March 21, 1994                HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS           Vol. XLII  No. 16

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

On behalf of hon. members, I would like to welcome to the public galleries, Dr. Philip Warren, the former Minister of Education.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, March 15, a member of this House tabled a confidential document by which the negotiating team advised the Cabinet on December 12, 1991 of the results of its negotiations with Hydro Quebec with respect to the development of the Lower Churchill up to that point in time. While the tabling of what is essentially a stolen document only serves to hurt the Province's bargaining ability with Hydro Quebec in the future, the more serious aspects are the utterly unfounded allegations that have been made on the basis of providing only a part of the total information that was provided to the Cabinet on that date.

Some of these allegations include the suggestion that the government, myself in particular, walked away from or scuttled a deal that was available to the Province that would be very beneficial to the Province in the future, and further, that the government, by this approach, and proceeding with the two pieces of legislation, the Electrical Power Control Act and the Privatization Act now before the House, is jeopardizing our ability to provide for the future development of the Lower Churchill and improve our access to benefits from the total development of the Churchill River. I will deal with the first of these allegations in the House today and deal in more detail with the second when I address the people of the Province tomorrow night.

Virtually everybody in this Province, and I believe, the great majority of the people of Canada agree that the power contract between Hydro Quebec and CF(L)Co and other related agreements and statutes have created a grossly unfair circumstance under which this Province gets little financial benefit from the hydro operations on the Churchill River in Labrador, while Hydro Quebec makes hundreds of millions of dollars a year profit through its control and resale of the power.

Under the documentation, Hydro Quebec acquired the right to purchase virtually all of the 5,200 megawatt output of Churchill Falls at the incredibly low price of 3 mils per kilowatt hour for 40 years until 2016 with no provision for escalation in price. By way of comparison, people in this Province today are paying on average about 60 mils per kilowatt hour for their energy. Now, that is on average, all industrial customers and everything combined. If you looked alone at residential, it would be closer to 75 mils per kilowatt hour. In addition, Hydro Quebec also had the right to renew the contract after 2016 for a further 25 years until the year 2041 and have the price reduced by one third, to 2 mils per kilowatt hour during that 25 years. They have exercised that option.

In order to raise the money necessary to build the Upper Churchill and enable it to be repaid in the original 40-year period, the government of this Province was also required to provide legislative and contractual guarantees that it would not, during that period, increase any provincial taxes, water power royalties or other charges of any kind to Churchill Falls Labrador Corporation prior to 2016, by which time the original amount borrowed to build the Upper Churchill would have been repaid.

These provisions and others have frustrated the attempts of successive governments of this Province both to address the unconscionable consequences of that very unfair arrangement and to obtain access to hydroelectric power to meet the genuine needs of the people of this Province in the foreseeable future.

In the fall of 1989, after discussion between Premier Bourassa and myself, we agreed to cause negotiations to be commenced between Hydro Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. From the point of view of this government, those negotiations had three primary objectives: to achieve the development of the Lower Churchill; to ensure access to a future supply of hydroelectric power for the people of this Province at 3 mils, the price at which power is presently sold from the Upper Churchill to Hydro Quebec; and to improve the revenue for CF(L) Co in order to ensure its future financial viability.

After some 29 meetings between the fall of 1989 and November 21, 1991 a resolution to most major issues had been negotiated. The price had been narrowed to a relatively small difference and there were a number of other important matters not finalized but the expectation of most was that both the price and these matters could be resolved by the parties.

When, on November 21, 1991 Hydro Quebec put a proposal to the Province that was substantially as described in the Cabinet document tabled in this House on March 15, 1994 it included conditions that had not been negotiated:

The document tabled in the House did not spell out, and the member who tabled it did not say, that Hydro Quebec's offer was on the express condition that the protections and guarantees against any further taxes or charges that presently exist in the first 40 years to 2016 would be extended to the next period of 25 years from 2017 to 2041 even though the price during that period would be reduced by 2 mils per kilowatt hour.

As well, Mr. Speaker, the document did not spell out, and the member did not say, that agreeing to such a condition would defeat the clear rights of the Province under the 1982 amendment to the Constitution which added section 92A, an amendment which incidentally was dreamed up specifically to deal with the unfair consequences of the Churchill Falls contract. That amendment enables provinces to impose taxation even on power exported from the Province. The result would be that Newfoundland's ability to act under that constitutional amendment and get some revenue from the Upper Churchill would then be deferred from 2016, a further 25 years to 2041.

The document also did not note, and the member did not say, that the Hydro Quebec proposal was also on the condition that if Newfoundland did act to impose any further taxes or water power royalties or charges that such action would entitle Hydro Quebec to cancel any contract in relation to the purchase of Lower Churchill power.

The document tabled in the House did not indicate, and the member who tabled it did not say, that it was also a condition of Hydro Quebec's proposal that the by-laws of CF(L)Co would be changed to provide that CF(L)Co could not agree with the government to in any manner alter any of the provisions of the lease of water powers between the Government of Newfoundland and CF(L)Co without the prior approval of Hydro Quebec.

The government instructed the negotiating team to advise Hydro Quebec that such conditions would never be acceptable to the government or the people of this Province. The government also instructed the negotiating team to advise Hydro Quebec that we would not under any circumstances agree to a requirement that the rights under the existing power contract with Hydro Quebec be reconfirmed, assured or enhanced in any manner whatsoever unless there was a full redress for the wrongs that had been created by that contract. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, we were very explicit; we told the negotiating team we would see the waters flow to the sea forever before we would ever again submit to such blackmail.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: I believe, and ever member of government believes that acceptance of that proposal would have been such a betrayal of the people of this Province, that no responsible member of this House could for a moment consider acceptance of it. If the Opposition is now saying it should have been accepted they have a lot to answer for to the people of this Province.

On March 3, 1992 therefore the Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro negotiating team presented a counter offer to Hydro Quebec that rejected anything that would further strengthen the position of Hydro Quebec under the existing power contract but was a fair basis for going forward with the proposal on the terms negotiated between the parties thus far. Nothing further was received from Hydro Quebec until the Chairman and the President of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro met with Mr. Claude Dubé, Hydro Quebec's Vice-President of External Markets, in February 1993, at which time Mr. Dubé advised that Hydro Quebec's forecast of load had decreased to the point that Hydro Quebec believed that discussions with relation to the development of the Lower Churchill should be delayed for a number of years.

Clearly, therefore, the Opposition's allegation that the government walked away from a deal for the development of the Lower Churchill that would have been very favourable to this Province is, like most of their statements on the Hydro issue, totally without foundation, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We in the Official Opposition are smoking out the Premier. The Premier gave quite a different story here today from what he said in the House on March 11 when I first exposed the fact that he scuttled a golden opportunity to develop the Lower Churchill and get side agreements on the Upper Churchill two short years ago.

On March 11 the Premier said that the failure had nothing whatsoever to do with the inability of the two parties to come to an agreement, but rather it had everything in the world to do with the fact that the hydro-electric situation in the whole of northeast North America had changed in the meantime.

Mr. Speaker, a couple of days later when the Premier was absent and I tabled a presentation to Cabinet dated December 12, 1991, the Minister of Mines and Energy conceded that indeed this provincial government and Hydro Quebec had been very, very close to reaching an agreement on terms extremely favourable to this Province. So the minister began to come closer to the truth. The Minister of Justice was denying that there had been anything resembling an agreement.

The Premier in this statement today spins out some other excuses. Today he didn't try to continue the pretence that Hydro Quebec lost interest because of the recession or because of softening markets in the northeastern U.S., because that simply is not believable.

Mr. Speaker, nobody will believe that Hydro Quebec or any other major concern evaluating a prospect for a major hydro-electric development will be guided by immediate circumstances, or even short-term projections. This was to be a project for the next century, with the first of the Lower Churchill power coming on stream in 2001, with Hydro Quebec wanting to purchase for thirty years to start, bringing us up to the 2030's. This was to be a project for the 21st. century, so it is preposterous for the Premier to try to continue the pretence that Hydro Quebec lost interest because of a short-term recession in 1991 or 1992.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, the Premier today talks about the possibility of a court challenge under section 92(a) of the Constitution. Now this has been a pet theory of his for many, many, many years. Back in 1986 when he Chaired the board of Newfoundland Light and Power he wrote a legal opinion for Light and Power, Wells and Company, dated July 7, 1986, advancing this pet theory of his, and he has been pushing it ever since.

Mr. Speaker, everyone in the Province knows that there have been two unsuccessful court challenges of the Upper Churchill contract in the early 1980's, in one of which the Premier represented interests adverse to and opposite to those of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, sadly we lost seven to nothing in the Supreme Court of Canada, not once but twice, thanks in part, I suppose, to the contribution of the Premier representing some of the bond holders.

Mr. Speaker, is the Premier suggesting now the we forego a golden opportunity to develop the Lower Churchill, with all the general objectives set out by his government going into the negotiations met, including over $4 billion additional revenue to the provincial government in royalties and rental for the Upper Churchill over the remaining life of this contract -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. VERGE: - because he wants to test his pet theory? A theory, incidentally, which has been soundly rejected by constitutional lawyers consulted by the government. Is that what this is all about?

Mr. Speaker, the consequence of all this is that we are going to sell Hydro on terms extremely unfavourable to the government and the people of the Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired. We do operate by rules, one of which is time, so I draw members' attention to that. Thank you.

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

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: We're prepared to give leave on this occasion but let me serve notice that from now on, on behalf of members on this side, we are not prepared to give leave to address statements. We are prepared, Mr. Speaker, to address the issue in a proper way by amending the rules of the House if that's necessary.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I'm not prepared to address -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

It's difficult to hear the hon. member at the opposite end of the House, particularly if members are speaking.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I'm not prepared to address in detail the lengthy statement by the Premier on this - as I say, a rather lengthy statement about a most important issue in our Province's history, in our Province's future. I leave that to the Member for Humber East and the Premier to argue about the details of what did or didn't happen but what I do wish to say on behalf of my party is that this issue is of such fundamental importance to the Province - and it's discussion at this time, during this Hydro debate and the debate about privatization of Hydro, really gives rise to the concerns that people have about the Province's ability to get out of the box that we are in with respect to the development of Hydro electric potential in Labrador in the future.

It's the feeling of large numbers of people in this Province that the Province's ownership and control of all of the assets of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and having the expertise, the experience and the ability to have a whole entity with all of its parts is very important to the future of this Province. It's why, at this time, it's of such grave concern to the Province to be able to have an entity still in existence that gives us some hope of controlling our future destiny when it comes to the development of Hydro electric potential.

That is why, Mr. Speaker, I believe it's so important for us to hold our position with respect to the entity of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro in the hopes that we can in the future be able to get development of the Lower Churchill and other Labrador resources on terms favourable to our Province and hopefully get ourselves out of the box we find ourselves in now. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I owe the hon. gentleman an apology and an explanation in the House. Let me make it very clear, I had confused his request for leave to respond to the Premier's statement with his request for leave on another matter. We are delighted to hear the hon. gentleman in response to ministerial statements and we'll give leave on that. There's another matter entirely on which the hon. gentleman wishes to make a statement, we're prepared to give leave on a subsequent occasion - but not in response to ministerial statements, let me make it clear, Sir.

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to remind all members of the House of Assembly and citizens of the Province that today, March 21, is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This day marks the anniversary of the 1960 Sharpeville massacre in South Africa when 70 peaceful demonstrators against apartheid were killed and 180 were wounded. In 1966, the United Nations declared March 21 the International Day for the elimination of racial discrimination in commemoration of this tragic event.

The General Assembly of the United Nations called upon states and organizations to participate in the program of action for the second decade to combat racism and racial discrimination. Canada's participation, Mr. Speaker, in this program was announced by the Prime Minister in 1986. Subsequent to this, in September 1988, ministers attending a federal/provincial/territorial conference on human rights agreed to commemorate March 21 in all Canadian jurisdictions.

This is the 6th year, Mr. Speaker, that the day has been officially recognized. While this day is singled out to focus attention on the need to eliminate racial discrimination, we should keep this in mind every day. We must confront and fight racism whenever we find it.

Also, Mr. Speaker, I would like to take just a minute to commend the Human Rights Association of Newfoundland and Labrador upon the release today of its human rights reader at a lunchtime ceremony downtown. Copies of this reader are to be used in the Province's schools and will be available to members of the Legislature.

We all have our part to do in eliminating racial discrimination, and I call on all members to fully endorse the recognition of this day and every day as a day for the elimination of racial discrimination. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

We join today with the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations and indeed all members of the House of Assembly in recognizing this day as a day marked by the United Nations in commemoration of the Sharpeville massacre, for the elimination of racial discrimination.

We would like to point out as well that the elimination of all racial discrimination begins with each and every one of us, Mr. Speaker, and to that end if we hope at any time in the future to see racial discrimination eliminated, it begins with each and every one of us. Thank you.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to join with the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations and the Member for Kilbride in commemorating this day, the marking of the Sharpeville massacre in South Africa, and recognizing the need for all racial discrimination and racial stereotyping as well as all other forms of discrimination, whether it be by gender or sexual orientation or otherwise. We join with all members of the House in condemning all forms of discrimination, in particular racial discrimination as it is being commemorated today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

Does the member have leave to address the House?


MR. SPEAKER: Leave given.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to ask the House to join with me in requesting the Speaker to send the condolences of the House of Assembly to the family of Alec Afonso, who was tragically killed in a diving accident last week in the town of Hermitage.

I had the sad duty on Friday of attending his funeral at St. Joseph's Church in St. John's, which was filled to overflowing in tribute to the esteem in which he was held. Mr. Afonso came to Newfoundland at age fifteen from his native Portugal, a country with long and significant connections to Newfoundland. He became a pioneer in the establishment of underwater diving as a commercial enterprise in this Province, and was successful and well known in this business.

Mr. Speaker, he had time for everybody and everything. He had the respect of all who had dealings with him and was known for his energy and generosity. He has, as an immigrant to this Province, brought his special contribution to us. He will be remembered for it and he will be sadly missed. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

Does the hon. member have leave to address the House?

Leave given.

MR. MURPHY: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would join with the Member for St. John's East. I knew Mr. Afonso. He was a great Newfoundlander, an adopted Newfoundlander. He had a great love for the Province and his contributions were without doubt. He was always ready, willing and able to do many things on different days of the week and different hours of the week. I had a long and close relationship with the gentleman. I would concur with the hon. member that you, Mr. Speaker, send condolences to his family.

I just want to make another comment. Last week I think a couple of hon. members on this side who had close friends who were prominent in their communities, and perhaps may I suggest to you, Your Honour, that if each hon. member was to send to you, Your Honour, a letter explaining the individual and what have you, that you, at one time in the week, might be able to get up and acknowledge them, and that way we would not have a constant and continuous - I suppose it is difficult sometimes if it is a real prominent individual. I would suggest that perhaps we should all think about it and do it in a better way because it is very time consuming. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. Member for Waterford - Kenmount have leave to address the House?

By leave.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the members of the Progressive Conservative Party we would like to be associated with the letter of condolence. I had known the gentleman for some years in my role as the mayor of the City of Mount Pearl. I had worked with him on a number of projects. He was well known in this region, respected by all of us who knew him well, and certainly he was a great Newfoundlander. It was a sad event for this community and for the Province when he tragically passed away just a few days ago.

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I gave notice to the Minister of Justice just before question period of a question I wanted to ask him. On March 9, 1993, a Miss Leette Renee Moores, a twenty year old young lady, died at the Grace Hospital while undergoing what was expected to be a quite normal gallbladder operation. I understand that it was later determined that she didn't suffer from any condition that would have caused this to happen. As a result the family, some of whom are in the gallery today, are of course left wondering, and they are living in hope that the many unanswered questions they have can be answered. I will also be presenting a petition, later on in the order of business, signed by nearly 3,000 people supporting the family in their efforts to get some answers.

Under Section 23(1)(a) of the Summary Proceeding Act, in situations such as this, the law says, a judge shall hold an inquiry to ascertain the causes respecting, and the circumstances surrounding that death. It is clearly mandatory. I want to ask the Minister of Justice now: Will he direct that a judicial inquiry be held into the tragic death of Leette Moores?

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, let me first of all acknowledge that my friend, the Opposition Leader, spoke to me as I came into the House today at 2:00 o'clock. That is the notice he gave me of the question. I don't quarrel with the courtesy he showed me but I know, in turn, he won't quarrel with the fact that I do not have an answer ready for him today. I can make one or two points then I will have to take it from there tomorrow.

First of all, Mr. Speaker, I recollect a letter, I believe, from a lawyer representing the family. I think it was Mrs Butler down at White, Ottenheimer & Baker, if memory serves me correctly, making a request. I recall acknowledging the letter. I asked my staff to get me copies of it - I don't have them here now. I may have them at the end of Question Period, in which case, I will deal with it on a petition. Secondly, I then passed the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions because he - the office is held by a man at present - he takes these decisions. Thirdly, let me make a point to my hon. friend. He was good enough to quote Section 23(1) of the Summary Proceedings Act which is cast in mandatory language; he didn't go on, unfortunately, to read subsection 2 of the act, 23 sub (2), which says, `Notwithstanding subsection 1, a judge is not required to hold an inquiry in relation to a death where the DPP, the Director of Public Prosecutions, notifies the judge that an inquiry is not necessary,' or the second exception is the case of a medical suit, which does not apply here, `unless the Attorney General directs that an inquiry be held.'

Mr. Speaker, what this means, in effect, and the way the legislation is designed to work and does work - the legislation came into effect in 1979 in my understanding. A death from unusual or different circumstances occurs, takes place, the DDP has a call as to whether an inquiry is to be held or not. The Attorney General has the right to override that if he or she is so minded. I had a request from the family and we have made only an interim acknowledgement to it. If I can get a further answer later this day I will make the further answer and if not I will make it as soon as I can. We have not made a substantial answer - we, being in the first case the DPP, Mr. Flynn; when he comes to his determination I will then see how I should exercise the discussion vested in me. That is all I can say to my friend today, and all I can say to any members of the family who may be listening in the House. I appreciate their concern and I share it, but I can't go beyond that right now.

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

MR. SIMMS: No, Mr. Speaker, a new set of questions. I appreciate the answer given by the minister and I may have more to say about it later on in Petitions.

I would like to direct some questions to the Premier related to the Hydro privatization issue. On Friday, and again on Sunday, on Province-wide cable television - I am not sure if the Premier had the privilege of watching that esteemed debate, but during that program his Minister of Justice admitted that government had done a poor job in explaining the Hydro deal, so the minister was then asked by the moderator - I will try to put in it perspective for the Premier - `Will the government be holding public information sessions around the Province?' The minister said, `yes'.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well, we can get the tape and show where you said it.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, in concluding the program, the moderator said that the government would be holding public consultations and the minister sitting next to the moderator, was nodding, yes. That is when the program when concluded, and if so, of course, this would be a major turnaround of government's position. So I want to ask the Premier: Will he now advise the people of the Province of the details of this public consultation plan that his minister talked about? Will it involve a committee of the House? Will it involve public hearings around the Province? What exactly are the details of the minister's public commitment?

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I don't have a text of the transcript here, nor, I suspect, does my hon. friend, so it is going to be very difficult to answer his question.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, he has a tape. I was there. My recollection differs from his.

MS. VERGE: I was there.

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, the hon. lady was there and she kept proving it by interrupting me continuously but unsuccessfully. My friend, the Member for St. John's East was there and did not interrupt continuously, nor was he rude, as was the hon. woman.

What I want to say is the government's position on this. What I said was consistent with the government's position. When we check the tapes, or the transcripts, as may be the case, we will find out.

I can't go beyond that, but I will say, I didn't say what my hon. friend alleges I said.

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

MR. SIMMS: Well, let me be more specific. I will ask the Premier: Are you going to have any public information sessions around the Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: There is going to be a major public information session tomorrow evening. I don't know what the time is right now.

AN HON. MEMBER: NTV - 6:30 p.m., isn't it?

PREMIER WELLS: Tomorrow evening, at 6:30 on NTV.

It is not just NTV; it is all the radio stations, and I am not sure whether or not the CBC has yet agreed. I certainly hope they do. This is a major matter that is of great concern to all of the people of this Province, and it is quite important that the public broadcasting system, paid for by the taxpayers of this Province, and this country as a whole, make available time for the people of the Province to be fully informed. I would hope they will reconsider and do so. That will be the first major public information effort. Now the extent, if any, to which further public information efforts will be necessary beyond that, the government will decide shortly.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, that's not a public hearing, or a public information session. That's a public lecture by the Premier - that's what we are going to see.

If he thinks that is going to be so significant, I tell him to pay attention and watch for NTV on Wednesday night at 6:30 when I will be on - that's when you will get some real information.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: That's when the real truth will come out, Mr. Speaker.

Now let me ask the Premier this, seriously. He says now there is so much concern, which is a major departure from their position of just a few days ago when there was hardly any opposition to this, `hardly anybody interested in this' - so it is a major departure from their position, to now admit there is a lot of concern about it. Well, if there is so much concern, why doesn't he give the public an opportunity to have a say by holding some meetings around the Province, perhaps through the use of a legislation committee? The Minister of Justice says there is no deadline. We have lots of time to do it, so why won't the Premier do it?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I accept that a large number of people in the Province are genuinely concerned. In the case of many of them, their concern may well have originated on their own initiative, and they are quite concerned about this kind of an issue, or privatization issue generally. I accept that, and I accept, without question, the sincerity of their position, but what I don't accept is the proposition that masses of the people are genuinely concerned and that that concern wasn't provoked and promoted by some very, very misleading and misinforming statements made, largely by the members of the Opposition, but by some others, too, that, if people believe those statements, or if there were no statements made to the contrary, understandably, would well evoke a lot of concern.

I intend, Mr. Speaker, tomorrow evening, to explain fully the government's position, and why the government took the approach that it did, and fully explain to the people of this Province the total government position on the matter, and why we took the particular approach, with respect to the debate, that we did. At that time, I would hope that all people in the Province will have a better understanding of how this developed, the extent to which the government is at fault - I acknowledge it, the extent to which the government is at fault - for not taking better steps, better action, to fully inform the people; but let's wait to see what tomorrow evening brings.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I don't accept the Premier's allegations that the misleading statements have been made by members of the Opposition. I think if you do a serious investigation into what transpired since the Premier spoke publicly to the Board of Trade here in St. John's on November 17, you will find that, in fact, the real root of the problem causing confusion is the Premier's own arguments. That is what has happened in all of this.

Again, I ask the Premier this question - and it is a form of a similar question I just asked, which he neatly avoided answering: If the Premier is so concerned that the people have concerns about this issue, why doesn't he give the people an opportunity to have some input? not just to see him and me on television, making a speech for twenty or twenty-five minutes or half-an-hour; that's one thing - but to give the people a chance to have some input, since he knows there is so much concern around the Province. Why won't he do that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I say again, we propose to take steps to ensure that the people of this Province are fully informed as to the position the government is taking, why, exactly what we have done, and we will lay it out for them fully. We will then come to a conclusion as to the level of concern and what, if anything further may need to be done beyond that; I am not going to prejudge that situation. We will make the decision at that time. But I will say, in response to the member's question, that the government is also concerned, that when we proceed with privatization - assuming we do proceed with privatization - when we proceed with privatization, we do so in circumstances that will enable the people of this Province to get the greatest value for the disposition of their shares, and the timing of taking the proposal to market and so on is an important aspect of that, and we don't want to do anything to delay for an excessive period of time that would only cause substantial harm, substantial financial harm to the people of this Province.

Mr. Speaker, that is a real concern for the government in relation to this whole matter, but I say again, we will be taking steps to fully inform the people and we will then judge the matter, subsequent to that.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Just a final question to the Premier.

In view of the fact that he has made the statements he has made at the end of his answer to my question about doing it at the right time and all the rest of it, can he tell the House, what kind of a deadline now, then, has he placed on this whole process? He must have some deadline in mind, and maybe he could tell the people of the Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, there is no absolute deadline, but I say to hon. members, we would like to see it achieved perhaps before the end of April, it would be very beneficial I would think. It is not a deadline, it is not an absolute. It may not be achieved until the first week in May, the second week in May, the last week of May or into June, or maybe even later, for all I know. There is no absolute deadline, let me hasten to add that. It is a proposal that is being put forward, and I say again, it is important to the people of this Province that we try to make sure that anything that is done is done in a way that will produce the best possible results for the people of the Province, and we are very conscious of that.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, my questions are for the Minister of Education but, prior to the opening of the House this afternoon, agreement has been reached with the Minister of Finance to respond.

The Minister of Education authenticated that the government intends to reduce significantly the total number of teachers in the Province; some teaching units would be lost as a result of declining enrolments and some will be lost due to the government's decision to discontinue the 2 per cent savings clause in the teachers' collective agreement. Can the minister inform the House the number of teaching units to be lost in each of these specific categories?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, two parts of the question - first of all, as the enrollment in the Province declines, then obviously, there becomes not as much need for the same number of teachers. If there is a drop in enrollment coming over the next two years, then obviously, you don't need the same number of teachers there. So, government is not acting upon laying off teachers and so on. If the need is there, teachers will be provided. There is a declining enrollment, and I believe that will result in maybe, approximately 130 fewer teaching positions as a result of that - simply because there are fewer and fewer students left to teach.

The second part of his question, Mr. Speaker, refers to the 2 per cent rule, which is a rule that indicates that no matter what the declining enrollment, the number of teachers cannot be dropped by more than 2 per cent in a particular board. In that regard, Mr. Speaker, there has been, at this point in time, no reduction. I believe the Department of Education has sent letters around giving interim allocations to the superintendents of the board, because that is an item that is part of our collective bargaining right now. So we want to give the interim allocations and we will see a few months down the road whether we will, in fact, give further allocations.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the potential loss of great numbers of teachers in the classrooms of this Province will have the effect of increasing class size, particularly in our rural schools.

The minister is well aware that the 2 per cent savings clause was introduced as a government initiative in the early 1970s to protect the curriculum and to protect the programs in rural schools in particular. If we are to continue to drop that 2 per cent, or to have proposals put forward to drop the 2 per cent, the effect on rural schools would be multigrade classrooms, and teachers teaching courses for which many of them will not be well-trained, or they will lack experience.

I want to ask the minister: Will the minister commit his government to assure that the initiatives on the 2 per cent savings clause will not put in jeopardy the quality of instruction available to students in Newfoundland and Labrador?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

First of all, let me assure the hon. gentleman that where the need exists, that need will be taken care of. It's unfortunate that in certain areas of the Province over the past ten years, because of the 2 per cent rule, there have been surpluses of teachers built up. Now, whether that's a real surplus or an imagined surplus I can't say at this point in time. Obviously, where the enrolments have been declining we need, overall, a lower pupil/teacher ratio than in areas where enrolments have not been declining.

Mr. Speaker, that has created an imbalance in the Province, and I want to assure the hon. member that whatever the results of this round of collective bargaining are, that wherever the need is, that need will be provided.

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

MR. HODDER: A final supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

There is, in the Province, and there has been for a long time, some talk about a small schools policy. I want to ask the minister: In view of the fact that government wishes to address the inequities created by the 2 per cent savings clause, will government commit itself to instituting a comprehensive small schools policy in Newfoundland and Labrador?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, first of all, in general allocation anyway, government recognizes the fact that where there are a large number of small schools there needs to be an extra supply of teachers, simply because of the distribution of students and the need in high schools to provide as full a program as possible, so that need is recognized.

