March 2, 1994                HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS               Vol. XLII  No. 3

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I want to inform the House of a necessary action that is being taken by Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador Corporation in the matter of the management of the financial affairs of the community of Sheshatshit.

Effective today, Mr. Speaker, ENL, under the authority vested in them as managers of the "Contribution Agreement Between the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for the Benefit of the Innu Communities of Labrador, 1991-1996" has placed the financial management of the community in trusteeship.

This has been done, Mr. Speaker, following the presentation of an audited financial statement that was prepared to the end of December, 1993 at the request of ENL.

This audit, Mr. Speaker, revealed very serious financial management issues.

I would point out as well that this is the second time that such action has been deemed necessary within the first three years of the agreement.

We hope, Mr. Speaker, that with the cooperation of the Sheshatshit Band Council, Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador Corporation, and the trustee that the management of the council's affairs can be returned to them at the earliest possible time.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for calling me prior to the House just to alert me to this because, I guess, he did not have the statements printed at that time and did not have a chance to send it over. There is not much to say about it except, I believe, he has done the right thing, the request has been made and we will just have to wait and see what transpires from here.

MR. SPEAKER: Are there further statements by ministers?

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, before we get to Question Period I wonder if I could pay tribute to a couple of individuals who passed away since the House closed? I meant to do it right at the beginning but the minister was recognized. I wonder if I could have leave to do that for a moment?

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. the Leader of the Opposition have leave of the House?

Leave is given.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, there are a number of people, I guess, that we could pay tribute to, and no doubt we will. I know the Premier has done it publicly for a couple of people who passed away but maybe in the House he will do those as well. There are two that I would like to pay tribute to today. First of all the passing of Gordon Lidstone. Many people in the Province and certainly in this area of the Province would be aware that Mr. Lidstone was a former Mayor of the City of Mount Pearl and he passed away on January 13, 1994. He was a councillor from 1965 to 1978 and was also a deputy mayor for a short time, and in 1966 he was the mayor. He was a well known independent businessman, contractor, and land developer in the Mount Pearl area for many years. He played a very active role in his community and with his church and was a volunteer with the Mount Pearl Minor Hockey Association. I had the privilege of knowing Mr. Lidstone personally and met him on a number of occasions. He will be sorely missed by people of the Province and in particular, the people of his community. He is survived by his wife Jean, two sons and two daughters and I am sure members would like to express their condolences.

While I am on my feet, I would also like to take note of the passing of Major Enos Darby who passed away on January 7. Major Darby was born in Great Burin in Placentia Bay, and enlisted in the Royal Navy at the beginning of World War II and it was on the H.M.S Javelin, which was the flagship of a fleet under the command of Lord Louis Mountbatten, where he witnessed the horror of military conflict. He was the only member of his gun crew to escape death when a torpedo tore away the gun-mounting. After spending many hours in the oily and burning waters of the English Channel and after having been presumed killed in action, he was rescued, miraculously, and spent sixteen months in the Naval Hospital at Plymouth and had extensive plastic surgery.

After he was discharged he returned home and prepared himself to rejoin his brother in the fishery, however, he then decided to join the Salvation Army and he entered that religion's training college here in St. John's and then went on to serve the Salvation Army in many communities around the Province, Blaketown, Glovertown, Seal Cove, Clarenville, Elliston, Roddickton, Mundy Pond, Norris Arm and the old Duckworth Corps in St. John's. After several years as a travelling evangelist, Major Darby served as the Salvation Army chaplain to the Health Sciences Centre, St. Clare's Mercy Hospital, as well as chaplain to the Royal Naval Association of Branch 36 at the Royal Canadian Legion.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Members of the House to extend condolences to his family and relatives.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I can only endorse fully every comment the Leader of the Opposition made. Yesterday, I contemplated rising to a similar thing in respect of three other people, very prominent people who contributed greatly to this Province, but I decided not to do it because I am concerned that, in doing so, we leave out people and it gets misinterpreted, so I am going to suggest, and just by way of note, just mentioned who the three people were, one of whom was Clarence Powell, a distinguished public servant in this Province for many, many years, and his most significant impact was as Chairman of the Public Utilities Board and developed for this Province's Public Utility regulatory system, a great reputation all across this country, largely attributable to the work that Clarence Powell did. He died just last week I believe.

Cam Eaton, one of Newfoundland's famous war heroes and one of the great business contributors to the Province. A man of sterling reputation, an individual whose judgement was greatly valued, died recently after undergoing surgery for cancer and his lost will be greatly missed. As well as being a businessman and a war hero, he was a also a great contributor on a personal basis of his time - things like the General Hospital Corporation that he served faithfully for many years - first Chair, Aaron Bailey, a distinguished Newfoundlander. The last connection with Sir William Coaker, perhaps in this Province, who lived in Sir William Coaker's house in Port Union. A distinguished record of service to the Fishermen's Union Trading Company for many, many years; helped found an organized union electrical light and power company; was one of the promoters of the bringing together of the five or six utilities that ultimately came together to be amalgamated as Newfoundland Light and Power in, I think 1956 or 1966 probably it may have been - a distinguished Newfoundlander as well.

I am concerned that by standing in the House to give this kind of recognition we cause some concern or perhaps even some offence to people because others, who were equally deserving, are not recognized. So I am going to suggest to hon. members that in the future we might confine our remarks along these lines, perhaps to people who've had a direct connection with the House, former members and things of that nature, while at the same time I must endorse fully the comments of the Leader of the Opposition.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to rise to endorse the comments of both the Leader of the Opposition and the Premier, concerning the individuals who have made distinguished contributions to our Province's history, to our people. Without pointing to either one of them I also have a fear, as the Premier expressed, that in making specific recognition of some individuals, there will be others who will be left out. I don't know what the solution is but I certainly wouldn't hesitate to endorse the comments about these individuals here and certainly members of this House who have passed away ought to be officially recognized. It is very difficult to know what the limit should be after that but certainly the contribution of these individuals is well recognized by the vast majority of people in the Province and I would heartily endorse them.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, let me leave the point by suggesting that perhaps my friend from Grand Bank, my friend from St. John's East and I might take, at some point when it is convenient to all three of us, a few moments to discuss this matter and see if we can work on an agreed upon procedure that will accommodate the proper concerns of members on all sides of the House. If that is agreeable, I will leave it at that for the time being.

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I have some questions I would like to ask of the Premier concerning the recent federal Budget, in particular, in its impact on this Province.

The Premier has always been recognized and known as a leading advocate of large cuts in spending, both at the provincial and federal level, but in the past he has always attached a bit of a qualification to his enthusiasm for those cuts by saying that we should take our fair share along with all the other provinces. Yet, Mr. Speaker, the Premier has been strangely silent on this occasion, the occasion of the first Budget of his Liberal cousins in Ottawa, even though our share of all other federal cuts, including fisheries compensation, in addition to those, the cuts to UI will be at least three times as severe here as it will be for the rest of the nation. I want to ask the Premier: Has he protested the unfair punishment administered to this Province in that federal Budget, or does he still think we only took our fair share?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: If there were unfair punishment, as the Leader of the Opposition characterizes it, I would be leading the protest, but, Mr. Speaker, there is no such thing and it is a gross misrepresentation of what has occurred to characterize it as such. If there is to be an adjustment in entitlement under the UI program and dealing with income security by another means, then it is inevitable, by the simple law of mathematics, that the town or the province that has the highest level of unemployment would receive the highest level of reduction on a per capita basis. Unless the rules of mathematics have changed that is an unavoidable consequence of the reality that Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest level of unemployment insurance.

It is not unfair punishment of Newfoundland, as the Leader of the Opposition would characterize it, and it is a political misrepresentation to do so.

MR. SIMMS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: The Premier is the expert on political misrepresentation, let me tell him, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: He has his counterparts in other Atlantic Provinces - Premier Callbeck protesting because it is going to mean a reduction of income to that province of about $50 million - tiny little P.E.I. The finance minister in New Brunswick is protesting because of the negative effect it is going to have on New Brunswick. And here we have our Premier silent - strangely silent - because he doesn't think it is unfair. Well, Mr. Speaker, I think there are thousands of Newfoundlanders who would disagree; but, on the other hand, when you recognize that not only does the Premier approve of the punishment administered to us in that federal Budget, he asked for it when he proposed his ISP. That's the bottom line in this, Mr. Speaker.

So I want to ask him, having made that presentation of his ISP program, in which he asked for even more severe cuts to the UI program, surely he couldn't expect anything different, so will he now admit that the Federal Government took what it wanted out of the UI money that comes into this Province and didn't leave any money for his cherished ISP program? And will he now admit, or at least proclaim the death of his Income Supplementation Program.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, let me begin by correcting the hon. member again. I have not been strangely silent. I stated very clearly, to anybody who was prepared to listen, or anybody who cared to ask. All news media who asked me, heard me state the position that I have stated here in the House yesterday and again today, so it's not a question of being strangely silent. I know the Opposition Leader needs some props for his argument, but that's not one on which he can rely for very long.

The other thing that I should say to him is that I took the same position when the Mulroney Conservative Association introduced cuts that saw reductions in this Province. I took precisely the same position and said I couldn't quarrel with the Federal Government taking these steps even though they adversely impacted on Newfoundland, because I had the long-term interests of the security of Newfoundland at stake, and I didn't want to see anything happen to the ability of the federal government to meet that long-term obligation. I said no more now than I said then, precisely the same approach.

I take no responsibility for the attitudes or opinions of either Premier Callbeck of Prince Edward Island, or Finance Minister Maher of New Brunswick. They have to justify their own positions. It's enough for me to justify mine.

With respect to the income security proposal, let me say to hon. members that the day will come when most people in this House will say: Thank God we had the foresight to put forward something of this nature to protect income for our people. Because what they see happening this year, in terms of unemployment insurance, is highly unlikely to stop there. It is going to bring about an overall adjustment in the system, so we need to have an income security system in place for our people to make sure that there is a reasonable level of income, at least, on which people can rely. That is the purpose of this.

The Canadian people can no longer afford to maintain the system with the pressures we have on it as it is structured in Canada today, and bankrupting the Federal Government by poking our heads in the sand and ignoring the consequences of the burden of the present system can only serve to greatly harm the people of this Province in the future. I can say, Mr. Speaker, in my opinion, the people of this Province will, in the future, say: Thank God we had a government with the courage to tell it as it was and put forward the right solutions.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask the Premier, What province does he think he is living in? If he doesn't recognize the seriousness of the situation out there - I mean, he doesn't know what is going on. This Premier can say all he wants to say, but there was not a whimper from him in protest of this UI program, not a whimper!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Not a whimper, even though this Province will lose twice as much in income from the UI cuts and the fishery compensation cuts as we get from wages out at Hibernia. That is the reality, the stark reality of the situation, Mr. Speaker. That is the reality of the disaster that has been wreaked on this Province as a result of Paul Martin's Budget.

I want to ask him: When is he going to stop catering to mainland press and politicians who want to make Newfoundland the scapegoat for the problems these mainlanders have inflicted upon themselves and on us? When is he going to stop that? When is he going to stand up and speak out for Newfoundland? When is he going to realize he is not the spokesman for Canada?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, no person can stop something that he hasn't started. So the answer is, it is not going to stop because it never started. The situation that the Leader of the Opposition has described simply does not exist. The numbers that he represents are totally wrong.

It is true to say I did not protest what Mr. Martin did. People asked me my opinion, I expressed my opinion. I said, if I were writing the federal Budget and had responsibility only for Newfoundland, I might have done things differently. I would not have imposed those cuts. I would not have put it in place in the way in which Mr. Martin did. But I have to be honest enough to recognize that Paul Martin has responsibility for all parts of this nation, not just this Province, and I am not prepared to put any more political pressure on Paul Martin and the Liberal Party to give a special privileged position to Newfoundland than I was prepared to put on Mulroney and Wilson and John Crosbie.

I stood in this House and asked the people of this Province to have some understanding - I remember using the words - have some understanding for what Mr. Wilson and Mr. Mulroney had to do in order to get federal finances in order, notwithstanding the impact on this Province. Now, I will go and dig out the precise references and read it for hon. members so that they can see that.

MR. SIMMS: Not a whimper from you, not a whimper!

PREMIER WELLS: Now, that is a pretty weak fallback for the Leader of the Opposition - `not a whimper'. I didn't whimper any more then than I whimper now. I don't whimper, I express honest opinions in a straightforward way.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Now that we've heard nothing from the `Premier of Canada' let me ask the Minister of Finance for Newfoundland: In view of the fact that the Government of Prince Edward Island, which is a province of about one-fifth our size, and with a slightly lower unemployment rate, predicting that the changes to UI will cost that province about $50 million, New Brunswick, which is slightly larger, 100,000 people more, but about half the unemployment rate as compared to Newfoundland, is predicting about a $200 million loss in unemployment to that province, will the minister tell us how much now the Department of Finance of Newfoundland has calculated that it will cost next year as a result of these changes announced in the federal Budget?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, as I have explained several times publicly, the changes in the Federal Government will mean a decrease of about - a total effect of about $15 million on our budgetary position for next year.

That involves two things. It involves an estimated drop in revenue of perhaps $11 million or $12 million, and it involves an increase in social service expenditure of $2 million to $3 million. That is the net effect of the changes in the federal Budget on the Budget of this Province.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the question I asked the minister is: What is the impact on the economy of Newfoundland? How much loss will we see in revenue coming into Newfoundland from the unemployment insurance program?

I can tell the minister, in fact, that it will be in the range of about $250 million next year, and probably more. Add to that, $150 million to $200 million that will be lost through the Fisheries Adjustment Program, and we are looking at about $400 million to $500 million loss to the economy of this Province next year.

