the way that they wanted to, and wanted to let other people know, I guess, that they had the fortitude to be able to say to whatever party and to whatever candidate that they were going to vote for the person of their choice. That to me I think makes a lot of sense. When that happens, I believe that people in general can be applauded for that particular decision, decisions that they make that show attitudes and show maturity. Because they themselves want to have a decision in the way that their Province or their country has to be won.

The public saw, I believe also in the last election, the need for fiscal responsibility. That's what the Wells government had given the Province previously, four years fiscal responsibility, and put its house in order. I believe that over the next four years they will continue to put into place the Strategic Economic Plan and will bring economic stimulus and economic prosperity to the Province. It will be done not on an ad hoc basis but done on a fiscal management that will make the people of this Province pleased with this government and I'm sure, in the years to come, re-elect them many times.

People now realise that the legacy, I believe, that society has placed us in, in the sense that we have as a people during this generation, overspent. We have lived beyond our expectations and beyond our means. It is only now that we have come to grips with that reality, and I am glad we have, because if we did not then future generations will not only have to pay dearly for what we are doing now but probably will have to do without many of the social programs we have in place.

Mr. Speaker, it being one minute before the hour I wish to adjourn the debate.

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

MR. ROBERTS: I take it the motion to adjourn debate carried with the enthusiastic support of everybody in the House.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, indeed.

MR. ROBERTS: Before I move the adjournment until Monday may I just take a minute, Your Honour, and remind members where we are next week. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will all be government days with the consent of all hands in the House. My suggestion will be that on Monday after Orders of the Day are called we deal with the first of the three concurrence debates.

Perhaps we could stop the clock for just a second, Mr. Speaker?


MR. ROBERTS: The first concurrence debate is, I think, the Government Services Committee chaired by my friend for Trinity North. The debate is limited to three hours, and my suggestion will be that the House sit on Monday until we have finished the debate. In other words if we get on Orders of the Day at say 2:45 we sit until 5:45. We will do the same on Tuesday with the next committee, the same on Wednesday with the third committee, and then we will adjourn for Thursday, Friday and Monday to allow my friends opposite to elect either Mr. Charest or Ms. Campbell as the interim Prime Minister of Canada.

AN HON. MEMBER: Mr. Edwards.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Edwards, I gather, is to be the king maker or the Queen maker. In any event, Mr. Speaker, with that said I shall move that the House adjourn until Monday at 2:00.

My friend wants to speak.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: We do concur. We have no problem with finishing the concurrence debates once we start them Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. That makes all the sense in the world, another signal of co-operation I say to all hon. members. I just want to say to the Government House Leader that I would not put too many bets on this interim Prime Minister.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I concur with the suggestion of the Government House Leader that we take that approach on the concurrence debates. I will not make any comments about the events in Ottawa, just to let hon. members opposite know that this hon. member opposite will not be going to support either Ms. Campbell or Mr. Charest but nonetheless, I am quite happy to accommodate them in going off to pursue their leadership objectives. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: I think there are two nascent motions before the House, perhaps I should put it, seeing that it would be extending the hours of the House, that for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week that the hours of sitting be extended until such time as the three hours of concurrence debates on each day are concluded.

MR. ROBERTS: There is probably an easier way to do it, Mr. Speaker. Our practice as you know, is that we can extend the five o'clock simply by a motion. I would propose to move a motion at the appropriate time on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and that might be an easier way.

MR. SPEAKER: I think so yes. Well it is moved and seconded -

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

MR. GILBERT: If the House is going to be extended, some of the committees are meeting at 7:00 p.m. so we would have to possibly arrange for the estimates committees to be extended until 7:30 p.m. or something.

MR. ROBERTS: If the committees want to meet at 7:30 p.m. instead of 7:00 p.m. that would be in order.

MR. SPEAKER: I do not mean to complicate the matter. I noticed the hon. the Member for Humber East asking some questions. The motion before the House as you know, is to extend the hours slightly so that the three hours of concurrence debates on each of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday can be completed. I think the anticipated hour of adjournment would then be 5:45 - 6:00 p.m. on the assumption that the regular business is completed by about 3:00 p.m. each day. That is the motion before the House and I sense a unanimous concurrence but certainly I think that I should put a motion. So the motion then would be to extend the hours each day to allow for the full three hours of concurrence debates on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday if needed. All those in favour of the motion, `aye'.


MR. SPEAKER: Those against, 'nay'. Carried.

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