June 7, 1993                  HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLII  No. 12

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, last Fall, Cabinet directed the Department of Justice to develop proposals for the retention of outside legal counsel for all legal services required by government and certain of its Agencies, Boards and Commissions. All of these groups were advised of the new policy and were directed to provide my officials with a description of the outside legal services they would require for use by the legal profession in developing its proposals. The outside Agencies, Boards and Commissions were also advised to terminate existing arrangements for legal services.

A request for proposals was then sent to every law firm and sole practitioner in the Province. Each Agency, Board and Commission was provided with the proposals received on its behalf. Each of them, in consultation with my officials, then developed a list of law firms which it - the Agency, Board or Commission - thought were qualified to meet its requirements for legal services. This list of qualified law firms was then provided to Cabinet, who selected the law firms to be retained to provide services to the government itself, and to the Agencies, Board and Commissions.

Mr. Speaker, following careful analysis and thorough examination the successful firms were chosen. In certain cases one law firm was selected to provide services to an Agency or a Board or a Commission, in other cases a separate firm was selected for each region of the Province in which the Agency operates and finally, in certain other cases, lists of certain law firms were approved from which government may select a law firm on a case by case basis at the rate proposed by the law firm, or, if applicable, at the rate specified by the government or the Agency.

Except for the cases where lists of law firms were approved, specific retainers will be entered into between the successful law firms and the various Agencies for a period of two years.

Mr. Speaker, government are confident that this new procedure will eliminate patronage from its legal contracts. A list of the successful law firms is being tabled at this time.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I received a copy of the minister's statement a few minutes ago and will make some preliminary observations about it. First of all, the government was shamed into initiating changes or at least going through the motions of making changes in the way it contracts out legal work after the revelations by the news media and the Official Opposition, about what they were doing with a lucrative Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, otherwise known as Employment for Noted Liberals contract.

Members will recall that early in their first term of office, the Wells Administration took the ENL contract away from a non-partisan firm, Stewart McKelvey, and gave it to Halley, Hunt; a firm in which, at the time, the current Minister of Justice was a senior partner. After the minister came into the Cabinet, according to the news media, the Premier directed that the contract be switched from that firm because the minister's wife was a partner in the firm.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I went public at the time - I objected to that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MS. VERGE: With leave, I will continue, Mr. Speaker.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, he doesn't like it.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker.

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


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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I think the report we have needs, of course, to be examined, but I hope that the government has addressed, in addition to the direct legal services being provided to the government, the extra services, for example, in ENL, where although direct services to ENL might be a very small amount, the actual value of such a contract would be greatly increased by the amount of money companies have to pay to the law firm to get grants and loans from ENL to do the legal work involved with that. So I hope that has been addressed, as well.

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, last week, my colleagues asked some questions in the House about the large increases proposed for tuition at Memorial University. I want to ask the Minister of Education: In addition to those huge tuition increases that will average at least 20 per cent, can he confirm that the University now plans large increases in residence fees, meal charges, text books, in some user fees, and, indeed, intends to institute some new user fees for most of the services provided to students on campus? Will the minister admit that he has now been made aware of all of these new proposals?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I had to put this in context for the hon. member. The reality is that there has, to this date, been no increase in tuition. There have been no increases in any services that the University is offering; however, Mr. Speaker, there is a whole list of proposals which the University will consider when the Board of Regents meet in June. I cannot anticipate or prejudge what the board will decide at that meeting. I would think, Mr. Speaker, using my common sense, there will be an increase in tuition. Now, whether it is going to be 20 per cent or 5 per cent it is far beyond me, or anyone else, to say, but I anticipate there will be an increase, Mr. Speaker. The University is trying to deal with a shortfall in its funding, they are looking at a whole range of ways to deal with it, and one of the ranges is to increase the cost of some services.

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

MR. SIMMS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Now that the minister has confirmed, in fact, that is one of the options and it is part of their plan - last week, he also said in answer to some questions here in the House that the University planned to recover, I think, it was a third of the $11-million shortfall from students. Now, we understand, by the way, that is going to be closer to 40 per cent and close to about $5 million. I want to ask the minister: Why is he sitting idly by and allowing our students in this Province to be saddled with these kinds of huge increases? Why is he sitting idly by allowing that to occur? Is it because he and his government, in fact, have a plan to see the reduction in the size of the University in order to cut down on costs in future? In order to do that, what they are trying to do now is limit admissions to the University to only those who can afford it, or to the rich and the wealthy. Is that his plan? Is that the reason why he is allowing this to go on?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, there is no Machiavellian plan with government to making a smaller university. The reality is that the Province is now paying for about 82 per cent of the cost of a university education per student. The Province is met with a fiscal problem. We cannot give the University an additional $11 million, so we said to the University, `Here is your budget, you have the leeway to deal with it.'

As I told hon. members last week, unless the University does something extraordinary, it would be unreasonable for the Province to interfere in the day-to-day running of the University. I am sure the very students who are shouting and asking us to stop an increase in tuition, they would be the very students who would be complaining bitterly, and rightly so, if we were to poke our noses into the running of the University and say, `Look, you can offer them a math course here, you cannot offer a degree in Classics or what-have-you'. So, Mr. Speaker, it is a long tradition in the Western democracies that governments do not poke their noses into the day-to-day runnings of the Universities and we do not intend to do that, Mr. Speaker, unless it becomes absolutely, totally necessary. Now, I recognize the frustrations of students. Frankly, I wish we could give a free education to all of our students but we are paying 82 per cent of that cost, Mr. Speaker, and government does not have the extra money to give free tuition.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, the reality is that this government's initiatives are what is causing the problem. That is the problem, Mr. Speaker, and the government has been consistent over the last four years in the way it has treated the University and other government agencies. Now, the increases that the minister has confirmed will cost individual students in this Province, on average, about $500. Now, Mr. Speaker, the minister would know that when that is applied to students from outside of the St. John's region, then the burden on them is going to be even that much greater. I ask the minister: Is he going to do anything at all, is he going to lift his finger at all, to help this situation, help ease the burden for these students? Will he call in the University officials? Surely, he can sit down with them and discuss other options, surely he can do something. When is he going to stand up and, for once, speak out on behalf of the students of this Province?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks about other options. Now, what could be some other options? Some other options: one could be a cap on enrolment. Is that desirable, Mr. Speaker? No, that is not desirable. Another option would be to discontinue offering some courses at the University. Now, would that be a desirable option? not from where I stand, Mr. Speaker. There are a whole list of other options, but the lesser of all these options, the lesser of all the evils, would seem to be some participation on the part of the students into dealing with the extra costs. Now, Mr. Speaker, when you compare the tuition at our University, compared to an Arts and Science course at Dalhousie, ours at the moment, before any increases, is $1,700 per semester. At Dalhousie, the same course is $2,415, at the University of Moncton it is $2,050, Mount Alliston is $2,625, the University of New Brunswick is $2,350, Mr. Speaker. So, for this Province, which did not cause the recession, which did not cause the problems which we inherited when the government changes.

Considering our ability to pay, the recession that we are in, the fiscal problems that we are having, when every single sector and every single board - hospital boards, school boards - and agencies of government are being all asked to help share this burden, I believe it is reasonable to ask the people who are benefitting directly from the education at the university to pay a part. Whether that is going to be 20 per cent remains to be seen. That is left in the hands of the Board of Regents which is going to meet in June.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, a final supplementary.

What a feeble answer. What a lame duck answer, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: That is not acceptable. It is not acceptable simply to sit back and say, `We can't do anything.` That is what this government has been doing for four years. `We can't do anything.` What a response from a so-called responsible minister.

I want to ask the minister - he says: What other options are there? There are all kinds of other options, I am sure, and priorities that could be discussed. The minister keeps saying he is not prepared to stick his nose into the business of the University. Nobody is asking him to intervene. They are only asking him to get off his you know what and talk to the University. So will the minister call in the President of the University, look at some other options, look at some other ways of easing the burden on the students of this Province? Will he look at it? Will he consider that kind of approach?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is doing a great job of posturing. It is the first time I have heard him mention students in this House until he gets the galleries full of them, so he is doing a great job of posturing.

Of course, he talks about all the other kinds of options. He is not telling us what these options are, Mr. Speaker. We have looked at a whole lot of options and none of them are desirable. We had to choose the lesser of the evil.

Call in the President? Mr. Speaker, there is a process -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

If the hon. minister could get to the end of the answer, please.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the President of the University keeps in touch with me, as minister of the department, on a fairly regular basis. There is a process in place; however, the way the system works, we put in place boards, senates, to run the University, and I do not want to be part of a government which goes in and tells Dr. Art May who to admit and who not to admit, which tells Dr. Art May which courses to offer and which not to offer. We cannot have that kind of interference in the University.

We will bend over backwards if there is some way that we can help to lessen this burden, we will certainly do it, but we are hamstrung by the debt which hon. members ran up in seventeen years of spending like drunken sailors, coupled with a recession which we have no control over, Mr. Speaker. We are open to the concerns of students.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)!

MR. DECKER: Maybe if the hon. member is so concerned -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DECKER: - he will talk to his friends in Ottawa to do something with the student aid, the student loans -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DECKER: - which they haven't touched since 1984, Mr. Speaker. That's where the real problems are.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker -

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

The Chair is having a little difficulty hearing the questions and answers. I'd like to restore a little decorum to the House.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. I won't engage in the kind of silly little games that the minister is playing here today. Suffice it to say, I'll put my record of speaking up for students in this Province up against the minister's any day of the week.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Let me ask the minister one final question. Will he table in this House, before the House adjourns for the Summer session, whenever, an itemized statement of all fees and other charges that are now being paid by students, and the annual increases in those charges since 1989? Will he table that in the House - including the increases that will be approved by the Senate of the University in the next few days? Will he include that as well? Including the increases to be approved by the University in the next few days. The Premier is so anxious to table those, will he confirm that too?

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible) 18 per cent in 1985?

MR. SIMMS: This year's?

PREMIER WELLS: Eighteen per cent in 1985.

MR. SIMMS: This year.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Education.

MR. DECKER: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I can table the increases in the tuition fees. But the hon. member is asking for some other things also, things which have not yet taken place. It's difficult for me to table the outcome of the meeting of the Board of Regents which won't take place 'til June. But after that's available, anything that I have the legal right to table I will table, Mr. Speaker. Of course I will. I'll table this as well.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, according to Stats Canada, half of the new jobs created in Canada by the year 2000 will require five years of post-secondary education. The people we need to train for these jobs are now graduating from high school this year. That's happening when the University is raising barriers to University enrollments, to make the University smaller in effect, as the president put it in his annual address to the convocation.

Does the government agree with the plan for a smaller University in this Province? How will the minister assure that young Newfoundlanders who are now in school will be able to compete for jobs that will require five or more years of post-secondary education?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, there is no plan to make a smaller University.

As a matter of fact, the plan of government is to enlarge on Grenfell College on the West Coast. The plan of government is to ultimately build a college in Central Newfoundland, so there is no plan to make a smaller college.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the minister.

MR. DECKER: The participation of our students in university: for the last five years, between 37 per cent and 39 per cent - now the 35 per cent figure was around, but on closer examination between 37 per cent and 39 per cent - of all the students who finished Grade XII in this Province are in Memorial University.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me give you another statistic. In addition to that another 5 per cent are studying in universities throughout the country. On top of that another 3 per cent or 4 per cent of people who finished Grade XII three or four years ago come back to university, so we have in excess of 50 per cent of our students - our people who graduated the last five years - in a university. Now, Mr. Speaker, that can challenge any other Province in this country except Prince Edward Island. We have the highest rate of participation, so we are preparing for the five years down the road when the importance of a university education will be essential to getting a job. We are doing a darn good job and we are not going to take second place to anybody.

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

Order, please!

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, let me ask the minister a very specific question dealing with student aid.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HODDER: Will the minister increase the provincial grant portion of student aid so that students who need it can get help to pay the higher cost of tuition, board and lodging, and other university services they will pay this Fall?

Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the federal government's contribution. I am talking particularly about the provincial grant portion, and I would agree, in asking the question, that the minister not use, or I would state that the minister not use, the federal argument - they are not doing a good job either.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DECKER: No, Mr. Speaker. He says: Do not touch -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I have not recognized the hon. -

MR. DECKER: Do not touch my brothers and sisters in Ottawa.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I have not recognized the hon. minister. In any event, I could not hear if the hon. member would speak.

Order, please!

I would ask the hon. members on both sides of the House to be quiet so I can hear the hon. minister. Thank you.

MR. DECKER: No, Mr. Speaker. He says: Do not touch my friends in Ottawa. Do not touch my buddies in Ottawa, who have not increased student aid since 1984 or 1985. Do not touch them. Oh no.

Mr. Speaker, in fairness the hon. member is on the right track though. It is logical to assume, as the cost of a university education goes up so will student aid have to go up; however, if the Province were to say: Increase your tuition by 20 per cent and we will increase student aid by 20 per cent, that would be giving the University an open door to increase the tuition every year and unload it on the Province with student aid.

I will say this, Mr. Speaker. We are looking at the whole concept of student aid to see if there is some way we can -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DECKER: We have been increasing student aid, yes, but other provinces in Canada are also looking at a student loan program, which is one of the things that we certainly can look at - but I am not going to make any commitment to it - but we are looking at some way to help the average person in this Province to get into university and get a university education.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the minister was asking for options a few moments ago, and in view of the financial constraints stated by the minister as factors precluding significant funding to MUN to reduce the need for student tuition fees, and whereas the Province continues to fund the Harlow campus, will the minister undertake a review of the entire Harlow campus concept, and this analysis used as a source in which we can try to find monies to be able to make university education more accessible to our Newfoundland sons and daughters?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the university is looking for $11 million. Harlow campus costs $270,000. Now, Mr. Speaker, he has a little start made - albeit a small one.