Can the minister tell the House how much the Provincial Government stands to lose from its own resource? He just told us about $13 million in UI. How much in total does he expect to lose in his Budget this year, and next year, when it all takes effect?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I explained to him the effect it would have on our Budget in the coming budgetary year. I would like to point out, for members of the House as well as members of the general public, that the numbers that the hon. member is using are totally, totally, absolutely incorrect. He is making assumptions about which he has no knowledge. He is talking about a reduction of hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars in payments through the Fisheries Adjustment Program. I will say to the hon. member, he could not be more wrong than he is here today.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Well, if I am so wrong, will the minister please tell me - this is the third time I have asked him - what is the impact on the economy of this Province?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: By skating around the answer he is only admitting that he doesn't know. This government has not yet calculated how much the impact will be on this Province.

Does the minister have any numbers to show what impact changes to UI and fisheries will have on unemployment in the Province? How much will our unemployment increase this year? What is the cost to the economy, and what is the difference in unemployment?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I gave him most of those answers.

I would like to remind hon. members that the changes in the UI regulations took several forms. One of them was a change in benefits payable, and the change was both positive and negative. People receiving low benefits, who had families to support, would receive an increase in UI payments, going from 57 per cent of the income level to 60 per cent, whereas the recipients who were not in this circumstance would receive a decrease from 57 per cent to 55 per cent which, in fact, would tend to balance each other out in this particular Province.

Mr. Speaker, as to the ultimate effect this is going to have, we will simply have to wait and see. I have estimated, in our Budget, that it would have a net effect of about $15 million in our position next year, and that is a fairly firm figure that the hon. gentleman should accept.

In terms of NCARP, the Fisheries Response Program, until that program is fully decided upon and explained, there is no number factored in for that, but I would suggest to hon. members that every indication I have is that there will be very little change from the previous year.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Premier.

Both the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Premier have said consistently over the last couple of months that the Federal and Provincial Governments are working together on a new fisheries compensation package, and just prior to the federal Budget the Premier met with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and Human Resource Minister Axworthy, I believe it was in Corner Brook, to discuss a new package. Of course, we have heard the news now that there will be $1.7 billion in that particular program over the next five years, I guess about half what has been spent the last two years.

I want to ask the Premier: Does he agree with that amount, and did he tell Mr. Tobin and Mr. Axworthy that that was enough?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I should tell the House and the hon. member that his figures are totally incorrect. He said 1.7, about half of what was spent over the last two years.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

PREMIER WELLS: Well, even if his figures were right then l.7 would relate to a four year period. The equivalent would be a four year period, it was half. Now, the reality, I am told, is the amount spent over the last two years was something in the neighbourhood of $600 million.

AN HON. MEMBER: It was more than that.

PREMIER WELLS: Well, I can only rely on the federal officials and ministers who account for it. The total spent on compensation over the last couple of years was about $600 million. Now, I will try and get the precise figures. The amount that the minister announced, the Minister of Finance announced in the Budget, was $1.7 billion in new additional funds, $240 million or $250 million, something of that order, in other program funds, so it comes to a total of $1.9 billion. Now, Mr. Speaker, if in fact $600 million was spent in two years and they are going to spend $1.9 billion in five years then I do not see how that gets to be cut in half. I do not understand those mathematics.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, that is part of the problem with our school system, the Premier has not been exposed to new Math. I want to say to him that the $1.9 billion that the Premier refers to we all know that there are a couple of -

MR. BAKER: Billion.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The $1.9 billion, I say to the Minister of Finance. Now, just relax. The $200 million that makes the $1.7, $1.9 billion will take the package up to the middle of May. That is why you are referring to it as $1.9 billion. The $200 million is not new money, it is to get us to the middle of May when the new program kicks in. Now, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Tobin has agreed that there is going to be a cut in the weekly compensation benefit package and he is going to have to trim a fair bit more to keep expenditures within the $1.7 billion. I want to ask the Premier, in his meetings and in the consultation process he has had with both federal ministers, what else have you agreed to do? Will you, for example, drop everyone who has a temporary fishing licence from the package? Will benefits be cut by more than what Mr. Tobin indicates or will we see the number of people receiving fisheries compensation benefits cut in half?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Virtually all of those suggestions have no foundation whatsoever.

AN HON. MEMBER: They are all wrong.

PREMIER WELLS: Oh, yes, all concocted and fabricated, for political purposes. Mr. Speaker, I can report that at the meetings a week or ten days ago with the Minister of Fisheries and the Minister of Human Resources Development, and in subsequent conversations with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, we discussed going forward on this basis. That the federal and provincial governments would put in place a ministerial committee on each side. The Prime Minister has already named the federal committee. They are to consist of the Chairman, hon. Marcel Massé, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the Minister of Human Resources Development, and the Minister responsible for ACOA, Mr. Dingwall, those four. I have named the Minister of Fisheries, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, with my humble self as Chair. That is the four person committee. That was done primarily, Mr. Speaker, for two reasons, because I am the minister who has responsibility for Intergovernmental Affairs, in other words Mr. Massé's counterpart, and this is also of such importance to the people of the Province and the Government of the Province that I felt it appropriate that the Premier should be personally involved along with the others.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: You might tell your colleagues.

The approach we agreed to take is that we would seek to deal with this in an effort that involved three specific aspects. First, is ensuring an adequate level of income security for the people that are displaced or whose ability to earn an income has been displaced as a result of this catastrophe. The preferred position is to find it by means of finding alternate employment. If we can do it through generation of private sector opportunities that is the preferred means, that together with training programs for whatever alternate opportunities are available. If no private sector alternate opportunities are available we should try and generate further infra-structure activity in this Province that would allow people to be employed and earn an acceptable income in this program. We discussed at least a half-dozen different kinds of work that could be done in this Province that would provide for employment opportunity in all areas of the Province affected by the fishery.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Well I have to wait for the federal government. It would be improper for me to be making announcements until I have their approval. So I don't want to do that but there were at least half a dozen areas and I think hon. members opposite would endorse virtually every one of them. They would make a significant contribution to the Province. That's the first one. The second one is we agree that we have to restructure the fishing industry of this Province, the harvesting sector and the processing sector, and go forward on a cooperative and balanced basis so that we can build a secure and profitable fishery for the future. The third one is a recognition of the substantial impact on the economy of this Province that's been caused as a result of the fishery collapse and we have to jointly find a solution to that problem as well.

Now that's the three-pronged approached but we also agree that at the moment the federal government has to make another special effort and any of you who listened heard the Prime Minister speak to that when he was out in the foyer here earlier - no I guess it was last week - when he stated very clearly his commitment to deal with the foreign overfishing problem. That is the fourth aspect of it that has to be done. So that's the approach that we've agreed to take and that is what we are going to be doing, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am glad I didn't ask the Premier a complex question.

Everyone knows that the Premier asked the Prime Minister of Canada to phase out the Fisheries Compensation Program over five years. It shows in his ISP Proposal, page 49, it shows the table of phase-out starting from $362.2 million down to zero in five years. I want to ask the Premier, in his discussions with both federal ministers and the Prime Minister, is that also the intent of the new Fisheries Compensation Package, to have it phased out over five years? Will benefits from the fisheries compensation end in five years time even if there is no improvement in our fishery? Is that the thrust of these discussions the Premier has been involved in, is that what he has agreed to?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, it wasn't suggested, as the hon. member has said, at all. I'll tell you what has been proposed.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: No, that's the hon. members interpretation of it. No, more specifically it's the hon. members misrepresentation of it, to be more accurate, that's what it is. Most members know, Mr. Speaker, what the income security proposal was, it's a blending of the use of social assistance funds and the extra unemployment insurance funds to provide for an income security program that would not have disincentives to work and disincentives to report income. What we've said, Mr. Speaker, is because of the particular situation in the fisheries, it ought not to be applied to people engaged in the fishery immediately. It ought to be phased in over a period of five years in its application to the fishery, not that we asked them to phase out the fishery program over five years. What we've suggested is - because the fishery situation is so different from the unemployment situation generally in the Province - we asked the federal government not to apply the income security proposal to the fisheries immediately but to see it phased in over a period of five years for those people who have not the good fortune to find alternative employment or be back in the fishery by that time, not to penalize them by reducing it to the ISP level immediately - quite a different approach, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Premier and concerns the government's public service bargaining posture with respect to the threat of the removal of severance pay. The Premier knows that this has caused upwards of 200 to 300 teachers to feel forced to resign from their profession in mid-school year in order to protect their severance pay. I want to know, is the Premier concerned about the extreme negative consequences to the school children and to the education system in general, resulting from this, especially in view of the Minister of Education's statement earlier today, that they will be unlikely to be able to replace all those teachers between now and the end of the school year?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, it is not the government's intention to cut off severance, we intend to maintain severance for people who are severed. We are, however, asking about, and the minister told me he put forward to the unions as part of the negotiating process, a proposal that severance in the case of people who are retiring or who leave the public service to go and find perhaps a better paying job somewhere else, that we are concerned that it is unfair to the taxpayers of this Province to ask them to pay an additional, substantial sum of money to Members of the House, to teachers, to public servants or anybody else who leave their positions voluntarily to go and perhaps get a higher paying job somewhere else. Is it fair to ask the taxpayers of this Province to continue to do that, and pay their taxes to do it, is that fair?

We think it is not fair and the minister is asking the people concerned to consider this as one means of helping to deal with the financial problem that the government has, that the taxpayers of this Province has. Now that is exactly what the minister did. He also, Mr. Speaker, put it forward in the terms of collective bargaining, as the minister explained today, and the NTA bargaining team or the NTA executive, for whatever reason, felt they wanted to put it forward as the government cancelling severance. That is an outrageous fraud to say it in that way. The government is not proposing any such thing. What the government is proposing has been made very clear.

Now let me also remind the hon. member that it is irresponsible to be fearmongering. The hon. member says, 200 to 300 teachers are threatening to resign -

AN HON. MEMBER: They have resigned.

PREMIER WELLS: - have resigned?


AN HON. MEMBER: Forced to resign.

PREMIER WELLS: Forced to resign. I wouldn't bother to answer that; that is so unreal.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, in order to protect the school year for children in this Province, is the Premier prepared to say that the government will continue these negotiated benefits, at least until June 30, to allow teachers who are eligible to resign and use these negotiated benefits to finish the school year to benefit the school children of this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, we haven't said they were going to go. This is a bargaining proposal that the minister put forward to the NTA. Let me also remind hon. members that there is a requirement to give three months notice, if teachers are going to resign. Now, where is their concern for school children if they are not giving that notice or if superintendents are waiving it? Where is their concern for school children?

MR. WINDSOR: Where is your concern for the school children, is the question.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SIMMS: How much time is left?

MR. SPEAKER: About ten seconds.

MR. HEWLETT: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister -

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has now expired.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: I think you are two seconds too late.

Question period has elapsed.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to present the annual report of the Newfoundland Medicare Commission for the year ended March 31, 1993 - a very interesting report, and if any members opposite have trouble reading it or understanding the numbers, I would be very glad to explain it to them.

Notices of Motion

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

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

I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce the following resolution:

WHEREAS the Strategic Economic Plan of Newfoundland and Labrador firmly establishes the private sector as being the primary engine of economic growth within the Province; and

WHEREAS 66 per cent of all new jobs are generated in the area of small family businesses; and

WHEREAS small family businesses account for 55 per cent of the gross national product; and

WHEREAS various studies and reports have pointed to small and medium-sized businesses as one of the potential growth areas of the economy of this Province;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that this House of Assembly reaffirm its recognition of small business as a major part of the private sector economy of this Province and reaffirm its commitment to: support organizations that promote the interest of small business; develop programs to assist small businesses in this Province; promote the fostering of an economic environment wherein small businesses development is encouraged; continue to streamline the regulatory processes and structures of government so as to simplify and enhance the possibility of success of small business enterprises; and encourage the development of entrepreneurship in the Province at the small business level generally.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Answers to questions for which notice has been given.

MS. VERGE: Where is the Public Libraries report?


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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition that I want to present on behalf of 1,085 people from the Burin Peninsula.

Mr. Speaker, the prayer of the petition is not written as it should be in order for the House but I have checked with the Government House Leader and the minister in question. Both of them have agreed that the petition - they have no difficulty with it.

Basically, what the petitioners are asking is with respect to a problem they are having with the sand and salt being used by the Department of Works, Services and Transportation on roads on the Burin Peninsula. The coarse sand has resulted in many people having their windshields broken or cracked. Also, this does damage to the paint on vehicles, and the problem should be dealt with.

I say to the minister, that just a few weeks ago, two people came to my home with a plastic bag containing rocks that came from the screen. They were behind the truck when the rocks came from the screen, or salt, or whatever it is called. These were huge boulders, however they got into the system.

I have had telephone calls for the past number of weeks from several people on the Burin peninsula, not only in my own district but in other districts, regarding damage that has happened to their cars. As a matter of fact, I can say from my own personal experience, as someone who travels the Burin Peninsula, it has cost a fair dollar. My insurance company contacted me because of the windshields that I've lost over the past couple of years and they have threatened not to give any more insurance for replacement of windshields as a result of the rocks that are coming from these salt trucks. That is not happening just to me, Mr. Speaker, it is happening to many other residents of the Burin Peninsula who have lost windshields so often and have had to have them replaced, who use that highway fairly often and not so often as a result of that.

So I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation that this is a request from people who are very concerned. It is a very sincere request, I say to the minister, regarding the operations.

It is also my understanding, Mr. Speaker, that this year on the Burin Peninsula the supply of sand is coming from a different source than it has in the past. This year they are into another area where there are rocks involved in it. I believe it is in a place called - it is up past the airport - in a cowboy road, I think they refer to it. It is beyond Winterland, Mr. Speaker, in that general area, it is my understanding, that they are getting a lot of their sand, and that has caused problems.

