April 19, 1994                HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS             Vol. XLII  No. 25

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Mr. Dicks): Order, please!

On behalf of hon. members I would like to welcome to the House of Assembly Her Excellency, Maxine Eleanor Roberts the High Commissioner for Jamaica.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: I would also like to welcome to the House of Assembly forty students from the Career Academy in Spaniard's Bay together with their instructors David Dawe and Wade Smith.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Mr. Speaker, this morning I attended the press conference held by Mr. Axworthy and Mr. Tobin where they announced the new Atlantic Ground Fish Strategy, called TAGS. I would say at the outset, it's probably a very good name to have on it, TAGS, because I think he's tagging thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, Mr. Speaker, and then he's going to let them go from the compensation programs.

Now at that press conference we were told that 30,000 people now get benefits from NCARP and AGAP, 77 per cent or 23,000 of them are from Newfoundland and Labrador. Mr. Tobin said at the end of the five years there would be some 6700 left on compensation programs in Atlantic Canada. So if we keep 77 per cent of them it will mean that in this Province we will see approximately 5500 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in the fifth year of the program receiving benefits from the compensation program. I'd like to ask the Premier, does he and his government support this? Does he agree that the ground fish industry in this Province should be shrunk to approximately 5500 fishermen and fish plant workers?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I don't support the hon. member's interpretation of it. I've reviewed this in some considerable detail with Mr. Tobin and if we were paying the bill and footing the bill entirely, we might well design it somewhat differently. I can only accept and support the proposition that's now being put forward by the federal government in the circumstances. The government of the Province has reviewed it and given a qualified or conditional approval to the federal government and explained to them the concerns that we have. There were half a dozen caveats, as I recall them, that we noted for the federal government. One of which is that during the first six months or so there would be a period that would permit an adequate level of consultation with those affected and appropriate adjustment, that we would put in place a Fisheries Renewal Board that would provide for the ongoing management and direction of the fishery, not simply preside over the down-sizing of the existing facilities, that if in the future year or two years down the road an assessment proves that their projections were not realistic, there would have to be adjustments to the program that would reflect the reality, and that there would be an appropriate assessment a couple of years or so down the road. Those are some of the key areas, there were some other conditions as well but we express general approval subject to those qualifications.

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

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

Yes, what a difference we see in the Premier since October. No matter what the previous federal government and the federal minister Mr. Crosbie did, it was never enough for this Province and now the Premier basically says he supports a reduction of fishermen and fish plant workers down to 5,500.

Now Mr. Tobin said this morning that he has worked very closely with the provincial government in this matter so the Premier obviously knows the details. Cabinet has been briefed in the last week or so and the caucus - details certainly were not mentioned by Mr. Tobin this morning because he was very evasive.

Over the next five years, approximately 18,000 fishermen and plant workers in this Province will be cut adrift from the program. The plan is to phase them out between now and 1998. Can the Premier inform the House and consequently the people of the Province, how many people will be dropped from the program in each of the four years leading up to 1998, because in my view and in my analysis, it looks like it will be between an average of 3,000 to 4,000 people per year? Can the Premier confirm that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member may not have all of the details so I shouldn't be too critical of his characterization of the proposal. The proposal also contemplates two other aspects, one of which is a Fisheries Renewal Board which will provide for the renewal and ongoing development and management of the fishery in this Province. A renewal board to be operated jointly by the federal and provincial governments, and that's what I just talked about. It would have a mandate to manage, to manage forward the fishery, not simply a mandate to manage the downsizing of the present harvesting and processing facility. That is the specific condition which the Province put forward.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Well, I disagree with the hon. member. That's not what Mr. Tobin told me as late as yesterday, so -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Well, I disagree. Now Mr. Tobin knows the basis on which the Province expressed its approval and that's one of them. A second basis is that there be implemented an economic diversification program to deal with and provide alternate employment opportunities for those who will come out of the fishery compensation program, and who may well come out of the fishery itself if it doesn't recover to a level that is sufficient to enable their continuing involvement in it. That's part of the condition on which the Province expressed approval for the federal approach.

I have also had the Prime Minister and Mr. Massé confirm that they are approaching this from three specific points of view: One, the interim compensation for a period of up to five years; secondly, the fishery renewal; and thirdly, economic diversification in the Province that is necessary to deal with the consequence of this problem. So the Province's expression of approval is on those express circumstances, express conditions.

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

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

I can appreciate the Premier wasn't at the press conference this morning, but the Minister of Fisheries was certainly there, and Mr. Tobin made it categorically clear that the industry renewal boards would have a specific mandate to reduce the processing capacity in the Atlantic region by 50 per cent.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I heard it, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, but that's what he said the mandate was. Anyway, let me carry on.

About half the money in the new TAGS program will be spent on green projects, or make-work projects, hopefully to improve environment and fish habitat and so on. Fishermen and plant workers will be employed, Mr. Axworthy said this morning, for twenty-six weeks, and will then be eligible for UI with a top-up from the TAGS program.

I would like to ask the Premier: What will happen to these people when they run out of UI and they can't find another job? Will they be able to go back on the TAGS program, or will they simply be dropped then? Does the Premier have that information?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The people who will get work on what they call the green projects, make-work. They are going to put them to work for twenty-six weeks; then they are going on UI, Mr. Axworthy said this morning. The question is: Once they exhaust UI, will they then go back on the TAGS program or will they be dropped?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, let me just correct the representation that the hon. member made with respect to the mandate of the Fishing Industry Renewal Board.

Yes, it will be part of the mandate of the Fishing Industry Renewal Board to manage whatever downsizing is necessary to ensure that we are left with an effective and efficient fishery, but that is only part of the mandate. Its mandate will be to provide for future renewal of the fishery.

This is not a fishery downsizing board; this is a fisheries renewal board, and renewal and downsizing are two quite different things. Its mandate includes downsizing, that is quite true, but it also includes forward renewal as well.

Mr. Speaker, the proposal with respect to the compensation for individuals who engage in full-time or part-time work activity is that they will be able to do that and go back on the program afterwards. They will be able to do that - go back on the program afterwards. If there is a job opportunity and somebody takes the job and works for six months, a year, or eighteen months, and loses the job, that doesn't deprive him forever of the alternative of having to rely on the assistance, assuming he still continues to qualify, he still meets the requirements. He would meet the requirements on the same basis as if he stayed on the program on full-time.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: A further supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I would like to ask the Premier if he knows - and it raised a big question in my mind this morning, when I heard the announcement that fishermen and plant workers are going to have to reapply for benefits under the new program. It seemed to me that DFO certainly has a data base on every person who has received benefits under NCARP or AGAP, and why would they now have to reapply? I would like to ask the Premier, are there any new eligibility criteria that will eliminate hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people up front from the program when they apply very soon? Does he know how many people won't even qualify for tags in the next few months?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: There are none that I'm aware of that would disqualify people immediately. What the minister explained to me the other day was that all of those presently in receipt of it would continue to receive it at least until the end of this calendar year. Then there are some, he says, who really ought not to have been qualified to receive it in the first instance. They have the information on that. I don't have the detail but this is what he tells me - I've no doubt he is giving me accurate information. They would fall off within that six-month period.

At least everybody who is receiving it now would continue to receive it until the end of this year. Then those who don't meet the qualifications as outlined would not continue beyond the end of this year. I don't know what that number would be. I heard an estimate that I thought it was as many as 3,000 - does that sound right?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Three or four thousand.

AN HON. MEMBER: Twenty-eight hundred.

PREMIER WELLS: Twenty-right hundred to 3,000. I thought 3,000 was the number that I had heard, but I don't know with certainty. What Mr. Tobin also told me - and what few people particularly in the rest of Canada realize - is that when the NCARP was put in place, they did it with such swiftness and such lack of detailed attention that they sent thousands of cheques out to people who had no basis for qualifying at all. What people don't realize in this country is that some 4,000 people sent the cheques back and said they weren't qualified to receive it. That is a far cry from being characterized as greedy, grabbing people who want to grab every cent they can. They sent cheques out to some 4,000 people, Mr. Tobin told me, who promptly sent the cheques back and said they weren't qualified to receive it. But I've no doubt others may well have kept it.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: A final supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Opposition House Leader on a supplementary.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I can identify with what the Premier said about people returning cheques because I know a number who came to my home and asked what they should do with them and I advised them to send them back. I can name them, which I won't do here.

Now that the Federal Government have announced its plan, I guess, its framework, as of today, would the Premier consider tabling proposals that the Province put forward on this program? Would he consider tabling them so that we can see really what this Province proposed by way of compensation for the 23,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians? Would he undertake to do that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, we participated with the Federal Government in discussions in developing jointly a program since about March 10. We were not involved prior to the 10 March, or had very little involvement, but since about March 10 there has been a detailed almost daily involvement with the two governments developing this approach. I would consider it to be inappropriate for the government of the Province to now put forward its bargaining negotiating proposals. No government would ever deal with us again in the future if we did that, and I do not think it is the appropriate thing to do at all.

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

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

My question is for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. Has he seen the analysis done by the federal Department of Human Resources and Labour in relation to the impact on the Province of the UI cuts announced recently in the Federal Government Budget? Will he confirm today in the House that the department estimates that Newfoundland and Labrador will lose $262 million per year in annual income from U.I. as a result of these changes or cuts?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am not in a position to be able to confirm the last numbers that the hon. member mentioned. The last report that I dealt with from the federal human resources development people were preliminary estimates and they informed our office and the department that they would do further work on those particular numbers. They have been consulting with officials in the department and I am not in possession yet of any final numbers they have come to. They are still preliminary estimates and I have taken the position that there was no position from which to react until they had more definitive figures than were presented the last time I saw them.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I would like the table the document today then, if the minister doesn't have it - U.I. data from the Department of Human Resources and Labour, population data from Statistics Canada, which confirms clearly that $262 million of annual income will be taken out of this Province as a result of the U.I. changes.

Now, Mr. Speaker, this Province, with just over 2 per cent of the population of Canada, of the country, will bear 11 per cent of the cuts to UI. In other words, the per capita impact of the UI cuts will be five times greater in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador than anywhere else in Canada, Mr. Speaker. Does the minister consider that fair and equitable, and have you protested, or your government protested, this gross indecency that has been caused to the people of this Province?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I pointed out in answer to the first question, the preliminary estimates done by the federal Department of Human Resources and Development, which is now a very large, new department that covers unemployment insurance as well as many of the other social programs, had done their preliminary estimates based on a number of assumptions and also assuming that there might be some behavioural changes that would occur as a result of the necessary changes in the unemployment insurance system.

I on behalf of this particular government, and no one that I know of on behalf of this particular government, has protested in the fashion that the hon. member suggests to be appropriate. Because we have acknowledged and have understood for some time that the one thing that the federal government had to do, and must do, is to make sure, just like we had to make similar decisions in this Province with respect to workers' compensation, the pension plans and other programs, that people in Newfoundland and Labrador rely so heavily upon unemployment insurance and will continue to do so for some time, that it is in the best interest of everybody in Newfoundland and Labrador that they make decisions to guarantee the long term viability and sustainability of the unemployment insurance program.

These first steps were announced in the Budget this year. We are left with the challenge as I've outlined in the House before of finding out between us, together in a joint fashion if we can, how we can fill the new gaps that have been left. Because everybody recognises, and we've addressed these issues in this Legislature before, that there are some new income maintenance gaps that have been created by the unemployment insurance changes. Letting the unemployment insurance system go further into financial trouble is not in the best interest of anybody in Newfoundland and Labrador, or anybody in the country for that matter.

MR. SPEAKER: Final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, is the minister saying in the House today that people in this Province should bear their share of responsibility disproportionately to the rest of Canada and all Canadians? Is that what you've confirmed here today? Two hundred and sixty-two million dollars is more than one-third of all UI that comes into this Province, I say to the minister. It is nearly three times as much as the total employment income paid out at the Hibernia site. Has the government, or will he, as the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, commission to examine the impact on the provincial economy of this huge loss in income? How many jobs will be lost in spin-off because there will be $262 million dropped in consumer spending? How much revenue will the Province lose directly and indirectly as a result of these cuts?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I point out again to the hon. member opposite that, again, preliminary information on those kinds of impacts have already been presented to ourselves and also to officials in the Department of Finance and Treasury Board. They've done some preliminary estimates as to what impact that would have on the economy in the Province, and the finances of the government, let alone the finances of the individuals who will receive less as a result of those unemployment changes.

As I've pointed out again in answer to the last question, the problem that we've been addressing since then with the federal government is not to protest. Because they did something that they felt right across the country had to be done to preserve the financial integrity of the unemployment insurance system that we rely upon. We want that to happen. We want to make sure that stays in place in a viable, sustainable way for the long-term.

What we are trying to do in the short-term, Mr. Speaker, as I've pointed out in this Legislature before, is to find meaningful, realistic ways to meet the challenge of adjusting to those new family and personal income gaps that have been left as a result of the changes in unemployment insurance with no other companion programs yet put in place.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It seems passing strange that the reduction in unemployment insurance pay outs to this Province, if you divide it out over a five year period, you will find it equals exactly the amount of money that has been put forward this morning by the new NCARP or the new fisheries strategy program. There is no new money coming into this Province whatsoever.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FITZGERALD: My question, Mr. Speaker, is to the Minister of Social Services. Since the federal cuts to UI will have a major impact on the number of people on social assistance, let me ask the minister if he has seen the estimated impact on social assistance prepared by the federal Department of Human Resources and Development? Does he know that the federal department estimates there will be 3,005 new social assistance cases in this Province as a result of the UI changes, and do his own estimates confirm those numbers?

