December 15, 1993           HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS          Vol. XLII  No. 36

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to inform the House that government intends to create a Literacy Development Council.

I have directed officials in the Department of Education to immediately put in place an implementation plan, co-ordinate the drafting of legislation to establish the Council, and to recommend a subsequent redirection of the Literacy Policy Office. In the near future I will appoint an interim chairperson and establish the selection process for the Executive Director of the Council and members of the Implementation Committee.

The Literacy Policy Office, set up by the government in 1988, advises the Department of Education on matters pertaining to adult basic education/literacy and manages the federal/provincial partnership fund for innovative literacy projects. During the past five years both federal and provincial public awareness campaigns have been extremely successful in elevating public interest in all aspects of literacy.

The new global economy and problems in the in the fishery have also contributed to the rapid growth of literacy programs and services being demanded in the Province. Many displaced workers have less than minimum academic qualifications for further education, training, and possibly even further employment.

In order to address the problem of basic functional literacy education, a co-ordination group with special responsibilities is required. It must have a focal thrust towards development and support of institutional initiatives; government and its agencies, as well as the work place, community-based and volunteer activities.

The chief function of the Literacy Development Council will be to substantially increase the literacy rates of the population of Newfoundland and Labrador, thus making our people better contributing members of society.

The Council will be charged with two major areas of responsibility: the operation and maintenance of a Literacy Foundation and program co-ordination. The co-ordination will reduce the amount of funding and effort which goes toward administering literacy initiatives and thus place more resources at the client level. The Foundation will be an incorporated, non-profit agency created to offset any anticipated increases in the cost of establishing the Council and the increased provision of programs and services. The literacy challenge is an enormous one in Newfoundland and requires the co-ordinated efforts of all stakeholders. The foundation will allow the contribution of all partners to literacy development.

It is proposed that an executive director and a thirteen member council, including the Chairperson, be appointed by, and responsible to, the office of the Minister of Education.

The Council will consist of members of the stakeholder groups and service delivery agencies and, where possible, be senior officials and high profile individuals.

Thank you.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the members on this side of the House are delighted to support the government's decision to create a literacy development council. The issue of literacy is of paramount importance to the future of our Province. Many of the studies indicate that this Province has a prolonged and consistent problem of illiteracy and this fact perhaps more than any other is a persistent impediment to the workplace opportunities for many of our citizens.

Mr. Speaker, the initiative will need substantive funding from both the provincial and the federal government, and will need to be supported, as the minister said, by all sectors of society, by government, by educational institutions, by private sector employers, unions, and other agencies, all of which can have a positive impact on the councils mandate. I am delighted to hear that these initiatives are community based and will access the tremendous volunteer potential that we have in our Province and located in many of the communities, who are aware this problem is of greatest need, I guess, or where the need is greatest.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MS. VERGE: By leave.

MR. HODDER: I am pleased to see the Province restoring funding to these kind of community based organizations, and I am also pleased to note that they are placing the emphasis at the client level. This is, I think, where the proper focus should be, and that they are involving all the stakeholders upfront and that is the way we would like to have it. The goals are very basic and very fundamental. The implementation strategies will need commitment and focus from the government and from all other agencies.

Thank you, very much.

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

No leave.

The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to inform the hon. members of the House of Assembly that contract negotiations between the Iron Ore Company of Canada, Labrador City and the United Steelworkers of America, Locals 5795 and 6731 have concluded with two tentative agreements that were approved by ratification vote held by the employees this morning.

These new three year collective agreements are another example of how parties can work together to reach a consensus, despite competitive and economic challenges. The negotiations relate to approximately 1225 employees who, with the employer, are committed to continue to work cooperatively for the benefit of all involved.

The parties are to be commended, Mr. Speaker, on their commitment to reaching a successful conclusion to their negotiations. I understand the process extended over a nine month period involving a great deal of time and effort by everyone involved. The conciliation services of the Department of Employment and Labour Relations were involved in the process on a regular basis and I am pleased that these services and the preventive mediation program of the department are well established and can offer assistance to both employers and unions in the Province on a continuing basis.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the minister for sending a copy of his statement over to our office prior to the release here in the House.

Mr. Speaker, it is good news for the Province and tremendous news for Western Labrador that both unions in at IOCC have gone through the collective bargaining process and settled the contract for the next couple of years which removed a tremendous amount of economic uncertainty in Western Labrador, Mr. Speaker. But, Mr. Speaker, that should be a lesson to this government. They did it without legislation. They did it by collective bargaining.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. A. SNOW: By leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

MR. TOBIN: A speech like that and no leave.

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to return today to the topic that I raised yesterday or that was raised yesterday, the governments new BIS program as it is now affectionately known by some, the Basic Income Support Program. I say that anybody who takes the time to read this program would be struck by a number of things in it. One of the things that they would be struck by would be the statement in there that says, `unemployment insurance is a disincentive to work.' Now if there was somebody here from another planet reading that particular document they would be left with the impression that there are thousands of jobs out there just waiting for workers who somehow refuse to take those jobs. Of course the fact of the matter is there are no such jobs. If you just look at the fishery in particular, thousands of jobs have been lost as a result of the collapse of the stocks over the last couple of years and the prospect of course is that there will be thousands more over the next year or two. So no one truly expects we will ever begin to recover any of those jobs that will be lost before the next century, probably.

I want to ask the Premier, why then, does he and his government propose to eliminate unemployment insurance for fishermen and, in effect, for plant workers, to phase out the NCARP and other fisheries compensation programs over the next five years or so? Do you really believe there are going to be thousands of jobs out there for all these people, outside the fishery, just waiting for them to jump onto those jobs?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, there are two substantive reasons why the government is following or proposing that we follow the course that was developed by the Economic Recovery Commission. One is that if nothing else happens, if there is no economic development at all, or no significant economic development, and we continue along at the same level of economic activity as has been carried on in the past, one thing is clear: Canada can no longer afford to fund the system as it has been growing in recent years. So, if we don't do something positive to deal with that problem, the system is likely to collapse around our ears and people will be far more severely affected than anybody who would be affected by this. That is one reason.

There is a second reason. We want to rebuild the economy of this Province. That is part of our objective. That is why we are carrying out the policies that have been identified in the Strategic Economic Plan to ensure that we put in place a first-class structure, a first-class climate in this Province in terms of regulation, in terms of taxation, in terms of labour relations and so on, to ensure that we induce the greatest level of economic activity. What is proposed here will aid in that and will, we hope, help make this the best place in Canada for investors to invest and, in the process, create a lot of job opportunities. Those are the two reasons for following this course.

MR. SIMMS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, remember my question was: Why does the Premier propose to eliminate the U.I. for fishermen and plant workers? I am not sure what the answer had to do with the question, nevertheless, we will read Hansard I guess and see how it figures.

Now, according to the government's own figures used in this document, fisheries compensation now pays nearly $600 million a year to unemployed fishermen and plant workers. In fact, it is $586.6 million. Now, the Premier's program proposes to reduce the total amount of benefits by about $75 million a year for each of the next five years or so, beginning next year in 1994, so that at the end of that period there will be about $150 million in income paid to unemployed fishermen and plant workers.

So in other words, in a couple of years from now fishermen and plant workers will get about half of what they are getting now, and in five years their benefits are going to be reduced to about one-quarter. Now, probably not even the Reform Party of Canada could have probably come up with such a vicious nightmare. So, I want to ask the Premier, again: Why is he proposing, in fact, to change this program so that unemployment insurance and those other programs, fisheries programs like NCARP - why is he proposing to eliminate that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, we are not proposing to eliminate that.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: If the Member for Grand Bank would stop mumbling, maybe he would hear what somebody else has to say instead of listening to his own mumbles. As long as he keeps listening to his own mumbles he will have nothing but a mumbled mind and will keep repeating the kinds of words he is saying now.

Mr. Speaker, when he is ready to stop I am quite prepared to answer the question. If not, I will stand here and just rag the puck until he is prepared to let the House function as it ought.

Mr. Speaker, it is not the objective or policy of the government to cut out income support or unemployment insurance for fishermen. The objective that is being followed is to rebuild the economy of this Province - to rebuild it for fishermen, too -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: - so that fishermen can earn an adequate living and not have to rely on hand-outs from people. This is part of the overall objective to achieve that.

Now, we do know that in the meantime there may well be need for a transition. Dr. House talked about the need for a transition yesterday at the press conference. There may well be a need for a transition to moderate that effect over a period of time, but that is something that we can develop, in discussion with the federal government, if the federal government is disposed to move in this direction. If they are not, we can't implement this on our own. We have stated that up front.

It is not the Province's policy to cut out income support or unemployment insurance for fishermen or for others. It is the Province's policy to develop an adequate level of income support, but so put it in place as not to cause the adverse consequences on the economy that our present system does cause.

In that, Mr. Speaker, we believe we share the views of at least 80 per cent or 90 per cent of the people of this Province. We are reflecting their views. There have been cries from all over this Province to deal with the ineffective mess that has been built up over the last fifteen years or so, and it is a monstrous mess. It created a financial burden that is shaking this great nation to its foundation because of its inability to cope with it. Well, we are doing our part and, Mr. Speaker, frankly, I believe we can boast a little. We are leading the way for the rest of Canada again and giving them an example to follow.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, on a supplementary. My real fear is what is happening to this Province, not what is happening to the nation. I'm concerned with what is happening in Newfoundland and Labrador. This program that the Premier is bringing in could devastate rural Newfoundland and Labrador!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: So I will ask him, just very quickly, if his objective, as he just said, is to rebuild the economy, to help fishermen and others, why in the name of heavens would he ask the federal government to cut compensation by 75 per cent for fishermen and plant workers who have been put out of work because of the collapse of the fishery, through no fault of their own? How is that going to help the fishermen and plant workers in this Province?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I have a fear too, Mr. Speaker, and the fear that I have is that as able as we are, we may not be able to correct the mess that the other side created in the seventeen years that they were there!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: It is a major fear. Because the problem is massive, Mr. Speaker. We are trying our best to correct the utter chaos and the economic mess that they created and put this Province in. We do believe that we are on the way to addressing this problem. His representation of what is proposed in this package is totally incorrect. We are not proposing to cut the fishermen's income or income support by 75 per cent.

MR. SIMMS: It's on page 49 (inaudible)!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition is dreaming in technicolour if he thinks the Government of Canada will be able to continue forever the level of NCARP support that they started in the last few years. If he thinks that this can be achieved he is dreaming in technicolour and misleading the fishermen of this Province by saying so.

Mr. Speaker, we've had the honesty and integrity to deal with it honestly, from a point of view of the fishermen and citizens of this Province, but also from a point of view of the citizens of this nation who are paying this bill. We have a responsibility to be honest and fair with them too. We can't sit in this Province as the former government did for years and moan and groan and hold out their hand and say; give us more, give us more, give us more, and demean the people of this Province in this way. We are not prepared to do that any longer.

We are prepared to take our responsibility as Canadians, and to ask our fellow Canadians to share with us the responsibility for the burden that had been placed on fishermen and fish plant workers as a result of actions that were no fault of theirs - the mismanagement of the fishery by the federal government over the years. We are prepared to do it, Mr. Speaker, on an honest, straightforward basis, and not in the expectation that the people of this Province can sit back and expect the rest of the nation to support them forever.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This Premier dares lecture us on honesty and integrity? He likes to think he is full of honesty and integrity but he has been found out too often on too many issues in this Province.

A favourite tactic of his is that if he doesn't have an answer and can't respond he will attack all the critics. Cy Abery is irresponsible, we are irresponsible, we have concrete mind-sets, on whatever the issues are. Don't throw that nonsense at us! Answer the questions directly for the people of this Province. Yes, there have been several questions, but he hasn't answered them. I will try one more, Mr. Speaker.

In this Province he would know - I would presume he would know - that because of the nature of the fishing industry, most families engaged in that industry are in fact families that have two or three workers who are collecting unemployment insurance and other compensation programs, and each of those workers is entitled to individual benefits. Under the Premier's program, under his program, I say, you propose to replace those individual benefits with a basic family benefit. That is true I'm sure, and he can confirm it. That is a benefit from that new supplementation program. That will be the same for all families, regardless of the number of workers.

AN HON. MEMBER: Never heard of it.

MR. SIMMS: Never heard of it, a member over there says. I'm not surprised. Even though I've used the fishery as an example, there are many other industries that the Premier would be aware of where there are two or three workers involved, construction, forestry or whatever, and they rely on the combination of UI and so on for their incomes, so it seems to me that that is a disincentive to work. I want to ask the Premier, what incentive is there in his program for two or three members of a family to work if their earnings will have little or no bearing on the income of the family after the program? What incentive is there for people to get out and work? Won't the real impact on this program mean that in fact he will be creating single worker families and driving women and young people and people like that out of the workforce, isn't that what is going to happen with their program?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker. It is not the objective of the program. The objective of the proposal that the ERC has put forward and that has been approved in principle by the government; the objective of the proposal that has been put forward and has been approved in principle by this government, is to ensure that we use the limited resources that the two governments together have for these purposes. To use those limited resources in a way that treats people fairly and does not create a situation where some people, merely because they cannot take advantage of fortuitous circumstances, will get a level of family support from the public purse with the same level of personal effort that is $11,000 or $12,000 and some other family gets $50,000 with the same level of effort and the same level of responsibility. That, Mr. Speaker, is fundamentally unfair and what we have been struggling with for the last five years is to try and correct the monstrous unfairness that the former government introduced into the social structure and the economy of this Province, and we are making slow progress at it. We have corrected it in the school tax, one classic example where we have corrected it; we have corrected it in a variety of other areas and, Mr. Speaker, we intend to pursue it.