Mr. Speaker, I don't suggest that there is any individual responsible for putting rocks in intentionally, or anything else, but somehow when you are left there, as a resident who uses these roads, as an operator of a motor vehicle, and you have to go and get your windshield replaced, even though you have insurance it costs money to go there and pay your portion as well, and it costs money to have your car painted, which has happened in many cases. Cars have to be painted as a result of this.

I ask the minister, Mr. Speaker, if he would personally intervene in this to see what is going on in terms of where they are getting the sand for the Burin Peninsula area, and if he would put in place some sort of system whereby inspectors from his department could drop in - not just on the Burin Peninsula, anywhere, and check to see what is happening.

There is a problem. The problem must be corrected. It is costing the people of the Burin Peninsula thousands of dollars a year, and it's time that someone put in place some sort of a check, some sort of an inspection system, whereby people can get the officials to go out and check periodically, without anyone knowing they are coming, to go out and check the operations, where you have the salt and sand stored, and just look at the rocks, because they are boulders - not sand, not rocks, but boulders, in this case, that have been mixed in with the sand.

There are others issues as it relates to the Burin Peninsula, particularly the condition of the roads, particularly the conditions of snow clearing, that is not appropriate for me to address because it is not in the prayer of this petition, on which I have already spoken to the minister. The Burin Peninsula Highway has been closed basically since last Friday. Except for a few hours each day since last Friday, the Burin Peninsula Highway has been closed in this Province, and I don't know what can be done, if anything can be done. Probably, there is a need for more equipment as it relates to that.

I take advantage of this opportunity to mention that publicly to the minister, but at the same time I plead with the minister to get something in the system so that users of vehicles on the Burin Peninsula won't have to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars for paint jobs and windshields for their vehicles. It is important to them, when you're living on unemployment insurance that is about to be reduced, when you are depending on the NCARP package, in many cases, that is about to be reduced. When you have families in these situations, you don't want to spend additional money -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: - to put windshields in your cars as a result of the salt and sand system. And no matter how much money you have -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the member's time has elapsed.

MR. TOBIN: - you don't want to have to go out and put windshields in your car, or get your car painted.

Mr. Speaker, I submit the petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, in my short time of experience with the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, just a few short months, that is the first time I have heard the complaint of boulders being used on the highway in place of sand and salt - boulders, as the hon. member just expressed very clearly. He said, they are not pebbles, they are not stones; they are boulders.

I can just imagine the sand truck going over the highway in the morning, spreading salt and boulders over the highway. I think there's a bit of exaggeration there, but I have no doubt there is a legitimate complaint of rocks being mixed in with the sand and salt.

One of the things I would say to the hon. member, I drive on the highway every day, coming from my own district, into St. John's, in the seasons of the year when the weather is reasonable enough to travel. I must say, this winter there haven't been too many days I couldn't travel. I don't know what is so different about the sand out in the area where I live and the sand on the Burin Peninsula Highway. I don't see that many rocks out there. But the one experience that I had personally - I had my windshield broken coming in over the highway one day, but it wasn't a result of the boulders on the road, it was because I was driving too close to the vehicle ahead of me. So I suggest probably that could be something -

AN HON. MEMBER: Did you get a ticket?

MR. EFFORD: In fact, I did. So I suggest probably in a lot of cases where the windshield of a car is broken, that could be because of rocks, or it could be the studs coming out of a vehicle. It could be driving - `tailgating' is the word they use. But certainly, the department has inspectors checking the grade of sand and the percentage of salt used versus sand in different areas of the Province, naturally on the Trans-Canada there is pretty well 100 per cent salt used but on the trunk roads, the byroads, there is a mixture of sand and salt but I will certainly have the officials of the department check into it if there is a particular problem in your area.

Now as far as the road being closed, I am good but I am not that good. There is only one man who could stop the storms.


MR. EFFORD: Well possibly two. Nature plays a very important role in the storm that we experienced on the highway, not only on the Burin Peninsula but on the Northern Peninsula and many other areas in the Province last week. We have had extremely high winds this season, but there is one thing I can assure the hon. member, there is more equipment on the highway this year than there was in any other past years with the new reorganization of the department in the last year, and the other thing in addition to that, we have the front-line workers, the people operating the ploughs and the trucks, those people make the decisions. More responsibility and accountability are given to those people in the operation and clearing of the highways and maintaining them, so we feel pretty satisfied that there is a good job being done out there.

The other thing I can guarantee and know for sure, according to the officials of the department, we have had about 50 per cent to 60 per cent less complaints and calls since the reorganization of the department's winter maintenance program this year, compared to any other previous year, but in the one issue about the sand, the grade of sand certainly could be a problem there and I will have it checked out.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much.

Mr. Speaker, I want to speak to the petition presented by my colleague from Burin - Placentia West and I want to go on record as supporting the petition.

I want to say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, that when he pointed upward, we thought that he had thought that the Premier had left and gone to the eighth floor. He mentioned about breaking the windshield of his car, I hope it wasn't from driving too close to another car; I thought it was when he ran into the moose because he - and I want to say I suppose that he is the man responsible for points and I don't know if he has any points left the way he drives, Mr. Speaker, because, he is obviously a hazard on the highway, but I want to say to the minister in talking to the petition, that I have had a number of complaints myself from constituents along the same lines as the Member for Burin - Placentia West, that, people are complaining about the size of the rocks, of the stones that are being put in the mix.

Now my understanding of it is, that that stuff is supposed to be screened and there is only supposed to be a certain size stone than can get through the screen. Obviously, there is something going wrong with the screening process I say to the minister, but it is a very legitimate concern because I drive that Burin Peninsula Highway as much as anybody and I mean, I have noticed on occasion, seriously, that there are large rocks in the mix.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I don't know what kind of a mesh they use but maybe we should get some of the fishing nets and screen the sand, but there is a problem. I have had a number of complaints from constituents, I have talked to a representative of one insurance company, I say to the minister, who says this year they have had more claims because of windshield breakage than any other year on record since their company has been dealing with insurance, so that tells me that the problem is very serious and I ask the Member for Burin - Placentia West to call upon the minister, and if he would contact whomever is responsible in his department to see if there is something out of whack with the screening because you know, this can be avoided, and the other thing I want to say to the minister before I conclude, and I realize I only have a minute, is that, there have been proposals from at least one person on the Burin Peninsula to supply the sand and a number of years they let that submission into the department, but for some reason their sand is never analyzed because that supplier is convinced that if he could supply some of this stuff, it would be I guess, of better quality and smaller grain than what they are now using, so I leave that with the minister and support the petition and ask him to look into the matter to see if at least that can be improved.

Orders of the Day

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

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

On Monday, I introduced a resolution dealing with the condemnation of the federal government Budget and the implications that it would have on the people of this Province, and I was appalled today to listen to the Premier talk about how, in his responsibility, that he could not, and would not, roll up his shirtsleeves and condemn the actions of the federal government in this Budget and the unfair implications it would have on this Province and on the people of the Province.

Now, if we want to talk about pure logic we should talk about what is exactly in the Budget. Let me be very specific. On the chopping block this year are defense spending, unemployment insurance, fisheries compensation, civil service salaries, transfers to the Province, and to all provinces, and the federal Finance Minister, Mr. Martin, promises tougher deficit reductions affecting social programs over the next two years.

Now, just let us have a look at the changes to the Unemployment Insurance Act for a moment and the impact this will have on the people in Newfoundland and Labrador. The minimum qualifying period and maximum qualifying period has been changed from a minimum of ten weeks to twelve weeks, and from a maximum that people can draw UI, from forty-two weeks to thirty-two weeks, but that has different implications in different parts of the Province. In the St. John's region, for example, where employment levels are traditionally somewhat higher, unemployment recipients under this new system will be required to have fourteen weeks work and on the top end will not be eligible to draw for thirty-two weeks but in the vicinity of twenty-six to twenty-seven weeks.

The benefit rate, for example, with the exception of extreme circumstances, is reduced from 57 per cent to 55 per cent of weekly earnings. The changes will total, in UI payouts, or the reduction in UI payouts across the nation, as the Finance minister has said, amounts to a reduction of 10 per cent across the nation, but the effect will not be even in all regions of the Province. In Atlantic Canada the UI payout reduction will be almost 25 per cent and the reduction in UI payouts in this Province will be 30 per cent, a reduction in total personal income of those receiving UI of 30 per cent. When we talk about what is happening in the Atlantic Provinces the Leader of the Opposition expressed clearly today what other leaders and other premiers in Atlantic Canada have expressed in their condemnation of the impact that this Budget will have on their provinces, but our government has not said one iota, has endorsed, by its silence, the action of the federal government in their recent Budget.

Newfoundland and Labrador will be hardest hit. There are all sorts of numbers on how many dollars will be effected and how many dollars in loss of income. Our own research indicates that Newfoundland and Labrador will have a loss of almost $200 million in personal income, $200 million less that will be coming into this Province as a result of this change alone.

Now, let us look at the cut to the Fisheries Compensation Package. There is no question, Mr. Speaker, that there will be less compensation for fishermen and fisherwomen in Newfoundland and Labrador as announced in the Fisheries Compensation Package in this Budget. Over the last two years there has been close to $1 billion, if not more, spent in fisheries compensation in actual payouts and training dollars provided for other courses for people to take advantage of. There was $1.7 billion allocated for the new five year fisheries adjustment program for Atlantic Coast fishermen and plant workers. An additional $200 million was held over to fund current compensation programs until they expire in May. The money allocated averages out to about half the annual amount spent on the fisheries compensation program over the last two years, about half of the amount. Pure logic would say that since 75 per cent of people eligible for compensation live in this Province, in Newfoundland and Labrador, we will bear the brunt of spending reductions over the next five years. No matter how cuts are applied under the new program the average annual loss to this Province in personal and business income will be in the order of $100 to $150 million and yet not one word of condemnation, not one word from the Premier or his government in speaking out on behalf of the people which they supposedly represent, not one word.

Another implication of this Budget deals with the freeze on federal transfers and cost-shared programs. The finance minister, Mr. Martin, has imposed a long-term freeze on transfers to the provinces for social programs, including Canada assistance, health and post secondary education. Social programs will be the subject of major reforms to be undertaken in next years budget but total expenditures over the next five years will not be allowed to exceed current levels. Now what does that mean? It is as obvious as the nose on your face, I say to the Member for Eagle River, that if transfers and increases in social programs will not be allowed to increase - have to stay where they are over the next five years - then I ask the Member for Eagle River and all other hon. members to stand up and fight for their constituents, condemn this Budget, talk to your cousins in Ottawa and say: this is not what you promised during the federal election. This is not what you promised and what you promised is not what you delivered. I implore all members to talk to their constituents in this regard.

If the freeze is sustained as intended federal contributions to social programs will not keep pace with normal growth and costs. The effect will be most severe in Newfoundland and Labrador again, which has the least capacity to make up shortages and funding but risks higher costs, especially for welfare, because of federal cuts in UI and fisheries compensation.

Now what is implicit in all of this, in terms of increase in UI, decrease in transfer payments? By maintaining transfer payment levels on the one hand and not keeping pace with rising costs of social programs on the other hand, it amounts to a net effect of a decrease. It begs a larger question, Mr. Speaker, a larger question that this government proposed in its Income Supplementation Program.

What will be the net effect of such a program? Are there parts of that program that are reflected in the federal Budget, I ask you? I say there is. I say what we have seen here is but the first step of the federal government moving twelve weeks, thirteen weeks, fourteen weeks and I believe that there is a plan to bring up the amount of qualifying weeks required for UI in this Province to twenty weeks, as this government has intended, as this government proposed, as this government brought to Ottawa without consultation of the people of the Province, that this government behind closed doors developed a program by an unaccountable, unelected body called the Economic Recovery Commission. A body that is really, if the truth be told, and if some of Cabinet would stand up and show some spine, that if the truth be told, are the real developers of social and economic policy in this Province, that this is where we are headed.

When the Premier said that in five years from now the people of the Province will stand up and congratulate, he said, his government for having the foresight to propose such a plan. I'll say they will congratulate him alright because in five years they'll have starved the people to the point where they'll have to have it. That's what's happening and that's where we are heading in this federal Budget. The images and the direction that this federal Budget is taking is demonstrating that to me, Mr. Speaker.

Cuts in defence spending; another problem area. While Canadian Forces bases in Newfoundland will not close, personnel spending will be reduced in Gander and Goose Bay as part of an overall $9 billion cut in defence spending. There are limited details on the scale and timing of the reductions at these locations but it seems at least that one air squadron will be relocated from Gander to Ottawa. Canadian Forces at Goose Bay will be cut by some 25 to 30 per cent.

Apart from the effect of reduced spending in the Province, the defence rollback will limit career opportunities for Newfoundland and Labrador youth. A group in our society who are under attack and who have been under attack for the last five years by this provincial Administration, because of the limited employment opportunities at home the defence cutbacks will effect many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians serving in the military and remove the option of many who intend to pursue or proceed with military careers.

What are some of the other goodies that this federal Budget has brought down? We've seen a freeze on payroll costs, a freeze on federal civil service salaries, including suspension of pay increments within job classification, will be extended for another two years. I wonder if the federal government is taking a lead from the provincial government strategy on dealing with civil servants. It will be interesting to note in next year's budget.

What about revenue measures? The federal Minister of Finance has proposed no new taxes, or increase in tax rates, but will raise more than a billion dollars in new revenues by eliminating or reducing tax breaks that are perceived - and I must stress - that are perceived as being inequitable. Cuts in regional investment tax credits, special investment tax credits designed to encourage business investment in Atlantic provinces, have been reduced or eliminated. The 30 per cent tax credit for investment in certain types of structures, machinery and equipment on designated areas, has been or is eliminated. The Atlantic investment tax credit is reduced from 15 per cent to 10 per cent. The investment tax credit for scientific research and experimental development expenditures in Atlantic Canada is reduced from 30 per cent to 20 per cent.