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

MR. LUSH: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we are aware that certain decisions by the federal government will have certain implications for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians but we're optimistic as well that certain other economic plans are going to cause some upswing in the economy and even though these figures are speculative at the moment we're hoping - not being as pessimistic, Mr. Speaker, as hon. gentlemen opposite, who would wish that there's no improvement in the economy - wishing, hoping and praying for improvements in the economy, this side of the House is wishing, praying, assisting and doing things that are going to help the economy increase and grow.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the numbers are horrendous. According to the federal Department of Human Resources over 16,350 people would no longer qualify for UI. Another 13,700 will get less UI because of the reduced benefits and the shortened claim period. That's over 30,000 people in this Province who will be directly affected by the UI cuts. One-fifth of the total in all of Canada, Mr. Speaker, and 10 per cent of those will end up on social assistance for the first time. Has the minister estimated the impact of the shortened UI claim period on existing social assistance cases? Does he agree with the federal department that 2,575 people, who now qualify for both UI and for social assistance, will have to stay on social assistance for at least an additional two months each year because of the shortened UI claim period?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MR. LUSH: We're facing the economic realities, Mr. Speaker, which we much face. We're also hoping, as I've said in my previous answer, that the economy is going to improve and the economy is going to grow but on the basis of the figures which the hon. gentleman uses, the Department of Social Services is gearing itself accordingly and we are hopeful that our own programs as well in the area of employment generation are going to help offset some of the negative impacts of which the hon. gentleman speaks but, Mr. Speaker, we live in a real world, we live in a real economic world and this government will do the appropriate thing.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to ask the minister if he has estimated how much the change in UI will cost the Province in additional payouts for social assistance? Is he demanding from the federal government help in this particular area?

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

MR. LUSH: The answer to the first question is yes, Mr. Speaker. With respect to the second question, the federal government, they're always there to help but, Mr. Speaker, we're also going to initiate our own initiatives and try to help ourselves.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of Education. Some time ago the Minister of Education notified the various school boards in the Province the number of teaching and administrative positions that they can retain for the 1994-95 school year. Some boards have said publicly that the cuts to their staff are two to three times what they had expected. How many teaching positions, I ask the minister, administrative positions, in total will be eliminated at the end of the current school year?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I would have to get the exact figure but I think it's 191. We're taking two coordinators from each board so that would be fifty-four coordinators and the remainder are teachers but I'll confirm that exactly with the hon. member after question period.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I would ask the minister if that includes reductions as a consequence of the 2 per cent savings clause or is that the number that just results from the normal decline in student enrollments? Also, Mr. Speaker, school boards, particularly those in rural Newfoundland, are facing an impossible dilemma. They can't make the cuts that the government is asking without eliminating programs. I'm sure the minister is monitoring that situation and I'd ask him to confirm it. Does he have any idea as to what kinds of programs the various school boards in rural Newfoundland are eliminating?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, as a result of the 2 per cent clause there are an additional 362 teachers in the system this year, now. Government has given an interim allocation to school boards, which will be about 190 less than it would have been this year, considering the 2 per cent rule.

As for the impact that is having on the programs in the schools, the hon. member must realize, especially this hon. member who taught in Mount Pearl, where this is not a single teacher on hold-back, and he knows just how difficult it is for his board and his school to offer the program. What we are saying to the rest of the Province now is that they, like the other parts of the Province where there is increasing enrollment, will have to try to live with the student/teacher allocation the same as everyone else.

Now notwithstanding that, there are special provisions under the small schools act which makes extra teachers available for small schools, but they are done for totally different reasons. The 2 per cent clause was actually a clause in the teachers' contract.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to hear the minister say that he is initiating procedures of the small schools policy. I am sure that all the school boards of rural Newfoundland would be happy to hear that; however, we are told that various school boards are cutting out programs like music, art, physical education, and guidance services and all of these are important.

We are very concerned that in such times as we are facing today, with the difficulties that we face in various communities, that government would be knowledgeable of the procedures in place by school boards to drop guidance services. Children and young people are facing personal and many family problems, and I ask the minister if he would look at the situation, particularly the guidance services cuts that school boards are doing, and would he take measures to ensure that in times when we have problems with disruptive students in the school, serious economic problems in our communities, that he would take measures to ensure that guidance services is not one of the programs that gets cuts.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, we are monitoring very closely what is happening in the school system in this Province. We have to make sure that no matter where a child attends school in this Province he has an equal right to have the best possible education that he or she can have. That is being done; however, we also have the responsibility of spending the few dollars this Province has in a way which is reasonable and sensible.

The reality is that as a result of the 2 per cent rule some boards in this Province have in excess of forty-odd teachers on hold-back, over and above what they would normally be entitled to under the normal teacher allocation distribution. We have to make sure that we don't waste any money. The money that we have has to be spent properly and wisely, and that is exactly what we are doing.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Tourism and Culture.

The recent announcement this morning by the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans on the Atlantic groundfish strategy stated that recipients will be encouraged to start their own businesses and will be offered financial assistance along with entrepreneurial training and technical support.

Now I ask the minister: How is it possible to start a business in the tourism industry when your department has a policy that does not permit recipients of NCARP and other such benefits to avail of any departmental approval?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned to the hon. member earlier, I received his fax this morning dealing with the specific case that he outlined to me, and we will deal with that shortly.

When he talks about this particular industry and its growth, I should point out to him that we have seen one of the strongest growths in this sector, in Canada, in the last number of years. The businesses now are at something approaching 1,400 businesses in the tourism industry, and it has grown by 24 per cent between 1990 and 1993, so I think there is some room for further growth.

One of the things we have to be careful about is saturation, because if you have a stampeding out of one industry into another, you are only going to find yourself wrecking that other industry, so we have to be careful issuing our licences for bed and breakfasts, for country inns, for tour boat operators, and these kinds of things, and it has to be done very carefully.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Ferryland, on a supplementary.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am not talking about competing business, I am talking about business where there is no competition in that area for this type of business, and a letter from one of your directors to a constituent indicated: they want to guard against negative, competitive impact to existing operations and fishery related subsidization like bounties or NCARP wages et cetera, they were referring to, so in an industry that is not competing with any other local industry within a fair distance, even 100 kilometres distance, will the minister lift that restriction now or discuss with his department officials to enable people who are in the fishery to work in a co-operative manner to be able to have these phased out in the business that they desire to enter?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I hear what the hon. member is saying, but equally, I have had representation from others of his constituents who are very concerned and who have spent a lot of money, Mr. Speaker, gearing up for the tourism industry; they have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on vessels and preparing them for tourism operations right in his own district, so I hear conflicting points of view. I hear from one group of his constituents: don't allow anybody else to enter. I hear from the hon. member that he has other constituents who now want to enter. It is a very delicate balance. We can't saturate the marketplace with respect to boat tour operators; we can't expect every fisherman to convert his boat and go out and become tour boat operators, that just wouldn't work, it would saturate the marketplace.

In the particular case that the hon. member is talking about, it is clearly away from that group of constituents who are currently operating. It's an exciting proposal; it is talking about diving to look at wrecks and that kind of thing and bringing in tourists from around the world. We will look at it on its own merit and if in fact there is no competition factor, I can't see why fisheries and the archaeological people in historic resources and indeed tourism wouldn't license something like that.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.


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

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

Today, I rise to present a petition on behalf of a number of people in my district, and outside my district, some from St. John's and Mount Pearl. The petition reads: `To the Newfoundland House of Assembly. We, the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, who wish to avail themselves of the right to present a grievance common to the House of Assembly in the certain assurance that the House will therefore provide a remedy, we submit:

WHEREAS we, the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador, seek to stop the proposed sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro; and

WHEREAS the sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has not been proven to be in the best interests of the citizens of the Province; and

WHEREAS the production of electricity is an essential service for the people of the Province and should be controlled by the people;

WHEREFORE the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon Parliament to demand the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador not to privatize and sell Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and to ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro remains a Crown corporation, and as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.'

Mr. Speaker, last fall there was a lot of talk about the merger of Fortis with Newfoundland Hydro and today we are talking about the privatization of Hydro on a stand-alone basis. I personally believe that the end result will be the same. The reason given for the privatization of Hydro is that it would be more efficient, a more efficient supply of power, yet the Premier has stated that there would be an increase in rates other than would normally happen if Hydro were not privatized. Last year when there was a lot of talk about the Fortis merger, it was public opinion that stopped it. At least, a lot of people thought that the privatization of Hydro would be stopped, but obviously it was not. The Premier decides to go full steam ahead even though five polls now show that 80 per cent of the decided vote are opposed to the privatization of Hydro. Now, we see that the government is actually grasping at straws to try to obtain support for the privatization of Hydro. We have RBC Dominion Securities coming out in support, a group of people who are going to make approximately upwards of $20 to $30 million on the deal. Why wouldn't they support such a project? We have Mr. Kellogg from Merrill Lynch coming down and speaking in favour of the privatization of Hydro. I think we have heard enough from mainlanders coming and telling us what is best for Newfoundlanders. It is about time to listen to Newfoundlanders themselves, 80 per cent against. With respect to Mr. Kellogg's script, I think it had to be written by the Premier and passed over, then read word for word.

Mr. Speaker, there have been a number of public meetings held by several of the Opposition members, and also some of the government members. The Member for St. John's South had one in his district, and I had one last week, in Torbay, actually, April 14, and over 100 people attended that public meeting. Let me tell you the people were very, very upset because of what is going on in this Province today. Not one person out of 100 spoke in favour of the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro. The Premier went on Province-wide TV to tell us the real truth about the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro. Then he told us it was to gain access to Churchill power. He basically told his members opposite to keep quiet and not say anything along that line, to keep it a big secret. We were maintaining for months that there was a secret agenda but we were told there was no such thing. He basically muzzled the members opposite. In the Leaders' debate two nights later he came out and told us the real truth, the real, real truth this time, that the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro was not necessary to gain access to the Upper Churchill power. This is the statement he made, a contradictory statement in one sentence: `This legislation has nothing to do with accessing the Upper Churchill power, but if, down the road, Newfoundlanders need access to the Upper Churchill power, then we can use this to access the power.' Now, that is a contradiction in one sentence. The Premier also stated that if the majority of the people of Newfoundland opposed the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro he would resign. Now, as always, in any statement the Premier makes, or any policy, he always leaves a back door open for himself, and he qualified that statement by saying, if it could be proven. That is his legal tendency coming out again in that statement - `if it can be proven, well, then I would resign.' That would be a hard thing to prove, I would imagine.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: No, I don't expect him to. Now, we have a prominent citizen from St. John's opposing the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro - Mr. Jim Halley, who is a -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. J. BYRNE: By leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

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


MR. SPEAKER: Go ahead.

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

There is a prominent citizen now who comes out opposing the privatization of Hydro, Mr. Jim Halley. He has come concerns with respect to the shares leaving the Province, as we've already stated in the past, money leaving the Province, as we all know is happening now from the Upper Churchill deal. Here is an issue that is not getting a lot of debate but I think needs to be brought forward. Mr. Halley mentioned this. He is talking about if Quebec leaves the country, and that is a very real possibility. You know, if Quebec does decide to leave, we would have Hydro in Newfoundland being controlled by a foreign country.

Now, in Ottawa in the House of Commons, the Official Opposition are the Bloc Quebecois. Fifty-odd seats, I believe they have. Their sole objective is to destroy this country. Actually, the citizens of the country are paying them to destroy the country. I don't know where else it could happen other than in Canada. My personal belief is that - I don't know if there is a law on the books where people can be charged with treason in this day and age, but as far as I'm concerned, those people should certainly be charged with treason. Here they are, their sole objective being to destroy this country, and here we are, falling right into their hands now with this deal with the privatization of Hydro.

AN HON. MEMBER: Line them up against the wall.

MR. J. BYRNE: Line them up, whatever. You said that, not me, I say to the Member for St. John's South.

It has been stated - not by me, certainly - that the Premier rules like a dictator. That may be okay if the government members on the opposite side there like that or accept that as a reality, but I personally don't accept it. Mr. Halley says that lawyers oppose the privatization of Hydro. Many lawyers out in private industry oppose the privatization of Hydro but they are afraid to come out and say that because they are afraid they would be on the Premier's blacklist. I would say that it is very frightening if the Premier's power can reach out to the general public that far. It is time for the people of this Province to have some concern on that issue.

I believe that not all the members opposite are in favour of the privatization of Hydro, they cannot be. I believe the Member for St. John's South honestly believes that the privatization of Hydro should go ahead. He stated it a year or two ago - sobeit. He is probably the only member opposite who really does believe that. I remember the Minister of Mines and Energy was on the Open Line show trying to defend the privatization of Hydro. It was a half-hearted effort and he was trying to defend something he didn't really believe in. That is what came across.

I'm not going to say too much more. All I would say to the members opposite, and to those people who are on the brink of changing their minds, that I think the people of this Province would certainly appreciate it if you had the guts, the gumption and the courage of your convictions to stand up and be counted and vote this privatization of Hydro down. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I'm glad to rise in support of this petition. The signatories of the petition are among the 80 per cent of the Newfoundland and Labrador population opposed to the government's Hydro privatization proposal.

Those people, as well as the others in the population, heard the Premier say on Province-wide TV that he would not proceed with Hydro privatization if, in the end, a majority of the population are opposed to it. Now, shortly after the Premier made that pledge, and he made it repeatedly and clearly on CBC television, live Province-wide television, polls were done, one by Decima Research, showing 87 per cent of the population decided, 79.-something against privatization. The other by M 5 Market Quest for Take Back The Power, the citizens group, showing 80 per cent of the population decided and again 79 per cent opposed.