As we go through the process of change that is happening, and will happen in our educational system, I can assure the hon. member that the needs of the small schools will be dealt with, but as to whether there is going to be a special commission - there certainly will be a special policy, but whether this is going to involve a separate process from what is happening in the reorganization, I am not too sure. I will check with the Department of Education and let the hon. gentleman know.

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

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

I have a question for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. My question is prompted by a telephone call I had on the weekend from an electrical inspector who said there are a number of electrical inspectors throughout the Province who have received their termination notices; I believe he said for around the first of June.

Could the minister inform the House if, indeed, there are a number of electrical inspectors who will be terminated in the Province and, if so, how many, and when the termination date is?


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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, as a matter of fact, as the Budget was being presented by my colleague, the Minister of Finance, in the Legislature on Thursday past, ten electrical inspectors with the Department of Employment and Labour Relations were informed that they could expect, by the first of June, that due to a reorganization we would have planned anyway, it was just that at Budget time was an appropriate time to do it, and with the institution of a new method of inspection that gives more responsibility to the certified, bona fide contractors and electricians that actually do the installations, that as a result of that, ten of the twenty or so electrical inspectors that we currently have will no longer be needed, and they will be laid off as of June 1 of this year.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. A supplementary to the minister.

Isn't the minister - from what I gather, the work is going to be audited, and I think a figure of some 30 per cent is being used, 30 per cent of electrical work done will be audited. I'm sure the minister realizes the very serious implications and consequences, if 70 per cent of your work, electrical work particularly, is not inspected - we are really dealing with the public safety issue here. Is the minister at all concerned, with the new system he said his department is putting in place, is he not concerned for public safety? We are talking about electricity here - is he concerned at all about that?

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, very concerned from the point of view that we would never have agreed to put this new system in place if we thought there was any additional risk whatsoever to anybody in their homes or any other buildings when the wiring of them is done, which is normally, under the old procedure, every particular installation inspected by a government inspector before the permit to occupy and so on is given.

What we have done is moved into a system - we will move into a system by June 1 that is already in place in most other provinces in the country. It reflects the kinds of partnerships that the Minister of Finance was discussing in the Budget. The business community, itself, the contractors who actually do the installation, will commit, their record will show, they will show that they have the certified electricians who will guarantee that they know the regulations, they know the code and they will install according to the code. As a matter of fact, in most other provinces, Mr. Speaker, in just about every other jurisdiction in Canada, less than 50 per cent of the actual installations are inspected, then the books and the records of the companies that do the inspections are audited from time to time. If there's ever a problem that surfaces then that particular contractor gets inspected on the actual work, but in most cases they found that isn't necessary. They have qualified electricians who are actually doing the installations; they do the installations according to the codes that are in existence at the time, and the governments in other jurisdictions are quite satisfied that there's absolutely no risk to the public with respect to this inspection method.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I just want to say to the minister, the information I have is that when these inspections are done, even by qualified electricians, the average inadequacies or problems average around five per dwelling, per house. Around five problems are detected by the inspectors, which then, of course, are consequently corrected and public safety issues put to rest. When you allude to the contractors, I say to the minister, that's what worries me, because you're leaving it up to the person doing the work to do their own inspections and to certify that the work is up to par. Isn't the minister concerned that by the system he's putting in place - it's no good for the contractor to say, `My work is flawless' after someone has been burned in his bed, a dwelling flattened because it hasn't been properly inspected. Isn't he concerned about public safety on this issue? Because to me it's very alarming. How can you ask people who are doing the work to inspect their own work? It's too late -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. GRIMES: Again, Mr. Speaker, I find it unfortunate that the hon. member would use that kind of language in discussing this issue. Everybody would understand that we have been totally convinced that we would not have moved to this new method of auditing the actual installers, the people who actually do the electrical installation, rather than have a government inspector go and inspect every single installation before it is approved.

I can tell all hon. members, Mr. Speaker, and the hon. member asking the question, the fact is that this has been in place across the country for a number of years and that we are playing catch-up. This is the standard in the country and this is the standard in the industry. We would not be making this move and I repeat as I said in answer to the previous question, we would not be making this move because we asked those same kinds of questions and we've been given every assurance by both the inspectors who will be kept on to do the auditing and do some inspecting and by the contractors who do the actual installation themselves, that there is no need for the kind of concern that the hon. member just raised. People will not be at any additional risk, no more so than today, with this new system. It is on that basis that we agreed, Mr. Speaker, to go ahead with the new audit system.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Social Services.

The Child Welfare League of America report indicated that 103 child welfare staff are necessary to deal with the critical problems of child abuse and neglect in the Province. I ask the minister, how many of the thirty-three temporary staff, referred to in the Budget, will be child welfare workers?

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

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, the workers that we have named in the Budget are people who will be working, in the main, in social assistance, because that is where the great need has been over the past year. There has been a tremendous growth in the caseload, and that is where the great need is. So twenty of the workers out of the thirty-three will be in social assistance. They will be financial assistance officers. The other remaining thirteen will be administrative people, which will help with the caseload in the entire office wherever they are allocated. Because as the hon. member knows, there has been a build-up of administrative work. So, these administrative people - although nobody has been assigned specifically to child welfare, these people will obviously be of great assistance in that area.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm not so sure if I understood that answer correctly or not. Because I understood from the Minister of Finance that there would be thirty-three front line social workers. I would like for the minister to respond to that again and also, tell us what length of employment those social workers could expect.

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

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, front line workers, who will be working in the offices in every office in Newfoundland - I don't know what other classification you can have for these that they won't be front line workers. All thirty-three will be front line workers. There are very few people in social services today who don't work in the front lines. If hon. members are trying to suggest that these thirty-three workers will be of no benefit to the social service system in this Province, they had better contact the people out there working in the offices. We are absolutely delighted, Mr. Speaker. I am absolutely delighted to be able to say that this government was so compassionate that in these rough economic times, they assigned thirty-three workers to work in the Social Services offices throughout this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Last year, the budget for the Department of Social Services was overspent by approximately 15 per cent. In light of the recent changes in the U.I. program, and the fact that this government has already admitted there will be a significant increase in the number of social service recipients, how can the minister justify showing only a 2 per cent increase in this 1994-1995 Budget - and that is not taking into account the public service compensation measures which will be deducted after this Budget is implemented?

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

MR. LUSH: For some time, Mr. Speaker, the emphasis in the Department of Social Services has not been creating short-term jobs, giving people work for ten weeks, twelve weeks, twenty weeks, so that they can qualify for U.I. There has been a shift in this department from that and we are moving towards training. If the hon. member will look, he will find that any movement of funds from employment strategies have gone into training strategies and into areas where the government determined they were most needed.

There has been no reduction of funds, Mr. Speaker, anywhere in this Budget. If the hon. gentleman looks at the bottom figure he will see that there is an increase. So the figures, though they might have been taken away from a particular head, have been moved into another where we felt they were more appropriately needed.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Health.

The Budget Speech states on page 8 that: "we are continuing to become more efficient in providing health care services", and it states, "putting more emphasis on health promotion and illness prevention." How can the minister be serious about health promotion and illness prevention when his department budget is slightly less for prevention and illness than it was in last year's Budget?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I don't know where the hon. member is getting this information.

AN HON. MEMBER: From the Budget.

DR. KITCHEN: This year - yes, but you can look at the Budget and do all sorts of strange and wonderful things and I'm sure the hon. member will be doing that. Let me just say to the hon. member that the vehicle for delivering most of our preventive measures but not all. It is through the medium of the Regional Community Health Boards that we are establishing, and the budget for that has been increased this year dramatically; we had an extra $1 million in there last year, and not only is that being continued, there is an extra half-a-million dollars being put in there as well, and in addition to that there are several other initiatives there as well, our tobacco initiative and some expenditures related to that are in the Budget and we are looking forward to the beginning, we are not as highly developed in the area of health promotion and illness prevention as we would like even this year, but we will be making good strides this year towards that objective. That's the objective of the department and we are moving in that area.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question Period has expired.

MS. VERGE: Where is the Western Memorial Hospital Report?


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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, as I referred in Question Period to this issue, I want to now rise and present a petition which contains the names of a number of the family members of Leette Moores and attached to that petition, are 2,920 letters of support, so in total, nearly 3,000 I guess will be sufficient for the purpose of the presentation of the petition.

The petition says: To the hon. House of Assembly in the Province of Newfoundland and Parliament Assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, humbly showeth:

WHEREAS the next of kin of Leette Moores who died while a patient at the Grace General Hospital on March 9, 1993 at the age of twenty are concerned about the circumstances surrounding her death,;

THEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that the hon. House ask the Minister of Justice to direct that an inquiry be held to ascertain the causes respecting and the circumstances surrounding the death of Leette Moores; and this request is being made pursuant to the Summary of Proceedings Act; as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to just touch on a couple of excerpts from a letter that I received from a representative of the family, I won't go into all the details of this but I do want to, for the benefit of the Minister of Justice, just reiterate what I said in Question Period I guess, and I am sure he would appreciate their concerns; but they say, themselves, in this letter just dated a few weeks ago, February 28, that they are writing to express the concern we have had as a result of the devastating death of her daughter, sister, Leette Reneé Moores. We are writing in the hope that the many unanswered questions surrounding her death can finally be answered.

On March 9, 1993, Leette underwent the new gall-bladder surgery at the Grace General Hospital and died during the early stages of that operation. It was later determined that she did not suffer from any condition that would have caused this and as a result of this, we are left wondering exactly what happened.

Mr. Speaker, the end of their letter: We feel that because Leette was a twenty-year-old single girl who lived at home with her parents, the prevailing attitude is that she is insignificant and given time, this will be swept under the rug and forgotten. Leette deserves better than this. This procedure must be thoroughly reviewed to prevent any more needless deaths; to prevent other families from suffering through such a devastating loss as we have had to suffer, a loss that we will continue to feel for the rest of our lives. Although it is too late for Leette, it must be made certain that no one else remains at risk of suffering the same fate as she.

We would urge you to encourage the Minister of Justice to call for a judicial inquiry.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I have done that here today. We have heard the minister's response and the reply. I can only tell you that as any member of this House I am sure would feel for the family, there would have to be a lot of unanswered questions in the minds of a lot of people, I mean, you would not expect a death, a tragedy such as this to occur for a gall-bladder operation, it just does not make any sense at all.

I am not privy to all the details although the family has outlined them in writing to me, but that's for a judicial inquiry I suspect to determine the outcome and so I hope that the minister, and I know he will respond as diligently as he can, because the likelihood of their case going to the courts probably would not occur maybe not until 1997 or 1998. It would be quite a ways a way probably before it even gets into the court's system and in view of the fact that he has the leeway, I understand the issue related to the Crown Prosecutor, Director of Public Prosecutions, as he referred to earlier in Question Period - I understand all that - but he does have the authority to overrule a decision that the DPP might take that might not be in favour of the family opening up this issue.

It seems to me, what limited knowledge I have, the very least we could do for this family and for these people would be to allow for a judicial inquiry to occur, and I hope that the Minister of Justice will respond, and respond fairly quickly, to the family.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, since Question Period I have received, from my staff, copies of some of the papers, so perhaps I can say a word or two with respect to the petition.

Let me first of all say that in common, I am sure, with every other member of the House, I have nothing but sympathy for the position in which the family of this young woman find themselves, and sympathy for the tragedy which has struck them.

Secondly, let me say that normally I would regard this as a matter of solicitor/client privilege, and would not feel myself at liberty to raise it in a public place such as the House, but my understanding, and perhaps the Leader of the Opposition will correct me if I am wrong, is that the family have raised this matter with him, and asked him to raise it here in the House.

He is nodding acquiescence so I say, for the record, this, in my understanding, permits me to talk about these matters whereas normally I would not do so in a public forum. Again, my friend the Opposition Leader nods acquiescence.

Those two points made, Mr. Speaker, let me go on to say that I appreciate the concern of those who have signed the petition. I think my friend said there were 3,000 names in round numbers, and that is a lot of people, a lot of men and women, who signed it.

I must say, with respect, that with no quarrel with their views, or their right to express the views, that decisions on matters such as this cannot be made on that type of consideration. They must be made strictly on the merits of the issue, and by those charged with responsibility for making them.

Now I acknowledge quite readily, as I have said at Question Period, that the final responsibility in a matter such as this rests with me, as the Minister of Justice - not even as Minister of Justice - wearing my other hat as the Attorney General, and I have not taken any such decision as yet; but I can add somewhat to what I said at Question Period, so let me go on and do that.

The legislation, as my friend the Opposition Leader and I both acknowledge, provides in section 23 of the Summary of Proceedings Act, that there shall be an inquiry, and it lists a number of situations, including: as a result of violence, misadventure, negligence, misconduct, malpractice or by unfair means, or suddenly or unexpectedly, and it names three other instances which are not applicable to the situation.

Then the legislation goes on to say that although it appears to be mandatory that an inquiry shall be held, it shall not be held if the Director of Public Prosecutions acts to the contrary.

Then, finally, it gives an override to me as the Attorney General, and I acknowledge quite readily that is my responsibility and it is my obligation. I have the power to direct an inquiry.

Those amendments were made in 1979, so they have been around for fifteen years. I was in the House in 1979 but I don't recollect if I was present during the debate. The minister of the day would have been Mr. Ottenheimer, I should think, but I don't recollect the reasons given for that.

I am told the reason it has been set up that way is to provide that there not be inquiries in all cases of death, but only where there is a public purpose to be served by holding them, and that would make some sense.

Mr. Speaker, let me come back to the Moores case. On January 28 I received a letter from a lawyer here in town, Mrs. Butler, a well-known lawyer down at White, Ottenheimer, who told me she was the solicitor for the next of kin of Leette Moores, and she asked that an inquiry be held. That was fine. She put forward an interpretation of the legislation not unlike that raised by my friend, the Opposition Leader in Question Period, but she spoke only of the mandatory part, section 1(a). She did not go on to talk about subsection (b) of the legislation, which is an integral part of it. She concluded by saying: We would be pleased to meet with you to discuss our client's request.

That was on January 27, Mr. Speaker. I got the letter on January 28, and replied on January 31, so there has been no delay. I am not suggesting that my friend said there was, but if the family thinks there has been any delay, or anybody thinks there has, let it be clear there hasn't. The answer went back on January 31, and I pointed out to her the way the act worked, in case Mrs. Butler had perhaps only read the first half of the section, then went on to say: That point made, let me go on to say that we shall deal with your request on it's merits, I have asked the DPP for advice.

That is the way the act reads. That is what I am supposed to do and that is what I will do. I undertook to be in touch with her when I am able to make a substantive response to the request. The papers went to the DPP on January 31 the same day as my letter to Mrs. Butler. Now, I have not yet received a response from the Director of Public Prosecutions. I understand Mrs. Butler was asked by him to come in on February 9 and did in fact see the entire Crown file.

May I have leave?

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank hon. members. Mrs. Butler, as is our practice in these cases, was given access to the entire Crown file. In other words this would include the police reports, and the reason why there is often a delay in deciding on whether there should be any inquiry, the first thing that has to be done when there is a death under unusual circumstances, is one must be certain on whether or not there is any possible criminal activity because obviously that must take precedence. A criminal charge, we are told by the Supreme Court of Canada must take precedence over any other type of inquiry or proceeding. The most recent case is the one in Ontario. Mrs. Starr, I think it was, the lady in Mr. Peterson's office who got into some trouble, at least a Liberal Party worker who got into some trouble and it went to the Supreme Court of Canada. That particular case, and the Supreme Court was quite explicit.

AN HON. MEMBER: What about the coroner's hearing?

MR. ROBERTS: Well, I am not talking about coroner's hearings in Ontario. I am talking about the law here in Newfoundland and Labrador. What I am saying is that our practice, which is a proper one in my judgement, is that the police investigations are completed first.

Mrs. Butler was given access to the file on February 9 and I do not know what, if anything, she concluded as a result, nor do I know whether she has been in touch with her clients, the family, as a consequence. I do not know. I have heard nothing further from Mrs Butler. I think the House should know that we have acted expeditiously. My officials have moved with some speed. I have not spoken to the DDP, he is at a trial today. It is the Patrick Watson preliminary, the Greenpeace fellow -

AN HON. MEMBER: Paul Watson.

MR. ROBERTS: Paul, is it? Anyway, there is a preliminary enquiry and the DPP is acting for the Crown on it. That is where he is today. Yes, Patrick Watson is Chairman of the CBC and a very much more reputable person indeed. Now, these are the notes I have been given, the DPP says that he does not see the need to have a judicial inquiry into the death because an inquiry would add nothing to the facts or the circumstances surrounding the death. The answer in the judgement of my officials is a civil suit for negligence. If the family feel that there was some improper act or omission by the doctor or doctors, or by the hospital - I do not know who any of them were and it does not matter. The hospital is named in the letter from Mrs. Butler but the doctor or doctors are not, or what may have gone wrong, then the remedy is a civil action of proceeding in negligence. Mrs. Butler is very much skilled and versed in this type of work, I would add.

Mr. Speaker, I will conclude by saying that is the advice I get from my officials. I will undertake to discuss this with them, to review the file myself, and in due course, as soon as I can, but it may be a few weeks yet, make a decision as to whether I should exercise the residual authority that clearly rests with me.

With that said, Mr. Speaker, I thank the House for its indulgence in the matter.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I wish to rise to support the petition and the call for a judicial inquiry into the death of Leette Moores. I was also given, by the members of the family, a letter outlining the difficulties that they have had in getting proper explanations as to why their family member had died, and what had transpired in this gallbladder surgery which occurred on March 9, 1993. Now, I do not think anyone is suggesting a delay in the Minister of Justice dealing with this issue but there is a considerable delay since March 9, 1993 in a decision being made as to whether or not a judicial inquiry ought to be made. This is not a criticism of the Director of Public Prosecutions. This is a criticism of the system which is in place in this Province which allows and requires the Director of Public Prosecutions to make all sorts of decisions, including this type of decision, when in fact there should be a better system in place to deal with sudden deaths.

We have had suggestions over the years, Mr. Speaker, that we go to a medical examiner system, or a coroner system like they have in the Province of Ontario, where these decisions are made very quickly by a medical examiner, or a coroner they are called sometimes, who have a forensic approach to medicine. They are skilled and trained and able to make a decision very quickly as to whether or not a particular sudden death requires a more thorough investigation.

I say to the Minister of Justice that regardless of the Patricia Starr decision - which is a particular decision by the public inquiry of a different nature - that these medical examiners enquiries or the coroner's enquiries, which they have in the Province of Ontario and other provinces which have a coroner's act, go on regardless of the possibility of there being criminal prosecutions at some point down the road. I say to the Minister of Justice that is not a reason to delay the holding of a particular type of inquiry such as has been requested here. I think that is an excuse for the system that we have, one that has been justly criticized.

I've read the letter. It is a seven page letter written by family members concerned about the death of their loved one. There are a lot of issues raised here which in my view give rise for grave concern as to what procedure might or might not have been used to cause the sudden death of this young person in these circumstances. The Legislature was asked by the government and made changes two years ago to the evidence act, ones which were opposed by me and some other members of the Opposition, notably the Member for Humber East, where changes to the evidence act were made so that evidence, certain types of reports made in hospitals, either for disciplinary purposes or for purposes of raising standards or changing standards, are not made available. Not only to the public, but they are not even available to a court case when you have a - they've changed the rules of evidence so that even a person suing a doctor or hospital can't get access to these certain records.

I think it changes the playing field in these circumstances, so family members don't have the right to find out the kind of information that they may need to either assess their chances as to whether a legal suit might be desirable, or in cases where - this may be one of them - a legal suit may prove to be an expensive circumstance where the recovery of damages might be very slight in any event. So it is not justified from an economic point of view, but there is still from a personal responsibilities point of view, from a family's legitimate desire to know what happened to their loved one and why it happened, and furthermore, from the point of view of assuring the public that this kind of thing does not happen again.

We can't always rely on doctors and hospitals and the medical system to correct their deficiencies. We've seen, and we are seeing every day, on the reports of the HIV inquiry in Ontario, that the medical system that we have is not as reliable as we've been led to believe. That things that happen continue to happen and measures are not always taken by the medical officials to improve the circumstances, to let people know of possible dangers, to correct deficiencies in the system so that these things might not happen again.

A judicial inquiry is the only mechanism that we have here in this Province. It is useful to have an outside body to have a look at how the system is responding to events of this nature which caused the tragic death in these circumstances, and unfortunately may cause a tragic death in further circumstances. It is not sufficient in my view, Mr. Speaker, for one individual, such as the Director of Public Prosecutions, to be making these decisions where this is not an area of expertise of that particular individual.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.


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


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I join with the petitioners and with the family members in urging the Minister of Justice in this circumstance to hold a judicial inquiry. It has been over one year since this death. There is a danger and a concern that if the procedures used which caused this death are to continue that there may be other tragic deaths in these circumstances. I would urge the minister to act quickly, whether the Director of Public Prosecutions is in favour of it or not, to go ahead and order a public inquiry so that the full facts and truth behind what happened can be made public for the public purposes that we have explained, and also for the comfort of the family who needs to know what happened to their loved one.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am seeking Your Honour's indication as to whether there is leave of members for me to make a very brief comment as Opposition Justice critic in support of this petition.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Minister of Justice.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I am quite prepared to hear the hon. lady if she will allow someone else on this side to speak. Otherwise, the rule says three; there have been three. If we want to carry on, I have no problem. The only person being hurt by this is my friend from Mount Pearl, and he is not in his seat so apparently he doesn't mind.

I think my friend from St. John's South might like to say a word or two.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member has leave?


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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, very briefly, I wholeheartedly support this petition. I believe it would be in the public interest for a judicial inquiry to be held into the tragic death a year ago at the Grace Hospital of Leette Moores, during what should have been routine and simple gallbladder surgery.

I believe such an inquiry would be in the public interest for the reasons Leette Moores' family have requested the inquiry, first of all to have an objective finding of what went wrong and why the young woman died. Secondly, to get out this information so that other needless deaths may be prevented in the future.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I believe the holding of a judicial inquiry into Leette Moores' death would be entirely consistent with past policy and past practice of both the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General.

I occupied the office of Attorney General for four years, from 1985 to 1989, and I can say with certainty that the policy which prevailed at that time would have led to an automatic ordering of a judicial inquiry into a death in these circumstances.

Mr. Speaker, I recall a similar judicial inquiry over the past few years, I believe since the Wells administration has been in office, and that was a judicial inquiry into the death of a young boy from Stephenville, a young Goudie boy who died at the Janeway Hospital, so I join with the petitioners in urging the Attorney General to ensure that there is a judicial inquiry into the tragic death of Leette Moores.

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank my colleagues opposite.

I had occasion to talk to the family a couple of times, and took their concerns very seriously. I brought them to the attention of the Minister of Justice, and tried to encourage him but, of course, as the minister said, there is a procedure.

Now the comments made by the Member for St. John's East are, I think, very appropriate. Perhaps what we need to do, and too bad that the hon. Member for Humber East didn't do when she was Minister of Justice for four years -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: No. I say to the hon. Member for Grand Bank that we have already had a couple of judicial inquiries. I encouraged this particular situation to go that route, and discussed it with the Minister of Justice who, in turn, told me that his correspondence was gone on the particular case to the Director of Public Prosecutions, and upon his recommendation, which is only just back in the minister's hands.

Now I am fully aware of the circumstance of the situation. I don't have the detail, or did I have the detail, that the family gave the hon. Member for St. John's East and/or the Leader of the Opposition. Initially I was the one who tried to do whatever I could on behalf of the family, and it was a very sad and serious tragedy.

When somebody goes into a hospital and a new procedure is out there, and is identified, and the medical profession - it is not hon. members in this House - the medical profession says: Well, let's go ahead with this procedure. They discuss it with the family, and the family, of course, in turn, says to the doctors, who they put the confidence in, that this is a new procedure, fine, if you think it will work... A lot of us would do the same.

Of course, the situation ended up in a real, serious tragedy and the loss of the life of a very young woman. I encouraged the family to retain a lawyer immediately and start the case action as soon as possible and that's what happened and I would still encourage that this particular tragedy should be looked into and that's why I support the petition.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to present a petition on behalf of 133 residents of my district and one person from the District of Carbonear and a person from the District of Mount Pearl. They must have been visiting St. Mary's - The Capes.

The prayer of the petition, Mr. Speaker, is to the hon. House of Assembly in the Province of Newfoundland in Parliament Assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, asks for the House of Assembly to accept the following prayer:

WHEREFORE your petitioners urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to stop immediately the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro and hold a referendum to ask the people of the Province their views as to whether the Newfoundland Hydro should be privatized or remain a Crown corporation, as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I am happy today to stand and present this petition on behalf of those 135 people, and let me say that I welcome the news that the Premier will address the Province tomorrow night and put forward the government's stand on this very important issue, as the hon. House Leader has said on several occasions, it is one of the most important pieces of legislation to come before the House since 1949.

I hope also that CBC news goes along with giving the Premier ample time also because the area of Newfoundland where I come from, we haven't got NTV so we have to depend on CBC so I hope that they go along and give the Premier time to address the Province which includes us out there also; sometimes we are forgotten but I hope we make it tomorrow night as we do Wednesday night when the hon. Leader of the Opposition will also address the Province with the concerns of our party and the position of our party on this very important issue.

I also welcomed the news last week that the Member for St. John's South together with the Member for St. John's West will be holding a public meeting in their districts, a combined meeting I presume in their districts so that the people of their districts would have the opportunity to have their say and to put some concerns forward on behalf of the residents of their districts. I am sure that both members are looking forward to hearing from the public because this is what people have been crying out for, Mr. Speaker, right across the Province; they have been asking for some type of public debate and I ask the Premier not to stop there with his address tomorrow night, I ask him to continue, and the possibility of holding public meetings right across the Province so that people in rural Newfoundland especially, will have the opportunity to have their say and put their points across and the possibility of a referendum because this is a very important issue and people are voicing concerns and maybe a referendum would settle it once and for all; if not, why not have a free vote in the House of Assembly as we talked about earlier last week so that members could vote with their conscience on behalf of the people they represent?

A main thrust that I am finding with people I talk to in my district and outside, is the concern over our water rights and basically I think this is the main bone of contention that we are hearing and the concern that somewhere down the road the Minister of Finance will determine what undeveloped water rights if any will be excluded; and this is a concern to many people because the water rights in our Province, who really can put a value on them today, who can put a value of them in ten, fifteen or twenty years time and this is a concern, and under the legislation, the government says new Hydro will not get ownership rights but rather rights to use water only for as long as the water is used to produce electricity, the legal title: `free and clear of any encumbrance', Mr. Speaker, is ownership; and you know, we are talking about water, Mr. Speaker, that will last forever and this is a concern of many people.

Another concern that I have found over the past few weeks in talking to people in my district, is the rural electricity rates, will they increase in the next few years and in the future? This is a concern with a lot of people. Under the legislation the rural electricity rates will be phased out by December 31, 1999. This will come in when Bill 2 is brought to the House under the Electrical Power Control Act, Part 1, clause 3(a). The phase-out will take away $15 million of government subsidy that is here now, Mr. Speaker, and this is a concern to many people in rural Newfoundland that their electricity rates will increase, double or even triple in some cases. This is a concern that I'm sure many members are hearing about and people are wondering exactly what electricity rates will be in the future. Mr. Speaker, I also understand that -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise in support of a prayer read today by my colleague from St. Mary's - The Capes. Since the night that the bill was put through second reading, I personally have not changed my mind on this bill. To the contrary, I have got so many calls and visits from residents of the District of Placentia, even more so than what I had to say that night and in meeting other people outside the district. The communication that should have been put forward by the government in the first place has certainly come home to roost. I was glad to hear the Premier say today that the last of April, the first of May, middle of May, June - well that's going to give them ample time to talk to more people because what I do suspect is after tomorrow nights address by the Premier and subsequent to the night after that by the Leader of the Opposition there is going to be more need than ever before for government to get out across this Island and into the Labrador to let people know what is happening to their utility.