If this is the way that a federal government which has all of its members for the most part, with the exception of one, I believe, who are Liberal, who have been elected by the people in Atlantic Canada, if this is the way that they intend to deal with the people in Atlantic Canada, and specifically with the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, then I ask the House and all hon. members in the House today to stand with me to say: Please, condemn the federal Budget. Ask them to review it. Do whatever is necessary to convince their federal counterparts, their federal cousins, to roll back and take a second look at what they've done to this Province.

Cuts in the age tax credit. Currently persons age sixty-five and over are eligible for age tax credit equal to 17 per cent of the age amount, an average or currently of $3,482. In future the credit will be reduced based on an income formula for all seniors with a net income in excess of $25,000. Seniors with a net income over $49,000 will no longer receive any age credit. This will increase taxes at the top end by about $1,000 a year.

Let's talk about the elimination of capital gains tax credit and how that will affect us here. The $100,000 lifetime capital gains tax exemption as members know has been eliminated. The elimination of this tax will make it difficult to reduce the number of people in the fishing industry by buying out fishing licences and enterprises. Fishermen who participated in the buy out program under NCARP were eligible for the capital gains deduction. It may also affect the sale of Hydro shares if the government - and when the government, I should say, not if the government but when the government proceeds with its privatization initiative.

What about the tax on group life insurance? Premiums on the first $25,000 of life insurance provided by employers will no longer be exempt from tax. The UI rate. Reduction in UI premiums. The UI premium rate for employees will be reduced from $3.07 to $3.00. For every $1 of insurable earnings the employer contribution rate remains at $1.04.

I haven't outlined or gone into great detail of what is contained in the federal Budget. What I've attempted to do here today is to provide a highlight of those initiatives announced in the federal Budget, and how those initiatives will affect the people of this Province, and the people of my district, the district of Kilbride. The federal Budget will have a major negative impact on personal and provincial incomes and provincial revenues. The effect this year will be moderated somewhat, but only somewhat, because people now on UI, people who are now currently on the system, will be paid under the old plan, and the current fisheries compensation package will last until May 15.

At the end of the transition, though, is where we get the biggest boot in the backside - that's what the Federal Government and their Budget has done. It is at the end of this transition period that annual losses in personal income will exceed $300 million in this Province, which is more than double the value of all wages earned at the Hibernia site during its peak time.

The loss of disposable income will affect business activity and employment everywhere in the Province, but as always, always, the problems and the result and the impact of this federal Budget will be felt most severely in rural Newfoundland, and those who live in rural Newfoundland will be the biggest losers.

Now, the Finance Minister of the Province, Winston Baker, estimates the Province could lose some $20 million in revenue in 1994 as a result of the UI changes alone. The real figure may be closer to $30 million, not $20 million.

In subsequent years, the losses in personal income will cost the Province at least $60 million in revenues. In addition, the government cannot count on any increase whatsoever in federal contributions to the cost of social programs. The Federal Government's warning that it intends to be tougher on social programs in future budgets,means that the impact on this Province will be long-term and severe, Mr. Speaker, that it is not going to end next year or the year after, or the year after that. What we, as a people and as a Province, will be witnessing is a continued and sustained attack on this Province and the people who inhabit this great Island.

Newfoundlanders have good reason to feel aggrieved by this federal Budget. The 30 per cent cut in UI payments in this Province is more than three times the cut in the national average. When the cut in funding for fisheries compensation is factored in, the impact of the federal Budget here is at least five times as severe as it will be on the nation as a whole.

No Federal Government - and I want to emphasize this - no Federal Government, since Confederation, has wreaked such havoc on the economy of this Province, or unfairly singled out this Province to bear such a lopsided share of federal spending cuts, and I ask the Members of the House of Assembly to stand with me again in condemnation of this federal Budget, and to stand up for the constituents in their districts, and to do what you were elected to do, to fight on their behalf.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is certainly a pleasure and an opportunity to speak in this debate this afternoon. I would like, I think, to make the case quite clear at the very beginning that while we certainly share some of the sentiments expressed by the hon. the Member for Kilbride - none of us here would wish that these kinds of decisions had to be made anywhere in the country, and that they wouldn't have the kinds of impacts of which I will try to spell out the case in the time allotted to me as to why we can't necessarily applaud any action by anybody, even when we make decisions ourselves, that cause differences in programs that people have come to rely on. In fact, the premise on which this particular resolution is put forward is not correct, and while it is something we would rather not happen, the reality is, we have recognized that the Federal Government, in this instance, is much like this government has been in the last three or four years or so - and may very well be again in the next year or so - faced with very touch decisions that have to be made. And what we will do is spend all our effort making sure that we try to recognize exactly what the impact and outcome is, because I will try to point out that, I believe, some of the premise put forward by the hon. member is not exactly accurate and is in some error, and therefore, at the end of the day, I will be suggesting that members on this side of the House not support this particular motion and resolution.

The hon. member, in introducing his private member's motion, Mr. Speaker, referenced two areas in particular. He touched on a number of others, but because the written motion actually deals with the changes to the unemployment insurance system and to the fisheries compensation, I will spend some time, if I may, dealing with those two issues in particular.

With the UI changes, everybody recognizes that they will be significant in this Province, there is no question of that. The numbers at this point in time are still in somewhat of a state of flux. There are different estimates that are being used by some federal officials, and because this is a federally-funded and federally-administered program, funded, I guess, by the employers- employees, and with some money lent into it and then borrowed back from the Federal Government, we have to rely largely on them for their assessment of the impacts.

There is no doubt with a higher qualifying period and a shorter benefit period, and in many instances,a lower rate of benefit, that there will be significant individual impacts. The best numbers that we have at this point in time suggest that 30 per cent of the claimants in Newfoundland and Labrador in the last couple of years have been people who have qualified with ten or eleven weeks, 30 per cent of the total claim base. They are into the different numbers of thousands depending on the season and the months. All members, I think, are familiar with that kind of information.

The very best estimates that they can make at this point in time is that it may be reasonable from their projections - and like I say, it is not for me to defend those federal types, I just give you the information they passed on to us for our consideration. It might be reasonable, from their best projections, to assume that half of those people could quite conceivably pick up the extra one or two weeks of work even in this environment, and they have a precedent on which they base that. Because there was a period of time a few years back when right across the country, for a nine-month period, there was a fourteen-week qualifying period.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) don't believe that.

MR. GRIMES: I'm passing along the information that is the best information available to us as the government, and it is the same information available to yourself from the HRD offices here in St. John's.

Their best estimates are that half of the people, based on past experience, in all likelihood would have a good chance of picking up the extra week or two and still qualifying for UI. However, that doesn't deny the fact that all of those people, even if they qualify, will still end up with a shorter benefit period, and in most cases, unless they are very low earners, a lower rate of return. We are not trying to suggest any of those things are incorrect or false.

So they are saying: We acknowledge and recognize that the changes create two problems that we are now spending all of our energies trying to find new solutions for. Because there are choices. I relate to the tone and tenor of the questions in question period today where the Leader of the Opposition - I think the premise was that the Premier and the government were not complaining enough. Well, you have a choice. You can complain and you can `whimper' - I think, the phrase that the Leader of the Opposition used was `not a whimper' - or you can recognize that the Federal Government with responsibility here has made certain decisions which have very identifiable impacts that we are now studying in some detail. And now, the question is: What do we do?

We can whimper all we like, if that is the choice, but the reality is: What will we do? Clearly, we have decided to spend our energy and efforts in terms of looking at, recognizing, two things: that we have, by the best estimates of the federal officials, who have years of experience administering this system, maybe a pool of 15 per cent of the people who will not qualify, who previously could access unemployment insurance for their income security for the rest of the year, but now might be in grave danger of not qualifying, so they will have an income need for most of the year. We have recognized that. These are 15 per cent of the people.

The other best estimates, by the way, from - and this is one that I would make sure every member of the House would know - sometimes there is an assumption, people make an assumption, that if you exhaust your UI claim, if you are one of these people who, out of work, uses UI because you have managed to qualify in the first place and then you have run out of UI before you manage to get another job, that you automatically go to social assistance. That is not the case. The startling fact and the reality so far is that less than 10 per cent of UI exhaustees qualify for social assistance. Because, remember the distinction. Unemployment insurance is a personal entitlement, regardless of family income and other income. Social assistance is a family income entitlement system. And many of these individuals, while they may exhaust their UI or may not qualify, family income through other members is such that the real number - and this startled me the first time I heard it - is that less than 10 per cent of those people will qualify for social assistance because there is other income in the family that keeps them above the minimum levels that allow anybody to qualify for social assistance.

So it shouldn't be put in the context that we are going to leave a whole group of people totally destitute. They are not even going to be so bad off that they will qualify for social assistance, but that doesn't deny the fact that they will suffer a substantial and significant change in the personal and family income levels that they have become accustomed to.

So our whole issue is that - what we want to do is to deal with the Federal Government now in recognition - and they recognized it. We were at a meeting yesterday of federal/provincial labour market ministers from across the country, with Mr. Axworthy. And the point was made abundantly clear by ourselves and also by the representatives from Prince Edward Island, that here we have one-half of the agenda. Everybody, by the way, was fully expecting - and, as the Premier pointed out, this is what we said to the public in Newfoundland and Labrador when we publicly put out for public discussion the income supplementation proposal, that everything that every official and politician representing the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in the last couple of years - long before the government changed - everything that everybody had gleaned was that the federal Unemployment Insurance, the national program, was in difficulty and that there were going to be significant changes.

In fact, part of the proposal with the income supplementation was to say, recognizing that that's coming, let's make sure that we show the Federal Government a way that they can re-profile some money so that people can access other means of supplementing their income because the message was quite clear for some time. It wasn't going to come from unemployment insurance anywhere close to the numbers that it was before.

So this year - and I think the Premier has indicated as well - our guess if we were guessing, this year the move from ten weeks to twelve, from forty-two weeks to thirty-two and the sliding scales that are in there, that is probably only the first of several changes. We agree fully with the assessment of it as put forward by the hon. the Member for Kilbride in presenting the resolution, this is likely the beginning. So all that will happen, in our estimation, is that there will be an increasing need for us to find new and better ways to meet the income support needs of these people who have been dependent upon unemployment insurance and won't be able to access the system at all, which we estimate from the federal numbers to be 15 per cent, or will access the system for a shorter period of time and end up - nobody is trying to hide from the fact - and end up recognizing that people who could get a full years income before will be left eight weeks short, even if they qualify at the minimum levels.

So we have two new problems - a new pool of people who won't qualify at all, and the qualifiers, a large number of them, who will end up in a year, on a fifty-two week basis, with eight weeks of no income. Now, the real task for us is to find out, in that federal system again, how are we going to try to find meaningful new creative ways to meet that new income need? In our discussions yesterday it was made quite clear that the federal minister and the Federal Government expect the provinces to come forward with proposals that can be done on a pilot basis. They have an $800 million fund over the next two years to do pilot projects on the whole basis leading to the national agenda for social security reform. That is one of the proposals that we are hoping they will continue to consider.

In any event, the message was left loud and clear at yesterday's federal/provincial meeting that within the next month, the Federal Government fully expects to see proposals coming from all regions of the country, but they also fully expect that because Atlantic Canadians have been the greatest users and the greatest beneficiaries of the system, we will also likely be the greatest people in terms of disproportionate pay and receiving, the numbers as I understand it. They fully expect that because of our experiences with the programs and the dependency here on it for a year-round income supplement, that we probably moreso than anybody else in the country, are likely to come forward with innovative, creative, new directional meaningful programs that will find a way to target the group of people because there is one other reality in all of this, and then I will try to spend a little time making a few comments about the fisheries compensation.

There is one other reality about the group of people who will be impacted with the unemployment insurance changes. We are talking about regular, repeat users of unemployment insurance, we are not talking about people who use it once in their lives; this is the group of people here who will be largely impacted by these changes. People who are in full-time positions and so on, anyone who has worked a full year and loses a job, they still qualify for fifty weeks of unemployment insurance, the first time around. The longer you work the longer you qualify.

We are talking about the people who, through no fault of their own, because that is all the work they can get, have normally gotten themselves ten weeks of work, eleven weeks of work, twelve weeks of work, whatever is available, and have managed to qualify for unemployment insurance as their income base for the rest of the year, that is the group of people we are dealing with. So we are suggesting a number of these repeat users - the system that the federal government through the HRD offices now, and the UI offices, they can almost identify these people by number and name today, as to who the people are who are going to be eight weeks short and when to expect their claim to reopen for next year and which ones may or may not be able to get the twelve weeks instead of the ten, so it is not a difficult problem of identification of who the group is.

Many of them can be done by name today, through the systems that are there, so we are not going to have a great difficulty in terms of identifying the group for whom we have created a new problem, easily identifiable and then the real job for us is to find a way to access, in ways that would probably again have application generally across the country but will be primarily beneficial to the people here, some portion of that $800 million pilot project fund over the next two years targetted at this group of people who now have a new income support need and, Mr. Speaker, in finishing on those UI changes, that is the direction that we decided to take from the very beginning as soon as it happened rather than whimper or complain or squawk or whatever for whatever good that does.

We told people quite clearly, we would rather not have to do this, but one of the other realities, and this is probably one of the few political statements that I will make in these few minutes, one of the realities - and this is a personal political opinion - as to why there are two federal conservative members in Ottawa today instead of almost 200 before, is because the federal conservative government was elected twice under Mr. Mulroney, with a mandate to take charge of these kinds of programs and be fiscally responsible with them. Because they did not seize the mandate that they were given, the people threw them out in big numbers, that is one of the reasons in my opinion and I state that clearly as a personal opinion. And in this Province, this government has been given a second mandate again, one part of which is to be fiscally responsible and to make sure that programs like this are maintained on a basis that can be sustained into the future and meet some real needs and not to be spread so thinly trying to meet all the needs that you jeopardize the whole program.