I visited Harlow last year with the intention of closing it. So I went over with that as my intention; however, while I was there I met with some people from another university, which used to be a polytechnical college, which has just been given a university status in Great Britain. I see Harlow as a contact for this University with the British university system. This new polytechnical college has already entered into an agreement with the University of California. They are looking for a university in Canada to hook into. I believe for the sake of $270,000 we have a potential there to tie that University into the whole European system, so we can become one of the big players on an international scale. I would be doing an injustice to that University if I were to squash Harlow until we fully explore the possibility of making a better opportunity for our people in this Province, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Premier about Grenfell College in Corner Brook. Grenfell College, as the Premier should know, provides the only opportunity for university education in Western Newfoundland. The student enrollment at Grenfell is now twice what the facilities were designed to accommodate, and the science lab and library facilities are particularly inadequate. What happened to the government commitment, stated in the 1989 Speech from the Throne, and specified to begin in 1991-1992 in the government's White Paper on post-secondary education which was adopted, to expand facilities for Grenfell College?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's facts are not quite accurate. Grenfell College does not have double what it was built for. It's built to accommodate about 800. This coming September it will have about 1,200 or 1,300 students enrolled. When it was built for 800 that meant five days a week, basically classes from 9:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. What the University has done over the past little while is they have extended classes into the evenings and on Saturdays, so this makes the building quite capable of handling up to 1,000 students without any major problems.

The University and government are looking at - this government is committed to expanding Grenfell College. There's no doubt about that. But hon. members, if they would take their blinkers off, will recognize that we have a fiscal problem in this Province which we're trying to deal with in a rational manner. Grenfell College was built for 800. By playing around with the timetable it's quite comfortable to have 1,000 students in there. The enrollment this year, if we accept all the people who apply, will be in excess of that. We are looking around for some other space over in Corner Brook, as the hon. member will know. There are three high schools over there, two of which have been closed out, one which is about to close out in the future. We're looking at the possibility of making some space available in that. The last thing we want to do is to put a cap on enrollment, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Supplementary to the Premier. I'd like the Premier, who represents Bay of Islands, to address himself to Grenfell College. Why is the Premier's government reneging on its commitment and jettisoning its own timetable for Grenfell College construction, and instead embarking on spending not contemplated in the White Paper to improve science labs and start first-year University courses in Gander and Clarenville? Could it be that the government really doesn't have a plan at all?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member - our plan for the Central region - what we're hoping to develop in the Central region - we're hoping to develop a network of first-year courses. Come this Fall we will have in excess of 600 students involved in first-year courses. Next Fall when we bring Clarenville into this we'll have over 700 students. The next logical step is to bring them into a University network so that we can go with the second-year course at one spot, or whatever we want to do in Central Newfoundland.

We are totally committed to advancing Grenfell into ultimately a degree granting University, a campus of Memorial. We are totally committed to our extensions to the Central region as well. But what the hon. member has to recognize is this: that the whole country is in a recession. Apparently we're coming out of it, and let's hope we are. We're trying to wrestle with a $70 million shortfall, and we're trying to spread the pain, Mr. Speaker, as equitably as we can throughout the whole system. I suppose you could say we ought to close down the Northern Peninsula and do everything somewhere else. But that's not our philosophy.

Our philosophy is one of fairness and balance where we try to treat all our people reasonably. We cannot stop all our plans for Central Newfoundland and build up Western Newfoundland at the expense. The hon. member should see the big picture and there is a place in the big picture for Grenfell, a place for Central, a place for the Avalon Peninsula. There is a place, Mr. Speaker, for everybody and we have to treat everybody fairly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, some fairness, some balance.

Mr. Speaker, final supplementary, the University senate recently gave approval for Grenfell College to offer some third and fourth year courses constituting three Bachelor of Arts programs, what will the government do for Grenfell so the college will not be forced to lower first year admissions to make way for the new third and fourth year courses?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I have discussed this with the president on several occasions, as a matter of fact at the convocation where the hon. member was present, the president made the suggestion that he might have to for the first time, put a cap on first year enrollment at a college. We are looking around to see if there is any possible way to do that. One of the ways that we are looking at it, as I said, was to try to take advantage of some other spaces in one of the schools up in that area which I understand is about to close. We are looking at every possible option that we can possibly find but at the end of the day it might come down to this: do we offer third and fourth year courses or do we accept everybody who applies? When the time comes to make that decision, Mr. Speaker, again we will hopefully make the decision which is in the best interest of education in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. In the community of Beachside, a student has been diagnosed with meningococcal disease and has been hospitalized. The local health authorities have agreed to vaccinate only those persons in close contact with that particular student. Beachside is a small community, compact, population 280. The council is asking that the entire community be vaccinated, will the minister over-rule his local officials and ask that all of Beachside be vaccinated, Mr. Speaker?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is not a medical doctor, neither am I, we have officials in place who are, and we are following the appropriate protocols in Beachside as we are everywhere else. I have been in contact with the medical people as a result of this case, just to see what has been done and so on and I am satisfied that things are progressing as they should. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. According to information coming out of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association Annual Convention in Corner Brook, restrictions will be placed on new doctors setting up in this Province. What barriers does the minister plan on putting in place to stop new doctors from setting up practice in this Province?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, there are presently no new barriers. What we have in place are two committees, one is a long-range committee looking at the supply of doctors in the Province, of family physicians and specialists, because in some parts of the Province there are shortages and in some specialities there are general shortages. So we have a long range committee looking at this whole question and it has to do with enrollments in medical schools across Canada and so on. In addition to that we have a short-range committee which is to bring in a report as soon as possible. The problem is this, there seems to be an oversupply of physicians in Canada. The medical schools are turning out quite a number. Last year it was decided that some medical schools would cut back on their enrollments.

Now in Ontario the plan, if you read the paper recently there, is that physicians who practice in Toronto will receive 25 per cent of the fee schedule rather than the whole 100 per cent. So, there is a fear that a great number of physicians may decide to go in those parts of Canada where there is no such barrier and we do not want everyone ending up in St. John's because we have sufficient general practitioners in St. John's now. The more physicians we have, the more the health care system is driven, tests and things of that nature. So, we are looking at this question, we have not made any decisions and an expert committee will advise government on this

matter, whether we need to take any steps in the short run and in particular, we will be sorting out the physician supply problem for the long-term.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I guess in a round about way, the minister has said that they are looking at it. In fact, they put a committee in place to look at the total area of doctor services, and in fact the Medical Association now is considering various options, I understand, and since your department's budget for fee for service doctors is capped, new doctors would not significantly increase the cost to this Province, but really, reduce the earnings of doctors overall if we spread the same amount of money over new doctors. I ask the minister: are the barriers to new doctors setting up practice, are they aimed at reducing cost overall or, are they aimed at preserving the current income that doctors are now receiving in this Province?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, there are no barriers in place now and I am sure that the point that the member raised is something that we have to consider, but we must also consider another point. Even if the physicians' salaries, the total thing is capped, which it is, we have a certain amount of money that we spend on physicians salaries in the Province, no matter how many come here, we will just spend that much on physicians salaries, but every time a physician opens up a practice and somebody comes to see that physician, you have tests that are ordered, you have people committed to hospitals.

If you cannot get in with one physician, there is another fellow down the street, you go down and see him and eventually - it is generally known that physicians drive health care costs, not only the cost of their own salaries, but the whole health care system, and serious people in Canada are concerned about this and what we need in Canada is the appropriate number of physicians and what we need in Newfoundland is the appropriate number and in the appropriate places. There are some parts of Newfoundland where we have severe physician shortages and we want to direct physicians there and we are taking various steps to encourage physicians to establish in places where we need them, but there are other parts of the Province where we do not need more physicians because all that will do, will be to increase the cost of health care and we may have to close down some more hospitals.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce Bills entitled, "An To Amend The Liquor Control Act", "An Act To Amend The Government Money Purchase Pension Plan Act, The Public Service Pensions Act, 1991, The Teachers Pension Act, The Uniform Services Pension Act, and the Memorial University Pensions Act".

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

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

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, by agreement among the members we are going to debate the concurrence motion on the Government Services Committee report this afternoon. Now, Standing Order, I think, 121 Sub (1) deems that if a motion is before the House for the concurrence -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, 121 Sub (1). It is on the Order Paper as well but 121 Sub (1) says, upon the making of a report under Standing Order 120, and the report was made on Friday, as Your Honour will recall, a motion shall be deemed to be before the House that the report be concurred in. Before we begin I know my friend for Grand Falls, the Leader of the Opposition is anxious to get out of the House, but before we do perhaps we could see if we could come to an agreement on speaking times. My understanding is the rules are silent and therefore the normal rules would apply, but I believe there is a consensus among the gentleman for St. John's East representing his parliamentary group, the gentleman for Grand Bank representing his parliamentary group, and myself representing the group to Your Honour's left, that we should speak for ten or fifteen minutes each.


MR. ROBERTS: For ten, and that a member may speak more than once, if he or she catches Your Honour's eye. The only other motion I would make then, before we call Order 3, is that I move formally the House do not adjourn at 5:00, and that is simply to enable us to sit after 5:00, if we need to, to clean up the debate. It is limited to three hours so the latest we could sit would be 5:42, assuming the clock on the wall is correct, so I would move that the House do not adjourn at 5:00, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Agreed?

It is moved and seconded that the House does not adjourn at 5:00 but continue until the end of the three hours provided for concurrence, carried.

The rules, as I understand it, do not provide for the exact time for speakers but in accordance with the agreement we will go with ten minute maximums and a member may speak twice.

Motion carried.

We are now in concurrence debate.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. OLDFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I was not informed that I was scheduled but I am pleased to stand and speak in this debate.

AN HON. MEMBER: Your Maiden Speech, is it?

MR. OLDFORD: No, this is my second Maiden Speech.

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the new members who were elected on May 3. Of course, I am one of the veterans now. I also want to congratulate the people who were re-elected. I also thank the people of Trinity North for their fine judgement -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. OLDFORD: - and their vote of confidence. Of course, modesty is one of my great attributes so I do not want to carry that too far. Obviously they made the right decision in electing a Liberal member and I am pleased to be back to represent the fine people of Trinity North.

Mr. Speaker, during the campaign we campaigned, of course, on the issues of the day and these were issues related to the budgetary problems that we were facing in this Province, and obviously there was a need to control spending. I found, as I was going through the district, people were generally in agreement with what the government was proposing to do with the Budget.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).


Mr. Speaker, I was really surprised - well not so much surprised, I suppose - to see the concern of senior citizens when it came to the affairs of the Province. Seniors were telling me that this government was doing the right thing and that we were going to do well.

Mr. Speaker, getting back to the committees - the government services committee - I want to thank the committee members for their diligence and for their contribution to the process. We dealt with the estimates of the Department of Finance, the Department of Employment and Labour Relations, the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, and the Department of Municipal Affairs, and I must say, the meetings went well.

I want to thank the Member for St. John's East Extern who was on that committee, the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes; the Member for St. John's North; the Member for Harbour Grace, and the Vice-Chair, the Member for Bonavista South.

AN HON. MEMBER: Pleasantville.

MR. OLDFORD: And the Member for Pleasantville.

Mr. Speaker, we did a thorough review of the estimates. The individual estimates were scrutinized and reviewed and I must say, a good job was done.

I must commend the ministers for their co-operation. A couple of them were a little bit long-winded in their opening statement. As a matter of fact, I think if we had let them go we would have had a two-and-a-half hour opening statement and half-an-hour for questions and answers.

AN HON. MEMBER: Name them.

MR. OLDFORD: Oh, I do not want to name them. They know who they are.

One of the shorter meetings we had, and one of the better meetings, was when we reviewed the estimates of the Department of Finance. I notice the Member for Mount Pearl has left, but I was really excited about the exchange between the present Minister of Finance and the former minister - the Member for Mount Pearl. They both showed a great knowledge of what was going on in their department, and it was a learning experience for us - for a lot of the newer members on the committee. There was none of the rancour. It was a very valuable exchange between the minister and the former minister. I must say, it was a pleasant experience for me - this being my first time as Chairperson - that this meeting went so well, as did all the other meetings, of course.

So, Mr. Speaker, I just want to again thank the members of the committee; thank the ministers and the officials for their great level of co-operation; and with that I move concurrence.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I was the Vice-Chairperson of the government services committee, and I must say, it was a new experience for me. Not knowing what to expect, I thought it was going to be a situation where we would go and sit down - because I was not prepared for it at the time - and the minister would tell us what he wanted to and we would just accept that, but I was pleasantly surprised in that it gave us a chance not only to question the minister but also the minister's staff - all of whom I had not met before. So that was a learning experience for me and I found out a lot of why things are done the way they are, and the cost of going into doing the things.

One thing that disappointed me, I suppose, especially, in all the committees that we examined, was the professional services and the purchased services - that there were lump sum figures given there. It might be hard to itemize each one, but surely I think there should be a lot more information put forward in the estimates than just figures, because when you ask questions as to what money is spent where, then you have no other choice but accept what is put back at you because you are not aware of the amounts of money or where the cost is incurred. Salaries were also questioned in the estimates committee, and we were all of the opinion that salaries, especially in the administration levels, were supposed to be a reduction rather than an increase, and you will notice in many of the estimates that it shows an increase and the reason for that, we were told, is because, they are estimates and it is guesswork rather than salaries that are finalized up until this point, and I was a little disappointed in that.

Also, a little bit disappointed in the grading scales, especially for administration purposes. Step progression, which is something we do not believe in and when we saw it here on the books, it was something that gave us some concern because it is a way to give people salary increases without having them negotiated, and the people who are in the process of negotiating the wages are told that there is nothing there for you, only the people whom we see fit to give it to.

Looking back at itemizing things again, we look at some of the airport strips and ferry services, all put in in a lump sum, Mr. Speaker, and I believe that is wrong, because we do not have a whole lot of them; it is not the same as road work where you have a kilometre here and a kilometre somewhere else, I think we can do a better job in putting those figures forward, so that we can look at them and question them when we are questioning the estimates committees -

AN HON. MEMBER: Easier to follow.

MR. FITZGERALD: - easier to follow and in that way we can make sure that this money is spent and where it is going and the need is there. I thank the government members and the new ministers for their co-operation and our people, I think there were three rookies on our team and I must say they did a superb job. I also had the privilege of sitting in on the finance committee and that was a learning experience for me when we saw our member, the Member for Mount Pearl, being so in tune with the finance department and so knowledgeable about what was happening, so that gave me a lot of experience and I must say I came away a wiser person.

Thank you very much.

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

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

I just have a few remarks in the concurrence debate this afternoon starting off with the Government Services Committee. It is interesting really to hear the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman make some observations about the workings of the committees, and particularly interesting to hear new members, because for those of us who have spent some time on the estimates committees over a number of years, you sort of become immune to it I think after a number of sessions, but for new members I guess, who come in with a lot of optimism, who come in to scrutinize and to learn, it is most interesting to hear the remarks of new members on the committees, and the Member for Bonavista South has certainly pointed out some very interesting observations.