We've all known and seen Frank Buckley over the years. We've come to trust it even though it's foul tasting, Buckley's mixture, but for us to swallow the medicine of Hydro and government members telling us that it is going to be good for us - no, that is not medicine that the people I know, the people I support and people who support me are willing to take because they are just not Frank Buckley or Buckley's mixture and these are not the people to trust, the members opposite.

Ladies and gentlemen, this bill has many ramifications. It has been echoed back and forth for weeks inside this Chamber and outside about the future and the costs of escalating electrical rates. They talk about the other odds and ends that it's going to do to our people; about the lost of work, the less chance of apprenticeships, training and the water rights. While we're debating this now clause by clause the other bill that has to come in under the privatization of electrical is going to be another contentious issue as well. While we're only part through two clauses of this bill - some people opposite I know for a fact have not or just have lately read the entire act while we and other people outside these Chambers are more familiar because members opposite have been just flying blindly - one or two of their leaders.

Through Hydro we have come to learn to believe that opposition is very, very important in our democracy, very important. For all of us, it is a chance for us to make sure that the news gets out to the people to whom we are responsible - that everybody should have a say. Everybody should be able to have a look at what is going to happen to them and their offspring in the future. I'm glad to say that I am part of a team that has been supportive in getting delays made, instead of taking a roughshod method of driving home a Hydro sale without people having a say. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, before we begin, may I, for the convenience of the House, move that the House do not adjourn at 5:00 p.m. Perhaps we could put that motion first.

MR. SPEAKER: It has been moved that the House do not adjourn at 5:00 p.m. All those in favour.


MR. SPEAKER: Against.


MR. SPEAKER: Carried.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, let me say, it is my understanding that my friend, the Member for Mount Pearl, who will be speaking in a moment when the debate is called, will propose at around 6:00 p.m., when the flow of his speech - whenever is convenient to him, that we take, shall we say an hour, for a supper break and a whatever break. We are not trying to have an endurance marathon here. That would have to be by unanimous consent –

MR. W. MATTHEWS: And coffee at 9:00 p.m.

MR. ROBERTS: Well, if we have a coffee at 9:00 p.m. other things may flow, I say to my friend, the Member for Grand Bank - that is what may cause the trouble.

- but that would be my understanding, I say to my friend, the Member for Mount Pearl, whenever it is convenient to him. He knows how he has organized his remarks. So I simply say, we on this side will be prepared to consent to that. My understanding, also, is that my hon. friend, the Member for Mount Pearl will finish tonight. Whatever length he needs to go on and -

MR. WINDSOR: Or tomorrow.

MR. ROBERTS: - the government proposes to ask - I'm sorry?

MR. WINDSOR: Or tomorrow.

MR. ROBERTS: Or tomorrow, whenever. The government proposes to ask that the House adjourn when my friend finishes the debate. We will be here until he finishes and look forward to it with considerable pleasure.

With that said, Your Honour, I wonder if you would be good enough to call Motion No. 1, which is the Budget Debate, of course.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion No. 1.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Let me first of all address my comments to the House Leader in thanking him for setting out that schedule and providing the break at 6:00 p.m. Let me say right from the beginning, I don't intend to sit here, to speak for the sake of speaking. I have certain things that I wish to say - if that takes me two hours, I shall sit for two hours, if it takes me five hours I shall sit for five hours.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) the hon. member (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I have no intention of carrying on just to try to waste time - that doesn't serve the members and it certainly doesn't do anything for the people of the Province. I do have an obligation - and a right, I guess - but an obligation to respond to the minister's speech, and to put forward some views as to how we see the minister's Budget for this year.

Let me start off, Mr. Speaker, by saying that it is certainly the shortest Budget Speech that I've ever seen. However, I find it amazing that the minister found as many words to make it as long as it was, because he could have said in one page what he said in the ten or eleven pages that he, in fact, used in his Budget Speech.

The Speech is not only short on words, it is short on ideas for job creation, that is one of the main failures of the Speech. It admits that unemployment will stay at a very unacceptable 20.1 per cent again this year. That is nothing, Mr. Speaker, as I have said on a couple of occasions over the weekend, for the minister or this government to be proud of, and I'm sure they are not, in fairness to them. Twenty point one per cent is a serious unemployment rate when the national average is still at around 11 per cent. We are almost double the national average unemployment rate. We haven't progressed very far since -

MR. BAKER: Last month it went down a bit.

MR. WINDSOR: It went down a shade?

MR. BAKER: Nineteen.

MR. WINDSOR: Nineteen, in Newfoundland.

MR. BAKER: But that is fluctuating.

MR. WINDSOR: The question is, was that unemployment or was that people removed from the employment rolls? Where did all of that work come from last month? It fails me.

MR. SULLIVAN: The labour force shrank, too, didn't it?

MR. WINDSOR: That would be my thoughts. It doesn't add up, I say to the minister, and he concurs. It doesn't make sense that last month the unemployment rate would drop to 19.1 per cent, unless there were huge numbers in educational institutions or out of Province, or something.

At any rate, Mr. Speaker, this Budget fails miserably to create any new incentives for job creation, which we had hoped would have been the thrust. The government has made, I guess, great statements to the fact that job creation is the key to stimulating the economy, that they propose to do it through the private sector by creating an economic climate that is appropriate and attractive for private enterprise to expand and to grow, and to create jobs.

I couldn't agree more with that basic statement. It is a statement that I have made myself in this House many, many times, that it is, in fact, government's role to create an economic climate. However, I have to temper that and say that right now the economic climate in Canada is not good, let alone in Newfoundland. It's worse here than anywhere else in Canada, and while we do, indeed, have to create a more favourable economic climate, I think it is imperative that government take some action to create some employment now. We can't wait for the private sector alone to create jobs in this Province, and to help this Province crawl out of the economic recession that we have suffered, particularly in the last four or five years.

I say also, the minister is a mastermind. He is definitely a mastermind. He has now come in with two Budgets which were not complete, and somehow seemed to escape the wrath of the news media and the general public. He came in last year and said: I am $70 million short, and I don't know where I am going to find it, but we will find it and we will tell you about it later.

MR. BAKER: And we did.

MR. SULLIVAN: The first one, he had to get a mini-Budget to clear it up.

MR. WINDSOR: That's right. Well, he has come back this year and said: `We are going to ask the public service for another $50 million.'

MR. SULLIVAN: No - `We are going to tell them.'

MR. WINDSOR: `We are not going to ask them,' is quite correct. My friend, the Member for Ferryland is quite accurate: `We are going to tell the public service they are going to give us $50 million and we are also going to take $30 million in cuts of services - so that is $80 million, that we don't know where it's going to come from, except the broad block of $50 million from the public service, and $30 million from services, programs provided.'

MR. BAKER: The $30 million is out.

MR. WINDSOR: The $30 million is out.

MR. BAKER: The $50 million is not.

MR. WINDSOR: That is quite right. It's true.

Mr. Speaker, here again we have another document that is not complete. I wish I had thought of it in 1988 when I was wrestling with a $70 million or $80 million problem. I wish I had thought, the day before Budget day, or a week before Budget day, when we were making these final tough decisions, that we could ask for a blank cheque, which is what the minister has done. He has asked for a blank cheque of $50 million, and he is going to negotiate it with the public sector.

Mr. Speaker, I wish him well in negotiating with the public sector, but I fear his measure of success will be less than he claimed. I fear his measure of success is going to fall short of his $50 million.

Certainly, over the weekend there were some 5,000 people, I believe, at the stadium taking a strike vote for the public sector and NAPE, which is the largest union in the Province. We have had all kinds of things from teachers, who are looking at serious -

MR. EFFORD: Your time is up!

MR. WINDSOR: My time is up! The hon. the Member for Port de Grave, Mr. Speaker, his time is soon going to be up. His time will soon be up. Constituents will catch up to him next election time, if he doesn't trip himself again, and get tossed out of Cabinet again between now and the next election. He didn't survive a four-year term the last time. He will be lucky if he gets four years this time, but even if he does, the people of the great district of Port de Grave will call his time up in a couple of years time.

MR. EFFORD: You said that the last time.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, I have to say to the hon. member, a lot of his colleagues will go down with him the next time around. A lot of his colleagues are going to go down, if they don't start realizing - you won't continue to get re-elected once you forget to listen to the people. This government has learned how to carry on without listening to the people, and that's a sure recipe for defeat of any government. The minute they stop listening to the people, that's the minute they begin to defeat themselves, as has been said many times, in many Parliaments. Oppositions do not win governments; governments lose.

A government that is doing the job that the people want, in the manner that people want, will never get defeated, but a government that stops listening to the people is headed for rapid destruction, Mr. Speaker, and this government is well on the way. The only one who is still listening to the people is the hon. Member for Pleasantville who had the intestinal fortitude to stand up and be counted. I give him full marks, Mr. Speaker, and I admire his courage for standing in this House and voting against the government over there, particularly that government, I say to the hon. member. I mean this most sincerely; it takes courage at any time to vote against your party when it is not a free vote. It takes even more courage to vote against your party when your party is in government and you are there to support the Premier and his Cabinet as a government backbencher, but it takes even more courage again to vote against this particular Premier who is not known for his compassion of members who do not agree with his point of view. I congratulate the hon. member and I say to him there are thousands of his constituents who feel the same way about him. He has served himself well, and he has served his constituents, and the people of all Newfoundland and Labrador well, Mr. Speaker, by voting with his conscience rather than a commitment to the present Premier.

What the minister has done, he hasn't balanced the Budget, but he has reduced his deficit to an acceptable $25 million limit, $24.6 or $24.7 million, an acceptable current account deficit for this year in light of the record that we have had of deficits over the past number of years. I wish, however, Mr. Speaker, that the minister's estimates were as accurate. In looking just quickly at his record of budgeting accurately we find that in his first Budget of 1989-90 he budgeted a $5.3 million deficit and he actually ended up with a $37.8 million deficit, a variance of $32.5 million. In 1990-91 he budgeted $10.2 million and his actual was $117.2 million deficit, a $107 million variance, a big difference, Mr. Speaker.

I could say, I suppose, that his 1989-90 Budget was the Budget that I had prepared just prior to the election but did not get an opportunity to present. They basically changed very little and presented that Budget, in 1990-91. We told them at that time, as we have told the government pretty well every Budget they have brought in, that they were unrealistic in their expectations, and the facts prove it, Mr. Speaker, $107 million is how much he missed. In 1991-92 he predicted a $53.8 million deficit and actually had a $59.5 million deficit. The variance was only $5.7 million but we had some great changes mid-year, a mini-Budget as I recall which resulted in the variance being small for that particular year.

In 1992-93 the minister predicted a $29 million deficit and the result at the end of the year was an $81.6 million deficit with a variance of $52.6 million, a 180 per cent error. In 1993-94 he predicted $51 million and ended with $71 million for a $20 million variance, so the minister has not been accurate, Mr. Speaker. He has not been accurate by any stretch of the imagination. He predicts a $24.6 million deficit this year but as we will see as we go through some of my comments we have reason to believe that the minister is being overly optimistic again.

Now, it is one thing, Mr. Speaker, to come into this House with a Budget that contains figures that are overly optimistic if the government seriously and honestly believe those figures to be accurate, and if that is the best advice that is available to them, but it is very easy, Mr. Speaker, when you are faced with $100 or $120 million deficit, as the minister told us he was, it is very easy in the dying days to do your own estimates, to increase slightly the revenues, but you are only fooling yourself. You are fooling the people in the short-turn, Mr. Speaker, and they pay the price in the long-term. You are only fooling yourself because it will come back to haunt you, Mr. Speaker, and I suspect that is what the minister had done again this year.

The minister has also misled the business community of the Province in this Budget. He would have us believe that this is a great panacea for business and industry, that the income tax rate for corporations has decreased from 16 to 14 per cent, and for manufacturing and processing, from 7.5 to 5 per cent. While we welcome that, Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate the minister has chosen not to do it until January 1, 1995.

So the impact this year of those tax reductions is a whopping $1 million for all of the businesses in the Province that pay tax. There are not a lot them, Mr. Speaker, that indeed pay tax. Only the larger corporations and a few very fortunate smaller companies are making profits on which they pay corporate income taxes.

On the other hand, having given them back $1 million in that area, Mr. Speaker, we see that there is an increase in the payroll tax of $2.5 million, and other increases on video lottery commissions and other areas. In fact, when you add up all the taxes that will be paid by corporations this year, there is indeed a 6 per cent increase in revenues to be derived from taxation on corporations in this Province; hardly, Mr. Speaker, a measure that is doing anything to encourage the private sector to create jobs or to expand business.

What we had been looking for, Mr. Speaker, was some action on the payroll tax. Now, I hardly expected, much as I would have liked to see it, to see the minister eliminate the payroll tax. That would have been a brave move, and it also would have been a very positive move. It takes $73 million out of the pockets of our corporations.

The sad part about it, Mr. Speaker, is that it bears no relationship to the profitability of those corporations. It doesn't matter if a small business is employing large numbers of people and making a loss. For example, many fish plants in this Province would be operating at a loss, but they may be very significant employers of 400, 500 and 600 people in rural communities of Newfoundland and Labrador. There are hundreds, dozens at least, of fish plants around this Province in that position. Because they are highly labour intensive, paying very good salaries and very supportive of those rural communities, they are taxed by this payroll tax. They have to pay it, even though at the end of the day that fish plant, or whatever the company may be, is losing money.

Whereas the corporate income tax is a tax which is based on your revenues, on your profits, which is fair and reasonable, the payroll tax is a direct disincentive to employment. It is a tax on creating jobs. The more jobs you create, the more taxes you pay.

It is also an incentive, Mr. Speaker, for the private sector to move to new technologies, to eliminate jobs by bringing in new technologies, further mechanization at the process lines reducing the number of people, increasing the technology that is there. So, Mr. Speaker, the payroll tax is a loser any way you look at it.

Mr. Speaker, I should also point out that hidden in this Budget there is a $2.7 million increase through the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation. Now, when you look at most of the estimates you realize that there is some annual growth, most of the numbers will increase slightly because of increased consumption, utilization, or whatever the case may be. In the case of the Liquor Corporation, they were told by the Minister of Finance to return a certain number of dollars over the course of that year. So the Minister of Finance decides whether or not the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation needs a tax increase. In this case, Mr. Speaker, the minister has told the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation to find an extra $2.75 million this year.

Now, we all know that liquor sales have gone down, largely because of smuggling into this Province - and that is another issue we will deal with in due course - largely because of contraband liquor coming into the Province in higher and higher volumes, but also because of the state of the economy. If you are not employed, if you are really in serious financial difficulty, one thing you can certainly live without is alcoholic beverages. Unfortunately, sometimes it goes the opposite direction. Nevertheless, when the economy is weak alcohol sales will indeed go down.

Also a factor of the tax level that is already involved in alcohol, the very high tax, the very high cost of alcohol in this Province compared to other provinces, has had a two-fold effect. One is to make it far more attractive for smuggling into the Province. The second, Mr. Speaker, is to make it less competitive here with other provinces and to reduce consumption. Because the costs have gone so high we've passed the point of diminishing returns. Therefore consumptions would automatically start to level off and decrease. You add to that the impact of smuggling and we are now seeing a great drop in the revenues from that source.

Yet the minister is predicting $2.75 million addition. In order to do that - that is about a 4 per cent increase in the tax. Assuming that is about 60 per cent tax then you could estimate - it is about 3 per cent increase in the price of alcohol on the average that the Corporation will have to find. That is assuming consumption stays the same. If consumption is predicted to decline this year then they will have to put an even greater increase.

We can expect to see in the very near future, over the next number of days I would suspect, about a 3 per cent increase, perhaps more. Because there may well be some increase coming from suppliers. The Corporation has to do two things. It adds up its total costs from it suppliers, it looks at the figure that government is requesting, which is in this case $73 million, it adds those together and then it says: What do we have to charge? That is how they establish the price of alcoholic beverages. You can certainly expect a 3 per cent or 4 per cent or 5 per cent increase from the Liquor Corporation in the very near future.

That was hidden in there. The minister didn't mention it. It is unusual. Usually any increase to Liquor Corporation is mentioned in the Budget Speech and noted in the Budget Highlights. It is not mentioned at all this year. Two years ago there was a 1 million increase and the minister announced that in his Budget Speech: We are asking the Liquor Corporation for an additional $1 million. Two and three-quarter million dollars this year, the minister tried to slide it through.

There are increases on gasoline and licence fees which will be negative to individuals and to small business. While there is a break there on diesel fuels that will benefit only larger corporations that are using the larger vehicles. Most small businesses are probably utilizing the lighter vehicles that are gasoline engined. So it will be negative to the smaller business, again, and to individuals and families. I will deal with that in due course.

We see bed closures in the health care sector. A significant decrease in the amount of money available in the health care sector, and fifty beds, we are told, will save about $819,000 only. Eight hundred and nineteen thousand dollars is all that will be saved by closing fifty hospital beds. That doesn't appear to be a very big return for the loss of fifty hospital beds in our health system.

Our education system will lose some $15 million this year. Very significant, $15 million in the education system. When this government is saying again that increase in education is important for us to improve the economy of this Province. If we are going to create jobs we have to ensure that our people are prepared to do good work, that they have the proper training and education. Yet we are cutting back $15 million in education.

We look at our borrowing program. Let's begin by looking at where we are there. The deficit is $25 million. The deficit is projected to be at $25 million for this year. You compare what happened last year. Let's look at the performance of this government last year. Last year they predicted $51 billion and overspent by some $20 million - it was a $71 million deficit.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, they do it ever year.

MR. WINDSOR: They do it every year. Well, $20 million, actually, was a small increase compared to previous years. They have had many, much larger increases. Yet, federal and provincial revenues 1992 - 1993 went from $2.6 billion to $2.8 billion, a 1.8 per cent increase, and they are predicting this year that the total revenue will increase by 3.1 per cent. Now, here is where we get to the unrealistic estimates that I mentioned briefly earlier, Mr. Speaker.

The 3.1 per cent - now, how do they propose, Mr. Speaker, to realize a 3.1 per cent increase in federal and provincial revenues when the same document, under the main economic indicators, shows that Gross Domestic Product in real terms, will only grow by 0.6 per cent, that personal income will decline by 1 per cent, and personal disposable income by 1.1 per cent. Retail sales will decline in real terms by 1 per cent, Mr. Speaker, and employment is going to be level - it is zero per cent change and unemployment will stay level at 20.1 per cent.

Now, Mr. Speaker, when you look at all of these factors - these are the main factors that impact on the performance of the economy. How can they predict, therefore, a 3.1 per cent growth in revenues from federal and provincial sources? We will see some more details of that in due course. But we have talked so much about the deficit, we have talked so much about the total debt. Government has said: We can no longer afford to put this Province into debt. Well, Mr. Speaker, they are planning to borrow another $417 million this year. Another $417 million is the total borrowing requirement for this year as compared to the budgeted amount last year of $408 million. So we have increased by another $9 million or $10 million, the total borrowing requirement for this year.

MR. ROBERTS: But the NBR is down.

MR. WINDSOR: I beg your pardon?

MR. ROBERTS: The net borrowing requirement is down.

MR. WINDSOR: The debt borrowing is down.

MR. ROBERTS: Net, n-e-t. Much of that is (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Net. Some of it is. The total Budget requirement this year is $197 million.

MR. SULLIVAN: It is $197 million for this year, 165 (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It is still a lot, it is still $197 million, Mr. Speaker.

MR. ROBERTS: We will never get out of debt if we keep adding.

MR. WINDSOR: Well no, we won't, Mr. Speaker, but we will never get out if we don't develop either.

AN HON. MEMBER: This is true.

MR. WINDSOR: If we don't invest in the economy, unfortunately, and this is the dilemma that all governments are faced today. You can't borrow your way out of a recession either, I say to the Minister of Justice.

MR. ROBERTS: The hon. gentleman I would agree that if we could borrow our way into prosperity, we would be the most prosperous province in Canada.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, we are certainly good at borrowing.

MR. ROBERTS: We are not bad at spending.

MR. WINDSOR: But we are not doing such a good job, Mr. Speaker, at creating jobs, and that is the problem here. And that is a dilemma that every government is faced with every budget.

MR. MURPHY: Tell us how.

MR. WINDSOR: I will tell you how. The first thing you do is resign and then we will get a decent government over there - that will start the ball rolling in the right direction. So, Mr. Speaker, that's what government has done in the past year, and those are our economic indicators.

The minister talked about, and in fact he said in his Budget: initial projections indicated there would be a $120 million deficit. That's a frightening number, Mr. Speaker, but I say to the minister that it is meaningless. Every year, when you are doing your Budget, you are faced at some point in time with $100 or $200 or $250 million deficits if you don't take certain actions. Certainly, when the wish list comes in from all the departments, you are probably even higher in your projected deficit to that point in time, because departments want new funds and expanded budgets for all different kinds of projects.

So it is meaningless, Mr. Speaker, to come out and say publicly: We are facing a $120 million problem. Well, that is what the Minister of Finance is there for, to deal with that problem, not to try to scare the public service, which is what he did this year. Unfortunately, for many, it worked. He certainly scared 400 teachers out of their jobs, because they were so concerned with losing the severance pay, Mr. Speaker, rightly or wrongly. They had such concerns for themselves and their families that they chose to take a different route which was to resign their positions, those who were close enough to retirement to take that avenue. There are many others still in the service who have enough years to go, that they couldn't possibly consider resigning at this point in time. But 400 of our teachers did.

Now, these are 400 of our most experienced teachers, no doubt, and also, perhaps, our highest paid, because they probably have the highest qualifications. So on the teachers' scale, they may be the highest paid teachers. Some might argue that perhaps some of the younger teachers are up-to-date on the newer modern technologies and teaching methods and, perhaps, are quite capable of replacing these teachers. I think it is very difficult to replace years of experience, Mr. Speaker, in a profession such as teaching, in dealing with young people.

It is the same tactic, Mr. Speaker, that has put pressure on unions, who are faced with incredible projected reductions in the total compensation package to their members. It is very difficult, Mr. Speaker, to negotiate meaningfully a collective agreement when you have already been told that we have to shave, in this case, from the public service alone, $50 million from the compensation package. That is not easily done, Mr. Speaker, considering that this same public service were cut by $70 million last year, from the compensation package. That is $120 million in two years. I didn't go back to look at the cuts in previous years, but I believe this is the fourth year for a total wage freeze in the public sector.

Now, Mr. Speaker, when you freeze salaries, unfortunately, you don't hold everything constant, because the cost of living doesn't freeze with it. We had a 1.7 per cent inflation rate this year, and the same last year, and no doubt similar or higher the two years before that. So members of the public service are probably somewhere between 7 per cent and 10 per cent behind where they were four years ago, in total, in their total spending ability, and obviously, that impacts on their total disposable income.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that has a very drastic effect on those individuals and their families. It has a drastic moral effect on the public service, the productivity of the public service. It has an impact on government, itself, because when the disposal income goes down, obviously, government's revenue through consumer taxation will decrease as well.

Mr. Speaker, to make the kind of prediction the minister made, of $120 million, and then saying that we have to find it, $50 million from the public sector, and we haven't decided yet where we will negotiate it; first of all, I think it is an unwarranted scare tactic, and secondly, Mr. Speaker, let me say that it is probably a little unrealistic at this point in time. Certainly, the indications we are getting from statements made by the public sector unions are that negotiation for that amount is going to be very difficult, if not absolutely impossible - very, very difficult indeed!

Mr. Speaker, let's have a look at the estimated budgetary position of government. Again we see the factor there of $50 million is compensation measures, an unknown factor. We don't know what that means or what it will do to the public sector.

We find, Mr. Speaker, the annual average rates of federal and provincial revenue growth, 8 per cent in the latter half of the 1980s. Eight per cent was the average growth. It has now dropped to 2 per cent. So revenue growth has deteriorated seriously in the last four years, very seriously. Budgeted last year was 3.6 per cent, the actual was 1.8 per cent, yet, we are budgeting a 3.1 per cent increase this year. How does the government possibly think that they could ever attain a 3.1 per cent increase in the growth of federal and provincial revenues? The end result will be that if that growth is not realized - which we say it will not be - we are going to have a very serious deficit problem still with us by the end of the year.

Let's look at some of the areas as we go through. The department of -

AN HON. MEMBER: How are your kidneys?

MR. WINDSOR: Good, perfect. It is my throat that is not in good shape. My kidneys are good.

Mr. Speaker, in the Department of Finance we see that five positions have been approved for tax administration (inaudible) to assist with tax compliance. Now, we don't have a problem with tax compliance. My experience in the Department of Finance tells me that most Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, most people generally, don't object to paying taxes, as long as everybody pays fairly. Tax compliance is not something we have a general problem with. However, I did have some information provided to me that gives me some concern.

It is a letter to, I believe, a school, dealing with the sale of chocolates as a fund-raiser for that school, as all schools are forced to do today because of insufficient funding coming from government. In order to provide some of the additional equipment that they need and so forth they were forced to resort to fund-raising efforts, and many of them are involved in selling chocolates and other things of that nature. This particular school had sold some chocolates. Apparently, they had sold $1,820 worth of chocolates. We now have a letter from somebody in the tax audit division saying they hadn't paid taxes on the chocolates. They are looking for $218 taxes plus $2.62 interest on the taxes not paid, and have given ten days to come up with it.

Can you imagine! Here are schools that are forced to do some fund-raising to raise a couple of dollars, and the kids are out knocking on doors, selling chocolates at $2 a box, I guess - chocolate-covered almonds or whatever they might have been - and now the government is going after that school to take $218 and $2.62 interest, for a total of $221.02. They sold $1,800-worth of chocolates and government wants $221 from them.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I suppose, under the act they are probably quite right. It is a consumer item, it was purchased and sold. I wonder just how far we are going to go. How far are we going to go? Are we now going to ask every little group that's doing some fund raising to buy a new computer for a school or whatever, some outfits for the -

AN HON. MEMBER: The Liberal Party is paying for (inaudible) kind of fund raisers.

MR. WINDSOR: Good luck.

AN HON. MEMBER: $250.00 to meet the Premier.

MR. WINDSOR: $250.00 to meet the Premier, where's this?

AN HON. MEMBER: That's one of the fund raisers.

MR. WINDSOR: One of the fund raisers coming up?


MR. WINDSOR: That includes taxes, surely?


MR. WINDSOR: Surely the taxes are included in that and going to be deducted from the profits of the Liberal Party, I have no doubt about that. Surely the government would never do anything that -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: But, Mr. Speaker, that's one example of the measures that we're going to now, to try to raise a couple of dollars by attacking kids in school, their little fund raising efforts. It makes you wonder, Mr. Speaker, just how serious our problem is.