We faced, Mr. Speaker, the same thing in this Province with respect to provincial pension plans, where it was clear that major changes had to be made because all we were doing was deferring things into the future with the real potential for collapse. This government in five years has said that is not good enough, you have to make the decisions to make sure that people who paid into a pension are going to get a pension. We took the same approach, Mr. Speaker, with respect to workers' compensation, continually increasing unfunded liability positions not addressed by the previous administration and everybody pointing out that the system was in danger of collapse. The federal government previously was given a mandate to do these kinds of things with UI, didn't do it and they now have two members, so I suggest to the members opposite, there is a lesson in that.

In the few minutes that I have remaining, Mr. Speaker, I would like to address fisheries compensation just so that I can put some numbers on the table because there are some wildly different numbers being bandied about. The most recent numbers that we have are these:

In 1993-94, the current fiscal year which is about to end, because there was a part of the year before in compensation, the total amount spent on NCARP as it is well-known, excluding training by DFO is, $320 million.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. GRIMES: I will get to that, I will talk to the training number, but let me give you this breakdown, Mr. Speaker, and I am sure that the Opposition members and everybody else can have these same numbers made available to them.

On income support, and here is the concern individually for the people in the fishery who need the compensation and depend on the money coming in envelopes to their House every second week. In income support, the two week cheques in the fiscal year 1993-94, that only consumed $260 million, so the cheques that people actually got that they could fund their household needs on and keep themselves going as individuals, that was $260 million, not $1 billion, none of those kind of numbers. But if we were in the same situation of waiting to get our paycheque or envelope every two weeks, and these people are unfortunately in the position, the total amount paid was $260 million in this last fiscal year.

There was $40 million spent for license retirement and the full expectation that there might be more of that, and so on, that goes on. There was $4 million spent for vessel support, and I am only talking 1993-94, not the total life of the program back to the beginning of August, 1992. There was just slightly less than $16 million spent on the early retirement option, to retire people in the fishery fifty-five years of age and over.

The training budget relating to ENCARP in 1993-94 was another $93 million, so we have $320 million spent in the various ways of income support, licence retirement, vessel support, early retirement, and another $93 million spent on training, so if you add it all up, in that fiscal year with everything that was done in 1993-1994, over the full year, it came up to less than $420 million, including the training.

But when you talk about the primary concern of the individuals, the primary concern of the individuals is and always has been income maintenance: I need some money for me and my family to live on every two weeks. That amount in the last fiscal year was $260 million, so I point that out and hope that members opposite and all members when they are addressing this issue would either take the time to check with the same officials who are running this program to see that these are the right numbers because I do not think it does anybody in the Province any good at all to be saying we had $1 billion this year and we are only going to get $1.9 billion for the next five years because that is not the truth. Counting training there was less than $420 million in the fiscal year, in one year.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. GRIMES: I do not have the numbers for the other half, but if you take a one year total and multiply it by five you get $2 billion. Again it is not for me to defend that. We are entering into discussions even now. The officials are meeting this week. The ministers, as the Premier said, the group that the Premier is leading is expected to meet next week and we will look at that component, the continuation of compensation for people affected by the moratorium. That will be looked at in great detail in the next few days. The federal government will lay the numbers out before us. The federal ministers, both Mr. Axworthy and Mr. Tobin, have been saying they are convinced that they have enough money here so that there will be very marginal reductions in the amount of money the individual actually takes home on a two week basis. There might be some very marginal reductions, but we do not know that because we have not had the discussions yet.

That is their version of it and they are suggesting that $1.9 billion, almost $2 billion over five years, is very close to the just in excess of over $400 million spent in one year, because $400 million multiplied by $5 is $2 billion, and if they are at $2 billion and this was running at $400 million a year they will argue that they have the same money. Now, we will be involved in that discussion, representatives of the fisheries union will be involved in that discussion, representatives of the industry will be involved in that discussion, and we are hoping that in a very short time frame that one part of the three-pronged approach, the fishing industry renewal and the larger economic renewal for the Province will take a little longer, but because we have a deadline of May 15, Mr. Speaker, we fully expect that we will be able to come to grips with this issue, the components of continuing compensation, the levels, and that we might all be able to agree at the end of the day that nobody short-changed the people who would rather be fishing and rather be working except for the mistakes made by the federal government that they must and have taken full responsibility for.

At this point in time the only component of this program, Mr. Speaker, that the provincial government has had any financial involvement in has been the retirement package, because retirement is available for workers in all sectors, under the program for older worker adjustments. It has been applied to miners, loggers, people who lost their jobs at M.A. Powell and so on. Those are the kinds of things -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. minister's time has elapsed.

MR. GRIMES: So I would just like to put those numbers on the record as part of this debate, and conclude, if I could, in thirty seconds, by saying we don't disagree with some of the premises to individual impacts here, but the whole resolution today by the Private Member's Resolution from the hon. member hinges on the fact that he thinks there has been an unfair treatment for Newfoundland and therefore we should condemn the government. In our view, there has been no unfair treatment. There have been tough decisions made that we are going to try to work with to minimize the negative impacts on individuals who are very much concerned about it.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to support my colleague's resolution to condemn the federal government, and that is exactly what we should do - condemn the federal government - because they have inflicted tremendous hardships upon this Province, and it's time that this government woke up and did an assessment of the impact it's going to have on money coming into this economy.

Other provinces in Atlantic Canada have done it, and across this country, and after the federal Budget we still have not done any assessment or impact it's going to have, and they haven't been able - the Finance Minister today - to lay on the Table the effect it's going to have on this economy and this Province, because it's going to impact on numerous areas, on income tax levels, on spending, on retail sales tax, and every other single tax that is available in this Province, because it's going to reflect on the disposable income here in the Province.

Now one mayor in Nova Scotia said that Mr. Chrétien thinks there is no Canada east of Quebec, and that is based on this assessment of the federal Budget that has inflicted the serious degree of pain upon the economy of this Province, and our Province sits back and takes it in stride. Well, I would like to look a little more in depth at some of the things that are happening in this Province, and how the UI is going to impact upon members in every, single district of this Province - out in Port au Port, Harbour Main, and the City of St. John's - and I will refute the figures that the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations used to say people would only be out of work for eight weeks of the year. We will show how it will be higher.

Now, it is unfortunate when we sit idly by and let the federal government deliver a Budget that has such a devastating impact on this Province. My colleague said: Never has a government, since Confederation, a federal government, inflicted so much pain on this Province - and we are not really, fully conscious about it, and those that are conscious about it on the government side are keeping to themselves and saying nothing; they are accepting it.

Now I would like to take a little, close look at the general, first of all, philosophies and direction that this government has taken in that Budget. They have looked upon their source of revenues that are available to them that they can collect in taxes, and they have made a decision to inflict it and take an unfair amount of income out of the pockets of individuals, and shun in their duties of addressing the system as it should. I will refer to an article that said: They preached the philosophy that there are loopholes out there and we are going to collect massive amounts of money, so they could con the people into believing that, so that when the middleman gets hit in this Budget it won't seem so painful; at least we closed a few loopholes that people had the perception there are big dollars involved.

In fact, an economist with Price, Waterhouse stated that we would have to hike taxes 25-33 per cent if the government is going to achieve their 3 per cent of their gross national product. That would result in - just to give you an indication on what they've done - increasing the three levels of income tax from 27 per cent up to 34 per cent, the 42 per cent bracket up to 52 per cent, and the 50 per cent bracket up to 64 per cent. They would have had to increase corporate tax to 55 when other countries around the world are only charging 30-44 per cent, so they came back on the most disadvantaged region of this country and asked us to bear an inordinate amount of the blame and responsibility for what's happening in this country.

I will just point out to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations - I will use an example - here in the City of St. John's, which now has an unemployment rate of 13 per cent, under the new provisions of these UI changes, there are two components, one is the work component and one of course is the regional unemployment component. A person in the City of St. John's in 13 per cent unemployment would need to work for thirteen weeks, of which they would receive six weeks UI on the work component, and because they are 9 per cent above the 4 per cent base that is taken they will get another eighteen weeks. So, Mr. Minister, in the City of St. John's with thirteen weeks' work a worker would draw UI for twenty-four weeks, for a total of thirty-seven weeks, and we are fifteen weeks short without income for the rest of the year. That is the sad picture.

I will take an example in Port au Port. A person in Port au Port who went to work tomorrow and got twelve weeks work in Port au Port would get six weeks work for the twelve weeks, six weeks UI. For every two weeks of work you will get one week UI under this new proposal. If you work six weeks out in Port au Port you will get a work component of six weeks UI. Because it is above the minimum level set at 16 per cent, once you are above 16 per cent you can draw UI for up to a maximum of twenty-six weeks. So a person who gets twelve weeks work in Port au Port will draw for thirty-two weeks, and that is it. Thirty-two and twelve is forty-four. There is a difference of eight. That same person if he worked in the City of St. John's for the same length of time would only draw for twenty-four weeks. That is fifteen weeks short in the St. John's region. I think that takes in Harbour Main, a good portion of the Member for Harbour Main's district.

That is fifteen weeks. Some of these people will not qualify to go on social assistance for the fifteen weeks that they have no income, because family incomes might bring them up above the level that they would need support. I also refute the minister's statement that only 10 per cent of these now will fall into the social assistance role. In fact, more of these will fall into the social assistance role now because the level of income and the period that they will draw will now reduce the total family yearly income to a level that more would fall into that system than would under the current level that is currently proposed.

AN HON. MEMBER: Ten per cent more, yes.

MR. SULLIVAN: I think 10 per cent is significant. In fact, I think it is going to be more than 10 per cent. I think they are miscalculating the impact and they are assuming that eight weeks will be the period in which people will not have income. That is wrong. The City of St. John's region and the figures here show that they have now I think a 13 per cent UI rate. They will be fifteen weeks short on a minimum work requirement.

In Newfoundland, the Northeastern Labrador region, that has a UI rate of 23.4 per cent now, those people in that area will draw for thirty-two and they will be eight weeks without any income whatsoever. The other region of the Province - Corner Brook, Gander, and that general region of the Province - will also be in exactly the same category. They will have eight weeks where they will be lacking income.

Overall -

MR. GRIMES: That is not true.

MR. SULLIVAN: It is true. I will sit down and let you correct me if you can do it.


MR. SULLIVAN: Because you can't, because it is there. Here is what the minister said - and that is exactly the gospel truth - and the Human Resources Department said: This social security reform and these UI changes now will be a forum for wide-sweeping changes to modernize Canada's social safety net. A dialogue with Canadians and the full participation of provincial governments will be an important part of that process - yes, the proposed changes to UI. Some consultation with the people of Canada. That is a mockery and it is an insult to the people here in this Province.

We should be concerned about the loss of revenue that is coming into the economy of this Province. The minister could not produce today - in Prince Edward Island he could produce an impact of $50 million. If you multiplied our Province by five times the population it would be $250 million, and our unemployment rate is even higher. In New Brunswick, a much lower rate, the impact is $400 million. These figures, when they are released, on a full fiscal year, you will find within this Province there will be $350 million loss of revenue from the economy of this Province, and along with fishery compensation will be equivalent to 30 per cent of what this Province raises in all sources of revenue in any fiscal year. That is $1.7 billion approximately.

We are going -lose about $500 million in a full twelve-month fiscal period because of impacts here. If you can produce the figures and analysis to show that to me, I will accept it. You haven't been able to do it; other provinces have done it and this Province hasn't even done an analysis. They don't know today the impact the federal Budget is going to have. I think it is about time they took some responsibility and decided to do it. Now, there is a $6 billion federal deficit on UI, and granted, this Province is most dependent upon UI. The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations stated today, and it is implied in the Income Supplementation Program and I took a note of what he said - that people who had ten weeks will now have to get twelve weeks. What he is saying is what was said in this report, that the people in this Province are lazy.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: That's right, he said today, and this report implies that those people who are on the system now getting ten weeks and qualifying, many of them will get twelve weeks work now. That is implying that people are refusing to work. If people refused to work there are provisions in the system to deal with these people under the `voluntary quits' provisions. There are some positive changes by the way, a few positive things proposed under the `voluntary quits' aspect of this new UI proposal. A few little positive things are tucked away there - it only affects a few people, but still I support that aspect of change because it is so important to protect the workers rights to be able to leave employment under certain conditions. That has been clarified a little bit, but the damage on this Province is irreparable. What we have seeing happening here is a phasing in, step one, of our Income Supplementation Program. Now, when the Premier -

MR. TULK: The Tories caused this problem.

MR. SULLIVAN: Actually, to be honest with you, I don't care who caused the problem. What I am concerned about is what we do about the problem, not who caused it. I am very concerned about it and I don't think we should take it out on the backs of the people. The people in Fogo now who work twelve weeks will have to (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SULLIVAN: - and the people in the district of Ferryland also when I fight for them. The people in Ferryland right now, in part of my district, if they work for twelve weeks -

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SULLIVAN: Whenever anything was done I complained about it. If you were around you would have known. You weren't around the last four years to find out. Now, overall, the impacts that have been put on rural areas - the city of St. John's, even will be impacted significantly. The person in St. John's today - and I think that's very significant - a person in the St. John's region today who just qualified with the minimum amount, will now be unemployed with no work income and no unemployment revenue for up to fifteen weeks of that year, under this proposal. Before, they would be able to qualify for up to thirty-five weeks.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is why we need the ISP, to fill the gap.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, that's why we need the ISP. We certainly do. The Premier and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations have been successful in selling to the Federal Government that the twenty-and-twenty concept, that they have bought the first phase which is twelve weeks, and you mark it down, next year they will buy the next step, the fourteen and the sixteen. I have said it before - I am not sure if the minister over there has said it, the Minister of Education - that we will have our lifeline so severed that we will be reaching out our hands begging, it will be a form of social assistance, that's what this program is going to be, that's what is going to happen.