Mr. Speaker, we are talking the government services departments and I want to, for a moment, just talk about the transportation system in the Province and the need for improvements and so on. I did not have the occasion to show up at the committee that night, but I understand things were very interesting. We have a new minister in that department and I have had a number of discussions with him about needs in my area of the Province where we do need some major road improvements. We have had pavement in most of the district now for so long that it has outlived its - the life of the asphalt is gone and it is starting to break up and so on.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where is this, Fortune?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, really in most of the district. A lot of times, of course, back in those days when the Premier was I guess, the Premier was in government before, that when it came election time there was quite often a great rush, a flurry of equipment and a lot of times the proper preparation was not done - and the Government House Leader too, of course the Government House Leader, I forgot him. I can see he was itching, he wanted to be signalled out as well as being part of that regime where, they will pull in the bulldozers and the old rollers and the asphalt spreaders

over beaches, they paved on - and in our area of the Province, Mr. Speaker, they even paved the beaches, I say to the Government House Leader. And, of course, we have done quite well to get this long out of it. But now the old road work is cracking up. It is much like the government, the Minister of Education, particularly, it is starting to crack up. But, no, we have -

MR. SIMMS: Who is going to tell you about Frank Moores (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He was going to talk about Frank, was he?

MR. SIMMS: Yes, one of Frank's (inaudible). What was it, `Ed'?

MR. ROBERTS: The Fortune - Hermitage by-election which blessed us with Roger Simmons. They laid the pavement on top of the snow and ice, including the potholes.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: On top of the snow and ice, laid pavement.

MR. ROBERTS: Not only that, they lost the by-election in the bargain.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, there are some serious road improvement requirements that I brought up with the minister -


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

I am having trouble hearing the hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am having trouble hearing myself, I say to you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SIMMS: A terrific speech!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Such personal attacks from all sides. It reminds me -


MR. SIMMS: Even the Speaker is interrupting!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Even the Speaker. It reminds, me, talking with the Government House Leader, of the story I am told of an election years back when Mr. Hickman was the member for the area.

MR. ROBERTS: Just happened to be running for us.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, he was for your side then.

MR. ROBERTS: That is a long time ago.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That is a long time ago -

MR. SIMMS: He was running with Walter Carter.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: - when Premier Smallwood came down and promised to do the road. Mr. Hickman believed the promise and was quite serious about the need to have this road done. Of course, when the election was over and Smallwood was returned to power, Mr. Hickman was a member of that. Mr. Hickman went out of his way a month or so after the election - he came in to see Mr. Smallwood. He went up to the Premier's Office and said: `Premier, I came to see you to remind you about the election promise that you made.' The Premier looked at him and asked: `Haven't you heard, Alec?' He said: `No, Premier, what is it I haven't heard?' The Premier said: `The election is over.' Of course, consequently -

MR. SIMMS: Never mind the promises.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Never mind the promises. That is a true story, by the way. Alec Hickman told me that himself.

MR. SIMMS: `Beaton' was there, for sure.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, `Beaton' was there.

MR. SIMMS: Beaton was there in those days.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, it is a true story. Anyway, I just wanted to go on record, Mr. Speaker. I was hoping the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation would be here, but he has gone about the Province, I believe, inspecting roads - on the great Province-wide tour.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Get up and tell us about it now. Rookie - make your maiden speech, come on!

MR. HARRIS: Where has he gone?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He has gone to the West Coast, I believe - out through Central and gone to the West Coast.

MR. HARRIS: Trying to use up his $8,000 car allowance.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, I tell you one thing about the current Minister of Works, Services and Transportation - knowing him like I do, I say, it won't take him long to use up his $8,000 car allowance, because he will put some miles on that car now.

Having said that, even though we all have responsibilities to the House, I think the minister is keen to leave and go out in some regions of the Province to look at the transportation needs. I know, my colleague, the Member for Humber East, has brought up the matter on the floor of the Legislature. She has discussed it privately with the minister and he is going to have a look at it while he is out there. All I say is that the minister certainly has a new attitude.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is why he went out there.

MR. SIMMS: Do some looking.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, and he is going to some driving and some looking. Whether he is going to resolve anything when he is out and about, I don't know. But I give him the benefit of the doubt. I think he wants to go out and see first-hand the transportation needs in the Province. He is going to look at it and then he is going to prioritize. I am sure, with the influence that minister has in his department, Mr. Speaker, whatever he prioritizes, those are the things that will get done. I see the Member for Fogo is smiling, because he worked for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, of course, in Social Services, so he knows just how dominating that minister can be in his department. And what he sets as priorities are priorities.

MR. SIMMS: And he's not very political.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Not very political. In case members wonder why I am being a bit complimentary to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, it is because I have had a brief discussion with him, as well, Mr. Speaker. I am hoping now when he comes back, the first thing he will do is read Hansard, where he will see all those compliments that I have made about him, and then he will be willing to spend about $1 million this year in the district of Grand Bank for road improvements.

MR. SPEAKER: On behalf of all hon. members, I would like to welcome to the public galleries a delegation from the town of Lewisporte: Deputy Mayor Curlew; Councillor Peckford; Town Manager Moyles; and the Development Officer, Michael Moss.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am one of the members who served on the Government Services Committee, so I thought it would be appropriate and an opportune time to speak to the experience that evolved as a result of the opportunity of serving on that Committee for the first time. As all hon. members would know by now, I am a first-time MHA representing the district of St. John's North, and I must say that I was pleased with the opportunity to be able to serve on the Committee that examined the Estimates for the Department of Finance, the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, Employment and Labour Relations, as well as Municipal and Provincial Affairs. I, like my hon. colleague from the other side of the House, entered into the work of the Committee with some reservation as to what was involved and how the process flowed once the work started, but I would have to say that once we commenced our discussions and our activities, the questions that evolved naturally from the presentation of the estimates by the ministers allowed for participation by all of the Committee members with great ease. I think, at the end of the evening, we came away infinitely more informed about the process and about the workings of the department than when we entered into the discussions. I would like to commend the Chair of the Committee, the hon. the Member for Trinity North. He runs a mean Committee and he chaired the sessions very, very well and ensured that the debate - that the time allocations to the various members was done properly and fairly. I would also like to congratulate the Vice-Chair, who, like myself, was a rookie MHA but who also participated and played his part very well.

One of the things that impressed me, Mr. Speaker, about the workings of the Committees was the infinite knowledge that the ministers seemed to have of the workings of their departments.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is actually amazing, isn't it?

MR. L. MATTHEWS: It is actually amazing that ministers who are in their departments for only a very short time had such a grasp of the workings of the department; I refer to the hon. the Member Carbonear and also the Minister responsible for Works, Services and Transportation, the hon. the Member for Port de Grave. Now, I realize that they are not rookie MHAs and they should know something about what is going on, but I believe they did themselves more than proud in the examination of their estimates.

The minister walks in just a minute too late to hear me commend him for being so knowledgeable, so I will say it again: The Minister of Municipal Affairs seemed to be knowledgeable beyond his years and he seemed to be competent beyond his length of time in office in sharing information with us. I was most interested in the extent of the knowledge that the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations had in sharing on his Committee. I thought the hon. the Member for Exploits, who is the minister of that department had, not only sufficient knowledge, but it seemed as though he had all knowledge. There seemed to be no question too difficult for him to handle and I commend him for being so well read.

I also appreciated the level of information that the staff were prepared to share with us in the Estimates Committees. The staff that staff these departments, the deputy ministers, the ADMs, the directors and whoever they were that came along to the various meetings, had great knowledge of the workings of their departments. That is a very positive thing, but I would also caution all of us, as members of this Legislature, that at the end of the day, we are responsible in this House for the direction that this government takes and for the money that is spent on behalf of this government. So, I would caution the ministers and give them a little reminder that they should not be unduly dictated to, or unduly directed by their staff, if it takes them outside of the broad policies and outside of the broad mandate that this government has laid out to operate under within the next four years.

One of the things, Mr. Speaker, that concerns me greatly came out of the examination of the affairs of the Department of Municipal Affairs, and that was the fact that we learned that the Federal Government has decreased their commitment and their contribution to social housing from $40 million, I think it was last year, down to $17 million this year, and next year, if I understand correctly, their commitment to social housing will be zero - it will be zilch, it will be nil, it will be nothing. That, I am sure, is a concern to us a members of the Legislature because, after all, we still have a major task on our hands in this Province to ensure that our people who cannot afford it wholly on their own, are suitably housed, are maintained properly in dwellings that give them adequate protection, and that give them a decent standard of living and a decent place in which to live. So I would express disappointment that the Federal Government is withdrawing from this program and leaving us in the position which we will be left in, with no money to carry out that sort of thing.

I was appreciative of the information that the Minister of Finance shared with us. Undoubtedly, the Minister of Finance has a very, very good grasp of the knowledge and workings of his department. I was interested to know, by way of examination of his estimates, that they are doing due diligence, as it were, to ensuring that whenever and wherever possible, they are refinancing the public debt of the Province to ensure that we are taking advantage of the reduced interest rates that are universally in vogue at the moment.

So I commend the Minister of Finance and suggest and ask him to continue to ensure that every time there is a possibility to save a dollar on debt and interest charges that he proceed to do so and that he ensure that we get the best bang for the buck, as it were, out of our dollars that we have available to us.

I would like to also commend the three members who served on the Committee from the other side of the House - from the Opposition benches. They were very sharp in their questioning. They were very astute in the way that they went about handling their work, and they did not seem to want to drag out the work of the Committee unnecessarily or unduly.

I am not sure, Mr. Speaker, whether, on their behalf, it represented a great desire to be overly co-operative or whether it is not a situation where they are still suffering severely from postelection blues. I think that had a fair bit to do with the attitude of the members from the other side of the House, and I can understand their lack of fire in the belly, if you like. I can understand their lack of desire to be unco-operative, because, at this point, I am sure they have nothing to be gained by that. The people of the Province, of course, spoke loudly and clearly on May 3, and I would suggest that in the years ahead, they will improve their level of performance in terms of aggressiveness on the Committee. But postelection blues, like postpartum blues, or whatever it is after you have a baby, won't last forever, and I am sure they will come around and come along and get more into things.

It was a unique experience, Mr. Speaker, to be able to serve on the Committee. It was an enjoyable experience, and I believe that the workings of the departments that we examined are in very, very good hands, the departments being headed by very capable ministers who seem to have been able to give great diligence to their work. As I said before I would only caution the ministers that they ensure that they are at all times fully in charge of their departments and at the end of the day realize that the buck stops here, as it were, in this Legislature and that we carry on as a government, as a Legislature, to execute the programs and policies that were annunciated during the election campaign. The people of this Province, Mr. Speaker, expect performance. The people of this Province expect us to do what we said we would do, and that is to be frugal in the administration of the affairs of the Province, to be frugal in the way we spend the dollars that we have available to us, and that we hold the line.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.


MR. L. MATTHEWS: Leave to finish up.

Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to participate in the debate. As I say, it has been a pleasure, an enjoyable experience, and I believe that the affairs of this Province will be the better served because of the activity of the committee on which I served, and because of the people who sat on that committee, and who also serve in this House.

Thank you, Sir.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MANNING: A great job, Lloyd. It must be nice to get up and be able to speak every now and again, Mr. Speaker. I assure the hon. member, Mr. Speaker, that there are no post-election blues in me. I am not back on the ground yet. There is lots of fire in my belly and you ain't seen nothing yet. I am a PC and I have been a PC since I was born, was and always will be.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are only young yet.

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, I was a member of the Government Services Committee and I must say it was quite the experience. I did not realize at first exactly what the committee meant when I became a member, but as we sat down in the informal sessions going through the different department estimates it was very enjoyable to say the least, to get into the workings of the department and find out a lot of the ins and outs that are not brought out in the House from day to day. I must say I missed a couple of the sessions due to district commitments, and I am sorry for that because the few that I did attend were very educational to say the least. As we went through the estimates the hon. member before me spoke with some -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I hate to interrupt the hon. member but the conversations to my left are becoming very, very loud and I am having difficulty hearing the hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes. I suggest that hon. members to my left, if they are going to engage in conversation, turn the volume down a bit, or if not the hon. Member for St. Mary's - The Capes is going to have to turn the volume up.

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The poor fellows over there do not get a chance to speak very often so I understand it.

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, the Government Services Committee was truly an experience. I must say some of the ministers who attended answered the questions very openly, and also the people who were with them from the different departments were very quick on answers, and if they did not know the answers they certainly delved into it until they found the answers for us. I was surprised on a couple of instances, Mr. Speaker, especially with the Department of Employment and Labour Relations. I must say it was one of the better meetings we had but I was surprised to find that the new announcement last week concerning the Conservation Corp would created a few less student jobs this year in Newfoundland and Labrador, and that worried me. I welcomed the new initiative but I thought there may be some new dollars instead of taking it from the existing pot and cutting back on some student jobs that we had for our Province. That was a major concern.

In Municipal and Provincial Affairs I must go along with the hon. member who spoke before me with regard to the cutbacks on social housing on both levels of government, federal and provincial. It will have a detrimental effect on our Province in the long-term, and I think that our provincial government should lobby as much as it can to have at least some dollars re-instated and put their money where their mouth is, also.

With regards to Works, Services and Transportation, it is one of the meetings that I just happen to have missed and I regret that because I was looking forward to sitting down in an informal session with the new Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. I must say, Mr. Speaker, that as we went through the estimates I found that the government has chosen to cut back in several different parts of each department; I realize that cuts have to be made but there are some instances there that I was very worried about and I will leave some of them for Question Periods in the future as I try to find out some more information on them, but I have to thank all the members of the committee.

I thank the Member for Bonavista South, the Vice-Chair and the Chairperson of the committee, and their willingness to allow everybody to have the opportunity to speak when they wanted to and there was no rush to get the job done as such. We took our time and went through the estimates as best we could. The courtesy of the members opposite also, I commend. We all seemed to sit back and enjoy it -


MR. MANNING: I told you I would save the fire for later. Mr. Speaker, I will again welcome the members from all sides of the House who partook in the Government Services Estimates Committee. It was an enjoyable experience and I learnt much from it. Thank you.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Government services, this does include the Works, Services and Transportation department?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HEWLETT: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I would like just a few words, if I may?