The Public Service Commission, Mr. Speaker, has received $200,000 for funding of a service quality unit. Now what exactly is a service quality unit, I wonder? Service quality unit and what exactly does it mean? One can only assume it means that there will be some individuals, a division of the Public Service Commission, that is going to be checking on other public servants to see if they're providing good service, to see if they are being courteous and efficient in dealing with the general public. There may be some need for that, Mr. Speaker, no question, in some areas. I hope that's not an indication that all of our public servants are poor quality, providing poor service. No doubt there may be some areas but it would be interesting to find out exactly what this means. It says; for overseeing and supporting a service quality strategy. This will be great stuff, Mr. Speaker, to stimulate the economy.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let's get to Works, Services and Transportation and have a look at what's taking place there. The highways operation section of the department has been reorganized resulting in savings of $1.2 million. $1.2 million, Mr. Speaker, from the actual expenditure last year but when you look at the budget of last year we find that there's $2.5 million cut from that budget. In fact, since 1992 that budget has been cut by 10 per cent. A 10 per cent cut, Mr. Speaker, is very significant in highways operation, particularly when it involves such things as snow clearing and painting of lines on the highways.

Does the Member for St. John's North want to ask a question on that? No. The hon. gentleman was looking at me as if he was about to question something I was saying.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I'm on the Budget. In the Budget itself I'm on page - I'm in the highlights of the section anyway. There are no page numbers here, the appendix, it would be page 2, I guess. The numbers are missing in this book. I know it is there, page 2. If the hon. gentleman wants to follow along with me -


MR. WINDSOR: I'm going to take you right through these highlights because it outlines most of the things that are important in here. There are some things that are not in here that we'll want to talk about but I will go through them.

So I'm on Works, Services and Transportation. $1.2 million savings and I wish the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation was here because I raised the issue of snow clearing in a Question Period - well, I think probably just prior to Christmas in fact, as I recall - when I had found on three or four days successively that the conditions of the highways just outside St. John's were far less than acceptable and it was right at the end of Question Period the minister popped up and only had time to tell me that he had driven in on that particular morning and that the people who had found their vehicles out in the ditch, didn't know how to drive. That was his response; perhaps they don't know how to drive, Mr. Speaker.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that on that one occasion I drove out over the highway at eleven o'clock at night - I was driving a four-wheel drive vehicle, Mr. Speaker, and the best I could do was about 30-35 kilometres per hour driving out over the highway. There were two accidents that I had to report to the RCMP, using my cellular phone that I happened to have in the car with me, people who actually just had accidents. There were no serious injuries, but they needed assistance and the RCMP needed to be called because of some danger with the vehicles on the highway, so I had to report those accidents.

I can assure the minister that it was through no fault of the drivers that those accidents occurred. I guess you could always say, to some measure I suppose, it's the driver's fault, the driver might have been able to avoid it, but I say to the minister that on that particular night it was a very, very, extremely hazardous situation, and this was eleven o'clock at night. It had been snowing since about four or five o'clock in the afternoon, and there was absolutely no evidence of any snow clearing equipment having been on that highway.

Now that's not a secondary highway. It's not some little side road where you might expect that it would have a lower priority and would take a little longer before a snow clearing crew could get around to it. I am talking Trans-Canada Highway, four lanes - the Trans-Canada Highway. As a matter of general case, most often you find that where we now have four lanes that only two lanes are actually cleared during any kind of a snowstorm at all. There is no attempt to clear the extra lane. So we build a four lane highway, then we cut back on snow clearing so much that they are not able to keep the four lanes open. So what have we spent these hundreds of millions of dollars building four lane highways for?

AN HON. MEMBER: They are used in the summertime.

MR. WINDSOR: Indeed, for summertime. The hon. the Minister of Social Services is quite accurate. Summertime is about the only time you could use it. We have had a fortunate winter; we haven't had it. This has been a good winter, but on occasion when there was any amount of snow at all then the condition of the highway was far less than satisfactory.

I have counted, on occasions, no less than eight vehicles off the road between Holyrood and St. John's - eight vehicles - in the morning, absolutely no excuse for it.

Mr. Speaker, I will also comment that if you drive across the Province, as most members do, that you will see a different level of service depending on the maintenance depot. You can be driving along the highway, a perfectly clear highway, well salted, well ploughed, salt and sand applied, the road is wet, it is still snowing, but it has been well serviced, and you will pass a particular intersection, which is the intersection, you know, that one snow clearing crew stops and another one takes over, and it is just like going from summer to winter, and you have to go forty or fifty or sixty miles -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: The Minister of Finance agrees, and I am sure all hon. members do. You go to the next section, terrible conditions, and then the minute you hit the four lane highway, well now it's probably going to be pretty good again, or you will see that...

One I noticed the other day, I believe it was at Glovertown intersection when I was coming in, where there was an overpass, my friend's district, at Glovertown, and you could see that the truck came out from the highway depot in Glovertown and did a turn on the highway, and everything was salted, all the ramps were clear, and everything from there on was clear, but everything I had just come over had about half an inch or an inch of hard packed snow on it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No, not the park. It was the other end of Glovertown, coming from Gambo toward Glovertown.

So you can see the difference. Mr. Speaker, that says two things. One is that there is a difference, either in the supervision -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: The minister finally came back. I wish he had been here, because I was dealing with snow clearing, if the minister thinks it is so funny.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, it makes you wonder how a member like that can be put in charge of something that serious.

I wish the minister had been here a few moments ago because I referred to a question that I put to him in Question Period a couple of months ago.

MR. EFFORD: You haven't asked a question since the House started.

MR. WINDSOR: Well now the minister might not want to look back at Hansard, because the minister is absolutely wrong. I asked the minister a question about snow clearing, and he thought it was so funny, his answer to me was that those people who were off the road that day didn't know how to drive, that it was their own fault. That was his response to me that day. That is how concerned that minister is, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, about snow clearing in this Province, and about public safety.

MR. EFFORD: You have to slow down according to the conditions of the road. That is exactly what I said.

MR. WINDSOR: That is better. It gets tiring after awhile.

Mr. Speaker, let me say to the Minister of Works, Service and Transportation, it is a very serious topic, and let me say that I'm not interested in his humour at all.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: He is not doing a good job of snow clearing. I've just gone through, and my friend the Minister of Finance has confirmed in fact, that he has observed some of the things that I've observed, and other members have observed things that I've observed. That you can drive along the Trans-Canada Highway and one section is perfectly clear, well snow ploughed -

MR. EFFORD: Anywhere there is a Liberal district.

MR. WINDSOR: Well now, we are finally getting the truth. It might be a Liberal district. It is appalling to hear the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation admit it in this House.

MR. EFFORD: You should come out to Port de Grave.

MR. WINDSOR: Absolute disgrace. Yes, I dare say even the houses are salted out there, and fish you catch out in the harbour in Port de Grave has salted itself. The whole harbour has been salted. They come up ready salted. That is what we should do with the minister, Mr. Speaker, is split him and salt him, I think. Put him out - well, we will hang him out to dry in due course.

We make light of it but it is a very serious topic. Snow clearing in this Province has been greatly decreased. The minister may not like the fact but the fact is that there has been a 10 per cent reduction in the funds allocated in that department since 1992.

MR. EFFORD: No reduction.

MR. WINDSOR: No reduction.


MR. WINDSOR: The Budget says the highways operations section of the department was reorganized resulting in savings of $1.2 million.

MR. EFFORD: That is taking out thirty-five managers!

MR. WINDSOR: It is actually $2.5 million.

MR. EFFORD: Taking out thirty-five Tories!

MR. WINDSOR: It is actually $2.5 million from last year's Budget. Thirty-five Tories don't get paid $2.5 million. Thirty-five Liberals might get paid $2.5 million at $50,000 a shot over and above their salary, but not thirty-five Tories, Mr. Speaker. You can forget it. Absolute discrimination, can't even get a glass of water.

I say to the minister again that he really should have a look at it. It is not only snow clearing. Highway maintenance itself has been decreased. The level of service applied to painting the lines on the highways in this Province. Funding allocated for that is cut back.

MR. EFFORD: You can't paint lines in the rain. Sure, 95 per cent of last year was rain.

MR. WINDSOR: Tell the minister, Mr. Speaker -

MR. EFFORD: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: Never mind your rain, I say to the minister. I have been told by highway superintendents that they have had to cut back on the amount of paint applied. The minister mightn't like it, Mr. Speaker, but they have been told to cut back on the amount of paint applied.

MR. EFFORD: Absolutely not!

MR. WINDSOR: It is absolutely true, Mr. Speaker. The minister might deny it, he can deny it all he wants. I couldn't care less. I'm telling you it is true. They are painted but they are painted with a much lighter coat. If you go out on the highway now you can hardly see a line because they are not wearing half as long. They have been told to be cut back. I can tell you that there are rural areas of this Province where they are not painting the lines on the side of the road any more marking the edge of the pavement. As a cutback, as a cost-saving measure.

MR. EFFORD: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: They are not painting the white lines. In areas of this Province, particularly in this area of the Province, where fog is a major problem - Mr. Speaker, will you stifle the hon. member? Will you stifle him? He hasn't got an intelligent comment to come out of his head so make him sit there and be quiet.


MR. WINDSOR: I say to my friend for St. Mary's - The Capes, it is not watered down. It is not watered down, I say to my friend, but the valves are closed off, so that there is a far lighter application of paint going on the road. That is a fact.

MR. EFFORD: That is not a fact!

MR. WINDSOR: They are painting now twenty miles of road with the amount of paint they used to apply to ten. That is a fact.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) Tory buddies.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, what an absolute disgrace to the people of the Province that the minister responsible for public safety on our highways has no more concern than to crack jokes about it. That is an absolute disgrace. He should resign, Mr. Speaker, if he has no more concern for the health and safety of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, the travelling public in this Province.

Mr. Speaker, let us move on to the next item here, the Labrador Airways subsidy. The subsidy for Labrador Airways is being cut by another $500,000 this year, a 25 per cent decrease. It is funny how the Member for Eagle River is not so vocal now. He is usually on his feet on every issue. I cannot wait to hear the member get up and defend this one in the House of Assembly. They had a 5 per cent decrease last year as well. I am wondering if the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology has looked at what the impact is because this winter subsidy in Labrador Airways applies largely to the food airlift as well as regular passenger travel.

MR. EFFORD: No it's only passengers.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, will you tell the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation to mind his own business. I am trying to deal with his colleague who will respond in an intelligent manner and not like a hyena from Bay de Verde. What a disgrace to the people of Bay de Verde. They must be embarrassed.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Father forgive them, they know not what they did.

Mr. Speaker, let me ask my question again.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I recognized the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am suffering from a cold, my voice is not great, and I have no intention of trying to compete with that kind of noise. I thank Your Honour for your protection. I have all night so when the noise level comes up I am just going to sit back and wait.

AN HON. MEMBER: You normally have no problem.

MR. WINDSOR: I normally do not have any problem but my voice is not in good shape at the moment. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology has just passed over a cough drop and I will make use of that in a moment. I guess he wants to hear what I am saying so he wants to make sure my voice is okay. I want to ask him a serious question. Does he know what impact the reduction in the Labrador travel subsidy will have on the cost of airlifting fresh fruit and vegetables into the Labrador stores?


MR. FUREY: I can address that.

MR. WINDSOR: You will address that. I am sure it will have an impact. The Minister of Works, Service and Transportation says none.

MR. FUREY: Everything you do has an impact.

MR. WINDSOR: Everything you do has an impact, exactly.

Mr. Speaker, funding has been reinstated to the Atlantic Provinces Transportation Commission. Now, there is a major announcement, the Atlantic Provinces Transportation Commission. Is this a top priority of this government I ask the Minister of Finance?

MR. BAKER: It's a long story behind that.

MR. WINDSOR: It's a long story behind it. Well, when he tells us the story would he also tell us why he terminated it last year and is putting it back this year? It was only last year it was terminated. I recall my comment on it last year was, well, why not? I am not sure that the Atlantic Provinces Transportation Commission does us an awful lot of good.

The provincial roads program, Mr. Speaker, funded at $20 million this fiscal year.

MR. BAKER: That's low.

MR. WINDSOR: That's low. $25.5 million last year, so we are $5 million lower in highway construction this year; only for the Roads for Rails Agreement, you wouldn't know there was a road in the Province, and I have to say, Mr. Speaker, that in driving the Trans-Canada Highway, there have been tremendous improvements in the last number of years, and that is not to give credit to this government, that is to give credit to the Government of Canada and the Roads for Rails Agreement that was signed a number of years ago. The work has gone ahead and there have been tremendous improvements, no question about it. The four-laning, I wish we had four lanes all the way from St. John's to Port aux Basques. You can't justify it obviously if the traffic levels don't justify it, but I am anxious to see the four lanes go all the way to Whitbourne; it won't be too many more years, probably another four or five years and we will get all the way to Whitbourne with four-laning and there is some upgrading in other areas just east of Clarenville I think is scheduled for this year and Glovertown to Gambo, no Gambo - the other end of Gambo.

AN HON. MEMBER: There is nothing from Gambo to Gander (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Gambo to Gander there is some - so it's moving along nicely, and then we will find when government will be accelerating the transfer of local roads maintained by the department to the jurisdiction of the relevant municipality, and that is all it says about it. It doesn't tell us, the minister didn't tell us the impact of that, how much that will cost the municipalities because this is clearly another example of downloading, I say to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, of downloading responsibility to the municipalities.

Now I don't have a great quarrel with it; it has always been a question of whether, as a municipality grows and expands whether or not the highway through Harbour Grace should be maintained by the Department of Works, Services and Transportation. Harvey Street in Harbour Grace is still a provincial highway I believe.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well the Trans-Canada Highway through Gander is not a good example because it is partly the Trans-Canada Highway system as it is through Grand Falls and Deer Lake and we have all gone around Corner Brook but there are many, many towns; Conception Bay South is probably the best example. Conception Bay Highway is still a provincial highway.

MR. BAKER: When we do the by-pass (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: When you do the by-pass then the town will be asked to take over Conception Bay Highway, by that time we will have spent $30 million or $40 million upgrading it and making it four lanes, and that is not a bad concept but I hope that this government in making this move is not making just a stab in the dark. I wish there was a stated policy on this. I know many years ago in Mount Pearl, Commonwealth Avenue was a provincial highway and by negotiation we agreed that you bring it up to the municipal standard that we want there now and then we will take it over and so the Province upgraded to four lanes.

AN HON. MEMBER: What are you (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Commonwealth Avenue. Water and Sewer works were upgraded at the time by the town as it was then, it wasn't a city then it was a town, they upgraded it, curb and gutter were put in as part of the highway project but the sidewalk was a municipal project and so it became four lanes and then it was transferred; several years later Topsail Road was done the same way. Water and sewer and storm drainage were installed by the town under the program. The Province put in the money to upgrade and widen out Topsail Road to four lanes, so I ask the minister, what is the proposal? There are many other towns in this Province where the main road is a provincial highway that desperately needs upgrading and I believe the minister can and probably should negotiate.

MR. REID: This same program has been on the go now I think since the early 80s (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: To upgrade the road?

MR. REID: Yes.

MR. WINDSOR: But it is not a stated policy though?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: There is no stated program or policy in that regard that a municipality could come in and say: we want this upgraded and we are prepared to take it over; it has been a haphazard thing. It is not a stated program where a municipality can approach government, it is generally the other way around. Government wants to off load the highway to the municipality so it goes to the municipality, it upgrades it and then simply says it is yours. I think it should be done by agreement and by co-operation and it can be done and I think it should be done.

The question has often been asked: Why is the Department of Works, Services and Transportation maintaining a main road? Yet, if that main road, such as Harvey Road in Harbour Grace, is still part of the provincial highway network, then there should at least be a cost sharing by the Province. Why should the Town of Harbour Grace bear the cost of maintaining a four lane highway when 75 or 80 or 90 per cent of the traffic is through traffic? That is hardly fair to the municipality. That is as good an example as I can think of, and I am familiar with it because I worked on it, built part of it, years ago.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: When the by-pass road goes through, then the Department of Works, Services and Transportation no longer needs it. It is still part of the highway network, though.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well it is probably, in that case, not a good example, but as you go further in the opposite direction there are large stretches of the highway that are not inside any municipality. They will obviously have to be maintained by the department, but as you come from Harbour Grace toward Makinsons there is not going to be a lot of highway that is not in a municipality, I wouldn't think. I think the boundaries are -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, who rattled his chain down there now?

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Who rattled his chain?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Does the minister have something to say, or is he just trying to be disruptive?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: He didn't hear what I said, so he should do the same thing and not say anything. I was having a very good conversation with the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, a good debate, on a policy of transferring roads.

MR. EFFORD: Stay out of my district (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I would gladly stay out of the member's district if he would stay out of the House of Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, I guess what we don't know here is exactly what will be the burden on municipalities by this off-loading of responsibility, how many millions of dollars will municipalities be asked to support.

Mr. Speaker, we have a new driver's licence system coming in in 1994.

MR. EFFORD: Another good thing.

MR. WINDSOR: It may well be a good thing.

MR. EFFORD: Something else we can be proud of.

MR. WINDSOR: Be proud of, yes.

Will the Minister of Finance tell us what it is going to cost for this new system, and what will be the benefits. There is no detail in the Budget to tell us how much the system is going to cost.

MR. EFFORD: Ask me tomorrow in Question Period. I will tell you.

MR. WINDSOR: I've got more important questions to ask than worry about driver's licences, for the minister.

Would the Minister of Finance tell us what will be the cost of this driver's licence system. That minister is not listening either. Can the minister tell us the cost of the new driver's licence system?

MR. BAKER: Not as much as we are going to collect (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I can't hear. What is that again?

MR. BAKER: Probably about half a million. I am not sure.

MR. WINDSOR: Half a million dollars.

MR. BAKER: I would have to check again, to make sure, but it is obviously -

MR. WINDSOR: Not as much as you are going to collect from what source?

MR. BAKER: From the increase in the licence fees.

MR. WINDSOR: From the increase in licence fees.

MR. BAKER: The driver's licence.

MR. WINDSOR: Ah, ha!

MR. BAKER: Which I think is the point you were trying to get at.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, it was part of the point. I was also going to ask: Are we going to do away with the cards now for the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation? You mentioned in the Budget that it will reduce the dependence on that. I suppose if you don't drive you'll still need one, but you can't totally phase out NLC cards, because not everybody has a driver's license.

MR. BAKER: That's true enough.

MR. WINDSOR: You may not have thought about that. Not everybody will have a driver's license, but anybody over nineteen years of age is entitled to have an ID card from the liquor corporation. So you will still have the savings there. They are not going to save a heck of a lot. What is the real benefit of having a photograph on a driver's license?

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Would the minister like to answer that?

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) to explain that to you.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, please. Would the minister like to explain it or is he going to sit there making a fool of himself?

Now, Mr. Speaker, I say to the minister, either put up or shut up. Either he is going to make an intelligent contribution to this debate or he will sit there and say nothing or remove himself and give us all a break.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well, Mr. Speaker, I've all day and all night.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WINDSOR: As long as the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation delays, the longer I'm going to be here.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I don't care. If the minister never said anything the world would be just as well off, Mr. Speaker, I can tell you.

So, Mr. Speaker, we're looking at half-a-million dollars, the Minister of Finance tells us, as the cost for these new drivers' licenses, yet we are going to pick up far more from the new motor vehicle registration fee.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Five dollars a licence more, isn't it?

MR. WINDSOR: Five dollars a year - fifteen dollars each time you renew.

MR. EFFORD: Five dollars a year?

MR. WINDSOR: Five dollars a year - 50 per cent increase in vehicles.

MR. EFFORD: Wait until (inaudible) the next one.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Proud of that, too, are you?

MR. EFFORD: I tell you, if he hadn't wasted so much money, I would have had (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You have wasted a lot more, I tell you that!

MR. EFFORD: If he hadn't wasted so much money on cucumbers, I would gladly do it.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: They're going to spend more in advertising Hydro.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I remind the hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation and the Opposition House Leader that I've recognized the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have no intention of competing with the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. As long as he's going to go on -

MR. EFFORD: I'm not saying anything (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: As long as he's going to carry on with his asinine statements, Mr. Speaker, and useless comments, then I'll wait, I don't care. I'm not in any hurry. All he's doing, Mr. Speaker, is displaying his level of intelligence to the world and he can answer for that.

Mr. Speaker, let's move on to Environment and Lands. Here's an interesting topic, Environment and Lands. The minister has brought in new all-terrain vehicle regulations.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well, that's a good point my friend brings up, that there have been several meetings that the minister has failed to attend, that she had scheduled. The most important one was with the ATV distributors when they came in to find out what was being proposed and to explain the impact to the minister - back in December, I think it was December 8th if I'm not mistaken, December 9th; the minister refused to show. Not only that, there were eight representatives of all-terrain vehicle distributors who came in and they were told, there are only five allowed in a room - three of them had to stay outside.

MS. COWAN: While we served them tea and cookies.

MR. WINDSOR: What was that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) served them tea and cookies.

MR. WINDSOR: It must be embarrassing, I say to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, to have to deal with that.

Only five people were allowed in to the meeting, Mr. Speaker, and the minister said afterwards, she was quoted in the media the next day as saying that - in fact, it is in Hansard here. It wasn't in the news media at all. In fact, I have a copy of the Hansard where the minister said, the following day, in response to the meeting -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well, it wasn't the same day; it was December 15th, four or five days later. She said, and I quote: "I must tell the House, they went away feeling very positive about our ATV program, and are helping us now to design appropriate corduroy roads which will make good trails for ATVs. I don't, at this point... see a need for public consultation."

MS. COWAN: Here, look.

MR. WINDSOR: What does the minister have there now?

MS. COWAN: A letter from (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: What is she waving over there, Mr. Speaker?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Ralph's copious notes.

MR. WINDSOR: Ralph's notes.

There have been a couple of meeting since then that she refused, one last week she didn't attend at the last minute.

MS. COWAN: I was just so scared of those teachers up there, I didn't stay home, `Neil'.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, the minister is scared of something. Maybe she is scared of the fact that these new regulations have cost about 400 jobs in this Province already. The Minister of Finance knows that. It has cost about 400 jobs in this Province in that industry already.

It is predicted that some 500 jobs that would have been created in that industry over the next five years will not now be created. We have lost about $1 million to $1.5 million of investment a year, that would have been invested by these dealers, and that the tax implications, I say to the Minister of Finance, will be about $10 million a year. That is the salaries, wages and benefits, about $10 million, in tax dollars about $2 million a year, $10 million over five years, lost to that industry because of these changes.

I guess we wouldn't realize it, there are some 1,700 people involved in that industry today - 1,700 people associated with that industry - and the minister comes up with regulations that have such a negative impact on that, and she won't even talk to people about it.

Mr. Speaker, moving into the Department of Fisheries, I see the interest rate subsidy provided by the Fisheries Loan Board has been eliminated because interest rates are now significantly lower.

AN HON. MEMBER: What was that again?

MR. WINDSOR: The interest rate subsidy provided by the Fisheries Loan Board has been eliminated because interest rates are now significantly lower.

AN HON. MEMBER: What does that mean? What is it?

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I don't know; I guess the minister sent me these. I don't know why. Do you think I am unaware of what is going on out there?

MS. COWAN: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well, the Page can bring these back to the minister. She may need them. I can assure her, I don't need a photograph to see what has taken place out there. I don't have a problem with putting in place all-terrain vehicle regulations. What I have a problem with doing is putting them in place in such a manner that without any warning to the industry -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Will you stifle yourself? Mr. Speaker, will you please protect me from that jackass from Port de Grave? This is an absolute disgrace to the people of the Province, the way that member is conducting himself this afternoon.

MR. EFFORD: That is awful language to be using in this hon. House of Assembly.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, I am being as kind as I possibly can - the one who lacks any intelligence whatsoever. Now, Mr. Speaker, I ask Your Honour, to please, give me the protection of the Chair, as the Member for Port de Grave, who is being nothing but absolutely disruptive for no useful purpose other than to make a mockery of the process in this House of Assembly. If he has nothing else to add, I ask Your Honour to remove him from the Chamber.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Now, Mr. Speaker, let me get back to the Minister of Environment and Lands again. I am not sure it is of any value but I will try once again to get through to her, that there is nobody who disagrees with the need to protect the environment from the indiscriminate use of all terrain vehicles, but in so doing, you don't have to destroy an industry that is of significant, economic benefit to this Province directly and indirectly -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

- of huge economic benefit to this Province, contributing directly, in fact we have lost over $2 million a year in taxes -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Whenever the Member for Port de Grave is ready, Mr. Speaker, I am quite prepared to continue, but not until. I could start off, as the Premier likes to say, I will say it again, Mr. Speaker, let me go back to the beginning. So, Mr. Speaker, I was talking about the interest rates subsidy with the Department of Fisheries and the Fisheries Loan Board. No doubt the need for that has decreased somewhat, and I ask the Minister of Finance, why are we eliminating it totally? There may well be a need, as I recall, the interest rates subsidy was based on a percentage and kept the interest rate down to -

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible) 3 per cent below prime.

MR. WINDSOR: Three per cent below prime, but there was a lower limit on it, was there not, was it 6 per cent the bottom?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It seems to me there was. If it was 12 per cent, it went to 9, if it was 9 per cent it went to 6 but if it was 10 per cent, it still only went to 6.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I ask the minister, why would he not simply leave it at something of that nature? No doubt there is a lower level which is appropriate below which we really don't want to go. Eliminate the subsidy when it gets down to that level because interest rates are not going to stay where they are. The minister has announced in his Budget now that these subsidies are gone, interest rates could jump up in six months time to 15 per cent again. Not likely, but they could.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Very slow increase in interest rates and I agree. I agree, that's what all the experts say but the experts didn't predict 21 per cent four years ago either, so it could well increase again.

Funding has been approved for a campaign against foreign overfishing, $75,000. Now what are we going to do with $75,000 to campaign against foreign overfishing?

MS. VERGE: They are spending $100,000 on the Hydro propaganda.

MR. WINDSOR: A drop in the bucket, a drop in the bucket.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: $100,000 on Hydro.

MR. WINDSOR: As my colleagues remind me $100,000.

Well, wait now. $100,000 on Hydro? I wish that were true. I was going to come to that in a little while but now that we are on to it - The Premier has been telling us all the way through that Hydro was paying all of these costs, but if you were to look at the estimates under Treasury Board, you will find that this government spent $1.7 million this year for professional services related to the sale of Hydro, and they have budgeted $1.0 million for the coming fiscal year for professional services related to the sale of Hydro, so that's $2.7 million when we have been told consistently that Hydro was paying all of the costs, so maybe the President of Treasury Board would like to tell me now. Would the President of Treasury Board like to tell us what this $2.7 million is for, is it legal, is it accounting, financial analysis? How come the government is paying for it and not Hydro?

When the Premier stood there in his place, and if I'm not mistaken the Minister of Finance told us, that Hydro were absorbing all of these costs. I would like to see a breakdown of that because $2.7 million is a lot of change to sell something. I don't know what $75,000 is going to do for the campaign against foreign overfishing with a fisheries research chair at Memorial University for $300,000 - $300,000 for a fisheries research chair at Memorial University, interesting one. Maybe the minister would like to tell us what we hope to accomplish with that.

Now what really concerns me, Mr. Speaker, in the Department of Fisheries - I almost missed it because it's sort of hidden away in the estimates - but at a time when the fishing industry is basically in such a state we all know that the cod stocks are not going to rejuvenate to the levels they were before. We know we're going to have far less people directly employed in the fishing industry than we've ever had, at least in the harvesting sector. So if there's ever any hope to regain some of the economic benefits from the fishing industry we enjoyed before -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, when the member is ready I will carry on.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I think we have one speaker at a time generally in debate.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, when you look at the estimates in the Department of Fisheries, you check under the sub-head dealing with processing, technical and financial assistance, the processing sector, we all know the fishing industry will never recover as it was, as I said, therefore if we're ever to regain the employment levels or as close as possible to employment levels we once enjoyed then we have to diversify. We have to modernize the fishing industry, particularly the processing sector. We have to get into secondary and tertiary processing. So, Mr. Speaker, it would seem to me that this is the time when we should be putting more money into helping fish companies modernize, to adopt new technology, but if you look under that sub-head you'll find that the funding level for that has been cut in half. The funding level has been cut in half for that particular sub-head.