Now, overall, in addition to the problems - and I think each member here has a responsibility to demand of the government to lay on the table the impact of these figures on this economy. It would be irresponsible not to do it. When you pull a few hundred million dollars out of this economy, it hurts, and you haven't indicated otherwise. If you can produce it and show the figures to substantiate the numbers, I will then accept it, but until that happens, I will go by the figures I have and use my judgement. I challenge you to produce figures that say different, you haven't been able to do it. P.E.I. has been able to do it, New Brunswick has and we are not competent enough in this Province to be able to do it. That's because we don't want the people in this Province to know the real damage that is being done by this federal Budget. We don't want our cousins in Ottawa to be upset. More importantly, we don't want the people of this Province to know what damage has been done. If it was something that was impacting in some other way upon this Province - you weren't long jumping up on the tobacco tax and saying here is what it cost. The federal Budget - nobody ran around, got a committee and analyzed the impact there. It is completely irresponsible and something has to be done.

I would like to just briefly touch on a few other areas. The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations threw out some figures on what has come into this Province under the fishery compensation package. Now, his very department, and the Premier, in his research, have indicated, on page 49 of this report, that NCARP has brought into this Province, in 1993, $587.5 million. That's the research by the Economic Recovery Commission, secretly taken to Ottawa by the Premier, and given to the Federal Government, and the minister stands here today and says it is less than $400 million. Now, what figures are right? Is the Economic Recovery Commission wrong in its proposal, or is the minister wrong? Somebody is wrong.

I would also like to elaborate on what is happening with the fishery compensation package in this Province. The Premier and the minister have proposed -

AN HON. MEMBER: They're both wrong.

MR. SULLIVAN: That's quite possible. It is quite possible they are both wrong. In fact, maybe you are all wrong, and that is quite possible, but overall - I am not proposing that both of them are wrong. In fact, we have a figure that is given and tabled here, and I will go by the latest, recent figure that this government can produce on what has come into this Province, and that is the figure that was assessed and done in 1993.

They are proposing, under fishery compensation - an industry that was devastated in this Province - the Premier has proposed, in this report, that NCARP benefits come under the heading of fishery transition payments, and there be a phase-out over the next five years; after 1988 there would be a complete phasing out of these benefits. He has proposed that 61 per cent of what came into this Province in 1993 should come into this Province in 1994; and he has proposed that 49 per cent should come into this Province in 1995 -

MR. GRIMES: That's not true.

MR. SULLIVAN: - and 37 per cent - I am reading under Fishery Payments.

MR. GRIMES: That's not true. Look at the total amount.

MR. SULLIVAN: I am looking at your figures.

MR. GRIMES: Total amounts.

MR. SULLIVAN: Once again, I am reading from your figures. I understand the total amount, quite clearly. In fact, what is probably going to happen in this Province, and what is happening through the human resources department, is exactly what the Premier said here in this Province, that people who have been crippled by this industry should be treated no differently. They shouldn't be allowed -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) supported Kim Campbell.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, that's one mistake. I'm not denying it.

And the Premier stated that this proposal here would treat every single person in the Province equally. Yes, it would make everybody equal. It would make everybody poor. If that's the type of equality the Premier is proposing, that's not the type of equality we want to see in this Province.

He has proposed elimination of fishery transition payments. He has failed to participate in programs within provincial jurisdiction. He has failed to recognize, in an industry that can never recover to the extent of what it was, in our lifetime -

AN HON. MEMBER: How do you know that?

MR. SULLIVAN: It won't happen. I said in the House of Assembly on November 4, long before they talked about - in 1992, go back and read in Hansard, I said: The fishery will be closed, not for two years, because the life cycle of a cod, with the age class we have present, would take two years to reach spawning age, and seven more for the next cycle. It would take nine years to renew the fishery, I stated here in this House two years ago.


MR. SULLIVAN: Who is speaking?

Actually, what I feel is going to happen, Mr. Speaker, with fishery compensation - the first step has occurred now, integrated within the human resources department, and next year, people now receiving NCARP and other programs will be taken into the human resources department and receive work and UI, and there will be no NCARP. It would be moved out of the Department of Fisheries entirely. That is basically where we are heading, and overall, with the revenue, in addition to cutting down on the UI directly - directly cutting down on UI within this Budget - some of the damage started last fall when they started questioning a delay in the insurability, and that is another tactic within the department to eliminate more people from the UI rolls again. People who have legitimately worked at businesses for the last fifteen or twenty years have been declared ineligible - they are in every district in this Province. I have had calls from all over this Province in that regard, and that is another gimmick that preceded the Budget there, the axe started to come down before the Budget. And overall in this Province, in the next little while, over the next year, we are going to see a devastating effect and the minister will be standing again in November, as he did for two of the last three years, or December, and he will be coming forth to this Province with a mini-Budget because we miscalculated the impact it is going to have upon this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: Wrong again!

MR. SULLIVAN: We had a Ministerial Statement and a mini-Budget and then a Ministerial Statement in December of '92 - since I have come into the House, this happened one out of the last two years, because they miscalculated, misjudged or deliberately disguised the figures that are based upon the Budget. Now, I think we have to do the honourable thing if people are really concerned with what is happening, if people, within the general UI regions of St. John's can only draw UI and receive work for thirty-seven weeks - there is a fifteen-week gap in that period - people out in rural Newfoundland, in the rest of the Province -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. SULLIVAN: Just one minute to finish?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave, by leave.

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

MR. MURPHY: Thirty seconds.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you.

- in all other areas of the Province except St. John's, there will be eight weeks of the year in which people will not have income to be able to put food on the table for their families, and that is important. Many of these people are going to fall on the borderline of social assistance where they would be denied assistance by this Province and we are going to have a massive increase, a grossly underestimated amount in instances by the minister of social assistance payouts in this Province. And we are going to have a massive problem - the spinoffs from this Budget will be even greater again, and it will show up in next year's Budget, you can count on that. Thank you.

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

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

Unlike my colleague, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, I don't know how anybody looking at this private member's resolution can only make two partisan remarks. I would like to make the comparison that is like going into a hockey game with somebody else's sweater behind twenty goals into the third period, because what we see here is a Budget to recover this country after eight years of Tory mismanagement.

AN HON. MEMBER: Blame, blame.

MR. MURPHY: Well, if the hon. member says: blame, blame, I say shame, shame, because what happened is here.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Well, it is shame, shame; but what the previous administration did to the economics of this country is nothing short of shameful and today -

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Well,I say to the Member for Humber East, that is why there are only two members sitting in the House of Commons representing her party right across the nation.

MS. VERGE: How many of you are going to be here in four years time?

MR. MURPHY: Well, that is hypothetical, I say to the member, that is totally hypothetical, and we will see when the time comes. If there are forty-six members, possibly a couple of you will save your hides, I don't know, but then, I would say about forty-four.

Now, let me get into the issue at hand. I mean, for hon. members to stand - the Member for Ferryland, I wonder where he comes from sometimes.


MR. MURPHY: Ferryland, yes - well, no, I am not so sure if he comes from Ferryland, because if you had the number of calls that this hon. member gets from the district of Ferryland, the number of people who knock on my door in Tors Cove, you would wonder that Ferryland had a member.

AN HON. MEMBER: Looking for the member.

MR. MURPHY: Looking for the member. Well, you know, I think the key issue here, where we are talking about the Atlantic groundfish industry, is the fact that the previous administration obviously did not provide the funding. They provided two years funding for a ground fishery that they well knew was going to be on its knees for a period of at least five to eight years. They provided two years funding - and the Premier said it today, $600 million.

If you look at the Budget brought forward by Mr. Martin a couple of weeks ago, we brought forward $1.7 billion, if the member wants to be technical, but in reality $1.9 billion - excluding, I say to the Member for Ferryland, the waste of money that was thrown into NCARP by the previous Minister of Fisheries to look after all the silly little programs that went on. I also say to the member, money given to those who were not, and are not, associated with the groundfish industry -


MR. MURPHY: Well, now, the Member for Fogo said that, I didn't. He makes a lot of sense when he says, to feed whatever. I say to the hon. member that the whole program was set up in haste, and haste makes waste, I say to him.

MR. E. BYRNE: And your minister (inaudible) give them the money now, Crosbie, give it to them now, don't let them wait!

MR. MURPHY: The hon. member - I didn't interrupt the hon. member when he was up initially. I didn't say anything to the Member for Kilbride. He is going to have another twenty minutes. If he would give me an opportunity to show him where he is so wrong I would be happy to have it.

Now, that was the initial problem. The Atlantic groundfish went on its knees, and time and time again Newfoundlanders were dependent upon the ten weeks or the twelve weeks or the fifteen weeks or whatever people in rural Newfoundland could obtain through the fishing industry, and primarily, in the St. John's and the urban areas of the Province, we were more dependent on, as such, the construction industry, and industry as such.

Now, we have found a budget that is necessary to save the UI fund. Because I want to remind the Member for Kilbride, when the new leader of the national Tory Party was elected, and she stood on the stage in that debate and was asked by, `What's his name'- `Lucien the Block,' what was the real deficit, she balked. And when she balked, fifty-five or sixty seats went away from the Tories in that pause. Because the real deficit was not what Mr. Mazankowski had predicted, but a deficit of $46-plus billion dollars.

Now, as the Minister of Finance just said to the Member for Ferryland, when Mr. Mazankowski brought down the Budget last year, and told us what it was going to be, and we found out the difference, and the red book came forward from the Chretien government, and it was distributed to the people of Canada, they well knew that the social programs had to change. There was no possible way that this country could face a responsibility that had to be faced without having a deficit that was under $40 billion. Many parts of Canada, and even people here in Newfoundland, have criticized Mr. Martin's Budget because they claim that his cutting was not enough, that the deficit reduction wasn't adequate.

We know what happened when the amount of money that was put into groundfish wasn't adequate. This government has put in $1.6 billion. Let's talk about Atlantic Canada and the present UI structure. Atlantic Canada will still receive more UI payments per capita than anywhere else in Canada. In other words, from our share of a federal Budget, we are going to receive more than anywhere else in Canada, for the obvious reason that we have more people per capita unemployed than any other part of Canada.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. MURPHY: (Inaudible) in Canada will still be eligible for more benefits with less work than people in other regions of the country. There will be $800 million available to develop and test innovative pilot projects than in other regions of the country. What we are seeing, I say to the hon. member, is a federal government who have been strapped, who have been exhausted beyond themselves to try and bring down a Budget that did two things. The Budget had to do two things. Number one was to reduce the deficit and provide new jobs, and that is pretty tough to do. Let us face it, the Tory administration in eight years could not do it and they got turfed out like no other government in the history of this nation. The got turfed out, flicked, goodbye.

AN HON. MEMBER: The same thing is going to happen to you.

MR. MURPHY: No, the same thing will not happen. Let me say to the hon. member, the hon. Member for Baie Verte may come in -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. MURPHY: Wherever. You remember it because after the next election I will not have to remember it.

The Premier stands in his place and he tells Opposition members, day after day, that the reason this government takes the action is because there is no other action. I say to the Member for Kilbride that it would be marvellous if we could say to every worker in Newfoundland, if you get eight weeks work you qualify for UI to a minimum of $300 a week. That would be marvellous. That would be politically great but it would not be 1994 real. I say to the Member for Burin-Placentia West that the ideal situation would be for every Newfoundlander to have the opportunity to work fifty-two weeks of the year with the normal amount of annual leave, and sick leave if he or she had that problem. That would be the Utopia.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not anymore.

MR. MURPHY: I say to the member he is correct, not anymore because of Tory mismanagement. Tory mismanagement for seventeen years in this Province and eight years federally has gotten this country in the bind it is in. That is what I say to the member.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Your program. You, strutting up and down the Bonavista Peninsula costing the taxpayers of this country a fortune. That was the waste, you.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: I do not mind talking about my district allowance. As a matter of fact I say to the member for Burin - Placentia West that I will table my expenses in this House as Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier of this Province as soon as I can get my hands on them, but I will also table his in 1985 dollars and we will let the public of this Province have a look at whose expenses are where. We will see and the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West will see. You spent more on Bic lighters in eight months than I spent in the eight months since I am here.


MR. MURPHY: I say to the hon. member he may or may not be right, we will see.

MR. TOBIN: Ask (inaudible) about your expenses?

MR. MURPHY: I do not really have a problem with my expenses. If the hon. member has a problem with my expenses then he should take it to the Speaker. That is where he should take it, to the appropriate place.

MR. TOBIN: Why did you write The Evening Telegram?

MR. MURPHY: I do not write The Evening Telegram. As a matter of fact I am really not interested in talking to many of the cub reporters or copy boys at The Evening Telegram. As a matter of fact I do not even read The Evening Telegram. If I want to read a tabloid I will buy one in the supermarket. I do not know what they are called. If I want to read some silly gobbledegook I will pick it up at the supermarket.

Now the roll-back in the premium rate in 1995 and beyond will provide significant financial relief to business, and I think the members should understand that. There is another thing here in this resolution that is not being spelled out nor has he talked about it. We have given incentive to business to create, and I think that is an extremely important point that we have to take into consideration, that the business community will have an opportunity. I understand that it is hypothetical, but the Member for Mount Pearl would agree, as he was Minister of Treasury Board in the Province, sometimes you have to do things with the intent of making or creating more jobs and more job opportunities. The small business sector is much better off because of this Budget.