As a matter of fact I just came in from the Common Room after returning two phone calls to secretaries of local service districts in the Jackson's Cove area and the Harry's Harbour area, both of which are served by a roadway which was rebuilt and partly paved during the years of the Peckford administration, however, since coming to power, the Wells administration has steadfastly refused to complete the paving on this road. That is rather much a shame because the road was completely rebuilt, ready to be paved, and now, even to pave it, extra expense would be required to upgrade the road surface to finish the job.

The secretaries of both local service districts, asked me to send an invitation to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, to attend the public meeting in their area, preferably sometime in the Fall, to publicly discuss with the local people the state of their particular road. I will write the minister and pass on their request for a meeting and as I understand it right now, the minister is on the road touring the Province, looking at the state of the roads in the various parts of the Province, and I can only commend to him that if he happens to be in the Green Bay area, that he take a hard look at the bridge at South Brook which is in terrible shape and that he visit Harry's Harbour, Jackson's Cove area and see first hand what needs to be done with that road.

I thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I too was a member of the Government Services Review Committee and I must say that the past two weeks have been a learning experience for myself, especially when it came to those committees. I have to disagree with the Member for St. John's North, when he said that the questions from this side of the House were few - well, he did not put it in those words but he certainly implied that - but I have to say that when I went to those meetings I was quite prepared because I did not know really what to expect and I had an armload of questions, but when it came to the ministers themselves, I must say that with each minister I was impressed in a different way.

With the Minister for Municipal and Provincial Affairs, I was impressed with his sincerity, and his staff, I have had a fair bit of dealings with his staff in the past and with a number of the people who were there, and I asked certain questions of the minister that I had asked those people before, hoping that the answer would be different than I had received previously. I think the minister is thinking along the lines that I've been thinking these past number of years, and hopefully he'll follow up on that.

With respect to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, I have to agree with a previous member who stated that that minister does know his department well. I did have a fair number of questions for that minister and he seemed to have the answers. I had to accept them as he presented them because of the amount of time that was involved in these meetings. I really couldn't get all the time in, have all the time allotted to me for the questions I had. Actually, in one of the departments I voted against the estimates because I didn't get all my questions answered.

With respect to the hon. Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. I must say, for the short period of time that he's been there he's obviously putting in a fair bit of time to know his department, and I congratulate him on that. His staff whom he had at that meeting, I was thoroughly impressed with those people. They really knew their stuff. There are some questions that I didn't get answered.

One thing with respect to the process, with the committees themselves. I find that the process is really too short. The amount of time allotted, with basically three hours per committee, and we didn't really go into any overtime, any extra nights or however the case may be. I don't know if you can really get into the in-depth study of the departments that you would like to, although I must say I came away, just after three hours, a lot better informed than before I went there. Some of the questions I didn't get answered. I went through each department section by section, and at one of the meetings, after the meeting was over, one of the deputy ministers came up to me and he said; Jack, I must say, you're one of the first who went through the estimates section by section. So I said: I'll take that as a compliment. He said: yes, it's meant to be one.

I did get the feeling, though, that the process itself is just a formality. We go to it, we bring up our questions, we get our answers, and - done deal.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: That's right, I know. What can we say? That's the process, that's the process we're in, and that's the learning experience that we're going through at this point in time.

With respect to some of the question that I did have in particular, I did have some major concerns with the Workers' Compensation with Employment and Labour Relations. The minister says that there's been $3 million cut this past year, or a $3 million savings. But if you look at the Workers' Compensation appeals tribunal you will see that there's more money allotted for salaries. So I ask the question, would there be more people employed? Obviously there's going to be. That begs the question then: are there more appeals? The answer was: yes, there seem to be more appeals and people seem to be using the system more because when they go through this appeal there's a 50 per cent success rate. So I don't know if we're spending on one hand and saving on the other, if we're getting the correct facts and figures, or it's just an illusion that we are saving money. I don't know.

One thing I will say with respect to the Workers' Compensation and that is this: that I have people coming into my office already with respect to the workers' comp. People who have been cut off who have been on it for a number of years. One example is a fireman I had in my office the other day who's been on workers' compensation and has been cut off. I've been talking to other members from the other districts and they're having the same problem. Numbers upon numbers of people contacting them with respect to worker's comp being cut off.

Is the government saving money on the backs of the injured in this Province, people who have been out fighting fires and doing their duty with respect to government services, whatever the case may be, saving money on their backs? I certainly hope not but that appears it may be the case.

I noticed throughout the four different departments that there were a lot of cuts in grants and subsidies in all sections. I asked the question on a number of occasions: who, or what people, are being affected by these cuts to the grants and subsidies? I got some answers here and some that are certainly understandable, type of thing, but there are some that are really beyond my imagination why they would be cutting them.

One that pops to mind is the $10,000 cut for the arenas throughout the Province. We all know that people's recreation and health, how it affects, how being in good shape basically affects their good health and actually saving money hopefully down the road with the Department of Health, keeping them out of hospital and that type of thing. So maybe the government should be looking at reinstating that.

Another one was the cut to the fire fighters - the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Fire Fighters and Fire Chiefs. We had that cut and I made argument at the municipal affairs review meeting. I could not really get the minister to budge on that one, although he understood where I was coming from on that. I have had a number of calls on that issue from different firemen, and I think that is going to be addressed down the road.

We have people in this Province, firemen, who are out - or fire persons I suppose they are referred to today - risking their lives. It is only a very small amount of money they are asking for, and they should be recognized for their efforts, for the time they put in, and for the risks they take. It is only a small amount of money, and to think it is being cut - well, what can you say? It is there. I know the minister has a hard job to do, but hopefully he will reconsider that in the near future.

I was speaking to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. As I said earlier, the hon. minister has spent some time getting to know his department, but I was trying to question him on the Outer Ring Road. I do not know if it is parliamentary to be making comparisons, but it is like trying to get an answer out of a wily old fox type of thing. He answered you but he did not really answer you. So I spent a fair bit of time at that and did not get an answer first nor last, and I will hopefully pursue that.

One thing I was concerned about in the estimates, I was speaking to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation and he mentioned the Torbay Bypass I believe it is referred to, when that does get up and running and constructed, the other connector roads, as they are referred to now, that are the responsibility of the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, will become the responsibility of the municipalities involved. Of course we know the impact that the cuts by this government has had on the municipalities when it comes to roads and road maintenance. The cuts have been from $2,200 per kilometre per year down to $39 per kilometre per year this year, and possibly none next year, and to pass over more roads to those towns is just going to be unbearable.

One thing I would like to mention is that this past Spring the former Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs was in a meeting with the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Municipalities and he guaranteed, promised, and set in stone that there will be no changes this year to the figures that were sent out to the municipalities for their budgets this year. Lo and behold, what do we get? The $89 per year this year has been cut to $39 per year. I am telling you, it is getting to the point now where the towns are finding it almost impossible to operate with that kind of money coming in.

Another area that I have noticed and want to bring up is the C A Pippy Park. The grants and subsidies to the park have been cut this year by $200,000 and apparently it may cause layoffs within Pippy Park itself. I find it ironic that we have the Outer Ring Road being held up because of Pippy Park, and how the Pippy Park is supposedly going to be divided, whatever the case may be. Now we are getting a $200,000 cut to that park. So we have the government here working at loggerheads itself in that respect.

One other point under municipal affairs and housing was the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing. I noticed, in discussions with the staff, that they have 6,400 lots developed over the past number of years; have 2,000 acres of industrial land, of which 600 acres has been sold.

I know that the Housing is into subsidized housing and I certainly agree with that. I had some discussions with the minister on his beliefs with respect to competing with private industry and I plan to follow that up. I will sit down now, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for your time but I might pop up again when I get a chance, thank you.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join in this debate on concurrence for the government services estimates committee. I want to take this particular opportunity to say a few words about workers' compensation. I suppose it is an expansion of the question that I raised last Friday to the minister in the House, regarding the cost of workers' compensation and the savings that have been demonstrably obtained in the last year as a result of the decrease in the number of workplace accidents. In one year, Mr. Speaker, it has been demonstrated that - although there was a 14 per cent decrease in accidents and related cost of compensation associated with those accidents, there was as well a decrease in the size of the workforce. So, one would expect a decrease in the amount of accidents and a decrease in the claims associated with them and the expense involved but the decrease that occurred in workplace accidents was far greater, three times as great said the minister, as it would have been expected by the decrease in the number of employees, resulting in a 9 per cent saving in costs of workers' compensation and the number of accidents that were attributable to fewer accidents and the prevention measures being undertaken.

So, Mr. Speaker, it has been shown that in just one year alone, a 10 per cent saving was able to be achieved by a greater concentration on the prevention of accidents - which serves a two-fold purpose, Mr. Speaker, we are not just talking about money here. It is not obviously just estimates committees, we are talking about the cost of government providing services. We are talking here about human suffering, we are talking about workers who are injured on the job. With each of these statistics or dollars, we have someone who has an injury, Mr. Speaker, or in some cases a fatality and a death arising out of workplace accidents. So, we are talking here about human cost as well as social costs and government cost.

It has been demonstrated, Mr. Speaker, that in one year and one year alone, a 9 per cent decrease in workplace accidents has been achieved by a greater concentration on prevention. So, that, Mr. Speaker, tells us something about the nature of the work being done by the Workers' Compensation Commission and the importance of an emphasis on prevention. Not only that, Mr. Speaker, it underlines for me the criticism that was provided this government last Fall when they were bringing in the plans to reduce workers benefits, the benefits of workers who were injured. It was criticized, the government was criticized, the Workers' Compensation Commission was criticized for wasting money by not attending to the rehabilitative needs quickly, by having a bureaucracy that was unable to make decisions fast enough and a procedure that was unwieldy by a system of medical referrals that was not allowing injured workers to get access to medical rehabilitation, let alone new job rehabilitation and that these problems were what was causing the system to be so expensive, as well as the lack of attention to the needs of prevention, occupational health and safety, education in the workforce on these issues. If those problems were resolved and addressed than the government would not have the excuse to reduce the benefits to injured workers.

The approach that the government took, Mr. Speaker, I believe was punitive to injured workers and it was unnecessary. It has been demonstrated to be unnecessary by the results of the experience of the last year by having in one year, decrease the number of workplace accidents by 9 per cent over and above the normal decrease that one would expect from a decrease in the size of the labour force is a very considerable achievement, Mr. Speaker. I think that the government really ought to review, reconsider and indeed change its approach of abandoning injured workers to a lesser form of compensation as has been done last Fall.

So, Mr. Speaker, that's one area that comes out of that estimates committee that I think is something that all hon. members ought to pay serious attention to. Because it is something that affects - it doesn't affect each person right now, but it will affect them in the future. A worker who is injured who will all of a sudden discover that the benefits that that person will receive from Workers' Compensation is far less than he or she expected and was entitled to six months ago before the government made these changes.

I think the lesson of the annual report of the Workers' Compensation Commission as disclosed to the estimates committee, in this particular case, shows that the government action was hasty. I understand that this type of economic circumstances that we're in, the emphasis on deficits, the concern about government spending, is causing many governments to take action that ends up being arbitrary, because they think and they conclude that the only solution to problems such as this, the only solution to the financial burdens of a system such as Workers' Compensation, is to cut back benefits.

If this government continues with that approach we can see the health care benefits being cut back. We can be sure that they'll be looking for - we've already seen it in health care, in hospital services. We've already seen it as well in cutting back certain services which used to be covered on MCP which are no longer covered. We're seeing it in the creeping of user fees in programs such of this nature. We see that approach overall being very detrimental to the people of this Province.

The crime and the tragedy are that it's not necessary. The report of the review committee to Workers' Compensation disclosed a whole list of the reasons for the unfunded liability problems in Workers' Compensation. A whole list of them. If all of those others had been addressed - the other ones, except for the reduction of benefits - there would be no need to reduce the benefits. For that reason I'm very critical of the minister and the Department of Employment and Labour Relations, and the government in general, for taking the approach of reduction of benefits, particularly in such a critical area as workers' compensation.

Yes, there needs to be a system in place that's fair and reasonable, but there needs to be a level of benefits that actually compensates a worker for the loss and for the injury, and doesn't in fact punish that injured worker for being a victim of an injury. If there are people abusing the system - which we often hear as one of the reasons for the high cost - well then, find out who they are and eliminate them from the receipt of benefits. That's the solution. Not punishing other injured workers because some other person is pretending to have a claim when they don't. The answer is to make sure that the claims are processed properly, are processed promptly; that medical assistance is provided in a prompt and efficient manner; that rehabilitation services are made available in a timely way to individuals to get them back to work as quickly as possible.

That's what reduces the length of the claims and that's what reduces the cost of workers' compensation. Number one, prevent the accidents; number two, have an efficient system that provides medical rehabilitation; and number three, make sure that system works and gets people back to work as quickly as possible. That's what will reduce the costs of workers' compensation. Not the reduction of benefits that we've seen this government choose to implement as the only way out of a government that has no ideas, that has no solutions, and is making no attempt whatsoever to be creative about finding them.

I ask, Mr. Speaker, that in considering these estimates we ask the government to bring back the level of workers' compensation benefits to the level that they were prior to the implementation of the reductions in benefits to injured workers introduced last Fall. We have the evidence now from this annual report of the success in increasing emphasis on prevention of injuries by occupational health and safety training. We have seen the evidence. We have seen that it works, that it reduces accidents and reduces costs, and I think we will see, if the government continues and makes sure there is sufficient monies available to have the proper occupational health and safety training programs, enforcement programs and prevention programs to take action to further reduce the cost of workers compensation by reducing the number of accidents, by reducing the pain and suffering caused to workers through industrial accidents and therefore, of course, reducing the financial cost of the system to employers -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: - who are the ones who have to fund it at an obvious cost to the economy.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the wish of the House to concur the report?

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

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

I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak for just a few minutes in the concurrency debate on the government services committee.

Mr. Speaker, I wholeheartedly agree with the hon. Member for St. John's East when he talked about the wise investment of spending money on the prevention of accidents in the workplace rather than what the approach -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) shaved your moustache.