Now, I believe, in this respect, Mr. Speaker, we have the wholehearted support of the overwhelming majority of the people of this Province because they to disagree with unfairness. Nobody likes to have a reduction, whether you earn $10,000, $50,000, or $100,000 or $500,000, nobody likes to have a reduction.


PREMIER WELLS: Nobody likes to have a reduction.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: Nobody likes to have a reduction, Mr. Speaker, but, Mr. Speaker, when the money is paid from the public purse, from the taxpayers, we have an obligation to ensure that everybody is treated fairly and this is a fundamental principle on which this government has operated and developed its policy.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, the Premier may be under the illusion that the vast majority of people in this Province agree with this proposal but I can assure him, as time goes by, that opinion will change, if that is what he thinks. I can tell him that right now because the twelve people who phoned me at my home last night from all over this Province, are worried to death about this program. From Burgeo -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: - from Bishop Falls, from Seal Cove, places all over the Province, are concerned about this program seriously and members over there can laugh it off including the Premier who just laughed at it.

Now let me ask him this, were any groups or organizations from outside this Province involved in preparing or assisting in the preparation of the studies, or in the development of any aspect of the proposed income supplementation plan? For example, was the Fraser Institute in British Colombia involved in any way; can he tell us that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, just before I deal with the question of, were any groups outside the Province involved, let me deal with the preliminary comments.

I have no doubt that people who would see a reduction in their income would call the hon. member, they will call me and they will call other hon. members in this House to express their opinion, and I respect that and I understand that, but I want to explain to them that the government's responsibility is to try and act in a way that meets the concerns of all the people in the Province on a fair and balanced basis. Now that is what the objective is.

The government has no objective to hurt, specifically, any one group or any one person. The objective is to deal responsibly with all of the people of the Province within the limited resources we have. Now, Mr. Speaker, to deal with the specific question, as to whether or not there were any groups outside of the Province involved such as, I believe, he mentioned the Fraser Institute, I do not know what groups, if any, the Economic Recovery Commission may have consulted. They may very well have but I have no idea. I do know that Dr. House told me that from time to time he spoke with federal government officials in relation to this matter as he was developing this proposal, both from a point of view of getting ideas and to ensure that the federal government knew the general direction in which we were going, and those, as far as I know, are the only people outside of the Province that may have been consulted, but there may well have been the Fraser Institute or there may have been others, I have no idea.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

PREMIER WELLS: I will ask Dr. House, yes.

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question today is to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs who is also responsible for housing. Sir, you know of my concern earlier the year when we talked about a letter I wrote to the former Tory minister in Ottawa regarding changes being made to social housing. I have since written to the new minister and I was wondering if you could today enlighten the House on the status of federal/provincial agreements regarding social housing which is suppose to be scheduled to end, as currently agreed, by the end of this year?

Thank you.

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, the social housing program in this Province as well as in every other province across this country is probably one of the most important economic stimulus as well as providing poor people of the country with adequate housing. The previous Progressive Conservative government in Ottawa last spring announced that all funding for social housing programs in Canada would be cut as of January 1, 1994. That basically means that the RRAP grants that we are so familiar with in the Province, social housing for low income earners, apartments for the disabled, native housing, and it goes on and on, there would be absolutely no work done in that area in this coming year.

Now, with that said the newly elected government in their Red Book, or Red Paper during the election made comments to the extent that they would look at reinstating the social housing program in the country. They did not say at what levels they would reinstate them because they have been diminishing now for the past three years. With that said, Mr. Speaker, my counterparts in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia wrote the newly elected minister, Mr. Dingwall, and asked him for a meeting as soon as possible to discuss social housing in our particular jurisdictions, and Mr. Dingwall is meeting with us in Ottawa or Toronto on January 10. Hopefully, Mr. Speaker, the federal government will find the dollars necessary to reinstate the social housing program as of January. I suppose, because the meeting is not on until January, I guess the reinstatement would have to occur after that particular point in time.

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

MR. CAREEN: Mr. Minister, I do hope you will, in the meetings in January. As you said social housing and RRAP give an economic stimulus to this Island and helps low income bracket people caught up in situations. It also helps seniors. There are cottages, etc., for seniors who are all caught up in this situation. There are usually 75/25 agreements on monies. If such an agreement is not reached between the feds and the Province, if the new minister, Mr. Dingwall, continues in the same vein as his predecessor, Mr. Dick, and the Province maintains its 25 per cent share, will they continue to put their 25 per cent into social housing and other aspects to help the people of this Province? Thank you.

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

MR. REID: I am surprised that my hon. friend from across the way would make such derogatory comments about one time friends of his and his party, like Mr. Dick. Maybe, Mr. Speaker, just maybe, if this country had been managed better in the last ten years, we would have had some money to put into a social program in Newfoundland and across this country.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: I appreciated, Mr. Speaker, the fact that Mr. Dick met with us ministers of housing, last year, and explained to us the economic situation that this country was in. I, along with a lot of other ministers and my hon. colleagues across, agreed that this country was in a terrible financial mess. At that time we asked the then minister, Mr. Dick, to reinstate at least 1993 levels, which would mean less money going into the housing programs than in 1989.

I cannot say quite honestly to you, Sir, if we will be able to maintain our 25 per cent share, but remember this, we have to maintain the social housing units in this Province today, and each year this government puts a tremendous amount of money into the social housing units to maintain them, as does the federal government. In fact, in Canada today, over $2 billion is put into social housing initiatives to maintain the infrastructure we have. So we have to maintain what we have and that figure, I believe, Sir, next year will be around the $200 million mark to maintain what we do have. Now, that money, of course, comes through Newfoundland and Labrador Housing and not directly from the Province, but I suppose, in all, it is part of the provincial purse.

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

MR. MANNING: My question today, Mr. Speaker, is for the hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands. On September 20, 1993, the minister announced regulations to control the use of all-terrain vehicles, which are causing damage in the Province. I would like to ask the minister today if she will table in this House or make available to the general public the studies or background information that led to these regulations?

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

MS. COWAN: I don't see why I couldn't. I am just trying to think of - I have a whole bunch of pictures in my handbag here that I carry with me all around the Province and whip out whenever I am talking to people to show them the impacts of ATVs. I guess that is still the teacher left in me. I would be glad to share those with you, table them in the House or whatever. They show outrageous damage. I will certainly go back and see what documentation is available in the department. I can't see where it would be inappropriate - it is an environmental problem that we have had. I don't think it needed mounds of documentation, you just needed a good eye, but I will, indeed, Mr. Speaker, see what there is available and be only to glad to share it with the gentleman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Madam Minister. I welcome any information to back up the recommendations. I am not against the recommendations, I would just like to have some background.

Under the department's proposal, law enforcement agencies such as the RCMP, the RNC, wildlife officers, etcetera, will be enforcing the regulations. In recent discussions with the RCMP and others, I have learned that they are having major problems enforcing the present laws as they relate to ATV use in the Province. I ask the minister today does she realistically believe that these regulations can be enforced, or is this just a public relations game to show that the department is doing something to quiet the critics?

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

MS. COWAN: Indeed, we would not be bringing these forward, Mr. Speaker, if we did not feel that they could be enforced. It is absolute nonsense to think anything else. This is an extremely bad environmental problem, it has to be addressed and this government is committed to addressing it. We have hired additional staff to work in the Lands division, who will be dedicated to that particular job and, of course, we will be enforcing it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. During the past few weeks I have held three information meetings in my district, which have attracted approximately 200 people, to discuss the ATV regulations. I have another scheduled for this Thursday night in Mount Carmel.

One major complaint I am receiving from the people at these meetings - and may I add that every person thus far agrees with some form of regulations. The major problem, I am hearing, is that once again there seems to be no consultation with the public and no public input at all into the regulations.

I want to ask the minister today: Before April 1, 1994, when these regulations come into effect, would she entertain a suggestion by me that a committee be structured to go out among the taxpayers of this Province and allow them the opportunity to voice their concerns and suggestions on these regulations?

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

MS. COWAN: Mr. Speaker, I don't know whether that is necessary. We have listened to many, many people, and have had many, many letters. What we do, as we listen to the people who call us, and as we read the letters, is, we make note of the concerns that they have.

Now, we are the first Province in Canada to bring in ATV regulations, and I think that is extremely positive; however, it does mean that they may not be perfect, so we are only too willing to listen to what people are saying, and make adjustments where we, in fact, may not have realized negative or positive impacts on users or on the environment.

Recently, members of my staff spent three hours with Yamaha, all those dealers who have to do with the selling of ATVs. They came down from their head offices in Ontario. For three hours we dealt with their concerns. They had some serious concerns when they came in. I must tell the House, they went away feeling very positive about our ATV program, and are helping us now to design appropriate corduroy roads which will make good trails for ATVs.

I don't, at this point, as the member suggested, see a need for public consultation. I do see a need for public education, and as we make a note of these questions we are going to be addressing them through a video we are making, clips for TV advertising, question and answer sections for the newspaper, and that type of thing.

Anything you get out of your public meetings, questions that you take down, please pass them along to me and we would be only too pleased to see how we could deal with those.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

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

The government's income supplementation program, in its report, clearly outlines that the need for emergency employment response programs would be eliminated over time. It says: Should the ISP be implemented, the need for well-targeted employment programs would continue until the private sector is strengthened in the Province.

Now I ask the minister - I am not sure which minister I should ask, because the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations indicated that he is not responsible for employment; it is the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology. So I ask either one of the two to stand up and respond to the question: How long does the government feel it would continue emergency employment programs; and at what date, and based upon what information, do they feel that the economy would be strengthened to the point where they can discontinue such programs?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We addressed that issue at the press conference yesterday, as well. I made it clear to everybody present that this government, in the three years, counting this year, that we have put in place emergency response programs, we have indicated, in the introduction of them each time, that we don't think at all that they are part of the overall solution. They were developed out of a sense of desperation, to try to meet the needs of the individuals. Even though the work needed to be done, it hadn't been planned and would not normally have been done in the year, except to meet the needs of the people - and not only that, but in meeting those needs, to tailor it into the current system to make sure that they then, through that bit of work, accessed an employment stream for the rest of the year.

As soon as this new proposal can be put into place, the need for that kind of a program for those purposes would disappear immediately, and as soon as that can happen we would like for it to happen. So, as quickly as we can move towards implementation of this program, whenever that occurs, on that date - it is not that job creation efforts of the federal and provincial government will disappear altogether, but emergency programs designed, as ours has been in the last three years, will become a redundancy and will not be needed anymore in this Province.

MR. SPEAKER: The time for Oral Questions has elapsed.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

MR. OLDFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to present a report of the Government Services Legislation Committee respecting Bill No. 49, "An Act To Amend The Labour Relations Act."

The committee recommends that the bill be enacted with -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am having trouble hearing the hon. member.

MR. OLDFORD: Mr. Speaker, the committee recommends that the bill be enacted with just one amendment, that clause 1 be amended to reduce the number of days elapsing between the receipt of an application for certification and the taking of a vote. We recommend that those days be reduced from ten to five. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to table copies of an Order in Council relating to the pre-commitment of funds against next year. There is a commitment in terms of federal money, the Trans-Canada Highway agreement, regional trunk roads agreement. This is a pre-commitment for next year so that early tendering can be carried out.


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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to present a petition on behalf of 1,116 Pentecostal parents in the Exploits Valley region. There are signatures from people in places like Botwood, Bishop's Falls, Point of Bay, Northern Arm in the constituency of the Member for Exploits, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. There are signatures from people in Badger and Windsor in the constituency of my dear, dear friend the Member for Windsor - Buchans, the Minister of Forestry, and signatures in the District of Grand Falls, in the Town of Grand Falls - Windsor.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Now, this will be going in Hansard, I say to the Minister of Forestry, so he had better be careful what he shouts across the House.

Mr. Speaker, these are 1,116 parents who see and have a lot of concern with what the government is proposing to do in its document, Adjusting the Course. The prayer of the petition says:

`We, the undersigned, are committed to quality education for the fullest development of our children. We support and wish to retain Pentecostal schools where academic excellence and the Pentecostal world view are promoted. We ask you, as our representatives, not to tamper with the educational rights that we and other classes of persons now hold under the Constitution of Canada.'

Mr. Speaker, this petition, of course, reflects the views of a growing number of concerned parents and individuals throughout this Province who have similar concerns. I present the petition and I support the prayer of the petition with my signature attached to it. At the same time, I want to take advantage of the two or three minutes we have to reiterate our party's position, because there was some question from the Minister of Education yesterday or the day before. I want to make abundantly clear our party's position which has been consistent over the last two years, nearly two years ago, when the Williams Royal Commission report came down.

Our party's position on the issue, basically a two-part position, has been in effect for a long time. It is in writing and has been sent to many many people around this Province. That position is that the government should not act unilaterally to change any of the constitutional rights that adherents of certain religious denominations have in relation to denominational schools. We should respect constitutional rights and not change them without the consent of the people who hold those rights.

The other part of our position says that respect for constitutional rights and the rights of choice does not mean that there are no options for administrative and cost improvements to our school system. I say that specifically for the Minister of Education because he tried to imply - I guess he was of the opinion - that we didn't support reforms or changes. That is not true. The Royal Commission, itself, makes many excellent proposals, as a matter of fact, but a lot of them could be implemented without taking away constitutional rights.

So, Mr. Speaker, in part, that is basically our position. I want the minister to be aware of that. I want to assure him that our position remains the same as it was last spring, it remains the same as it was back in 1992, it remains the same as it was during the last general election campaign. So if he has any doubts or if there was any confusion in his mind, I want to clear it up for him absolutely.

I will also point out to the minister, of course, and to the petitioners that in this House two weeks ago when the private member's resolution was presented by the Member for Fortune - Hermitage, to support in principle this government's document, `Adjusting the Course', it was the members on the Liberal side who supported that and it was the members on this side of the House who voted against that motion - that resolution, so should there be any doubt, I am sure there won't be any from now on.