Now, the Premier wouldn't accept those poll findings saying that people have been misinformed because of a few trouble-makers who have been spreading falsehoods; people are hysterical and the Premier set about re-educating the population. Since then, the publicly-funded ad campaign has intensified; we have been seeing full-page newspaper ads and since the re-education program has been running along, I have had the occasion to speak to two business groups in the Province on the subject of Hydro privatization.

Last week, the Corner Brook Chamber of Commerce had a program on Hydro privatization; last night the Baccalieu Trail Chamber of Commerce had a similar program. Now, in each case, the group of business people had the Minister of Mines and Energy speak for twenty minutes or so giving the government line on Hydro privatization, and I spoke for an equivalent length of time giving an Opposition perspective.

The Corner Brook Chamber, I am sorry to report, took an executive position in support of privatization but it was obvious at the meeting that many of their members do not share the position of the board. The Baccalieu Trail Chamber of Commerce which, recently was given the top award of all Chambers in the Province by the provincial umbrella group, took a much more enlightened approach after hearing the minister and me. At the end of the evening the Baccalieu Trail Chamber of Commerce, with leading business people from Port de Grave, Harbour Grace, Carbonear, Trinity - Bay de Verde and Bellevue districts, all Liberal districts, had a secret ballot vote and, do you know what? Sixty-two per cent voted against privatization.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, the business people along the Baccalieu Trail in Conception Bay North and Trinity South, are shrewd people and they know that privatizing Hydro is going to drive up electricity rates way more than they would rise otherwise. Those business people realize that through privatization, the Hydro profit - and, of course, there would be more of it - ordered by the PUB would mostly go outside the Province, and they are also cognizant of the fact that, divesting itself of Hydro, the government would be without the expertise and the financial strength necessary to develop the Lower Churchill and protect our interest in the Upper Churchill to benefit the government and the people of this Province. So, Mr. Speaker, the government may as well give up now.

The Premier may as well admit that this is the end, and in the end, an overwhelming majority of the population of the Province, even the business people in the district of the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, do not agree with the government; they are against the privatization of Hydro. It doesn't make any sense; as a business proposition it's crazy, so the government might as well give up and withdraw the legislation now.


AN HON. MEMBER: Tear up the bill.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to have a few words on this issue. I did undertake when I left this House a couple of weeks ago to go to my riding in Labrador - and I thought it was interesting what the Member for St. John's East ... I'm sorry, Humber East, that's pretty close to the Member for St. John's East ... had to say about how 80 per cent of the people out there now are up in arms. Now 80 per cent are really ranting and roaring about the Hydro issue, Mr. Speaker. Now, I wonder where they are, Mr. Speaker, I wonder where they are.

Yesterday, as a matter of fact, I awoke to this big announcement on the radio that, the leader of the POP was going to have a big rally, was going to block Confederation Building, going to probably have to shut down Prince Philip Drive, and probably have to close the university, because the people were so upset about this Hydro issue that they were going to come and mass on Confederation Building yesterday. We saw exactly what happened in that particular process. About fifty or so people showed up to register their dogmatic opposition to this issue - pure dogma, Mr. Speaker. They had a couple - I suppose two new faces there.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: They were in for tourist information I was informed - I stand to be corrected.

Today, we read in the Clarenville Packet, by the Member for Bonavista South, and I quote: MHA Roger Fitzgerald says the issue - this issue of not being able to cut some wood - is of a bigger concern than Hydro ever was on the Bonavista Peninsula.

Now, Mr. Speaker, where is it? Has he talked to his leader lately? Has he talked to Humber East lately, and said: Come on now, get real. We can't go out and cut wood on the Bonavista Peninsula, and that's a much bigger issue than it is where we are going to take up hours and hours of time in the House of Assembly, we are going to close down Prince Philip Drive, we are going to wipe out all kinds of debate on other issues, so we can finally get at this particular issue.

Now, when I was in my riding, I had five public meetings throughout the Coast of Labrador, in an area where we are depending on diesel-generated power. Yes, in a number of the meetings I did have the issue raised, and it was raised in this fashion:

The members of the community that were there said: Well, we would like to know why you're supporting the privatization of Hydro. I promptly insisted that it was the right thing for the Province to do at this particular time. That was about two or three minutes. Then for the other three hours that we were there at those public meetings, we talked about the future of the fishery in this Province and on the Coast of Labrador, and I submit it is about time that the members opposite get their priorities right and talk about their communities, talk about the rebuilding of that great resource that we came here for 400 years ago, and if they do that then maybe they will be recognized as a credible alternative. Maybe they will be seen to be doing something in the best interest of this Province, because right now you are chasing another loser, as you've chased it over the last number of years.

We have seen POP popping itself out of the woods. We have seen the Fitzgeralds' all fizzled out on the Bonavista Peninsula, so we now have a situation that's very clear. The people out there are telling us to go and do our job, implement our policies. That's why they sent us here.

They tell me on the Coast of Labrador - I have no doubt they are telling the members in every part of this Province - to do exactly what we were sent here to do, and I have no doubt that when that deed is done, when the bill is passed through this House, that the people will say: It's about time that we got some debate on the real issues of the Province today. The fishery of the future is what is concerning this Province, and I look forward to debating these people on these particular issues.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: I had to. I was forced to rise to submit to that tormenting member.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. DUMARESQUE: No leave? Don't want to hear any more?

MR. SPEAKER: No leave?

MR. DUMARESQUE: I can only tell him I have more, and I will be back.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I want to present a petition today on behalf of a group of people from the district of Terra Nova who are opposed to the privatization of Newfoundland Light and Power.

I don't think it's necessary for me to get into the -

AN HON. MEMBER: Hydro. Hydro.


MR. TOBIN: Probably I should read it, Mr. Speaker. It is against the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

Mr. Speaker, I heard the Member for Eagle River getting up and speaking to the petition, and I was surprised because I thought the member would never stand in this House again to speak. He crawled in through the back door and got up to speak about Hydro. He was afraid to attack the real issue and the real problem in this Province and that is, Mr. Speaker, the cloak and dagger that we've seen persist since October of last year and come to reality today upon the attack of the fish plant workers and fisherpersons in this Province.

He talked about the Member for Bonavista South referring to the wood-cutting problem. Well, if that's not associated with Hydro, Mr. Speaker, I don't know what is. There's something very interesting happening in this Province; the first thing the government did was bring in the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. What did they do then, Mr. Speaker? Just think about it. They brought in the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, number one. Secondly, they brought in regulations where people couldn't use all-terrain vehicles anymore. So, Mr. Speaker, you got your Hydro, you got your all-terrain vehicles and now you can't haul your wood out. So when there were ways of getting around that, what did they do? They brought in legislation - the minister is going to bring it before this House - basically denying the rights of people in rural Newfoundland to cut wood, because if you got eight days -

MR. FLIGHT: No legislation (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Well, regulation - but I say to the minister, that you're giving people in this Province eight days - the working person in this Province has eight days to cut and haul out of the woods his six cords of wood to do him for a year. So now, Mr. Speaker, they can't haul out the wood on their bikes, there's no wood to get. So it's all the more reason to burn -

MR. MURPHY: That's not (inaudible), you're driving (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I wish you could drive him out of here.

I say to the Member for St. John's South that if I was in here with less than 50 per cent support from my constituents, like he is, I'd be ashamed to stand up and speak anyway.

Getting back to the issue, they have taken the rights away from Newfoundlanders to jig a fish, to cut wood, to go in the woods on their bikes and now, Mr. Speaker, now what are they going to do? They are going to eliminate everyone who depended upon the fishery, cutting back to 5,500 people in five years time.

And the Member for Eagle River hasn't got the courage -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Pussycat!

MR. TOBIN: - Mr. Speaker, he's a cat, he's a pussycat - to stand up in this House and defend the rights of his constituents because when you talk about Hydro and the fact of what it's going to cost the people of this Province to run their homes now that they can't burn wood; and when you look at the fact that the minister today announced that he will be eliminating at least, he said, at least, 50 per cent capacity in the fishery, well, that 50 per cent of the processing will far exceed 50 per cent of the plants because the larger plants will gobble up all of the smaller ones. Every plant that will be eliminated in this Province will eliminate a community in this Province and make no mistake about it. So we are looking at, in this Province, at least 100 communities with no fish plant in the next few years - in the next few months.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No? Well, I say to you, why don't you get up and tell us? I can tell him one thing, I'll never be shut up by promises like you are.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Mr. Speaker, I've been forced to rise at such a vicious attack on me as that. I have to rise because, as the member has pointed out - he said, `you got your Hydro, you got your ATV's,' I couldn't help but remember the time that he took the former Premier down on the Burin road; he went down and had the big welcoming committee lined up. And the Premier turned to him, and said, `Mr. Tobin, why do they have those guns?'

MR. FLIGHT: No, he said `Glenn'.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Oh, `Glenn, why do they have those guns?' Oh, Mr. Premier, before you (inaudible) have a cigarette. But, Mr. Premier, they are the twenty-one gun salute that we got for you. But he said: Glenn, why are they pointing them at me?

So, Mr. Speaker, yes, we have the Hydro, we have the ATVs, but I would submit that he is the one who got what he wasn't expecting that time when he went down to Burin - Placentia.

MR. FLIGHT: `(Inaudible) get back on the bus, get back on the bus!'

MR. DUMARESQUE: `Get back on the bus, Mr. Premier, we've got to get this show on the road.' So they had to turn around, obviously, Mr. Speaker.

We are very serious about this issue over here because we know that the private sector of this Province has to be re-energized - for seventeen years, the members opposite did everything possible to kill the private sector in this Province, by raising all the taxes on the corporate tax rate, by raising the small business tax, they did everything possible to try to stymie and kill the private sector - so we want to be able to do that.

We know right now that there is no need for a government to be delivering electricity in this Province. We want to give it back to the private sector. When I have answered this question many times in my riding, and I know other hon. members have, and I tell people, because they ask: Why are we selling Hydro? When I say to them that for thirty-four years since we had Hydro we have not had one red cent of profit from Hydro. The people of this Province, the government of this Province, for thirty-four years have not had one red cent of profit from Hydro. People say to me: Why wouldn't you sell it? Those are the facts of the matter.

Then they say: `Well, the rates are going to go right through the roof.' And I say, `Well, that is not accurate either, because if you take Newfoundland Light and Power that has been a private company distributing 90 per cent of the electricity in this Province for one hundred years - a private company in the electrical business for one hundred years - and they have not had any more increases in their rates than Newfoundland Hydro has. As a matter of fact, the Public Utilities Board, a number of times, has turned to Newfoundland Light and Power and said: `No, you cannot have that increase that you are asking for.'

We have seen the private sector involved in the electricity industry of this Province. We have seen the role of the Public Utilities Board in protecting consumers. We know that those rates are not going to increase. That, I think, is what people are saying out there. If the rates are not going to increase there is no public policy to be served by having government involved in the electrical business. And if we haven't received one cent of profit from this company for thirty-four years, then, obviously we are in a very severe financial situation where we have unbelievable demands on the Minister of Health, unbelievable demands on the Minister of Education, unbelievable demands on the Minister of Social Services. All members of government are feeling the real need out there for government to be there to deliver those things to people who through no fault of their own are not able to get that extra money that they need.

So it is incumbent upon a responsible government, given that there is no public policy purpose to be served, given that we will not get one red cent of profit from Hydro forever, bearing in mind we never got one red cent for thirty-four years, and bearing in mind obviously that the rates will not increase any more than they've increased in the past. We can only look to Newfoundland Light and Power. They've been there, a private sector company in the electrical business, for one hundred years, they have not gotten any different treatment.

I would submit that once the people are submitted to these facts that they will quickly come to the realization: You are doing what is responsible, you are doing what we asked you to do, that is why we threw out the Tories five years ago, that is why we put you there, and that is why we re-elected you again last year. I submit that it is for those kinds of reasons, those kinds of policies, that we will be once again be re-elected when we have to go to the people to ask for their confidence and their judgement in the not-too-distant future, if the hon. the Premier decides to go that way.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It is getting kind of painful listening to the pussy-cat for Eagle River, the real pussy-cat he has turned into.

Yesterday he was referring to one of his colleagues as a neutered cat but as of today we know who the real neutered cat is in the Liberal caucus. After such an astounding announcement today by the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Mr. Axworthy, the great fighter, the great defender of the people's resources and the people's rights, the Member for Eagle River, is balled up in a cocoon, as Mr. Tobin was talking about someone else this morning - the protection of a cocoon. Now, that is where the hon. member is gone.

I want to support the petition presented by the Member for Burin - Placentia West, Mr. Speaker.

MR. TOBIN: So ably presented.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: So ably presented by my colleague, the Member for Burin - Placentia West - as ably presented, by the way, I want to say to the Member for Eagle River, as he guided the Premier's bus down the Burin Peninsula. Because I was there to witness the end result of that voyage down the Burin Peninsula.

MR. TOBIN: We elected Joe Price.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, that event won the federal riding of Burin -St. George's for Joe Price.

MR. TOBIN: Organized by the Fishermen's Union.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, the Fishermen's Union organized it; it backfired in their faces, and put Mr. Price over the top in the federal election. That is what happened there, I say to the Member for Eagle River, just for a piece of history that he might not know about.