MR. A. SNOW: The hon. members opposite - somebody referred that if I were to shave my moustache I would bear a striking resemblance to Gorbachev, I think they said.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Well I am referred to quite often within this party as a `Red Tory`. I did not think I had moved that far to the left. I certainly hope not anyway.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, again I want to reiterate and repeat what I mentioned about the hon. Member for St. John's East, the Leader of the New Democratic Party, when he talked about the wise spending of money in the campaigning on the job in accident prevention rather than the approach that was taken by the minister last year when they brought in the infamous bill with regard to changing the remuneration that was paid to injured workers through workers' compensation.

We argued at the time - the opposition did - because of the experience that we have gained through working in the workplace and listening to the workers, that the approach had to be education of the workers in the workplace and of the employers, because they too provide the funds for this education process that was necessary to put in place so that we could make this workers' compensation fund more beneficial - make it work for the worker, so to speak.

The attitude that the minister of the day had was that if we were to merely cut the benefits of an injured worker we would be able to save the fund. Of course, that was being very shortsighted we felt, and spoke long and hard over it. We fought for the ordinary Newfoundlander and Labradorian - the ordinary worker out in the workplace. We are seeing the benefits this year, where the employers have spent, and the government has spent, more money in education. We are seeing an improvement in the fund - the stability and the size of that fund now, Mr. Speaker.

This, of course, comes under the Department of Employment and Labour Relations, and I just want to have a few words with regard to the department's involvement. In my district we have seen a lot of problems occurring over the last few months, potential problems occurring within -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: I am glad to see that the minister is here participating in the debate, Mr. Speaker, as we are mentioning his department. I have had discussions with the minister with regard to the ongoing problems associated with the negotiations between the unions and the mining companies, or representatives of the mining companies through QNS & L, the operating railroad, and he has informed me that he has been kept up to speed by his officials with regard to the problems that workers in Western Labrador are having with negotiating a package for the next three years because of some of the definite problems with the re-organization that the Iron Ore Company of Canada has done in Western Labrador and on the Quebec North Shore with the railroad and dock workers.

We have found that the railroad workers who reside in Western Labrador are practically being excluded from the collective bargaining process because of the arrangement that has been forced upon all the unions in Western Labrador and the Quebec North Shore, and this has been tremendously unfair to these individuals. While there are only twelve people involved in Western Labrador the principle is something that this government should not ignore. I will be keeping the minister abreast of exactly what is happening as I have been talking to the union membership, because this does have the potential of having drastic consequences on the whole process of negotiations in the mining industry in this Province, Mr. Speaker.

While there are over 100 people employed on shipping the iron ore on the railroad, and about half of the actual railroad is in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the other half being in Quebec, we only have about 10 per cent of the workforce. This has occurred, historically, I guess, since the completion of the railroad back in the early 1950s. Now, there are several things that could be done, and one of the things we should be doing - and the minister has informed me that the department is keeping an eye on the negotiations, government has to sit down with representation from the mining company, and they should stress to the mining company the importance of returning the proper manpower levels, or employment levels to the people of this Province, Mr. Speaker.

One hundred per cent of the iron ore that is presently being mined by the Iron Ore Company of Canada is now coming from this Province and we deserve to have a greater number of jobs than we presently have within this Province. We are losing tax revenue and opportunities for employment for our residents under the present arrangement so it is important. It is important that we ensure that our people have a better opportunity, a greater opportunity, for employment because the mining industry is coming on tough times in this Province and indeed throughout the country.

While the railroad in Labrador City, the QNS &L, on the surface only looks like ten to twelve jobs in reality we should be having - if we were to have a true representation geographically which would make it, by the way, as I have always said, make it more economical, and be more productive for the mining company for the railroad to operate with 50 per cent of the people living in our Province and 50 living in Quebec. You would think it would, Mr. Speaker, and you do not have to be an economist or have a tremendous experience in the operation of a railroad. If they could take a loaded train halfway South, and then have a wait-over period that is required by national law, if they were to have a wait-over and then take the empty train North and allow the people from Quebec to operate the railroad and continue to operate the trains and take the full train further South. We have often said in discussions when I was part of the union that would be more beneficial to the company and a more efficient use of manpower, so it could be beneficial to the industry, which is very, very important today, because this is one of the industries that contributes, my understanding is, about $700 million worth of revenue or wealth to this Province.

MR. ROBERTS: That is in gross sales?

MR. A. SNOW: Yes, about $700 million, which is a tremendous contribution to the economy of this Province. So we have to be cognizant of the contribution that this makes to the Province, on one hand, but, on the other side, we have to be aware of the consequences of taxing this industry too high, and anything that we can see to do: 1) we must be able to create more opportunities for employment, thus creating more avenues of return of taxes, that type of thing, but we have to be also cognizant of allowing that mining operation to be competitive, because they are competing in the global economy, and as we found out in the early 1980s, in Western Labrador, when we had tremendous layoff and we lost over 1,000 jobs in the mining industry, itself, direct jobs, high paying, highly skilled, highly productive jobs that were lost and never ever returned. So, while we have to be aware of allowing the mining company to be more competitive, we also have to be aware of the cost of those jobs.

We should be able to help a company to be more competitive by making the railroad more efficient, but giving more employment opportunities within this Province, Mr. Speaker. So we have to do that, and I urge the minister to continue to be involved in these negotiations that are taking place in Labrador and on the Quebec North Shore, because this is very important to the operation of the mines in Western Labrador.

I would also note that in Government Services, the Department of Finance -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. A. SNOW: By leave?

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. member have leave?


MR. A. SNOW: The Department of Finance comes under the Government Services Committee, too, Mr. Speaker, and I would like to have a few minutes to comment on the aspects of some legislation that the Minister of -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) speak more than once (inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: While the Minister of Finance is here, I would like -if the hon. the Minister of Justice doesn't mind, they have granted me leave, so I would appreciate his allowing me to continue to speak.

MR. ROBERTS: The leave wasn't for unlimited time, it was to finish the hon. gentleman's remarks.

MR. A. SNOW: Anyway, Mr. Speaker, if I have leave, I will continue.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) debate.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Are you getting upset or what?

MR. ROBERTS: No, to the contrary.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Cool down boy, cool down.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, I would hope that the Minister of Finance wouldn't be swayed by the Minister of Justice here, who doesn't want us to speak about any affairs that are occurring in the mining industry, I suppose, about Labrador. He doesn't want it to be mentioned here in the House in a negative tone or anything he sees that may be construed as being negative, because of their lack of action or their inactivity in participating in doing something that would be positive in Labrador, so he doesn't want me to continue speaking about it, Mr. Speaker. But I have to tell him that I was elected on May 3, to speak up for the people who are operating and making a living in Western Labrador, operating and working in the mines. And I want to say that I will continue, as long as I am in this House, to speak up for the people of Western Labrador, despite the Minister of Justice attempting to suggest that I should not be up here speaking for them, just because it is negative for the government of this Province. I will continue to speak, if it is negative or positive against or for what the government is doing with respect to the impact it will have on the people in Labrador or, more specifically, in Western Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, I would just like to have a few comments on the Department of Finance. We feel that their approach has been very shortsighted, specifically in Western Labrador, on how they collect some of the revenues that accrue to this Province.

I have asked them time and time again to look at how there should be a different - a scales as is used in other provinces for the collection of gasoline tax and fuel tax. Because they have to compete with the Province of Quebec, and what we are seeing now is oversized tanks being put on trucks so that trucks will fuel up in Quebec on their way through bringing products in. They will gas up or fuel up in Quebec because of the tremendous difference in the tax on gasoline and fuel. They fuel up in Quebec, these oversized tanks, so that they can go all the way across Labrador and back again without having to refuel.

Now, I am suggesting to the minister that what they should be doing is have a graduated tax similar to what they have in Quebec and Ontario in border situations, similar, by the way, to what we have - we have the arrangement here in this Province, but we only apply it in Southern Labrador where we have a graduated tax down there on the highway tax.

It should be implemented in Western Labrador. That way, it would allow a level playing field. The truckers who are coming in won't be influenced to purchase their gasoline just in the Province of Quebec. They will just drive right on through and purchase the amount that they consume in the Province of Quebec, but when they get over into the Province of Newfoundland, or in the Labrador portion, they will be encouraged then to purchase their gasoline and fuel oil in Labrador.

I would urge the Minister of Finance to look at that. He will also, I would hope, have a look at the tobacco tax rebate system. He informs me that he has a paper in the system and hopefully, it will be a positive reaction to the requests that I have made and members of the community have made, through the Chamber of Commerce, to the minister and to Cabinet committees.

Another important thing that we should be looking at is: one of the problems approaching in Labrador is with the mining company operating the mines in Wabush. They are suggesting that they may not become competitive unless there is a major wage concession by their employees of about five dollars an hour.

I would urge that the Minister of Finance consider sitting down with his officials and officials from the Department of Mines and Energy and coming up with an idea of how this Province can change its legislation to allow the royalty - I know the Minister of Mines and Energy is very interested in this - where they can change the royalty figure to allow Wabush Mines to be more competitive. At present, they pay about $4.5 million a year to NALCAP, and I believe that is one area where this Province could sit down and work together with the operator of the mines, who really are the people we should be considering.

Those are the people who produce the wealth, that employ the people, produce the iron ore products, and produce a revenue to the Province. I would hope that the Minister of Finance would be able to sit down with his colleague in Cabinet and the mining company up there to be able to restructure that royalty payment.

Those are just a few comments I would suggest right now. I will be back in a few minutes, after one of my other colleagues here in the House who is urgently pressing me that they would like to have a few remarks, so I will conclude.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Before I recognize the hon. the Government House Leader, I would like to draw hon. members' attention to Beauchesne, Paragraph 336: "Although difficult to enforce on occasion, Speakers have also consistently attempted to discourage loud private conversations in the Chamber, and have urged those wishing to carry out such exchanges to do so outside the House. It has also been suggested that Members should not sit on chair arms or on desks with their backs to the House when conversing privately." For the last half-an-hour we have had loud conversations and hon. members have been turning their backs to the Chair, and this Chair will not tolerate such behaviour in the House.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am sure that all of us in the House will only commend your determination to enforce the rules, and I wish you all joy of it.

I don't want to get into a dispute with my friend from Menihek. I have no desire to stop him from speaking. In fact, the more he speaks, the more I am anxious to hear him speak. I have no desire to get into it - not even the desire to ask him to be relevant to any subject before the House.

I want to make two points. The first is one of procedure. He asked for leave of the House and he got leave, with my support - I was here - to conclude his remarks. Leave does not, I say to my hon. friend, mean he can go on at whatever length he thinks proper, and I say to him now that if he thinks it does I shall have to rise on a point of order at the appropriate time and ask that the rules be enforced.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible) to withdraw leave.

MR. ROBERTS: I would say to my friend from Grand Bank, withdrawing leave is a little like regaining one's virginity - it can't be done, if he has ever tried either.

Mr. Speaker, the point to be made is that in this debate we are allowed to speak more than once, and any member who wishes to speak more than once should speak more than once. I have no difficulty at all with that, and if my friend from Menihek wants to get into the debate again I, for one, would welcome it.

I only want to make one point of substance in response to his remarks. He spoke of the QNS & L situation with this bargaining unit that has been melded by a decision of the Canada Labour Relations Board. I am not sure if he made the point it was the CLRB because, of course, railways are under the jurisdiction of the federal labour legislation - the federal labour regime. This is the CLRB, the Canada Labour Relations Board. I am of the same view as my friend from Menihek, and I may add, the charge in this regard has been led by my friend and colleague, the Member for Labrador, the hon. Bill Rompkey, who has been persistent and vociferous in his representations on this subject. I think the decision of the CLRB is a difficult one to understand, an even more difficult one to implement, and, from what I know, appears to be very unfair.

I would say to my friend from Menihek, he may be aware of this, but my friend, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations sent one of his officials to Labrador. My friend from Menihek nods agreement. I don't think he mentioned it, but -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, then, I didn't hear him, so I apologize to him, but in the interest of fairness, let it be said that the official went down to meet with these employees and to counsel them on the remedies available to them. Unfortunately, there are no remedies that lie directly within the control of this government or even this House, because the QNS & L is a federal undertaking and that is really the end of it in the labour relations sense; but I think they made a very strange decision and the repercussions will be felt for some time to come.

I hope the CLRB or the employer or the union will agree to change its mind because I understand the original application for consolidation, while it may not have been a joint one by QNS & L, the employer, and the union, on the other hand, it certainly had the acquiescence of all hands, and the result was that a number - a fairly small number in the whole, but a significant number - of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, people living in Labrador West, are now in what I think is a very untenable position for them, in that their bargaining unit really doesn't speak for them effectively and they also have communications problems, in that most of these people are not bilingual, and I understand most of the other members of the union are either not bilingual or not very bilingual, if that is not an oxymoron, in itself.

That is all I want to say, Mr. Speaker. I have no desire to hang up this debate. It is an interesting one. It is a chance for members to get into anything that falls within the purview of the Government Services Committee and the Estimates it considered, which is quite a broad range, indeed.

With that, I will give my friend from Menihek the opportunity to get back in if he wishes. I would welcome it, but I do say again that simply granting leave for an hon. member to finish remarks does not mean the hon. member can then say: Well, I have the floor indefinitely and I will carry on. That is an abuse of the rules of the House and I am not going to stand for that, Your Honour, as one member of the House.

MR. SPEAKER: Shall the House concur on the report? All those in favour?


MR. SPEAKER: Against?


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There had to be unanimous agreement. The motion was already put.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I think if hon. members on the other side wish to speak, we, on this side would certainly, as members, concur with going on. The debate is limited by time, Your Honour, as you know, to three hours, so if hon. members wish to speak we will gladly hear them.

MR. SPEAKER: Okay, we will go back, because the motion was carried.

MR. ROBERTS: Well, then, Your Honour, I would ask that we agree to revert to the debate on the Government Services Committee concurrence report.

MR. SPEAKER: Okay. The Chair is only enforcing the rule.

The hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just wanted to pass a few comments. I will not take up very much time.

Under numerous areas in the Budget and various expenditures especially, Works, Services and Transportation for one, an area in which we are now spending $20 million less than we did in 1989 under a capital nature, capital program has dropped from $45 million to $25 million.