The other thing that some of these petitioners have asked me to ask the minister, presuming he speaks to this petition, is if he can explain why his position appears to have changed from statements he made in the House, March 16th, March 22nd and I believe March 23rd; statements such as: when we first had discussions with the churches on this, they somehow had come to the conclusion that government was bent on destroying the denominational education system of this Province. I don't know how they could have ever reached such a conclusion, I don't know how. Then he says: we are not in the business of destroying a denominational education system and replacing it with a public system; we are not in that business.

So I hope if the minister speaks to this petition, he will be able to clarify that for those petitioners in this particular petition as well as those growing number of parents and school children and so on. I will have other petitions to present in the next day or two as well, Mr. Speaker, from students in parts of my riding.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am very glad to rise today in support of this petition. I am sure there will be many coming in in the near future, but I would like to make a few comments on that.

Being a former educator for a few years, a short career in teaching, I was able in those short few years to teach at various levels. I taught at the primary level, elementary level, junior high level, high school level and as a matter of fact, I did teach for a short period at the adult education level at the Community College in Baie Verte, so as far as being involved with the education system, I know the concerns, I have heard it discussed in staff rooms, I have discussed it with teachers during PTAs, I have been talking to students and the concerns are there.

The one thing that I really want to bring up here today as far as denominational education goes, is that there is no one with whom I have talked who disagrees that there are reforms needed and that improvements are needed; anybody in their right mind would not disagree with that. We are all aware of that, we are all aware of the problems but in just saying that, just before going anywhere else, there are also some positive things about our educational system. I know there are faults and lots of them, and lots of reform needed, but there have been successes throughout the years in our education system.

We have had successes, we have had very many people who have gone through our system who have made good livings for themselves and have risen to high standards of living through a good educational system, so it is not a total failure, I say to the minister. In fact there have been some good things about our education system over the years and I think the minister would agree with that. I do not think it is so much that we are all looking for reforms and that people disagree with that, Mr. Speaker, I think the big question here is the process.

First of all, we talked about how the minister and government has talked to church leaders over the last months, well even years I guess, concerning this change that would come to our system, and you know, I had to ask the question: Have the teachers been involved, have the school board trustees who were duly elected been involved in this process; how much say have they had? Have the parents had a say in this and have they had their chance to have their say, and the answers to all those questions is, no, because they are asking me now: when are we going to have the chance to have our say on it?

Just recently, on Friday night past as a matter of fact, I told the minister - there is a bit of irony to the story, but I mean, I was standing in the school in Middle Arm, at the grand opening of a grand, new Pentecostal school; standing there opening a school that had many achievements and whose students and parents and people of the community are very proud of what they have done there, and they stood there that night just in total confusion, saying: where do we go from here? That is the question now, after talking to teachers and parents, who said they never had their say, said this is coming too quickly, too fast for them. A student said to me: How come we did not have a say ourselves? I mean, what kind of credence are we giving to our students, not just the students in the higher grade levels, but what about our post-secondary students who just went through the system, shouldn't they have a say? Aren't they the people with the freshest ideas in their minds? I think it is about time we gave the people who just went through the system a chance to have a say over the dramatic change that this will bring about, and that is my whole idea behind this.

Now, as far as education goes, our main goal for everyone, I am sure, is the better education of our children, so that in future years we would have a better living, a better society in which to live, if that is the main reason for the changes in education, I am all for it. If it is for the betterment of my children, and I have some children who are just about going to school now, if it is for a better education and a better way of living and a better way of life for this Province, then I am all for it, 100 per cent, but if there is an underlying threat here that the main reason for this is economics, for dollars, then there is a problem with that.

I say to the minister that the suggestion that you involve more people in this process, and do not take away a constitutional right, we live in a free country, in a country that is democratic and envied by nations all over the world.

One of our biggest advantages is that we are in a democracy which gives you a choice, and do not forget - although I do not remember so much, because I am not the age of so many of the members across the way here - during Confederation, there are people who tell me, my grandparents and whoever, that Newfoundland probably would never have joined Canada unless they had that right entrenched in the constitution.

MR. SIMMS: That is one of the Terms of Union, Term 17.

MR. SHELLEY: Term 17 says that. Now we are going to take away that right, that democratic right, by destroying a denominational system that is enshrined in the constitution, and I think there is a problem with that. So as long as we remember that unless there is a consensus by these denominations for a change to that right than we have no right to (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to say a few words to this petition which was presented by the Leader of the Opposition from the Pentecostal people in Central Newfoundland, as well as on behalf of his good friend, the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, and his good friend, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

Mr. Speaker, I started to say this yesterday but my time ran out. Traditionally when we talked about the wealth of a nation we looked to the forests, and we looked to the oceans, and we looked to the mines, and we looked to all our raw materials, and the nation who had gold mines and diamond mines and iron ore and great fields of timber, and great fields of farmland, these were the nations that were considered to be wealthy nations; but the nation of the future will be depending upon the educational level of its people.

Our future as a Province, and our future toward playing an important role in this nation, is the 120,000 people, the 120,000 children, who are in our schools of Newfoundland and Labrador today. They are growing up in a world which is substantially different from the world of their fathers and their grandfathers, and we have to make sure that if we, as a Province, are going to take our rightful place in the Dominion of Canada, we have to make sure that these 120,000 children are exposed to the best possible education system that they can get anywhere in this world, and that is what those reforms are all about.

The hon. member is trying to walk on both sides of the fence. I cannot blame him. I understand where he is coming from. He does it quite often; but he must admit that our system of education is underachieving. Now these are facts. We cannot deny that. Test after test after test... Tomorrow there will be an announcement made by the nation of some tests which were done in math and science, and I dread for tomorrow to come, when you see where Newfoundland stands up, where Newfoundland ranks, in comparison to the rest of the nation. We are not achieving.

Mr. Speaker, you cannot blame that solely on the denominational system of education. Nobody is. As a matter of fact, our document says, `restructuring the system' - `restructuring' referring to the interdenominational system we are talking about. Restructuring is not an end in itself. That is what the document says. The purpose of restructuring is to streamline the system, to make it easier to achieve the basic goal of reforming the system.

Then the principles go on: To provide for church control of religious education and related matters, guarantee church access to the schools for this purpose, and to give a church presence on school boards and provincial bodies.

Mr. Speaker, some members would want to suggest that we are talking about a public school system. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have to keep saying it over and over because members do not want to hear it. We are talking about an interdenominational system. That is why I stand by the statement that I made in this House on March 16 or 17, whenever the hon. member says I said it. I talked about not destroying the denominational system. I say again and again and again, we are not destroying the denominational system. We are bringing in an interdenominational system, Mr. Speaker, an interdenominational system.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DECKER: A system where Protestant and Catholic will study side by side. A system where Jew and Moslem will study side by side. Where Pentecostal and Anglican will sit down side by side and study math, philosophy, geography and religion, Mr. Speaker, that is what we are talking about. That right will be protected under Term 17, Mr. Speaker, which will stay written in stone forever as long as the people of Newfoundland want it to stay written in stone forever. As long as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians want it, it will be there.

So let the hon. member not concern himself by trying to pretend that we are talking about a public system. In a public system there will be no provision for the repeating of the Lord's Prayer. In the public system there will be no provision for pre-communion classes or preparation for the sacraments. That is not the kind of thing that you will find in a public system but that is the kind of thing you will find in adjusting the course, Mr. Speaker, we are talking about an interdenominational system of education. I will say it over, I will write it out, an interdenominational system. We are not talking about a public system, Mr. Speaker, and if you want to find the strongest opponent of a public system in Newfoundland and Labrador, you have to go no further than right here because no one opposes it more than I. I want interdenominational.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DECKER: I can't help that, I can't help that.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member has one minute, does he wish to have the next minute to present his petition before we go to private members day?

MR. DUMARESQUE: Could I ask leave to get a couple of minutes, Mr. Speaker? I just want two or three minutes. Would that be okay?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: No, no, I just have the one speaker to this.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. member have leave of the House to encroach on leave?

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank all hon. members for allowing me leave to present this petition today on behalf of 122 people from my district. The prayer of the petition is:

Whereas, health care services, which are a provincial government responsibility, are below the provincial standard in Labrador as compared to health care services on the island. Labrador residents are transported by air, at considerable expense, to health care facilities in St. Anthony and St. John's for most surgery, specialist care and treatment.

Whereas, Labrador residents have only approximately 250 of the approximate 800 positions under Grenfell and obviously are not receiving their fair share of health care tax dollars from government.

Wherefore, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador begin immediately to develop a regional health care centre for Labrador residents to be located in Labrador, Happy Valley - Goose Bay, and government appoint a health care board from amongst Labrador residents separate from the GRHS board.

Mr. Speaker, I want to support wholeheartedly the prayer of the petition to the effect that we should have a separate health care board for Labrador. I believe that we should give Labradorians a chance to control their health care planning by virtue of dealing with the total Labrador cost factors and certainly the kind of services that we want to see in place. I think, Mr. Speaker, we have to acknowledge that the people of Labrador are unique and the cost associated with Labrador right from Nain to Labrador City, Goose Bay or L'Anse-au-Clair are all unique and I think that for proper planning we should have our own board to deal with it, Mr. Speaker.

I might also point out that I don't believe that having a separate board means that we should have a separate regional health care facility in Goose Bay because I believe, Mr. Speaker, that the people of the Province and the people of Labrador want to see their tax dollars spent most effectively. In my view we should be having our arrangements with Quebec, namely using the facility on the Quebec North Shore and Blanc Sablon a lot more than we are using it and also getting the agreement with the Province of Quebec to use the facility in St. Anthony. Mr. Speaker, the people in Labrador West would also have the opportunity to be able to get some agreement with the Province of Quebec to make sure that we are getting - the bottom line here, Mr. Speaker, is that we want to deliver the best health care to the people of Labrador and if that means having agreements with the Province of Quebec, or if that means having some things done in Labrador that would be different than in other parts of the Island then certainly, Mr. Speaker, I think we should do it.

I want to endorse wholeheartedly the prayer of the petition to that effect and I would hope that the government will give every consideration to having a separate board to give the people of Labrador a chance to do the planning for this very, very crucial area of their social policy.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: My understanding was that the hon. Member for Eagle River had leave of the House, and that we would then go to the hon. Member for LaPoile.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, we will grant leave if it comes out of time from the member opposite just as members on that side make us take time out of the member here. We are quite prepared to hear the gentleman for Menihek but the time would come out of the time from an opposition speaker. Fair is fair, Sir.

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

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, very much, for leave.

I just want to speak in favour of this petition so ably presented by my colleague for Eagle River. Health care is an important concern of all the residents of Labrador and I am glad to see that he participated in presenting this petition. A similar type of petition, a similarly worded petition, was circulated all across Labrador. I do not know what happened to the presentation for the North Coast. My understanding was that petitions were collected on the North Coast, South Coast, and Central Labrador. The other two have been submitted but one is missing and I do not know what happened to that one, Mr. Speaker.

I agree with the petition and I agree with the hon. member. The residents of Labrador must have more of a say in the delivery of health care, and the quality of health care to the residents of Labrador. One of the ways of doing that, of course, would be to have representation on a Labrador board. The facility should be located within Labrador. Even coming from Western Labrador I agree that the government services, if you will, have been mostly delivered in Central Labrador, in Happy Valley - Goose Bay, and that has been the government service centre since the late 70s. It has worked out well and I can see Happy Valley - Goose Bay being a logical choice for a hospital care facility for Labrador.

With regard to the sharing of health care facilities with the Province of Quebec, we have done this for many, many years, since the mid-70s. They have been utilizing the Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital in Labrador City and it has worked out well. Until just recent years they have had to improve - and I want the House to recognize this because I do not believe they are fully aware of it, and it is unfortunate that the Minister of Health is not here, but for many years there was an agreement with the Province of Quebec to utilize the hospital in Labrador City, the Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital and because of the downgrading, a lot of people suggested, because of the downgrading in the quality of health care in Western Labrador, because of the budgetary cutbacks that this government made, Mr. Speaker, the Province of Quebec had to establish a clinic in Fermont and now our hospital, the Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital, does not provide as much service to the residents of Fermont because it is being delivered in their own town, Mr. Speaker.

That used to be a revenue generator because of the agreement between provinces. The Province of Quebec would pay for the patients from Quebec that would get service. If they got service in our hospital the Province of Quebec would give money for that to the local hospital, so it was a revenue generator by delivering this service. Because of budgetary cutbacks, and I want the Member for Eagle River to recognize this and remember it, because of his government's budgetary cutbacks the Province of Quebec had to establish their own health care facilities in Fermont.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not true.

MR. A. SNOW: It is true, Mr. Speaker. You can talk to people on the hospital board in Western Labrador and they will tell you the same thing.

Mr. Speaker, I thoroughly agree with the prayer of this petition, and the intent of improving the quality of health care in Labrador. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

In terms of dealing with the time -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I understand - if I could have the attention of the two House Leaders - I would deduct fifteen minutes from the time for the Member for Lapoile and five minutes from the first speaker on the Opposition side?

AN HON. MEMBER: Five and five.

MR. SPEAKER: Five and five. The only question -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) designate one from five?

MR. SPEAKER: We would have to know which speaker. I'm advised each took - I have about three to four minutes free, so perhaps four minutes from each. My question is, which ones? The hon. the Member for LaPoile, and the hon. the Opposition House Leader, fine.


MR. SPEAKER: I think you need to designate which speaker will have the time deducted, is my point.

The hon. the Member for LaPoile.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. RAMSAY: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the House. I offer the time for other matters with no reluctance, although the time for others and the time for other things is possibly indicative of the situation in which the people of my district, have suffered beyond that of people in other areas of the Province.

The fishermen and the plant workers concerned on the Southwest, the South Coast, and along the Northwest Coast, are, some would say, the forgotten fishermen and plant workers in the Province. They are of an opinion - if we look at the resolution as presented here, basically the last Fisheries Resource Conservation Council report that came out previous to this one was such that it did not recommend the closure of the Gulf cod fishery. They stated that it be reduced, but also they did make recommendations that with further indications of severity of the problems associated with the fishing stocks that these cod stocks and other stocks would certainly be looked at as requiring a reduction or even a closure. The Fisheries Resource Conservation Council has now concluded that this recommendation of drastic quota cuts and closure in some cases is a necessity.

Mr. Speaker, what we are talking about here today is an issue of equality. The issue of equality is one where our Province - because our Province has been divided along the lines of the two districts for the fisheries management, namely the Gulf region and the region called the Newfoundland region. The Newfoundland region was created, along with the Gulf region, as something to be run out of Moncton initially back when the hon. Romeo LeBlanc, a minister from the Province of New Brunswick, made an effort at that time to bring forth management for Atlantic Canada fisheries to Moncton.


MR. RAMSAY: At that time - yes, I'm going to get into this in a few minutes and we will discuss that in -

MR. TOBIN: It wipes them out! It wipes out U.I. for fishermen!

MR. RAMSAY: Just give me some time, I will get into that. Anyway, the other thing I would like to discuss about this is the equality issue.

Hon. members who have fishermen and plant workers in their district who have been fortunate enough, I suppose, to be looked after with the advent of the NCARP and the NCARP package, as it is known - it is a derogatory term, I would think, for us to call it a package - but for those who have their constituents who are so affected by the drastic quota reductions and the closure of the cod fishery in the Northern cod area, those individuals are certainly drastically affected throughout the rest of the Province. Also, one has to look at: why did we leave out the people along the Northwest Coast as well as the Southwest Coast?

Well, it is one in which, I think, the political will was there. Because the zones had been identified as such with the different regions of fisheries management, that the Northern cod was an entity in itself, and the Gulf cod was an entity in itself. To use John Crosbie's statement at the time about fish swimming, well, fish do swim, of course, and some of the fish are the same. A lot of them aren't. A lot of them don't travel at all over the boundary lines that are out there between the two fisheries regions.

Now, what do we look at in the Province, in respect of trying to address this problem of the region that I represent being left out of the equation when it comes to fisheries management and income security issues. They dreamed up a program recently called the TFAA program, the Transitional Fisheries Adjustment Allowance, which was a make-work scheme. Let there be nothing said that it was anything other than a make-work scheme for the people in our area of the Province.

In the meantime, the rest of the people of the Province were being treated differently, albeit under a somewhat different set of circumstances, but I think it was a set of circumstances that was dictated by politics and not by a conscious decision that our people were any different from the people in the rest of the Province. So a situation has arisen which is an inequity for the people of the Southwest Coast, and which the hon. the Minister of Fisheries, the current minister, the hon. Brian Tobin, has stated they will address.

Now, that doesn't necessarily mean, with the situation as we now see it, and the present fiscal realities, that the current NCARP and future programs that have to be developed will be able to continue as they are now constituted. These programs may very well, for fiscal and other reasons, have to change as people move away from the fishery, as people decide that they are going to take up other aspects of the fishery, and these are the things that certainly have to be looked at. When a federal government proves to the people that its ability to manage the country's finances is such that they are out by such a high percentage on the federal deficit, when we look at this year's expenditures being around $44 billion when they were predicting a $35 billion deficit, one sees the, I suppose, lack of fortitude on their part, and possibly the reason why they are represented by only two members in the House of Commons.

So that is a case in point that ascribes us to the new reality of the fiscal situation of the country and what we can do as the people of this Province to approach that fiscal reality so that we can derive the maximum benefit for the constituents that we represent.

In my case, I have a group of constituents - namely, fish plant workers and fishermen - who have been left out. A lot of them at this point in time have been brought down to the level of welfare. How could one justify having a fisherman in a circumstance out in Bay Bulls or a fisherman in a circumstance in the District of St. John's East Extern, how could you justify them having one set of programs that deal with their situation, and a fisherman from Rose Blanche on the South Coast in my district having to resort to welfare for their family for the exact same reason, which was the mismanagement of the fish stocks?

I know that the hon. members opposite may not argue that, but one only has to look. Everyone is holding up the document that was released yesterday. Of course, as an Opposition, well should - they are going to try to twist this and make it seem that the people who are going to be getting less on this new program will, of course, exceed the number that will do better. The fact of the matter is, Mr. Speaker, possibly, if this kind of program had been instituted by a government that they were a party to back before we took over, maybe the situation with one group of fishermen and plant workers along the Southwest Coast being treated one way, and one group of fishermen and plant workers along the Northeast Coast and on the Avalon being treated another way, would be covered off by a proposal such as this, whereby the individuals concerned would be able to avail of the income security net that they should certainly have.

Now, I have talked to a number of fish plant workers and fishermen and as opposed to trying to scare anybody, or whatever - they have concerns, of course. I took each individual enquiry to my office today. I spoke to the Economic Recovery Commission, did the calculations and in nine out of ten calls the individuals would receive more income assistance through this program than they currently receive. We are not talking about someone on the package - the package that is received in other areas of this Province where some families have done very well. Granted, I don't say they shouldn't do very well as a subsistence amount of income in comparison to what they would receive should they be cut off completely, as the people in our district were. There are numbers who have received the TFAA program and are now enjoying a benefit of roughly $250 to $270 per week.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is that enough?

MR. RAMSAY: Well, $250 to $270 per week is certainly not enough in consideration of the fact that over the last two years a lot of these people have been driven to welfare, and when a federal government allows that situation to be created within a single province, then where is the justice in that kind of situation? I say to you that when you try to balance the variety of different monies that are coming through from the many different agencies and benefit programs that are available for the people of this country, and you try to balance it out in such a way so that you redistribute from those who are able to utilize the system - it is not their fault that they happen to get ten good weeks work and then draw U.I. for the rest of the year, but this kind of program, the income supplementation program would allow these individuals to get away from the underground economy. There would be a bigger incentive in comparison to the way it has been for individuals to report income, for them not to go into the underground economy. In the current situation, we all know, some people don't want to take income, a little bit of work here and a little bit of work there, because this said income will fool up their unemployment. I am sure, as hon. members, you have heard of this. I hear it in my district often: `I don't want to take a day's work and fool up my unemployment.' That is the kind of situation that the current system allows to exist in this Province, mainly, as we know it, and throughout the country. It is a disincentive for people to do some work unless they are guaranteed that the work is of a certain duration and of a certain monetary benefit. With the kind of new proposal - and this is the kind of thing we have out in the district now, we have a little bit of make-work from the provincial government for those who are not involved in the fishery. In the fishery we have the TFAA program which is a bit of make-work for now, and that has subsisted, but still on a scale individuals on the Southwest Coast and the Northwest Coast have done a lot worse than their counterparts on the said package.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: Hold on now. There will be some private sector employment. I am very proud of some initiatives we have made that will work out very well. One of the key areas relates to the fabrication facility that was built there with help from the federal government and the provincial government, and that kind of initiative to diversify the economy is one place where you can get private sector jobs. Currently, individuals from that company are travelling to Syria - they have been in India, Oslo and Norway, doing a lot of prospecting and working on potential contracts to employ people in the new fabrication yard which exists in the location of the former railway. Not only has my district lost the fishery as far as employment goes, we have suffered from the problems associated with the containerization of a lot of the freight traffic that normally came through Marine Atlantic. A lot of that we are getting back now because of the delivery schedule being that much better for truck-driven freight coming through Port aux Basques. Secondly, we lost the railway where ten years ago there were well over 1,000 people working and now you currently have, with CN and Marine Atlantic in total, about 150 people working from our given area. So there has been a huge decrease in employment. The population has stayed relatively stable. We have lost probably about 500 or 600 people, but with new things going on and new employment being created, you get some of that. Now, you speak of: Where is the private sector employment going to come from to support this kind of income security proposal that the government has proposed?

Mr. Speaker, the need for new private sector employment to assist this program in working out for the betterment of the people of the Province is one element and one element only. The underground economy that currently exists, if you can have people and give them an incentive to report the income from the underground economy - because if they get to a certain point and then you say, after receiving twenty weeks' work, it would be more beneficial to them financially to report a week's work here, a week's work there, that they do under the table now, a bit of carpentry work which is often - now these key things, where will we find a lot of this private sector employment?

The private sector employment is currently ongoing throughout much of the Province, and this private sector employment will then be reported, so we have killed two birds with one stone, to use the terminology, because we now have it reported, so these individuals then have income that they can utilize for the income supplementation program and, as well, they have income that down the road could be utilized for future Canada Pension benefits. Should they become disabled in any way, shape or form, they have a higher income that is then looked at from a standpoint of the CPP people and, as hon. members well know, we are the ones who often end up dealing with people who may require Canada Pension benefits in representing them on appeal, and the variety of different functions that happen if they are having difficulty with income when they get to the age of sixty or sixty-five, what have you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. RAMSAY: Just by leave, Mr. Speaker, if I may.

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

MR. RAMSAY: Just a minute to clue up my remarks.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Does the hon. member have leave?


MR. SPEAKER: Okay, by leave.

MR. RAMSAY: Mr. Speaker, what I wanted to conclude with, and I would ask for hon. members opposite - I don't think there will be much of a problem for them to support this motion that we have placed on the Order Paper, but I do want to put forward to them this. We are talking about a discrepancy in federal government programs. The federal government has indicated that they are willing to support this kind of initiative, but we do have to look at the fiscal reality of the country.

I do say, in conclusion, that we have gotten an endorsement which is very good, on this new income security proposal. It is an endorsement from an individual named Patrick Johnston. He is the Executive Director of the Canadian Council on Social Development, and I would like to quote Mr. Johnston. He said: `The new incentives would be great, but it is really a moot point if the jobs aren't there,' and that, again, is what the Opposition are saying and I give them all due respect for that position. He said: There is a legitimate question about whether this would just replace one kind of dependency with another. He does say, though, that it is a concrete and constructive alternative to the current system.

In looking at the motion that is on the Order Paper, I would ask hon. members to consider that in light of this new kind of income supplementation program which certainly would have prevented the people from my district, and the districts along the West Coast of the Province, from the kind of baulkanization that has occurred in the Province to this point.

Mr. Speaker, I will take my seat now and hon. members can respond.

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) going next, but you're speaking next, are you?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

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

I would not be surprised if the hon. the Member for Eagle River will be sitting quietly in his seat, as he has been all day, with his nose touching his desk, and for good reason, I say to members opposite.

Mr. Speaker, I want to have a few words on the resolution put forward today by the Member for LaPoile. I guess it is quite ironic that we are here debating this resolution today, calling upon the federal government, in essence, to implement a fair and equitable compensation package for, I guess, basically the people in the member's area - the Southwest and Northwest Coasts - which I have no problem whatsoever supporting. I can support that quite readily.

With regard to the recommendations of the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council, there is no doubt in my mind that they should be accepted, that the Gulf cod fishery be closed and quotas for other stocks will be substantially reduced; of course there is a bit of debate whether or not the other stocks should only be substantially reduced or if it should be a closure there as well, so I have no problems supporting the member's resolution whatsoever, I think it is long overdue. But it is quite ironic, as I read the resolution, I am looking at just what came down last week from Mr. Cashin, `Charting a New Course', and the recommendations that he had in his report dealing with fisherpersons and how he wanted to improve and build some flexibility into the fishermen's UI system, a system that has been in place for some thirty years, a little better than thirty years, and I was quite interested in reading what Mr. Cashin had recommended, because we have all faced over the years, the problems with fishermen's UI. They cannot get benefits until the middle of November and then they are expired on the 15th of May, so he has built some things in here which would make it better for fishermen and as well, he made a recommendation that would give fishermen incentive to keep fishing rather than cut off fishing, so I thought that was positive.

MR. RAMSAY: In our area (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, I know, sure, I know, but then, of course yesterday, with the making public of this proposal for a new income supplementation program -

MR. BAKER: A marvellous document.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I say to the Minister of Finance, if he thinks that is a marvellous document then he is on a stronger serum than the Premier is on because it is obvious that the Premier is on some kind of a strange serum for the last little while because of what he is getting on with a -

AN HON. MEMBER: A what sir?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Serum, s - e - r - u - m, a very strong serum I say to the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, something like the serum that comes up my way, very powerful serum. But, Mr. Speaker, it is quite ironic because basically, while I sympathize with the people from the South, Southwest Coast, Northwest Coast and all along the South Coast, the Northeast Coast of the Province, this document is going to really be devastating to most of them, I say to the Member for LaPoile, and he shakes his head, no, it's not. It is, I say to him, it is, it is going to be devastating for the people whom we represent I say to him, and then I go back to six to eight weeks ago, when we had the now federal fisheries minister campaigning in the federal election, and the now re-elected Member of Parliament for Burin - St. Georges, went right along the South Coast saying: we are second-class citizens, you are being treated like second-class citizens. The package that Ross Reid has brought in for you is second-class, it is not as good as the NCARP package and when we get to Ottawa, we are going to get you the first-class package; that is what he campaigned on. Now, what has happened since?

I have not heard a whimper from Simmons since. Every word I have heard from Tobin since, has been backing off. The big question is now, will the NCARP package now be reduced, brought down to the South and Southwest Coasts package, or will there be a package at all, I say to the Member for LaPoile? That is what he should be worried about. Of course when you hear the Premier in Question Period today, he gave every indication, this Premier, that he has met with the new Prime Minister, he has met with the new fisheries minister, he has met with the human resources minister and when I hear the Premier stand in his place today and say: we know this country cannot afford the level of benefits being paid under the NCARP package, then how much clearer can it be for the Member for LaPoile and the members opposite, because we are going to see a substantial reduction -

AN HON. MEMBER: You are not doing it right Bill.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am not doing it right?


MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am not doing it right?

AN HON. MEMBER: No, I (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh. But there is going to be a substantial reduction in benefits paid to people all around the Province, I say to the Member for La Poile; substantial reduction in benefits and that is why I asked him the question when he referred to the people in his own area on the TFFA Program, of getting $250, $270, I asked him, was it enough? Now there are those who will argue that it is too much. There are those who would argue that it should be equal to NCARP; now of course, the fallacy about NCARP, is that people thing that everybody is getting $406 which they are not.

AN HON. MEMBER: How much are they getting?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It is about an average of $300, that is the NCARP, it averages to about $300 I think, I say to the Member for LaPoile for the NCARP.

MR. RAMSAY: There is a lot under TFAA who are getting less than $200.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh I know that. There are some big problems with TFAA, I have had calls from along the South Coast, I say to the Member for LaPoile, from more districts than just my own, from people who are a bit frustrated, people who went out and fished, they really fished. They have sort of fallen between the cracks because other people got topped up here, there and somewhere else. Those who weren't as successful, maybe through no fault of their own, of earnings and income but the real hard working fisherman, in a lot of cases, has fallen through the cracks of any additional support. So that is a problem that has not been addressed.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) what a mess.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, good God what a mess, I say to the Member for Fogo, what a mess.

MR. TULK: Tory mess.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No it is not a Tory mess it is a -

MR. TULK: Oh, yes it is.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well if I confess today, Mr. Speaker, that it is a Tory mess, if I confess that - if I am willing to confess that it is a Tory mess, can you imagine what this government now with this and the Member for Fogo's federal counterparts - what kind of a disaster and devastation they are going to put on this Province? Mr. Speaker, there is one thing about it, there were not too many people who said that the NCARP package was a mess, I will tell you that. There was not too many people who thought that that was a mess.

AN HON. MEMBER: It was heaven on earth.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Not to many. There were people in other regions of the Province who wanted the equivalent of NCARP, such as in my own area, they wanted the equivalent of NCARP, I say to the Member for Fogo -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, but with this, Mr. Speaker, with this - my God, when I read this document, Mr. Speaker, on page 24, when it talks about the ISP program, it says it is going to revert to being, in short, more difficult to access with shorter benefit periods, will require twenty weeks of work, I say to the Member for Fogo, I can count them on my fingers and toes. I can count them down in my district these days who can get twenty weeks or more work a year from the shipyard to the fish plants - the mine in St. Lawrence is closed and so it is all over the Province - top of page 4 - I say to the Member for Fogo - Mr. Speaker, could you ask the Member for Fogo to be quiet because if he wants to participate in debate I am sure he can get up after.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I just want to say to him, is that -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I say to the Member for Fogo, if that is all you've read - and I am not surprised that is all you've read - now maybe someone else read that to you. Maybe someone else read that for you. That would not surprise me that someone else read that paragraph for him.

But this was dealt with by the Provincial Cabinet in August, Mr. Speaker, by the Provincial Cabinet in August. They have passed in principle the elimination of the fishermen's UI system. That is basically what they have done - since August.

MR. TULK: Your some stunned (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I probably am stunned. I don't profess to be a genius, I say to the Member for Fogo. I don't profess to be anything like that. I am pretty honest with myself, I say to the Member for Fogo. I know my limitations and I know my abilities. I wish some other members in this Chamber would be like that, Mr. Speaker. I mean it is spelled out for members here. I don't know why they don't read it and digest it. This is a disaster and I just want to read it right for the Member for LaPoile again, that I have no problem whatsoever in supporting his resolution calling for a fair, equitable compensation package for those people, I support that. Of course I am sure now with the influence that hon. members have with the new fisheries minister and their federal cousins now that they will be able to get a package. Of course, I am not so sure anymore.

I say again, to the Member for LaPoile, because it is his resolution - really what the Premier is doing here, the Premier is giving his now federal buddies a way out. He is giving them a way out to do away with all the programs that are now in place. He is giving them a way out and the question that has to be asked is: Why is Clyde K. Wells giving his federal buddies a way out? When for the last four or five years he stood in his place here and ranted and roared. He has belittled and berated John Crosbie, Mulroney and Campbell along with other members over there including the Member for Eagle River, a continuous barrage and criticized everything they did. Now, who is now giving Prime Minister Chrétian, Brian Tobin, Lloyd Axworthy and all those a way out? The Premier of this Province and this Cabinet are giving them the way out, Mr. Speaker, and hon. members should never forget that. I don't know how in the name of God members are going to be able to defend it. How are they going to be able to defend it? Can anyone name a fish plant in this Province that will be open for twenty weeks next year?

AN HON. MEMBER: Port aux Basques.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Port aux Basques. Well, that is great, I say to the member, that is one. I don't know of another one. I say to the Member for Fortune - Hermitage, I hope Harbour Breton gets twenty weeks next year, but they might not. I don't know if Fortune is going to get it. Marystown is down. All along the South Coast. So where are they going to get the work? So for any member to think that this document doesn't have implications for the people in their districts, you had better read it and start doing some research. It is going to be a very serious situation for all of us.

Poor Danny, I don't know what to say about him. That said it all. Where was Danny Dumaresque when? Of course the question will be asked again, where is Danny now on this one? Because they covered it all off - this is a great letter. I don't know this gentleman but I'm going to phone him. I will phone the gentleman and tell him what a marvellous job he did. Up to his antics again. Is there any wonder he doesn't have a Cabinet seat when he is shooting off at the mouth like a loose cannon? It is unbelievable. Where was Danny this fall when Walter Noel, a member of the same party, attacked fishermen and fish plant workers?

MR. DUMARESQUE: He stood alone.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He stood alone. Where was he again on the matter of the Fisheries Loan Board and its dealing with fishermen, we ask one Daniel Dumaresque? Conspicuously quiet, Mr. Speaker. Where was he on the issue of consolidation of processing plants? He has not spoken out against his government's hands off policy to dealing with the only part of the industry in which they have complete jurisdiction. One Daniel Dumaresque hasn't spoken a word, Mr. Speaker.


MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh my, it is unbelievable. The only one he has attacked is the unions. The only ones left now for Danny to attack are the unions. He attacks the unions.

AN HON. MEMBER: Write a book on it, who will search for Danny?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Who will search for Danny? Yes, that is true, that is a book. Who will search for Danny? I'm sure the hon. member will have a chance to peruse the document. I'm hoping over the next few weeks he will have the courage to stand up in his place and tell the people of the Province what he really thinks of it. I think I know what he thinks of it. Maybe one day he will tell us.


MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, he doesn't like this very much. I watched him today in Question Period. Anytime the Member for Eagle River's nose is down touching his desk you know things are not well with him. The Premier and the government are doing things he doesn't like, I say. I've observed him over the years and I think I know him pretty well, almost as well as I know the Member for Port de Grave, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. All the while I've watched him and observed him.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where was his nose?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: All I can say is that is an interesting question, that. For the Member for Port de Grave I would say that the Member for Eagle River asked where the minister's nose was today. I was about to say to the hon. member - no, hold on, I have the answer.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) no patronage here!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, no patronage. I was going to say, I don't know where the hon. minister's nose was today, but I happened to run into him at lunch and I think I know where his nose would have liked to have been.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Members are reading it all wrong, because when I saw him he was eating a dish of chocolate ice cream.

Anyway, I want to conclude my remarks, Mr. Speaker, and say to the Member for LaPoile that I support the resolution, no trouble whatsoever. I just hope that there is a package put in place, an adequate package to deal with the problem that is so illustrated in his resolution today.

MR. SPEAKER (L. Snow): The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Mr. Speaker, I'm very happy to rise today and support the Member for LaPoile and the resolution that he so ably put forward. I didn't know that it was going to be a Danny Dumaresque day, but I am happy to have the opportunity to say where I am, where I am going, and so forth, because it was only just six short months ago that the people of Eagle River said: We know where Danny Dumaresque is going to be when it comes down to May 3. When there were fifty Tories in the Province looking for a place to run, not one Tory would raise their head in the District of Eagle River because they knew they never had a prayer of ever occupying that seat.

I am telling you, the people of Eagle River knew where I stood on May 3, and the people of Eagle River know, when the writ comes down again, where I stand. The Tories have never occupied that seat in this House since 1949, and they never will occupy that seat!

The people of Eagle River know that when it comes to protecting their interests, I am there loud and clear.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Now I cannot help it if the FFAW is getting really sore because the editorial board of The Evening Telegram told them they should not be sending out letters for $250 union dues to the people of Labrador just before Christmas. I cannot help it if Earle McCurdy cannot get his jacuzzi to work because he cannot get the $250 from the people in Black Tickle, Labrador, Mr. Speaker. I cannot help that.

If they are going to go now and give their $750 a week employees, like they have done in the paper recently, to make sure they got the words put in there for the editor, sure they could go ahead and do that, but I can tell the hon. member that there has never been a time when I have shirked my responsibilities to the people of Eagle River district, and indeed there will not be a time when I will, and the people on the hon. member's side of the House will certainly know that.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to say today that what we are confronted with is a real challenge in this Province that we have not known since the depression, and I want to say to the people of this Province, and members on all sides of this House, that if you are not going to put your shoulder to the wheel, if you are not going to confront this challenge head-on, there will be no Newfoundland and Labrador as we know it today. There will be no rural Newfoundland and Labrador as we know it today if we do not do something about it, and we are going to challenge it. Yes, we are going to meet that challenge head-on, and yes we are going to make reforms in different areas, and there is no area that is more lacking in reform, there is no more area demanding more accountability to the people than in fisheries management.

We have a situation today where I just got a NAFO circulation letter dated December 10. December 10 this letter was sent out by NAFO to all of their parent companies and to all the companies that are on the NAFO organization, and the people of this Province would be horrified to know that from January 1 to October 31 of this year there has now been 185 million pounds of fish - 185 million pounds of fish - taken inside and outside of the 200-mile limit, turbot, red fish and cod.

As we speak today, when all of our plants are closed down, and our people are out of work, and we are so desperate to try to have some security for our communities and for our people, we know right now that we have 15,000 to 20,000 jobs being taken from us as we sit here in the House of Assembly today. Those are the facts, and the future of the fishery is a very, very challenging one, and one we have to look at and make some radical changes in, I submit to this House.

We have made our move for changes in the education system, and indeed they are substantial, but they are necessary. We have made our recommendations for a change in the income support programs for our people because they are necessary. We are not saying that we are all perfect. We are not saying we have all the answers. We have not said that this is the panacea for it all, but what we have not done, at this point in time, and the federal and provincial governments have to do, is to come to the table with their responsibilities on the fisheries management of this Province, and be prepared to bargain in good faith, negotiate in good faith, put all the species on the table, take the power of allocation, take the power of quotas, take the power of licensing to fishermen and to companies, and to deal that, then, out to the areas of the Province that so depend on the fishery that brought us here some 400 and some odd years ago.

What we cannot do is do one without the other. We have a recommendation from the Cashin task force that says we should set up some industry renewal boards. There is no way in this world that anybody should participate in an industry renewal board if the only mandate that that renewal board is given is to be able to pluck a licence from here or from there. That is exactly what Cashin has recommended. He said that these boards will cease to function after they have rationalized our harvesting and processing capacity. That is not right, that is not fair, and that is irresponsible to suggest, especially coming from a man of Mr. Cashin's stature who is supposed to have an understanding of the fishery.

Mr. Speaker, we have got to do some very big things in the fishery in this Province in order to be able to maintain our communities as we know them. So what we have got to do is not unlike what has happened in other provinces in the Maritimes, in particular Nova Scotia and New Brunswick: we have to diversify within the fishery. We have to use all species that are adjacent to our communities and give them the kind of security that they need. Now it can be done, we know it can be done.

In Labrador we have done that to an extent and we know we have more work to do, but we know that we can do it. We have seen the diversification within the fishery and we have seen it occupy the planning of our communities, in Cartwright and St. Lewis and Mary's Harbour in the crab fishery, and the scallop fishery in the Labrador Straits and in the Williams Harbour area. We have seen that work and we have given these communities a real lifeline, a real good, solid, secure future. We have to do the same thing with the other species that are out there being taken right now.

We have got to give the federal government time. We have got to give Brian Tobin, our Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, some time. We can't expect -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DUMARESQUE: We can't expect, Mr. Speaker.... We came into office here in 1989 to clean up seventeen years of total mismanagement and now the Tories over there opposite think that we can do in one hour what it took nine years for them to destroy!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!


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

MR. TOBIN: Where is Danny? What happened?

MR. HEWLETT: What happened to the real Danny?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: He is alive and well.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, he is not well.

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

MR. DUMARESQUE: Mr. Speaker, the members of the Opposition -

MR. HEWLETT: Mr. Rompkey's seat is not cold yet!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DUMARESQUE: - have got to realize that it is no secret, there has to be a profound strategy, to get at 6 per cent in the polls. There has to be. You can't do it any other way unless you really plan for it.

One of the things that you really plan for is to show to the people of the Province that you have a totally irresponsible view of the future, to show to the people of the Province that you couldn't care less about what happens to the people. To go out there and tell them now - the people are wiser. They know that Brian Tobin can't solve every problem in the fishery overnight. They've only been there four or five weeks, Mr. Speaker. I mean, how in heaven's name do you think that the people of the Province would be able to demand that kind of action.

AN HON. MEMBER: They can't be that smart.

MR. DUMARESQUE: They can't be that smart. No, Mr. Speaker. Obviously they are not prepared to be honest with the people, they are not prepared to play a constructive role when it comes to meeting the challenges that we have before us today. There will be substantial difference. I understand on December 17 now, on Friday, Mr. Tobin will be making an announcement respecting the compensation program. I am very confident that the program that he will put in place, the message that he and the government of the day are sending out there, is that they will be there for the people of this Province after May 15.

The people in the Gulf, in my area of the Labrador Straits which is in the Gulf, the 4R area of the Gulf zone, are waiting to hear what is going to happen on Friday. They are confident. They are confident because now they have somebody in that department who understands them and who is committed to them like we have not had before in this Province, I submit. We have had Newfoundlanders, yes, in the Fisheries portfolio before, but we have never had a Newfoundlander equal to Brian Tobin in that portfolio, never. History will record that, Mr. Speaker.

I am very happy to be able here today to support the resolution that has been put forward by the member because what we have is something inherently unfair. In some cases, like in the Labrador Straits, in the community of Red Bay, for instance, we have people on the Gulf and some people went to Black Tickle and got under the Northern Cod Program and they are being treated totally different. It is not right. They are both fishermen, they both grew up in the fishery, they both went out and tried to do what they could, but just because one never went on the other side of 2J they are now being given dramatically different compensation programs than the people in the Gulf and that is wrong. I believe Mr. Tobin will correct that. I believe he will see that unfairness rectified, Mr. Speaker.

I certainly am encouraging him to do that, but at the same time we have to realize that we have some formidable challenges facing the people of this country and the people of this Province, namely in the financial situation that we have. In the six months before the election the people of this country were told there would be a deficit of $32 billion and the people were very, very uneasy about having a deficit of that size. Then on October 26 when the Liberals went in and looked into the cupboard and found exactly what was there it was not $32 billion, Mr. Speaker, it was $46 billion. You talk about spending like drunken sailors. It was absolutely abhorrent the kind of spending and the kind of flagrant mismanagement they put into the system in Ottawa, so we do have that very, very difficult situation to deal with. We will definitely rise to the challenge.

We have provided the leadership in the past in this Province through this government when it dealt with the other issues of the day and we will do so when it comes to the fishery, and we will do so when it comes to income support for our people. The program that we have seen with Mr. Cashin I think has some very positive elements to it, I might say. I am not here to totally condemn the Cashin Report. I think there are a number of very, very good aspects to it. One of the other aspects, apart from the one I already mentioned, is the fact that Mr. Cashin is recommending that the principle of historic use be the principle upon which future resources are allocated, and that is wrong. That is absolutely wrong, Mr. Speaker, because the only future we have, I submit, in the near future, in the next ten years or so, is for us to access these other species, this 185 million pounds of red fish, turbot, and cod out on the Flemish Cap and in 3No.

The only prayer that we have is to be able to access that fish and be able to bring it back to our adjacent plants. If we have a policy in place that says: if you did not fish this fish before you will never fish it in the future, then obviously we cannot have any hope of getting our communities back and we can never reopen a number of these deep sea plants, Mr. Speaker, we can never have the kind of security that we want for our people. We have not fished the 100 million pounds of turbot in 3KNl, so obviously Mr. Cashin is telling us to forget it, that we are going to abide by the principle of historic use and because the foreigners have been in there doing it before us, or because Nova Scotia has been there doing it before us, they are going to continue to have that access and that will be very, very detrimental to our people.

Mr. Speaker, I want to say to the people of Eagle River and the people of Labrador that we are going to have to make some very tough decisions. We are saying today that the income support programs we have do not work, and I absolutely agree. One of the first resolutions I put on the floor of this House of Assembly was back in early 1990 when I submitted to the House that there needed to be a guaranteed annual income to be able to give the people of our communities some hope, some security, to be able to work out the problems in the UI system. What we have before us is certainly the elements of that particular philosophy and that particular program. We are going to give the people of Coastal Labrador a guaranteed income if the federal government accepts our proposal.

We are going to give the people of Labrador the knowledge that the resources that are adjacent to them are going to be given to them so that we can make those plants work like they are supposed to work, so we can have them going for the twenty, twenty-five, thirty weeks, like we are going to do this year in Williams Harbour with the scallop fishery and as we have done in the Labrador Straits, but it is not going to be easy and that is why I am saying that we cannot have one element alone, we must have the other elements working there and I am not prepared to stand here and support one aspect of it unless we are given the authority and given the allocations to be able to make the puzzle work, to fit it together so that our communities know that we are being given the security and we have been given the tools to plan, that I think is absolutely essential.

So, Mr. Speaker, I know there is going to be a lot of debate about the issues that we have raised; I know there is going to be considerable debate about the income supplement program and the elements of it, and so there should. I mean, people must ask questions, they must demand answers and they must get accountability and we will do that. We will go there and meet with them. I plan on meeting my people in the Labrador Straits and all along the Labrador Coast in January, to fully outline the proposals that we have and to hear their views. We want to know the challenges that they see before them and the problems that they see and the elements of this program that they endorse and the elements that obviously they dislike.

I am not about to stand here and say that what we have proposed is absolutely the panacea for the future of this Province or for the future of the people on the Coast of Labrador. I am not here to say that we have all the answers, but what I am here to do, and why I am a proud member of this government, is that at the end of the day, I will be able to go back to my people and say: we had the political courage to take leadership to act responsibly, meet the challenges and demand the accountability for the taxpayers dollars.

That is something we have to do, we just cannot sit back and wait until the federal government or the economy of the nation dictates that we are going to have our benefits, our social safety nets stripped away from us without any kind of recourse, without any kind of reasonable input, so I think that what we have done is today, with this particular initiative, is continue on with the kinds of initiatives that we have taken over the past few months and the past four years to be able to meet the real challenges ahead for the people of Eagle River district and throughout the Province, and I am very confident that at the end of the day, the people will say that we sent you there to provide leadership, we sent you there to give your ideas a chance to work and we will have faith that you will be able to deliver for us and give us the accountability that we deserve from our elected members and from a responsible government.

So I am very happy today to see the Opposition endorse this particular resolution because we have to get fairness into the program, we have to get the security there for the people and indeed I know that on Friday, our Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Brian Tobin, will deliver one of the first of many positive things for the people of this Province when he addresses this particular issue in Quebec City on Friday.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for your indulgence.

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am happy today to stand and support the resolution by the Member for LaPoile, but I am amazed at some of the comments from the other side of the House. What a flip-flop!


MR. MANNING: What a flip-flop, especially by the Member for Eagle River. Oh Daniel Boy, Oh Daniel Boy.

A few months ago all I could hear as I watched this hon. House, was the condemnation of the federal government, left, right and centre; and now we have a new government and you asked, now we have a new federal government and the member for Eagle River says give time. Well, you have fifty days, as of today, since the election, forty more to go, to take over the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks, and I await that day - forty days; ninety days, forty days left to go - and Newfoundland awaits as well as I await.

He said about 185 million pounds of cod caught inside and outside the 200-mile limit. I agree this is wrong, but I await for forty more days. I am like our Lord in the desert. I await to see what happens after forty days.

AN HON. MEMBER: Go up on the mountain.

MR. MANNING: No, I will never get up on the mountain you are on, Sir.

I talk about the Member for LaPoile, who talked about the forgotten fishermen and plant workers, and I agree that there are many forgotten fishermen and plant workers in this Province, but I can guarantee you, Mr. Speaker, and the Member for LaPoile, that if the government pursues this course there will be many forgotten fishermen and plant workers in this Province.

The Member for LaPoile noted that if programs such as this had to be brought in a few years ago we would not stand here today and worry about a resolution such as this. No, I agree 100 per cent with the Member for LaPoile. We would not be standing here today if a program like this had been brought in, because there would be no fishermen and there would be no plant workers anywhere in Newfoundland. This will replace the NCARP package. I agree. The starvation package will replace the NCARP package, and that is what that package is, a starvation package.

It amazes me that a Premier of a province like Newfoundland and Labrador, the government supporting him on giving the federal Government of Canada the opportunity to walk away from us, because this is what this program will do. We are giving them the window of opportunity that they have looked for to walk away. Instead of standing up and fighting for our rights, we are passing it right into their hands. I am worried, Mr. Speaker, about what the Bonnie and Clyde show will do to Newfoundland in the long run.

As far as I am concerned, this is the last nail in the coffin of the resettlement program. This income supplementation program is the last nail in the coffin of the 1993 resettlement program of the Wells' Liberal government, as far as I am concerned.

The Cashin Report, which was endorsed by our Premier just a few days ago, and he said that it was a good report and he believed the changes that were coming from it would be good for Newfoundland. Then, a few days after, he comes in with the income supplementation program. Therefore, it is another flip-flop.

Somebody mentioned the fact that the new Minister of Fisheries was a good minister. Well, he has been there fifty days - less than fifty days since he was sworn in as minister - and I cannot comment on the new minister as of yet - he is only new - but I can comment on what the former minister, big John, did for my district, and I can guarantee you that the new minister will have to have very big shoes to fill if he is to deliver to Newfoundland and Labrador what the hon. John Crosbie delivered to Newfoundland and Labrador over his years.

The Member for Eagle River visited my home town during the election campaign. I remember dropping down to say hello. He did not come up to my house. I had to go down to say hello. Anyway, he came along St. Bride's and reiterated with the now Minister of Fisheries about the new Liberal government, that they would make sure that the NCARP package would stay intact, and that they -

MR. TOBIN: Say that again for the Member for Eagle River.

MR. MANNING: I remind the Member for Eagle River that he visited my home town during the election campaign. I welcomed him, and I went down and said hello. I did not hide. I went down and said hello, and he brought forward a message that was reiterated a few days later by the hon. Brian Tobin himself, when he visited my home town of St. Bride's. I went down again to say hello, and he delivered a message to the people of my community that the NCARP package would continue, come May - intact, as is. He delivered that on the soil of St. Bride's, and in fifty days she has whistled around and she has turned around. Now where are the lies and the deceit that were brought to the people during the election, I ask, Mr. Speaker.

Now, I ask the Member for Eagle River: Why lead the people down the garden path? Be truthful in the first place.

We wonder about the future. The member spoke about an announcement forthcoming from the hon. Brian Tobin in the next few days about the future of the NCARP package and about the future of the UI system in regard to fishermen and everything else.

Mr. Speaker, we do not have to wait until December 17, for the new ministers announcement, we got the announcement yesterday. We got the announcement yesterday, right here, of what will happen to the UI and what will happen to the NCARP and what will happen to the fishermen and plant workers of this Province. We got the answer with the income supplementation program. We got the resettlement program yesterday all over again.

Mr. Speaker, I am concerned and worried about the future of this Province. I am concerned and worried about the future of St. Mary's - The Capes. St. Mary's - The Capes, the district I represent, depends 100 per cent either directly or indirectly on the fishery of this Province - of the fishery of our area. I worry about what is going to come around from that. I look at a man now, who has made a decent living and raised his family in a small community in my district, who will be brought down to his knees, Mr. Speaker, brought to his knees under this new program. He will be brought to his knees to try to put food on the table for his family.

Many members of the government opposite live in rural Newfoundland or represent rural Newfoundland and how they can support this program amazes me and I have been here only a couple of months. It amazes me how members, who have been here for years, and understanding the problems of rural Newfoundland and Labrador can stand and support this program. It is beyond my understanding, Mr. Speaker. We don't want people treated differently. The basis for the resolution being brought to the House today is that fishermen in one end of our Province would not be treated differently than fishermen in the other end of the Province. I agree wholeheartedly with the resolution - I have no problem with it. I think every Newfoundlander and every Canadian should be treated alike but we have to be concerned about the future, Mr. Speaker, and the future is bleak even without the plans by this provincial government - even without those plans the future is bleak for our Province as it is.

What we had in the past we understand that it will not be like that in the future but we have a responsibility as members of the House of Assembly to the people of this Province. It is not to sell out the people of this Province, it is not to turn our backs on the people of this Province but it is to stand up and fight for what is right for the people of this Province. The only way we can do that is to come up with ideas that will improve the way of life for the people of this Province and the ideas are not in the income supplementation program report that was passed to us yesterday.

Mr. Speaker, the fishermen and plant workers of this Province have put their lives on hold over the past couple of years as governments try to come to grips with the problems that we have faced in the past and the future of the fishing industry of this Province. I ask the government that they begin a consultation process with the fishermen and the plant workers because if the fishermen and the plant workers of this Province had been consulted in years past - because they knew what the problems were - if they had been consulted in the years past the fishery would not be in the state that it is in today in this Province. Wherever the blame is to be laid, lay it. It does not bother me whether it is federal, provincial or on our own turf, that does not matter. Wherever I say, Mr. Speaker, the blame is to be laid for what has happened to this fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador that it be laid.

Let's forget about blame, let's start looking for ideas, recommendations and some concrete answers to the problems and some concrete answers for the future. We won't get that by going around and jumping up and talking about what happened ten years ago and talking about what happened fifteen years ago. We have to worry about what is going to happen tomorrow. Every time we bring up a problem or discuss something in this House, it amazes me that everybody talks about ten years ago, twelve years ago, fifteen years ago and so on and so forth. Nobody talks about the future but in the Richard Cashin report, `Charting the New Course', he talked about the future of the fishery. I went through the report - not as thoroughly as I want to go through it, I will do that over the next few days - and he has some excellent recommendations there. I believe that the Government of the Province would wholeheartedly support the recommendations of the Cashin Report and try to come up with answers for the fishermen and plant workers of this Province.

Now you talk about the income supplementation program; people in rural Newfoundland are going to need twenty insurable weeks in order to draw UI under this new program. Mr. Speaker, I don't know about anywhere else but they are lucky to get ten in my district now. They are lucky to get five in a lot of cases and there is no way in the world they will get twenty. It just won't be there. The $6 million man will have to become the $90 million man next fall after he finishes with this program. I promise you that, Mr. Speaker, that $6 million will only be a spit in the bucket, it won't be a drop, it will be a spit in the bucket. That will be next fall because it won't be implemented by then but then come the next fall, he will be the zero dollar man because under this program that wipes out $6 million men like yourself. That wipes out people. Right?

I had a gentleman call me today concerning this program. He told me that back in the 1930s he used to get thirteen cents a day for his family. Now he might not get thirteen cents a day, Mr. Speaker, under this new program, but now he won't get a hell of a lot more if this is brought forward. We are talking about taking people out of rural Newfoundland and finding work. Where is the work? Where in the name of God I ask is the work going to be that is supposed to come out of this program? If the fishery is shut down and the people are relegated to beyond the amount of dollars that are laid out in this program, where is the work going to come from?

I predict within five to six years if this program comes in that the only people who are going to be in rural Newfoundland are the people who are going to be on social assistance and people with government jobs in rural Newfoundland. There won't be anybody else there. The private sector will be wiped out because they won't be able to afford to keep going, and so on and so forth. Fish plants are closed down around this Province and we should be thinking about the future. I don't believe that this program is thinking about the future.

I understand where the Member for LaPoile is coming from. When this resolution was brought to the House it was before the income supplementation program was brought to the House. I wonder myself would he bring it forward today if he had to have this in his hands beforehand. But then, not too many had that. Dr. House had it, and Premier Wells, and a couple more of the close Cabinet colleagues had it, but not too many had it.

This wasn't put together in a couple of weeks, and I'm sure it was around in October. I wonder would the Premier try to bring that forward during the election campaign. If he had to bring it out during the election campaign I'm sure we would have had a different result in rural Newfoundland. This is a hidden agenda. It has been going on for months. A hidden agenda by this government to bring the people of rural Newfoundland to their knees. To bring the resettlement program of the 1960s back all over again.

I guarantee you that the people of rural Newfoundland won't sit back and take it. The people of rural Newfoundland will rise up like a tidal wave when the time comes and come crashing in over this building. I'm telling you that Premier Wells can sit home on his salary and expect people to live on 5 per cent of that out in rural Newfoundland, and I wonder how he expects that to be done.

We have a way of life that we have been accustomed to. I agree 100 per cent, there are many programs over the years that have been abused and misused and everything else. I agree 100 per cent. There is room for reform. You will get no one more to support reform than you will the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes. You have no worries there. But let's reform uphill, don't reform downhill. As far as I'm concerned, the income supplementation program is heading downhill. We are going to be buried in rural Newfoundland and we won't be able to get out of it any more. It will take years after this government is defeated in the next election to get us back on track, but we can stand up and like yourselves, we will have somebody to blame I guess, Mr. Speaker.

MR. GRIMES: You obviously didn't read it. It is obvious. The Leader of the Opposition didn't read it, I can tell by his questions. You couldn't have read it for sure.

MR. MANNING: The Leader of the Opposition, I will remind the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, like ourselves, has only had this for a few days, but when you open up the pages there are parts of it that glare out at you. Parts of this program glare out at you. They strike you like a smack in the face, Mr. Speaker. That is what they do. Twenty weeks in rural Newfoundland. Where in the name of God are we going to get twenty weeks? This is a smack to the chops of the people of rural Newfoundland, I would say. The people of this Province are being brought to their knees once again, I repeat once again.

I've listened for the past couple of months as the Premier portrays and puts forward his government policy, and it is the right policy. He has all the right answers. He knows the right direction that this Province should go in. The Premier of this Province knows the problems and knows the answers to these problems. How come we know that he knows? Because he tells us he knows. That is how come we know. Because he tells us he knows. He believes it himself, so he is trying to get us to believe it. But I don't believe it, Mr. Speaker, I will never believe it. Allowing the UI program to revert to being an insurance program, more difficult to access, with shorter benefit periods than the present system. This would be accomplished, for example, by requiring twenty weeks of work to be eligible for benefits. I ask again where are you going to get twenty weeks work?

AN HON. MEMBER: If you cannot get it, you don't have to worry about it.

MR. MANNING: The Economic Recovery Commission, Mr. Speaker, was brought into this Province to come up with ideas for economic growth in this Province. Well, after reading this last night - and, Mr. Speaker, I stayed up late. After reading this I wondered what the Economic Recovery Commission has been smoking lately because, I repeat again, this is a slap in the face to rural Newfoundland. How the Member for Eagle River can get up and support this amazes me. Where, I ask the Member for Eagle River are the people in his district going to get twenty weeks work? They have no more chance of getting twenty weeks work down in his district than they have in mine. They will get the starvation package instead. They will get $9000 a year.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: I am being honest, Mr. Speaker. I am not brainwashed I say to the Member for LaPoile. There is no one in this House will ever brainwash me, but you, Sir, are brainwashed. If you think this is the answer to the problems in rural Newfoundland you are brainwashed. The Member for Eagle River is brainwashed, and I do not know who brainwashed the Premier but he is brainwashed, too, because if they think this is the answer to this problem they are all brainwashed. I say, Mr. Speaker, that we have a lot of problems in rural Newfoundland and we need a lot of answers but the answers are not coming from the Economic Recovery Commission. They are going to come from Newfoundlanders and like I said before if government proceeds with this plan, as they plan to do, if they proceed with this plan there will be a tidal wave in rural Newfoundland.

I close off what I have to say, Mr. Speaker, with something that an elderly gentleman in my district said to me the other day. He said, you know Fabian, the only difference between the Premier and God is God does not think he is the Premier. I say to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, sharpen your pencil, Sir, because you are going to have to come up with many great ideas because this is not going to work.

MR. GRIMES: What is it designed to do? Do you know what it is suppose to try to do?

MR. MANNING: I will tell you what it is going to do, it is going to put us all on starvation. You are going to take people now with a family income of $30,000 and put them down to $9000.

MR. GRIMES: You have got to be kidding.

MR. TOBIN: You never read that.

MR. MANNING: You must not have read this, Mr. Minister. I believe you should bring in the literacy program so that members opposite can read this and get it straight from the book itself and understand what it says. Do not be brainwashed.

In closing off I say I support the resolution put forward today by the Member for LaPoile because I believe that wherever you live in Newfoundland and Labrador you should be treated equally, whether you are a fisherman, a farmer, in the forestry or mining industry, whatever the case may be you should be treated equally.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. MANNING: Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am glad to have the opportunity with respect to the private member's motion moved by my colleague the hon. member representing LaPoile because it gives us an opportunity to deal with two issues. The issue as spelled out in the resolution talks about the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council, its recommendations and particularly the implementation of a fair and adequate compensation package for people affected in the short term. There is no doubt, Mr. Speaker, that everybody in this Legislature today I am sure, at the end of the day has already indicated, all the speakers on both sides, that they fully intend to support this resolution because it is something that needs to be done and everybody here supports it.

In the same vein, because a lot of the discussion and debate has centred around the latest edition on the scene in terms of a topic related to it, the income security proposal that was announced yesterday, most people have directed some of their comments at least towards the merits or in some cases some people are trying to suggest there are some demerits to that program. One of the matters that arose yesterday, and I can understand some people opposite asking questions and so on, supporting a notion that was raised by the President of the Fishermen's Union yesterday, saying there has not been consultation and so on, I agree fully.

Yesterday was the beginning of the consultation process. It was announced and everything put forward long before any agreements were reached on anything in a very preliminary stage to put forward a proposal for total absolute disclosure and discussion; with nobody tied to anything in there other than the belief that this is one of the things that will help all of us in Newfoundland and Labrador.

One of the comments that I made yesterday with a group at the Radisson Plaza Hotel, some people were making the representation the government was proposing tremendous losses for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and I indicated to them that I thought that anyone who would propose such, was only doing so because they believe or they must believe that the status quo, when it comes to income support depending largely on unemployment insurance, is possible to be continued in the Province and in the country as it is without change. The whole premise in terms of the government supporting this concept in principle, is that we recognize and we have gleaned from everything that we have encountered at the official level and also at the political level, prior to the change of government and since, that the current unemployment insurance system that allows any person, anywhere in the country to earn income for ten weeks and then have an income system paid from that program for another forty-two weeks, that that is going to be radically changed by the federal government in any event.

It was on the agenda for the previous administration federally, before they were unceremoniously turfed out of office, and it is certainly on the agenda from everything we can gather with the current administration, due to the fact that everybody in the country understands that the unemployment insurance scheme should take care of one certain aspect and if there is going to be income security, it should be dealt with in a different manner and addressed as such. So what was announced yesterday, Mr. Speaker, is the beginning of the dialogue in Newfoundland and Labrador and I am really surprised, and I suppose I would be less than candid if I didn't say I was disappointed with the fact that the Opposition would characterize the program in the way they did yesterday and today; because I can't believe they can draw those kinds of conclusions from anything that is in the document that was put before them. Anybody I suppose, by selectively looking at page this or that or something else could pick out an example which is presented in all honesty and straightforwardness so people would know what some of the possible outcomes are and say this is what is going to happen and this is the ruination and so on, but that is not the case.

What exactly happens when you read the whole document, is a transformation of income security in the Province that is long overdue and has to happen, and I would propose that it is going to happen with or without us, and we can sit by and let some people in Ottawa, again design a new unemployment insurance program in the country without provincial input that would probably again, much better suit the situation in Toronto or Montreal or Winnipeg than it does anywhere in Newfoundland, or we can get in on the ground level as we have indicated in this document and try to carve out a system that will meet the income security needs of the people whom we represent and on whose behalf we work, in our own Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. One of the issues in particular is relating to the fishing industry, and what changes will occur, and whether or not a special UI program related to the fishery will continue.

If the members opposite, and other members of the House, are interested in looking at the document on certain pages, on page 42 in particular, the Chairman of the Economic Recovery Commission, in presenting this report for public consumption, and the basis of present and continuing public dialogue, spells out that at the beginning, one of the action items in the Strategic Economic Plan said there should be an industry specific stabilization and insurance program for fishermen, in action item 19, but as this proposal was worked on over the year-and-a-half or two years, it became obvious to them, in their research, that it is much better if you are going to talk about income security - some way to maintain people with income on a year-round basis, regardless of whether or not they are successful in obtaining employment, because the people in Newfoundland and Labrador who obtain employment might need no part of this program.

So when you are talking about income security, you are talking about people who have worked for some periods, in some cases year-round, for very low wages and very low income, or people who unfortunately do not get any work. They still need money to live on, and that whole concept of whether a person earns any money or not, in our society you cannot leave them out. They still have to be taken care of, and this program spells out how we are going to take care of everybody in the Province, whether they earn income or not.

I am really surprised as well at the Opposition bawling out and harping out about: Where are the jobs? Where are the jobs? They seem to forget, and anybody who looked at the statistics on a month over month basis, when the UI statistics come out each month and so on, depending on the time of the year - remember this - anywhere, depending on the month and the season, anywhere from 170,000 to sometimes as many as 210,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can be earning income, depending on the time of the year.

Now that income might only last for one week. It might last for five weeks. They might be working for seven weeks. They might be working for forty weeks. They might be fortunate enough to be working for fifty-two weeks, depending on the seasonal nature of their work and so on. Hardly ever does the number go below 180,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who are earning some money from some source of income every month in the Province.

What this program does, it says for every bit of money you earn, whether you earn it in one week, or whether you earn it in fifty-two weeks, you will be given extra money through this program, up to a supplementation for $10,000 worth of earning. You will get more money under this program that you will keep, and you will be actually rewarded if you are successful enough in obtaining work.

I am telling you, and that is the point I just made, that anywhere from 170,000 to 210,000 Newfoundlanders, in any one month, will be earning income and will be given additional income under this program because there is a clear incentive to take whatever work is available, go with it, keep the money, and get some more money on top of it.

Now that kicks in, Mr. Speaker, after a basic income supplement of $3,000 per adult and $1,500 per child, under the age of eighteen, is paid regardless if you work for two minutes. If you have no work whatsoever you get those very minimum incomes, and if you are in the unfortunate circumstance, as some Newfoundlanders are today in the Province, where they get no work, the very worst they can do is be exactly like they are today.

There is no way that anybody who gets no work today, December 15, 1993, can be any worse off than if they get no work on December 15, 1994. This program does not allow one single copper of reduction for a Newfoundlander and Labradorian who is in the unfortunate circumstance of getting no employment now and no employment next year. They will be in exactly the same situation - exactly the same situation.

I would like to point out, as well, if I could, that I believe in one of the examples that we did put in the document -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Answer the question.

MR. GRIMES: I am answering it right now, Mr. Speaker. If they look at page 35, it is the only place that it could occur. We were honest enough to point out that there are some people in this redistribution of money - this is not going up and getting an extra glob of new money out of Ottawa or out of the provincial - this is taking current dollars and reprofiling them so that it better meets the need on a fairer basis. The example that we used at the bottom of page 35 - while that theoretically is possible in Newfoundland - I, for one, would guess that that does not exist in Newfoundland and Labrador. If we can find a family where that exists, I would personally be surprised, but I suppose, theoretically - because this works on models and what is possible - it may be possible. We are looking at - this is where the reduction would occur, if any. If you have two wage earners, who, under the current system were tied into ten weeks because you have to get ten weeks to qualify - and if they happen to qualify at the highest levels of earnings, at a very high level of earnings, which I put forward, Mr. Speaker, is what happens in the construction industry. They work short periods but they make significant amounts of money. But the likelihood of two of them being in the one family is very rare. Usually, what we have, in a case where there are two people working - one of them in the construction industry and also in the fishing industry - they would get a fairly high income for a short period of time but the other worker, particularly if it is the spouse, is usually working at a much lower rate. This may not exist in Newfoundland and Labrador but we are telling you that it is possible. There is an outside chance that that could occur. What I said to the groups assembled yesterday at the hotel and I repeat here again in the House today, Mr. Speaker, is that this is what is going to change with or without the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. The unemployment insurance system in the country, as indicated by the previous administration in Ottawa and the current administration, is most likely going to change so that the likelihood of getting forty-two weeks of the maximum benefit under U.I., for ten weeks of high employment earnings, is going to be passe in this country very soon.

Now, if it is going to disappear, if that is not a possibility anymore, what new system do we put in place? Here, Mr. Speaker, what this program says is that money that would be paid out as U.I. - if you managed to earn just ten weeks and you would have received forty-two weeks of unemployment insurance, you will still get the ten weeks of earnings if you got it last year and we hope that you get it next year. Good luck to you because 210,000 people in peak months do make earnings.

MR. TOBIN: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: On a point of order, the hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, not to say that the hon. member is misleading House, I don't think he is intentionally misleading the House, but when he makes reference to two people on high income, either he is misleading the House or what we have is wrong, because here, it says, under the present system they will get $49,124 and under the system that you are bringing in they will get $26,800. Now, to me, that is a reduction from $49,000 to $26,000, and not an increase. So I would like for the minister to explain that.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I was explaining exactly that but, as usual, the hon. member was not listening. Now, I might be tempted to start over again, but I won't.

The reality is, I put the challenge forward to the hon. member from Burin - Placentia West, just like any other member, Mr. Speaker. My point was that I would like to see any one of us, who could bring that couple before this House of Assembly and show him to us because it is put here - we have said that this is the worst possible thing, according to the models that are here, and the examples, that could potentially happen. But does anybody seated in this legislature on either side know that couple? I am saying that I doubt if either one of us does. I know many couples who work for short periods with both of them earning - and I know that one of them might be making a very high income but the other one is usually, almost 99 per cent of the time, working at a much lower rate and this doesn't exist in reality. But what I am saying, Mr. Speaker, is we were honest enough to point out that if the potential is there, whether you can find them or not -

MR. TOBIN: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: On a point of order, the hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, this is misleading. For the member to get up in this House and say that this situation does not exist - then, why did Doug House print it in the book?

MR. GRIMES: Will you pay the air fare if I bring them in from Labrador West? because they are there.

MR. TOBIN: I don't know if he is intentionally doing it but the minister is misleading the House when he says that this does not exist. I ask the minister, why is he misleading the House if this does not exist and if it does exist, will he apologize?

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Again, I am absolutely certain that the hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West agrees with every word that I am saying, because he knows that if he searched the Burin Peninsula, down in his district, high and low, he may not find that couple anywhere on the Burin Peninsula. He might find lots of couples. So what we are saying - we are honest enough to say - there is the outside chance that this is the worst case scenario that could apply to a couple in Newfoundland and Labrador. All of the others show much more of a moderate, negative impact. We have admitted there are some negative impacts on income to some people in this system, but there are also some great positive impacts for at least double the number of people on which there would be any negative impact, and the numbers show it clearly that for every one person who sustains any loss of income in this program, there are at least two who will gain a benefit greater than what they could ever hope to see under the current system.

MR. TOBIN: Lies.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West to withdraw that statement.

MR. TOBIN: What statement was that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West. He knows the statement that he made. I request him to withdraw.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I said, `lies', and I can understand Your Honour thinking that I was probably referring to the minister telling lies. I can understand the whole House thinking I was referring to the minister telling lies, and if that is the case, I certainly will withdraw it. I can understand everybody thinking I would be saying it.

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I certainly appreciate your intervention there because I normally don't listen to the hon. member but I would expect that he wouldn't say anything derogatory. That would be totally out of character for him - it has never been done in this House before, that I know of, in the period of time here.

Mr. Speaker, I think that all of us owe it to the constituents that we represent to go out and present this proposal fairly on its merits rather than try to suggest, as the hon. member did in the previous representation and presentation in this House - the hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, that this is part of some hidden agenda.

There is nothing that could be more open than a document that spells out exactly what the potential is for every circumstance that you can possibly describe, and I contend, even spells out a scenario that might not even exist, but we want people to know, honestly and up front, that this is a redistribution on a much fairer basis, and that it will eliminate, as with the question earlier about make-work projects, it will eliminate it; and with respect to the motion today, the ideal would be that with an income security program firmly in place and accepted as meeting the needs of the people, that this resolution that we will support today, and will get unanimous support, I would suggest, would also, with an income security program in place, be redundant and unnecessary. Because you wouldn't be worried about bringing in special compensation packages and make-work programs and the like of it, because the people's fundamental, basic, income security needs would be met and everything else that would happen would be a bonus.

With that, I encourage all members to support the motion, as I am sure they will, so ably presented by my hon. colleague, the Member for LaPoile.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank other hon. members for their comments with respect to the resolution which I have put forward today. There are a number of things which came out of the debate here today that require some commentary, and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations has put forward the position that the government has taken with respect to the issue of income security.

Now, one has to look at the reason for us to be elected as Members of the House of Assembly. Are we elected here to maintain the status quo for the people of this Province? Are we elected here to maintain the suffering of people on the Southwest Coast and the Northwest Coast?

Mr. Speaker, are we elected to this House of Assembly to keep things as they are, to provide the unemployment insurance system as it currently stands, which everyone knows, who has any knowledge whatsoever of the economy of this Province, is an inherent disincentive to the work ethic of the people of Newfoundland. It has whittled away at the fabric of our society. It has provided a system where we are derided by people throughout the rest of the country because of this system, and then when we bring in an initiative such as ISP, to try to rectify it, the Opposition is hell-bent on making sure that the people of the Province see the worst and the worst only.

Mr. Speaker, with respect to that and with all due respect to the intentions of hon. members opposite, I would say that they are not being fully clear with their interpretation of it. I give them the benefit of the doubt, Mr. Speaker, in their understanding or lack of understanding of just how a change like this may be beneficial to the people of the Province.

Is a government elected in this Province, to show leadership for the people of the Province? I submit that we are. We are elected to lead the people of our Province, we are not elected to maintain the status quo. Mr. Speaker, have we shown leadership over the last number of years on issues that are difficult, on issues that the people of the Province need addressed? I submit that we have. We have taken the bull by the horns on many, many, many issues and the people of this Province returned us, not to do what had been done for the seventeen years prior to our election in 1989. They elected us, Mr. Speaker, to be sure that the things that need to be changed in this Province will be changed.

We have shown leadership in fiscal management. This Province leads the way with fiscal management measures throughout this country with one of the few provincial governments this year, if not the only one, that will come in, on budget for the year 1992-1993, and given the situation with fiscal element of our society throughout the rest of the country, and the fact that most provinces are just now coming to grips with the fiscal situation in which we find ourselves, Mr. Speaker, I submit that we have shown the ultimate leadership with respect to our fiscal management of this Province in spite of the fact that we, in this Province are probably the most severely affected of any in the country.

We learn to deal with the problems with the financial situation. I might refer to today's Globe and Mail where, Stats Canada released today that the average family - the Canadian living in poverty is a person earning under $53,676 as a family income. Stats Canada reports that those who earn under $53,676 as a family income are living in poverty. That is pretty close to each and every member of this House according to that, but I would submit that if we look at the income levels of the majority of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, in spite of that, the people here have the ancillary benefits, the people who live in rural areas, the people who live in a non-urban setting where they can enjoy the benefits of building their own home, enjoy the benefits of, in some cases, a lower cost of living, enjoying certain aspects of living in Newfoundland that make it an attractive place for people to continue to live in.

We see people returning, possibly not for the reason of having found work, but because it is easier to live here on a little bit less. Now maybe that is something we should look at as a benefit. We should also look at what have we done? We led the way as far as fiscal management in the country goes and we have also developed a strategic economic plan, one of very few governments in this nation who have developed a plan, and is using a planned approach in dealing with the economic and societal problems of our overall operation as a government and an economy.

As well, Mr. Speaker, what have we done as a government? We are also taking steps to utilize more fully and in a better way the monies that are provided for the health care system, where we led the way in health care reform throughout all of Canada. That was evidenced by articles in national magazines and national newspapers which stated that Newfoundland is showing the way. Newfoundland has bit the bullet. Newfoundland is trying to deal with the fiscal situation that they are involved in now with the national economy, and the global economy, and we have led the way on that.

We are reorganizing the educational system in our Province. We are trying to make better use of the dollars available to us in the education system so that we are able then to make sure that our students have an initiative to see that the money is being better spent but that also they receive better instruction, and that they receive the best bang for the buck in educational dollars. If we look at the initiative under the income security program we have to look at the attitude that has changed the fabric of our society here in this Province, the attitude that has affected our children who look at the effort that is made by their parents, through no fault of their own, to try to get their stamps. Now is that right or is that wrong? I submit, Mr. Speaker, that it is cut into the fabric of Newfoundlanders who have been strong, who have been, in spite of the odds over the years, have been those who could stand up in spite of the problems of our society and our economic system, and managed to do well.

It has now gotten to a point where it has affected families. It has affected the attitude of the children of our Province, and that attitude has carried itself into our education system, where the children's achievement is possibly more affected by the apathy that they have no choice but to deal with the economic situation then it is by the lack of ability on the part of the teachers in the education system to teach them. That apathy is an attitudinal problem, and that can also have an affect.

Again, what has this government done as well? We are taking the bull by the horns on issues such as privatization. We have put forward the issue of privatizing Newfoundland Hydro in spite of the opposition that has been created. The Opposition and other commentators, I give them all due credit for having done a good job in not providing people with the opportunity to do it. If people don't want to do it eventually maybe that is the kind of thing that wouldn't be done. But I would suggest that it was the right thing to do. I would say that the privatization is one thing, but really you should call it the public aspect of it, because anyone can buy shares in it. Maybe you say that Newfoundlanders are unable to buy shares in it because of their economic situation. We have to realize the equity out of situations like that, like Hydro, where we can realize the equity that is built into the Crown corporation for the benefit of providing public services for the people of the Province.

The Opposition, I can imagine now, they sniffed the wind yesterday in Question Period. Sniffed the wind a bit, they just got a copy of the document. They said: what are we going to do with this? Some very cautious questions were being asked by the Leader of the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition was putting forward: we have to find out more about it. They sniffed the wind a bit and said: ah ha, the Fishermen's Union is against it, people don't know enough about it. Let's take that little angle and see what we can twist it into, and see if we can take the one scenario and make everybody in the Province think that this is wrong, that this is terrible. This is the thing.

They are playing little games again, Mr. Speaker. What the electorate did to them, in spite of the difficult issues in the month of May, I am sure would be done to them again for the playing of little games that they have been so good at for four years.

It is obvious that the people of the Province didn't believe the little games. Maybe they are a little better at it now than they were before, Mr. Speaker, but one has to give them all due credit for creating the political atmosphere that they play upon the ignorance of people who are not informed.

Mr. Speaker, I would say that the current U.I. system will have to change. It is a given, that the people of this country will no longer support a U.I. system as it is, and also they will no longer support a system of benefit for fishermen and plant workers like NCARP, in its current form. There have to be changes, so what do we do? Do we show the situation of being a say nothing government, sit back and hope to God they don't take it away from us, or do we take the active approach and try to develop something to protect the interests of the people of this Province by putting forward a position that, if it is inevitable that you will change the NCARP program, if it is inevitable that you will change the program that is created, we hope, for the people of the Southwest and Northwest Coasts - if it is inevitable, then we should make sure that we are in the driver's seat on behalf of the people of the Province and we present a viable alternative.

What is your alternative - the members of the Opposition - to oppose, as you are opposing? and opposing just for the sake of being in Opposition, sniffing the wind a bit, and saying: Well, we can make some political mileage on this, so let's do it.

If that is not the case, then I would suggest to hon. members opposite that they be constructive and work with us, work with the Economic Recovery Commission, and put forward your alternative, because without an alternative the people of this Province would be left with nothing, and if that is what you propose for the people of the Province, I will pick the government position any time when the people of the Province -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: Listen. Of the total number of people in the Province, 345,000 people will have no change, 155,000 people will receive an increase of some form under this model, and 75,000 people will receive a decrease. So, if I am grating on your nerves, the reason is that I want to grate on your nerves. Because the little games you play are not held well by the people of this Province, and I would submit that your support of this motion to the whole situation with my resolution is certainly not contingent upon your support for the ISP program, but I would also submit that you would be much better off, and we would all be much better off, working together to try to make sure that we provide the alternative for the people of the Province. It is part of an ongoing discussion and I would hope, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. members opposite will support my resolution and with that we will allow other things to commence, such as a vote, if necessary.

Thank you.

On motion, resolution carried. (Motion 3)

Motion 3, carried.

MR. SPEAKER: It being now 4:54 and debate concluded, we will adjourn until tomorrow, at 2:00 p.m.

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour, before you leave the Chair, may I take just a moment to discuss the menu for tomorrow.

We will begin with the second reading debate that was adjourned on the Electoral Boundaries bill; I think and will be treated to a diatribe from my friend for Burin - Placentia West, and with that done, we will move on. When we deal with that bill, we will deal with the Tobacco Tax Act, No 2, which is a Labrador tax bill, for Labrador West and Labrador South, and then we will go into the Labour Relations Act. We will be asking the House to sit a little later tomorrow. When we finish second reading of all three bills tomorrow, we will adjourn the House, Sir.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You are ordering supper now for us all.

MR. ROBERTS: We will be ordering supper, but it will be the Last Supper for ladies and gentlemen opposite.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Loaves and fishes.

The House is now adjourned until tomorrow, Thursday, at 2: 00 p.m.