MR. TOBIN: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West on a point of order.

MR. TOBIN: I'm interested in what the hon. member is saying, but I would ask Your Honour if you would ask this group over here either to leave the House and let the member speak or to stay quiet, because we can't hear what he is saying.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member has a good point and I suggest that all members to my left and to my right would adhere to that policy.

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West for his protection. I don't usually expect it.

I say to the Member for Kilbride that the Atlantic investment tax credit is another good incentive for business. There are lots of good things in the Budget that would not necessarily mean that the unemployment role - I mean, the obvious is to make a climate, is to have a climate, whereby Newfoundlanders have a better opportunity to go to work. You know as I know that the groundfish problem has caused great problems in this Province because of our reliance on it. I also say to the member that we have to - and he knows it - if and when the groundfish opens, that there is going to be a different fishery, and a different fishery entirely. We may only have an inshore fishery. We may never see the offshore fishery and the technology associated with it as we saw before.

So we have to train our young Newfoundland people. We have to broaden their scope, we have to give them a better base. That is why this government is involved in the education program as it is. That is why we are seeing farther than the tips of our noses. Because the hon. member is only talking about now. I understand his quandary. He must also remember when this government got into the Income Supplementation Program it was to protect the people of the Province. Because the standard of living in all reality, I say to the member, that we had reached, even as bad as it was, in the UI sense, it was beyond the capability that this Province and the national government could afford. That is reality, I say to the member. I sincerely say it to him, because I think he is sincere.

I think he also knows and understands that if we don't change our direction, if we aren't a little more innovative, if we don't take on some pain, if we are constantly and continually going to spend money we don't have, if we keep going to the bond market to get grocery money, well, this country is just going to go further in the hole. If the country goes further in the hole, then surely the Province will. Because look what happened because of the negotiations of the Minister of Finance and transfer payments.

In this Budget this Province has been guaranteed five years continuation, okay. So the Minister of Finance now - the minister of the previous Administration should have been so lucky that this minister now knows that he has the amount of transfer payments that he needs from Ottawa to at least cover the proportionate part of the budget that is so important to our education, our health care, and all other things that governments are expected to do.

I think the member will admit that Canada's social programs are definitely without doubt outdated. They are beyond us. We need to have a new look and a new focus. Just to say that we must carry on with the 10-42 syndrome, we must provide the funding - Newfoundland is this, that or the other thing. I think our people, number one, understand and know that the biggest economic problem in this Province today is the loss of the groundfish industry. As that took place, you can't point your finger at a single government.

I think the member knows that there have been a lot of federal governments, a lot of provincial governments, who never spent enough time, who never listened to the best scientists, the fishermen, who told them time and time again, and the obvious took place. Our groundfishery died and went kaput. Now we have 30,000 people depending on the federal government for compensation, and to equalize that compensation, I say to the hon. member, if he takes the time to break down the numbers in the federal Budget, he will see that the $1.7 billion probably averages out maybe $15 a week, maximum, less than what is now provided, and that is a five-year package, not a bunch of money thrown until May of this year when, in all consciousness, Mr. Crosbie and the federal government knew that the moratorium would have had to extend itself long beyond this May, and the previous federal government did not provide enough funding to handle that particular problem.

So I say to the member, I know how frustrated he feels. I know how sincere he is in his resolution, because he does have people in his district, as I do, who will suffer because of the Budget, who will suffer in the short term, I say to the member, because it is not possible for the federal government or this government to put on a false face in a financial sense. We have to meet the problems that are right in front of us. You cannot carry a deficit. This Province here is carrying a deficit. The minister has to stand up here next week and find $625 million of interest money to pay on the provincial debt, before we open a school, before we have one person in a hospital, to cover the provincial debt; and I say to the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, who should know that 82 per cent of that provincial debt belongs to his colleagues who had seventeen years of administration versus thirty years of this government.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Well, I just want to remind the member. What the member always says is: Listen, you pay the Tory bills. You pay the Tory bills, Mr. Premier. That's what the member says.

AN HON. MEMBER: Give it up, boy. You're too old for this stuff.

MR. MURPHY: Yes, I'm too old is right. I'm too old and too smart to put up with the gobbledegook from the hon. member, I say.

So I say to the Member for Kilbride, because I appreciate his sincerity, to rethink what he said today, to rethink this particular Private Member's motion which I wouldn't, couldn't, not even possibly think about supporting, to rethink his position, because if he, as I sense his ambition, will lead him down the road. His political life will continue to grow, and I think he has an ability far beyond a lot of his colleagues - a lot more than the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, I can assure him of that - and the day will come when he may be in a position - and he will remember I said this - that he has to make a decision, a financial, sincere, fiscal decision, that will be more important to the future of this Province than the immediate, and that is what's on task. That's what's in front of us today, and I say to the member to stand now and withdraw this motion, and I will hand him over, I will send the Page, I will give him enough good material from the Budget that he can stand in his place, apologize to the Members of the House, and tell us all what a wonderful Budget was brought down by Mr. Martin two short weeks ago.

With those few remarks, I say to the member, rethink your position, stop being tied down, or tied into silly caucus chatter and one thing or the other, and people asking you to come to the House and say things that you know are really not right.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. MURPHY: Thank you.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I am not surprised the hon. Member for St. John's South couldn't even finish what he was saying without laughing at himself. He couldn't say it with a straight face. The only stroke of honesty that came out of him in his whole twenty minutes was that involuntary chuckle at the end when he tried to say what a wonderful Budget it was, and he couldn't even get it out, that tells the whole story of what we have seen here this afternoon.

I find it absolutely incredible, Mr. Speaker, that the members who spoke, and only two of them spoke of it, I am surprised that some of the members for rural Newfoundland haven't been bouncing up trying to get an opportunity to speak. I am surprised we have not heard from some of the members who represent, particularly more fishing areas of the Province who are so highly dependent on the programs that are being slashed here; surprised that we haven't heard some of them up this afternoon, speaking on behalf of their constituents, because if they were listening to their constituents they would certainly want to be on their feet, they are obligated to be on their feet speaking on behalf of the people whom they represent. The message is coming loud and clear. Mr. Speaker, what are we doing here? We are debating a motion put forward so well by my good friend from Kilbride.

The motion is pretty straightforward. I have heard a lot of rhetoric back and forth this afternoon on the various issues involved in this resolution, but let us look at the resolution bit by bit, and just see what it is we have been asked to approve here this afternoon. It says: Whereas the federal government will have a major negative impact on personal incomes and provincial government revenues. Now nobody denies that, even the government members who have spoken, the minister and the Premier when addressing our questions in Question Period, everyone agrees that there will be a negative impact on personal incomes and provincial government revenues, so we can hardly find fault with that part of the resolution.

It says: Whereas the loss of income from unemployment insurance and fisheries compensation will reduce business activity and employment; well of course it will, Mr. Speaker, of course it will. These hundreds of millions of dollars are not coming into the Province, they are not in the economy to circulate, people don't have money to spend, business activity will decrease and when business activity decreases, employment decreases, people will be laid off so we can hardly argue with that. Surely you can't argue with the fact that business will suffer and that unemployment will increase and will further weaken the already frail provincial economy, it goes without saying.

Our economy is not only frail, Mr. Speaker, it is just about ready to crumble and a blow such as this, $400 million, $500 million, whatever the number, and I disagree with my friend from Ferryland, who says the government is not capable of calculating the numbers; I think they have the numbers, they are just ashamed to bring them forward. They are hiding them. I know the officials in the Department of Finance are quite capable of calculating what the numbers are here and they know and the minister knows, but he did not answer my questions during Question Period this afternoon not because he did not know the numbers, he deliberately avoided the question; he deliberately avoided telling the people of this Province what the impact is going to be.

Oh we will find out in a couple of weeks time when his budget comes down, then he will be crying in his beer; but what a change, Mr. Speaker, from a year or so ago or a couple of years ago before the change of government, everything the Government of Canada did, this government was up in arms, every problem they had, every financial problem, every employment problem that this government had was blamed on the Mulroney Government. Everything that happened - not our fault, Mr. Speaker, we can't do anything about it, either the previous administration left us a mess or the present government in Ottawa is taking away from us, they are cutting back on transfer payments and here they are today, saying what a wonderful government we have: poor fellows, what else could they do? What else could they do but cut back? Fiscal responsibility, we have to look to the future; the only future we are looking to, Mr. Speaker, is the Premier's future I suggest, his future in Canada not in Newfoundland because the Premier won't be around here very long. His concern is not for the future of this Province, his concern is for his own future and what role he can play in the Government of Canada, or in the Supreme Court of Canada or on some great corporation in Canada, that's his concern.

What happened, Mr. Speaker, to all of these cries against the Government of Canada that we heard a couple of years ago? Transfer payments? I just heard the Member for St. John's South saying: oh at least the Minister of Finance knows what his transfer payments will be. Yes, he knows they are going to be frozen for the next number of years. Alleluia! We now know we are not going to get any more money. What does that mean? That means we are getting less money, Mr. Speaker. While costs are increasing, while inflation is rising, our transfer payments are not increasing. So what does that mean? That means we have less, it's a cut. Anytime you freeze something that you are receiving, while costs are increasing, that is in effect a decrease. I can't believe that the Member for St. John's South, this whole government, and all of the members supporting the government are so pleased that transfer payments have been frozen.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes but he's trying to get in Cabinet.

MR. WINDSOR: Trying to get in Cabinet. Mr. Speaker, it is going to take him more than that to get in Cabinet, it is going to take more than the resolution from the Member for St. John's North this morning to get him in Cabinet, it is going to take more than some of the antics of the Member for Eagle River to get him in Cabinet. Mr. Speaker, last week when my friend from Mount Scio resigned everyone was in their dark suits and red ties waiting for the call, waiting in their offices for the call from the eighth floor and wondering who was going to get moved upstairs. I was in committee with a couple of my friends over there and every time the commissionaire came in the door with a piece of paper they all jumped to attention, they thought it was their call.

Mr. Speaker, while transfer payments are frozen, therefore in real terms that is a decrease, at the same time other programs being cut will put more people dependent on those transfer payments, particularly the component of social assistance. Well unemployment insurance benefits will be decreasing - I won't go into the details, my friends have debated the details all afternoon, clearly there will be fewer people eligible for unemployment insurance. These people will be expected to find work for a longer period of time, that means there are less jobs available for others so there will be more who will not be able to take advantage of unemployment insurance. The term of the benefits, once they get them, will be less. We estimate $200 million less unemployment insurance benefits that are going to come into this Province, not this year because it is being phased in but by next year.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that means that there will be more people on social assistance and that is what I can't believe, that this government is here saying: well what could they do? Don't they realize that there are thousands of Newfoundlanders who are now receiving unemployment insurance for part of the year who will be receiving social assistance and that this government is going to have to pay that or at least 50 per cent of it? If the program for transfer payments is being cut also, that means there is less money there to pay it. How does the Minister of Social Services propose to meet the increase in the number of persons who will have to have social assistance because there are going to be fewer people on unemployment insurance? How does he propose to meet those costs when his own sources of funds are being frozen as well? At least the sources from the federal government.

That means that if the federal government is not going to increase the transfers for that program the Province of Newfoundland has to pick it up but where are we going to get it? Where will we get the extra funds to meet that increased cost, Mr. Speaker? It is not a simple question here and I recognize the government is faced with a problem but what I can't believe is that this government will stand there and defend what the Government of Canada has done. Just because they are political cousins doesn't mean that this government now has to defend the rest of Canada. This government was elected to defend the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and they are derelict in their duty by not crying foul to the Government of Canada for what has been foisted on the people of this Province in the latest federal Budget, Mr. Speaker.

Everything that the federal government proposed, all other concepts, depend on increased jobs, people finding more employment, and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations said today: Well, we believe that people won't have a problem finding the extra two weeks. Where will they find it, Mr. Speaker? And if they do find it, then there is somebody else who is not working for that two weeks. He's not going to create more jobs.

Their own program, the Income Supplementation Program, says labour supply far exceeds labour demand, and that's true. It does exceed labour demand, so where will all these jobs come from? Not from these proposals that the government is putting forward in the Income Supplementation Program to create jobs. What foolishness. We're waiting for the private sector again, are we, the engine of the economy. What a cop-out, Mr. Speaker.

The Premier stood in his place yesterday and said: it's not the government's job to create employment. Well, whose job is it? It's not their job to hire people, but it is government's job to help create employment. Create an economic climate that is favourable to job creation, and to the creation of employment, by all means, but also to put in place programs that help the private sector. Everything that this government has done in the four-and-a-half or five years it has been in office has been to the detriment of the private sector. It is almost impossible to do business in this Province today.

We heard in the Throne Speech how government now is going to put in place an agency to cut all the red tape of government. This is the action program back again that we had back in 1975 and 1976. It failed miserably, and it failed because it's just physically impossible to put in place all of the safeguards that are justified and needed to protect the various areas of regulation that government puts in place, and to entrust that all into one agency. It's not going to happen, and I can tell you that the public service will not allow it to happen. They will not allow it to happen. I have seen attempts many times before to try to streamline some of these things. If you want to see people protecting their own turf, you wait and see who will be protecting whose turf. You wait and see, Mr. Speaker.

The fact of the matter is that it is just simply not going to be that easy, unless and until government puts in place strong incentives for private enterprise. If they really want to stimulate the economy, help the private sector by removing some of the onerous taxation that is on the private sector now. Eliminate the payroll tax, the most stupid tax that any government ever put in place, particularly in this Province, a direct disincentive for people to create business, a direct disincentive for people to compete outside of this Province. It gives an advantage to other parts of Canada, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, members opposite have talked so much about the great fisheries compensation program, and I don't know where we would be in Newfoundland today if the previous government, if Mr. Crosbie - and I suggest to you that if anybody else but Mr. Crosbie had been in the Government of Canada, we would not have had as generous a fisheries compensation program as we have. Now we are seeing it watered down. It's going to be decreased, and hon. members opposite are standing up and saying: we have $1.7 billion over five years. Well, I say to the hon. members opposite, farmers in Western Canada have $1.7 billion in one year, with approximately the same number of persons depending on agriculture in Western Canada as we have fisherpeople depending on that industry here in this Province. Yet, they're over there, standing up, defending it, Mr. Speaker. What a wonderful thing. We now know how much we're getting. We now know we're going to get less. That's a great benefit to the economy.

So, Mr. Speaker, the resolution is clear and concise and it says: Whereas the federal government has unfairly singled out Newfoundland to bear a disproportionate share of federal spending cuts. Well indeed we do, every word is the absolute truth in that statement, Mr. Speaker, we are bearing a disproportionate share because when you cut social programs the province that is most heavily dependent on those programs suffers the most. And the Member for St. John's South stands up and says: well, of course we do, what were his words? We still receive a higher per capita share of unemployment than the rest of the country and that is absolutely true, but tell that to the person who is no longer eligible for unemployment, what are they receiving? Nothing. Social assistance, social assistance - the minister has turned down his hearing aid again, turned down his hearing aid I say to the Minister of Finance -

AN HON. MEMBER: He should turn it off.

MR. WINDSOR: Just as well, Mr. Speaker, he does not pay attention anyway.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I appreciate the comments made by the Member for St. John's South and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations but I have no intention, I have no intention, Mr. Speaker, of withdrawing this motion.


MR. E. BYRNE: Now let me return to the -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I have recognized the hon. Member for Kilbride.


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

MR. E. BYRNE: Let me return to the motion and deal with some of the comments that have been made by members opposite. Now it says: Whereas the federal budget will have major negative impact on personal incomes and provincial government revenues.

Members opposite have acknowledged that that will take place but they have indicated, they have debated that that is a necessary decision because of the situation that we as a country find ourselves in.

Secondly, part of the motion says: Whereas the loss of income from unemployment insurance and fisheries compensation will reduce business activity and employment everywhere in the Province and further weaken the already frail provincial economy. Members opposite have agreed that that will happen, however it has to happen they have argued, because of the financial situation and burden that we as a country find ourselves in. I do not, in any way, shape or form advocate that that is not true; that we are in a financial bind, that we are in financial trouble and that we should as people in a province of Canada do our share, our fair share I want to emphasize to the Member for St. John's South, our fair share.

Now here in the last part of the motion is where I think there is a difference of opinion in debate. Whereas the federal government has unfairly singled out Newfoundland to bear a disproportionate share of federal spending cuts; my friend from Fogo has said that Newfoundland depends per capita more on UI and fisheries compensation and social programs than the rest of Canadians, therefore if there are cuts coming down to those programs, we, as Newfoundlanders should bear a larger cut. Well frankly, Mr. Speaker, I do not accept that premise and I argue this motion on a different philosophy and a different principle than members opposite have argued today.

Now let me read again some interesting facts that I should have probably pointed out in greater detail for the members opposite. The changes in UI will reduce total UI payouts by 10 per cent nationwide, and that is very important to understand, 10 per cent nationwide, but the effect will not be even across the country. The Atlantic Provinces will lose 25 per cent in total personal income and from UI but Newfoundland and Labrador will be most dramatically hit by losing 30 per cent, a 30 per cent drop amounting to $200 million coming out of the provincial economy.

Now, as a people and as Canadians, that is what members opposite are standing up and debating against and not accepting that Newfoundland and Labrador has been singled out to bear a disproportionate amount of share in terms of the federal Budget and they argue that is the best dose of medicine that we can have as people on this federal Budget. I think that frankly the people they represent should have a greater need than ever before to discuss and tell them in no uncertain terms that is not why they sent them here. Newfoundland and Labrador should bear its fair share. I have no quandary about that.

Now, let me deal with the fisheries compensation package. Inherent in some of the philosophy that the members opposite have argued about this principle is that somehow we should be considered, or should consider ourselves lucky, that we should consider ourselves fortunate that Brian Tobin and Chretien from mainland Canada have come down here with a $1.7 billion program to save our poor skins. Well, frankly I do not accept that at all. As the Member for Kilbride and as a member of the House of Assembly I say to the federal government, and past governments, both Liberal and Progressive Conservative, that they bear the responsibility for the mismanagement of our fishery. They bear the responsibility for 30,000 people being out of work. They bear the responsibility for the social consequences of 30,000 people being out of work. It is not the fault of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is the fault of both past Liberal and Conservative governments, and now we as a people, and the people of the Province, have to accept this dose of salts from a government who believe they are doing something a little extra for the people of the Province. I do not accept that philosophy, and I do not stand here to apologize for not accepting that philosophy.

Members opposite have talked about making tough decisions in tough times. We live in tough times. We live in economic uncertainty. I am sure the Member for St. John's South who spoke against this motion has workers in his district, employed in the construction industry, and employed in other industries, who do not know what tomorrow will bring, who do not know what next year will bring. I have those people as well and there is no question that we have to make tough decisions, as legislators, and as members of the House of Assembly, but I do not think in making tough decisions we have to sell people out in this Province in the process because we are connected with one government of the day. There is no way that people opposite should stand up and not support this motion.

I saw the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir leave earlier. There is good reason, Mr. Speaker, that that member left earlier, because last week when the federal Budget came out he was on the radio down his way talking about what this Budget would do to rural Newfoundland, how it would ruin his district. He didn't participate in the debate today.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who is that?

MR. E. BYRNE: The Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir. There is more backbone in a jellyfish than in him. He has not stood here to support this motion which he is clearly in favour of, based on the comments he made to the radio station.

I am not going to reduce this important motion to political antics talking about this government and that government. The notion here of what this motion talks about is what this federal government will do to the Province disproportionately. That is the spirit of this motion. How we as a people in this Province have to bear disproportionately the cuts made by the federal Budget. That is the spirit of this motion. That is what we should be debating here.

I have to make a comment. The Member for St. John's South said earlier that the past federal government in its haste to introduce a fisheries compensation program created much waste. I should also say in fairness that the present fisheries minister was the very person who got onto the then-federal fisheries minister, saying: Where is the money? Do not wait. Give them the money now, people are starving. I say to the hon. Member for St. John's South, keep that in mind before you proceed making other comments about NCARP when it was first introduced.

After leaving today when this debate is over and I get back to my district and I talk to Jack Stack in Maddox Cove who is a contractor, builds houses, has done so for fourteen, fifteen years, with his two sons, and I talk to him about this motion and about how it would affect him personally, that is what this about, what is he going to ask me? How will it affect him? The question that will be asked, that has been asked, more importantly, over the last four months of myself, is that: We do not want UI hand outs. I prefer to work, I prefer the dignity of work. Where is the job creation plan federally? Where is the job creation plan provincially?

The provincial government has argued that its role is to create a business climate where business can thrive. That is what government has argued. That it is their role to create the business environment where jobs can be created by the private sector, and I don't necessarily disagree with that, not at all. Governments have more of a moral obligation today than ever to create an environment where business can thrive, but it cannot stop there. If we are to get off the UI roll so that there is no need for such motions as I have put forward today, then we, as members of the House of Assembly and, in particular, members of the government, have to begin to pursue more aggressively job creation strategies. I am certain that every member in the House of Assembly today does not want to get up and talk about making sure that people have ten weeks work. They would like to get up and talk about how much work that people do have, forty, thirty-five, fifty weeks work, year-round work. That is what we are about here, that is what we should be about. The whole notion of dependency has become so ingrained in our everyday life, in our political thought - and as members of the House in our political thought - you know, where does it end? I don't think that this government has provided that answer. I don't believe that this government is aggressively pursuing that answer and I don't believe that this government is looking far and wide enough, they are a government that is managing decline, Mr. Speaker, a government that wishes to manage decline and a government that is not accepting full responsibility for the people that it represents.

Now, my hon. colleague, the Member for Exploits and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations said that the only political comment he would like to make was that during the last provincial election, 1993, this government got elected to manage the finances of the Province, and they did. The Premier asked, `Who do you want to represent you? Who do you want to handle the finances, me or the unions?' And people responded, but I will say, as a political comment to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador did not give that government a mandate to talk about denominational education, it did not give them a mandate to talk about Income Supplementation Program and it definitely did not give the government a mandate to privatize Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: It did not do that, and you cannot stand up on your soap box or on your Strategic Economic Plan and say that it did, because it did not, and it will come back to haunt your government just as it has come back to haunt other governments, mark it down.

In closing debate, Mr. Speaker, on this motion, I would like to thank again all hon. members who participated - the Member for Exploits, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, the Member for St. John's South, my colleague the Member for Ferryland and my colleague for Mount Pearl. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: I should bring myself up to speed. I presume there hasn't been an amendment, so I presume the House is ready for the question on the motion. We are voting on the motion.

Motion 2 on the Order Paper. All those in favour, `aye'.


MR. SPEAKER: Those against, `nay'.


MR. SPEAKER: In my opinion, the nays -

AN HON. MEMBER: Division.

MR. SPEAKER: Division.


MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, while we're waiting, maybe I could remind members that tomorrow we shall be addressing the first day of the second reading debate on the Electrical Power Control Act.

MS. VERGE: A day of infamy.

MR. ROBERTS: I beg your pardon? The hon. lady is entitled to her opinion, and she has the right to be wrong, as she frequently is.

The other point I want to make to the House is that the government will be asking the House, since we are so keen to get on with our work, to meet on Monday, March 14. The House will be meeting on Monday, March 14, which is a public holiday for some people in the Province, but those of us in the Legislature will have an opportunity to serve by being here, and I want to give members some notice in advance.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: It is St. Patrick's Day, yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Oh, yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's a statutory holiday.

AN HON. MEMBER: No, it is not.

MR. ROBERTS: It is not a statutory holiday. This House decides the days of its own sitting. The House will be asked to sit on Monday, the 14th. I am just advising members of that.

MR. WINDSOR: What is the great emergency?

MR. ROBERTS: There is no emergency, Mr. Speaker.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, why are you bringing staff back on overtime if there is no emergency?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you. I am sorry, I didn't get all of what the Government House Leader said, because I was just outside.

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, we were all waiting for you. Let's do the division.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I appreciate that, thank you, but are you saying that the rest of the public service will be down on the day off?

MR. SPEAKER: Excuse me. I could turn off the chimes if the members want, but it is my understanding I had to leave the bells ringing until the House was ready for the vote.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am sorry?

MR. ROBERTS: Let's do the vote and then we will -

MR. SPEAKER: Do you want me to turn off the chimes?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: We will come back to this afterwards.

MR. ROBERTS: The answer to your question, `Bill', is yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: Shall we have the vote first?

MR. SPEAKER: Okay, if you want to do that, we will discuss that afterwards.


MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the vote on the motion?

All those in favour of the motion:

CLERK: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. W. Matthews, Mr. Tobin, Mr. A. Snow, Mr. Woodford, Ms. Verge, Mr. Windsor, Mr. Hewlett, Mr. Hodder, Mr. Byrne, Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. Shelley, Mr. Manning, Mr. Harris.

MR. SPEAKER: All those against the motion:

CLERK: The hon. the Minister of Justice -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

We can't hear the names of the members as they are being called.

MR. TOBIN: The people of Rose Blanche would like this!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

CLERK: The hon. the Minister of Justice, the hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, the hon. the Minister of Education, the hon. the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, the hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, the hon. the Minister of Finance, the hon. the Minister of Fisheries, the hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr. L. Snow, Mr. Crane, Mr. Murphy, the hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy, the hon. the Minister of Health, the hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands, Mr. Noel, Mr. Anderson III, Mr. Tulk, Ms. Young, Mr. Ramsay, Mr. Penney, Mr. K. Aylward, Mr. Dumaresque, Mr. Whelan, Mr. Smith, Mr. L. Matthews.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Report of division.

CLERK (Noel): Mr. Speaker, fourteen `Ayes' and twenty-six `Nays.'

MR. SPEAKER: I declare the motion defeated.

I believe the hon. Opposition House Leader had the floor.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I just want the Government House Leader to clarify a point for me. He said we will sit on March 14, which I understand is a holiday to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, the rest, I guess, of civil servants, the public service, will be off on Monday, March 14. The minister is indicating that members will sit, those who work for members will sit, the staff of the House will sit, and secretaries to the members will work. Is that what the minister is saying? Would the minister explain what it is all about? Why does he want to come back here on March 14?

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

MR. ROBERTS: The government last year asked the House, last year or the year before, to amend the Shop Closing Act, to take out of the act the requirement that had been there hitherto, that three named days were to be observed as public holidays in the shops of the Province and one of those days was St. Patrick's Day.

Now, we only think that the House of Assembly should follow the same prescript as we have imposed upon the business sector. So, I, as always, am in the hands of the House, we shall ask the House to meet on Monday, March 14. We will not ask any secretaries to come back. We shall, of course, ask our own staff to be here and whatever compensation measures flow will flow. My friend the Minister of Finance will simply have to cope with this immense burden that will thereby be imposed on the Treasury.

I am simply telling members now, Mr. Speaker, so that members may make their plans accordingly. If my hon. friend for Grand Bank is going to get into the green stuff he cannot have a long weekend unless he is prepared to let us go ahead without him. If he is thinking of that recent Ontario case where a man announced on the Friday that he would not be in on the Monday because he intended to get drunk on the Sunday and would be using his sick leave - that cannot work here now.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I will have to bring some green stuff to share with them.

MR. ROBERTS: Given what the hon. gentleman normally shares with us I would be delighted if he would bring some green stuff to share with us.

I move the adjournment in case there is a motion needed, Mr. Speaker.

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