We also find in areas of the Budget there is increasing costs for administrative and executive support. For example, in one area of the Budget executive support has increased by $28,000 at the same time administrative support has increased by $130,000 over last year. In road construction for example, under the administration aspect there, $80,000. So, we are finding that over all there is a tremendous increase in certain areas of administrative and executive support in a Budget where numerous other cuts are occurring in all other aspects and still we find dollars to substantially increase executive and administrative support. That was Works, Services and Transportation; executive support $28,000 increased, administrative support again increased up to $130,000. We have road construction, the administration part is increased by $80,000. In Works, Services and Transportation we are seeing an overall net, a decrease in expenditure from $203 million down to $188 million. We are seeing certain areas of administrative and executive support going up.

In Municipal and Provincial Affairs for example, the general administration there under administrative support, is increased by $148,000. We are finding that overall there are cutbacks occurring. There is a cap on MOG's, on Municipal Operating Grants, of $42.5 million. That has dropped from something like $49 million just a couple of years ago. There is a downward slide and they have decided to cap it at that. In spite of increasing needs from municipalities, and an increase in certain municipalities, numbers of municipalities and municipalities joining together - with larger numbers you would get increased incentives and so on by collection of taxes. So there is not much of an incentive to join together and try to increase your opportunity to raise taxes if there is a cap.

There is a greater incentive - in other words a municipality that has 10,000 can get a higher amount of matching revenues from government than three with 3300 people each. So, when you lump them all together you will get a higher return. It does not seem very logical and it is certainly not going to entice the joining together of municipalities if you are going to put a cap on it. There are only so many dollars that are going to be spent and it is going to be spread thinner and that is what basically has been happening.

So they may as well face the real facts and tell the truth up front and say that it does not matter if you are going to increase the incentives on taxes and matching amounts. It is going to be taken away on roads, it has practically disappeared, thirty-nine dollars per kilometre of road for Summer and Winter maintenance. We are going to be seeing household amounts dropped and probably eliminated over the next year or two. We are going to be left in the final analysis with municipalities having to tax the residents in areas where they do not have a business tax base in rural areas. They are going to have to increase their property and other taxes so substantially that it is going to cost less really to live in a city than it is in a rural area. So, there are some of the drawbacks and some of the pitfalls that is happening. I have noticed over the past year that this is happening within the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. It is very, very sad to see some of the downward changes occurring all within a one year period. I cannot speak for it before that but I have watched it very closely over the last several months and that is what is happening.

Not only in that area but Employment and Labour Relations general administration has increased, executive support has an extra $16,000 tacked on there, administrative support has tacked on another $33,000. We seem to be finding dollars that increase administration costs and executive support costs but we do not find ways to put the real dollars out in places where they are needed the most, benefits for the people and so on across the Province. We have seen municipalities in other areas put in a situation where they have to tax their people to death.

They have taken away some of the avenues for recreation even. They have taken away $10,000 in grants, electrical subsidy grants were very, very important to arenas out in rural Newfoundland. I had the opportunity to be president of one independent arena association that does not depend upon any municipality in this Province. They said when it was put there it would not work, well it was put there and $120,000 was raised. We got $200 and $300 through those Canada Works Programs. We got $1 million from the Province and we put it in Mobile and it opened in 1987. It operated - we made a profit of $64,000 the first year, and we made a profit of $52,000 the second year. The third year it was at $31,000. But now, with increasing costs, and trying to produce -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes. In fact, we used it to pay off a loan that we took to finance it also. We had loans over $120,000 and we paid them off in three and half years. The arena has no debts whatsoever. But now we're in the situation whereby the $10,000 power subsidy, with increasing costs of operating facilities, and with declining numbers in rural areas, it's become necessary now to increase registration costs for kids and so on to keep these arenas operating. Ten thousand dollars goes a long way when it's spread over 300 kids having to pay registration for minor hockey and for figure skating. Especially when families have three and four kids in these programs. A lot of families have two kids in these programs - the majority of people.

It is costing the parents of this Province. It's an indirect tax that's put upon the parents of this Province in areas that can least afford it. In our area we don't have the luxury of having an opportunity to tax people. This is an independent fund with thirteen communities. Each has a person sitting on the board of directors. They don't have any tax. We operate it solely upon rental fees and upon a canteen that's at that facility. We're in a position. It's not funded. It can't be offset from municipal taxes. There are only a few municipalities there that have towns and they have their own share of problems.

I'm finding it very disturbing that they would pick on the little people across the Province here, the people who are out volunteering dozens of hours a week to try to keep recreation programs going across this Province. For the sake of $500,000 or $600,000 in a budget out of $3.5 billion they can't find $500,000 to be able to assist a handful of arenas across this Province.

There are certain specific areas which are experiencing extreme hardship. A small arena up in St. Mary's - The Capes, in Trepassey area. It's a community that has diminished in size dramatically by the downsizing or the closure of the fishery in the area. The only industry really in the town has disappeared. The town can't afford to carry it. They announced: we will not be paying for the light bill, we're officially going to wipe our hands clean of it and we're going to cut the power to it. There's a committee struggling now trying to form a regional committee to be able to keep that facility going.

For the sake of $10,000, in about fifty arenas across the Province, $500,000, and this government has to, with a stroke of the pen, inflict hardship upon tens of thousands of kids who can't afford to be able to pay their way. The opportunity was there at one time when they could get summer jobs. That's now gone in rural Newfoundland. Ninety-five per cent of the jobs in rural Newfoundland were obtained by work from fish plant or spin offs related to the fish plant. That hasn't hit areas as difficult in - urban Newfoundland hasn't been hit as hard in that. Because it didn't depend upon a fishery as much as rural Newfoundland. The only avenue to be able to raise some money, to save some money for their kids to be able to buy their equipment, pay the registration, has now disappeared.

The burden is back on parents now. The burden is put back on parents' shoulders who cannot afford any longer to be able to provide recreation to the kids. I'm seeing it every single day it's happening in my district. We're seeing parents who can't afford to be able to reach out and give those extra funds. Ten thousand dollars, believe me, makes a big difference when you don't have a municipality to be able to fall back on. You just have the people out in the community -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: That's correct. They've worked very hard up there to keep it operating. They put a tremendous amount of time and effort into it. I think this government should go back and reconsider certain special cases where we don't have the luxury of a tax base upon municipalities to be able to assist those areas.

AN HON. MEMBER: Tons of money.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, tons of money. The Minister of Finance says: tons of money. He probably is not impacted as much. I'm sure the town of Gander is not impacted as much by the downturn in the fishery as other areas of the Province.

Maybe he does not have the sympathy level, maybe the number of employees have not disappeared; in rural areas the number of employees is almost nil. The Town of Gander is a little bit better off than a lot of the rural areas in the Province, and maybe the minister does not have a feeling then for these rural areas because he does not have to experience it on a day to day basis. He is not getting calls from people who are experiencing those hardships.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I think the government should look at trying to curtail the inflation, the increase in their administration and executive support. If it is tough times as they are saying and they have to realize savings, why do they not cut back on their administration, the $130,000 administration support in Works, Services and Transportation; why do they not cut back on the $148,000 extra administration they are spending in Municipal and Provincial Affairs, increase of $16,000 executive support and numerous other areas. Let us cut it where we can afford -

MR. TOBIN: Cut it to the bone.

MR. SULLIVAN: That is right. Let us cut it and let us put it out in the hands of people who can use it the most.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to speak in this debate today and I am pleased, Mr. Speaker, for one particular reason, and that is, to have the opportunity to come into this House today and commend the Minister of Finance of this Province for doing the job that he has done in recent days to be able to put our finances in order, our Minister of Finance must be, has to be, is the number one Minister of Finance in all of Canada, we are leading the way in setting our finances straight for the first time since Confederation.

Here we have today, in every issue of the papers that came out in the last few days, agreement after agreement, signed, sealed and delivered - agreement. On the weekend you would turn on the radio and you would hear, yes, now the police have accepted a program, 90 per cent in favour, then you turn the pages of the paper, here are NAPE and CUPE hammering out the deal and the allied workers, the health professionals, the allied health professionals, massive vote in favour of an agreement. Here we have a government that is now recognized and a Minister of Finance recognized from one end of the country to the other as setting the course that governments have to deal with the public finances of the country, and, Mr. Speaker, it cannot be lost on the people of this Province.

The other thing that happened just a few days ago: in 1989, when this government said that it was not happy with the way that we were going to be dealt with under the Hibernia formula, this Minister of Finance said: no, we are not going to accept that as the regime of what is supposed to be set for the course of time; we went to that table and we said: no way, there has to be a change in that, and it is not lost on the people of this Province and neither should it, that this Minister of Finance came into this House on Friday morning and said we are now, instead of having three cents on the dollar, we are having thirty cents on the dollar, ten times, Mr. Speaker, ten times. Now I call that real progress, Mr. Speaker, what a Minister of Finance to have at this particular time in our history. I know we are the envy of the whole country.

Here we are today with another headline, NAPE and CUPE hammer out deal; Treasury Board talks bear fruit. Now this is the kind of headlines a few years ago, you would have old billy-knockers and when the door is opened, shove them in the paddy wagon and take them down; that is not the kind of labour relations we have today. We have a labour relations today that adheres to, respects and follows and is diligent towards collective bargaining in this Province, and it cannot be lost on the people of this Province either, that we have, spearheading the Department of Employment and Labour Relations, a minister, who, for the first time ever, has taken the doors and opened them wide open and welcomed in the labour movement, welcomed them in and said: now we are going to sit down and talk like rational human beings and deal with the situation that we have. Our Minister of Employment and Labour Relations leading the country in being able to get these types of people together and hammering out these tough, tough, deals for these tough economic times that we are in.

So for me to stand here today and say that I am proud to be a member of a government associated with the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, would be the biggest understatement of the year. I could not stand here and say that I am not tickled to be part of a government that is dealing with the tough economic times, dealing with the rational approaches. Collective bargaining is alive and well in this Province.

I hear the NTA are about to indicate to their membership - now they are not too sure which way they are going to go.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: No, I think we are going to see that there is going to be massive approval for the program that this Minister of Finance, this government, has put in place over the last few days.

So, Mr. Speaker, I am very, very happy to be able to stand here today and commend - this is a tough job. Being in government today is a tough job for even the best of us, and I think that all hon. members owe it to the people who put us here to stand up from time to time and extol the virtues and commend the people for the work they do put in, because these people have put tremendous work into their jobs and, of course, as the headline says, their work is bearing fruit. We are getting agreement. We are getting solutions to our problems. We are getting them through the collective bargaining process. All hon. members must be quite happy.

Now there is another department in this particular heading that I am also equally proud of as I stand here today, because again history is going to be made. The new Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is going, in a few days, to unveil the Trans-Labrador Highway study that has been done over the last eighteen months, which will show the commitment to the Trans-Labrador Highway that was never shown since 1949. This is going to be breaking new ground. This is going to be building a Province. Province building at its best is going to be seen, spearheaded by that Member for Port de Grave and Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. This is what we are going to see.

Unfortunately, you know, we may not see the type of progress on this issue as we are seeing with the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations because we have to deal with the federal government on this one - namely the Member for St. John's West. We have to deal with him and we know what kind of a stumbling block he can be. We know what kind of parochial view he has. We know what kind of a stubborn man he can be. Mr. Speaker, it is going to take all the finesse of the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation to be able to stickhandle around that very difficult stumbling block. I know it is going to be very, very hard, but stickhandle he will, produce he will, and we will have, for the first time ever in this Province, a plan to complete the Trans-Canada Highway, a plan to give to the people of Labrador what they justly deserve - a good, solid, economic program of Province building that will see some 3,000 jobs created. The cost of living will fall. The standard of living will rise. We will have hundreds of new jobs created in our forestry industry, our tourism industry, our mining industry. There is no end to what is going to happen, and it has to be told - this good news, this good government, these good ministers - have to be brought out and shown to the people of this Province because they are doing such tremendous work.

Mr. Speaker, the new Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs - it is very easy for the member to get up there and criticize. I do not hear one solution. I do not hear one iota of idealism being approached by the members opposite. It is very easy to say: Yes, we are going to try and condemn the new minister because he does not have all the answers, he does not have all the money, he cannot go, and he does not have the trees planted yet that bear the money, he has to talk to the Minister of Forestry to plant those trees that bear greenbacks. He does not have that done yet.

It is very easy to come here and criticize ministers for not being able to produce, but I submit that this Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs will be fair and conscientious in his work, and certainly be able to produce the same type of results as the other ministers I mentioned already.

So, Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, it indeed would be an understatement to say that I am not pleased and proud to be here today to speak to this particular concurrence motion and say that from the perspective of one member, especially a member from Labrador, we are looking forward with optimism to more collective bargaining, more deals, to more incentives to have companies come here to Hibernia to be able to see the kind of changes, and there might be more. I submit to the members of this hon. House that we may indeed see some changes in the equalization formula, the EPF, the way things are done at the national level under that particular program. I believe this is where it is starting. It is being recognized right from British Columbia right on over to our borders. If you want to be on the leading edge of public policy in this Province, if you want to have an example of what to do for good government, you look to Newfoundland and Labrador, from the Premier on down, the envy of this country in good government, good politics, and indeed the people, of course, spoke quite loudly on May 3. They brought in on May 3 the kind of government that they wanted for some time.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. DUMARESQUE: I am sure, Mr. Speaker, we have lots of leave. I had another couple of departments to deal with. I will do it again in a couple of minutes.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. member have leave?


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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to have just a few words in this concurrence debate on the estimates of the so-called government services departments. I listened with interest to the ranting and roaring of the Member for Eagle River. He, I am sure, can look forward in a later life to a career as a preacher. The government services departments include the Department of Finance and I would like to make a few comments. I see the minister in his place listening attentively, as usual. The Department of Finance is responsible for the government's participation in the Atlantic Lottery Co-operation. It is a co-operation comprising four shareholders, the four Atlantic Provinces, and our Province together with the Maritimes decided to escalate its lottery business a couple of years ago by getting into video slot machines. In the case of this Province the video slot machines have been put in bars and lounges across the Province.

The revenue from the Atlantic Lottery Co-operation, from lotteries in general, has escalated in a most dramatic way. A couple of years ago the provincial government was getting a bit under $20 million in lottery revenues. We see from the Budget document that last year, for the 1992-93 fiscal year, government got $44 million from lotteries. Now, the same amount, $44 million is being forecast for revenue for the new year, the current year, 1993-94, so I would like the minister to explain on what basis that forecast has been made. The government has consistently underestimated for the last couple of years.