MS. VERGE: What is our Department of Fisheries doing?

MR. WINDSOR: That's a good question, what is our Department of Fisheries doing, somebody asked me? A colleague who shall remain unnamed. The question is, why do we have a Department of Fisheries at all? Well, I can answer that myself, I must admit that I heard the Minister of Fisheries on a radio program talking about the other species other than the cod that are still very important to the economy of this Province. Nevertheless, if you looked through the budget of the Department of Fisheries you can see many areas where the funds are cut down and you'd hardly deny cutting back on them. Marine service centres for example and all the funding being spent in that area and certainly the revenues are cut back drastically.

Here's an area, Mr. Speaker, technical and financial assistance in the processing sector, this is an opportunity where funds that are not being expended in other areas - now that the fishing industry is not active or at least part of the fishing industry is not active - the funds should be directed in that area to increase the amount of activity in upgrading fish processing operations, bringing in new technologies and producing new products, new consumer products, Mr. Speaker.

We broke into the marketplace in 1984, I believe it was, in Chicago at a great fish show there, the Chicago fish show is one of the biggest in the world. I attended that with the Minister of Fisheries of the day, his officials and officials from Fishery Products and several other companies from Newfoundland. That was the time when fish nuggets were first introduced in the marketplace, the first time I'd seen them I must confess, we sampled them there. They were a major hit at that fish show. There were fish companies there from all over the world and as I said, numerous companies from Newfoundland but the fish nugget product was probably one of the biggest hits there. From that there has been numerous products developed and they came originally out of the Burin plant. It was the first plant that was producing that product at a time when we did the restructuring of Fishery Products and it was decided that there were too many plants on the Burin Peninsula.

My friend from Fortune will remember the great debate between closing the Grand Bank plant, the Fortune plant, the St. Lawrence plant, the Burin plant and the Marystown plant, which plants do we need? The Burin plant was the oldest plant there. It was the original plant on the Burin Peninsula; I think I'm correct, the oldest plant and it was deemed by the operators that the productivity levels of the employees of the Burin plant were higher than any other plant there. So here was your dilemma to close down your oldest - least efficient from a technology point of view -plant and lay-off your better workers but Fishery Products didn't do that. They converted the plant to a secondary or tertiary product or producing plant -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: With government help.

MR. WINDSOR: - with government help, with significant government help and converted it on a trial basis first of all - when that plant was shut down temporarily, on a trial basis they brought in some cooking equipment and began with a small scale cooking operation to produce that product. Well it was so successful, Mr. Speaker, they never did reopen, I don't believe. I don't think Burin ever reopened - they closed down the fish processing temporarily and put in a secondary line on a pilot basis while the plant was closed down but it was so successful that I don't think they ever went back into primary processing. I think they went from that small pilot processing plant into secondary or tertiary processing. They actually converted the whole plant then.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It never reached its peak.


MR. W. MATTHEWS: Never reached capacity.


MR. W. MATTHEWS: Never has.

MR. WINDSOR: No. In fact we were concerned about warehousing space but it was never a problem because the product never needed to be warehoused. It went out of there - it was always sold as fast as we could produce it and it went out of that plant and never, ever needed to be warehoused.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I believe that's where the future lies in the fishing industry in this Province, in secondary and tertiary processing, and I think we should be putting emphasis on that now. There are so many products - I mentioned also that same show in Chicago - I'm sure my friend the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology has been to the fish show in Chicago sometime in his career - no? I recommend it to him. It's probably the biggest fish show - it used to be, I assume it's still -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Boston?

MR. WINDSOR: No, not Boston, Chicago. Yes, huge, big show in Chicago. I was there with the former Minister of Fisheries, Mr. Morgan and officials from our departments. What was really interesting was that there were probably, I don't know, maybe a dozen or two dozen companies marketing surimi product from different parts of the world and the product produced in Clarenville was by far superior. The artificial krab, the surimi.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: How is he doing now? I don't know. I think he is still doing well. I have no first-hand knowledge. I would have though the minister might know. It was a tremendous product and still is, by far the best of all other ones there. We made it a point to look at and to sample the product from various parts of the world and the product out of Newfoundland was by far superior, no question whatsoever, and that was the general consensus of a lot of people there.

So these things are very valuable. I am getting away from my topic but in due course we will see that there are funds here for this type of thing. For market and product development there are additional monies being allocated this year, I think, and these things can be very, very valuable in identifying markets in those areas. But I wish that at this time, when the fishing industry is sort of at a slow-down, we could have had more money to modernize and upgrade some of the processing sector. Overall, the expenditure in the fishing department this year has decreased from $22.5 million down to $17.4 million, so it was $5 million less this year, almost one third less, or one quarter less than last year.

Mr. Speaker, in forestry and agriculture there is not a great deal that we can talk about. Efforts will be made this year to privatize Newfoundland Farm Products. Now, there is a good one - privatize Newfoundland Farm Products.

MR. FLIGHT: What's wrong with that?

MR. WINDSOR: There is nothing wrong with it, I say to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture. I wish him well. We tried to do it ten years ago, and if the hon. gentleman would go back to the records he will find out that the proposals we had were laughable. You have a losing proposition. There is a large subsidy. Is it $800,000?

MR. FLIGHT: Four million dollars a year.

MR. WINDSOR: The figures are here in the estimates. Let us see what we have in here for this year for Newfoundland Farm Products. The subsidy for this year is $2.7 million to Newfoundland Farm Products. Now, how does a minister propose to sell something that requires a $2.7 million subsidy, unless he is going to leave in place the subsidy? Maybe the minister can tell us? Is there a proposal, is there a prospectus?

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible) possibility (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: The minister smiles when he says it, Mr. Speaker, because he knows as well as I do, there is not a chance in the world. There is nothing making a profit. The minister closed down last year the hog abattoir, which was an unfortunate thing. It was expensive, yet we produced the only disease-free hogs in North America. The only disease-free hogs in North America were produced here. It appeared to me that there had to be a much better utilization than that. That was a strength we should have built on.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: My friend tells me we turned it over to -

AN HON. MEMBER: We turned it over to the geneticist who helped design it and he is running the swine breeding station in Portugal Cove now. If they turned it over what did he pay for it?

MR. WINDSOR: So the swine breeding station was not just closed, it was sold? Maybe the minister could tell us, Mr. Speaker: Was the swine breeding station, in fact, sold?


MR. WINDSOR: It was turned over to whom?

AN HON. MEMBER: There is a three-year lease on it.

MR. WINDSOR: A three-year lease. Okay.

MR. FLIGHT: There were good reasons (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I agree. I am delighted to hear it. I had no knowledge of this.

MR. FLIGHT: At the same time (inaudible) local producer (inaudible) subsidy (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: So private enterprise are now operating that and producing young stock for farmers.

AN HON. MEMBER: For export only.

MR. WINDSOR: Food for export.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I hope it is successful. I have to say to the minister, I'm delighted to hear that it wasn't closed down because I thought it was a great mistake to lose the unique aspect of that. I think we should have built on it and expanded on it and marketed that. It is quite interesting. Marketing is the name of the game, as the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology knows. Marketing and perception in the marketplace is everything.

We had a reputation in the marketplace in the United States for fish products of fifteen years ago, of having a lower quality product. Iceland enjoyed a tremendously high reputation, partly because of the name, Iceland. Because fish from Iceland, because it is icy cold, fresh out of the icy cold North Atlantic waters - that image and the packaging they used and so forth. But their quality was extremely high. If you go to a major buyer such as - what is the great one? Long John Silver - which was one of the biggest purchasers of seafood, believe it or not, for Long John Silver's restaurant, they demand absolute highest quality. Their whole reputation rests on having a product that is not going to have a bone in it, for example, or a bit of bad fish.

We developed a reputation over the last fifteen years, so that now our reputation in the U.S. marketplace equals or exceeds the reputation of Iceland and Norway. We actually have surpassed them, I believe, and I think we can still improve. There is still a lot of room for improvement in the quality of our seafood product in this Province. But the marketing is the name of the game. It goes back again, I say to my friend, the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, to the point that surely, there was an opportunity to market that disease-free pork, nationally and internationally, I suspect - certainly, in North America. I always failed to understand why we couldn't do that. It is just amazing.

I was in Florida before Christmas, and on the shelf was water called `Labrador pure water' - bottled in Quebec.

AN HON. MEMBER: Bottled in Quebec.

MR. WINDSOR: Bottled in Quebec. Pure Labrador water.

MR. FLIGHT: How did you know it was from Labrador?

MR. WINDSOR: The name on the bottle was Labrador Water. The trade name was Labrador Water. The minister is aware of it. When I read the label, it was bottled in Quebec.


MR. FLIGHT: That doesn't necessarily mean that the water came from Labrador, just because it was called Labrador Water.

MR. WINDSOR: It didn't come from Labrador, it came from Quebec.

MR. FLIGHT: Yes, okay, that's different.

MR. WINDSOR: But the implication - the point I'm making is that the name Labrador, people obviously in that market have this concept of Labrador being this pristine northern cold environment, and any water that is coming out of that has to be free from pollution and chemicals and everything else. And a company in Quebec is marketing Labrador Water in Florida.

It is all in marketing; it is the name of the game. If we had those disease-free hogs produced in sufficient numbers and the marketing effort put behind it across North America and into the United States, disease-free Newfoundland, or whatever, somebody with greater ability than I to come up with a trade name or imagery.

AN HON. MEMBER: Pure pig - perfect pig.

MR. WINDSOR: Perfect Porky, or something like that. Who knows? But surely, good PR people could come up with a marketing strategy based on using that strength of this disease-free animal. I think there could have been a lot of potential there.

Mr. Speaker, also under Forestry, the Silviculture training program has been eliminated.


MR. WINDSOR: The Silviculture training program is eliminated.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Ah, ha! But the provincial program under Silviculture development, $434,000 last year, has been eliminated, and under the forest training program, $1.2 million spent last year, nothing budgeted for this year.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible) $12 million over three years on forestry training.

MR. WINDSOR: But the question came up when I think it was my friend, the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay was talking about this new NCARP program, the funding for Silviculture under NCARP. He made the statement then: I welcome this; if this is additional money, if we have fisherpeople who qualify under NCARP, in addition to those people who have been involved, but we don't.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible) in place. One was a training program; it was a subsidiary agreement.


MR. FLIGHT: The feds, I think, paid 90 per cent; but the other one is our major Silviculture program under the forestry agreement, $65 million forestry agreement that we spend about $12 million a year. That is still there. It is specifically the training program -

MR. WINDSOR: Unless that is under capital. I don't see it here. I don't see anything here, any major funding for Silviculture, under your department at all.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible) on Silviculture alone, thinning, planting, and another $3 million on various forest management.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, maybe the minister would - there is one here, Silviculture development. That is $6 million this year. It was $8 million last year.

MR. FLIGHT: It's going to be $8 million this year, too.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, your Budget says $6 million. You are down $2 million from last year, from your Budget - page 123 of the Budget. I say to the minister, have a good look at it.

Forest Management under the Canadian Forest Development Program, which is $3.4 million, that is down from $5.5 million, so they are all down.

Maybe the Page could give the minister a copy of the Budget. Nobody over there seems to have one - pages 123 and 124, I say to the minister.

Page 123, section 2.1.05, Silviculture Development (CAFD), $5.9 million. To the left, Forest Management (CAFD), $3.4 million; but that is Forest Management, that is not necessarily Silviculture.

MR. FLIGHT: We spent $6 million.

MR. WINDSOR: You spent $6 million. You budgeted $8 million. You only spent $6.7 million.

MR. FLIGHT: We are budgeting $6 million this year.

MR. WINDSOR: You are budgeting $6 million this year, not $8 million, so you are down by $2 million.

So how much - maybe the minister knows, I don't - is earmarked under the NCARP program that will go into Silviculture?

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It is still being negotiated?

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).


MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: In addition to what's here, yes. What I was trying to clarify was that the NCARP didn't replace it, because that was the impression that we were given before, that NCARP didn't replace it. There is no question, it is down by $2 million though, so if there is only $2 million in NCARP, then you haven't gained a cent, and the concern that my friend, the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay had, was that you know, replacing people who traditionally worked in the forest industry with people who are traditionally employed in the fishing industry.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Not with this money, no. There is no question about that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well you can get NCARP money in addition to this and that's a benefit to silviculture.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me deal with Industry, Trade and Technology, while my friend is here.

MR. FUREY: What page is this?

MR. WINDSOR: You are on page - I don't know where you are, page 4. This is the Budget Speech itself, the Budget document but of the notes in the back, it is page 4 of the details, about midway through the book, the second item there is $320,000 provided for Market and Product Development.

MR. FUREY: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Major announcement. The minister had $250,000 last year that he spent so it is an increase of $70,000 in that area only.

MR. FUREY: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well I welcome it -

MR. FUREY: (Inaudible) $70,000

MR. WINDSOR: An increase of $70,000.

MR. FUREY: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: There is more under subsidiary agreement?

MR. FUREY: (Inaudible) SIID.

MR. WINDSOR: Under SIID, what's SIID?

MR. FUREY: Strategic Investment and Industrial Development, (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, so that's an extra $70,000 there? Would the minister like to tell us the seventeen economic zones outlined in the Strategic Economic Plan, what is the cost of implementing seventeen zones, how can there be a cost associated to that?

MR. FUREY: You want me to answer that now?

MR. WINDSOR: By all means.

MR. FUREY: Do you want a little break?

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, I will sit down for a second.

MR. FUREY: The $320,000, you are right, it is an increase of $70,000. We find that that's a really popular program. In fact, I think you were the minister who instituted the MAPD program and it allows companies to come in and cost-share any excursions into the marketplace with new products or to attend trade shows and that kind of thing; it is roughly 50-50 although there is a discretionary allotment for the minister to pay up to 70 per cent and indeed up to 100 per cent in some cases, depending on the company. But the SIID Agreement, the S I I D Agreement also covers off some of these costs for companies to penetrate the marketplace and they are usually larger amounts. The MAPD Program is usually in the range of anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000.

The seventeen economic zones, the member is quite right, we have established a joint task force; we don't really know what it's going to cost; we know it is going to take about six months for the federal and provincial people from ACOA and from Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador to go out and to consult to see what the seventeen economic zones will look like, but it is going to cost some seed money to send around for these consultations. We don't know what it is going to cost but in all likelihood it would be cost shared 70/30.

MR. WINDSOR: Do you want to address that $2 million for SIID, while you are up?

MR. FUREY: That's our 30 per cent balance for this current cash-flow year, that would be our 30 per cent.

MR. WINDSOR: So what sorts of projects would that cover?

MR. FUREY: Well, SIID covers anything from large, new industrial projects, businesses that want to come and locate here. Companies that come to mind that we have helped under it are Glamox Canada Ltd. at Trepassey, there is a whole range of companies that we have helped and I will be glad to table the list for the hon. member if he would like to see it, but that amount that's fixed on the paper there, represents our 30 per cent to cash flow this year.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you.

The Minister of Forestry has some information there for me, Mr. Speaker.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I cannot hear him.

MR. FLIGHT: Page 125 in the Budget. Just turn to 125 -

MR. WINDSOR: (Inaudible) 125, yes.

MR. FLIGHT: - and you will see that the total amount budgeted for Forest Management this year is $14.9 million, which is $1.6 million more than we spent last year and $500,000 more than we budgeted for in total Forest Management which involves silviculture and -

MR. WINDSOR: I realize that but I am just looking at the silviculture aspect -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: When you look at that you have to look at where the increases are too, what were the increases for?

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, we will not waste any more time on that.

Now, tourism and culture. One point one million dollars for the John Cabot 500th Anniversary Committee. No funding for chalets. There is no funding in the Budget this year for improvements to tourist chalets. No funding whatsoever for upgrading. The minister wants to look at page 174 of the Estimates. He will find that. One hundred and sixty thousand dollars last year was spent on improvements and upgrading to tourist chalets. Page 174, I say to the minister. Nothing budgeted this year.


MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, is there any way to lower the noise level here in this hon. House?

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

The hon. member requests a little lowering of the conversations across the House by all and sundry.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Did the minister find that?

MR. FUREY: Yes I did. Do you want me to...?

MR. WINDSOR: Well, there is not much the minister can say. There is no funding there.

MR. FUREY: We did a lot of expansion and upgrading last year and the year before. You probably remember the upgrades at Deer Lake. There was a significant expansion -

MR. WINDSOR: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: - at Deer Lake, and the year before that I think there was $0.25 million on Port aux Basques, upgraded. A lot of other money is flowing through the tourism agreement for other generators. It doesn't touch the chalets. You are quite right, it doesn't touch the chalets.

MR. WINDSOR: There is nothing there. There should be - I would say there should be some - there is always some improvement and upgrading that needs to be done at every one of them.

MR. FUREY: (Inaudible) Argentia would do. There is a brand new one at Argentia you are aware of.

MR. WINDSOR: But you just contributed to that one, did you not? Or are you building another one?

MR. FUREY: No, no, no, that was a brand new building, brand new structure. At Argentia, when you come off the ferry there. I think - was it $400,000?

MR. WINDSOR: Nine million dollars for Marble Mountain, we welcome that. That is a positive thing for Marble Mountain. I'm not sure that is enough, is it, to keep us - that is all they needed for this year?

MR. FUREY: What is that? Say that again?

MR. WINDSOR: Nine million for Marble Mountain.

MR. FUREY: Do you know what that is for?

MR. WINDSOR: That is for the chalet.

MR. FUREY: Yes, the base lodge.

MR. WINDSOR: Is that part of their plan now, to have everything in place for 1999 and the Winter Games?

MR. FUREY: That isn't specifically part of their plan, but that is an adjunct to it. That helps, but that wasn't the reason why this was done. This was following along the master plan. The hon. member should know that the master plan lays out so much work to be done over such a period, the Member for Humber East is such a good member and lobbied so hard to get this, how could we say no?

MR. WINDSOR: I couldn't agree more. Two hundred and sixty-six thousand dollars for the Atlantic Canada Tourism Marketing Initiative.

MR. FUREY: You know what that is.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, it is an absolute waste of money, that is what that is.


MR. WINDSOR: You don't agree with that.

MR. WALSH: (Inaudible) you and I knew and Chuck knew, it is all changed.

MR. WINDSOR: It would be interesting to see it. Because every dollar we've ever put in it has been an absolute waste of money. Simply because Atlantic Canada gets all the benefit. We are not considered part of it. I've always contended - I contended when I was the minister and I maintain it - that we are a separate tourism region from Atlantic Canada.


MR. WALSH: (Inaudible) we had committed $260,000 a year -

MR. WINDSOR: Two hundred and sixty-six thousand dollars.

MR. WALSH: (Inaudible) this year we control the spending mechanism so that Newfoundland is picking the markets that suit us, as well as the other Maritime Provinces. In previous years we got swallowed up.

MR. WINDSOR: Sorry, but I'm still not impressed. I really don't believe that we will get good value for that money. I think there are many other areas where that money could be far better spent. Alright? I've had this argument, and I think hon. gentleman opposite had it as well. I've had this argument with the Government of Canada -


MR. WINDSOR: Sure, if the minister wants to make a comment, Mr. Speaker, I'll (inaudible).

MR. FUREY: The Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island explains that unlike in past agreements when we've had these Pan Atlantic Agreements, I share your view. I think that when we locked in, in a general sense, to expend all that money, most of what was being exposed - Nova Scotia mostly from what I could see in the past -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: The member tells me that the way the arrangement is this year, under this agreement, the money will flow but they'll actually carve out ads for separate provinces and they'll run separately. So it won't be a Pan Atlantic thing that highlights the Bluenose in Nova Scotia, the forests and the streams. The ads will actually be pro-rated out and they'll - some of them, okay some of them but not all of them - but you're quite right, we get lost in the mix in most cases, I couldn't agree more.

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

MR. WINDSOR: The experience has been, Mr. Speaker, that Peggy's Cove got more benefit from the Atlantic Canada Tourism Promotion than all of Newfoundland ever got and we have to maintain ourselves as a separate tourist region. We are not part - even though we're part of Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland, as a tourist destination, is totally distinct from the Maritimes, being the three Maritime provinces.

MR. FUREY: Have you seen the new ads for (inaudible) for Time Magazine and Maclean's?

MR. WINDSOR: I haven't seen the new one for Time Magazine but I will, while I think of it, say that I did see some of the tv ads that were on last summer and I congratulate whoever is responsible for them. They were very, very effective advertising.

MR. FUREY: Bristol Communications.

MR. WINDSOR: Bristol Communications, I didn't want to mention any names but they were superb ads that I think put Newfoundland in a very good light. What I liked about them is that - there was always this argument, all of the market studies said that what Newfoundland had to offer, that people wanted, was the quaint little fishing community. Yet we in Newfoundland know that there's a lot more to Newfoundland than just a quaint little fishing community. As important as that is and important as the heritage and culture of our Province is, there is a lot more. What I liked about these ads, that I saw last summer, is that most of them at least, if not all of them, had a good mixture of the fishing village, the history, culture, the night life on George Street and whatever else, the hunting, the fishing and all of the things that take place, they were extremely good, very attractive I think and for the first time in a long time, I thought they were certainly competitive.

MR. FUREY: I just saw them this morning (inaudible) hon. member would be interested in hearing, I just saw the new ads this morning. The former minister in his department designed them so that they're fifteen second hits, it's the same company that does Air Nova but these are just spectacular fifteen second hits. What they're going to do is increase the volume of hits rather than have thirty and sixty second ads, they'll have fifteen second shots, really incredible, you should see them.

MR. WINDSOR: I look forward to seeing those as well.

$150,000 to expand conventions and trade meetings in the Province -not a lot. I don't know how much was there last year. In fact I couldn't find it in the Budget - nothing last year but I couldn't find it in there this year in the estimates either. It's hidden somewhere in -

MR. FUREY: (Inaudible) using all his knowledge and expertise -

MR. WINDSOR: I'd gladly.

You can get out of here before supper, just offer me a contract. I can be bought but I'm not cheap. I got to say that there's nothing that interests me more than tourism. Out of all the portfolios that I held and all the responsibilities I held, nothing was more interesting or more rewarding from the point of view of - I'd say development itself, the marketing of industry but tourism is more colourful rather than the hard nuts and bolts of trying to sell ships, fish, lumber, oil and these sorts of things. Those are probably more important on the overall economic scale but tourism is a lot more fun and people are a lot more relaxed simply by the nature of the business. Tourism is just a barrel of fun and has to be the greatest portfolio that's available over there and any minister who had just tourism, I envy him, but in your spare time its tough to separate going to a First Ministers Conference on the Economy and going to the tourism show in Berlin.

AN HON. MEMBER: There is quite a difference?

MR. WINDSOR: There's quite a difference. The tourism show in Berlin, let me tell you, is a lot more fun than the First Ministers Conference on the Economy, but tourism has a tremendous potential over here. I think that is one thing that perhaps we have missed on here in the Budget, I say to the Minister of Finance, that there probably could have been more emphasis put on tourism. Government itself has said in the Strategic Plan that they see tourism as developing a lot of jobs in the small business sector, and that is where it is. Now, it is not going to change the economy. It is not going to turn us around. We have to have the big industries, too. Until we can strengthen the fishing industry, the forest industry, the mining industry, and take advantage of the petroleum industry, tourism, itself, will not support Newfoundland and Labrador, but it is only in its infancy. We have to develop it, and develop it wisely, and I am glad to see that we have some good tourism planning in place. I would hate to see us become the Florida of the North with that type of development, and we are in danger of putting a lot of money into those sorts of things.

There is one here I am just about to come to, $190,000 for winter recreation. I say, hallelujah, and that is not quarter of what we should be putting into it. There is tremendous potential. One of the biggest problems we have with our tourist industry is convincing Newfoundlanders that we don't have a three-month tourist season. We have a twelve-month tourist season, but we are our own worst enemy, Mr. Speaker. I have heard ministers and members in this House say, `Well, our tourist industry is weak because we have such a short season.' Garbage, I say.

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

MR. FUREY: The former minister lets me know that the new guide is out and you will be interested in knowing that a portion of that is dedicated to winter tourism activities to lure people in. I think you and I chatted during Estimates one night about winter recreation, snow safaris - that kind of thing. Wallace Maynard of Hawkes Bay has just established a winter safari of skidoos from there to Harbour Deep and it is just fabulous. The old Danny Cochrane trail, and it is really starting to pick up. So there are great opportunities there - you are quite right.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, that is true, there is a tremendous potential. In fact, I say to the minister, I am going to one next weekend, I think, in Central Newfoundland, Horace Lane's Camp. He has a hunting and fishing camp there.

MR. ROBERTS: If there is any snow left.

MR. WINDSOR: If there is any snow left. I will go on all-terrain vehicle if the minister allows me to use the woods road. He has a beautiful spot. He has been after me since I was minister to come up there. There is a group of six or eight couples going up next Saturday night.

MR. FUREY: There are a lot more people doing it.

MR. WINDSOR: There are a lot more people doing it, a lot more people from the St. John's area. I think there is a big market in the St. John's area. As a snowmobile enthusiast, I can tell you that the tourist season for snowmobiling in the St. John's area is very short. You are lucky if you get three or four decent weekends during the winter in the St. John's area, with ideal conditions and good weather. In Central and Western Newfoundland, and in Northern Newfoundland and Labrador, as my friend, the Member for Menihek knows - I have been in Labrador City and on several occasions he has arranged for me to go on snowmobile trips. It has been a number of years since I have been up there now, but snowmobiling up there is just unparallel.

MR. FUREY: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: But where we are falling behind - I have a book that I wrote to the government of Quebec for last year, The Snowmobile Guide for Quebec. We are the only Province in Canada, I think, that doesn't have a groomed snowmobile trail from one end of the Province to the other, and that is why I have so many times mentioned in this House how important it is to protect the old rail bed. We really have to protect it and then groom it.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is protected right now.

MR. WINDSOR: It is protected right now, but I see areas in municipalities where the Trans-Canada Highway is being four-laned out around the junction just outside here, Brigus Junction, where the rail bed is now being used, that overpass is now being used as the access for the highway.

AN HON. MEMBER: You have to provide an alternate way around it.

MR. WINDSOR: We must provide it and we can do that. We are not losing that stretch, but I say there are individual areas where there are interruptions being put, where we must be very careful to protect the corridor. We might have to divert to get around that development, that is fair ball.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: One in Glenwood.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, that is another good example. We need to provide that there, and I just want to stress again the importance of that. As I started to say, I sent for this book from Quebec. It is about the same as that in size and it outlines every outfitter, every trail, all kinds of maps that are marked. There are guides. You can get on a plane here in St. John's and fly to any number of centres in Quebec. You can rent your skidoo; you can take a guide and do everything.

MR. FUREY: Can you go out and stay in a lodge over night, or something like that?

MR. WINDSOR: You can stay in lodges along the way. There are designated routes, or you can rent a skidoo and go on your own, if you want to. There are all kinds of maps available showing you where there are service stations, where you can get fuel, and parts if you need them, and accommodations, the whole thing. It is every bit as good as our tourism map here, maybe even better, more detailed mapping.