Mr. Speaker, I want to support the petition. As everyone knows, we are adamantly opposed to the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, and I only wish that the Member for Eagle River and others opposite would sing the same tune in the House of Assembly as they sing behind the closed doors of the caucus room. I only with they wouldn't speak out of both sides of their mouth because when they are behind the closed doors of the caucus room, and you are going up the hall way to our caucus room, at certain points in time, you can hear the loud voices, and the loud debate, and the loud arguments, coming through the walls. And if you put the glass up to the wall you can tell who is shouting and bawling, and arguing, I say to the Member for Eagle River. Yet he comes in the House of Assembly and defends the very policies he opposes in caucus.


MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, yes, I say to the Member for Eagle River, it certainly is true, and he knows it is true. That is why I call him the pussy-cat of the Liberal caucus, the neutered cat of the Liberal caucus, the neutered tom-cat of the Liberal caucus, I say to the member - that's what he has become, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: It doesn't matter, if you're neutered, you're neutered.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, you are. It doesn't matter if you're a tom-cat or not. As a matter of fact, I suppose if you're neutered you probably shouldn't be called a cat.

MR. MURPHY: When you're fixed, you're fixed.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, you are, and I say to the Member for St. John's South, who says, `When you're fixed, you're fixed,' I think that is where the government is on this privatization issue. I think you're fixed, because there is no way, no matter what you do on this issue, you are going to convince Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that it is in their best interest. It is not in their best interest. The Member for Eagle River sounded somewhat like the Premier, because I have listened to the Premier this past couple of weeks in his great public debates, where he made a complete fool of himself, and solidified Newfoundlanders and Labradorians against him totally.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, the people. Eighty per cent of the people tell him that. He said, `But the people will change once they are told the full story.' Now, he has been six to eight months trying to tell the full story. Well, I say to the Premier and the Member for Eagle River that it is about time you told the people the full story.

MR. DUMARESQUE: They are changing fast.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, yes, I say to the Member for Eagle River, they are changing fast.

MR. DUMARESQUE: People are (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, down in the member's area there is no doubt that what he said is correct, that people are very, very concerned about the change. The Member for Trinity North points at his chest and says it is just as big an issue in his district. It was so big in Terra Nova that the member brought in a petition of 3,300 names.

AN HON. MEMBER: Well, he said he (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: The minister said he consulted with the two of them before (inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I thought I was recognized to speak but I am getting a little confused now as to really whose microphone is on. I am being shouted down.

Mr. Speaker, no matter what tactics the government undertakes in the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, people are becoming more and more solidified against it, I say to the Member for Eagle River. People are entrenched and dug in on the issue. It doesn't matter what the Premier or the government does; it's just bad for them now.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: By leave.

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


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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I really appreciate the fact that members on that side don't like to hear the real truth, they have been so long living and preaching falsehoods.

Actually, I am presenting a petition on behalf of residents of Conception Bay South, opposing the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro.

`WHEREFORE the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon Parliament to demand the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador not privatize and sell Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, and ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro remains a Crown corporation.'

Now the Member for Eagle River -

AN HON. MEMBER: How many names?

MR. SULLIVAN: Thirty-two.

The Member for Eagle River stood up and talked about what they are doing for business in this Province. I would like to tell the member that in 1989, the corporate business tax collected by this Province was $70-some million. Today, in this Budget, there is $41,400,000 budgeted for corporate income tax, and $72,500,000 budgeted - almost $114 million taken out of businesses in this Province, mostly with a payroll tax. Is that the message that you are going to send out that you are open for business in this Province?

This government has told the people that privatizing Hydro was going to send such a positive signal to the financial community. In other words, it is going to send a very, very, negative signal to the consumers of electricity in this Province and to the taxpayers in this Province.

This government hasn't, in spite of 1989 - in five years they are going to renew the economy. The Economic Recovery Commission is going to put this economy back on track.

We are going to see, with this Hydro privatization which, I am beginning to wonder now if we will ever see it. I am sure they will do the hon. thing and probably withdraw it, but if they are so naive and don't listen to the wishes of the people in this Province -

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: You just have to look around.

Today, on the front page of The Evening Telegram: `79 per cent opposed' - the Premier doesn't believe it. He doesn't believe these polls. And the Member for Eagle River should be in mourning today, when he is looking at a fishery that is going to come collapsing down around our ears, and already has, and we are going to dump people out without income -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: That's right, and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations today couldn't acknowledge that $262 million is going to come out of the provincial economy on unemployment insurance this year, and if you took the $1.9 billion announced by Mr. Tobin this morning, of which 1.3 will come to this Province, based on the number of people involved, of which over five years it averages to $260 million, in one stroke of the pen in the budget in February, the federal budget, we are losing $262 million, and believe it, before this year ends you will be hearing other changes from the Federal Government, how they are further going to strip from people, the benefits and income to this Province. What are you going to ask them to do?

AN HON. MEMBER: You hope.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I do not hope. I certainly do not hope.

Now that the Minister of Social Services wants to be a part of this, he stood in the House this past year and stated, after he took over his new department, that he figured his budget would be overspent. He said everybody knew it. Well, when the budget was presented last year on social services, we said, it's unrealistic with a closed fishery in this Province. With less people employed, you are going to be spending more.

There was an over expenditure of $16 million last year in social services, and we said it was underestimated, and you said, you were right. You stated today in this House, when asked in Question Period, your budget this year for social services is understated again, and we state that in the House now, and the true story will be told next spring when we look at the estimates in the budget again. Then we will see who is right again.

The federal Human Resources Department has indicated about 3,000 extra people. The Minister of Finance stated here in this House in Question Period that the impact of the unemployment insurance cuts in this Province, he stated in Question Period, will have an impact, $15 million, maybe $20 million maximum impact on this Province. Now they are scrambling to review their figures again.


MR. SULLIVAN: What did you state?


MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, on your revenues. Yes.


MR. SULLIVAN: No, on your revenues, that is what I intended. If I mistook I'm sorry. I'm saying the effect it is going to have on your Budget item, your line in your Budget, on revenues, and I indicate that the effect of that is going to be greater.

MR. SPEAKER (Barrett): Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SULLIVAN: Because it is going to affect other revenue areas.

By leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave!

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, call Motion 1.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 1. The Budget debate.

The hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to have a few words on this supposedly non-existent Budget. This is one of the first budgets I've seen, certainly in the history that I've been associated with government which goes back twenty years I guess, that the budget itself as a speech, as a function of government and parliament, is relatively speaking a non-event.

This particular Budget, the individual little details - tax increases, policy, program cuts, et cetera - have been greatly overshadowed by the economic reality, I guess, that every Newfoundlander and Labradorian is facing. Certainly overshadowed by the ongoing problems in our fishing industry and as well, in recent times, certainly overshadowed by the matters with regard to Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

I was curious to note today that in responding to some questions in Question Period, and generally relating to the upshot of the announcement today with regard to the fisheries and the federal government's participation in fisheries, the Minister of Social Services said, and I wrote it down, that they are wishing, hoping and praying. I guess it is safe to say that even though a lot of people mightn't yet realise it, but I think this is probably going to be a significant day in Newfoundland history, and to some extent a turning point for our people, certainly those who live in many of the rural fishing areas of the Province. A lot of people are today wishing, hoping and praying.

The federal ministers, Tobin and Axworthy, at a news conference this morning that was carried on television pretty well live, one thing I found significant about their statements as presented to the public at large through the media, was that they were very general and very vague. The written notes that were given out in the press kit contained a few more details, certainly much more than the ministers indicated to the mass media in their news conference, so a lot of people out there involved in the fishery, or associated with it one way or the other, really didn't get the full impact of what was really announced today.

CBC radio has an extensive series of interviews on all through the lunch period with individuals and groups involved in the fishery Province-wide. The one consistent thread that ran throughout the interviews was a general confusion as to just exactly what was going on, what if anything had been announced, and what lay in store for individuals who currently derive their livelihood in one fashion or another through the NCARP, the federal fisheries program. As of today they are uncertain as to what certainly, if not their immediate, their short- to medium-term future, is going to be.

The federal minister has indicated that people are going to be on some form of compensation certainly for the remainder of this calendar year but they were less than specific certainly in their televised address to the Province which is what most people got to see. They were certainly less than specific as to what people could expect. They were told basically what their weekly pay rate would be but apart from that about all they know is that they'll all get an application form in the mail some time over the next few weeks, not knowing exactly what is on the application form, what criteria are listed, what questions will be asked and they'll have to fill that out and get that in to the federal people, I think, by the end of June. After that, Mr. Speaker, comes the job of chipping away at the list of people who submitted applications. No doubt, once the applications are received there will be a number, probably a few thousand or more, who will immediately or certainly at the end of this calendar year be ejected from the federal compensation program.

The hon. the Premier mentioned in Question Period that the federal government had already ejected a number of people over the last couple of years from the compensation program and that a number of people had refused assistance under the program because they felt they didn't qualify. I might also indicate for the Premier's benefit, that mid-way through - I guess it was the last year or so - there was a significant review of people on the existing compensation program and I think in the order of 4,000 or 5,000 were ejected at that particular time. So the numbers have diminished over the last year or so and I would think, before this calendar year is out, there will be another few thousand at least. If you listen to the projections of involvement in the fishery that are floating around in federal circles, we're talking about 5,000 or 6,000 people at the most, in the fishery by the time this five year program is over.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it's fine to talk of this in a theoretical framework and so on but if you're talking about taking 15,000 plus people out of an industry in which most of them have spent their entire working lives and moving them out into something else - it's one thing to say that, Mr. Speaker, it's another thing for it to mean something real - and certainly in the words of the Minister of Social Services - mean something hopeful or optimistic.

Today, Mr. Speaker, I think there was a deliberate attempt on the part of federal ministers, Axworthy and Tobin, and on the part of the Premier to keep the people confused, in the dark, keep the entire picture with regard to the fishery, somewhat foggy, somewhat hazy and somewhat diffused. We all saw what happened on television some years ago when Mr. Crosbie made his initial announcement. There was a large rush of people to break in the door of the news conference and so on. I am sure federal authorities had no wish to see such a panic take place again, such an uproar to take place. So the tone and tenor of the news conference, the delivery of the statements, the description of the upcoming five year program, were all deliberately vague, somewhat positive but vaguely positive.

People were, to some extent, either pleased - because they didn't hear much in the way of a negative statement - or somewhat bemused and confused. It certainly did not contribute to an atmosphere which would set off panic, anger or any kind of explosion. I sort of wonder, Mr. Speaker - even if we are talking about throwing 15,000 people out of the fishing industry - if there will be an explosion because of the way this program is deliberately designed. We'll see a situation not unlike that which faces many people in my district relating to the forest industry, Mr. Speaker. It's easy to chip away an industry, to down-size it, if you do it in bits and pieces.

There has been a significant decrease in forestry employment in the District of Green Bay since I first got involved with politics back in the fall of 1974. At that time approximately 1,000 people in Green Bay were employed directly in the forest industry, mostly as pulpwood cutters and contractors for either the Grand Falls mill or the Corner Brook mill. Today I'm certain there's probably less than 500 involved and that down-sizing occurred over time, it occurred contractor by contractor or contract by contract over a period of time, over years, and the bottom line simply is that eliminating fifty jobs in a given season in the forestry in Green Bay for instance, did not become a matter of public spectacle, a matter of considerable public debate because the way the loggers were spread out, you eliminated two or three jobs in this community, a dozen more in a larger community, in a district with twenty-odd communities like Green Bay, it was no problem to eliminate forty or fifty forestry jobs, at the impact diffused over a large number of communities and subsequently it became very difficult for there to develop a unified sense of outrage or concern, and as a result the forest industry declined gradually bit by bit; it went out with a moan or a groan rather than with a shout of anger or a cry of defiance.

The fishing industry until now, by virtue of relatively large plants usually with a few hundred to several hundred people employed, had an easy rallying point, especially among the plant workers. A decision to close a given plant was something where you impacted on a local union organization, several hundred people were involved and it wasn't difficult to motivate people, to mobilise them and to get them to speak out. With the fishery for the most part in a state of shutdown, Mr. Speaker, with the general announcement having been made vague and fuzzy, and I would submit deliberately so, with the connivance of the provincial government which has gone along with this approach, said very little in the way of criticism itself, is trying to hang its hat on a possible role in the management of the fishery in the future.

The potential for outrage or uproar has all but been eliminated, Mr. Speaker, and what we will see over the next five years is the federal government operating outside the ambience of large industrial plants, of which fish plants are, with large conglomerations of people, dealing with people through the post office and by telephone basically in their own living room, individually for the most part or certainly in small groups and what you will see is a slow and deliberate dismantling of the fishing industry without many champions coming forward to state their case.

I remember the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation during his brief hiatus from Cabinet a year or two ago, quickly, as a government backbencher, found a group of fishery people in need of a spokesperson, someone to carry the flag on their behalf. In the minister's particular case, he indicated he was fulfilling a role that had been abdicated by the fishermen's union, and he took their case to the forefront, but that sort of thing will obviously not happen in the new fishery, Mr. Speaker. It will be done quietly behind the scenes, individually or in small groups and slowly but surely, in bits and pieces the fishery that we have known, and probably, Mr. Speaker, not only families but communities that we have known will be somewhat gently dismantled and at the end of five or ten years, the face of rural Newfoundland as we know it today will be changed forever.

Now the last time, Mr. Speaker, there was a major move in that direction, the Liberals were in power. Mr. Smallwood was the Premier and there was a deliberate and publicly announced program to resettle people from outlying communities into larger growth centres, and that policy was embraced by some, fought by others but certainly carried out by the government of the day, and I think it had a profound effect on a generation of Newfoundlanders, and we all have to look upon the word resettlement in rather negative terms somewhat like the way we look upon the words Churchill Falls.