Elsewhere in Canada, and in the United States, in some states at least, governments have branched out into operating casinos or operating lotteries on a grander scale than even our government is doing here now. From what we have heard through the news media the province of Nova Scotia was at least looking at the possibility of having a casino in Halifax. The other day I talked to a friend in Connecticut and heard that the state of Connecticut is looking at some kind of a casino in one of its cities, and I am wondering what the government here, this government, is thinking in terms of its participation in the lottery business. Is the government satisfied with the current level of business, the current operation which embraces the video slot machines in bars, the current level of revenue - $44 million dollars last year, possibly $44 million or more this year? Is the government satisfied with that level of lottery business? Is the government ruling out the possibility of escalating its involvement in lotteries? Is the government, on principle, opposed to getting into new forms of lotteries, or is the government open-minded towards some of these grander scale lottery operations, gambling operations? Would the government oppose, in all circumstances, putting a casino or casinos in this Province?

More than a doubling in the amount of government revenue from lotteries is worthy of some discussion on the part of members of this Assembly. We have to remember that the government gets less than one-third of what is actually spent on lotteries. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation requires about one-third of gross revenue to cover its operating costs, its administrative expenses, as well as to take care of prizes, pay-outs to winners - I am sorry - my understanding is that one-third is for administration, and another one-third is for pay-outs. The minister might want to correct me. At any rate, it is only one-third of gross revenue, one-third of the take, one-third of what the ticket buyers and gamblers actually spend, that ends up in government coffers. So, at that rate, $44 million in government revenue last year must have involved approximately $130 million in spending on the part of residents of the Province on Atlantic Lottery gambling.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS. VERGE: The minister is saying he will check and see. I think it is important for us to probe that. It was regrettable that when the government, together with the Maritime governments, decided to get into the video slot machine business a couple of years ago, that it didn't consult members or residents of the Province. The decision was made privately, without any notice, any warning. The video slot machines were in bars in several locations of the Province before many of us even realized it.

I am told that liquor sales in bars and licensed establishments has been down, and I notice that the government revenue from the Liquor Corporation is down, is forecast to be down this year, 1993-1994, over last year. But the small decrease in revenue from the Liquor Corporation is more than offset from the increase in revenue from the government's gambling corporation. The government has two big businesses: one is selling liquor, and the other is gambling. The government seems to have the market cornered on major vices, I say to the Member for St. John's South.

What is the government's position on gambling and, in particular, on government-owned-and-operated gambling? The government is the big lottery operator in this Province. It is the government that, through the lottery corporation, owns and operates the video slot machines in bars around the Province. Is the government satisfied with that? Do ministers opposite - does the Minister of Finance feel comfortable with that? Is that, to use some of the Premier's language, an honourable course of activity for a government in this day and age?

Who is actually gambling? Who is putting money in the slot machines? Can people afford to be spending that kind of money? Is there a concern about people becoming addicted to or hooked on these slot machines?

I have heard, here and there, comments from bartenders and lounge patrons that there are compulsive gamblers who are addicted to the slot machines, who compulsively fritter away their pay cheque putting in loonie after loonie after loonie after loonie, trying to win the jackpot. I have heard sad stories about people losing large amounts of money on the video slot machines - money they couldn't afford to squander on gambling.

Is the government investigating hardship resulting from obsessive, compulsive gambling - obsessive, compulsive use of the government video slot machines in bars - or do ministers opposite feel comfortable with that? Do they feel the end justifies the means? Is the government reviewing its involvement in video slot machines? Is the government at this stage, after having been in that line of gambling for a couple of years, prepared to have an assessment done, and to consider pulling back?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) question.

MR. SPEAKER: Does this House wish to have the question put?

The hon. the Member for Placentia.

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Last week, on two particular nights, I had the opportunity to replace two of my colleagues on the Resources Estimates, and it was an opportunity, indeed. I was new to the fray, and had the feeling during the time that I was being played with and entertained, but it was an experience, Sir. It covered Works, Services and Transportation and Employment and Labour Relations.

Employment and Labour Relations, friends of mine, acquaintances, in different districts - PC districts, Liberal districts, NDP districts - find themselves being challenged, Workers' Compensation looking at these people as if they are all charlatans, that they do not have the complaints and did not have the accidents that they talk about.

The minister, and I believe him until he proves me wrong - another point that was addressed was the issue of people - when the tribunal agrees with what a person has to say, the case is proven in their favour, people believe that is the be all and the end all, only to find out afterwards, if the parameters are outside a certain mandate, they have to go back to look at it again, and that causes an awful lot of frustration in people. And I believe the minister when he said that he will try to cut that short.

The sad part about the Committee meetings was the reductions we saw - the reductions in money. A reduction in money means it is going to have an effect on people's lives, and whenever there is a reduction, it causes hardship, more despair and frustrations. It causes people to leave. It always has. We have suffered a great deal, and I am not here to see anybody suffer anymore. I am not a `yes' man like the man from Eagle River - I was raised to understand that at some times in your life you have to say `no'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CAREEN: I admit, his foray today was entertaining, but there wasn't much to it, Sir.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: Fair enough.

The hon. Member for Eagle River, like so many others in 1989, were elected on the slogan of 'vote for a real change'. That reminds me of a story: in a certain prison a hard nosed captain got all the prisoners out one morning and they had been looking for the changing of their underwear, so he told them when he had them all gathered, that from now on they would have a change of underwear. They all clapped because they thought he had gotten a heart after awhile until he said: prisoner number one you will change your underwear with prisoner number two, who will change it with prisoner number three, who will change it with prisoner number four. That is what change we got, Sir, and sad to say it has been continuing. But being fair I cannot fault the people opposite for every fault we have. There are times we rattle sabres and there are times, like citizens of this Province, we will have to put our foot forward and go together shoulder to shoulder. It cannot be all rhetoric and it cannot be all just playing games. The people of this Province are too important. What I would like to see from members here, and I can be faulted on times as well, I am not perfect by any means - I see opposite a picture of the great Sir Robert Bond who was imaginative, he used the grey matter between his ears - and while we find ourselves in financial troubles, if we ever find ourselves bankrupt of ideas, Mr. Speaker, we will certainly be in trouble.

The experience I had these past few days, being in this House, is something I wish to be able to share with others. It is democracy at its best, at its lukewarm and sometimes at its worst, but it is an experience that the likes of me can be able to speak here, an ordinary Joe from a long line of ordinary Joes. I would like at some time or other to be able to see more people take part in what we sometimes take for granted.

I thank you for your courtesy today, for hearing me out and thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: Your maiden speech, is it Tom?

MR. MURPHY: Yes, that is right. The Minister of Justice said a maiden speech. A maiden speech this sitting.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. First of all let me say to you, Your Honour, and to all members congratulations on the re-election on May 3rd, a very memorable date and I am sure we will, over the next four years have a lot of memorable discussions about what took place on the fourth.

In fact, my colleague and friend from Eagle River points out today and rightfully so, that NAPE and CUPE have finally listened to the circumstances that exist in this Province today. Hon. members opposite understand it but of course they get up and they rant and rave and want more. The Member for Ferryland, it is too bad he left because he talked about a $500,000 problem that exists with the arenas and stadiums throughout the Province like it is trivial, like there is nothing to it. I would suggest another dime for everybody who goes through the doors would solve the problem, another dime, however he says: more from the government.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that is the kind of ideas and that is the kind of situation that existed for seventeen years. That is why we have all this problem and trouble, doom and gloom today is because fiscal management was not around for a long time. People of this Province recognized on May 3rd exactly what was transpiring, they understood and they knew.

The Member for Grand Falls, the hon. Opposition House Leader was pounding around the Province, running around the Province with hon. members opposite, telling everybody that he was going to do away with a few taxes. Now if you total up what he was going to do away with on May 4th we would have had a shortfall of about $260 million additional dollars.

Now the Leader of the Opposition, the Government House Leader, and hon. members who have been around, know that $260 million less in revenue does not change because the party changes. It does not change the responsibility of the Tories or the NDP or the Liberals to run the country, run the Province, and run it properly.

I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that had the people of this Province returned our hon. friends opposite, you would not have seen this today in the paper. It would be impossible. It would be impossible unless they had some magic solution to go to the money markets of the world and borrow more money, because we heard that throughout the campaign. Oh wait, we can borrow more money. Let's go out and borrow some money.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: That is right. We know exactly what borrowing more money has done. It has put the handcuffs on this particular government, but at least this government is honest. At least this government is forthright and it told the people, and the people obviously believed us. They believed us, because if you look here and count, and you count the seats, it is not hard. There is nothing hard about it.

Just to make a few points about the Member for Humber East, I think she is totally correct. I think what we see now - my dad used to say to me: Boy, the harder the times get, the more the people spend on gambling, and it is sad to see some of the people who are involved with gambling today and what they do on a Friday afternoon when they get their paycheque. But I would suggest also that historically Newfoundlanders have gambled, I suppose, for years, and we have had junkets that went off to Vegas and went off here and there - I suppose more the affluent than the poor people, but she makes -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Vegas?

MR. MURPHY: Yes, perhaps the hon. member is right, but I was there on a conference. I was there on a safety conference. The American Society of Safety Engineering held their conference there in 1987, and I was there as President of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering, an invited guest. I must confess, I spent I think it was $7 gambling - $7 US - probably $2 more than I could afford because I had only $5 allocated to gamble but I spent $7.

The Member for Ferryland must realize that when he stands in his place he should criticize constructively, I say to all new members opposite, unlike the Member for Green Bay who, for four-and-a-half years pounded his desk, offered no solutions. I do not have any idea how the hon. member went about his campaign, but he obviously convinced the people of Green Bay to send him back and I congratulate him - but I say to new members opposite, when you stand in your place as Opposition members, it is your responsibility to oppose government's position, but try to do it constructively. Try and do it constructively. If you are going to jump on government, if you are going to jump on a minister, if you are going to say to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, if you are going to say to that minister: Come on, we need more money. Thirty-seven cents a click a road, that is fine. It sounds good. It makes noise, but it does not do anything for the minister's day to day problems in trying to find the funding to give the municipalities throughout the Province the money to do it.

If you look at the percentages right across this nation - and the Member for Waterford - Kenmount knows - that municipalities across the country are much more responsible in collecting taxes from residents than we are in this Province - much, much more. We have had a glory train long enough. This government just cannot put its hand in its pocket day in and day out and throw money all over the place.

We saw the result, I say to the Member for Green Bay, who was the Executive Director of the former Premier I think for ten years. Well, I do not know. Perhaps my learned friend from Naskaupi would have a comment to make about the ten years of advice that he gave the former Premier.

MR. ROBERTS: Well, he was responsible for Sprung. It was his idea.

MR. MURPHY: Well, I don't know if he was responsible.

MR. ROBERTS: It was the best idea he had.

MR. MURPHY: No pun intended, Mr. Speaker, but I don't know if he was that enlightened. The Member for Green Bay can rant and roar. It was easy, go get more money. He remembers his former boss arguing with the friend and colleague of the Member for Ferryland, the hon. John C. He remembers in 1982 when Mr. Peckford went ranting and raving, and screaming to Ottawa: You are not doing enough, transfer payments are gone, selling the shop and the whole nine yards. We all heard that, and now, we have the Member for Ferryland standing up saying, `a paltry $500,000'. Well, perhaps if the Minister of Social Services had that paltry $500,000, he could look after the social groups who are out there looking for a place to stay, looking for a roof over their heads. Every time someone stands up and has a different little issue, $500,000 here, $750,000 there, and $1 million here, like my friend from St. John's East knows, if the $500,000 could be given to the social groups in St. John's, who did all kinds of work throughout the Province, they would have a roof over their heads. Perhaps, if somebody wants to go to a hockey game, they can spend an extra quarter to pay for the lights - there is nothing wrong with that. The Member for Ferryland, you know, you can see it all over him.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Well, I say to the hon. the Member for Grand Bank, there will be two things happen when the new Liberal government takes place in Ottawa: Number one, we will have control of our fish, which will make the Member for Grand Bank happy.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Well, you had better learn to get unhappy because that is what is going to take place. I suggest to the hon. member that when `Kim' leads the way and she becomes leader of the Tory Party, that will mean the demise, in the next federal election, of the Tory Party.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: No, the hon. members opposite have to get up, and the point I am trying to deliver, certainly, the new members, not the old members - the Member for Burin - Placentia West knows he can't speak unless his mother tells him what to say. When the new members stand up in their places, they have to say something with some kind of objectivity and at least give the government an opportunity of hearing from them.

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

MR. MURPHY: As I conclude, I say to new members, offer constructive criticism.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I guess the member just showed his true colours. Any man who stands in this House and says, take away the children's lunches and their bars and charge them an extra dime to go into an arena, any man who stands in the House and says that to the people of St. John's South and the crowd on Shea Heights, it is no wonder, Mr. Speaker, that he had to get the NDP to get him back in the House of Assembly. There is no wonder more people in St. John's South voted against the hon. member than voted for him. After four years in this House there are more people in St. John's South who said no to the hon. member, said he is not fit to continue to represent them in the House, said he hasn't got the decency or common sense, the courtesy or whatever it takes, to be a good member. Over half the people in St. John's South wanted to give him the boot. Is it any wonder, Mr. Speaker, that the Premier couldn't put him in Cabinet when he put in the Member for Carbonear? Is it any wonder the Member for Carbonear got the jump over the Member for St. John's South? I can say, the Member for Carbonear didn't need the NDP to get him elected. The majority of the people in Carbonear didn't vote against the member as they did the fellow for St. John's South. He was in here with his head in the air, his shoulders stuck out like someone who was going to be the next Premier. Well, he sees where he is, Mr. Speaker, the old shoe-shiner for the Premier, that is where he is, brushing dandruff away, Mr. Speaker, that is the job he got. Why did the Member for Port de Grave and the Member for Carbonear get into Cabinet? It was because of the majorities they got, Mr. Speaker, that is why they are in Cabinet.

AN HON. MEMBER: What about your majority?

MR. TOBIN: My majority was a lot higher than yours, twice as much as yours, and I can tell the member, when you get -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) what is yours?