The minister might do well to get his staff to get a copy from the Government of Quebec. But the services that are provided make it so attractive, I have been wanting to do it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: This guide? This is done by the Government of Quebec.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I assume the Government of Quebec does a lot of it. Now, obviously, the industry returns a tremendous amount of money through taxation to the Government of Quebec, and it will here, I say to the minister, and we can develop it. What a great opportunity for the Bonavista Trail, for example, the spur line from Clarenville to Bonavista, a natural snowmobile route, the line from Whitbourne to Placentia, a natural.

MR. FUREY: (Inaudible) develop it now.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, because the old rail lines went through the communities, and if you get on the rail line from Clarenville to Bonavista you will go through, I don't know, my friend will tell me, maybe forty or fifty communities along the way, and it is a natural extension of existing businesses there to have service stations available there for snowmobilers who don't have to go across roads and everything, available adjacent to the corridor, and accommodation and food and all the things that people will want, and pubs, you name it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, what do you call them, highway houses we used to call them; coach houses they used to be called years ago, we need coach houses along the railroad lines. But there is room here for a seasonal activity in some areas.

I went with some friends about a month ago, to do the Gaff Topsails. We started in Badger to head to Howley, and we went almost halfway and then the weather was closing in up on top. It doesn't take a lot for the weather to close in on top of the Gaff Topsail. There was absolutely nothing from Badger to Howley, naturally, but if it were groomed - and the trail was rough, let me tell you. It was what we call `yes ma'ams.' Yes ma'am, yes ma'am, up and down, yes ma'am, on the trail as we went.

AN HON. MEMBER: It was terrible, was it?

MR. WINDSOR: Terrible, but then it got absolutely beautiful and you could cruise along at beautiful speed and look around. And, you know, the scenery is unparalleled in some of these areas.

We went up as far as the Mary March Bridge, on the Mary March River, which is up on back of Buchans, and we went on a bit further than that, I think, before we turned around. But there is absolutely no service, no emergency services of any kind, along the way. And if you had it groomed and developed so that there was a higher level of traffic, then there would be a couple of spots along the way where you could have a small service industry on a seasonal basis. I say seasonal, but in the summertime and springtime and fall, all-terrain traffic, hunters and fishermen and everyone, would utilize it as well. It can be developed. That is a long ways away. It is a dream, I know, somewhere down the road, but we have to aim for it. If you don't have an objective, then you will never go anywhere. If you don't have a goal, then you stay where you are. Even if you don't reach your full goal, then at least you've moved toward it and you've done something.

If we don't try to do that - but the key to this, and I just have to emphasize again - is to protect those corridors. As I said, the Bonavista Line, the line down to - just last weekend I used the Lewisporte Line. I can hop on my skidoo in front of my house in Lewisporte and I came up the Notre Dame Junction - absolutely perfect conditions. It was the first time I had ever done it. I saw some country there and some houses on Indian Arm Pond, a beautiful cottage area, absolutely beautiful, lovely stands of birch. I say, I envy them, you know. Really, it was a lovely ride. You can go on then up the Buchans Spur Line - tremendous potential.

We shouldn't lose those and we really should - I know it is difficult to talk about grooming snowmobile trails in a time when you are shutting down fifty hospital beds, but it makes a lot of sense. Because it is the people who spend the money on those groomed snowmobile trails and in the restaurants and the hotels and the service stations, a lot of money.

MR. FUREY: (Inaudible) the Europeans are looking for long cycle tracks but it needs to be paved. Should that be paved right across the Province? I mean -

MR. WINDSOR: Pave them?


MR. WINDSOR: I don't think we need to pave them.

MR. FUREY: For bicycles. You know what I'm saying.

MR. WINDSOR: For bicycles, you might.

MR. FUREY: It's a big European sport.

MR. WINDSOR: Actually, all-terrain vehicles are very unstable on pavement. They don't steer well on pavement. You are better off with a gravel surface for all-terrain vehicles. They are not - and certainly for snowmobiles there is no benefit. But, I mean, they would require a minimal amount of grading in the summertime, and could be groomed in the wintertime for snowmobiles.

MR. MURPHY: (Inaudible) says you have to keep those trestles up.

MR. FUREY: A fantastic opportunity.

MR. WINDSOR: Has to keep what?

MR. MURPHY: The trestles, all the trestles.

MR. WINDSOR: The trestles, yes. I looked at a number of the trestles because, as I've just mentioned, I've been on a couple of them over the past month. The trestles that I saw are going to be there for a long time. They are very substantial.

MR. MURPHY: (Inaudible) no guardrails.

MR. WINDSOR: There are no guardrails, I was about to say. The hon. gentleman is absolutely correct. There is one trestle at Notre Dame Junction that I crossed last Saturday. On one side there is like about a piece of two-by-four, and on the other side there is absolutely nothing, and there is a good seventy-foot drop right straight down. It is dangerous, particularly when there is ice and snow and -

MR. MURPHY: (Inaudible) run into it (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, oh!

MR. WINDSOR: You are ready to -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I think they are (inaudible) go down now (inaudible) 7:00 p.m.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes. Okay. We can break now in a moment. I'm just about through. That is about all I -

MR. FUREY: Break for an hour?

MR. WINDSOR: We will take a break, yes, and we will come back, if you agree. Back at 7:00 p.m.?

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, we, on this side, would be amenable to a break until say, 7:00 p.m.


MR. ROBERTS: By unanimous consent until 7:00 p.m. and we will carry on then? We are all getting warmed up here.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): The House is recessed until 7:00 p.m.


March 21, 1994              HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS          Vol. XLII  No. 16A

The House resumed at 7:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lloyd Snow): The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

With so much enthusiasm, I think I should start from the beginning again. I'm afraid some of my colleagues may have missed a word or two, particularly the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. There may be a few things that he hasn't learned yet.

MS. VERGE: Give us the main points.

MR. WINDSOR: Give you the main points? No, I think I'm getting down to detail. I think the minister got the main points, it's the detail he's lacking.

Now, where was I before I was so rudely interrupted, Mr. Speaker? I think we were talking about tourism and winter recreation; a great topic. I had just about completed what I wanted to say on it. I'll just say again that there's tremendous potential there.

I started to say to my friend that there's a big market in the St. John's area, more groups of individuals who want to go snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, winter hiking, snowshoeing, ice fishing and that sort of thing. To really enjoy those things you do have to, to a large measure, get off the Avalon Peninsula. A large number of people that I know well who have been snowmobiling in this area for years, now want to go to new horizons and are going to central and western Newfoundland and the Northern Peninsula doing some snowmobiling, and enjoying it tremendously.

My friend talked about Maynard's Motel, I think it is.

AN HON. MEMBER: Have you done that?

MR. WINDSOR: I haven't done that, no. Some friends of mine from Mount Pearl went last year and wanted me to go but I was here in the House and couldn't go. One of the problems - the House of Assembly is normally in session the best snowmobiling time of the year.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did they enjoy it?

MR. WINDSOR: Had a ball. They went back again this year and they'll be going back every year for four or five days.

It's a tremendous opportunity and there's a good potential there for that sort of thing to grow. What's lacking is - right now what you are talking about are the dedicated snowmobilers who are snowmobiling all the time and who want to go out there and enjoy a different experience, but there's a big market of people.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I don't know what he had for supper but it hasn't slowed him down any. Could you put a gag on the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation? I'm trying to have a debate here with my friend the minister but it's almost impossible.

Mr. Speaker, there are a large number of business people in this area who want to go but they're not into snowmobiling in a big way and they're not interested in making a $6,000 or $7,000 investment in a machine for once or twice a year. There's a big market for those who would want to actually rent the equipment. So there's a full service operation, get in your car, drive to Grand Falls, Corner Brook, Hawkes Bay or wherever - Terra Nova is an excellent area - and have everything provided. They might only do it once a year for four or five days.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: The whole works, yes, survival suits, the whole gear, yes. There is an opportunity there, but unfortunately there are not a lot of people who have the money to invest in that. It's an area where this program might assist them in outfitting some camps with the proper equipment. There was one in Bay d'Espoir a couple of years ago.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, you told me about that.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, I mentioned it in this House once before. I went there. We brought our own machinery, but he did have four machines I think that he leased out. While I was there, there was a group of four people who came down and he took them off and gave them a guided tour, looked after the meals, the groceries and everything that went with it; a very good experience. I understand he's closed that down though; he just didn't get the market.

Until we get enough of those outfitting camps in place so that there are a variety of experiences for people to go to and you really do some marketing - because every time you market something your neighbour benefits from it as well, from the simple fact that if there are twenty people marketing winter recreation then that's a much bigger bang for the buck. A lot more people will become aware and will become interested in getting involved in that kind of a winter recreation experience.

There's huge potential out there. Cross-country skiing is one that has potential, Mr. Speaker, and I find it amazing that at Notre Dame Junction there's a state-of-the-art cross-country skiing facility that was built for the winter games of 1990, I guess it was.

AN HON. MEMBER: Has it been marketed?

MR. WINDSOR: It has not really been marketed, no. It's a provincial facility which was built for the Lewisporte winter games. It is there and it is being utilized quite heavily by the people from the area, but I am sure if marketed properly it could attract many more. There are not a lot of people in this area that even know it is there and available. People tend to be going out to the wilderness trails and utilizing those.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did you know that Stephenville has one that is two or three miles (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Stephenville, yes, and Labrador City has some excellent trails too. There is an excellent trail just west of Clarenville that has been developed by individuals or by a cross-country ski club in Clarenville. There are some excellent trails through Pippy Park I understand.

MR. A. SNOW: One of the problems with Labrador is the lights are going to be expensive (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Say it again.

MR. A. SNOW: The lights for the cross-country ski trails.

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, the lights for the cross-country ski trails. They are going to be expensive, yes.


MR. WINDSOR: So there we are, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, in the area of mines and energy, believe it or not there is not a lot in that particular department that one can get too excited about. The Hibernia development is moving ahead as expected. There is nothing too earth shattering there.

Funding of $150,000 is allocated for an integrated energy resource plan. That is an interesting one, an integrated energy resource plan for $150,000. Can anybody over there tell me what that is going to be and what it is supposed to do? It brings the question up, Mr. Speaker: If we no longer own Newfoundland Hydro, now who is advising us on that aspect?

AN HON. MEMBER: Relevance.

MR. WINDSOR: Relevance. Very relevant, Mr. Speaker, I suspect, extremely relevant.

Just exactly what is an integrated resource plan? We have had resource plans; we have had energy strategies as a government, but an integrated energy resource plan? For $150,000, first of all, you are not going to get an awful lot, I suspect, unless it is an internal strategy of some sort. One has to ask the question: What exactly is the impact of the proposed Hydro sale?

I mentioned earlier, Mr. Speaker, that there is funding in the Treasury Board vote this year for the sale of Hydro, and it is very interesting in view of the fact that we were told that all of the costs of the privatization would be borne by Hydro and would be recovered from the consumers somewhere down the road. The legislation itself in fact provides that all of the costs of privatization, legal expenses, financial expenses, land acquisition, you name it, the bill is very, very broad and gives New Hydro the right to roll all of those costs back into any application that will no doubt be forthcoming to the Public Utilities Board. The Public Utilities Board will have no alternative but to approve a rate based on recovering all of those costs.

Treasury Board, Mr. Speaker, spent $1.7 million in the past fiscal year. That's a new item that is in there. It is there as Professional Services. There was nothing budgeted for it. I will find it for the hon. Premier. There was nothing budgeted for it but they actually spent $1.7 million. It's page 19 of the Estimates. There was no funding allocated for it last year. It's under Professional Services, subhead 2.3.03, Executive Support Operations of the Treasury Board Secretariat; $1.7 million spent last year and $1 million budgeted for the coming year.

Now I will tell the minister, in the lock-up I asked the question of the staff and the staff advised me that it was related to the privatization of Hydro. So maybe the minister would like to tell us how come. I will yield.

MR. BAKER: I was going to say that I promised to get a breakdown on that. There are a number of privatizations - well there are two on the way now, one is NLCS and there are some costs associated with that -


MR. BAKER: Hydro. We plan to go ahead and call proposals for Farm Products. So Treasury Board is handling the privatizations.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, well there is another $725,000 in there for privatization of NLCS and Farm Products, I say to the minister, separately. On page 20, under Organization and Management, Professional Services, $725,000 for NLCS privatization. It's not spelled out but I ask that question as well. I think that is where NLCS is. So the $1.7 million -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) on the other one very briefly.

MR. WINDSOR: I would appreciate it, yes.

So what we are spending it on is professional services. Obviously these are professionals that we've hired. It could only be legal or financial consultants of that nature. The question, Mr. Speaker, is: Why is this all coming from the Province and not being recovered from Hydro?

We were told in this House by the Premier, and if I'm not mistaken, by the Minister of Finance as well, that there would be no cost. All of the advertising is being paid for by Hydro, all this public relations campaign. The Premier stood up and said: We don't have a public relations campaign. Then he stood up and said: There will be a public relations campaign.

MR. FUREY: We will recover that.

MR. WINDSOR: No, I say to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, you won't recover it. I don't think so. It is there, it is being spent by the Province. There is no provision here to recover it. You won't get it down the road. It is costing another 2.7 million for the privatization of a corporation that we don't want privatized.

Mr. Speaker, let's look at the Hydro thing while we are here, because we are on mines and energy here now, and that whole privatization deal. I say to the minister: Where does he see the benefit? When I look at the provincial debt here in the Budget as compared to the deficit - let's separate the deficit this year from the provincial debt - and you look at the page here which gives the listing of the provincial debt and all the debentures and everything else, it's clear from all that we've heard that that $1.2 billion debt from Hydro has no implication on the provincial credit rating. All we are going to do, Mr. Speaker, is remove debt from one side of the ledger and assets from the other side. Unfortunately we are removing more asset than we are debt.

By selling Hydro and using - none of this is reflected here, by the way, none of the Hydro proposal is reflected in this Budget. The minister has already told us that. There are certain costs relating to Hydro that are going to have to come in. The $2.7 million is peanuts. There will have to be $15 million for the rate adjustment fund. Where will the minister find that? Special warrant? Can the minister answer?

MR. BAKER: It will come out of the proceeds.

MR. WINDSOR: Come out of the proceeds.

MR. BAKER: It will come out of the proceeds. I guess you would have to get a (inaudible) for that.

MR. WINDSOR: The $40 million contribution to the new Hydro pension fund will come out of the proceeds?

MR. BAKER: It is being done through a bond (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, as part of the cost of the bond issue, along with the $20 million commission that the -

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible) put into the Hydro pension plan, (inaudible), and gradually reduce the bonds as (inaudible) with the public service pension plan and so on.

MR. WINDSOR: So we are going to put a bond in and we are going to pay it off over time. But we are still going to put $40 million into their pension fund. Which is a pretty good deal when we are saying to public servants here: We want to defer a $70 million payment last year on your pension fund and we've still got a serious unfunded liability problem.

MR. BAKER: That's not the same.

MR. WINDSOR: Not the same! No, it's not the same, because they were paying off the unfunded liability. That is what this amounts to, that we are making a contribution of $40 million to the new Hydro pension plan so that the employees of new Hydro will have a pension plan that now is fully funded at that point in time. Yet the public service pension plan, the teachers' pension plan and the MHAs' pension plan are all seriously underfunded, and a lot of people are concerned whether or not pensions will be available to them at the point in time when they are entitled to them.

MR. BAKER: We are going to straighten those out.

MR. WINDSOR: We are going to straighten those out. Well, I'm glad to hear the minister say he is going to straighten those out.

MR. BAKER: We've got to deal with it.

MR. WINDSOR: We've got to, but we have to straighten out $40 million for Hydro first. That's a nice little contribution to a pension plan all of a sudden.

We are going to lose $10 million to $12 million a year on rate adjustment. That is not reflected here. There are still $8 million or $9 million in there for this year. It was $10 million last year; it is about $8 million this year, projected revenues here. If Hydro were sold next month that $8 million would be gone. Where will the minister find that?

MR. BAKER: There is also the foreign exchange amount.

MR. WINDSOR: Pardon?

MR. BAKER: There is also the foreign exchange amount.

MR. WINDSOR: The foreign exchange amount. That is another $10 million to $12 million.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: Ninety million?

MR. WINDSOR: Nineteen.


MR. WINDSOR: Ninety million, yes. That is a lot of money.

Then there are the revenues that come back from the federal transfers, from income taxes that are paid by those corporations to the feds, by utility companies to the federal government. Eighty five per cent of that comes back to us. That is another $7 million to $9 million a year that we will lose, Mr. Speaker. That is a very significant impact on the minister's Budget. What will the minister get out of it, Mr. Speaker?

The foreign currency exchange is $90 million to $100 million. Fees and commissions paid on the sale of the shares: Here is a good one. Fees and commissions paid to persons who are selling the shares: There is an interesting one.

I mentioned the other day in this House that there are those people out there now, today, pre-selling shares in new Hydro. The Premier has denied that; not very strongly, because he knows that it is true. I don't know if the Minister of Finance has checked. The minister is not listening, Mr. Speaker. If I could get the Minister of Finance's attention.... I made reference last week to the fact that ScotiaMcLeod are out pre-selling shares. The minister said: I really don't think so and I will check on it.

I can assure the minister that everything I said is factual. I don't know what the minister's investigations may have found but I can show the minister that representatives of ScotiaMcLeod are calling individuals whom they know, whom have invested with them before, and saying that these shares will be on the market soon, and here are the terms and conditions: Ten dollars a share, but preferred for Newfoundlanders, six dollars up front, four dollars over the next twelve months. They are also being advised that they can be sold very quickly for eight dollars a share because Newfoundlanders will be given preference to buy the shares first at six dollars. They will be paid dividends from Day 1 on that share even though four dollars is deferred. The scam is that that Newfoundlander can sell the share the next day for eight dollars to somebody from outside the Province who is still getting a good deal because they are getting the dividends on a share that they just paid eight dollars for, and they have a year to pay the other four dollars off.

A lot of money is made, Mr. Speaker. A Newfoundlander can go down and buy a block of shares, actually roll it over in twenty-four or forty-eight hours, and never pass out a dollar. Never actually pass over a dollar! Do it through his or her broker. The broker will buy the shares for them and sell it out of Province the next day. The Newfoundlander will make two dollars this year. On 5,000 shares that is a cool $10,000 in twenty-four hours that that person could make very easily.

Now, Mr. Speaker, hon. gentlemen may not think that that is serious. Let me refer to an article from the Globe and Mail of November 26, 1993. The headline says: Burns Fry Limited, another reputable financial agency in Canada, Burns Fry Limited to pay $395,000 in fines, held responsible for an employee's act. Now in fairness to that company, it appears that it was not a policy of that company that an individual set up a deal.

Let me read the first paragraph. It says: Burns Fry Limited of Toronto has agreed to pay $395,000 for cheating in a series of stock deals that privatized government-owned utilities in Alberta and Nova Scotia between 1990 and 1992.

Now that is exactly what is being proposed here. So the deception enabled outsiders to benefit from special terms reserved for residents of the two provinces in sell-offs of Telus Corporation of Edmonton, formerly Alberta Government Telephones, and Nova Scotia Power Inc. of Halifax, and that was exactly what took place there. Now it is illegal; no question. It is illegal and several individuals paid very heavy fines.

Burns Fry Limited accepted responsibility for their employees. There is no evidence that Burns Fry Limited was in any way implicated in the deal or that it was the policy of the company, and so they apparently, quite willingly and quickly, dealt with the matter, dismissed the individuals, one in Vancouver I think and two in Nova Scotia who were, it says here, unwittingly drawn in. It says here: Installment buyers earned full dividends on the stock from the start which make partially paid installment receipts a hot market item.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I don't have anything against Newfoundlanders making a quick buck, but the bottom line is: Who is paying for it? The investment dealers get double commission because it sell twice very quickly. So they are doubling their commission? The cost to the Hydro corporation will increase and so that will get passed on. It amounts, Mr. Speaker, to - it is an illegal act apparently. It is a smart act, I suppose, if you are on the outside making a quick buck, but apparently it is illegal.

Mr. Speaker, I say to the minister again: I can assure the minister that people are indeed pre-selling or advising people that shares will be available. Mr. Speaker, I can go one further. I would say to the minister that a group of teachers in a particular school board in this Province recently had an investment seminar arranged by the board. A representative of one of the financial agencies held that investment seminar - this was three weeks or a month ago - held that investment seminar and told those people there the details of the potential share offered and advised them to go ahead and borrow money because you can turn it over very quickly and get a very good rate of return; borrow money if you have to, buy the shares, sell them quickly and you will get a very handsome rate of return on it.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the government can deny, if they wish, that it is taking place. I can assure them that it is; let there be no mistake about it. Let there be no mistake about it! I think it is incumbent upon this government, upon these ministers, to investigate that thoroughly. Not only that, but I think we need to be very careful here of any conflict of interest in this regard as well, and see just who is able to purchase these shares and what might be taking place. It's a very, very serious area, Mr. Speaker, that government would be well advised to look at very carefully.

Mr. Speaker, there is not a great deal more in the Mines and Energy portfolio except for Geological Surveys. Geological Surveys is well recognized. The funding has been reduced by 50 per cent for this year and we are told there are going to be some staff reductions, staff reductions in the geological survey area of Mines and Energy.

In Question Period today somebody asked questions about -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. WINDSOR: Electrical inspectors, yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well, the minister announced that in the Budget. That was announced in the budget.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well, I found it interesting, Mr. Speaker, at a time when at Bull Arm we are building some of the biggest pressure vessels ever built in North America.

AN HON. MEMBER: There are still lots of people over there.

MR. WINDSOR: There are lots of people over there but there still has to be public inspection. So I find it interesting that we are laying off boiler pressure inspectors at a time when all that work is being done here to build them.

AN HON. MEMBER: Big trouble (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Why the big change? A change in regulations it said in the Budget. It says in the Budget: Because of a change in regulations there is a reduction. Why have our regulations changed so drastically that we have reduced the need for inspections? Were the regulations too stringent before? Did we have inspections before that were unnecessary? It just does not add up, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. WINDSOR: It does add up? No. It is a good question. Is that what you are saying?

AN HON. MEMBER: What I am saying is if you are a electrician (inaudible). The same way with a mechanic (inaudible). If your brakes give out on a hill and he signed it he is responsible. You don't need a license to wire a house but you (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: You don't need a license to wire a house but you can't hook it up. You can't take out an electrical permit without a license.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It's not everybody who inspects motor vehicles either. Almost anybody can do a motor vehicle inspection, but a lot of them are never done.

AN HON. MEMBER: How do you stop it?

MR. WINDSOR: How do you stop it? Well, that is the point, you don't stop it totally.

AN HON. MEMBER: The minister just put in new regulations.

MR. WINDSOR: I realize that, but we all know that there has been many an inspection slip signed by somebody who has never seen the vehicle.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, definitely! Sure!


MR. WINDSOR: Never seen the vehicle. Hon. gentlemen say that facetiously I know. They know full well it is taking place.

Here is another one: There is no inspection whatsoever on motor cycles. This is something that came to light when I met with the ATV dealers on the ATV regulations; absolutely no inspection on motor cycles in this Province.


MR. WINDSOR: No, and there never has been, apparently. I'm told by some of the dealers that they've had motor cycles in there to be fixed, and they've said: I'm not letting you drive that out of my yard. You take it, put it in the back of a truck or something, but don't drive it out of my yard; it is not fit to be on the highway. No inspection whatsoever! Now, what's the difference in a motorcycle driving at 120 kilometres an hour and a car driving at 120 kilometres an hour?

AN HON. MEMBER: Or an Enticer II.

MR. WINDSOR: Or an Enticer II. I wish my Enticer II could go 120 kilometres an hour.

AN HON. MEMBER: Mine can.

MR. WINDSOR: Yours can? Well, that's good. The top speed of an Enticer is eighty-three, but you have yours souped up with something other than gasoline, I would say.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I was on a Venture not long ago that went 122, I tell you that. It was over 122. The difference in a snow machine is that you're generally off in the country, you're not on a public street.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are still in danger.

MR. WINDSOR: Oh yes, you're endangering yourself, and lots of people have been killed with them.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) endanger the fellow ahead of you.

MR. WINDSOR: No question, yes. But you're not on a public highway, that is the difference.

AN HON. MEMBER: What about dirt roads, the major roads?

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, no question. There is nothing wrong with any machine if it is maintained properly and used properly.

I had a very interesting discussion with a prominent orthopaedic doctor here in St. John's a few years first when ATV vehicles were out and all kinds of children were going to the Janeway Hospital. He was dealing with them, and it was a very emotional issue for him. He was constantly patching up broken bones and mending young people. I said: Don't blame it on the ATV. It is not the vehicle. The vehicle is quite safe, operated properly, but unfortunately we allow young people who are not properly qualified to operate them, who really haven't got the maturity to deal with it, haven't got the strength in many cases to handle the machine, are not properly outfitted with proper helmets and clothing and eye protection and so forth, don't understand the machine, don't understand the power of the machine, and don't understand the responsibility he or she has to other individuals who may be around him.

The same is true of snowmobiles. That is why we see people being killed, being hit by snowmobiles and by all-terrain vehicles, or young people injuring and killing themselves in rolling over machines, they are just not able to handle them. That is not a fault of the machine. It is not the equipment. It is by its nature an unstable vehicle designed for off road use by those who are capable and responsible enough to handle it. The problem is not the machine; the problem is with the parents who don't provide proper training and proper supervision.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) seven year old and a (inaudible) and then you send them out among traffic.

MR. WINDSOR: Even true with bicycles, that is right. The traffic in this city today - it used to be fine years ago when there was one car every twenty minutes went down the road. In this city today they are really, really taking a chance.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Helmets are okay but they only go so far. That is not a lot of protection. It will stop some head injuries but other than that - I saw a kid 200 feet from my door. He was ten years old. It was his birthday. His grandparents gave him a new bike for his birthday. It had a cable brake instead of the old coaster brake, or vice versa. I don't recall which it was. I think it was he had a small coaster brake bike and now he got a new one with the cables and all, a fancy job. It was his birthday and he went out on the street, on my street in Mount Pearl. He and his buddies were coming down. He was showing his buddies what a great bike he had and how fast he could go. A truck went by him, and the truck decided to make a right turn. It was a stake-bodied truck. The truck made a right turn and he went to put on his coaster brake but it wasn't there. He hit the back of that truck full throttle. It caught him across the neck and broke his neck. He died there on the road in front of us. That's a pure accident, but nevertheless the question that the hon. member brings up is; should they really be allowed on the streets?

I say that we're very fortunate in Mount Pearl that we have many of the back trails, the pedestrian walkways in back where you can safely operate a non-motorized vehicle, a bicycle, or go for a walk and not have that danger. Kids can walk to school, and it's a tremendous advantage. But we're getting away from the subject.

Safety in those types of vehicles is a very serious matter. How do you protect somebody from going out on a snowmobile, sailing out over the harbour ice and forgetting to stop before he comes to the end of the ice? That's happened many, many times. A guy just loses his sense of direction coming home - going across the harbour for a swallow at night, over to Uncle Jarges and heading home afterward, lose your sense of direction and out you go. Too many people at this time of year - this is the time of year when we see the accidents.

I was out on the pond yesterday on a snowmobile. There are twenty inches of ice still here on the Avalon Peninsula. It was twenty inches of ice. Some people were ice fishing there. It was rotten ice. Three or four scoops with the auger and he was down through the twenty inches of ice - not much left. Anywhere there's a run-in now, where you went across last week on your skidoo quite safely, today you are taking a real risk.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Thanks for the warning.

So there's a real risk there, Mr. Speaker. There's a real danger of loss of life this time of year and it's a good opportunity to warn people that extra safety precautions should be taken at this time of year.

Mr. Speaker, let's get into the area of education. The minister is not here but the big issue of course, the big issue arising from this Budget, is the change in the student aid system. Ten million dollars was taken out of the package for student aid, from this Budget. Now the minister and the Premier say: Well there's more money available to students; and no doubt that's true. Students can all borrow more money. So he/she may have more money in his pocket this year but he's going to have more than twice the debt at the end of his university term.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well we don't know yet.

AN HON. MEMBER: He said that when they get out making $60,000 or $70,000 a year they can pay it back.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes. I wish there were a lot of jobs out there at $60,000 or $70,000 a year waiting for students to come out. I know a couple of students who graduated two years ago from business school and they're not making that between the two of them. It's not easy today to find a job that's paying more than $30,000 a year just coming out of university. You're doing very well if you can find one at $30,000. It's not easy.

AN HON. MEMBER: A Grade IV teacher is not making $30,000.

MR. WINDSOR: A Grade 4 teacher pays what? $35,000 or something like that? So, Mr. Speaker, it's easy to say well the students can borrow but the student has to pay back.

Now I don't disagree with the student accepting some responsibility for his or her education, but when you look at Memorial University, Mr. Speaker, they got a grant this year of $124 million. That's a pretty good contribution to the university education of a student. There's nothing wrong with a student having some debt. I had one when I graduated from university. I used a student loan. There was no grant. Well there was a grant, yes. There were a couple of years when I got paid $100 a month or something as a married student. It was $50 a month for a single student and $100 a month for a married student. In my last year at Memorial I was married and I got $100 a month.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who (inaudible)?

MR. WINDSOR: That was the former premier, Premier Smallwood, who introduced that. Somebody jokingly said the other day they had to put $30,000 there for a monument to keep the poor gentleman down because they are eliminating the student grant. Otherwise he would turn over. $100 a month was a lot of money to me in those days. My wife was working and probably earning $250 a month, working full-time. That is about what she would have earned.

AN HON. MEMBER: You didn't know what to do with it.

MR. WINDSOR: I knew what to do with mine. Mr. Speaker, I had to go to Nova Scotia for two years to finish. Before the days of engineering school at Memorial I had to spend two years at Nova Scotia; married for the last three years of my education. By the time I was finished I owed several thousand dollars. Not too bad, actually. I was lucky, because I was in the engineering faculty and we could always find summer jobs. We never had a problem. Whereas others were working here in St. John's for $150 a month I was out in the woods somewhere with a level or a transit slung over my shoulder making $350, $400 a month. Big money! And found full accommodations and meals and the works, sundry expenses. Engineering expenses did very well.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not any more though.

MR. WINDSOR: I would say to my friend from Fortune, I spent part of a summer in Fortune and built the water supply to the town of Fortune.

MR. LANGDON: We have had trouble with it ever since.

MR. WINDSOR: No, sir, it is working well. It has gone dry because they drink so much water in Fortune. That is all they mix. That was a very interesting summer. I spent part of my summer in Fortune, I spent part of my summer on the island of Burgeo, I spent part of that summer in Gander Bay, and part of it here in St. John's.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I was down for about five weeks, I think. I remember I used to follow the hon. gentleman around. Everywhere they went for a soccer game I was there. I remember going to St. Lawrence, on to Lawn and (inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Scattered beach party.

MR. WINDSOR: Scattered beach party, yes.

There was some great soccer on the Burin Peninsula in those days. There wasn't a lot else to do at nighttime down there in the summertime but the soccer games were -

AN HON. MEMBER: Were you married then?

MR. WINDSOR: Yes. I spent a lot of time watching soccer games. The hon. gentleman was a great soccer player and he was very entertaining. He even had some hair in those days, I would say that to him.

Mr. Speaker, that is a serious issue for students today. They are now going to be faced with coming out of university, many of them, with a $20,000 debt hanging over their head. A $20,000 debt is quite a debt to try to shake yourself loose from when you are just starting out in life, starting a family perhaps, trying to get out on your own, get a home or rent an apartment, buy a car, all the things that one needs to live and survive in the normal world once you get out of university. That is quite a chunk, Mr. Speaker, to come out of them.

Let me say this to the minister. The program also has a means test still attached to it. Even though now it is just loans you still have to qualify on a means test. If it is going to be a loan program then let's at least equalize it and make it available to all university students. Nobody here in this House for example, none of our children could get a student loan because of our income level.

AN HON. MEMBER: Unless they are twenty-one.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, after twenty-one they are independent. But until then - the point I am making is that I can't understand there not being a grant portion to it. I can understand a student of a family that has some means, not being entitled to a grant but I don't see why, even ourselves, even our children, who may want to help finance part of their cost - I mean, a student loan is not going to finance all of the cost of going to university anyway. I don't have a philosophical problem with paying for my child's education, but I don't have a problem either with them accepting some responsibility for their own education.

AN HON. MEMBER: They can get a loan with a co-signer.

MR. WINDSOR: No problem! I would gladly co-sign.

The point I am making is that, because a family has a certain family income - now it doesn't matter if there are ten other children in the home who have to be supported. Just because a family has a $35,000 or $40,000 income, it doesn't mean that they can afford to send their child, particularly if they live in rural Newfoundland -

AN HON. MEMBER: Or Labrador.

MR. WINDSOR: Or Labrador. To send a child to university is a good $10,000 or more, with board and tuition and all the rest of it, and air transportation back and forth particularly with the subsidies cut. It is an expense, and if you have two - I will have three in university next year myself - it is an expensive piece of business. I don't mind saying that I wouldn't mind those children borrowing a portion of what it is going to cost them, and let them come out of university, you know, shouldering it. It means a heck of a lot more when they have to pay it themselves.

I mean, we all know that what you get for free that is exactly how you value it. I mean, let them work a little bit. I don't profess to give my kids everything that they want. I don't mind them working in the summer time and saving a portion of what they earn to put towards their tuition the next year or whatever. I don't see anything wrong with that. Similarly, I don't see why they can't be entitled to borrow.

I can appreciate that if a family has means, that the taxpayers should not be providing grants, but a loan at student interest rates, I don't think is unreasonable. I think the minister was listening to what I said, so maybe he could look at that because there are a lot of families out there who are in that position, particularly in rural Newfoundland, who have the family income which disqualifies them but, because of other obligations and other costs to the family and so forth, really don't have the money that is necessary to send that child to university. So all I am saying is, if there's not going to be a grant component, then let's eliminate that means test.

There are a lot of families in rural Newfoundland, particularly -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Everybody is responsible. A loan is a loan, okay, and although there may be a slightly favourable interest rate, but that is not a lot to ask. If a student is going to bear part of the cost, or all of the cost, of putting themselves through university or a post-secondary institution or whatever, I don't think that's a lot to ask: That they bear that responsibility and that they at least get a favourable interest rate.

MR. REID: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Could you speak up a little bit -

MR. REID: She had to borrow $3,000 from the bank here to supplement her. With a full loan and a full grant, she still had to borrow.

[A technical difficulty occurred causing a break in the tape]

MR. WINDSOR: - education today is quite staggering and so -

AN HON. MEMBER: A parent can guarantee the principal.

MR. WINDSOR: A parent can guarantee the principal, yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well, I say, Mr. Speaker, I don't think there is a high default rate on student loans. The Minister of Finance can correct me. Does he know offhand if there is a high default rate on student loans? I heard that we were the lowest in Canada, but it is still not a very big -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No. That is not a major problem. Not all students now - well I guess, if a student doesn't have a parent who can guarantee it, they obviously qualify anyway, because they don't have any supporting income. I don't think that's the problem. I think that itself, a guarantee from the parent, would be acceptable for sure. At least it gives that person an opportunity.

What we would like to know - the minister has said there are going to be increased amounts of money but he has not told us how much. He hasn't told us how much students will be permitted to borrow. He said that a portion of it will be forgivable upon graduation, but he has not told us how much might be forgivable.

AN HON. MEMBER: Or what the regulations are.

MR. WINDSOR: Or what the regulations are. I think students are saying to themselves, that they can change that between now and then, and: If they are cutting it down to this this year, in four year's time when I graduate that grant portion will be eliminated and I won't get anything back. So they can't count on that; that is meaningless. Unless the commitment is there in the document that they sign that, here is a loan and we will write off 20, 30, 40, 50 per cent, or whatever it is, unless that is clearly documented, then that is of no value to them.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: At least three or four hours I would say to the hon. gentleman. You should go out and have a nap now.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Sorry you woke him up.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, sorry I yelled and woke him up.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the Budget also provides $356,000 for the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Delivery of Programs and Services; $162,000 last year. That is over $500,000, Mr. Speaker, for reorganization of schools.

Memorial University, as I mentioned a moment ago, this year, $124 million. That's up $8 million from last year. That's $124 million to Memorial University plus another $17.7 to the School of Medicine at Memorial University. So you are really up at $142 million to Memorial University, including the School of Medicine.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I don't have a problem with that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It's a lot of money, Mr. Speaker. It's important to invest in the education of our children; they are our future and, as this government has said and as we have said: Unless we educate our people then we will never build our economy. I don't have a problem with that, what I have a problem with is the university not being held accountable for it. The university is not held accountable.

I have to go back and say again that I think it is absolutely, totally wrong, that this government last year passed legislation which prohibits the Public Accounts Committee from having access to the university, except for the Minister of Education; the Auditor General from having direct access except through the university's own auditors, basically checking on the university's auditors. They have certain rights but certainly not the free access to the university books that the Auditor General wants.

Mr. Speaker, $124 million to one institution, and this government has said that the President of that institution cannot be called before the Public Accounts Committee, a Select Committee of the House of Assembly. The only individual, the only board of directors in this Province, that cannot be called before the Public Accounts Committee; the only one.

The Member for St. John's South is just about to swallow his tongue, because he agrees with every word I am saying. So does the Minister of Finance, so does the Member for Eagle River. They all play their part, and we don't fault them for that, Mr. Speaker, but it is absolutely a disgrace to pass out a cheque for $142 million, counting the medical school, and they cannot be called before the Public Accounts Committee of this House to answer.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: What does that have to do with it? It is an absolute disgrace, Mr. Speaker. Our Public Accounts Committee will look at the books of Memorial University and the Minister of Education will come but he won't be able to answer the questions.

The Members for St. John's South and Eagle River, and other members who have been on the Public Accounts Committee in the last couple of years, know that the Public Accounts Committee has had some very searching hearings. It has done some really good work, I have to say. I compliment all members who have been on the Public Accounts Committee since I've been on it for the last three or four years. It has been a good exercise. Every one of the members have worked hard, done their homework and asked some very sincere and searching questions. I think we've done some useful work. It is unfortunate the Committee doesn't have any teeth.

MR. DUMARESQUE: That is right.

MR. WINDSOR: My friend for Eagle River, co-chair at the moment, agrees. Because we've had two or three issues now where we absolutely came to a dead end. The Committee came to a conclusion that there is a problem here, and all we do is report to the House that we have come to the conclusion that there was a problem.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)?

MR. WINDSOR: What happens after that? Well, that's entirely up to government.

AN HON. MEMBER: What page are you on, Neil?

MR. WINDSOR: I'm on a page now that is not in the hon. member's book. I'm at a page out of history right now.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I haven't gotten to my notes yet, I say to the hon. member. He needn't interrupt us. I'm still going through the book, but I will get to my notes afterwards.

It is wrong, Mr. Speaker, that the Committee does not have more clout than it does. We had proposed to look at some legislation. I had written the Minister of Justice some time ago and we were going to have a meeting, but for various reasons it has been postponed.

MR. ROBERTS: I don't think I (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It was you.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It was you. The Minister of Justice wrote back and said: We would gladly meet but now we are doing this, we are doing that, so let's postpone it for a couple of weeks. Then it became Christmas and we postponed it further.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No, I'm not laying any blame or any fault on either side. It is just that the schedules of all of us (inaudible) -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Exactly. I say to the Minister of Justice, I would like to get on with that. I would like to sit down with him, our Opposition House Leader and the Member for Eagle River and discuss the (inaudible). I think it would be a useful piece of legislation to bring forward to this House. It would be the first legislation of its kind in Canada. We have the experience of the Australian Parliament, which is, I think by far, ahead of any parliament in the British Commonwealth when it comes to public accountancy and the public accounts committee. We have their legislation, we've looked at it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) go over and look at it in Australia (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: We should go to Australia and have a look at it.


MR. WINDSOR: I suspect the minister would agree if I leave, sit down now and go.

Quite seriously, I think it is a piece of legislation that is worth looking at. We are not talking about a piece of legislation that in any way takes away from the authority or the powers of government or the House itself, but simply that gives the Committee the power to deal with some improprieties when we see them. We've had several areas where it was quite clear to members of the Committee that breaches of the Public Tender Act are coming out of our ears.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: That is right. Five serially numbered purchase orders issued the same day, each one for $5,000, to the same supplier, to the same building. That is as blatant as it comes, Mr. Speaker. All we can do is report back. Unfortunately, outside of bringing attention to it, which had some merit, certainly as it relates to Crown corporation, increasing the awareness of their responsibility under the Public Tender Act, under the Financial Administration Act, under the Local Preference Act and so forth, outside of increasing the awareness there, we really don't have much impact.

Memorial University is one area where we have hit a closed door, and the government just deliberately closed that door, Mr. Speaker. I think it was a great injustice, it is a great mistake and has now set the university aside with special privileges that no other Crown corporation or government-funded body in this Province enjoys; not one. Mr. Speaker, that's an issue I will say no more on now. I have spoken on it many times. I am willing to say that $142 million without any real accountability, is not something that I think is quite proper.

Denominational Education Councils, Mr. Speaker: Funds have been frozen at last year's level. It doesn't sound too bad I suppose, same as last year except that they were cut by $100,000 last year. The government would like us to forget that. They were reduced by $100,000 last year and I think more the year before. I don't have the figure before me.


MR. WINDSOR: I don't want to interrupt you or anything like that.

AN HON. MEMBER: I will try to concentrate.

MR. WINDSOR: Okay. I thank the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture and the Opposition House Leader for the little break.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I wish you would stand on a point of order so I could sit down for a while.

Mr. Speaker, I want to start moving on. Additional school busing efficiency: $300,000 taken from that this year; $500,000 was taken last year, so that is $800,000 over two years. Would the minister like to tell us where those efficiencies take place?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Unspecified? It says: reducing or eliminating duplication of services. What implications does it have, Mr. Speaker, particularly in rural Newfoundland, is the question. There was $28.5 million spent on school busing in this Province. (Inaudible) realize that, $28.5 million spent on school busing?

Funding for school construction, Mr. Speaker, is at the lowest level in twenty years: $10.7 million to meet existing commitments for school construction. That doesn't mean any new schools, that simply meets existing commitments, $10 7 million. That is half of what was allocated in 1992-1993, just one-half. It was $12 million in 93-94, $20 million in 92-93. So there will be no new schools built under this Budget, Mr. Speaker.

I wish the Minister of Education were here because I am aware of a problem relating to training of interpreters for people that are hearing impaired. We do not have any training here for interpreters, for sign language. There is some training done at the vocational schools but there is no full professional course in interpreting here. The nearest one is Halifax and the school in Halifax is suppose to be -

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Does the Member for Eagle River want to say something?

MR. DUMARESQUE: There are some night courses at the university.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, there are some night courses being offered but at a very basic level. The nearest one is in Halifax and there is one in Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Vancouver. I think there is one, no doubt in French, in Montreal or Quebec City. The one in Halifax is meant to be a regional centre, yet there are only sixteen seats available, eight allocated to Nova Scotia and eight to New Brunswick.

I have a constituent who was trying to get in there and who was basically told: Sorry, you are from Newfoundland and we cannot take you. Having said that, I am also aware that we have had students attend there in the past. Yet this student was told very clearly -and I have a letter to that effect from that school, basically saying that she would not be eligible, that they have eight seats for Nova Scotia and eight for New Brunswick. Yet it is funded partly by the federal government as a regional centre for teaching sign language. So that is an area, Mr. Speaker, that should well be looked into.

The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations is not here, unfortunately.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Employment and Labour Unrest.

MR. WINDSOR: Employment and Labour Unrest: Now that is not a bad name, the Minister of Employment and Labour Unrest. That is about as appropriate as I have ever heard, Mr. Speaker. The minister obviously knows that he is the Minister of Labour Unrest because his budget for Conciliation this year has increased by 50 per cent over last year, from $480,000 to $640,000; $640,000 for Conciliation. Now, that tells you what we are up against here, Mr. Speaker.

It is probably a good time to deal with that whole issue. The President of Treasury Board is here, and it is the President of Treasury Board who is most concerned, no doubt.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Optimistic, the minister says. That's right. Overly optimistic would be more accurate, if he expects to get $50 million by negotiation from public sector unions.

MR. BAKER: We got $70 last year.

MR. WINDSOR: You got $70 last year, most of it from the pension plan.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: All of it? Not quite all of it, but just about all from the pension plan. That was somewhat painless. It didn't come out of ones pocket. It didn't affect their cheque next week. I don't know what the minister is going to do this year, unless he is going to pull that again. I hope not, because all you are doing is borrowing from the future. That is all you are doing. You are reducing the burden somewhat.

AN HON. MEMBER: Prolonging it.

MR. WINDSOR: Prolonging it. Yes, but still you are making a bad situation with regards to the unfunded liability even worse down the road.

I think the minister is a little optimistic. The teachers want consultation on education reform. We have unions having meetings, some 5000, I believe, Sunday night at the stadium, NAPE members down there voting.

I have some articles here I was going to refer to. Nurses are heading toward conciliation, I would think; teachers looking for conciliation.

AN HON. MEMBER: They've got a board now.

MR. WINDSOR: They've got a board now. What's left? Management employees. What other groups does the minister have other than the small Crown corporations and so on?

AN HON. MEMBER: Other health professionals.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, well that's the management, the health professionals, yes. That is about it. The other groups don't have the right to strike anyway; the police and fire and prison wardens.

AN HON. MEMBER: No one's allowed to strike (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Or binding arbitration.

The point is that the minister is very quickly heading towards a situation where he has virtually all of the public sector unions in a strike position.

AN HON. MEMBER: It's not easy.

MR. WINDSOR: I beg you pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: It's not easy.

MR. WINDSOR: It's not easy. No, it's not easy. I don't know how the minister managed to do it but he's managed to get all of the public sector unions, at the one time, in a position where they could all go on strike the one time.

AN HON. MEMBER: He knows what he's doing, I'll tell you that. He knows what he's at.

MR. WINDSOR: I wonder does he?

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh yes he does, yes.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, I don't want to make light of it. I've been there, I know what's it's like. I'm not going to make light of what can be a very serious situation; if all of those unions decide to go on strike at one time. Now it's been suggested that that's the way the minister is going to balance his budget. I wouldn't impugn that to the minister for one moment because I don't think any government wants to put all of the public service out on strike just to save money, because you'll pay in the long run. I don't suggest for a moment that that's what's taking place, but it's a very serious situation that's potentially developing here in this Province, where we could have all of these people on strike at one time. You're talking chaos in this Province and it could be very, very expensive, I say to the minister. A strike could be far more expensive then finding a negotiated solution, particularly in this case.

There is a feeling out there that this government is not listening. I don't say this to the minister personally, but this administration is not listening and does not understand the problem. I think it's only fair to realize that. Wages have been frozen now - the minister can correct me but I think this is the fourth year that salaries for public servants have been frozen.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Three full years.

AN HON. MEMBER: Three years so far, this will be the fourth.

MR. WINDSOR: This will be the fourth, yes. So this is the fourth year in a row that the Budget has been frozen.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Even at 2 per cent a year that's 8 or 9 per cent compounded, lost. If inflation was only 2 per cent - and it's been higher than that. It has been about 1.7 per cent the last two years but a little higher than that the year or two before. Even if it averaged at 2 per cent - people have slipped. When they normally would have expected an increase they've lost, not only in nominal terms but in real terms; they've lost by 8 per cent. They're going backwards. People will only accept that for so long.

Now it's easy to say, I guess, that if people don't want to work they can go find jobs elsewhere, but what's happening today is that we are losing some of our better employees in the public service. Some of the more qualified people are being attracted by way of private enterprise. As weak as private enterprise is today, nevertheless their ability to pay far exceeds governments. We're losing some of our top people and have. That traditionally takes place. Government is a great training ground but we've lost a lot of our better people to the private sector. It's a brain drain away from the public sector that can be very, very serious, and I fear we're going to see more of that in the next year or so.

Add to that, Mr. Speaker, the concern that teachers particularly, but others as well, had for the possibility that severance packages would be taken away - and the minister has assured us that it would only be done by negotiation. In other words, it will never happen, because I don't foresee any union ever agreeing to giving up benefits that were earned in previous years. It may be changed for the future but certainly I don't foresee any union agreeing to giving up a benefit that was earned, nor in fact do I believe they can legally do so.

The result, Mr. Speaker, of that concern –


MR. WINDSOR: Put a muzzle on him.

AN HON. MEMBER: It's pretty bad when your own crowd (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I was about to say, it is bad enough when you have the crowd opposite giving you a hard time, but when your own colleagues... I suppose I have them so excited they can't contain themselves. That's what it is. I can tell by the level of the snoring.

Mr. Speaker, the concern is that we've lost 400 teachers already. Four hundred teachers have given in their notice, have applied for early retirement, as a result of the proposals put forward by the minister. There are some pretty interesting things in some of these proposals, Mr. Speaker. I have one here somewhere if I can find it.

The elimination of severance pay except where employees are declared redundant, effective April 1, 1994. Now, the minister said it was never effective. Employees who retire or voluntarily leave their employment will not be entitled to any severance pay. Sick leave accumulation will be reduced to one day per month to a maximum of 240 days. Employees who have more than 240 days sick leave can retain the higher number of sick leave days. If the number of days falls below 240 the maximum number of sick leave days will become 240. So, there are all kinds of things.

The Waterford Hospital pension plan would be abolished.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I'm reporting from a NAPE document, yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: Are they accurate (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, I think these are accurate quotes.

The Waterford Hospital pension plan would be abolished as of April 1 1994. I don't believe that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I don't know, it just says the Waterford Hospital pension plan.

AN HON. MEMBER: There would still be a pension plan for the Waterford but it wouldn't be quite as (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, obviously transferred to something else. I don't think there is ever -

AN HON. MEMBER: There will still be a pension plan (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, I would have thought so.

The employers would discontinue pay equity payments to health care and group home workers as of the next fiscal year as a result in loss of significant increases due on March 20 1995. Some interesting things.

Agreements permit contracting out provided employees are not laid off. Employer proposal gives government the absolute right to contract out any and all work. Is that one of the proposals? Or a proposal where collective agreement restrictions limit the performance of bargaining unit work to specific bargaining unit groups, these restrictions be removed. The proposal would permit volunteers and management contractors to perform unlimited amounts of bargaining unit work and cause a loss of employment for union members.

Collective agreement to be amended to give the employer the unfettered right to transfer employees geographically and across departments without regard to seniority.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I'm just quoting from it, yes. Anyway, I won't go through all of it, Mr. Speaker, there is no point.

I realize these are only some of the items in a huge shopping list that the minister tables when he's negotiating. No doubt the unions have put forward their own shopping list. I think the minister indicated, 100 items or something still on the table from the unions.

MR. BAKER: Actually they've been quite reasonable. Originally they had a lot of items on the table but before they requested that they go to conciliation they came in with an offer that was simply: They would drop all their other conditions and accept a wage freeze for another year if we would drop all of our conditions. So they've been extremely reasonable.

MR. WINDSOR: So you have made some progress so far. Well, that is good to hear.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to sum up that part of it. (Inaudible) to see if the minister is going to negotiate $50 million. I don't think he is going to do it with the climate that is here today. Unfortunately so many factors now have impacted on the public perception of this government, the Hydro deal for one, the educational deal, the reorganization, unilaterally basically, the ISP program, federal government changes to the UI programs; all of these things now adding together are impacting on the perception of this government, and very, very negatively, much to our delight, of course. There is a very, very negative feeling towards government, and a distrust. So the minister will have his hands full in trying to negotiate agreements with public sector unions, I suggest, right now.

Mr. Speaker, in the health area: Fifty acute care beds throughout the Province will be closed based on a plan of improved bed utilization and moving to more day surgery. Government is enhancing its expenditures in the area of community health, yet when you look at the subheads for community health you find very little increase. In fact in many areas there is an decrease in funding in those areas. What we are saying here, obviously, is that we are going to reduce the beds but we are not going to replace them with additional funding elsewhere.

It says: Additional funding of $250,000 will be allocated to enhance community mental health services, yet when you check the estimates there is $1 million less for mental health. So I do not know where that $250,000 to enhance community mental health services is hidden.

Maybe the minister could tell me, Mr. Speaker, if he would like to turn around? He has his back to Your Honour which is improper, of course; the Minister of Health hidden behind the Member for Terra Nova, Your Honour. I wouldn't want to worry him by asking him a question, Mr. Speaker.

Other than that, there are some positive things in the health care sector. Maybe my friend for Bonavista could tell me: Did they find the money for the clinic in Bonavista?

AN HON. MEMBER: They are still trying to find it.

MR. WINDSOR: They are still trying to find it. $1.3 million was allocated two years ago for the Golden Heights Manor. It was in the Budget two years ago. Planning was done; some money has been spent on planning we are told. That is all done, but now all of a sudden the money is dropped out of there.

AN HON. MEMBER: (inaudible) Grand Bank.

MR. WINDSOR: In Grand Bank, too? That's incredible, Mr. Speaker.

Yet, we have money for the James Paton Hospital in Gander, $4 million, Manors Lounge in Badger's Quay, $2.1 million.

AN HON. MEMBER: Badly needed.

MR. WINDSOR: All badly needed. The long-term health care facility in St. Anthony, $3 million; the Brookfield Hospital, $1.4 million; the Placentia Lions Manor Health Care Centre. I wonder if they thought they were going to win the by-election.

AN HON. MEMBER: Gone to print so they couldn't change it.

MR. WINDSOR: It was gone to print so they couldn't change it. My friend for Placentia quite deservedly gets $3.9 million for the centre in Placentia. The Nain Health Care Centre, $1.5 million; undoubtedly a good program. Our friend for Torngat Mountains, I'm sure will confirm that is badly needed by the people of Nain.

It is interesting, Mr. Speaker, that the only one that has been eliminated that was already approved was out in the great historic District of Bonavista South in the town of Bonavista. I don't for the life of me, Mr. Speaker, have any idea how that might have happened, but there it is. Three and a half million for the cancer treatment centre in St. John's; long, long overdue.

We get to an interesting one now when we get to Justice. Additional funding of $1.2 million has been provided for the RNC and the RCMP for increased enforcement to counter liquor and tobacco smuggling. It is interesting; $1.2 million for increased enforcement. You will also see, if you look at the revenue side of the Budget, that we are predicting $3 million less in taxes, because of smuggling, I assume. So that is $4.2 million: Three million dollars in revenues we are losing and $1.2 million we are spending. It appears to me that if we are going to lose that $4.2 million anyway would we not be better to drop the taxes on tobacco and leave the $4.2 million in the pockets of consumers, or keep the business in the Province, because the business is going out of the Province. We are losing $4.2 million anyway: $3 million that we are losing in revenue and $1.2 million we are going to spend. We are probably going to lose more than that. If we don't spend the $1.2 million, I assume we would have lost more than the $3 million. We probably would have lost $4 million, $5 million, $6 million or $7 million of revenue. Wouldn't it be just as well, Mr. Speaker, to reduce the taxes by $4.2 million, the total tax collected, reduce the tax on tobacco and alcohol?

AN HON. MEMBER: The $1.2 million came from the Bonavista Hospital.

MR. WINDSOR: That's where the $1.2 million came from, the Bonavista Hospital. My friend may well be right. But it is interesting.

Other provinces are doing it. We are now competing with other provinces that have already done that, have lowered all their taxes. So the bottom line is the pressure on smuggling is going to be even worse.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Of course we (inaudible). You can bring in $22 million worth of increased security and you are not going to stop it. With the traffic that is going through, as my friend points out, and with the coastline that we have - what are you going to do? Inspect every vehicle that gets on a ferry now? Open every trunk and look under every seat and into every package, every suitcase and everything else; look for cigarettes, tobacco and alcohol products?

There is a big difference today, particularly in cigarettes, in the price being paid in other parts of Canada and here. The only way to combat it I say to my friend - now I don't like it. I think that the Government of Canada made a bad mistake in lowering the taxes on tobacco in the first place. It might have resolved the problem, but basically what they did was admit they can't enforce the law so: We will change the law so that people who are doing it are not breaking it. That is what it amounts to. It is like saying that, there are people speeding on the Trans-Canada Highway, they are going 150 kilometres an hour, and we don't have enough police officers to patrol it, so we will make the speed limit 150 kilometres an hour. I think the approach has been totally wrong.

If all Canada were going to take the approach of enforcing, then it might make some sense, but for Newfoundland alone to be trying to increase enforcement to combat that problem, I think is absolutely ludicrous. We not only have St. Pierre which is a foreign country, now we also have other provinces of Canada with which we are now competing.

The Budget says here, $60,000 has been provided to address outstanding fines receivable within the provincial courts. Now the Auditor General I believe also identified that in her report this year, a tremendous amount of fines outstanding in the courts, which I find just incredibly amazing; that the provincial courts can't collect their fines. You know, if I ever got a fine for a speeding ticket or a traffic ticket, somebody came and collected it pretty quickly. Today they have a new system, you can't get your license renewed without paying your parking tickets and I support that, it makes sense; I support it.

I think there was a proposal that interest was going to be added on to them the longer you left them there, the more it would cost you or something; and that makes some sense. But $60,000 to address outstanding fines! Yet, when you look at that section of the Estimates, there are $200,000 less provided. So I don't know where the $60,000 are. I know there were some $60,000 in Information Technology that was spent last year that won't be needed this year. But there is $200,000 less. There were $60,000 less in salaries this year, but the Budget says there is $60,000 allocated. Yet in that section of the Budget there are $60,000 less in salaries. Maybe the minister will explain that if we ever get into Committee.

Mr. Speaker, let us move into Municipal and Provincial Affairs. Our friend is gone, is he, the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs? There is not a lot that I wanted to comment on here. We did decide to talk about assessments though. My friends opposite, a few moments ago were complaining that their assessments in Mount Pearl had increased quite dramatically. It is obvious that people in the House don't know anymore than most people in the Province, don't realize, that assessment is simply just that, just the assessed value of a home. The tax rate is a product of the assessment in the mil rate. Until the municipality sets the mil rate, the assessed value has no significance to you.

There is an added $180,000 for municipal assessments. Mr. Speaker, that is long overdue. Municipalities in this Province have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost taxes because they were not able to get assessments done on a timely basis, and they cannot set their taxes unless the assessments are done every five years.

Here is one, Mr. Speaker, that wasn't obvious; the Urban and Rural Planning: There is nothing mentioned about urban and rural planning in the Budget. When you look at the numbers you will find that the Budget has been cut in half for Urban and Rural Planning. I am told that there are another fifteen or twenty people being laid off in Urban and Rural Planning this week. Here is the minister, the minister is right on time.

I was just saying to the House, in going through the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, Urban and Rural Planning, the Budget has been cut by 50 per cent, from $1.06 million to $0.56 million; I am told there have been significant layoffs or notifications of layoff in the Urban and Rural Planning division of the minister's department. Would the minister like to confirm that and tell us how many people will be laid off?

MR. REID: Right now it could be as high as sixteen.

MR. WINDSOR: Sixteen. I was told fifteen to twenty.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Sixteen people.

AN HON. MEMBER: They haven't had their notices (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: They may not have their notices but they are well aware that they are being laid off. It doesn't take a lot to look at a budget cut in half to know that half the staff has to go.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is not true.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes it is true. It doesn't take a lot. Even I could look at the Budget and figure out if the salaries are cut in half you have half as many people. Otherwise the minister is getting his $50 million by cutting salaries in half. Not likely!

Would the minister like to tell us why the urban and rural planning division all of a sudden is being cut in half? Are we saying that the workload in that division, the demands from municipalities, has decreased that much that all of a sudden we can cut that division in half?

I don't know if the minister realizes it but one of the biggest problems municipalities are facing today, particularly some of the older municipalities, is the high cost of providing services in municipalities that are poorly planned, that have not had proper control from the beginning. Services cost so much because we have houses scattered along - what we call ribbon development - a highway, and now they want water and sewer services. Every house has about 250 or 300 feet frontage along the highway and wants water and sewer services provided at the same cost that it would take to provide the same service in a municipality, in an urban area where you are on fifty-foot lots.

We have communities in this Province where it is costing $150,000 and $200,000 per house, and there's not a house in the community that is worth more than $50,000 in that particular location. Yet we are spending $150,000 to $200,000 per unit to provide water and sewer. You go to Labrador, go to Makkovik and Nain, and it is out of sight in trying to provide services in that environment. Here on the Island, in some of the rural communities where it is all solid rock, houses are scattered, we are blasting through mountains to try to get a bit of water and sewer pipe to a house. Part of the problem is that for so many years there were no controls on those municipalities. They were not properly planned, no controls, haphazard building development in the community. So, government responds by cutting planning in half. I say to the minister that is very shortsighted and down the road that will cost this Province tremendously.

Regional fire fighting services, I say to the minister: Long overdue in dealing with the situation in the urban area, in the St. John's - Mount Pearl area. I don't know what progress has been made in the last two or three weeks. Maybe the minister can enlighten us. The minister, I think, will agree that the ill-begotten system that was imposed by the former minister on Mount Pearl and surrounding communities when we we don't have a regional service - all we have is the City of St. John's providing service to other municipalities; bottom line.

Mount Pearl's fire department was taken away and given to the City of St. John's, and it is costing the taxpayers of Mount Pearl about $1 million a year over and above what their own service would have cost them to provide state-of-the-art service to their own municipality; which every other municipality in this Province has the right to do: Provide their own fire fighting service. The City of Mount Pearl was grossly discriminated against. Not only that, the facilities that were bought and paid for by the taxpayers of Mount Pearl were taken away. They were compensated financially for what was taken away.

We are now forced to be part of a "regional fire fighting service" which is regional in name only, with token representation on the board. It will never work. The City of Mount Pearl being a responsible city has paid their share. I'm not totally sure the city should have paid. I'm not totally sure that they're properly servicing the electorate of Mount Pearl by paying that. The other smaller municipalities refused to pay. So the bottom line is you have St. John's and Mount Pearl now operating a fire system; Mount Pearl with very little say in the operation but paying a handsome share of the cost.

Until there is a true regional service - I guess it's too late to even talk about going back to Mount Pearl operating their own service. It would be very difficult to undo what's been done. But until there is a true regional service with proportionate representation on it, with equal share in the management of that service and equitable charges, it's never going to work. You can't expect a taxpayer that lives in one of the rural parts of this Province that doesn't have water and sewer services, doesn't have a fire hydrant within any reasonable distance to his house, to pay the same charge for fire protection that somebody in St. John's or Mount Pearl will pay.

So the minister will have to find an equitable, reasonable, cost-sharing system and put in place a regional council, for fire fighting services alone if necessary. Many of us thought years ago that we should have had a regional council in place in this area, back in the early 1980s, and we should have, in fact back the mid-70s. It would have solved a lot of problems. Unfortunately back then municipalities in this Province didn't have enough foresight to realize what was being proposed. Unfortunately there were too many elected representatives at the municipal level who were protecting their own little empires, who thought that somehow having a regional council would take away from their own local authority. All it really amounted to was providing regional services and providing regional cooperation.

Unfortunately we had an Opposition of the day that played games with the elevators and made sure that we lost the vote one night. The bill was defeated thanks to some political trickery, maneuvering the elevators to the ninth or tenth floor as we came back from a supper break one fine July evening, I think it was.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who was it that did that?

MR. WINDSOR: There were a couple involved. One hon. gentleman is now a member of parliament. He was a minister for nine days and then got turfed out of that. That was nine days too long.

If changes had been made then, as were proposed, we would have no problem, but unfortunately the climate was not right.

So, Mr. Speaker, the minister will have to deal with that issue and deal with it quickly, to properly deal with fire-fighting services in this region.

Four hundred thousand dollars has been provided for the Labrador winter games. I was pleased to see that and there was some concern that might be eliminated. That couldn't possibly occur. What was I thinking - the Labrador winter games.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No, I was just thinking: How foolish was I at all? I'm surprised it's not double that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Four hundred thousand dollars.

AN HON. MEMBER: For what?

MR. ROBERTS: For the Labrador winter games (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: They are very worthwhile. I say to the Minister of Justice now that we're on the topic, that all of these games are quite worthwhile. The games in Clarenville, an immeasurable benefit to Clarenville. The games we had in Mount Pearl I thought was one of the greatest things that ever took place there. All of these games have had tremendous benefits to, not only the participants of the games but the communities that hosted them as well. It brings the community together. There's a spirit there of the community coming together for a common purpose. A major challenge to most of these communities; in Carbonear, Clarenville and in Lewisporte a number of years ago.

Conception Bay South coming up, we're looking forward to that. We saw it in Mount Pearl. I was part of the committee. Myself and my friend, the Member for Waterford - Kenmount, put a lot of effort into that. It was one of the most rewarding things that I was ever involved in, in putting that together and bringing all of these people, all the young athletes and all of their parents who came - we are fortunate in Mount Pearl in that we were close to the capital city here and we had the publicity. I think we deliberately tried to put on a state-of-the-art set of games and to get the public recognition of the games, to raise the profile of the games, so that people all around the Province really understood. I believe we did that. We got a lot of good publicity. I believe that games that are following that benefit from that as well. It is a tremendous thing for communities, a tremendous thing for young people, and we should never give it up.

There was some talk that funding for the games was going to be eliminated in this Budget and future budgets. I hope that doesn't happen because it is just too important. Not only does it provide tremendous community facilities but it has great, long-lasting benefits to the people who are involved and to the community.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: You want me to get on to my notes?

So, Mr. Speaker, I certainly recommend that that be protected.

AN HON. MEMBER: Have you got notes?

MR. WINDSOR: Notes. Oh, yes.

Travel subsidy for adult athletes has been cancelled, Mr. Speaker, in Labrador. I guess it is Labrador. Maybe not even - it just says: Travel subsidy for adult athletes attending sporting events has been eliminated. There can't be a lot of money involved in that, surely.

AN HON. MEMBER: At least $45,000.

MR. WINDSOR: Forty-five thousand dollars.

AN HON. MEMBER: Discriminatory towards Labrador.

MR. WINDSOR: I would think more athletes out of Labrador -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, getting into the final department here, Social Services; $29 million of additional funding over the budgeted level last year. That tells the story, $29 million additional funding for Social Services over last year. While we can't quarrel with providing the extra $29 million, it is unfortunate that there is no increase for those people who are on social assistance and have been on it for some time. I for one, I say to the minister, don't subscribe to this notion that many people put forward, that people are living on social assistance and are well off and all the rest of it. I know many people who are living on social assistance and there is nobody in this room who would like to be in that situation, let me tell you. It is not easy today.

There may be some abuse and unfortunately those who abuse the system seem to be the ones that get the publicity, and people judge all people who are on social assistance by those who are abusing the system,. I have full support for the minister when he got extra effort this year, I think ten additional people who are policing that. I don't know what the success has been on that. It would be interesting to see a report on what the rate of return was. The minister will give it to us in due course. We look forward to that, because it will be interesting to see if it can really be documented as to what impact they are really having.

Certainly, Mr. Speaker, it is hard to deny that if somebody is abusing the system it needs to be dealt with. You have the problem of a person living in one house being dealt with properly under the system, and the person next door cheating the system, and now you have the person who is being properly dealt with being totally dissatisfied, because their neighbour is getting something that they are not entitled to. Not that they don't need it, not that they are living in the lap of luxury or anything like that, but that somebody is being treated differently than somebody else.

Thirty-three new temporary staff in the client service areas. Again, we can hardly quarrel with that. I wish they were permanent staff and not temporary staff. Again it tells us that there is $29 million additional funding needed; thirty-three new staff.

The minister's Budget last year was exceeded by $30 million. He came in not long ago with a special warrant for $30 million, and he may be back again before this year is out looking for more. It is difficult to budget that. I am not arguing with that. What I'm saying is that that is a reflection on the state of the economy today, that we find it necessary to add additional staff and to add $30 million this year to the Budget for Social Services.

Grants to organizations are frozen. New eye glasses will be provided every three years instead of every two. That is the same as the government program now. Unfortunate, but there we are.

Mr. Speaker, just to summarize a little bit some of the things I have said. I have gone through some of the items that needed to be mentioned here.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) your introductory remarks.

MR. WINDSOR: Those were my introductory remarks. I will get to the body of my speech now. I have gone through my preamble, gone through the required reading. I'm starting to warm up, but my vocal cords are giving out on me unfortunately. I unfortunately have this flu that many of us have had.

Mr. Speaker, the bottom line then with this Budget is that although the deficit is down it is nothing much to be proud of, and that the minister is showing still a predicted 20.1 per cent unemployment rate. That is nothing to be proud of. Oh, another cough drop. I am having a great array of cough drops, and hon. gentlemen are enjoying it so much. I thank the Member for St. John's South. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology has sent me one of those already.

MR. MURPHY: His are a different flavour than mine.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, these are quite good. I have some of my own here that I find are not great but they help. They will get me through. I thank the Member for St. John's South.

Mr. Speaker, I think the error in this Budget is that it doesn't deal with the root of the problem. We just saw that in the exchange I just had with the Minister of Social Services. That tells you the problem. We have so many people on social assistance and we have 20 per cent on unemployment.

Now, the Budget that deals with that would be a good Budget, a Budget that creates some jobs. It is interesting in this Budget Speech, Mr. Speaker, that there is no mention of any number of jobs being created. It is not good enough for the minister to say we are creating an economic climate. That is all well and good, and that needs to be done, but at this particular stage in our history we need to have some actual jobs created as well.

The minister talked about the benefits to industry here. Well, corporate income tax, Mr. Speaker: Really all it does this year, in dropping the corporate rate from 16 to 14 per cent, is saves $1 million for corporations all across this Province. Yet corporate income tax has actually increased by $2 million over last year. Now, I'm not quite sure how government expects to get an increase of $2 million over and above the $1 million that they are reducing. Obviously that is a $3 million increase in normal growth.

Lotteries are going to return an extra $6 million because of the fact you are giving a commission of 20 per cent instead of 35 per cent. So, government is taking a far greater share of the cut on video lotteries, and lotteries generally. It may not all be video lotteries, it is not broken down there, but there is $6 million more being taken out in taxes by that measure. The payroll tax actually goes up by $2.5 million. So, at a time when we see unemployment is not going to increase and when personal incomes are not going to increase, government is predicting $2.5 million more in payroll tax. I don't for the life of me know how they are going to get that. Nevertheless, that is an additional $10.5 million in those three measures alone taken from corporations. Add to that the impact of increased gasolines taxes and give credit for decrease in diesel taxes, we are still talking a very significant increase in taxation on corporations.

Mr. Speaker, the changes to the corporate income tax rate have negligible benefits. As I said earlier, they impact only on corporations that are profitable. We are generally talking about some of the larger corporations. It would be interesting, I suppose - I wonder just how much benefit that corporate rate will be to new Hydro. Then there is new Hydro; would that be considered manufacturing and processing, or would it be a general corporate rate? Maybe the Minister of Finance can tell us now - he is coming back: Will new Hydro, in paying corporation taxes, pay the general rate of 14 per cent or the manufacturing rate of 5 per cent?

MR. BAKER: The general rate.

MR. WINDSOR: The general rate. I was just wondering if it might be considered as manufacturing and processing, producing something.

AN HON. MEMBER: They don't manufacture (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It could be argued either way.

AN HON. MEMBER: Well, whatever Newfoundland Power (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: So what this amounts to, therefore, is a 2 per cent cut in the rate that will be paid on profits made by new Hydro. So these are the types of corporations that will benefit from that corporate drop, from that -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Anybody who is making a profit. Not a lot of small businesses making much profit. It is not going to do a lot for small business. Small businesses will lose more in the increase in gasoline tax than they will save on this corporate income tax drop on their profits. Most small businesses don't pay taxes because the profits are eaten up or covered up somewhere along the way.

The impact, Mr. Speaker, on industry is not as positive as one would believe. When I see the Board of Trade and others coming out and saying: What a great Budget it is for business, methinks they've not looked very carefully at the document. Because there is nothing there. There is $2.5 million increase alone in the payroll tax, $73 million coming out of the payroll tax, primarily from small businesses that are not profitable.

Increase in vehicle fees will impact on small business; not a lot for small business, twenty dollars a year maybe per vehicle. Take your average family though, Mr. Speaker, the average family today, two people working probably, two-car family; it's not exceptional. Maybe a couple of kids in university. Four drivers, two cars.

AN HON. MEMBER: You don't need (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: You don't need what?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Two cars, forty dollars and another five dollars per person per license. That's sixty dollars.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Picture and everything! Who cares about the picture? Do you think the individual cares that the picture is on the license?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) I.D. you'd save some money at the liquor commission.

MR. WINDSOR: You'd save nothing, Mr. Speaker.

So you're looking at sixty dollars right there. If you're operating two cars you're going to burn at least, even just around the city, $300 a month in gasoline. That would be a conservative estimate I would think.

AN HON. MEMBER: It certainly is (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, I spend a lot more than that unfortunately. The average family, certainly, even just driving around the city - it has nothing to do with rural Newfoundland which is a different ball game altogether. You're certainly -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Thirty cents a week, depending on what you drive. Well I'm estimating here $300 a month gas to operate two vehicles, an average family with two vehicles. So the tax is about 60 per cent of that. It's about 60 per cent of that, and eight-tenths of a cent per litre gives you about $110. It's about ten dollars a month increase. So that's $110 there and sixty dollars then for licenses and fees. You're looking at $170 a year. Fifteen dollars a month to the average family, that's the difference in those adjustments. It may not sound like much, Mr. Speaker, but - pardon? How much what?

AN HON. MEMBER: It's only thirty cents on a tank of gas.

MR. WINDSOR: Thirty cents on a tank of gas. How many tanks of gas you use?

AN HON. MEMBER: One a week.

MR. WINDSOR: One a week. Well you must live across the street from Confederation Building. The average family will use two tanks of gas a week, fifty dollars a week.

AN HON. MEMBER: It depends on what kind of car you're driving (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: A small car, yes. Anyway you're talking fifteen to twenty dollars a month.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I suppose I could go on and on and on for hours, I don't see much point in it. The Member for St. John's South wants me to keep going.

MR. ROBERTS: Don't give up yet, not for another five minutes. (Inaudible). There's half bottle of cognac in it for you, if you keep going.

MR. WINDSOR: If you can find the other half I'll go for another five hours.


MR. ROBERTS: If the hon. gentleman can keep going until nine o'clock without assistance from me, one of my colleagues owes me a bottle of cognac. Now no assistance from me.

MR. WINDSOR: The hon. gentleman has no idea what I would do for half a bottle of cognac.

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, I do. That's why I'm offering it.

MR. WINDSOR: You have found my Achilles Heel, I must confess. Outside of a cough drop, a good bottle of cognac is worth a lot.

Mr. Speaker, I do just want to summarize what I'm saying. There's not a lot in the Budget to be honest. I think the minister stretched it in trying to find ten pages. But there's some damage in the Budget and there are some failures in the Budget. The failure to create jobs has got to be the most significant, and that's where we needed some real incentive here.

I don't think for a moment that the environment or the private sector has been greatly enhanced by this Budget. As I have indicated in fact, business may think it's a positive Budget for business, I on the other hand believe that in fact it takes more money out of the pockets of private sector. It does nothing to encourage small business; that's the real failure. The benefit is on the corporate tax rate which is to the larger corporation.

AN HON. MEMBER: The few who are making profits.

MR. WINDSOR: The few who are making profits. The payroll tax is from coming largely out of those that are the big employers. Those that are labour-intensive suffer more from the payroll tax; those that are capital- intensive suffer less. The oil industry will not suffer greatly from the payroll tax because the labour component is such a small component of their cost. But those that are labour-intensive, such as the example I used, the fish plant where you have high numbers of people doing very labour-intensive work, those are the ones, Mr. Speaker, that suffer the most. There is nothing in this Budget -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Say that again?

AN HON. MEMBER: The fish plants are (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Some fish plants did but the point is, even if they lost money, the fact that they employed - and a small fish plant in rural Newfoundland with 400 employees is not unusual.

AN HON. MEMBER: They made a lot of money last year.

MR. WINDSOR: They might have made money last year, but there are a lot of them that lost money last year and have lost money for a number of years. Even though they have 400 or 500 employees - and the more employees they hire, the more they pay in payroll taxes - that just makes their losses greater. So it is a disincentive.

MR. BAKER: All the European countries have a payroll tax (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It is still a disincentive, Mr. Speaker. There is no way to talk around it. Payroll tax is a tax on jobs; it is a disincentive to hire people. It is as simple as that.

There is another article that I had here to which I wanted to refer. If I can find it now, I will do it quickly because I don't see any point in keeping hon. gentlemen too much longer. There was another article that I had here, a recent one. I don't see it there now, but basically it is a national organization decrying the payroll tax, saying how it is so negatively impacting on jobs particularly in the small business sector.

This government, in their Strategic Economic Plan, has indicated that they see the small business sector as being the area where jobs will be created. We have talked, in the last three or four hours since I have been on my feet, about tourism for example and so many other areas where jobs can be created on a small scale. The Department of Industry, Trade and Technology has some programs, a marketing program expansion, for example, which will help small business. We have seen some excellent examples of small businesses exporting. We had one in my district just a month ago - the Premier came in and did a little ribbon-cutting ceremony - a company that is in a high tech area, building a fire-fighting module for the offshore for Hibernia. They are being built in Donovan's, shipped to Italy and being put into the giant module in Italy, and are all being designed and built in Mount Pearl. A small business, maybe only a dozen high tech employees doing some excellent state of the art work, and that is the kind of thing that we need to get into.

We are not going to do that by cutting back on educational funding; we are not going to do that by cutting back on grants to students; we are not going to do it by cutting back on school busing; we are not going to do it, Mr. Speaker, by not putting in place incentives for small businesses, by leaving the payroll tax in place. All of these things, Mr. Speaker, make it so much more difficult for small businesses to survive in this Province. We should be removing some of these disincentives, creating some jobs, stimulating the economy, creating some real economic growth and creating some tax revenues for the Province; not by increasing taxes but by broadening the tax base, Mr. Speaker, by increasing the number of businesses and people who are supporting the economy of this Province. That way we will have the financial abilities to support the services that people want. We won't be closing hospital beds, we won't have as many people on social assistance, we won't have as many people on unemployment.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Can I sit down now? We have our bottle of cognac? Very well. Mr. Speaker, it is not because of the bottle of cognac, but I think it is an appropriate opportunity. I one time asked my wife when I finished an after-dinner speech: How did you think I did tonight? She said: You did very well, but you missed three excellent opportunities to sit down.

MR. ROBERTS: Wives are terrific like that, aren't they?

MR. WINDSOR: I perceive that this is one of them and it is probably a good opportunity to sit. I'm looking forward to getting into some of the exchange back and forth. To be quite honest, this kind of a speech is not totally productive. It is far more productive to get into the estimates situation. As the Government House Leader indicates, not a soul listening, certainly nobody in the galleries.

MR. ROBERTS: VOCM (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: VOCM is true to its word. My good friend, Scott Chafe.

AN HON. MEMBER: Voice of the Common Man.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: I have to say, Mr. Speaker, that wherever I am Scott Chafe seems to appear to cover the news. I can't even get on my snowmobile up in Salmonier Line and go through the woods without running across him over in his lodge on the other side of Salmonier Line. I give him full credit, he is there listening. At least he pretends to be listening. I believe he is, too. I said something one night two weeks ago, about 10:30 p.m., I believe it was, and lo and behold, the next morning I heard myself being quoted on the radio. I said: Well, I didn't think there was anybody listening, but I thank my friend Scott and VOCM for that.


MR. WINDSOR: It is the only thing that keeps us going, knowing that VOCM cares. That's right.

As I was saying, I think the exchange on the estimates is far more productive, when we can have quick exchanges back and forth and get some information. Standing here and pontificating, prophesying and all the rest of it, has some benefit I suppose, but it's far more important to get to the meat of the estimates quickly, start looking at each of the individual items and do a proper analysis of what is being done and why.

AN HON. MEMBER: Adjourn the debate (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Adjourn the debate. I will adjourn the debate, Mr. Speaker, and invite all hon. members to the Minister of Justice's office for a toddy and cognac.

MR. ROBERTS: If the hon. gentleman (inaudible) debate then my friend for LaPoile will adjourn the debate and we will go home. So if the hon. gentleman is finished....

MR. WINDSOR: I can sit.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

With due diligence for this evening, I will now ask that we adjourn the debate.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have to say, it's easy to see what appeals to members at this hour of night. Both my friend from Mount Pearl and my friend from Port aux Basques gave the members what they wanted to hear, the adjournment motion.

Mr. Speaker, in moving the adjournment perhaps I could discuss business for the next few days. The really good news is that the cries that have come on every hand night and day, to bring back Baker, have been heeded. I have to go away tomorrow but I'm sorry, I have to say to my friends, I'm coming back - backbenchers over here. Anyway, Mr. Speaker, with overwhelming public demand -

MR. FLIGHT: We want Winst. We want Winst.

MR. ROBERTS: Bring back Baker, I say to my friend from Windsor - Buchans.

In any event, tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, we'll ask the House to begin the debate on the Interim Supply Bill which was distributed here in the House today. That will be in committee and we'll see where we go from there.

Now Wednesday is Private Members' Day. It's a government Private Members' Day, one of the members supporting the government. My understanding is that the members on this side are prepared to wave Private Members' Day in the interest of getting out of here at some point before Orangeman's Day, but that will be a matter for the House itself to decide. We would need unanimous consent to do that. I'm authorized on behalf of my colleagues who sit to your honours left, to say that we are prepared to use Wednesday as a government business day if all hon. members in the House so do. Perhaps my friend from Gander can raise that tomorrow. Then we'll begin the interim supply debate.

The only other thing I'd say to my friend from Mount Pearl is as soon as I collect from my friend from St. Barbe, the bottle of cognac, my friend from Mount Pearl and I can go in that legal exercise known as easement which is the right to go through something. So we shall see (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well I - and my friend from Mount Pearl will have to take an oath that I did not egg him on past nine o'clock because that was what the wager was.

With that said, Your Honour, I will move that the House at its rising adjourn until tomorrow Tuesday, at 2:00 p.m. and that the House do now adjourn and I'll see you all Friday morning.

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