One wonders, Mr. Speaker, if, after the federal government does its thing with the assistance or at least the silence of the current provincial government, how long it will take for it to finally strike home to the body politic and to our society as a whole, that we have undergone another large transformation not unlike the resettlement program of the '60s. Probably the major difference being in that the resettlement will probably not take place within the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, but more likely people on this Island will be moving to another island on the West Coast of the Canadian mainland, namely Vancouver Island. The harsh reality of the Canadian reality today, Mr. Speaker, is that the only place that is hiring at the moment is British Columbia.

I can foresee over the next five to six years an out migration of literally tens of thousands of people having to leave rural Newfoundland because there is no future for them in the fishery, and their choice for staying home is simply if you are lucky enough to have gotten early retirement under the fisheries program or if you are willing to stay home and go on welfare, those are going to be the alternatives.

The hon. the Premier mentioned in his remarks during Question Period that his government's support of the federal initiative was dependent on economic diversification. Mr. Speaker, I've been in this Assembly for five years and I was a political employee of the Crown for some fifteen years, and heaven knows in that particular twenty year span I've heard the word "diversification" many times. Many governments, many ministers, many individuals, civil servants, et cetera, have dedicated their lives to bringing about such changes. So far the results have been somewhat less than spectacular. This current Administration under Premier Wells has restructured government's lending institutions, its business support agencies, et cetera, under the umbrella of the Economic Recovery Commission and through the instrument of Enterprise Newfoundland, with the avowed goal of diversifying the Newfoundland economy, creating sufficient new jobs to bring home every mother's son.

Obviously reality stares us in the face. That particular initiative with regard to economic diversification has for the most part failed. There are of course individual instances where things have worked out positively, but for the most part there has been no broad and general positive impact on the body politic. Economic diversification, while a laudable goal, has not yet to date succeeded in this particular Province, certainly not to the extent where it can take up the slack among the Province's many thousand unemployed. The Premier bases his somewhat quiet support of the current federal initiative on the fact that a federal commitment to economic diversification - which is a motherhood statement, and what federal government of any political stripe would not be committed to that? - and on another federal commitment of some sort of joint management in the fishery.

Of course, either the Premier is being deliberately evasive or the great salesman himself was deliberately sold by Mr. Axworthy and Mr. Tobin on a bill of goods that simply was not available to this Province.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: She is gone, boy, she is gone.

MR. HEWLETT: She is gone, boy, she is gone. That is true, Mr. Matthews, she is gone. The Premier of the Province believing the federal minister, in presumably private or caucus meetings, on certain assurances with regard to an ongoing significant role in the fishery of the future. Whereas the literature produced today arising from the federal press conference, and I gather also subsequent to questioning from some of the media, makes it very clear that the fishery boards outlined for the various provinces involved in the Atlantic fishery are strictly boards to be involved with the down sizing of the Atlantic fishery, the cutting in half of the number of fish plants in the Province. The minister went out of his way to indicate to the media - and certainly there is no indication in the press literature of any attempt or any intention on the part of the federal government to significantly divest itself of fisheries jurisdiction to some sort of fisheries board, and share jurisdiction over that board with the provincial government.

Either the Premier was being deliberately evasive, Mr. Speaker, or the Premier, who himself considers himself to be somewhat of a salesman, was himself sold a bill of goods by the federal people. In due course all of us in the Province and certainly the government, certainly the Minister of Finance of this government, will reap the results of what has happened today.

What has happened today is in line with the recent changes in UI that the federal government has brought down. Along with changes that will also come down the pike in due course.

The bottom line is that federal support programs for the unemployed, the underemployed, in this Province are significantly reduced, and will continue to be reduced significantly over the next few years. That will no doubt lead to a corresponding drop in provincial government revenues, and a general drop in economic activity in the Province, because you can't take hundreds of millions of dollars out of a small and fragile economy like this one without negative effects basically trickling through to all aspects of this economy and society, and no doubt not only will individuals feel the pinch, but a cash-strapped government that we have here will feel the pinch as well.

Mr. Speaker, maybe that is all this government has left to do. Not having the political courage to stand against their federal cousins, they resort to, in the words of the Minister of Social Services, wishing, hoping and praying. Well, there are a lot of people in Newfoundland and Labrador today wishing, hoping and praying, and I have a feeling that their prayers will not come through; that while confused at the moment, over time they will, as I said, individually or in small groups, be told the full impact of the announcement today, and for a lot of people it will mean a choice. If they are lucky enough to seek early retirement, to take that, but for the most part they may get a couple of years of training at it, but sooner or later they are either going to have to resort to welfare or resort to mobility grants, to move to the mainland of Canada to see if they can find employment there, because neither through the efforts of the federal government, nor have I seen any real evidence of results from the efforts of this provincial government to diversify the economy. Therefore, when the fishery programs that individuals are on exhaust themselves, whether that be two, three or four years hence, people will be faced with the unhappy fact that they can either survive here on retirement or welfare, or move away.

Certainly the provincial government here has been content, in the words of the hon. Premier, to manage decline, to cut back and try and trim the budget of government to be themselves into a constant downsizing spiral, and in that regard, I suppose, they are just reflective of what their federal brothers have laid upon the Province today.

It is strange that we have a so-called Liberal government in this Province, of which by any even vaguest definition of the word `liberal' is certainly not liberal. We have such a laissez-faire, hands-off, let her slide kind of attitude, when we see in our sister province, just across the waves in New Brunswick, a totally different type of Liberal Premier, totally at odds in his view of his role as Premier, in the person of Mr. McKenna, compared to Premier Wells.

Maclean's Magazine recently had a cover story on the Premier of New Brunswick, and they referred to Mr. McKenna, Frank McKenna, as `Fast Frank'. There is only one thing that Premier Wells has been fast with in his five years in office, and that is with the budget axe, and with smooth talk and words. When it comes to results, when it comes to putting your shoulder to the wheel, really trying to diversify the economy of this Province, really directing the government's heart and soul towards not only creating an atmosphere for jobs but actually chasing down jobs, really doing something practical about it, this government has been a dismal failure.

For ten years I worked for the Peckford administration, and with the possible exception of the failed Sprung venture, the record in terms of pursuing economic development, economic diversification, was an ongoing one, a persistent one, one that was a top priority with the government.

Here we have a government that has a tendency to let things slide in terms of economic development. It has set up an academic in charge of a recovery commission that spends several million dollars a year to turn out lovely books and studies, but does little practical stuff. It restyled and retooled government's financing and lending agencies in terms of Enterprise Newfoundland, but the bottom line on that is that all you've got is a restyled and retooled lending agency with no real new policy direction, no real new impetus, certainly no real significant leadership from the eighth floor in terms of economic development.

Where we have seen a degree of leadership from the eighth floor of late has been not directed at diversifying the economy, but taking an already healthy piece of our economy and changing its nature and function. An attempt on the part of the government to privatize a well run, nationally respected Crown corporation, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, in some sort of blind headlong attempt to privatize this company for reasons that are about as fuzzy and unclear as some of the details today of the federal program on the fishery that was announced.

Most people who I've spoken to with regard to the Hydro issue, their question from the very beginning, and their question is now, and still is: Why? Why is the government about this business? The Premier offered one reason, that it was necessary to pursue a legal goal of his. Through legislative changes in this Assembly it would enhance his ability to pursue the goal of overturning the Upper Churchill contract and getting our just desserts with regard to that particular contract, which was signed in the 1960s based on the Smallwood government turning over the water rights of the Upper Churchill River to the BRINCO corporation and all the resulting grief that has brought the Province. At the same time, historic documents from the time that the Premier was working for Newfoundland Power, and other statements he has made since, he has made it clear that it is not absolutely necessary that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro be privatized in order to pursue a legal route to achieving some justice on the Upper Churchill contract.

If that is not absolutely necessary then why are we doing it? Are we doing it for the $200 or $300 million that the government hopes to raise in terms of a quick sale of Hydro? That would seem to be somewhat short sighted. There is a long-term benefit of some $20-odd million in the servicing of the debt that we wouldn't have to worry about, but other economists have shown that in exchange for that $20-odd million on the positive side, the real costs associated with the privatization of Hydro rests somewhere between $50 million and $100 million. If you look at it in straight economic terms on the basis of pure arithmetic we are certainly in the tens of millions of dollars on the negative side of the column with regard to the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. Apart from a short-term easing of the deficit situation there is no long-term positivity for the Province in the selling of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

There not being a background legal reason for doing it, there being no significant economic or financial reason from the point of view of the Province's finances certainly in the long-term for doing it, the other speculation that is left to one is one really that is not worthy of the Premier or the ministers on the front benches opposite, or the Liberal caucus and the Liberal Party. That is to say that there are interests in this Province, people with large financial holdings, people elsewhere in the country who are friends with the Administration or have influence with the Administration, who would dearly love to see the shares of a monopoly like Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro go on the stock market. These are shares that I think are given a guaranteed rate of return by the Public Utilities Board of some 13 per cent or 14 per cent. Certainly one of the soundest investments available to people in this country.

If this is the reason the Province is going about selling Hydro, that is nothing short of shameful. Because we are turning over a resource - in terms of dams, transmission lines, waterways, channels, and various other works - that are worth I suppose, in replacement cost, in the billions. And we are going to turn that over for a couple of hundred million, and at the same time in association with this legislation we are going to give the power to the Minister of Finance to give away, at his own judgement, the remaining water rights left in the Province, so that presumably a newly privatized Hydro corporation would not only make money for its shareholders based on the existing hydro electric facilities already developed in this Province, but would have a chance to reap some sort of bonanza for those shareholders in the development of the Lower Churchill river.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we saw what was done in terms of the bonanza for shareholders in the development of the Upper Churchill river system and surely to God the people and the government of Newfoundland have seen enough of what that particular thing brought us. Indeed the Premier indicated that one of his motivations for selling Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro was to reverse the fortunes of the Upper Churchill contract, yet in the legislation he puts before the House he lays open the possibility of a privatized Hydro, developing the Lower Churchill, getting water rights quietly from the Minister of Finance, and obviously this would be somewhat of a gold mine for the investors in such a scheme, whereas we in this particular party, and I think the majority of the people in this Province, Mr. Speaker, expect that if the Lower Churchill river is developed it will be for the benefit of the body politic as a whole, for the benefit of the ordinary citizens of the Province and not for the benefit of an elite few who might be able to buy shares in a newly privatized corporation.

I think my time is up, Mr Speaker. I thank you and no doubt we will have time to reflect again on the five years of failure of the Wells administration.

Thank you.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I welcome the opportunity to make a few comments on Budget 1994. We are allowed to speak, I think, for half an hour on it but I would submit, Mr. Speaker, that there is no trouble if someone wanted to speak for a few hours on this particular Budget, although it is one of the shortest Budgets. I think it is something like twelve minutes, one of the shortest Budgets in the history of the Province. The shortest read Budget I should say, but when it comes to content, and when it comes to what is hidden in the Budget, Mr. Speaker, that says a lot more. The Minister of Finance is the great Houdini, I tell you. To get up and give a twelve or fifteen speech and to be able to cover up so much in a document as small as this, I can guarantee you, the minister does not have to worry about finding a job when he leaves politics. Mr. Speaker, he will be into one within twenty-four hours.

Usually when you get half an hour to speak on the Budget debate you try to speak about as much as possible pertaining to your district and I would be remiss this evening if I did not do that for a portion of the half hour I have. Pertaining to the Budget and pertaining to a sector of the economy, a part of the economy in the District of Humber Valley we are - I hear members opposite and members on this side of the House talk about diversification, and it is a great thing, no question. It has been talked about, I suppose, for hundreds and thousands of years really. It is nothing new. There is nothing secret about it. It is just a matter of putting things into place, and we have a district, the District of Humber Valley, that is one of the most diversified districts in the Province when it comes to industry. Usually a bigger centre like Corner Brook, for instance, has the mill, but if the mill goes out of Corner Brook, Corner Brook is pretty well dead because of such a large sector of one part of the economy based in that particular sector, and that is the pulp and paper industry in Corner Brook.

In the District of Humber Valley we have forestry. We have a great forestry industry as it pertains to pulpwood development. We are lucky enough to have a fairly sizeable sawmill industry, which is the way to go in the wood's industry today, because, like I said before, the pulp and paper mills in the Province will only take x number of cords of wood anyway, whether it is 50,000 cords, 300,000 cords or whatever, that's it; once it's cut or wherever it's cut there is no more, that's all they are taking for that particular year.

In the sawmill industry, you can pretty well in this Province, cut forever and a day, Mr. Speaker, and there is a market for it; that's the deceiving thing in this Province today about our forestry industry. There is a market for each and every log that comes out of the forest in this Province today, that is sawed and planed or kiln-dried or what have you, there is a market for it and that's where there is a chance and an opportunity for new jobs in the Province today.

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, in that particular district we have forestry, we have agriculture, we have a bit of mining and the potential for a lot more. My colleague is just back, Mr. Speaker, from a couple of weeks holidays and is a little bit idle. We have mining with the potential for a lot more and if anybody looked at the report that the Minister of Mines and Energy tabled this week in the House under the mineral act as it pertains to mineral licences and leases issued by his department this year, you can look through and see what's happening in the district as it pertains to the potential for mining and furthermore for the extension of leases especially as it pertains to the marble development in the Goose Arm.