MR. TOBIN: I can tell the Member for St. John's South that if the majority of the people in Burin - Placentia West voted against me, I would be very concerned. But the majority of the people voted for me, unlike the Member for St. John's South, who needed the NDP to bring him back into the House of Assembly, and then he gets up as if he owns this Assembly, as if he is God's gift to democracy. Yes, Mr. Speaker, the people of St. John's South, the majority of the voters in St. John's South said: Tom, we want to get you unemployed, you have done nothing for us, absolutely nothing, you have been a total disgrace, you have not represented us. What other message can you get when they voted against you in the numbers they voted against the Member for St. John's South. That is the question I would ask, and you should never lose sight of the fact that -

MR. ROBERTS: The Tories (inaudible) flying? (Inaudible) by the skin of his teeth (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: The NDP didn't elect any of us.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Talk about the dime, get back on the dime, the chocolate bars.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, is it any wonder, when he wants to take the dimes, take the chocolate bars away from the children of this Province? He got up in this House and said: When the children go to use the facilities that are built for them, tell them to dig in their pockets and instead of buying a bar or orange juice, give it to the cashier at the doors of the arena and the swimming pools. No wonder the people of St. John's South wanted to give you the turf. No wonder the majority of the people voted against you, when you go to rob the pockets of the little children of this Province, and I hope the people of St. John's South see that - I hope they see that, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Steve Neary about (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: You shouldn't talk about Steve Neary. Steve Neary made sure that you didn't continue as Leader of the Opposition in this Province.


MR. TOBIN: Yes, he and Bill Rowe. Listen now, rob the children -

MR. ROBERTS: Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, I say to my friend from Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, loved (inaudible)? But, in any case, the Member for St. John's South got up in this Assembly today and said: Balance the budget, balance the budget; let the councils and the recreation commissions rob the dimes and nickels and pennies from the pockets of the children who are going to use the facilities. No wonder the majority of the people of St. John's South wanted to put you on the unemployment roll. No wonder, Mr. Speaker, they wanted you to have nothing else to do with representing them.

AN HON. MEMBER: Even your mother could speak (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: My mother can speak for herself, I say to the member.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible) your mother.

MR. TOBIN: Well, you know, if you want to start talking about that in this House, `Murphy', you are one who shouldn't talk in that situation. You are one who shouldn't open your mouth, Sir, about anyone's mother in this Assembly -

MR. MURPHY: I never said anything (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: - I say to the Member for St. John's South.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, well, I will say it to you.

Mr. Speaker, I say that the children in this Province should not be robbed. Their money should not be taken from them. You know you have to wonder what is going on in this Province when you get the other smirking minister over there, the other smirking minister, Mr. Speaker, who was closing the libraries in this Province so that the children cannot get a book. Where the children cannot get a book in this Province. That is what I say to the minister -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, I heard your interview with Peter Miller the other morning, too, I say to the member. I do not think it is right and I do not think any government that is responsible should ask the children of this Province to pony up another dime at the doors of the arenas and I say that in all sincerity to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. Now, I know he did not say it, Mr. Speaker, it came from the person who would have loved to have his job but I know he did not say it. The children in this Province should not be asked to pay an additional dime on the doors of the arenas in this Province, should not be asked, Mr. Speaker, and I think it is wrong for the Member for St. John's South to even suggest it.

MR. MURPHY: You are wrong. You cannot take it, sit down.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I can take anything he wants to throw at me. Anything he wants to throw at me I will take it but leave other people out of it, I say to the Member for St. John's South, if not you be prepared to take it because I will tell you one thing, I will be prepared to say it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, you have the courage to stand in this House and tell us why they turned down the second motel. Why you got your officials not to approve funding for the second motel in Marystown and then we will know who owns - then we will know, Mr. Speaker, then we will know what is going on. Then we will know what is going on, Mr. Speaker. Then we will know why, Mr. Speaker, why you advised your officials not to approve the second hotel. Then we will know, Mr. Speaker, what is going on.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Your officials refused to approve it, I say to the minister. The committee formed with ACOA refused to approve it and I would like to know if anyone from the Burin Peninsula discussed the second hotel with the minister. I would like to know if anyone from the Burin Peninsula discussed the second hotel for Marystown with the Premier of this Province. That is what I would like to know, Mr. Speaker, if anyone from the Burin Peninsula discussed with this government -

MR. CARTER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I heard that, I would say to the Member for Twillingate, I heard that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I heard that I say to the member.

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

MR. DUMARESQUE: Mr. Speaker, I was not going to rise but after this vicious attack on my friend and colleague for St. John's South, Mr. Speaker, I am being forced again - and I say, Mr. Speaker, is it any wonder that his dear old mother had to have a few words with him? Is it any wonder, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Speaker, I think that that hon. member, to go and try to insinuate that the people of St. John's South do not have confidence in their member, I think that is a gross misleading of this Legislature, Mr. Speaker, because nobody, nobody in this House could take their vote from a two vote majority and go 2000 per cent, Mr. Speaker, in one election. That is the kind of record that this Member for St. John's South has put together over the last four years.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Mr. Speaker, he has no apologies to make to anybody in this hon. House. The hon. member of course did not talk about the motion that he took. The deputy-deputy leader that he had there before he showed up in this Legislature. Then the Leader of the Opposition had to put him in his rightful place, Mr. Speaker, further down the line. The hon. member has to be fair with people. He has to acknowledge that this is the type of indication that people have of whether or not they have confidence in their member, but he did touch on one thing that I think is a very serious thing, and it is one thing that I wanted to touch on as well. He said that the Member for St. John's South should not be asking the children of the future to be asked to pay. He is saying that the children of the future should not be asked to pay for the mistakes of the day, and I say `rightly so`, but how can that hon. member stand over there and say that kind of thing after being a member of that previous government that amassed the biggest debt in our history in this Province in seventeen years? They have now amassed the debt that is saying to the children of this Province that you are going to have to pay $500 million a year interest on the debt of which this hon. gentleman was a part and of which his government was a part.

That is the record they put together, and for him to have the gall to stand here and say that we should not be taking the initiatives that we are, that we should not be trying to impose further debt. If there is one hallmark of this government, it is the fact that we have taken control of the finances of this Province and brought them in order and be able to give us the confidence of the money markets, to give us the confidence of the people. If there is one hallmark of this government, it is certainly that - that we have dealt with the finances in a prudent and reasonable and balanced fashion.

The other hon. member was just up talking about the Workers' Compensation Commission. If it was not for this Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, in six years the workers' compensation fund would be bankrupt because of the kind of legislation and the kind of system they had set up there. Just a few days ago this member of the Cabinet, this hon. minister, rose in this House and gave the best news report on the Workers' Compensation Commission that we have had for twenty-two years in this Province, Mr. Speaker, and I submit that next year he will have even a better report from the Workers' Compensation Commission.

I just wanted to make those couple of points to further praise the members.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: Well, Mr. Speaker, if the hon. Member for St. John's East now wants to get up and say something - if he wants to get up and pontificate on the qualifications of Mr. Cashin, and defend the patronage appointment that just took place there - if he wants to take advantage of this House's time to do this again today, I am sure all hon. members took note of the fact that here we have this great socialist in our presence defending - yes, you should be damned if it is for the other guy, but when it is for us, oh, it is okay for us, Jack.

Oh yes, that is the kind of situation that we have here, and it should not be left unnoticed to the people of this Province. Anything else - any other patronage appointment that goes on, we are the worst in the world. If somebody happens to try to advance somebody's application to get them an interview or something for a job, if you could do that, that hon. minister would be up and take away their whole future, but when it is his brother, his loyal brother of the FFAW, when he goes away with thousands of dollars of the fishermen's money in his pocket, in addition to the $100,000 job in Ottawa, he has no problem with that, and that should not go unnoticed to members of this House. That is the fashion that the hon. member has been used to parading in, Mr. Speaker.

I want to say to the people here attending, that today we do have a government in which the people of this Province have total confidence. We have a member for St. John's South that the people of his riding have total confidence in, and I believe that for some time to come this confidence will be expressed, election after election, as often as the rich were to follow, they will be back here again on this side of the House as we are here today. There is no doubt about that. There might be a couple of members left over there. The Member for Ferryland perhaps might come back again, if he can keep close to Crosbie from now until next time, but the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West, I have to submit that he is into his last stretch. He is going down that road there. He just got his heels out of the trap this time.

He just barely escaped the onslaught this time where his majority was cut by over 2,000 votes, 1,400 votes, right down. I tell you that the clock is ticking on his political future. There's absolutely no doubt about that. It's starting to catch up with the people on the Burin Peninsula that this member doesn't have the kind of conviction that he's been able to tell them and try to impress upon to them. It was certainly brought home to them in the last election. There's no doubt about that.

So I want with those few words to conclude for the day. Hopefully we'll be able to have a resolution of this particular debate and certainly the business of the government will go on. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It's -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: What's that? Adjourn the debate. No, I'm not going to adjourn the debate. It's just getting interesting now, it's just starting to get enjoyable. We've got a few tempers up -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You're next?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, you could be next. There's no doubt about that. Whether you're going to speak now, but you could be next.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: One Matthews after another.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Don't get our names confused.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: What'd he say? Didn't want to get their names confused?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes the dirt is starting to flow. Mr. Speaker, just to have a few remarks to respond to that fiery, spiteful speech of the Member for Eagle River who gets up, personal attacks on everyone. He personally attacks members on this side. My friend for St. John's East attacks Richard Cashin, a man now who's moved on to a new life. The Member for Eagle River would not be able to sleep any night if he didn't attack someone. That's like his sleeping pill. It's when if he had a day where he attacked someone he can sleep.

AN HON. MEMBER: He doesn't even tell the truth.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, I'm not going to accuse him of not telling the truth.

MR. DUMARESQUE: That's right. Your more honourable than that.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I don't know about that. There are times. I have my days, I say to the Member for Eagle River. But to get here today, and once again attack Mr. Cashin. I don't know why the member does that. Because he's gone on to another life. He's finished with the Fishermen's Union, and let him go on. I mean, we all make changes in life and go to other professions. Let him go, he's gone. We have a new president of the Union now, Mr. McCurdy. So we leave it at that, I say to him.

Again, he's got to always attack John Crosbie. He can't sleep without he attacks him every day. No justification most times for attacking him, but he has to attack him. No justification.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That could very well be. But I tell you, it may be, but I guarantee you one thing: he's been a long-time friend of this Province, I say to the Government House Leader. A long-time friend of Newfoundland and Labrador. Has done a lot for this Province. A lot for the people in this Province. Has done a lot for the constituents of the Member for Eagle River and others opposite. Because he's not able to get any results from his own government, I say to him. He can't get them to support anything. He can't get them to support any program, Mr. Speaker. All we hear is cuts to this and cuts to that. What does he get due? He gets as far in the back benches where the Premier's got him tied on and all he does is attack someone else.

He has no influence whatsoever with the ministers. No influence. Then, the irony of it all, is to hear the Member for Eagle River get in his place and talk about someone else being demoted. I say, to talk about someone else being demoted. In order to be demoted you have to have a position. The hon. member will never know anything about that. He'll never be demoted. Because he'll always be where he is now. Harnessed to a seat. He'll get up and he'll screech and bawl and attack someone else as soon as the Premier crooks the finger at him and says: your turn today, Danny. Attack John, attack Richard, attack Jack, attack Lynn, attack someone. Just attack, Danny. Take the attention away from me because I'm doing nothing and we're a failure. Attack someone, Danny. Please cover up for me.

Danny will attack someone and sit back in the back benches in the same seat now he's had for going into his fifth year. Hasn't moved a notch. Everyone passed over him. I soon expect now in January all the group down here will be gone past him, he'll still be there. Same old song from Daniel, sings the same old song. Ends up in the same old place, I say to him.

You should change your tactics is my advice to the member, revise your tactics, change you tactics and see if you cannot get promoted.

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That is very good, I say to him. He is to be congratulated for that, but that is only until the people get to know what he is really like and once they get to see him like we see him here, if they can ever see him in that light, Mr. Speaker, to see the real Danny Dumaresque, would you ever see a majority evaporate. It will evaporate I assure you, once they get to know him, because he is really not concerned about them. He is now trying to get to Ottawa. He wants to go to Ottawa and run in Mr. Rompkey's place. Hear him stand up and talk about patronage and he cannot wait now - would members believe this, that what he is waiting for now, and dying for, is to get the word that Mulroney is giving Bill Rompkey a job so that he can run federally. Now, that is what that member over there is up to. If you want to talk about patronage, if you want to talk about at one minute kicking it into Richard Cashin but on the other hand he is doing whatever he can now to get Mulroney to give Bill Rompkey a job. That is what that member is up to I say to members opposite, and once he does that he will be gone to run federally that fast.


MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, so do we. I hope he runs. Daniel and Garfield, what a battle. They will have to call it the battle of Labrador and what a battle it will be. Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to get up and respond to a couple of comments to my good friend whose aspirations are much greater than mine. He aspires to be in that great chamber up yonder, and I am talking about Ottawa, not Heaven, but to him Ottawa is Heaven. I can tell the Government House Leader that I am not ambitious about making either. I know one for sure is gone, one chance for sure is gone, but the other one, who knows.

MR. ROBERTS: All the best people will be down below.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That is right. All of us with anything about us will be below. The majority of us will be below I say to the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: The only majority you will ever see.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I have seen four majorities I say to the Government House Leader and that is not too bad. Some other day I will tell the new members of the look on the face of the Member for Eagle River when I observed him in the gallery in the House of Commons. I will leave that for another day, the look of glee. I thought he was looking down at Jean Chretien's seat but he was looking at Bill Rompkey's. He was rubbing his hands with glee, Mr. Speaker. He cannot wait to get to that great chamber. He goes up quite often, more than we know, I believe. Anyway, we will talk about that another day because I think I must be out of time.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it the pleasure of the House to concur in the report presented by the committee.

Concurrence, carried.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, we will not be doing anymore business in accordance with our agreement. Tomorrow we will call either the Social Services Committee report or the Resource Committee report. Both of these committees I understand will conclude their hearings tonight. Am I correct?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: What have we decided?

MR. ROBERTS: Well, maybe my friend for Grand Bank and I could have a moment when the House rises.

AN HON. MEMBER: A moment of silence.

MR. ROBERTS: A moment of silence would be welcomed by our colleagues, I am sure, but if we could have a moment behind the Chair we will let members on each side know about the plan to call one of them tomorrow and then carry on a little after 5:00 as we have today.

I move that the House adjourn at its rising until 2:00 o'clock tomorrow.

On motion, the House as its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Tuesday at 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon.