November 25, 1993          HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS          Vol. XLII  No. 22

The House met at 2:00 p.m

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

On behalf of hon. members, I would like to welcome to the visitor's gallery, forty Level I, II and III students from Discovery Collegiate in Bonavista, accompanied by their teachers, Gordon Broderick and Stephanie Matchim.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Mines and Energy.

The government has done its best over the past couple of months to characterize Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro as a burden to the people of this Province, an albatross around our necks, but the reality is very different. The Premier's announcement on October 1, that Hydro was up for sale sparked the interest of international investors who regarded Hydro as one of the best energy properties anywhere in this world.

I want to ask the Minister of Mines and Energy, if he has received a letter or letters, intended to communicate to him: one, Hydro's highly favourable reputation among energy investors worldwide; and two, that if the sale of Hydro were open to competitive proposals, the government would be surprised at the attractive offers it might get?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, no one has ever said that Hydro is a burden. No one has ever said that, and I would be the last one to say it. Hydro is a great corporation, and there is no question that the national community and the international community like bonds related to Hydro. Letters from anyone? I don't recall receiving one myself, but I will get to your final point, competitive proposals. We are not interested in asking any company, no matter how big, no matter where, to come in and buy and control Hydro. We are not going to do that. We are going to maintain a control of Hydro so that people are going to own the shares in Hydro, we are going to have appropriate limitations on who can buy shares, nobody is going to be allowed to buy, I believe the Premier said yesterday or the day before, any more than 15 per cent in a block, there will be controls on the voting of shares, there will be controls on how many shares can be owned outside of Canada and outside of Newfoundland, all of this, to make sure that we don't give any big international company control of our Hydro.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The minister hasn't answered my question at all. We heard the Premier on NTV suggest that the Province would get anywhere from, he said, maybe $230 million, $240 million to $300 million from a merger with Fortis. Now, have you made any attempt to follow up on the interest shown by international investors, in this world-class property, to get a better fix on the real market value of Hydro?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: The real value of Hydro, Mr. Speaker, is going to be determined by the people who buy shares in the stock market and that is how we are going to get the biggest bonus on the equity that we own in Hydro. That is where we are going to get it and that is what we are advised.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I gather he did not. The answer will be no. He didn't check to see the competitive value. He didn't admit that he might have a letter or letters to that effect. I ask him, has he made any attempt to find out if the big international investors who find Hydro so attractive, might be willing to invest in other jobs creating economic development in Newfoundland and Labrador just to get their hands on this prime energy property?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, I think I said in my first answer that I gave that we are not interested in giving control of Hydro to some big international investors. We are interested in maintaining some control of this particular thing in Newfoundland and Labrador and there will be appropriate controls on the sale or shares to ensure that no big international investor is going to be telling us what we can do with Hydro.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. The answers are not very forthcoming, I say to the Minister of Energy, and it is about time that the minister, the Premier and the government started to deal truthfully with the issue, as we have portrayed, over the next number of days.

I want to ask a question of the Government House Leader, the Minister of Justice. Last night, CBC Television revealed that the minister holds substantial interest in NEWTEL, a company that has expressed an interest to government, that has been involved in the purchase of -

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, could we ask the buffoon from Fogo to be quiet, please?

- Newfoundland and Labrador Computer Services, Mr. Speaker. This follows revelations of last week on the Minister of Justice, where now, everyone in the Province knows the interest that he has held in Fortis. Both interests are shown in the minister's Conflict of Interest Statements and, as I understand it, both holdings are now administered in a blind trust. Now whether it is two, I am not sure. I know for sure his Fortis holdings are.

Could the minister inform the House of what date he formally set up the trust which now manages for sure his Fortis investments, and maybe his NewTel investments? Could he inform us of that date?

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

MR. ROBERTS: With pleasure, Mr. Speaker, but let me first say that the CBC did not reveal anything about my holdings of NEWTEL shares. I revealed it in no less than three separate filings, one within a month of my entering Cabinet, as required by the legislation then in effect; the second at the start of this year, as required by the legislation then in effect - both of those are public documents, available to any member of the public who wishes to go to see them - and thirdly, in the filing which I, in common with other members of this House, made with the commissioner, of member's interest by, I believe, if memory serves me, the end of August. The commissioner subsequently made a public disclosure, and he did the same with me, I have no doubt, as he did with other members of the Cabinet, and he will do with other members of the House, which is, he consulted with me; he showed me what he proposed to make public, and then he made public a document after that.

He has not yet possibly got to the hon. gentleman from Grand Bank, but he will, and the same process will be applied. This is in accordance with the new legislation, which is the most advanced and the strictest in the country.

Now, Mr. Speaker, in the filing which the commissioner made public, he revealed that my shares were placed in a blind trust earlier this month. I do not remember the exact date. I can get it if the hon. gentleman really needs it, but it was at some point early in November.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me say why this was done, because I don't want my hon. friend to think there was any attempt to hide anything; in fact, to the contrary. Unless one is going to play the politics of envy and ignorance, and say that nobody who has ever managed to put aside some money in a savings plan, which is what an RRSP is, unless one is going to play that game of envy or ignorance, then one acknowledges that people have interests, and the whole scheme of our disclosure legislation, which is very complete and, I submit, very effective, one discloses these interests and they are then made public by the commissioner as he, in his own independent judgement, deems necessary.

Before I filed with the commissioner at the end of August, I could very easily have placed these arrangements in a blind trust. I would then not have been required to disclose anything to the commissioner except the existence of the blind trust and the documents relating to that. He then would never have known what went in the blind trust. I decided, quite consciously, and I would do it again and do it gladly, because I am quite convinced I was right, then and now, not to do that, to make my disclosure to the commissioner in full of what I owned. In fact what I did was I simply took the statement from the broker who handles the RRSP, and the statement from the broker who handles my modest savings account downtown and I attached copies of them to my disclosure statement. I make no apology for that. The hon. gentlemen opposite snicker. They seem to feel anybody who has managed to accumulate some savings should somehow be ashamed. I am not. I have worked damned hard for what I have and I make no apology to anybody for that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I held shares in NewTel and I do not know whether they are still in the blind trust or not. I know they were put in it.


MR. ROBERTS: I told hon. members, early in November. I do not remember the exact date.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry, my hon. friend did not ask the question. Let me answer him very clearly. The blind trust was set up on a day and everything went into it on that day, everything. In fact in my previous filings I broke down my holdings into the ones in the RRSP and the ones in what I call a savings account, and in each case the commissioner has done the same thing. He has done them down. Now, the hon. gentleman may have a supplementary and I am only too happy to answer questions. Not only do I believe I have done nothing wrong but I believe I have acted properly and consistently both with the spirit and the letter of the law, and I say that here and outside very proudly.

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

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

I want to say to the minister that the legislation might be the most advanced in the world but if the minister does not conform to the regulations and the legislation, and the Premier does not enforce his ministers to abide by it, it is not worth two cents, I say to the minister. That is the case we have here. The legislation is no good without enforcement. Now, I think the minister has basically answered the question but I will ask him specifically and to the point. The blind trust was set up after the minister met with the conflict of interest commissioner to review his conflict of interest declarations. Is that in essence what the minister has told us today? You put it in blind trust after you met with the conflict of interest commissioner.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am asking this minister and not the hopeful minister. I want to ask the Minister of Justice. He said it was early November.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, could I have protection from the Member for Fogo?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes. Continue on.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The minister said he put his holdings in blind trust in early November, November 4, 5 or 6. I would suspect it was probably November 5. Does he remember the date he met with the conflict of interest commissioner? Could he tell us that? Was the blind trust set up after he met with the commissioner?

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

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend for Ferryland comes out with these little comments like: come clean. I would no more take advice on public ethics from gentlemen opposite than I would take advice on temperance from a group of drunks.

Mr. Speaker, let me answer the question without these childish interjections, these little mutterings, come clean. I will stack my conduct against the hon. gentleman for Ferryland's any time, anywhere, any place.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I did not make any reference in my earlier answer to meetings with the commissioner because my hon. friend did not ask about them. I do not recollect -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I agree, and I'll try to answer it now. I do not recollect when I met with the commissioner. I assume he has a record. I may have a record of it. What I will say - and this may answer his concern - is that placing of my assets in a blind trust had nothing at all to do with the commissioner. It was neither his suggestion nor did I seek his approval. It grew out of an arrangement I made with the Premier when I entered the Cabinet, which he and I did in an exchange of letters. My hon. friend for Grand Bank looks perplexed. Let me answer him. I have nothing to hide. To the contrary.

It was agreed when I came into the Cabinet I would freeze my RRSP until the new conflict of interest legislation was up and running. That did not come about until the end of August, whenever it was. That's the date we made our filings, all of us. I assume the hon. gentleman did. I know I did, and I believe he did. I accept that he did. I have already said why I chose not to set the blind trust up at some point after the adoption of the legislation but before it came in. I could very easily, Mr. Speaker, and very lawfully have adopted a course of practice that would have prevented the people of this Province knowing that I had in a blind trust assets, holdings, in such companies as Fortis and NEWTEL.

I make no apology for that. I say now and I say again - I've said before and I'll say again, and again - that any Newfoundlander, any Labradorian, who's got a bit of money that he or she wishes to invest, in my judgement, would do well to consider buying shares in either Fortis or NEWTEL. I am not flogging shares, but I believe both are good, solid, well run companies that invest in Newfoundland and Labrador, that develop assets here, develop resources here, and any Newfoundlander and any Labradorian would be well advised to consider it. I had investments in them; I do not know if I do now, I asked my trustee to sell the Fortis shares, I assume he will but I do not know that.

AN HON. MEMBER: If you have any.

MR. ROBERTS: Well, if they were in the trust as of -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would ask the hon. Government House Leader to answer the question and not to editorialize on it.

MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. gentleman asks such expansive questions I am tempted to give expansive answers.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Very straightforward and simple questions, Mr. Speaker, that -

MR. ROBERTS: Very simple answers.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: No, they were not, anyway - it is not that the minister has holdings or investments or money, that is not the problem, Mr. Speaker, that is not the problem. The problem is that the minister has been in conflict of interest for months as a Cabinet Minister who sat in on discussions, negotiations pertaining to the sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and Newfoundland and Labrador Computer Services. That is the problem. I do not begrudge the minister having money, I wish I had as much as he has. The problem is you have been in a direct conflict of interest for months and you have admitted to the Legislature today that the blind trust was not set up until November 4 or 5, which you have confirmed. You have been in a conflict of interest for months and I want to ask the minister: Why have you participated in discussions, Cabinet discussions, participated in Cabinet decisions for months with the Hydro/Fortis merger, and the interest of Newtel to purchase Newfoundland and Labrador Computer Services, why has the minister continued to do that, why has he flown in face of the very conflict of interest act legislation that he piloted through this House just a few months ago, why has he flown in the face of that, I ask the minister?


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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, did my hon. friend ask with respect to both NLCS and Hydro or just NLCS?


MR. ROBERTS: Okay, let me deal with both. We will deal with NCLS first, but before I do that, let me point out to my hon. friend what the act says, section 33, sub-section( 1): A member who has reasonable grounds to believe that he or she would be furthering a private interest, by participating in a consideration of a matter that is before the House or the Cabinet or a committee of either shall, if present at the meeting considering the matter disclose the general nature of the conflict and withdraw from the meeting. That is what the act says, 33 (1).

Now let us talk about NCLS first, because it is the simpler of the two. There has been no activity by Cabinet or any of its committees in which I took part, in which I took part, which, amounts to providing reasonable grounds to believe that I would be furthering a private interest. Now in the case of NLCS, all that there has been - and I ask my friend, the Minister of Finance to correct me if I am wrong - is a request for proposals; a number of proposals have been received and are being examined by the minister and his officials. There has been no decision of any sort other than a decision to call proposals.

I suppose it is no secret that among the respondents is a group that includes Newtel, but that does not amount, I am advised, to anything like a reasonable ground to believe that he or she will be furthering a private interest.

Now, let us talk about Fortis. There was before the Cabinet a proposal - the Premier had announced in his speech at the Board of Trade and other places - by Fortis Inc. to buy the down stream assets I guess we could call them, or actually the distribution assets and the transmission lines below 69kv and the diesel regions and the transmission assets.

I, and the record is quite clear - my friend is smirking over there but let me tell him that this Premier and this minister and this government, this Premier and this minister and this government, take these matters seriously. I am not paranoid, Mr. Speaker, but I am hearing slime and sludge slither across the floor of this House and I am dealing with it.

Every time the matter of the Fortis purchase offer came before the Cabinet or any committee, I excused myself. There is no reason to hide that. That is proper and when the final decision was taken, was made by Cabinet, at that time I was then able to participate in other discussions. I did participate in those discussions, no problem, no reason, because all we have done is bring forward a proposition to enter into discussions. There has been no decision which would provide reasonable grounds to believe that I would be furthering a private interest. That is all, there is no mystery about it, nothing to be hidden, nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to be the least bit recalcitrant about. That is all because my hon. friend opposite does not seem to understand. He is hoping and believing - maybe it reflects the milieu in which he functioned before when he and his colleagues where over here. Maybe it does, I do not know that but maybe it does. What I am saying is that I am hearing this kind of slime slithering around. I am glad my friend asked the question because at least I finally had an opportunity to answer it head on.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

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

It sounds to me like the minister is trying to convince himself. He is going on so long that he is trying to convince himself that he has done nothing wrong. It is not me he has to convince. I think he has done something wrong. I am convinced he has done something wrong. It is the people of the Province he has to convince he has done nothing wrong, not me. They have grave concerns about this. I say to the minister it was only Friday that he said he was going to continue to be involved in discussions and negotiations pertaining to Fortis and the purchase of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and on Monday he tells us he is going to get rid of his shares because the Premier directed him to do so. How can you listen to a minister who fluctuates so much in a span of forty-eight hours?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the minister: Can he tell us how many times he excused himself from the Cabinet discussions as they pertained to the Fortis/Hydro merger? How many times he excused himself from that? Was it many times or was it once, twice or does he remember? Were there many discussions about Hydro and Fortis that he excused himself from or could he tell us when they were?

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the full answer will be whenever it was necessary and appropriate to do it. I do not remember the number but I want to make one other thing clear too. I said on Friday to one of the news media - part of what I said was reported and that is fair enough - that I saw no reason to step aside from continued discussions about the Fortis matter, I did not and I do not. If the Premier had asked me to of course I would but there was no need to and I did not. The Premier did not direct me to sell my Fortis shares, one, I can't sell them, I can only ask the trustee and I have done that but secondly, he and I had talked about this months ago. I could hardly do anything with the shares once we began discussions because then it would look like I had insider knowledge and here I am selling a bunch of shares - that would look terrific. That would really look terrific. In fact, the one thing we did do in the Cabinet, is from the moment the matter became a proposal that was being looked at seriously, the Premier said: all of those in the circle, ministers and officials are neither to buy nor sell shares. None of my colleagues did and if any of them did he or she would be in a great deal of difficulty with the Premier and rightly so. So my answer to the hon. gentleman's question is, whenever it was necessary, I did so.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the minister, because he has alluded to it a couple of times, that he made an undertaking with the Premier that he was going to do what he now says he has done. I believe that was around February of 1992, that the minister came into the Cabinet as Minister of Justice, the Attorney General of the Province. Why did it take until November 4 or 5 of 1993, for the minister to do what he says he has now done? Why since February of 1992, until November of 1993, did it take so long for the minister to do this?

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

MR. ROBERTS: I will be glad to answer that, Mr. Speaker. I have already answered it in so many words but let me answer it clear on. In the first place it was agreed that until the new Conflict Of Interest Act was up and running that I would simply abide by the old act and that is what I did. The old act made no provision for blind trusts or anything else. In fact it left the Premier in the invidious position of having to decide on conflicts of interest and our Premier found that to be very wrong. In fact he said: I will make no exceptions to it. That was discussed here in the House on a number of occasions, his concerns with that.

Once the new act came into effect, which was as of June 1, I think -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: If my hon. friend does not want the answer, I will not give it to him.

AN HON. MEMBER: I did not mean to interrupt.

MR. ROBERTS: Alright.

Now, Mr. Speaker, once the new act came into effect, which was June 1 - was it June 1 or the end; it does not matter - whenever it was proclaimed, I then was in a position where I either could have made some moves which would have put the blind trust in place and effectively concealed from the commissioner what was in that blind trust, or I could have done as I chose to do, and that is not put the blind trust in, not only until I had made my disclosure to the commissioner, but until I knew that he was prepared to go ahead and make things public. There is no secret about that. Does the hon. gentleman think I was trying some chicanery? If so, he should at least do me the credit of assuming I could be more chicanery-like than that.

That is the answer. There is no more mystery to it than that. The agreement was there until the act was up and running, and when the act was up and running, I couldn't get rid of the Fortis shares, because by that stage discussions had begun, at least within the circle of the ministry, and I was privy to those. I am Attorney General. It may irk the hon. gentleman, but I am. I have some responsibilities to the government as that; I have a duty. Secondly, I did not want anybody ever to say: You only set up the blind trust to hide things from the commissioner and thereby hide them from public disclosure; to the contrary. I do not like seeing my personal affairs spread about. I have had it before in this House, and I guess I will have to put up with it now, but I make no apologies for my conduct. I believe I have acted rightly and properly.

I helped to draft this act. I am very proud of it, and I will damn well live with every word of it, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I once had dreams of being rich, but after today I am not so sure I want to be.

Mr. Speaker, in the financial statement presented by the Minister of Finance on Tuesday, he estimated social assistance expenditures would be $7.9 million net over budget. Since social assistance is cost shared 50\50 with the federal government, I assume therefore that the `net' the Minister of Finance referred to is the province's share.

My question is to the Minister of Social Services. I ask the minister if he would confirm that, and can he also confirm that the total expenditures on social assistance this year will exceed the budget estimates by $15.8 million?

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

MR. LUSH: I am not aware of how the Minister of Finance makes his calculations, whether indeed he just does it on the provincial share, or whether he does it on the combined. That question is better directed to the Minister of Finance, but in respect to the latter part of the hon. member's question, as to whether the $15.9 million, or the figure he mentions, is projection for the end of the year, we have not made these projections. The projections of the social assistance is related to the case-load, and the case-load sort of fluctuates. If the case-load remains the same as it is now, we are expecting an over expenditure along the lines mentioned by the Minister of Finance.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, I can only assume that `net' means our share. When I see something `net' on my pay cheque, it is what I own. Net is mine, so I would assume that is what the minister was referring to when he said the `net cost', referring to the provincial cost.

The cost of social assistance allowances will go up to about $191 million from the $175 million estimated in the budget for this year - an expenditure over budget of approximately 10 per cent. What is the increase in the number of people on social assistance that caused this increase today?

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

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, I do not think it comes as any surprise to anybody, although the member seems rather astounded. No one else is astounded at the increase. We are living in troubled times. We are living in times when people are unemployed. We are living in some difficult times, and nobody is surprised. A large part of the problem is caused by the unavailability of employment. That is why the problem is caused. That shouldn't cause anybody any great degree of astonishment. The same thing is happening right throughout the country.

MR. SPEAKER: The member has time for one short supplementary.

The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, in 1989 the Province spent $113 million on social assistance. Just four years later expenditures are up by nearly 70 per cent. These alarming figures expose an even more alarming social problem: growing poverty, growing misery, and growing despair in our Province. All we hear from this government are plans to cut out jobs and add even more to the welfare rolls. When will the minister and his colleagues in Cabinet do something to create jobs and return some glimmer of hope to the people out there in this Province, I ask the minister.

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

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, the job of the Department of Social Services is to provide the basic necessities of people who, through no fault of their own, are required to seek the assistance of the Department of Social Services, and we do that, and we do it as well as we can, in accordance with the fiscal ability of the Province to pay. I will say to the hon. member, this year this Department spent $18 million in job creation, creating somewhere around 6,000 jobs.

MR. SPEAKER: Question period has expired.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

MR. PENNEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Resource Committee have considered Bill 27, "An Act To Amend The Forestry Act", and recommend its passage, without amendment, through the remaining stages in the House. Thank you.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Under Orders of the Day, Order No. 6 was inadvertently put in the wrong place, so I would like to re-do that order, and ask permission of the House to simply remove it from that section of the Order Paper, Mr. Speaker. Consequently, I give notice that I will on tomorrow move that the House resolve itself into Committee of the Whole to consider certain resolutions relating to the Income Tax Act.

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Loan Act, 1978".

Orders of the Day

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, could we carry on with the Throne Speech debate, please - Order No. 1?

MR. SPEAKER: The Member for Baie Verte - White Bay adjourned debate the last day, so we will allow him to continue.

The hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I adjourned debate the other day, and I would just like to finish off on a couple of points, actually, more local. I did it in general terms the other day, but just to finish a couple of things. Although I didn't bring up much about the Hydro deal, I still have a question I will just throw out there, a concern of mine that I was wondering about, namely, the 70 per cent of shares that was mentioned that would be left open to the public. I wonder if that means the Newfoundland public, or is it the Canadian public? In other words, can these shares be sold to anybody - 70 per cent of the shares?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: The Premier said that 70 per cent of the shares would be made available to the public, as I understood it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hydro's portion.

MR. SHELLEY: Hydro's portion, 70 per cent of shares. Now, the 70 per cent that are available - are they available to just Newfoundlanders who would buy them up, the affluent Newfoundlanders?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I just draw to the members' attention that I cannot hear the hon. member. I am having difficulty with both sides of the House.

MR. SHELLEY: I just throw it out, out of concern. The Premier said that 70 per cent of Hydro's shares would be left open to the public for Newfoundlanders to buy up, but does it also mean it is open for Canadians to buy up? In other words, could 60 per cent of that 70 per cent go to people in Quebec or Ontario who want to buy those shares up? I wonder where the files would go. Or can these shares go international so, theoretically, 70 per cent of those shares could be bought up by Quebec, Ontario, or anywhere?

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Well, I (inaudible) concern on it. Also, these five so-called experts - as far as business is concerned, they are probably some of the most intelligent men you can come up with. The Premier said they are the five best he could come up with. In a business-like sense, they probably are, but I am just wondering if they are thinking about what is best for Newfoundlander when they make these decisions. As far as Hydro goes, I think there are a lot more questions to be brought up, especially the 70 per cent shares. Where are they going and who is going to own them?

I just have a couple of minutes left so I would like to bring up a couple of points on the local front. I have a few words for the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture now that he is in the House. Just before we adjourned for the summer I brought up some serious points and I was hoping the minister would take those points seriously, but from the answer I got back and the comments I got during the Summer as I travelled around, nobody found it very funny that trees don't swim. They were concerned with the environmental disasters that are happening in our forests right now, and they are concerned that every time we turn around we hear nothing about loggers. They are still part of a big industry out there and their concerns are not being met. They have had problems in the forest industry that is going on,that we have to be more in touch with. We have to get in touch with exactly what is happening in our forests now. I say to the minister that I will be bringing up more questions on exactly the environmental impact that is going on in our forest industry now, and how we are going to be dealing with it over the next few years, before we - I will use the analogy again - come up five years from now and some Minister of Forestry will have to stand and say we have a moratorium in the forestry. That is exactly what will happen unless we get this under control.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible) moratorium (inaudible) right now.

MR. SHELLEY: A complete moratorium, to me, is a closedown of the forestry, which I can see coming if we don't get our act together in the forestry industry. I think the minister, if he were willing to admit it, and all the major people involved in the forestry, would agree with me, that unless we get our act together in the forest industry, we will have a minister stand in this House - and we won't be able to blame it on the foreigners, and we won't be able to blame it on the federal government, we will only be able to blame it on ourselves. Because it is Newfoundland's industry. We have to control it, not anybody else.

I have only a short time, but I wanted to get a couple of points in on the tourism industry. We talked about this a few times. I can tell you that in my district I think untapped tourism is probably the understatement of the decade down there. We have a beautiful district that has seen nothing yet. I have talked to the Minister of Tourism a few times and made a proposal to him.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: A suggestion, proposal, whatever you want to call it. I'm sure the Minister of Forestry, if he will listen for a couple of minutes, will understand what I am saying.

We live eighty-three kilometres off the main highway. People drive by there - I checked with some tourists this summer just out of curiosity - to find out that the tourists would just drive by there because they saw one small brown sign at the Baie Verte Junction that said: The Dorset Eskimo Site, 83 kilometres. What kind of promotion is that of tourism? We need at these junctions, where there are communities off the beaten path, to have some kind of chalets, some kind of information booths there to show people what are out on those peninsulas.

I think it is a good suggestion. I think it is a suggestion that when I next meet with the minister, I will push for again. The tourism industry - things like the Dorset Eskimo Site on the Baie Verte Peninsula - this summer it was almost an embarrassment. We had a family from Ontario who had come down to see that site. It was in such bad shape that one of the children fell off a wooden built footpath that goes down there and I had to go down and apologize for its being in such bad shape. They drove eighty-three kilometres to see this Dorset Eskimo Site and it was just a total embarrassment.

Those types of things are the things that bring tourists to this Province and this is why we should make sure that we look into having the greatest potential we can for tourism in this Province. I do believe it is still Province-wide an untapped resource that we can improve on a lot.

Mr. Speaker, I think I will conclude with that. I am sure that in the next few days I will be standing again and have a chance to have my say here in the House. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Port au Port.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am very pleased to have the opportunity to rise again in this House to speak on behalf of the constituents of the great District of Port au Port. May I, in line with my predecessors, just take this opportunity to welcome back hon. members to the House after our summer recess, and to say on a very personal note that I am indeed pleased to see that my very good friend for Placentia is showing his usual resilience and endurance. I am very pleased to see him back in the House representing the District of Placentia. I am sure, I for one, would not underestimate his tenacity, and, indeed, would not be surprised that he will, as he says, be around for some time to come.

Mr. Speaker, the District of Port au Port, as everyone is very much aware, is certainly an area that has many serious and pressing needs. Indeed, as I have had occasion many times to state, we have not, in fact, known prosperity since the days of the American base in Stephenville, going back to the mid-sixties. Since then it certainly has been an uphill struggle trying to provide for the good people of the Port au Port District, trying to provide for their many needs on a daily basis.

I am very pleased and, indeed, honoured, to have the opportunity now to represent them in this House. Hopefully, with the assistance of my colleagues, and the support of the hon. members opposite, during the course of my tenure here, hopefully, we will be able to see improvements to the District of Port au Port, as indeed, to the whole of the Province.

For the information of the hon. members of the House, I am sure all of you are aware that the District of Port au Port is a bilingual district. It is the only district on the Island portion of the Province that can lay claim to that title and, indeed, it is the only district in the Province that can lay claim to having an indigenous francophone population. These are people who can trace their ancestry here in Newfoundland going back the last 400 to 500 years - a district `Oł c'est possible de parler dans les deux langues officiels de notre pays'.

I think it is very important to recognize that in the District of Port au Port we do have a significant francophone population, a large group of people whose first language is French, and during my course in this House I would hope, and have already taken steps from my own office, to make sure that the services of government, and, indeed, of my office, are made available to these people in their two official languages.

The people of Port au Port - in particular the francophones - have had a serious struggle, and a longsuffering struggle, in trying to preserve their language and culture, and I am very pleased to note the kind of progress that they have been able to make. In fact, now, in Port au Port, French, first language education is available to the francophone population of my district. Great efforts have been made in terms of providing first-class educational facilities where the children of the francophone constituents of Port au Port are able to receive instruction in French, first language.

Also, the current ongoing development whereby the road link between the communities of Cape St. George and La Grande Terre, the two major francophone communities, will certainly prove to be a very strong cultural and educational link. It will assist these francophone communities in continuing their struggle to preserve their language and culture and, in a very practical sense, will make it much easier to continue to service their needs in terms of education, in that it will be possible, and it will reduce, in terms of travel time, from sixty-five or seventy kilometres down to sixteen. So it will, beginning next year, be possible to travel by car between these two communities and make it possible to share the educational facilities which presently exist.

Mr. Speaker, I wanted to make note of these, because I think it is significant. It is a significant development, and it is also, I think, significant that the hon. members of this House be, indeed, aware that there does exist, on the West Coast of this Province, what is very often and certainly historically has been considered to be a very remote part of this Province. Indeed, if you live in Port au Port, as I have for all of my life, it is sometimes very easy to believe, that to the rest of this Province, areas like Port au Port do not exist. It is very easy for someone living in Port au Port, and struggling and trying to get by, to recognize that the overpass syndrome, as it is very often referred to, is very much in existence, and I am sure that is something that hon. members, regardless of which side of the House they sit, can relate to if they do, in fact, represent districts in the rural areas of this Province.

One of the things that has been referenced since this House has re-adjourned is the Emergency Response Program which was initiated by this government. I would, as well, like to say that it certainly falls short of what I would like to see. As a matter of fact, I indicated to the hon. member, when the amount of $6 million was announced, that I would save him a lot of trouble by taking that full $6 million and very easily spending it in my district in short order; however, as is now very well-known and documented, I got nowhere with that argument. But I must say, and I make no apologies, we were able to convince the member to recognize the great needs of the District of Port au Port, and to try to provide us with a level of funding that could, at least in the short term, try to assist the difficulties that we were experiencing out there. So with the money that was allocated we were able to provide some very important and necessary short-term employment.

I recognize, as do all hon. members, that providing for short-term employment is not the answer. We have to accept that, but in the meantime, I think we must recognize, as well, that while working towards the long term, and getting into this long-term planning, we cannot forget, or lose sight of the short-term needs.

Also, as I am sure each hon. member who had occasion to be successful in securing funding from this emergency response program can relate to, the needs are so great. I know, in my own instance, I think of one case where the development association were interviewing people for forty jobs. They had about 450 applications. I don't know how many they interviewed, but they had forty jobs to give out and the other 410 people called me. I'm sure each of you were in a similar situation. I remember thinking and saying aloud to someone who was there with me at the time, that next time around if the minister comes to me and says, "I have money to give you for Port au Port," I may be tempted to say, "Mr. Minister, regrettably, I must decline."

However, seriously, I think we have to recognize that for the benefit of those who were successful in securing these jobs, even just providing the minimum wage, these people are still very grateful. Because we have so many people out there right now who just have not been able to find anything. The traditional sources of employment - I know from my own district - have dried up. Traditionally people from the Port au Port area have been accustomed to travelling to Ontario and to Nova Scotia and securing work in the fishery and light manufacturing industries and, as we are all too aware, many of these have dried up.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SMITH: Yes. Right now, as the hon. member mentions, the interesting thing - and some of you may be aware that back in the spring there was a - the media picked up on this and there was some discussion. As a matter of fact, there is a program on Country Canada this Sunday, at 1:30 p.m. - I will make a plug for the program now to make you aware - that is going to focus on that very situation - they do focus on the District of Port au Port - whereby PEI has become a destination for people from that area.

Right now, many of my constituents leave in the spring of the year to find employment in the fishery or agriculture in the Province of PEI, which is very surprising. It certainly was very surprising to me when I found out, because from the figures that I have seen from Statistics Canada, there is not a great difference in the unemployment figures for PEI and Newfoundland. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, the people from my district and from elsewhere in the Province who go to PEI to work, are very often filling jobs that the locals in the great Province of PEI are either not prepared to fill or maybe they don't want to work the long hours, because they are there with their families. Many of the people from my district who go there are prepared to work for long hours. Since many of them are away from their families, they have nothing else to do, so they are willing to work seven days a week, fourteen or fifteen hours a day. That is why they are able to secure this source of employment.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SMITH: Yes, they are, as the hon. member mentions. As a matter of fact, Newfoundlanders from my district and, indeed, throughout this great Province, have, as they have always had, a tremendous reputation, whatever the line of work they do. Employers, when they have had Newfoundlanders in their employ, are very anxious to bring them back.

Of course, we all know, as well, especially drawing on the rural Newfoundland tradition, the family networks that we have, if one person finds employment in one area, in short order, the rest of the family, and a little step beyond that, much of the community, follows suit and fills in behind them, availing of the employment opportunities that are available to them there.

However, Mr. Speaker, I would not want this hon. House to believe that the District of Port au Port does not, indeed, have much promise, that the District of Port au Port cannot see a day when we will again be able to arise above the difficulties that we have now, and that we will not be able to participate in a brighter future. There are many things ongoing. The hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay mentioned, from his district, the importance of tourism. I firmly believe that tourism throughout this Province is an industry that has tremendous potential. It is an industry that we are just now coming to recognize. We haven't even come close to scratching the surface as to what this industry can represent in terms of the GPP for this Province.

In Port au Port, in fact, we will be, and are at the present time, drawing very heavily on the French fact in our area, and the fact that we are a bilingual district. We are drawing very heavily on that in trying to attract to our area, in particular, francophones from elsewhere in this country and, indeed, francophones from outside this country. To this point in time we have been very successful. But we are not restricting it to francophones, because obviously, we feel that Canadians and people from all walks will find much that would be of interest to them in the District of Port au Port.

The road link which I previously referenced will, Mr. Speaker, certainly be an important part of developing this infrastructure for tourism and certainly, in time, some of the other developments that we have seen during this summer. One of the big drawbacks in the District of Port au Port, in terms of developing a tourism industry, was a lack of accommodations. We have been promoting, for some time, the idea of the bed and breakfast, but the bed and breakfast concept to most people, especially in my district, is somewhat - well, it looks like I threw Hansard for a loop. They ask, `Could you please give us in writing the french sentence you used.' They might as well get in step, because they are going to be getting a few of those before I finish my term here in the House.

MR. ROBERTS: French is an official language in this House.

MR. SMITH: I recognize that.

Mr. Speaker, certainly, in terms of tourism, as I said, it has tremendous potential, but beyond that, the District of Port au Port has many other things, as well, that it can and, indeed, is presently building a future on.

Agriculture was one time a significant industry in Port au Port. Back in my days as a young boy growing up on the Port au Port Peninsula, as it was in much of rural Newfoundland, just about every family was self-sufficient. Just about every family was involved in raising animals and growing their own vegetables and with that, plus their effort in the fishery, they were able to get by. And I would suggest to this hon. House that they are able to get by. As much as we talk about the hard times in which we live, I can certainly remember - and I am sure that our parents and grandparents must find it a bit amusing when they hear us talking about the hard times in which we live, when they think back and hark back to what they had to endure many, many years ago.

So, I think, in terms of agriculture, there are opportunities. We presently have one individual in our area who has, for the last number of years, been working at developing a turkey farm. The hon. the Member for Humber Valley would certainly be familiar with this, as would my colleague from St. George's, who is not here right now. But this kind of industry has potential because there is a ready market there for it and it will provide much needed employment in an area where employment is needed.

Also, we are very interested and are actively promoting the idea of sheep ranching or farming, because in Port au Port there is tremendous potential. There is much land right now that is lying idle that can be used and we are very interested in seeing that that land is used. Much of it is marginal but certainly would be quite suitable for pasture land. It is interesting that it is well accepted and documented that the lamb from areas like Port au Port, where these animals graze near the seashore - and it is explained to me that because of the salt on the grass or whatever they feed on, does give the meat a particular texture and does make it particularly popular. I do know and I can certainly state with certainty, that lamb that is produced in Port au Port is in great demand. As a matter of fact, right now we can't keep up with the demand. The supply doesn't keep up with the demand.

So there are opportunities there. We are hoping to be able to build on these and to ensure that, down the road, agriculture does become an important part of economic development in our area.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is that on par with New Zealand lamb?

MR. SMITH: Yes. I think it would be much better, but obviously, I think the difficulty - it really bothers me, as a resident of the area, that if you go to a supermarket now to buy lamb, the chances are the lamb that you are going to buy is from New Zealand. It is not something produced locally and I think that is a shame when it is something we can do here in this Province. We certainly do have the land base to do it and those who do produce it, produce a superior product, there is no question about it. So I think there is room there for improvement and it is an effort in Port au Port that we certainly are intent on improving upon.

In the fishery - we are all too aware of the difficulties with the fishery. This hon. House would be, I am sure, very interested in knowing that a surprising anomaly in the District of Port au Port this past summer, is that we had the best ground fishery that we have had in the last ten years. When everything else was virtually closed down - as a matter of fact, the suggestion was that the fishery should be closed completely - in the District of Port au Port, we had an exceptional ground fishery. Now, that may have been, as I said, a one-time thing and next year, may be gone again. The suggestion is that last year the winter fishery down on the Southwest Coast did not have the same effort as it normally has. Of course, it is the same body of fish that migrates up around the shore and because the effort was not that great on the Southwest Coast, we were probably the beneficiaries on our end and we did have an improved fishery during the spring.

Also, related to the fishery, Port au Port is taking the lead in terms of a scallop aquaculture. We are and have been developing for some time in the District of Port au Port, the science of aquaculture, a project that started out, intended to restore the stocks of the Port au Port Bay, have developed over a course of ten years into a full-fledged aquaculture project, whereby now, a product is being grown for market, and the hon. members of this House would be interested in knowing, as well, that the product that is being marketed is a non-traditional product, in that it is promoting the sale of scallop on the half-shell.

Most of us, when we talk about scallop, we think about the abductor mussel. What is being promoted in the Port au Port area, is a product that would be sold and served on the half-shell, much as most of us are accustomed to having mussel, and I can assure the hon. members of this House and you, Mr. Speaker, that any of you who have had an opportunity to sample this product will vouch for it, that it is, indeed, a superior product. This was a project which was developed by the Port au Port Economic Development Association. The development association is now in the process of divesting itself of that project and it is being turned over to a co-operative comprised of thirteen members who are now prepared to take it to the stage where it will become a commercial venture.

This hon. House might be interested in knowing, as well, that during this past summer, there has been a great deal of activity in the District of Port au Port, related to oil exploration. You may be aware that there has been a long history of the presence of oil in Port au Port, and over the course of the years, a number of companies, from time to time, have shown interest and have come in and drilled exploratory wells, but unfortunately, to this time, they have met with limited success. The efforts during this past summer were very encouraging; right now it is just exploratory in the sense that it is seismic work and these are people who are in right now trying to determine whether or not the potential is there with a view to trying, to hopefully, down the road, possibly next spring and summer, see this activity going to the level where wells will be drilled in Port au Port. And I guess we all live in hope. Certainly, it would be of tremendous benefit, not only to the District of Port au Port, but to the whole of this Province if a major oil find on land could be found in the District of Port au Port.

Mr. Speaker, I referenced in my remarks, the work of the Port au Port Economic Development Association, and leading from that, if I might for a few minutes speak on the efforts of the rural development associations in this Province generally.

Some members of this House, certainly, some members opposite, would be well aware of my own involvement in the rural development movement over the years. I have been involved in community development for about twenty years, and sixteen or seventeen of those were with the rural development associations and my own development association in Port au Port. Also, I had the privilege for five years, to be President of the provincial body; and I must report to this House, and I can say with absolute certainty, that the work of the development associations in this Province, the true measure and worth of the development associations of this Province have not been realized, the many things that have been accomplished in rural Newfoundland.

Much of the infrastructure that now exists there undoubtedly would not have been there had it not been for the presence of these development associations. Hon. members should be aware, and we should never lose sight of as well - I hear many people putting forward the argument that right now in rural Newfoundland we have layers and layers of bureaucracy that have been created and put in place by so many government agencies, but we must never lose sight of the fact that development associations, right now, are the only agencies operating in rural Newfoundland that are directly a product of the people. They weren't an idea of government. These grew up spontaneously and anyone who has had a history of involvement with the rural development associations will know that the earliest history of these associations is linked quite closely with the efforts at resettlement. And basically this is the way that the people in rural Newfoundland stood up against those who wanted to once and for all rid itself of the problems of rural Newfoundland by completely resettling all these communities. Organizing themselves into these organizations, they took as their primary challenge back then, to try to stop the efforts to resettle rural Newfoundland and to try to work to ensure that there can be a future for people living in rural areas of the Province.

Mr. Speaker, we must never lose sight of that. That challenge is still there, but I think it is important for this House to recognize the tremendous work that has been done by these development associations, and I am sure they will continue to work extremely hard on behalf of the people of rural Newfoundland. Dealing with the crises that confront us now, which are not unlike those we have had to deal with over the years, certainly we will continue to battle on and I feel that in the final analysis, if we are to achieve success in rural Newfoundland, it is very important, albeit it may be a redefined role, that there must be an ongoing role for development associations in the rural areas of this Province.

Mr. Speaker and hon. members, we have heard much mentioned, as well, about education and the importance of education. As a person whose background is in the education system, having worked for twenty-seven years as an educator, I can speak, I think, with some authority from a very practical sense as to some of the difficulties that confront us with regard to delivery of education in this Province. I think we are hearing an awful lot of debate these days, both in this House and outside, with regard to the problems of the education system in this Province. Indeed, we have a Royal Commission report that has pointed out for us where these needs are and have given us a direction as to how we should proceed to address and to deal with these difficulties that have been identified.

Yesterday, in this House, we had some reference to an initial report or response from the churches as to working towards a revamp system of education, and very shortly, we will have tabled in this House an initial response from government with regard to how we feel we should proceed in this matter.

I think for the ordinary person out there who has children in the education system the bottom line is that parents want to be assured that the quality and calibre of education available to their children is second to none. They want to feel and believe that the education their children are receiving, whether they live in Lourdes on the Port au Port Peninsula, whether they live in Placentia, or whether they live here in St. John's, the calibre of education is such that they can feel competent and confident that the children graduating from this school system will be able to go out and compete with other young men and women of the same calibre anywhere from this country and, indeed, anywhere in this world. To do any less than this, Mr. Speaker, would on our part be a pure fallacy, and we would be negligent, because we cannot deny the reality that we live in a global economy and the graduates from our school system here in Newfoundland have to go out and compete with graduates from school systems throughout this world.

We have demonstrated in the past that we can certainly do it and I feel quite confident that once we have concluded deliberations and have made the changes and adjustments that will be required to our educational system, we will continue to build on that. I, for one, am completely confident that the graduates of our school systems here in Newfoundland will be able to stack up against those from any school in this country, any school or school system in this world.

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week we heard reference from hon. members in this House on at least one or two occasions, referring to the fact that what is all too prevalent in this Province, in particular, right now is that we seem to be very adept at putting people down. For years, working as a volunteer in this Province, and working with government agencies, all too often I saw instances where people came forward with genuine, sincere ideas and thoughts, only to be completely blown out of the water. I have seen this happen at the bureaucracy level within government and I have seen it happen at the local level. I have to concur with the hon. member opposite who was referencing it earlier this week, that this is something that must change. Somehow, we have to change that mind-set.

Somehow, we have to recognize and value the worth that other people have, the value of their ideas and their thoughts, and work together to try to build a better future. I am sure that wisdom is certainly not limited to myself or members on this side of the House or on the other side of the House, and I don't think anyone here would say that we cannot accept and receive advice from outside of this Chamber on different matters that will maybe, in the final analysis, put us on the right course.

Hon. members, Mr. Speaker, I think the important thing is that we recognize that this is the reality and that we recognize it is incumbent on us, as the people who have been elected by the good people of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, to represent them and to give them leadership, in this instance, to provide that leadership.

Also, I think in doing that, we must also assist our people in once again coming to the realization that government does not have all the answers - they must believe in themselves. A lot of this confidence has been lost and I think it has to be restored. However, as hon. members of this House, with all of the resources within this Province that are available to us that we can draw on, I am firmly convinced that working together there can be a future for Newfoundland and we can certainly make a difference. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WOODFORD: A sincere speech.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I agree with my colleague for Humber Valley, the speech was very sincere, with very enlightening comments, and I compliment the Member for Port au Port. I am quite sure it was very much intended for a very positive purpose.

Mr. Speaker, I read through the Throne Speech and I wish I could be as optimistic and as positive about some of the statements in the Throne Speech here and the government's record on their past performance as it pertains to what they are advocating in the Throne Speech.

I was very much annoyed by page 1: `The building blocks for a revitalized education system are being put in place, and our health care system is being restructured to make it more cost-effective and efficient in serving the needs of our people.'

A revitalized education system. We have had a continuous struggle with people in the education system, with the participants and with the stakeholders in the system, to deal with this government on a very co-operative and positive basis. There have been directives and demands, not consultation. This government promised last year that they would eliminate school tax - actually, back in 1989. They did get around to it last year and they promised to eliminate it on the grounds that they would provide equalization payments. The minister said here in the House that he wanted to see the elimination of school tax so that people in rural parts of this Province could have the same opportunities in education as people in urban parts of this Province.

Last year, they lived up to the first part of their bargain and eliminated school tax, and equalization payments were withdrawn. Eleven million dollars in the Budget was withdrawn. There were no funds given for equalization - zero funds for the first time since it was instituted back seven years ago.

On top of equalization, boards last year were hit with 1 per cent and 3 per cent cutbacks. In addition, they gouged millions of dollars they had collected in school tax and deducted that from grants and operation grants to school boards. With reference to tuition and education costs, in four years tuition costs have increased by 50 per cent, and this year alone doubled in certain instances. Certain costs are up 150 per cent in certain areas in the past four years.

Promises to give students in different parts of this Province equal access to a university education, and being able to attend in their own geographical areas, expanding Grenfell College, expanding campuses across the Province - none of these promises have been fulfilled.

The government is now attempting to put in place a health care system, to restructure it so that it is more cost-efficient and effective. Government has spent considerable time drawing lines and maps across the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It has drawn seventeen economic zones. It has drawn seven community health boards. It has drawn lines for hospital boards. It has drawn lines for school board. It has drawn electoral boundaries and -

AN HON. MEMBER: You have to draw the line somewhere.

MR. SULLIVAN: If you have to draw the line somewhere, you should draw it where it is going to have the best effect and most positive contribution to the people in the Province.

Talking about drawing electoral boundary lines in the Province, dealing with forty, after thirty-one meetings, on the thirty-second meeting out of forty meetings being held by the electoral boundaries commission, this government, the minister, made a presentation indicating that a more suitable number would be forty-four to forty-six. After thirty-two meetings, and a budget of almost a quarter-of-a-million dollars of taxpayers money, to set a new direction and a new number.

Legislation was introduced in this House, and supported and voted on, and endorsed by all government members, and to come back when the mandate of the commission is almost complete, and say: We are going to give you a new mandate now. We are going to increase the time and set the taxpayers back another $50,000 or $60,000 or $70,000 by changing the ground rules in midstream.

It is very inappropriate for a minister in Cabinet to come out with a directive to an independent electoral boundaries commission when they were set a mandate here by the House of Assembly. It is the House of Assembly that they report to, and the Cabinet changed the rules outside the House of Assembly.

Health care - the Dobbin Report was released back in February of 1993 to deal with a restructuring and addressing the need to deal with health care in this Province. I agree with the need to address and utilize any possible inefficiencies and turn them into efficiencies in the system, but I was very dismayed when I read the Dobbin Report and it does not address how efficiency is going to be achieved in administration anywhere in this Province. It does not address how we are going to improve the level of health care service in this Province. They are not addressed in this report.

What has been done, they have sat down and drawn up lines where it is most suitable, geographically, to draw them, and if that works well, fine; we will all benefit. If it does not work well, we will not benefit; but we have not received one specific reason or rationale for doing what is recommended in this report. That is completely lacking. If you are going to reorganize a business, reorganize government departments, reorganize hospitals in this Province, it is important to do it on a rational, cost-effective and improved service basis, and that has not been done in this report.

Now if the government has a report that shows how it is going to be done more efficiently, they should table it in the House and they should make it public, so we hope the best decisions are going to be made for the benefit of people all over this Province.

It is incumbent upon government, upon the Minister of Health, to ensure that there is a rationale, region by region, in this Province, to show why so many hospitals or so many nursing homes, or so many homes for the elderly should be there. It has not been released. If it is there I would very much like to see it. I may very well agree with it if I could see it, but it is not there and there is no rationalization in the Dobbin Report, and they are basing the recommendations on a Dobbin Report that does not have the factual information to back up the recommendations.

All over this Province we are in a crisis in health care, if not in this country, and probably in the world, and where we have a crisis it is important to address it in a very efficient manner. Every day you can pick up a newspaper and I have almost voluminous reports of newspaper clippings that addresses health care in almost every single region of this Province. The General Hospital for example has cut back $2 million, seventy beds are closing. There are twenty-five less positions there just over the first half of this year alone. The Central Newfoundland for example had to cut back $1 million, twenty beds and nursing units closed. We have extended summer and Christmas breaks for another nursing bed unit. In Harbour Breton they are limited, they cannot increase it beyond fourteen. We look at Western Memorial Hospital, they had cutbacks of $1.2 million. They cut back the day service to the hospital there. People could come in and avail of a specific service without being hospitalized, one of the cheapest and most efficient types of service. St. Clare's Mercy Hospital; budget restraints of $1 million, twenty beds closed, nine in general surgery, eight in psychiatry, three in orthopaedic's closed down at St. Clare's Mercy Hospital here in St. John's. All parts of the reorganized most effective and efficient type of health care system that they are going to produce.

We have, I guess to top it off, in Forteau a million dollar facility built in the fall of 1992. A facility built in the fall of 1992 that they could not open. They spent a million dollars to put it there and cannot open it because they were given $100,000 to operate it when it needs $250,000 to operate - $150,000 more dollars would have permitted to operate the facility. So it lies idle, just sitting there for the past year. The minister said, the Minister of Health, here is what he said about the facility in Forteau, that they spent $1 million to put it there and did not give them a budget to be able to operate it, so it stays closed. He said: they will have to watch their budget up there. I guess they will be able to open it fairly late in the calendar year. That is what we have in mind. They build it in 1992 and they have it in their minds to open it in the fall of 1993. He said it is the same thing we have in mind for other long-term care facilities, build them a year or two before you are going to use them. That is very efficient expenditure of public money - and other facilities around just dilapidated and needing repairs. That is not very constructive planning and organization. In fact, he said that if everything goes as planned we should be able to get it opened this fall but you never know what is going to happen those days. You never can tell about anything he said. So these are very positive, very enlightening comments for the people in Forteau who are sitting and looking at a facility there for the past year.

We are seeing facilities built in this Province with no furnishings. They could not put furnishings in it - they were given $100,000 and they needed $250,000. That also stands out - other facilities in this Province too and this is very serious business. We have facilities that were built in this Province under a tender that was given to the highest bidder, that incurred extreme capital costs, millions above the lower bidder, in Port Saunders, Burgeo and St. Lawrence. There are millions of dollars that could have been saved in the capital cost of these buildings which could have been used by the people in Port Saunders. There is an $8 million building in Port Saunders today, ready since June, that they cannot open and operate the twenty long-term care beds because they have no operational money. It is here in print, the minister backs up all of these with quotes - definitely true, guaranteed true. It is there in the ministers own statement. It has been ready since June, the minister will confirm it. It has been ready since June and they cannot operate it because they do not have the funding. It said they have a few beds being used there in the acute care. They have twenty long-term beds that cannot be used. It has no money. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, I got that from the minister's press release. I would assume that it is probably as accurate as the previous ones.

AN HON. MEMBER: It has been opened since June you said.

MR. SULLIVAN: It said it is ready since June but there is no money to open it.

We have St. Lawrence - down in St. Lawrence we have forty beds -that's the new facilities that we are building in St. Lawrence, Burgeo and Port Saunders where the highest bidder received the bids - I have about 200 articles from newspapers, I will table all of these -

AN HON. MEMBER: Table the statements.


AN HON. MEMBER: Table the press release.

MR. SULLIVAN: Table this press release? Sure, I will do that after, I will get copies of the release. In St. Lawrence, there are forty beds, there are twenty-two beds in Burgeo, three areas where millions of dollars, $3 million extra to higher bidders I believe, when they could have used only $150,000 and would have enabled the people in Forteau to operate the hospital, would have enabled the people in St. Lawrence to utilize forty beds, the twenty-two beds in Burgeo and would have been able to utilize in Port Saunders the twenty long-term care beds that people are waiting for in that area, that they cannot utilize. I think that is a travesty and an insult to the people there to give them the expectation of putting a facility there and have to look at the facility as really a symbol or a monument to our health care system that has been ignored and money is not being put for the operation of these buildings.

Just recently the minister went out - that is in a press release too - and turned the sod at a $6-million Placentia Cottage Hospital and I hope for the people in Placentia that that will not be another $6-million facility like all the other recent ones that have been built on capital expenditure and sit there and you cannot utilize them. If you are going to build six or eight hospitals and not use them, why not build three and use them, or build four; do not reach beyond your grasp. That is not very progressive planning and very efficient use of public money.

There are also preliminary plans now for a 40-bed interfaith home in St. Anthony; another preliminary plan when all over the Province, in every region, there are hospitals they cannot open and beds they cannot use. It is a disgrace and an insult really to the people in these areas. We have seen reductions of staff in every single hospital in areas across this Province; we have seen tremendous reductions. We have seen clinics cut back or closed; we have seen cottage hospitals reduced to clinic status; we have seen examples in Grand Bank where a woman had to wait for extended periods of time to be able to be transported to Burin and unfortunately she died in the process.

We have seen waiting lists for surgery, on heart surgery that has gone to unacceptable proportions. We have seen the situation in this Province rise to levels whereby every surgery done now is almost emergency surgery. We have waiting lists of 115 people for heart surgery; we have seen doctors performing heart surgeries under more demanding situations because every case is critical; we have seen the staff at these hospitals under greater stress; we have seen the whole system being subjected to intense stress and more stress upon the individual and a greater threat to that person's life because when he gets around to having heart surgery, he is so critical they have to perform the operation today or tomorrow or that person may not be alive next week. That is a sad situation, when, what the government should be doing, and what they should have been doing one year ago when the October crisis arose and government finally admitted it and put in emergency funding of $636,500, the waiting list went down to fifty to sixty and that is important when you have a waiting list of fifty to sixty you are getting cases that are not extreme emergencies at least, some cases are not, but by getting a list up to 115 you are dealing with immediate emergency cases.

There is less pressure, there is less staff requirements for convalescing for a patient who is not an emergency but a routine heart surgery bypass operation. The recovery time is shorter, the hospital stay is shorter and you can put more people through a medical system when you perform the operations when it is not in an emergency situation. They have to wake up and realize that it is difficult to put a dollar value on a human life. There are people out on the waiting list who are being told that six or eight, three weeks, but three weeks come and it is four because emergency cases go in and they are dealt with; every week they assess the cases and they are pushed back and it takes two weeks to become number twelve, and probably another three weeks to become number ten and probably never get to number two or one, unless you have a heart attack or there is some other complication which arises and they have to do something about it and those are the realities of what is happening in our health care system today.

We've seen in other specialities - and that's not just in heart surgery - we've seen other specialities where doctors have stopped taking waiting lists months in advance because the waiting lists are so unmanageable they can't even accommodate waiting lists any more. We are seeing other non-life threatening areas becoming very severe because of a long wait to see a specialist. It has gone to very severe proportions by the time an appointment is given with a specialist.

We're seeing all this happening, all this is happening today, when the demands for hospital beds and for health care are increasing today in our society. They are increasing in our society and our systems, efficient, and well-planned use of our resources to cope with that, have created a crisis situation. We have adopted a crisis by management response to what is happening in the Province.

Would you start a business and build your facility two years before you're going to use it, or one year, and carry the interest charges for two years? It would be very poor management and you wouldn't be in business very long. That's what this government is doing with health care facilities construction in this Province. They are cutting them off from operational funds and putting structures there to say: we've put the facilities out there. How do you raise public money for health care.

This is happening when the Liberal health policy states, and I quote it: Liberal health policy dictates that as long as demand exists hospital beds must be kept open, institutions must not be understaffed, and compassion must always take precedence over business administration. We've seen more hospital beds closed in this Province in the past few years than in all the previous history of this Province. We've seen, during periods of our growth, an increase in hospital beds. We were promised more beds back in 1989 and we were promised improved access to health care facilities.

The statement, the Liberal health policy, goes on to say: If we cannot adequately care for the sick, the disabled and the aged among us, we have failed as a society and we can take cold comfort in cutting costs and improving balance sheets. A Liberal government will recognize the problems which have been created and will alleviate them. Alleviate them, they have compounded it!

It says: Financial priority must be given to health care along with education. Professional personnel must receive the support necessary to encourage them to stay in this Province and improve our quality of care, and for Liberals people come before projects.

Well, we have monuments of projects out there standing now, not staffed, with no funds to operate, and people are not coming before projects. Projects are coming before people. That's a very sad commentary today, when everybody values immensely health today and people are more conscious about health care today than ever before in our lives.

That's the same Premier who stated on September 3, when asked about Quebec looking at user fees, he said: they may in the end prove to be right. Wells said. If they are, I believe we will all have to resort to user fees in order to protect the health care system from being overwhelmed by burgeoning costs. I say, if that's the last resort, then he should look at. It's not the last resort. We are not efficiently managing the dollars that are in the health care system today. Clean up our own act first and do something about it, and then address other areas that need to be addressed.

We have looked at - today, in the health care field, we are moving in the direction of a community based health for our people. The most effective types of organizations are those which are linked to the grass roots, and people can have a say in the direction that they're going. I had the privilege to chair a very innovative project in primary health care that was conducted in Ferryland District, and a similar one in Denmark. The last year it was filled by someone else when I resigned to enter the political arena. I had an opportunity to witness first-hand, with the endorsement from this government and from the federal government, and the World Health organization, the opportunity to see people in communities get together with all the organizations and sit on a community health care board that was looking at what is best for the people. To improve the lifestyles and the health of individuals, increases in physical activities occurred, walks by seniors, more clinics for people, lifestyle clinics. We saw a tremendous change in attitudes by people.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I couldn't go, I had to work. I couldn't get any days off, the Department of Education wouldn't give me leave. I could have gone but the minister was not very generous to me at all. I would like to have participated.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. SULLIVAN: I am not sure who it was. Anyway, overall the project showed something. I have great fears with the community boards. I cautioned the minister and I said to him when it was debated in the estimates. I showed up and passed on some concerns. I have great fears that this community health board that has been just instituted in the St. John's region and covers from St. Shotts, the Trepassey area, and right in here around the greater metro St. John's area, that it may neglect to look at the direction that community health care boards should be going in the future, utilizing the people in each community. We have large boards now that are covering, in this area, probably 150,000 people.

The chances for communities to become pro-active in smaller boards that are operating at no cost to government, volunteer people giving of their time, sitting down with health care professionals and discussing what is best for the people themselves, setting up clinics in the area, setting up promotionals in the area, to show how people can better take care of their own health. I think we could lose this very much with a high degree of institutionalization and very large and expanded boards. We have to be moving today where health care is going to be brought down deeper into the community level and not brought up at a higher institutional level. There are two reasons why, number one, the people should have a say in the future and the health opportunities that are there, and, number two, it is very cost efficient because it is done by volunteers and it is not costing the taxpayers of this Province any money. I have great fears here and I am not very convinced that is the direction it is moving.

Overall, here in the Throne Speech there are numerous areas that are very disturbing. It says: significant reforms to preserve and strengthen parliamentary democracy in this Province and to assure that government is held accountable in this House for the proper discharge of its duties that have already been implemented. Well, I have not seen parliamentary democracy in the short while I have been here. Maybe it existed beforehand, I do not know, or maybe it is going to come in the future. I have seen, in this House, bullying tactics. I have seen people and government not accepting court decisions. I have seen the Auditor General report to the House of Assembly and the courts supporting it. You brought in the Memorial University Act that changed it so it does not have to report to this House. Is that parliamentary democracy? That is a regressive step in democracy in this Province, and I say it is time the government woke up and let the people have a say.

All across this Province, hospital boards, school boards - universities in Ontario and other places in this country are accountable to the elected representatives in their respective Houses in their province but we are exempt here - academic freedom. Is the University of Toronto exempt from academic freedom, Western University, and all other universities across Canada? No, they are accountable to the people of the Province that fund these universities and fund the health care and educational institutions of the province, and it should be accountable here to the House of Assembly and not report directly to the Department of Education. It is not right and it should not be done. If that is parliamentary democracy you are talking about, I call it dictatorship and we are going in the wrong direction.

We have seen the court's rule on a mine in Hope Brook that took government to task for administration on retail sales tax and the courts upheld the ruling of the mine, that they were due a refund and they should not have been paying tax on this specific piece of equipment, so what did the government do? Oh, that is one decision the courts made. The court is only right when it agrees with the government. It brought in amendments to the Tax Administration Act and they changed them, made them retroactive for twenty years, that they could not get back their several hundred thousand dollars. I think the company went anyway so it was all academic by that time, but the principle at stake is not accepting the court's ruling. When it only applies and agrees with us will we accept it, and if it does not we will go out and change it. That is not parliamentary democracy at all. I think that is insulting and downgrading. We have seen parliamentary democracy at its finest. We have seen this government negotiate collective agreements and sign them with the respective unions, and then we see them come back with Bills 16 and 17 and tear up collective agreements. That is not parliamentary democracy. It's not worth the paper the Throne Speech is written on to be talking about improving parliamentary democracy, our health care system and our education system. Where are we in our education system? We're back in the early 1900s now, that's where we are with the latest proposal, and we're probably going to go back into the 1800s. We're going in the wrong direction with improving and changing in education.

We have arrived at that stage not because it was the intention of the major stakeholders to do that, but because this government had failed to deal up front and build up a trust and respect with the interested people and the stakeholders in that. They've gone into a protectionist position now and have backtracked because they don't trust what government is doing. They have great fears: We are going to hang on and we're going to protect what rights we had given to us in 1949 and we're not going to bend from it. That seems to be where we're to today. That is really a very sad commentary for the future of education.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Tell the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs to get a new tank for Ramea for their truck.

MR. SULLIVAN: Oh yes. I hear there were problems there.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes. He was going on about how concerned he was (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: How concerned he was. No wonder he was concerned. I heard there were inspections done around that time. I'm not sure. I heard a rumour on the street that something wasn't working, only 70 per cent efficient, equipment. Is that correct?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Okay. So that's fairly accurate. The Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs stood up today in response to a question, he said -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No he didn't, not today.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, today, to the Member for Bonavista South.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who, me?

MR. SULLIVAN: No, sorry, the Minister of Social Services. Pardon me. Sorry. He said he's not surprised, increase in social services. The Budget showed $15 million less budgeted than they spent last year, going to spend $15 million less. Here it's gone up an enormous amount higher. I would be the most surprised one there if I was told that it's $16 million out of whack and you budgeted to spend $15 million less. At $30 million on $170 million out, that would be - I would be the most surprised person here.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: By leave.

It is such a good speech.

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


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you very much. I will just be very brief. I won't abuse the privilege you've given me.

Overall I feel we have numerous inefficiencies. There are numerous other items in the Throne Speech I would have loved to get an opportunity to comment on, but I would say mostly concerned - my responsibility with health care. I ask the Minister of Health to seriously look at developing a plan for the future. Not an immediate response or a crisis management, a plan to look at the cost effectiveness from a capital and from an operational point of view, and to ensure that the dollars we have at our disposal are used properly, number one, and number two, any savings that do occur might be in the administration of certain boards around the Province - especially St. John's where there are many boards, it would be reasonable to think there could be savings in administration there - that it gets directed back to reduce waiting lists, to enable hospital beds to stay open, to open up facilities across the Province that are now closed, multi-million dollar buildings. In the tens of millions of dollars they're out there now. Get these operational. Give the people a service there. Don't gouge the dollars out of health care and spend it somewhere else. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. YOUNG: Mr. Speaker, as the Member for the District of Terra Nova I would like to take this opportunity to first of all say how pleased I am to be back in the hon. House of Assembly. It's good to listen to and participate in some great debates. No doubt some of these debates will be more serious than others, but I'm sure there's certainly a need for comic relief on certain occasions.

Since the House adjourned five months ago we on this side of the House have much to celebrate. In October the great Liberal tide swept across Newfoundland. It commenced here, swept across Canada, swept the Tories out of power, and nearly swept them out of existence. However, I must admit that I do feel a sense of sadness for some of the great members of the PC Party who did work for the good of this country. There were a few.

Unfortunately, that Party was led by a man who was hell-bent and determined on leading us down the garden path and into self-destruction, and he certainly proved that when, in the very few days left in his reign, he went across the world on a good-bye mission, at a cost of nearly half a million dollars.

AN HON. MEMBER: It was worth it.

MS. YOUNG: Worth it? Just think of how many poor families could have been fed on half a million dollars in this country.

AN HON. MEMBER: And then they get up and talk about unemployment.

MS. YOUNG: Yes, indeed; you get up there and talk about unemployment. That money could have gone into creating jobs - jobs that people could have benefitted from.

That is just one example. Meanwhile, the many studies on violence against women continue. That issue was studied to death. There were very few dollars put into addressing that problem. Studies are necessary, but studying something to death proves nothing. Meanwhile, family violence continues, and children continue to live in fear, and they carry that burden on their shoulders. They carry that into the classroom with them. They carry it into their play, and into their interaction with their peers and their playmates.

Add to that violence they are exposed to through the media. How can these children expect to grow into caring adults? It is beyond me to understand how that will ever happen, and children are the people who will suffer most from the state of affairs that we were thrust into when the federal Liberals inflicted a deficit upon us, and that will affect programs that our government wishes to implement in this Province, and indeed across the country.

The Bloc leader tried in vain to get an answer from the PC leader just how much the deficit actually was, but she was not talking, and now we know why. She, too, added to that deficit. She carried out an excellent campaign, even before the election was called, but she did not fool Canadians. We saw what happened.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS. YOUNG: That is right.

Even with the deficit, I am pleased that we now have a leader and a government in Ottawa which cares about the people - all people - not just the business community.

Had the federal dollars been managed by responsible people at the federal level after the last recession, we would have money in reserve to help us through this recession, but oh, no, it was spend, spend, spend.

People became too reliant on government, and I must say that it is now refreshing to see communities drawing their resources and people together to improve their lives. Baie Verte is an example of such an initiative.

In my own district we were faced with the problem of repairing a community wharf. We had a few dollars for labour, but there were no dollars to buy materials. The development association held a community meeting, and people had to decide whether or not to spend a few dollars to remove the wharf, because the few dollars was not enough to repair it. I am pleased to say that the residents of the small community of Brooklyn agreed to provide the materials to repair the wharf. Even though it wasn't a major project, it was another success story. In a time when dollars are scarce, we must be creative.

In this Province we also saw waste and mismanagement at the hands of the PC government. One hon. member from across the floor said: We should not reflect on the past. And with their past, I can see his reluctance to have it reflected upon.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TULK: Right on! That was the Opposition House Leader.


However, I feel that in order to move forward into the future we must understand our past. I remember the Sprung fiasco. I remember that one well because there was a huge sum of money that went into that project, and government officials nearly gagged when they had to defend it.

I, along with a few others, felt that there was a need to confront government, and we did. At least thirty-two questions were raised at a public forum at that time, and only several questions were answered by the minister. We felt that our traditional agricultural industry could have benefitted from these big bucks. We were waved aside by the government of the day. However, I still maintain that these dollars should have been used to stimulate growth in the family farm operations.

MR. TULK: What government was that?

MS. YOUNG: Oh, that was a Tory.

MR. TULK: Which one? Peckford's?

MS. YOUNG: Peckford's, yes. Also, to commence secondary processing.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS. YOUNG: We'll get to that. Jobs could have been created and no doubt we could have even exported some of our products. Yes indeed, we must look to the past to see our failures and successes and learn from them.

Agriculture has great potential because people have to eat and Newfoundland produce is second to none. Our cooler climate actually enhance the flavour of our vegetables, and I must point out that we are nowhere near to self-sufficiency in that area. If the GATT negotiations lead to the eradication of supply management, we will see who the survivors are. I am in favour of supply management if all farmers are placed on a level playing field. I know too well that was not the case in the Newfoundland dairy industry, thanks to the illustrious Milk Marketing Board. There are other commodities that can and should expand, such as sheep production, turkeys, greenhouses - and by that I mean family-owned greenhouse operations and not the mega-white elephants.

We have moved into an age of technology. Farmers must continue to keep pace with the rest of the world in the advances of new technology in the farming industry. Farmers must be good managers and they must be competitive, but also government must be good managers as well.

In this Province we are fortunate to have a government that cares about the rural areas of our Province and therefore Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador has been created. These offices extend beyond the city limits of St. John's. We have access to these agencies in our rural areas. They work closely with our rural development associations. They lend expertise which in other circumstances would be otherwise inaccessible to the people of rural Newfoundland. Since being elected I've had the opportunity to learn more about the Economic Recovery Commission and I am pleased with what I have learned. Again, expertise and assistance are available to all Newfoundlanders through that Commission.

In the District of Terra Nova we are working towards stimulating the economy through tourism. The tourism association on the Eastport Peninsula is an industry driven association. I am excited about that move. We had the first ever cruise ship dock in Terra Nova National Park and the passengers were pleased with the tours organized for them. In Cannings Cove the residents, with a mere $2,400 from the Emergency Response Program, are developing a lookout. Every meeting I attend, the development of the tourism industry is the prime concern of the people. They see the potential. We are at the gateway of the Bonavista Peninsula and we are preparing for the year 1997.

Festivals in my district are alive and well, and thanks to our Department of Tourism they are being supported. This is a beautiful District and we surround the ocean, and can certainly develop our tourism industry around that theme. We can capitalize on the Terra Nova National Park and we are indeed doing that. It is just a matter of getting our act together, and I plan to be part of that act all the way.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. YOUNG: I am delighted the hon. Minister of Employment and Labour Relations allocated dollars for my district under the Emergency Response Program.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS. YOUNG: I cannot comment on that one - and a number of excellent projects have been the beneficiaries of these dollars.

People are excited to be working on the salmon enhancement programme in the Terra Nova area, and this will also be a boost to the tourism industry.

The hon. Minister of Forestry and Agriculture approved three projects under the Emergency Response Program, and this provided much needed employment. Under these projects we can be certain of a viable future for the forestry industry.

We have a number of aquaculture projects in the district and I am pleased with the prospects of a bright future in that direction.

I am also pleased that there has been a great interest in creating new business, and I would encourage anybody who has an idea to come forward and let's explore it. Believe you me, there are lots of ideas, and some of these ideas will blossom into successful business ventures. We will work together to prove this.

I have three development associations in the district, and I have made myself accessible to them, and they are taking advantage of that accessibility. If these associations are to survive they will need support from people like myself, and I am committed to working with them.

In the field of education, I can say that I was really excited when my former principal called me and asked me if I would read the speeches that her Grade VI students had written. They were leadership speeches -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I wonder if the hon. member could take her seat for just one minute, please.

MS. YOUNG: Sure.

MR. SPEAKER: I just want to bring to hon. members' attention that today is Thursday; it is four o'clock, and normally we would have questions for the Late Show presented to the House at this time; however, there are no questions for the Late Show this afternoon, and at 4:30 we will not be putting the adjournment motion; we will continue on with the debate.

The hon. the Member for Terra Nova.

MS. YOUNG: Well, I hope I don't have to provide the Late Show.

As I was saying, I was called upon by my former principal to read the leadership speeches that her students had written in the Grade VI class, and they were all striving to become the Premier of the classroom. When I read these speeches I was very impressed. It is surprising how much these young people actually know about what is happening in our Province, and that is one of the positive things that I can attribute to the media.

Through this exercise these young people learned about democracy, a lot more than they would ever learn through a text book. This is the sort of initiative that I am pleased that teachers bring into the classrooms.

Our educational system will go through changes as we strive to keep pace with the changing world, and our government is committed to the future, and I know that there are many dedicated teachers who look forward to these changes and will ensure that our youth reach their full potential.

The forestry industry has been undergoing changes to ensure that the industry is maintained for future generations and this has been an industry which contributed greatly to the District of Terra Nova. There are a number of constituents who were affected by the Northern Cod Moratorium but they are hopeful that they will once again be involved in a northern cod fishery. The many town councils and local service districts in the District of Terra Nova have been in touch with me, and thanks to the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, we have made great strides in a few short months. As well, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation took a tour through the District of Terra Nova with me last summer. I am sure that he is very well aware of the problems that are surfacing in our district and he is prepared to work with me in that direction.

AN HON. MEMBER: Most definitely, are you a Liberal?

MS. YOUNG: I think so.

In my district there are six homes which offer service to the seniors of our area. I have personally visited each of these facilities and it is wonderful to see our seniors are being adequately cared for in pleasant surroundings.

The economy is a concern of each and every one of us but we do have the ability to survive in this Province. I look forward to working with my colleagues and we will try to ensure that our Province and our country continues to be a wonderful place to live and raise our families. The responsibility that we as politicians have taken upon ourselves is a serious responsibility and I am sure each and every one of us will work together and we will share that responsibility both provincially and federally. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak in the debate, the Address in Reply, Mr. Speaker. The opportunity to speak after five months of the House being closed. I just want to say a few brief comments about some of the things that have occurred in my district.

I would like to first of all talk about the Emergency Employment Programme and the inadequacy of the amount of funding that was allocated to the particular districts that I represent in Menihek. The people of Menihek have made a tremendous contribution over the last thirty-five years to the general economy of this Province and when in their time of need, such as now, when the mines are going through a slowdown in employment levels, Mr. Speaker, and to see the response that was given by this particular administration is disgraceful. A $50,000 allotment emergency employment funding was completely inadequate. It certainly did not represent any equality of fairness, Mr. Speaker, in the sense of what the high unemployment levels are in Western Labrador. It certainly did not represent any fairness in the sense of recognition of the contribution that these people have made to the general economy of this Province and -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) people blame it on the member.

MR. A. SNOW: Well that is quite possible and that may have occurred in your case but in this particular case they are blaming the government of the day. Now maybe in your district they blame the member for -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Well, Mr. Speaker, on May 3 people sent a message to this House that -

MR. ROBERTS: The member himself told me that if there had been another week in the campaign he would have been history.

MR. A. SNOW: Well, Mr. Speaker, there was not another week in the campaign and if there had been two weeks left in the campaign, the hon. Member for Naskaupi may have been history.

MR. ROBERTS: I would have doubled the majority I got which was increased over the by-election.

MR. A. SNOW: Well, Mr. Speaker -

MR. WOODFORD: It is still history. It is still history.

MR. A. SNOW: But the people have spoken and -

MR. ROBERTS: Notwithstanding the hon. members pledge to get Bill Rompkey - Bill got the highest majority ever.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member for Naskaupi made reference to a comment that I allegedly made about getting Bill Rompkey. There was never any such remark made by me.

MR. ROBERTS: Of course, there was.

MR. A. SNOW: There was not. There never was.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: No, there never was any remark made by me with regard to getting Bill Rompkey or anybody else. I did go out and campaign for the person who was representing the Progressive Conservative Party and I campaigned with that individual, helped organize his campaign -

MR. ROBERTS: That is why he did so badly.

MR. A. SNOW: Well maybe, maybe that is one of the reasons why we lost but we did lose, there was no getting anybody. I did not enter politics to get anybody and I have not participated in politics to get anybody, I merely represent people, and I think if more of us did that type of thing, this would be a lot better place to represent people and do the job we were elected to do.

The people in my district are very concerned about an issue today that over the last couple of weeks has become very topical, as are people throughout this Province, and that is about the so called sale or merger or whatever is occurring with the Crown corporation, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. They are concerned for several reasons as are the people in the Province, and I would like to, first of all, thank and congratulate the people who are organizing in a non-partisan way, to create more debate and to be more objective about the sale or the merger of the Crown corporation, and I want to thank the people, Cyril Abery, Bill Vetters, Susan Dyer and Steve Neary for organizing these public meetings to be held around the Province, the Power of the People Organization, is a very important organization at this particular time in the history of this Province. It is very important.

I only wish that public discussion had taken place during the debate or the lack of debate, at that time when the Upper Churchill was developed. If public discussion had taken place then to what is taking place today, we never would have had the problem that has developed over the last numbers of years with the Churchill Falls development project, because there is nothing wrong with public debate. The problem that occurred with the Lower Churchill, I have often said, was that the deal was done, signed, sealed and delivered on a make work program idea. A concept of let us create some employment now because we have finished the construction of the Trans-Labrador Highway, let us get on to building something new, let us just earth move, there are no mines to open now so what we will do is just build this, because basically a hydro development is an earth-moving project, similar to mining or road building, because that is what is mainly done in a hydro development project, in the actual construction. So if there had been a public discussion surrounding the development of the Churchill Falls Hydro project, and that particular day I believe that it would have been done under a different concept. They would have undoubtedly used a different concept. I would have hoped they would have used the concept that was used with the development of Hydro-Quebec.

In Hydro-Quebec, the concept of hydro development was done in concert and to use as a lever for economic development in the province, to attract industry to the province; that is what they did in Hydro-Quebec. For the last thirty years they have been attracting industry and over the last ten years they have been attracting the aluminum industry and there are thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs created in Quebec today because of that tool, the use of that Crown corporation, it has a public policy function for that province.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if we had used our Crown corporation in that fashion, I think it would have been beneficial economically and socially for this Province as was the Crown corporation in Quebec a benefit to their development. So I want to thank again, and place it on record that I sincerely thank these people who are creating the public debate, these non-partisan individuals who came forward. I remember back when the Upper Churchill deal was talked about, you had to whisper if you were against it and these people have had to undergo personal attacks even by the Premier of this Province. They have had to withstand personal attacks on their integrity because they happen to have a different opinion. Well, I commend them for standing up to it, pushing ahead, and creating more public discussion about this very important subject, the sale or merger, or giving away, of this tremendous resource that we now control within this Province, Mr. Speaker.

The Premier, in his speech to the St. John's Board of Trade, talked about the merits of the private sector. He leaves you with the idea that the private sector has the answer to a lot of the problems. Undoubtedly, I would agree that it can answer some of the problems that face the general economy in this whole country and just not in this Province. In fact, it should be, and can be, the engine of recovery for this country and the Province. Mr. Speaker, what we have to be cognizant of is that there also is a role for a Crown corporation to play in our economy.

This government's policy, and the Premiers, government wants to avoid providing services where they can be provided by the private sector so he uses this as a basis of selling the Crown corporation, Newfoundland Hydro. Because the private sector can do it he is going to sell it to the private sector. He is going to sell this company that the people of this Province have developed over the last number of years. I disagree with it, the people in my district disagree with it, or at least the people I have spoken with. People have stopped me in the street, stopped me in the mall, and stopped me at the airport, to discuss this particular matter. I have had several hundred people say to me: something smells here, Alec. What is happening does not seem right. I have only had one individual say to me that it should be sold. Only one individual, Mr. Speaker, suggested to me that it should be sold.

Mr. Speaker, I say I disagree with the sale or the merger of this particular Crown corporation, Newfoundland Hydro, because I do not see where it is a benefit to the people of this Province.

MR. REID: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, if the hon. Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs will allow me to speak I will explain it, then after he will be permitted to speak and he can rebut what I am saying.

I believe that the Crown corporation has a place and it should be kept as it is. Yes, we can do things with it. We can use it as a tool for development, as is done in other provinces, Mr. Speaker, because while the private sector can be the engine of recovery we have to remember that what drives the private sector is profit. Profit drives the private sector. It is not an obscene word either. We had the Minister of Justice talk today about what profit does. It is not a dirty word. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It is what drives the private sector, but competition is the discipline. In this particular case there will be no competition. It will be driven by profit. You say you are going to protect the people by the Public Utilities Board. I do not think it will be protected. I do not believe that the Public Utilities Board can protect the people in this case. I have not seen the proposed legislation on how they are going to do it so the profit will be the purpose of this new private company, NewCo, we will call it, this NewCo, Mr. Speaker. I did not put the name on it. The Minister of Justice put the name NewCo on it, Mr. Speaker. Anyway we will call it NewCo now. NewCo, Mr. Speaker, I do not believe will have the people's interest at heart. I honestly believe they will not. When I say the people I mean the people of this Province, the people who consume the product that this NewCo will be selling, electricity.

They will not be concerned about the consumer in a sense of just - not of his welfare, or of how they can develop the industries in this Province; they will be concerned about how much profit they can derive from their investment. Mr. Speaker, that is the way the present legislation is written, by the way.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Now, Mr. Speaker, some people, such as the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, just mentioned about there only being a $10 million receipt of cash, or payment that is paid, from Newfoundland Hydro to the government. They receive $10 million from Newfoundland Hydro as a fee, and this is what they get back on this so-called $1 billion guaranteed debt, and it is not a good return. What they fail to see - what they fail to recognize - is that the people of this Province receive a return.

The Premier mentioned yesterday that the problem with Newfoundland Hydro in the present setup is that Newfoundland Hydro has a billion dollar debt that is guaranteed by the government, and the government only gets a $10 million receipt of cash. What he fails to see is that the people of the Province receive a benefit.

MR. WOODFORD: What would your light bills be?

MR. A. SNOW: Now what will the light bills be when NewCo has to go out and earn a return on their investment? The Premier suggests that it is probably only going to be increased by 1 per cent per year in the next five or ten years. Then he says it might go down after that. Well, Mr. Speaker, if he feels so strongly about that, before this sale goes through, what he should do is make that legislation that it should only increase by 1 per cent per year and then go down. Put it in legislation if he thinks it. Do not attempt to deceive the people of this Province. Do not attempt to do it that way, by suggesting that over five years it is only going to go up by 1 per cent per year. Put it in legislation that it will not go up, because it will be part of the agreement of purchase, or the agreement of sale. That can be done by this House, so let's not toss out these little flowers, if you will, these little tidbits, these promises of just a very small increase.

Mr. Speaker, the jobs that could be lost in this particular sale are important. The Premier himself has admitted: (1) The cost of energy will go up to the consumer. He has also admitted that there are going to be job losses. The Premier has admitted that.

MR. GRIMES: What do you think, it is going to go down next year? What do you expect to happen to the cost of energy next year? Is it going to be up or down? Answer the question, now.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker -

MR. GRIMES: What is going to happen to the price of electricity next year, even if nothing happens here?

MR. A. SNOW: I do not know, Mr. Speaker, what the price of energy will be next year, and I only wish that I did - that I could have the knowledge to know what the price of energy will be next year - because I can tell you one thing, I would know what I would be doing, and I know what you would be doing if you knew.

The Premier suggests - I am only saying what your leader said. I am only saying what the Premier said. The Premier has suggested that for the next five years the price to the consumer will only go up 1 per cent per year. Now that is what he said.

AN HON. MEMBER: No he didn't.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, that is what he said.

MR. GRIMES: That is not what he said.

MR. A. SNOW: Aha, now see; we play with words, right? Now the master himself with the words has suggested that as a result of this particular sale it will only go up 1 per cent per year. Well what do you think most of the people of the Province think? Aha - so he plays with the words again. It is a little play on words. You have to read the fine print when you are talking to this government, or when you are listening to this government, or you are going to sign a deal with this government. You have to read the fine print, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the people of this Province, because of the interest, the public debate that is occurring around the Province - not just in the Cabinet room or the yacht club - there is a public debate occurring now, there is a public debate occurring. Now, Mr. Speaker, because of that public debate people are becoming more aware, they are becoming more knowledgeable about the sharpness, the cuteness, the being tricky by a half, about how what you see is not what you get, Mr. Speaker, and what they say is not what they deliver because they are tricky by a half -


MR. A. SNOW: Tricky by a half is a common Newfoundland expression and it can go very, very well to describe this particular government when they describe what they are doing with this particular sale, merger, rip-off or whatever you want to call it, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Well I still have a social conscience. I still have a social conscience, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is in the Throne Speech to now, social conscience.

MR. A. SNOW: Now, Mr. Speaker, there are other reasons why we -

MR. SULLIVAN: Social conscience it is in here in the Throne Speech.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, there are other reasons why I am opposed to it, specifically in Labrador, I live in Labrador, it is my home and the future for hydro development in this Province, I believe - and I think it is a general feeling throughout this Province, that if there is any future in hydro development it is going to be within Labrador. There are a few trickles of water to be developed here on the island portion of the Province but now if we say it is not for sale, Mr. Speaker - but Mr. Speaker, it is not for sale they say -

AN HON. MEMBER: They sold it.

MR. A. SNOW: But, Mr. Speaker, if indeed this merger goes through, this sale goes through, this little cooked up deal goes through, Mr. Speaker, what is the agency that is left to develop it? Who are the so called expertise people? Now we will still have these five experts I suppose - I don't know where they will be.

MR. SULLIVAN: No it is four wise men now.

MR. A. SNOW: There are only four wise men. Well, Mr. Speaker, what bothers me is that we will not have a Crown corporation around with the expertise of developing the hydro in Labrador.

MR. GRIMES: What is wrong with CF (L) Co?

MR. A. SNOW: Well, Mr. Speaker, I certainly hope that the future - My God, I mean here is the man, the Minister responsible for Employment, who was being introduced just last week, as the future Premier. He is already cooking up how to slide down the Lower Churchill and cook up the same kind of deal they had with the Upper Churchill. Now you talk about history repeating itself and that is his first plank. He is going to give away the Lower Churchill the same - what about the CF (L) Co he said - now try again, try another one. Now, Mr. Speaker, it was not bad enough to rip off the Upper Churchill, give away the power that the people own in this Province, the utilities of this Province, on the island, now he wants to sell off the Lower Churchill, the same deal, the CF (L) Co. My God, Mr. Speaker.

MR. WOODFORD: His campaign manager goes along with him too.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, I think that we have to take a very strong look at what is occurring in the Province, what is occurring today. People over on the other side today talking about polls, about how the government is so popular today that they can do - I had a minister say to me earlier today: we can do what we want, Alex. We can do what we want. The Premier is the most popular Premier in the country. We can do what we want and we can get away with it. That is what he told me today and he showed me the polls.

MR. SULLIVAN: He was talking about light poles.

MR. A. SNOW: Now, Mr. Speaker, that is the arrogant attitude that set in and that is why people in the Province are speaking up.

MR. WOODFORD: They really believe in polls over there.

MR. A. SNOW: They are believing that they are infallible, Mr. Speaker: We cannot make a mistake. Trust us we know what we are doing.

MR. GRIMES: Nobody over here said that to you.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, now they are saying that nobody over there said that to me. One of the ministers just made that remark. Well I am telling you that they did, Mr. Speaker.

The other thing that a lot of people are talking about in the Province about this merger is about the method, the strategy being used and the different signals coming out with regard to -

MR. WOODFORD: Call an election.

MR. A. SNOW: Somebody just mentioned, Mr. Speaker, that there should be an election call on the issue. No, Mr. Speaker, I do not say we should have an election on this issue, but I am telling you one thing, you should listen to what the people are saying, because when you do hold an election and you run roughshod over the rights of the people of this Province and sell off, give away this birthright that we have had as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Mr. Speaker, I think that when the election is called, it will be remembered what you have done, and, Mr. Speaker, I know that is what people are saying and I am sure, other than toeing the party line, you all know because we all represent the people of this Province and they all say, and your constituents are saying it to you; they are telling you.

Now, another thing that is occurring within this Province with regard to this sale is the concern that the people have with the idea that all these discussions are going on behind closed doors.

MR. GRIMES: Not true.

MR. A. SNOW: Now, it is not true. Now they are not all going on behind closed doors, are they? We had the Premier saying yesterday, every now and then we haul out a bit more information, we ask four or five more questions and get a few more tidbits of information out, but it is like trying to pull teeth from a hen, but it is very difficult to get information from this government with regard to this sale. The Premier said: we cannot give the information out to people because he said, the competitors will know about it. Who would know? I mean, are there more people? We were told today, the minister responsible for Mines and Energy said: we are not going to sell this Crown corporation to the highest bidder, we are going to sell it to somebody probably at a lower price!

AN HON. MEMBER: We are not selling it.

MR. A. SNOW: You are selling your shares in it; the people's shares; you are selling the people's interest into this NewCo. So we are not going to sell it to the highest bidder, we are not going to get the top dollar for it because the Premier says: well, that could dictate a higher cost of energy, because it is predicated, the return on investment is guaranteed to the investors, so if they sell it for a large sum of money, then it means that the possibility is that the consumers will have to pay more and in that case, to me, that is a very sound argument for the Crown to continue ownership. But I know one thing, if I were in the process of selling an asset of mine, I would definitely want to ensure that I would get the top value for it. How would I do that? I would at least seek two purchasers. If I were going to sell my pick-up truck, I would undoubtedly want to have at least two purchasers looking at it. I would like to see two people bidding on it if you will, but not in this particular case, Mr. Speaker. This government, in selling the people's pick-up truck, is saying: look, Mr. Speaker, we are only going to sell it to one group.

Now whether it is the sale or the dumping in of the shares, the assets and NewCo, this NewCo, I would be in all honesty, even though I have done quite a bit of thinking about it, and I had to wrestle with it. I think we should be looking at the Crown corporation controlling all the distribution of power in this Province, rather than vice versa. I believe what we should possibly be doing is looking at - rather than the mouse swallowing the elephant, Mr. Speaker, maybe the elephant should take over the mouse, and that I think could probably truly benefit the people of this Province. In this particular case I have not seen where the benefits are.

I would be willing to change my mind if somebody, whether it is out in the public or somebody from the other side, could show me where the people of the Province will be able to derive a benefit from the sale of an asset that the people of this Province have built and paid for over the last number of years. If I can see how we as a people can get a benefit from the sale - I am talking about a long-term benefit. I am not talking about a short-term fix of a couple of hundred million bucks and it is all over. That is shortsighted. That is what got us in trouble, the short-term fix of the Upper Churchill is what got us in trouble with that particular development, just a concern for short-term employment and construction. The short-term fix never works. It is said in the Strategic Economic Plan, the bible that you Liberals tout so often, short-term fixes are not the answer. This a short-term fix, the proposal of the sale of Newfoundland Hydro to Fortis, or the merger. NewCo is a short-term fix and I am totally against it.

Thank you, very much, for allowing me to make by few remarks.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Before I recognize the hon. Member for Fortune - Hermitage I would like to give a little report card to hon. members of the House. It is the end of the week and I have noticed over the last three or four days that there are a lot of rules being broken in this House by a lot of people who should know differently, experienced members. I refer members to our Standing Orders, Order 11: When a member is speaking, no member shall pass between him and the Chair, nor interrupt him, except to raise a point of order. That is going on quite extensively. (d): No member may pass between the Chair and the table, nor between the Chair and the Mace when the Mace has been taken off the table by the Sergeant-at-Arms. This has been happening quite frequently in this House in the last three or four days. Another one which I have noticed: When the House adjourns the members shall keep their seats until Mr. Speaker has left the Chair.

We would like for all those rules to be obeyed in the future.

Thank you.

The hon. the Member for Fortune - Hermitage.

MR. LANGDON: It gives me great pleasure, Mr. Speaker, to speak or participate in the Budget Debate, to come back to the House and debate and trash out policies and ideas that the people in our constituencies, and the people in the Province as a whole can benefit from. There is no doubt about it, we live in a society in a very difficult time and it permeates to all facets of society, in economics, in social, in morals, ethics, crime, even I suppose in the whole society itself there is an air of pessimism. Really in a sense we have no other people to blame but ourselves for the pessimism because individually when we speak we tend to emphasize that which is negative. When we get together collectively, as a group of people, we tend to emphasize, collectively, the negative. When we listen to the media, regardless of which particular station we turn to, if it is Canadian, or American, or the BBC, the emphasis is on violence, the emphasis is on crime; and over the last couple of days we saw what happened to the court situation in the British Isles where two eleven-year-olds were convicted for killing a young boy two years of age and, as I said, it permeates the whole gamut of society.

To carry it one step further, the media, itself, seems to permeate the whole pessimism in our own society, and I suppose we have heard the expression, or the adage that `good news is no news'. Of all the media that I listen extensively to in the Province, there is only one where I figure there is any optimism whatsoever, and that is through VOCM.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANGDON: The stories that they carry on the radio, and with their person here, Scott Chafe, it seems to be balanced pretty well. On Sunday afternoon at 1:15 they give their good news report, and whether it is lengthy, or whether it is scanty, it is trying to get out the point to all the people who live in the Province that there is some hope, that there is an air of optimism. And I think that, as individuals, and society as a whole, if we did more of that, then our society would benefit.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. LANGDON: I don't know.

There is, as I said, an air of optimism. Let's look at it from a business point of view. With the election of the government back in 1989, and with the setting up of the Economic Recovery Commission, we had people who philosophized and who thought of ways that we could diversify, and do things to put the Province back on track; and to a large extent these people have done the philosophy. They have taken the ideas that they think would work. The problem with it is that the people who are supposed to implement this have not probably been on the same wavelength as they have, so therefore, in that sense, it hasn't worked.

For example, I look at my own district, the District of Fortune - Hermitage, and I look at the opportunities that exist rather than the negativism that is there. And, come January of this year, we will have thirty people in training for a new industry on the Connaigre Peninsula, in Seal Cove particularly, where we will do dimensional stone or granite - thirty new jobs outside of the fishery; thirty new jobs that this particular community has never had before, and there is an abundance of it available, and it has taken time to develop it because it is a new industry. It is a new technology, but I believe in the long run that it will last and it will provide some permanency to the people in the area.

AN HON. MEMBER: What community is that?

MR. LANGDON: Seal Cove in Fortune Bay, on the Connaigre Peninsula, near Hermitage.

Also, in the fishery, there are exciting things going on as far as aquaculture is concerned, and next Monday night we will see, on Land and Sea, the man and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Gord Caines, who are involved in aquaculture as far as scallops are concerned. They have, for this fall, developed the first scallop fishery where they will take the fish to market.

Even more exciting than that is the sea urchin business. I talked to some people a few days ago and they said, "Look, sea urchins in your area, will replace the lobster fishery. There are millions of them." And I am excited by what is happening in Pool's Cove, where they have started to do that - the Minister of Fisheries and his officials - and they are, for example, feeding kelp to the sea urchins. They have noticed that when they feed them kelp there is an appreciable difference in the meat quantity of the sea urchins. There is an abundance of kelp, there is an abundance of sea urchins, and really, in a sense, we are looking for that to develop the Connaigre Peninsula, and we believe that there is a future in it.

Now, obviously, the Connaigre Peninsula is a long way from market. We have to take the sea urchins that have to be delivered fresh to market. They have to come up to Bishop's Falls, from Bishop's Falls to St. John's, to be sent overseas by plane. The councils in the area have approached the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation with the possibility of creating a road link from Harbour Breton over to Swift Current.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where are they going?


The councils have approached the minister, and he has been receptive and they have looked at it. It is sixty-three kilometres of new road, but it would cut off about three to four hours drive to St. John's, and that is a significant amount of time to get the product to market. Therefore, when I look at that I believe there is some hope and there is some optimism.

That is only the beginning. On the South Coast in the summer we have dogfish that is plentiful, and I believe that the provincial Department of Fisheries is looking at it with the hope of doing some work in that this year. I talked to the fishermen and they said: `We can load our boats. We just can't go where the dogfish is because there is no market for it. If we can develop that market.... There is an abundance of maiden ray, or skate, as we call it, an abundance of it, and we don't have any market for it. If we can find a market for that, for the dogfish.... King crab, there's an abundance of king crab in the Fortune Bay area.' Apparently the shell of the king crab is much harder in texture than the queen crab, and they haven't developed a machine yet that can successfully crack the shell and do it. I believe they will.

These are the types of things in which I believe we can work together to make things happen. We can do that. I believe the people have to demonstrate a will. That idea, as far as I'm concerned, of optimism and so on has to be generated in the kids at school. After being in the school for a number of years I realized that with our curriculum, we had taught our kids to be passive. It didn't tell them to go out and to be entrepreneurs. It is almost like the word we heard where profit might be an unfair term, but our society works on that. All of us have seen, I think, when the Chrysler Corporation a few years ago, was at the state of bankruptcy, and they brought in a guy by the name of Iacocca and he turned it around. And the Chrysler Corporation is one of the strongest in North America today, because of ideas and people willing to turn it around.

It is the same way with education. With the introduction of entrepreneurial classes in the school, with the introduction of co-op programs through the minister, and the lighthouse program that we have in the school, a new idea has to generate.

I think of my own community, the community of Seal Cove. Because things are going to change in rural Newfoundland, whether we want to believe it or not. It will happen. In Seal Cove the community has twice the number of people it had when I grew up. Ten years ago there were 136 kids in school in Seal Cove. In 1996, even though the community will have grown, brand-new houses and so on, there will only be fifty-two kids in that community. So, now they have decided, or are in the process of doing, sending the kids to the high school in Hermitage which is only ten kilometres away and it will give these kids an opportunity to do physics, chemistry, French, through distance education and so on, that they haven't had an opportunity to do before.

That is the aggressive attitude that's needed. This is what we need to do to change the attitude of our young people, to give them some hope and to give them something to look forward to. I believe, as I said, it is our responsibility as society collectively, to do it, and if we start talking the positive, then I am sure we can make it happen.

I also want to talk about, as I said, my own area, my own neck of the woods. Now, I believe the government, through its Strategic Economic Plan, has set up seventeen economic zones. One of the zones would take in the Connaigre Peninsula and the Bay d'Espoir area. And I recognize that what is going to happen in Zone 17 might not happen in the Grand Falls - Windsor area because we have something that is different. We are built on the sea and its resources - they are built inland with community servicing and also with the forestry products, tourism and so on. Therefore, I think that we should be given the opportunity - and I think it will happen in a short while - to say to the people in the agencies that matter, `Here is what is in your area: How can you make it work?' Now, I believe that the philosophy has been set. I honestly think now that what we need is the practical pragmatic suggestions that can go - and to do the things to make our sea, our area, develop.

I think of the Bay d'Espoir area where the electronics have really taken hold in St. Alban's. They have one of the leading industries in all of North America. I look at the aquaculture area in Bay d'Espoir - it has come from nothing to being a million dollar business and I believe it will continue to grow and expand.

Fortune Bay, because of geographical position and because of the Gulf Stream and so on emanating, the waters there in Fortune Bay are great for aquaculture. So I believe that in time we will be able to do things to make the particular area work.

To talk about how people work and so on, I have to mention - I have mentioned it a couple of times before already - the people in the Town of Harbour Breton particularly and the people on the Connaigre Peninsula - some time before Christmas they will present to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs a cheque for $255,000. that they have raised in three years, in a small community of 1800 people, toward a new arena. That, to me, is the way things had to be done. That, in a sense, was the direction that they were given by the Premier when he met them three years ago: `if you want to do it, show us some leadership, come back to us and show that you have demonstrated a willingness to do that.' I have worked with the communities in the area and not only is it going to be, by next year this time, debt-free from the municipality's point of view but the communities in the area have also demonstrated their willingness to work in a region where the councils have taken responsibility for the operation of the arena. So, it is what we have to do. We have to co-operate, we have to deal with it and go forward together and I suppose, in the sense, use the expression, `divided we fall but united we stand.' I think that is what we have to do as a Province.

Getting back to this situation - as I said a few moments ago about rural Newfoundland. We live in a Province and in the Western World where the number of people in families are not so large any more. We look at many of the smaller communities around the coast of Newfoundland and obviously by attrition they will disappear over the next decade or so. If you have no children being born, and you have no opportunity in a sense for young people to stay around, then obviously your communities will die, therefore we have to generate jobs, we have to generate employment to give young people meaningful employment in the area where they live. That is why I am excited about the dimensional stone thing for my area and also for the fishery. Rather than having people moving to the large urban areas to work I believe they can do it in the rural areas, but obviously we have to do it collectively.

As I said, I think of the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology where the minister sets out the framework for us to go to work and I think we can see it happening over time. Another major area where we work together as a council over the next little while, and I have talked to the people there, the Development Association, we are setting up after Christmas a particular conference, a particular group of people to look at tourism and I believe that tourism in Fortune Bay has not been tapped, and it is even in its infancy. We have some of the most rugged scenery around in that area of Fortune Bay. We have something of the fiords, something like you would find in Norway, and I believe that people would give anything in a sense to be able to tour that, be able to go out on the bay for a day, jig a cod, and cook it while they are out there. There are fantastic experiences but we have to show leadership and that is where the communities are coming from and getting together to make it happen.

I said earlier that we have to install confidence in the people we represent. I can go back to my district and say to the people in the twenty-three communities I represent, this is doom and gloom, but I refuse to do that. I want to be positive. I want to be able to work with them and to show them that we can do it together. If we do that I believe that the Province as a whole will benefit and so would the country as a whole as well. We must be positive and we must show confidence to the people we represent and if we are willing to do that things will happen.

I also want to comment on the government's re-organization of education in the Province. The government, I am sure, in its wisdom has looked at the system and there is no doubt about it that we will be seeing major changes. Changes have to come because really we live in a very competitive world and we are not getting the best value for our dollar right now and if we do not get the best dollar, then, obviously what we are saying is that we are spending our dollars needlessly and wastefully, and it is the same basic think in health and I am sure that if we look at it and use our dollars wisely then we can take the other dollars that we have to develop and that is where I see that the Hydro situation is coming from. I honestly think, and I say it from a personal point of view, that the majority of people out there do not understand and probably neither do I, all that needs to be understood to make a sound judgement.

Sometimes the nature of people, our very nature, none of us is any different from that; we all act emotional and when we look at it and take a second thought, a sober thought and look at the benefits and we look at the negative things that have derived from it, then probably it is not what we thought it was in the first place, and I honestly believe that if we can do that, the people of this Province will benefit so that the government can, through the merging of the new company, attract new business, attract new jobs and so on and get more money to put into developing this Province, then obviously that is what it is about and if we do that, then obviously the people of the Province will benefit in the long run.

Mr. Speaker, I could go on I guess, and debate and reiterate some of the things that I have said, but there is not much point in reiterating and just standing to say something just to take up time. Earlier today, for just a moment in a sense, I spoke to a guy from the Baie Verte council, Mr. Bill Dickson, and he gave us the Baie Verte Land Reclamation Programme and would say it will do much more than create jobs and I think this is what I wanted to say from the beginning. There are so many people - probably this will never happen - but there are so many people out there who act on emotionalism.

We have the SNAGG Group whose main emphasis in a sense is to be against everything that would happen, because everything is relative when you look at the term, but when you look at what these people are trying to do from the Town of Baie Verte, the Chamber of Commerce, the community futures, they are saying that it is going to create more than jobs and I believe that if we do that with all of the things that are presented to us, evaluate it, see its strengths, see its weaknesses and if it is not what we want, then we do not have to approve it, but if it is what we want, if it measures up to what we believe will be good for the people in our Province, then why should we go against it? That is the whole premise that we work on and I believe that everything that we do as MHAs who are elected here, obviously it is to instill within the people whom we represent confidence, that there is an air of optimism.

I do not know if I am different, I do not think I am, I think we are all the same. We live in Newfoundland. I go back to my people in Seal Cove. I can remember when I went to school in Seal Cove as a young boy my mom did not have a nickel to give me, We went down to the store and drained off a gallon of cod liver oil to get me some candy. There's nobody in my area like that today. We've come a long ways, we have progressed, and we never talk about how we've progressed. There's nobody in our society that we represent who is in the same state as they were in '49. Confederation has been good for this Province. The more that we say it and the more that we expound on it, the better it would be.

I think of my own community, and I must do this before I close. A small community of 600 people. They're in the process of building a new church in the community. The church will cost about $1 million to build. These 600 people have raised more than $500,000 toward the new church. I think it's somewhere in excess of $600,000. You can't do that if you don't have money and so on, if you don't have future in the community that you represent. I believe there's a future here. If there wasn't I wouldn't be here. I believe that all of us, when we talk about the future of this Province, we want to be positive, we want to be affirmative, we want to do what's right, and negativism does nothing but create despair, negativism creates nothing but disillusionment. That's not what we want. We want a province that's vibrant, and so therefore if we do that then we go ahead and make progress.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I conclude.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House at its rising adjourn until tomorrow, Friday, at 9:00 a.m., and that the House do now adjourn.

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