The Tiera Marble Corporation in Goose Arm has been working for some time now to try to get that particular industry off the ground, and from my understanding and from my knowledge of it is that, they have markets for the marble, but now we are in the process of doing an environmental assessment which is a good thing, Mr. Speaker, but the only question that I have on that is: why now, after so many years do we get to the stage whereby we need an environmental assessment, I cannot understand it for the life of me. If I had to run a business in a way like that where you go and try to do something for three or four years and then all of a sudden - you know from day one that you need an environment assessment or at least, put it out and see if it is needed, but now, after all those years of development in there, all of a sudden the department calls for an environmental assessment and that's going to take another year, probably eighteen months, whereas this particular project, if approved, could be off the ground in no time.

It would be a benefit for, not only the region, not only for the local area but for the whole region and the Province as a whole because it would mean another export market out of the Province not only out of the Province but, Mr. Speaker, out of the country.

As it pertains to gold development, the Glover Island part of the Province looks real promising for gold development. In fact, the developers or the exploration people will be back there again this year exploring on Glover Island and it looks like if something is found this summer, then there is a possibility of some mining taking place in that particular area, as well as the Baie Verte Peninsula.

In the Budget, Mr. Speaker, there are certain sections as I said before that he didn't read out. I would like to allude to a few of those particular areas and sections, and remind the minister and his Cabinet colleagues that some of those areas that will come out in the very near future are going to be detrimental to businesses in the Province, as it was in the previous five years and it will be in the ensuing year, that's for sure. If those things were sent out right after Budget time and people were made aware of it, then there is a possibility that some of the problems with this could be averted.

One of the areas, and I just had a phone call the other day that gasoline, marked exempt gasoline, is supposed to be replaced by a rebate system.

AN HON. MEMBER: It's a good idea.

MR. WOODFORD: Now if it's a good idea - we hear the member opposite saying it's a good idea. If there is abuse in the system why don't we police it? Why don't we do something about it? If we're so sure of the abuse - this is how we're going to do it. Now it seems like no matter what kind of a system you have, Mr. Speaker, you go back - a funny thing about it, you go back to the last few years now when the hon. Member for Eagle River talks about abuse. You go back a few years ago - and I'm sure he doesn't agree with this first one that I'm going to mention, you can't jig a cod today. Now above all times of the year, you can't go in and ice fish. Above all times of the year - the best time of the year for ski-dooing, the best time to try to get in the country to some ponds and so on. Now granted, that's one of the reasons - people were abusing - but not only that time of the year, I could go out - and I mentioned it, I'm on record as saying it here - that they used to go out in Cat Arm and bring garbage bags out in the summertime, garbage bags filled with trout.

Now that is, I said it here, I'm on record as saying it, it's terrible but what do we do if a person is taking too many trout? If a person is taking too much cod? The person now - you can't even use a trike for god's sake, a quad or a motorcycle. You soon won't be able to use anything. If this is the case, Mr. Speaker, what have we got rules and regulations for? Why do we have fines for speeding? Why do we have fines for bringing someone to court with regards to trout or anything else? A Newfoundlander and Labradorian today can't do anything -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Well there you go. I mean there is no question there. There's no question that there's a problem with it but then again you have to look at the source. Where are the people buying it? The people who are selling that particular product know full well, Mr. Speaker, not only in that particular area but in my area and other areas around the Province, they know full well who they're selling it to, they know full well.

If a young person today goes into the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation to buy a bottle of liquor or anything like that, he can't buy it or she can't buy it unless she shows a certificate, an ID or something. It seems to be whenever there's a problem with regards to collection of taxes, especially - we just saw the Minister of Finance implement something now as it pertains to tobacco tax and so on. The first thing to do is collect the tax up front and then after the fact, after the businesses are hurting, small business people around the Province today are hurting then - and it's too late to do something about it then because a lot of those small businesses, Mr. Speaker, and small business people are using that for the five, ten, fifteen days or whatever it is to try to make their business more efficient because they can't get to first base with regards to the banking system in this Province.

The minister's department is going to have to let the small business person around this Province know if there's going to be a tax rebate. I had a call the other day from an individual, a farmer out my way who went and bought a piece of machinery. Now the person selling the piece of machinery contacted the Department of Finance and they couldn't tell him whether he had to pay the tax up front and claim a rebate after or whether it was still tax exempt as it always has been. So what he had to do was charge the taxes on it, it was a $35,000 or $40,000 piece of equipment, so right away - that's a lot of money to take $5,000 or $6,000 out of the pocket of a small business person, who's not expecting to have to pay it, then pay it up front and then at the end of the year claim a rebate.

How many business people in this Province today -unless they're the Irving's of the world or something like that - can possibly carry that kind of an expense? They can't do it and this is the kind of thing - little things but things that hurt and there's no trouble to know because you get the phone calls. It's not something that's going to become an emotional issue or something because it pertains to a certain sector of the economy and that's it. It stays there whether it's a fisherperson or whether it's a farmer, a logger or whatever, they haven't got the means to blow everything up and haven't got the backing to lobby government and so on, so they go to their member; they ask a few questions, and unless the minister responsible is receptive to it, then there is nothing going to be done about it - absolutely nothing.

So I say to the Minister of Finance that that should be looked at, and if there are any other taxes there that are sort of hidden, let the individuals know, and not let them be hidden all of a sudden with bills such as that.

Mr. Speaker, another area, as I mentioned earlier, that the minister didn't mention in the budget - didn't read out in the budget, I should say; it is mentioned in other parts of the budget, in those little captions that are there - education initiatives.

The minister brought in the so-called Adjusting the Course, and one of the things that I always said, the government, no matter what department or what minister is responsible, they can bring in all the rules and regulations they like; there is someone out there who has to carry them out and police them. The education system is one of the most important areas in this Province today that is in for restructuring. It is in under the so-called Adjusting the Course and so on, and no matter what the minister brings down, if the morale is not there, and if the teacher in the classroom is not in a position to carry out whatever is dictated to them by the school boards, under Adjusting the Course or anything else, then the student is going to suffer.

I have never seen, in all my years in politics, and some nineteen years now in municipal and provincial politics, the morale in the school system today among teachers, I have never seen it so low - never - and if the minister and the government and the administration think that they are going to bring in new policies, and try to implement them, and try to expect those same teachers, the same people, to implement those policies to make it better for the student in this Province today, then I don't see it happening. It is sad to say that, but I don't think you are going to see it happening, unless there is a change - and there could be, and let's hope there is - in the thinking process and in the attitude that is among members opposite as it pertains to unions in the Province today, and especially the teachers.

The election last spring was called, we will say, condemning the teachers and so on. Who was going to run the Province - the Premier, his administration, or the teachers, or other public servants in the Province? So we could have a mess on our hands the next month or so as it pertains to unions in the Province as a whole - namely CUPE, NAPE, the nurses' union and the teachers' union, but there is another example of bringing in different government policies and trying to get someone to implement them.

When I talked to some people the other day on that, the analogy that I used was that you can put out and put up all the speed signs, and all the signs you like with regard to speeding, whether ninety or 100 kilometres an hour, and you can ask the policeman to carry it out and enforce the rules and regulations, but if a policeman goes out on the road tonight, he doesn't have to stop a car. He doesn't have to stop one. If you are going 110 or 120 or 150, he can let them all go if he wishes.

The Minister of Finance wouldn't want him to let them all go. They want to try to fine them as much as possible because when I look into some of the monies collected last year under fines in the Province, the Minister of Transportation is doing a wonderful job for the Minister of Finance. He should be his most favourite person over there because, I will tell you, he is doing the job under those inspectors with the Department of Works, Services and Transportation. You go back the last two years and see what they are collecting under fines and so on, fines and forfeitures. I remember going back, I think it was two years ago, and it was $4,000,000.00. This year they went from $9,195,000 to $9,445,000; but I think last year was the big jump, some $6 million, and I would say that is on the backs of the truckers, another bunch of small business people trying to make a living. The Member for Baie Verte - White Bay knows full well what I'm talking about, and some other members opposite. The Member for Stephenville should know. The Member for the Strait of Belle Isle should know, because of the trucks coming up from Roddickton and so on, how they are getting nailed on the scales there just outside of Deer Lake.

The irony in it all, Mr. Speaker, is this - it is funny - that when five or six sticks of wood come off a truck, in some cases, when the driver comes back that night there is nothing on the side of the road. Where does it go? Yet he is fined two and three and five and six - I had one trucker in one day fined $1,800 three times. When you leave, say for instance, Cormack, or when you leave Hampden, with a load of wood, one load of wood you pick up is a load of green wood probably just cut just that day. He gets down on the scales; he is a ton underweight, so what? Another one, probably the wood was cut six months ago, it is dried out, he gets down on the scales, he is three or four tons underweight. Then he might take the same load of wood down the next day and there might be slush on the road and pick up two or three tons of slush. When he gets on the scales there is nothing allowed for.

What chance has a small business person got? and he is only making a living as it is. He is not making a living really, he is only scraping an existence. He is existing and not living. This is where they are nailing them left, right and centre, and I think it is totally wrong. The minister has got to bring in some new rules and regulations as it pertains to the load on those - I don't think it was ever done. It was recommended here a couple of years ago before the minister - I can't blame him for it, because it was before he got into it, and it was probably never brought up since -the measured load for the tractor trailers, for the wood trucks.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) approach to doing that. (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, because I understand that the companies have some concerns, too, because of the price of the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) truck.

MR. WOODFORD: And the truckers. Because of the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: No, but I tell you, if the minister does that, along with one of the other things that I say - I mean, you have to call a spade a spade. On the private truckers, the tandems, we've had problems for years with the tandems. And, I mean, it has come to the House. They've come to me, they've come to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Now, the minister -

AN HON. MEMBER: He's not talking about spades, I mean, he is neutered, according to -

MR. WOODFORD: Seventy percent. The minister tells me now that he has a 70/30 regulation in place, and that, to me, is fair enough. Some other places have 80/20, some have 90/10, but if you can get 70/30 in the Province today, especially with the tandems and so on, I think that should be very good.

AN HON. MEMBER: Fifty-fifty.

MR. WOODFORD: Now, the Minister of Finance, 50/50 - he wants to create another problem, he wants to create a real good one.

AN HON. MEMBER: Fairness and balance.

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, fairness and balance. We don't want to see that. Anyway, those are very serious questions, both of them, but especially the wood truck one. They are getting skinned left, right and centre. Now, granted, you have - like the fellow on the road who is speeding, you have them out there trying to beat the system.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: That is right, trying to beat the system. But if you come in with those rules and regulations, that measured load, I tell you, then that's it. They can't - because most of the wood today, as the minister knows full well, Kruger wants it fresh anyway. So you know pretty well the weight. And with Abitibi it's the same thing. Abitibi wants it as fresh as a daisy now if they can get it. They don't want any wood left on the ground, they don't want any wood stored and stockpiled. In order to keep the good fibre and the good quality of the timber, they want it hauled to the mill as green as possible, as the Minister of Forestry knows as well. They don't want it stored and they don't want it left around the ground to be sogged out and so on.

If the minister can come in with something like that, that would help. The Minister of Forestry wasn't here when I brought up the thing about the wood trucks. He said there is a possibility of an agreement that may soon come to fruition.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, a measured load for the wood trucks in the Province, because that is a real problem.

MR. FLIGHT: They should do it, `Rick'.

MR. WOODFORD: Sure they should do it. We brought it up for years.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance is not here now, but when you look at another area that last year went from $32,500,000 for licences, vehicle licence and driver's licence in this Province, last year it went up $12 million - $12 million based on last year's increase alone, which was minimum. So, when you look at what's going to happen this year, with the price of licensing of vehicles gone, I think it is from $85 to $120, and then the personal licence is gone up $5 a year, not for the term, then there is no trouble to see what is going to happen with regard to the collection of taxes there. There is going to be another $8 million or $10 million collected there this year.

Another area that I never got an answer on - I asked the minister. Certainly I should wait until he comes in, I suppose, and see if he can answer that particular question.

But, Mr. Speaker, another area - and I thought I would bring this up because it pertains to the district. I mentioned how important forestry was to the district of Humber Valley and the whole West Coast of the Province. In the Stephenville area, Corner Brook, Grand Falls, and the Bonavista Peninsula there is an awful lot of timber and so on. We look at the West Coast of the Province, and we look at Labrador as a great potential resource, and it is, no question, if we could only get it up. If we only had a means to get it up, some cheap way to get that wood up here, there is no question, we would have a - you know, for the paper mills I am talking about, but for the saw mill -

AN HON. MEMBER: Why don't we put a mill down there?

MR. WOODFORD: No, to put a mill down there, it would be a job to get - but we could put a sawmill down there.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Not in Labrador West, no, probably not, but that is another area for potential development, and it has been talked about for years but absolutely nothing done about it.

Abitibi-Price is going to have a real problem in another few years. All the reports show that within six or seven years Abitibi-Price could be out of wood, could be out of timber, and the government now, through the Department of Forestry, the Premier announced there a couple of weeks ago, that they are going to buy back 1.6 million acres of freehold land from Kruger, half this year now, I think, and half next year, is it?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Pay for half this year, yes, so I am hoping now that will be done fairly quickly because I have a real problem in the Deer Lake area, Hampton area, with regard to pieces of property that are owned by Kruger, just little patches - a patch here, then you go for a few hundred meters, another patch. It is unreal, when you look at the community plan and the town plan and see how Kruger still owns some property right in the center of the municipality of Deer Lake.

AN HON. MEMBER: It shouldn't be allowed.

MR. WOODFORD: No, it shouldn't be allowed, and I am a firm believer, I said it here before - what I am about to say now I said before here in the House as well, that as far as I am concerned, Kruger and Abitibi, or Corner Brook Pulp and Paper and Abitibi, shouldn't own one stick or one piece of land in this Province today. They shouldn't own one piece.

If I have to go to the Minister of Forestry and ask him for a permit to cut, whether its ten cords of wood or 10,000 board feet of lumber, why couldn't and why shouldn't Abitibi-Price or Kruger have to do the same thing?

Now, I can understand what the arguments are going to be with regard to ownership, access and banks -

AN HON. MEMBER: Security.

MR. WOODFORD: Security, the same old thing. Then again, I know that it is going to take a lot to try to change the attitude, and maybe in the opportune time for that, if something ever happened to a mill in this Province, God forbid -

AN HON. MEMBER: It can't be (inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, I know.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is the opportunity (inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, that is right - no question there, but then again it is like everything else. It was a time when everything was in upheaval. There was a possibility of the whole West Coast going down and I suppose government reacted fairly quickly, and the only people who were interested were people who needed all those resources as collateral. I think there is going to come a time, as the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation said earlier today, and what he said two or three years ago as it pertains to the fishery, that if something had been done then even, after all the years of the Michael Kirby report, and the Roméo Leblanc report, saying we could go and take 375,000 ton of Northern cod only a few short years ago, even if it had been done two or three years, as the minister said, we might have something to build on, but there is very little to build on today when it comes to the fishing industry in this Province.

If the federal government does not do something about the lobster fishery, the mackerel fishery, and the herring fishery, we are going to have the same thing, I would say, in a year when it comes to herring, because I had herring caught in my district last year that you could have packed and put in sardine cans. It should never have been done. We are in the Jackson's Arm area this year and we have a good market for herring, but unless they are of good size, as far as I am concerned, then it is wrong. You are going to see it in mackerel.

You could see the possibility last fall in mackerel, and if we do not do something with all the pelagics, the lobsters and so on, we will have the same thing in that as we had in the groundfish industry. I am sure the Minister of Fisheries knows what I am about to say now, is that we have a great potential for disaster in the crab fishery. We have supplementary licenses out there issued for 150 pots and we have the full time licenses. The supplementary fellow today is not satisfied with 150 pots, he wants more. The people who have no groundfish license today, the people who are on NCARP, under the moratorium and so on, they all now, and in areas where the fishery is based primarily on pelagics and so on, now the boats, especially thirty-five feet and under, are looking for a crab license. Start off with fifty pots. Start off with 100 pots.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: The minister says, yeah. Now, there you go. If that is the case and we are going to go out and give them all -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. WOODFORD: I am sorry about that. Well, if I made his day, good enough.

Mr. Speaker, we can see the same disaster there, like I said, that we saw in the groundfish industry just a short while ago. The crab was gone as far as I am concerned a few years ago but they brought in a good policy on crab. I must say I am fairly satisfied with the policy they done up on crab in this Province today. Now, last year it got a bit sticky, but they even have an agreed price for this year, and it is a fairly good price. What the fishermen got this year, as far as I am concerned, they should be satisfied with, one dollar a pound.


MR. WOODFORD: Oh, I know a little bit.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. WOODFORD: He is after forgetting probably half as much about the fishery as I know about it. I know a little bit. I know enough to get me through and be able to represent the White Bay part of my district when it comes to the fishery, and what is after happening to that particular area over the years.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, when it comes to dealing with Kruger on this particular 1.6 million acres of land, I think that should be done expeditiously. I know in my particular area I have people with absolutely no title to the property. The houses are there. I suppose over the years they built a house, back some time ago, and now if they want to do something with it they have no title. They cannot get a mortgage. If they want to extend they can, but they cannot get a loan to do it, because they have no title to the property and no deed. There is nothing registered. After this particular transaction goes through, I am sure that in some of those particular areas, those people will be able to obtain a legal description and a schedule to the property, and be able to use it as collateral to do something with it.

One of the other big areas of concern this year, we got the possibility of obtaining funding under the program, through municipal affairs I suppose, the infra-structure program or something, for the lagoon system in the Town of Deer Lake and that - I seen in the paper, all splashed over the telegram yesterday, about raw sewage going into the St. John's harbour but yet it's going to cost $50, $60 or $70 million to put in a treatment system for that particular area down there and that, as far as I'm concerned, Mr. Speaker, should be done. That should be done.

We have a situation in Deer Lake where all the raw sewage is going out in Deer Lake but the only thing about it, as everybody knows, it comes out there where the - what they call the (inaudible). Where Bowater power - water is coming out through the turbines there. So it breaks it up and that's what happens in a treatment system. It breaks it up and it flows out but still this is in a fresh water body. I mean, my gosh, if there was ever a place or ever a time for something to be done for the environment - want to stop trikes and stop quads - that's what should be stopped. That's a basic thing when it comes to the environment - all flowing out into a beautiful fresh water body in the Province that's going down through Pasadena, down out into the Bay of Islands and so on and it's the same thing out here. So that's the type - we have all kinds of projects, Mr. Speaker, that we could spend money on and it would be money well spent. I hope that the members opposite, when they look at the projections and at the estimates put in for those particular projects, that they will take them seriously.

The Minister of Finance is back in his seat. I mentioned to him before about the water power rentals thing - I mentioned to him about that because last year it was $11,715,000, 1993-94 and it dropped down to $4,015,000 and the minister was going to look into that. So I'd appreciate it if he'd probably take another look at - but under, `other' it says it's almost like it was a - whatever the other is, is like just a reversal.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, it's like it shifted around except for a few dollars because under `other' it says $11,916,000 and then for 1993-94 it was $4,236,000 so I'd appreciate it if the minister would take a look at that.

Mr. Speaker, there'll be other opportunities to speak on the Budget Debate with regards to a money bill and so on. So there's an awful lot of areas. I only touched on forestry, mining and the fishery as it pertains to my district and a few other things in general, Mr. Speaker, but later on at another opportune time, I will take the opportunity to speak on a couple of other sectors namely; tourism, the service industry and agriculture. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to say a few words about the 1994 Budget, Mr. Speaker, not to be distracted by the hon. member's from the other side. Mr. Speaker, I was a little bit disappointed in the Budget that it didn't offer much help for the unemployed out there. If you recall, in the last election our party brought forward a policy at that time where people, when they went through post-secondary education and took training, that we would take them one step further and allow them to be able to have their employers subsidize their work for a number of months to give them some experience.

One time when you came out of high school, Mr. Speaker, people would come out and throw up their hands in frustration and say: where do we go from here? If anybody was fortunate enough to go on to post-secondary studies and receive an education most people were fortunate enough to find a job. Mr. Speaker, that's not the case here in Newfoundland today and it's certainly not the case right across this country.

Mr. Speaker, I firmly believe that we should take our people one step further and we may spend some money up front but I think it will be money that would be very worthwhile spent and it would probably allow a lot of our people to find a job. I think if many people today, Mr. Speaker, who have went forward under the NCARP training and have taken heavy equipment training, this would be a prime example of people being able to go - and if we allow to take them another step further, give them some training, give them some experience, I feel sure that many of them would be able to find a job and be able to go to work.

Many of those people - and we can sit back and say that we have trained too many people in any one or two occupations, we have trained too many people and the work opportunities are not there, but, Mr. Speaker, a lot of those people with whom I have had conversations, are telling me that there are jobs out there but because they don't have the experience and the training they are unable to access those jobs. Mr. Speaker, you can't blame the employer when somebody would go and purchase a rig that would probably cost in excess of $100,000, he is certainly not going to take a person fresh out of school after taking a training program that consists probably of fifteen or twenty weeks, and allow that individual to take such an investment and travel the highways, many times leading out of our country altogether and down to the United States.

So that is something that I would like to have seen as part of this Budget, something that would allow our young people and the people whom we are training to move from the fishery into other areas that would allow them to be able to go and access real jobs and to get off our social programs and our NCARP programs and have them gainfully employed and supporting their families along the way, paying taxes and that's what would make this economy move.

Mr. Speaker, I was glad to see this particular item mentioned this morning down at the Newfoundland Hotel, where the new NCARP program or the son of NCARP or the Atlantic Strategy Program was going to allow a mobility allowance. A lot of people today, Mr. Speaker, would like to be able to go and access a job but because of funding and the cost of getting to Ontario or Prince Edward Island or British Columbia is far too much for these one or two individuals to be able to afford to take at this time, monies that they don't have, and I thought at first that there was a mobility allowance there.

I know there was at one time and in conversations with the Human Resource Division, I have found out that the only way that anybody could take part in a mobility program is if they have identified not only a job, but there has been nobody in the particular area where they intend to travel, that are registered at that particular office capable of doing that type of work, if they are there unemployed, and a lot of times I can assure you that we have Newfoundlanders who are good workers, people would like to hire them, but because of the cost of getting from point A to point B, they have been deprived of the opportunity to move outside of their communities and go to work. This is something that we should very seriously look at and I am glad that that was part of the NCARP program that was introduced this morning.

Now it's an area that there will be mobility allowance and some of our people who want to move and would want to be gainfully employed can now take part in this procedure and be allowed to travel to other provinces to accept gainful employment.


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

I am having difficulty in hearing the hon. Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, student grants were mentioned in the Budget and this is another area which I believe that this government hasn't received input and hasn't listened and consulted with the people directly involved. Many people in rural Newfoundland have looked forward to the student grant and it has been a very big part of their funding for their education. Today, we find that this government is taking away student grants; sure, they are allowing student loans but there has been all kinds of problems pointed out with that and I compliment the minister for listening to the people and saying that he is going to take a second look at that. I honestly believe that he will because it is a big problem, and if we continually put up roadblocks, financial roadblocks to our young people today, then we will never move forward and we will never solve the unemployment problems and our unemployment levels will never ever decrease from what they are right now.

Mr. Speaker, I think education, and I am sure the minister and everybody on the other side will also agree with me, that education should not be there only for the rich and the well-to-do. It should be there for everybody who would like to be able to come forward and take part and better educate themselves and prepare themselves to go on in life.

Mr. Speaker, another topic that we continually hear put forward by government and people, departments of government, is encouraging small business, entrepreneurs, in our local areas. They are saying that we should go out and start new businesses; there are all kinds of help there for you; we will lead you along the way, but that, I can assure you, is not the case. It is not the case in my district, and I am sure it is not the case in many areas of rural Newfoundland.

A lot of people get turned off the first three or four days they go looking, because the things that were told by their peers and by the people they elected, were there for them, all the funding that would be made available for them is not there. I am not professing on a situation where we should go out and hand out government money, taxpayers money, to everybody who might come looking, but if there is a business, and if it's proven that it can be viable, and if there is a good business plan presented, then why shouldn't we look at it favourably?

Sometimes I have a little problem myself, a little personal problem with giving out government grants. I am not so sure that we should be dishing out grants all along the way, but we should certainly be looking at interest-free loans, and allowing those people to be able to go out and access money if some of their ideas are meaningful, and it is shown and proven that they can create some employment and get our people, as well as themselves, back to work.

All the departments of government out there today, and I have said this in the House before, where you have rural development, Community Futures, ACOA, ENL, all those lending agencies that are out there today, I think that some of those should be combined and we should have one-stop shopping. You either qualify to receive funding, or you don't qualify to receive it. I don't know why somebody would have to spend a week, or travel hundreds of miles, going around knocking on doors, to be given the same answer all the time. Either you are entitled to it or you are not entitled to it, and one department can do that instead of having all those empires that are built up out there today, and everybody giving the same advice and giving the same answer.

A lot of people out in our area, when they come forward and look at things we can do to improve our economy, and the things that we can do to get people back to work, can put some stimulus out there, tourism is always brought up. I believe in tourism myself, but I think we have to be realistic about it. I don't think tourism, especially on the Bonavista Peninsula, will ever be the economic salvation of what the fishery was. I think it can employ some people there, and I think that if we look after the sites that we have there, and continue to build on some of the places that we have there and have been recognized and put forward as places of interest and historic areas, I am sure that we could create some economic activity in that area, but I don't believe for one minute that tourism will ever employ the numbers that we have seen taken out of our fishery. It can help, and that's very important.

Speaking of tourism, I cannot help but comment on the Cabot 500 celebrations - the Cabot 500 Anniversary - as we are leading up to 1997. Everybody knows where John Cabot landed. I don't think there is any argument here of where that great Italian landed, but here we are today wondering what is happening here in our Province, and all of a sudden there is a brochure that comes before your desk that shows that the Province of Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island, is, at this moment, out seeking donations to build a replica of the Matthew, and Cape Breton Island to be left to show as a legacy of where John Cabot landed. That is happening in Nova Scotia today.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The minister didn't do his job. We would have had her built now.

MR. FITZGERALD: Yes, I think if we had a minister there, we probably would be trying. If we didn't have it built, I am sure the minister would have had the keel laid, and that would have been very important. He would have had the keel laid but I don't know if he could have ever gotten enough wood to build it. Where we would have gotten it I think, we would have had to go back to the minister to get a special permit but we would have had to do that, but I am not talking about building one over in Bristol England, Mr. Speaker, I think something should be built here in the Bonavista Peninsula, in Bonavista itself, the historic Town of Bonavista. If you are going to leave a legacy behind of what happened 500 years ago, then that's where it should be; not a civic centre in St. John's or a recreation centre over in Corner Brook, it should be in Bonavista, Mr. Speaker, the place where Cabot landed.

I am not so sure what kind of a commitment we got from the people who are heading up this program, and what's going to be left behind or what's going to be allowed to be left as a legacy, but I think that those are some of the things that we should be seriously looking at or it might be another case where we missed the boat again, and the boat will be built somewhere else and everybody will be going somewhere else to celebrate the anniversary celebrations, something that we have always stuck out our chests and said we are very proud of, so I would ask the acting Minister of Tourism and Culture, if he would have some immediate input in trying to get something moving now, of which we could be proud of in 1997, and let's get some infrastructure in place where we would give people a reason to come and visit our communities, come and visit the Bonavista Peninsula, come and visit the great historic town, the fishing village of Bonavista and go away with happy memories, and when they go away, Mr. Speaker, they will either return themselves or they will go away as goodwill ambassadors and tell their neighbours and have other people travelling down.

That's the way that you build tourism, Mr. Speaker, that's the way you build a tourist industry, but you have to have a commitment; you have to have a commitment from people and you have to have people who believe in your area, believe in your district and believe in having something there where people will come around to visit. Give them a reason to come; people don't go to Prince Edward Island, Mr. Speaker, to enjoy the sun, they don't go there because it is an island or for the boat trip out; they go there because Prince Edward Island has taken the initiative to put things there to attract the children and attract the youth and if you do that, then the parents come automatically.

Mr. Speaker, the Hibernia project is another area that is of great concern for my district and all Newfoundland I suppose, and it is very discouraging when somebody calls you and tells you that he got laid off yesterday after being an iron worker for a year, he was laid off and was told that he wasn't capable of doing the job. Mr. Speaker, I suggest if that was my case then the first thing that I would say is that the supervisor should have been the person to be laid off, for having taken a year to find out that I was unqualified to do that particular work. We are seeing this happen day after day while people from the mainland continue to come and occupy the Hibernia site and take our jobs.


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

I hate to interrupt the hon. Member for Bonavista South but the level of noise, particularly to my left is becoming unbearable, and I would ask the hon. members to tone it down a bit.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I realize that the government members are not interested in what I have to say but if they listen to members on the other side, over here, and sometimes take some advice, I think they would be better people because of it but they will learn, they will learn after a while.

Mr. Speaker, I have done quite a bit of travelling in this country myself as a construction worker, a member of a construction workers union and I found myself having to go to Nova Scotia and British Columbia and those places to find work, the tar sands up in Alberta and there was always a situation that when the layoff came, that the people who were travellers were always the first people who were laid off; there was never a situation that Newfoundlanders -

AN HON. MEMBER: That's not true.

MR. FITZGERALD: It is true and I know what I am talking about. It was always a situation that if you were a traveller, and a traveller was considered a person from outside the particular local where the job was being done, as work became less and less, then the first people who would be laid-off would be the travellers, Mr. Speaker, and the local people were always kept on. This is not the case with this giant construction project that we have going out at Hibernia. Many of our people out there today are getting laid-off while people from Ontario and other places find themselves going to work every day and maintaining the job while our own Newfoundlanders, our own brothers and sisters, are going home and going on the rolls of unemployment insurance.

Mr. Speaker, today out at the Hibernia project it is a situation where, not only are people getting laid-off but people - and they're not being laid-off, Mr. Speaker, because of slowness of work. In a lot of cases it's temporary but when they get laid-off, even though it's for a week, they go to the bottom of the list and may never get back up there again.

Mr. Speaker, in one particular site out at the Hibernia project - I happened to be talking the other day - when I mentioned this on the radio, Mr. Bill Simpkins - I think he's a public relations manager with the Hibernia project - called me on the telephone; he was on a cellular telephone. And I told him my concerns of what I had heard from people in my own district, how they were disgruntled because they were laid-off and other people were being kept on from outside the Province.

He assured me the reasons why it was happening. I didn't agree with him, but then I brought up the fact of all this overtime, double time being paid out there, Mr. Speaker, on the Hibernia project, while our own people are out there today drawing unemployment insurance and can't find a job. We have people out at the Hibernia site who have worked in excess of thirty days and can't get a day off.

I asked the gentleman who called after - he picked up the telephone conversation that I had. I asked if they had asked for time off and he said, `Yes, we have, and we were told that if we weren't willing to work, then they would take the machines that we're working on and move them somewhere where people were willing to work.' Mr. Speaker, it's not a point of those gentlemen not being willing to work, it's the point of the overtime that's being paid out, the double time, taxpayers dollars, my dollars and your dollars, and so many people out there who are capable of doing the same job, are out there today unemployed. That's the shame that's there with the overtime being paid out, not only the cost, but also, Mr. Speaker, the number of people who could be there, who could go to work, access those jobs and make a comfortable living for their families. I'm not talking about any highly-skilled jobs, Mr. Speaker, where you would have to put those people in training for months at a time. I was informed that anybody from off the street could be trained at that particular job - give them four hours for the safety of the machine only, because all they were doing was threading rebar. That's what they were doing at that particular site, those people who were working in excess of thirty days without a day off.

I remember working out there myself one winter and I got laid off. It was shortly after that that I spoke with a person from my own union, and because he happened to be working with another contractor there at the time, was telling me they had worked up to seventeen days at that particular time, twelve hours a day for seventeen days, while the union membership, I suppose, probably in excess of 85 per cent of them, were off work waiting to get a call to go back and be able to have a job and support their families.

That is unfair, Mr. Speaker, and I think that even though we may not be having a hands-on approach in calling the shots on what is happening out there, I think we should be voicing our opinion, and I call on the Minister of Labour to do that, to find out if this is actually going on. I have been told by very informed sources that it is taking place out there, and I think the onus is on us to make sure that this is not allowed to continue.

The hon. the Member for Eagle River talked about the wood-cutting industry on the Bonavista Peninsula, and is starting up his chain-saw over there every now and again, and reading in the paper to find out if there are any chain-saws or buck-saws for sale. But I can assure you, that is no joke on the Bonavista Peninsula. It is no joke in the hon. member's district where I live, in the district of Terra Nova, or Trinity North, I can assure you of that, because many people out there, as I stated before, are not fortunate enough to be living in an R-2000 house, or they are not fortunate enough to have a couple of thermostats on their wall where, when the wood dies down, then the electric heat will cut in.

Mr. Speaker, it is a very important issue, and when I said to the media that it was more important in my district than the sale of Hydro, I say that with all sincerity. It is, but that's not to say that the other subject is not important to them, because it is very important, and when they look at the cost of heating their homes with wood, and they see that being taken from them, then all of a sudden they envisage what their light bill is going to cost them. They have already been told that the privatization of Hydro will give them an increase in their utility bill.

The fishery, a very important industry in my district, the whole district is a fishing district - three major fish plants; three of them closed now, although we are waiting for the crab plant to open in Bonavista. The other plant in Charleston, and the one in Port Union, where many people from my area go to access a job, are closed down, not knowing if they are ever going to open again.

I welcome the news today that there is going to be a task force put in place, an industry review board, to identify plants which are going to open and plants which are going to close. I welcome that news, because this is what I have been saying from day one, that this should happen, and the Minister of Fisheries, I think his approach to it was that he would like for the markets to dictate which plants are going to open and which plants are going to close. My problem has always been with that particular approach, if we allow that to happen then we will never see people training for meaningful jobs. I fear that other companies will be dragged down with the fishery in getting geared up for plants that might open and not have a hope in hell of being successful. I think of the trucking companies, I think of suppliers of fishing gear, etc., etc., and that should not be allowed to happen.

In the fish plant in Charleston where I worked for a number of years, at one time a company from Nova Scotia, H.B. Nickerson & Sons worked at that particular plant. The Member for Trinity North can certainly verify what I am saying. At that particular time that employer bought every species of fish that was trucked into that particular plant. Everything that was trucked in was bought. It was packaged and it was sold. Mr. Speaker, I think we have to get back to doing that again. In fact I remember one year, while working with H.B. Nickerson & Sons when somebody was bringing in rabbits and they were buying rabbits. They had their freezers on and they bought rabbits and shipped them off to the Mainland. It showed me that there was a company there employing people who would buy whatever was available for them, and that they could make a profit on, but it was not the case this last number of years with the couple of fish plants being operated by Fishery Products International.

It seemed like a situation where the faster you could get product in there, and get it out, that is what had to happen. I think we have to get away from that, and if we are going to have a fish plant then we have to buy every species that comes over the dock, or we have to purchase and do things that we can put forward in the marketplace. If it means government, Mr. Speaker, helping them along the way, giving them some rebates, or sponsoring some of the workers there to the tune of small amounts per hour, then maybe that is what should be done, Mr. Speaker, rather than paying people to stay home. At least people would have a meaningful job and they would be doing something to help.

Mr. Speaker, the crab fishery on the Bonavista Peninsula last year, I think was open for approximately six weeks, I am not sure, but most of the plant workers there had to struggle to get ten weeks. It was a situation where it was a free-for-all for everybody. People would get in their boats and go out. It was almost a contest because you had to do that in order to get your share of this very lucrative fishery. It was a situation that you had found many people going out, venturing out on the ocean, when their boats should have been tied up to the wharf because of storms and other conditions. The safety factor. Very important, as the Member for St. John's South knows. Being involved in that particular program with FPI he can certainly attest to the safety features of what is happening in the plants and in our boats.

I've been lobbying the federal government to bring in rules and regulations this year, to bring some kind of semblance, if you would, to the harvesting of crab, and bring in a boat quota, or a trip quota. Either one. That way everybody would be allowed an equal share and it wouldn't be a situation where somebody would get up some morning and go down to start his boat and find that he had trouble with his gurdy or trouble with his motor and have the whole fishery pass him by.

Those are some of the things that can happen. Looking back at the Nickerson days when they were operating the fish plant down in Charleston, the Member for Port de Grave asked if they were buying rabbits in the fish plant. Yes, I said that, they were. They were also buying berries.


MR. FITZGERALD: No, no, I'm telling what they did there and how they kept people employed and all the activity that was going on there. It wasn't a situation where only one kind of fish was bought. It wasn't only groundfish. It was pelagics and everything else that was brought to the plant.

Mr. Speaker, they also bought berries, blueberries, partridge berries, which is I think a very viable industry still on the Bonavista Peninsula. It has been a situation again where we have allowed the berry grounds to be grown over and to be grown up with goudie - everybody knows what goudie is. Now in order for us to go back and realize a berry industry again -


MR. FITZGERALD: - we will certainly have to go back and burn over the ground, you are right, that is what has to be done. This might be a prime example of where we can use some of our people now who are involved in the fishery. If we are going to be putting them back to work that we can use them in very meaningful employment and will create some activity and some economic stimulus, Mr. Speaker, in the future. Very important. I think we can continue to sit here and talk about things that don't make sense or things that are unrealistic, but those are some of the realistic things that I feel can happen on the Bonavista Peninsula and I think they are things that should be looked at immediately.

When we look at the construction of schools, I notice the millions of dollars that was taken away from that. The school in my area - there is a lobby under way now to replace the Musgravetown High School, to put it in a central location and have it replaced with a new structure. The structure, in fact, is probably one of the last schools that has been built out of wood. I think it was about 1960 or 1962 that this school was constructed, and it was one of the last high schools - one of the last schools to be built as a wood structure. Now it has deteriorated to the point where the school needs to be replaced - not repaired, but replaced.

There has also been another school that has been brought to my attention, and a lot of letters have been written on behalf of concerned parents and students, where people from my district travel to go to school, and that is the L.R. Ash school in Lethbridge, where I am told that ceiling tiles are hanging down, water is running down over the steps, they had to put pails out, vacate rooms when it rains - deplorable conditions - and I firmly believe that we shouldn't be expected to send our children to those types of schools in rural Newfoundland today. I think if we are going to educate our people, if we are going to educate our children, we should make sure that they have ample opportunity and every opportunity that has been there for the people who live in urban areas.

Those are some of the areas where we should be looking at spending our money. I think our money would be spent wisely, and it would certainly have a reflection on the education and the achievements of our children and our students in years to come.

The payroll tax - another very important issue. It is the first time I ever saw a government bring in a tax on jobs - a 4 per cent tax once your payroll goes in excess of $100,000. What initiative is there to have any small business, any small employer -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. Member's time has elapsed.

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

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, before I sit down I would like to adjourn the debate.

MR. MURPHY: No, you can't adjourn debate. What are you going to do, take the House on your back?

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

MR. MURPHY: The best thing for the hon. member to do is to go look for a chainsaw.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

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

I just noticed, because of the gentleman who walked into the gallery, I say that the enthusiasm -

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A point of order, the hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed listening to the hon. gentleman in the debate, and I think it would be a shame if he started his debate this evening and had to continue it on Thursday, so I wonder if he would agree to adjourn debate now, and then we can hear him on Thursday?

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

MR. MURPHY: I am not adjourning the debate. There is no point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

AN HON. MEMBER: Well that's alright, sobeit.

MR. MURPHY: I just noticed, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. members opposite, it's very apparent, if you listened to the three hon. members who spoke this afternoon - I say to the Member for Humber Valley, he's very fortunate to be able to speak between the Member for Green Bay and the Member for Bonavista South. You'll always look good, always. But I noticed that the Hydro buttons - do you notice, I ask hon. members, have a look at the Hydro buttons, they're gone. They're just about gone. They're dying slowly on the vine and that's about the enthusiasm, like the hon. members opposite, for the Hydro issue. It's dying on the vine, and with those few words I will adjourn the debate until Thursday.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to remind hon. members that tomorrow is Private Members' Day. We'll be debating the resolution of the Member for Eagle River on the seal fishery.

Mr. Speaker, I move that the House at its rising do adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow and that the House do now adjourn.

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