April 20, 1994                HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS             Vol. XLII  No. 26

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

On behalf of hon. members, I would like to welcome to the galleries twenty participants from an Improving our Odds class at the Bonavista campus of the Eastern Community College, accompanied by their teachers, Mr. Neville Sampson and Ms. Denise Hicks.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity today to convey to the members of the House and to the public, my initial response to the unanimous report of a conciliation board reviewing collective bargaining between the government and the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association.

Mr. Speaker, the conciliation board made three recommendations. Firstly, it recommended that a mediator be appointed to assist both sides to begin collective bargaining. We agree with this recommendation. It has always been my position that the government and the NLTA should conduct collective bargaining on the issues before us.

Secondly, the board recommended that a joint NLTA government pension committee addressing the unfunded liability of the teachers' pension plan resume its work. A number of meetings of the committee were held prior to the exchange of collective bargaining proposals between government and the NLTA in February. Government has put forth a number of ideas on how to address the unfunded liability of the pension plan, and we would welcome more joint work by that committee.

Thirdly, the board recommended that government disclose to the NLTA the details of the restructured educational system as they relate to the collective agreement. In recommendation three the board specifically said that details of the educational restructuring as it relates to the collective agreement should be made available before the start of the collective bargaining.

I have said before, Mr. Speaker, that educational reform should not be held up by provisions of the collective agreement. I would not want to see the interests of students in our schools compromised by the interests of teachers as employees of government. However, while we would like to keep collective bargaining and educational reform as separate issues, we recognize that there are some aspects of educational reform which may affect collective bargaining. Consequently, we agree that more discussions with the NLTA on these matters may be appropriate.

I want to evaluate recommendation three and must obviously consult with my Cabinet colleagues before officially communicating the response to the board's report to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

I would conclude by saying that I am encouraged by this report. I hope it can help us find a way beyond the impasse.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

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

I want to first of all thank the minister for sending me a copy of the Ministerial Statement prior to the opening of the House. I am encouraged by the tone of the minister, and also, of course, of the conciliation board report. I am also encouraged by government agreeing to bargain in good faith, or at least suggesting that they may start the bargaining in good faith process, Mr. Speaker, because 350 teachers have already left their positions and created uncertainty in the education system, let alone the families of which they are a part, and the uncertainty there, Mr. Speaker, they caused that to happen because of their lack of faith in the system.

Mr. Speaker, the government should disclose immediately their plans as it affects the restructuring of the education system, because it is going to have drastic effects on the collective bargaining agreement that is in place now, Mr. Speaker. They should disclose this specifically, because of how it is going to affect the 2 per cent clause, the numbers of the administrative positions and the school board positions that are going to be affected -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. A. SNOW: By leave, Mr. Speaker?

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

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the government should begin the process of collective bargaining in good faith so that we can sort out this mess that the minister has created over the last several months.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting with a hundred or so people involved in the Improving Our Odds group in the Trinity - Bay de Verde area, in the Bellevue area, where, there were a number of questions asked with respect to the fishery; and I welcome people here today from the Bonavista area, I am sure they have lots of questions so we will try to ask the questions and see what kind of responses we get.

Yesterday, I understand the Premier in Question Period said, that the provincial government the Province, has been working daily over the last month with the Federal Government on the new TAGS program that was announced by Mr. Tobin yesterday. Clearly, that means the government has a lot of information and most of the details, no doubt. Today, I want to ask the Premier about the criteria that will be used to determine eligibility for the new program.

Now, yesterday, Mr. Tobin, in response to the media, said there were three criteria for fishermen, and that included at least seven years substantial attachment to the groundfish industry, 75 per cent of earned income from groundfish or a minimum of $20,000 a year in earnings from groundfish; but the Province, Mr. Speaker, and the Federal Government already know how many fishermen can meet those criteria because there already is a full and complete data base on every one engaged in harvesting groundfish, so, will the Premier tell the House today, how many fishermen therefore will be eliminated from the program because they won't be able to meet those three criteria? Because I am sure he has that information.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I have to confess that I don't have the detailed information immediately in front of me; it's a complex issue. The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, the Minister of Fisheries, in particular those two ministers, and officials from their departments and IGA officials have been meeting on a constant basis pretty well over the last month discussing these details and putting forward the Province's views but in the end the Federal Government must, of course, make the final decisions. I have to confess that I think we had a pretty good input into what was being decided. So I'm not being critical of the Federal Government when I say that but I recognize that they make the decisions.

Now, I don't have the detail immediately in front of me but it strikes me, from what the hon. the Leader of the Opposition has said that the numbers about being required to have a 75 per cent groundfish and a minimum of $20,000 is totally incorrect. Those are not the numbers, as far as I understand it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) 75 per cent of income from groundfish.

PREMIER WELLS: Seventy-five percent of income from groundfish - 75 per cent of earned income.

Now, Mr. Speaker, there are a variety of criteria and qualifications applying to different people at different stages. There are those who have an absolute right to be continued on the program immediately and the only requirement there, I think, is to be involved in NCARP, if I recall correctly. All those who are receiving it now will continue to receive assistance pretty well until the end of December in this year - I think that is correct but I would have to go and check it; then, for the next two years, depending on the level of attachment in the past, people would continue to receive it and after two years there would be an expected reduction.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the expectation is that the two governments will together be able to provide and generate some alternative employment opportunity in that next two years. So there will be people who will be falling off the program but our hope is that they will be finding alternative employment elsewhere. I can't absolutely guarantee that but two other components of addressing this problem are, of course, the industry renewal board and that's another aspect, but part of it is economic diversification as well. Now, that is a critical part of what the Federal and Provincial Governments are doing. So, Mr. Speaker, it is hoped that people who cease to qualify after two years because they don't have an acceptable level of attachment will have alternative employment opportunities, but I can't guarantee that. We will have to face that problem if, as and when it arises.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you. Mr. Speaker, I'm somewhat startled that the Premier couldn't answer a relatively simple question without providing a speech.

The question was: how many fishermen will be eliminated as a result of not being able to meet the three criteria that Mr. Tobin announced himself yesterday? These criteria, I can tell you, are accurate; it is what Mr. Tobin announced yesterday. There is no question about it. If he can't answer the question because he doesn't know the information, well then, that is fine, admit it. But don't walk around it. Let's try to get some answers for these people.

Presumably the Premier has been in close contact. He went to Ottawa I believe and met with Mr. Tobin and Mr. Axworthy. They were here. You were in Corner Brook and all the rest of it, so you must know some answers. Yesterday Mr. Tobin, however, having identified the criteria for fishermen, did not identify the criteria for plant workers. That is an extremely critical and important area. But again we assume the Premier is familiar and aware of the criteria because of the close consultation he said he had yesterday over the last month, or his government has had over the last month, with Mr. Tobin. In fact, he and Mr. Tobin have bragged publicly about the close consultation they've had.

I want to ask the Premier now: can the Premier tell the House now what criteria will be used to qualify the plant workers for benefits under TAGS? He did say what the criteria would be for fishermen. Maybe it was a slip of the tongue, I don't know. Again, surely that is information he has. Can he tell us also when he answers the question, if he knows the answer, how many plant workers won't be able to meet that criteria?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Let me remind the House again of the answer that I just gave. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Mr. Tobin, has assured me that unless somebody really was getting it and was unqualified for the NCARP now, everybody who has been receiving NCARP will continue to receive it until the balance of this year. So nobody will be immediately disqualified, nobody. Everybody will be receiving it, except anybody who obviously wasn't even entitled to receive NCARP in the first place. To the extent that there may be some like that then they would also be disqualified, but from this follow up program. Everybody who was receiving NCARP will continue to receive it at least for the balance of this year.

At the end of December of this year the numbers may be - and my recollection is maybe 2,800 to 3,000 less.

MR. SULLIVAN: 2,800 to 4,000.

PREMIER WELLS: Well, the number that I'm working with is 2,800 to 3,000 is the number he gave me, not 2,800 to 4,000. Twenty-eight hundred to 3,000 as at December would not qualify.

MR. SIMMS: Plant workers?

PREMIER WELLS: No. Well, that is all total recipients.


PREMIER WELLS: That is the number as I understand it. Between 2,800 to 3,000 would not qualify after December of this year because they had such a limited attachment that the argument was they shouldn't have been qualified in the first place in respect to some of them. This is the argument that some people have been making.

I can only pass on the information that I have. I can't fabricate and say it will be over 5,000. Twenty-eight hundred to 3,000 is the number that I have been given, and I assume that is the correct number.

MR. SIMMS: In both categories.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Well, we will see what the precise numbers are. We are just trying to get some answers for the people who have asked us to ask the questions, and we are happy to do it.

Now let me go to a specific point. Since the government had input, consultation, the questions we are asking we expected the government here would know the answers to. The amount of cod that was needed to be processed at a fish plant, in order for those plant workers to qualify for benefits, was always 10 per cent under NCARP - the Premier would be familiar with that. Now we have been hearing from a number of sources, and people have been asking us the question, that this particular criteria might be changed upwards so that 10 per cent no longer would be required, and it could be increased up to 15, 20, or 25 per cent, some people are guessing, but to clear the air on the question, because it is a critical question, obviously if that was to increase it could virtually eliminate an awful lot of people, knowing what happened in the past.

Can the Premier tell us, because again we expect he probably knows: Is this criteria of 10 per cent going to be increased?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I don't have all of this detailed information at my fingertips. I was at the meeting with the ministers in Ottawa on March 10. Prior to March 10, provincial officials had virtually no direct input. It was as a result of the meeting on March 10 with the Committee of Ministers in Ottawa, that provincial input started. From that time on a team of officials were involved, I think it is safe to say, almost on a daily basis in consultations with officials in Ottawa. It is the officials who have all of this detail, so I will take the leader's question as notice, and I will give him that answer either later today, if I have it before I leave the House, or if not I will deliver it tomorrow in the House.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, a supplementary.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I accept the Premier's undertaking to try to get the answers today, if he can do it, but again I have to say I'm somewhat surprised. I would have expected, on such an important issue, the Premier to have been well briefed on it. Even his ministers - I don't know if they can provide the Premier with the answers. They should know - the Minister of Fisheries and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations - but I will move on.

Again, I am going by what Mr. Tobin said yesterday at his press conference, because we obviously weren't briefed on it. The caucus over there was, and the Cabinet were, as we understand it. According to Mr. Tobin a number of people will be dropped off the program as the Premier mentioned earlier over the next four years and beginning after December. We know what is going on up until December.

In order to meet the target of having only 6,700 in Atlantic Canada - which would work out to be about 5,500 by the way in this Province, taking the 77 per cent that Mr. Tobin talked about - on the package by 1998, clearly approximately 18,000 fishermen and plant workers will be dropped over the next four years. So can I ask the Premier, can he tell us how that will be done? For example, one of the questions. Will individual's benefits be approved for fixed terms? In other words, will some people be told that within the next few months their benefits will last for one year or two years or three years, or whatever? Does he have an answer to that question?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that the hon. members haven't given this approach much thought. Let me remind members again that this is not simply a compensation approach. There are three prongs to this -

MR. SIMMS: We know that. We are asking about the benefits.

PREMIER WELLS: Well then, if you know it, take it into account.

MR. SIMMS: We are asking about the benefits. Answer the question!


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

PREMIER WELLS: It is a three-pronged approach. Compensation to the extent that compensation is needed to meet the needs of people who have, through no fault of their own, been displaced. A second aspect of it is renewal of the fisheries for a continuing successful fishery in the future, and one always hopes, although you can't guarantee it, that more people will go back into the fishery too in the future. The third component of it is economic diversification to offset the impact of probably large numbers of people coming out of the fishery and not being able to earn an income in the fishery in the future. There are three parts of it.

What I've said to the Prime Minister and to Mr. Tobin and what I've written to them, and what the Cabinet gave them in an Order in Council that was a specific response to the proposal in terms of expressing our approval with the way it was going, it was subject to certain caveats. Including the requirement that the proposal and its implementation be reviewed within two years. If the projections have not been met, if those projections as are expected have not been met, there will have to be adjustment to the program to meet the circumstances that then exist.

It is not simply a target of taking this many thousand out of the fishery no matter what. This is a comprehensive program that deals both with providing compensation, providing for a renewal of the fishery and a continuing efficient management of the fishery, and the third component being economic diversification. If there is no economic diversification and no fishery renewal, then two years from now we have a significantly different compensation problem than they are projecting we will have. If they have a significantly different compensation problem, that reality will have to be addressed at the time.

That is what the government has said to the Government of Canada. That is the position on it. So for members of the Opposition to say: What is going to happen, and is the commitment absolute for compensation for four years? No. If a fisherman who now is entitled to that full compensation goes out in six months from now and gets a good paying job, the compensation ceases. So you are not going to provide compensation on top of income.

AN HON. MEMBER: Nobody said that.

PREMIER WELLS: Well, this is what I'm saying. The question was, is it a firm commitment for compensation for that many years? No, if there is employment opportunity provided to the individual and they can earn income on that basis.

Mr. Speaker, it is a comprehensive program designed to address all aspects of it and we are confident that it will.


MR. SIMMS: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, this is the biggest pile of malarkey I've ever heard.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: From the Premier of this Province, who could care less about the 23,000 people in this Province who want to know the answers to this question, he continues to dance around and not answer the straightforward questions that are being asked. I'm surprised by the Premier's attitude and I suspect he does know. He is keeping it to himself. Let me ask him another question.


MR. SIMMS: You are abandoning the 23,000 fishermen and plant workers, that is what you are doing!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Let me ask him another question that he should be able to answer directly without skating around it. Annual federal expenditures here in this Province for the TAGS program are going to be reduced on an average of $60 to $70 million a year for each of the next five years. No one can dispute that. That is what it works out to. In fact as we all know the biggest and hugest cut may come at the end of December of this year. Let me ask the Premier if his government has calculated by now how much total income coming into the Province from the TAGS program will be reduced at the end of December, and in the following years, and given the fact that we already have taken a cut in this Province of $262 million from our economy because of the UI cuts, how serious will these cuts be for the economy and for the people of this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Let me deal with the first comments of the Leader of the Opposition, that I did not provide a straightforward answer to a straightforward question. The reality is, Mr. Speaker, I provided the real answer and they simply do not like it, and their position is very obvious. They have the full answer and they do not like the answer because it does not meet their political mold and they will not be able to distort it politically the way they would like to, but they have the answer. Now, what they are going to get is the full answer, and not simply the malarkey that they want to spread around, and that is what they will get.

Mr. Speaker, the second thing is the amount that will be paid out this year. I am told - I did not do the calculations myself, I therefore cannot absolutely verify it - but I am told that the amount that will be paid in the next year, in the first year of this program, will be more than was paid in last year. That is what I am told.

MR. SULLIVAN: Are they the same people who (inaudible) that Hydro should be privatized?

PREMIER WELLS: And they are absolutely right, and hon. members opposite will come to regret greatly their position.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: They will come to regret greatly their position on Hydro, as they have egg all over their face with the mess they have tried to create for this Province without regard for the people of this Province, and their future economic and financial interests. They will be up to their necks in egg and they are not going to like it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I advise the House again that I cannot confirm those calculations. I accepted it in good faith. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans told me that the amount paid out in the first year of this replacement program will exceed the amount paid out last year. I did not do the calculations but I have no reason to disbelieve him. He is an honest man. He puts the position forward in a very straightforward and accurate way, so I have no reason to disbelieve him.

I do not know off the top of my head what the amount will be in the next year, but if 2800 to 3000 people come off as of December then in the next fiscal year obviously it is going to be somewhat less. And if two years later the economic diversification program has been successful and people have obtained alternative employment opportunity elsewhere, and there has been a significant recovery in other aspects, in maybe some of the groundfish aspects of the fishery, and people have an opportunity to earn a living in the fishery, then obviously less will be paid. My fondest hope, Mr. Speaker, is that they do not pay the $1.9 billion, that economic and fishery circumstances are such that we will get over this problem rather more quickly and people will not need that level of assistance because they will have other opportunities.

AN HON. MEMBER: (inaudible)

PREMIER WELLS: That's it. And, Mr. Speaker, we were real enough to say to the Government of Canada that if economic circumstances turn around we do not expect you to pay $1.9 million out to Atlantic fishermen because that is what you put forward. If you can do it for $1 billion we expect you to save the other $900 million for the taxpayers of Canada, but, if two years from now projections are not as you see it, and the problem is worse, then you may well have to put up more money than the $1.9 billion that you have now projected. We have made very clear what our view of the matter is.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I want to pursue a line of questioning with the Premier that I pursued yesterday. I want to say to the Premier that the real problem here, Premier, is that you are not fighting for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That's the problem with you and when the real story is told about this fish aid package that you participated in, you talk about egg on your face from Hydro, you'll be wearing the full frying pan, I say to the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Now, it's clear from the Premier's comments yesterday that there's still a major misunderstanding, still a real problem between the Province and the federal government over the role of the fishing industry renewal boards. I think after I asked the Premier that yesterday, the Minister of Fisheries showed him the document, he went out to the press: I think there's a very serious problem. Now the Premier said the renewal boards will have a role in the future management of the fishery. Mr. Tobin said yesterday, explicitly, no. Their only function will be to reduce over-capacity in fish harvesting and fish processing to a minimum of 50 per cent. I want to ask the Premier: was the Province taken in by Mr. Tobin? Were you taken in, Mr. Premier? Did the Province agree to the TAGS program because you thought you would get joint-management of our fishery? Is that the reason?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, the Province's position is very clear and I made it clear in the media yesterday. I also took the precaution of writing Mr. Tobin yesterday and told Mr. Tobin in no uncertain terms - referred him to our earlier conversations - now I don't know whether what was in his statement was a misprint or whether it was something that was changed since last we spoke.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: I know they don't like answers that don't conform to what they want but, Mr. Speaker, I made it very clear to Mr. Tobin that this Province will not participate in an industry renewal board that is not a renewal board. We will not participate in a board that simply is presiding over the down-sizing. We will not participate in a board -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: - we will not participate in a board that does not provide for the genuine renewal and continued operation and development of policies for the future operation of the fishery of this Province. We will not, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Tobin knows it and so does everybody else in this Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Opposition House Leader.

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

Now that one really takes the cake because a misprint is bad enough but for the Premier to get up here talking about reduction in the processing capacity is something that you, as Premier and your government, has 100 per cent control of today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: 100 per cent and you've been trying to slough that off to someone else to make decisions on that you haven't had the intestinal fortitude to make.

Now after two years fishermen and plant workers are still in limbo because they don't know what plants will be closed permanently or how the harvesting sector will be reduced, what types of boats and gear will be permitted, if and when the fishery recovers, which we hope it will and soon. That's the issue that's been referred to the industry renewal boards to be decided. People can't plan their lives, Premier, until they know these answers. Are you, as Premier, and your government prepared to keep them in limbo, to hold them at ransom for another year, two years, three years, until you get the concessions you want on the industry renewal boards or will you, as a government, which you now have full control and jurisdiction over to make decisions on the processing sector of the fishery?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, we're going to disclose the full facts, including the fact that in 1970-71, when the former government, former Conservative government took responsibility, there were sixty or seventy fish plants in this Province and they pushed the number to 240. They pushed the number to 240 by their policies.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: That's right, they pushed the number to 240. Now, Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: - most of it, Mr. Speaker, in the 1980s, and we all know who the Minister's of Fisheries were in the 1980s. They pushed the number from about seventy to 230 or 240. Now, Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: - the Province is going to know where the real responsibility for the destruction of our fisheries lies. We, Mr. Speaker, will continue to deal with the problems that arise in order to make sure that we go forward with an efficient, effective fishery; and, Mr. Speaker, we will not be pressured into seeing a downsizing of the fishing industry here and see nothing happen in other provinces, only to see those other provinces claim access to the fish stocks around this Province when they recover because they have the capacity and this Province doesn't. We will not agree or participate, in downsizing unless there is a means of having an effective provincial input into the ongoing management of the fishing stocks when they recover.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A final supplementary, the hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The Premier has me somewhat confused. How can you get more than 100 per cent control of something that he now has over processing, I ask the Premier? You have 100 per cent, you can make the decisions, you can tell the people your plants are going to close or they are going to remain open, get on with the rest of your lives, but you are not prepared to do that.

Now, I want to remind the Premier as well, that since he became Premier, there have been twenty-seven new retail processing licences issued by the department.


MR. W. MATTHEWS: And of course we know what the problem is - when the Premier made the reference about the increase in the number of plants, the minister couldn't remember that he was minister; the minister couldn't remember he was minister when all that happened, so I think that's part of the problem. But anyway, both the Federal and Provincial Governments have said, harvesting and processing capacity must be reduced to a minimum of 50 per cent. When and if an arrangement is put in place to do that, I want to ask the Premier: what will be the position of the Province on the geographic location of plants? Because I have always maintained that there must be a regional processing presence kept in every region of this Province. I want to ask the Premier: Will you insist that there will be processing capacity kept in every region of this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, that's one of the key issues government has to take into account in any restructuring on the processing side. Both governments have an interest in processing, that's true, but the Government of this Province has a particular interest in where the processing is located and making sure that there is access to plants by fishermen all over this Province without having to truck fish an inordinate distance. So the location of fish plants will be a significant aspect of future licensing. How it will be achieved, nobody has yet decided. A variety of proposals have been forward; we will want to speak to the fishing industry and we will want to speak to fishermen and fishermen's representatives and unions, as to how this issue should be addressed. No final decision has yet been made but it is one of the major issues that the government has to address.

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

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question, I guess, I will put to the Minister of Finance.

On Monday, the Minister of Finance said he would table a breakdown of the $1.7 million spent last year in relation to the privatization of Hydro and some other Crown corporations. Mr. Speaker, I thought we would have the information by now, but unfortunately, the minister has not seen fit to table it. I ask him: Does he have the information today and will he table it today?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I asked that the information be put together, it probably has been put together; I will check shortly.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is my understanding - the Minister of Tourism and Culture - that summer jobs at provincial parks are not subject to the normal hiring practices because of their temporary nature, and last year, two student positions at La Manche Park were filled by people outside the district, one of these being Eugene Hiscock, a former Liberal MHA for Eagle River.


MR. SULLIVAN: I ask the minister: With hundreds of unemployed and capable students from my district pursuing post-secondary education, will the minister assure this House that students from districts will have priority when he meets the requirements for the upcoming year?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: Boy, you should (inaudible) jobs.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.



AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FUREY: I should refer the hon. member to his Leader when he was minister in the Catamaran Park situation, perhaps.

Mr. Speaker, it is a fair question, but I can tell you that in the past, all of these jobs were completely politicized; we are trying -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: That's the reality. The former minister just told me that Mr. Hiscock, I believe, was a Master's degree student studying French, but I will certainly look into it. We have been doing our best to apply the basic rule of fairness and balance in everything we do.

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

Notices of Motion

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


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I give notice that I will, on tomorrow, move the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole to consider certain resolutions relating to the advancing or guaranteeing of certain loans made under the Loan and Guarantee Act, 1957, Bill No. 13.

I give notice that I will, on tomorrow, move this House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole to consider certain resolutions relating to the guaranteeing of certain loans under the Local Authority Guarantee Act, 1957, Bill No. 14.


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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition on behalf of a number of residents of Newfoundland, whose prayer is that the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador seek to stop the proposed sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

Mr. Speaker, this is a part of a continuing series of petitions presented by people all across the Province opposing the sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. These particular petitioners are from places such as Stephenville Crossing, Seal Cove, Ming's Bight, Baie Verte, Deadman's Bay, and these individuals are, along with approximately 80 per cent - and that's the figure that has been used - 80 per cent of the people of this Province who oppose the sale of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. Now, that's not a made-up figure, it is based on scientific research that has been done on at least two occasions so far, testing public opinion across this Province.

Now, the Premier seems to indicate today that he has some other information to make known on this, and perhaps he will get up in response to the petition and tell us what it is, but in my own district of St. John's East I have asked my constituents what they feel on this issue. I have sent out a brochure asking them to respond to a questionnaire giving their views on the proposed privatization of Hydro, amongst other questions, and thus far 84 per cent of the people who mailed back the questionnaire oppose the privatization of Hydro, and support the position that I have taken in this House in opposition to it. There were 2 per cent undecided, and 12 per cent who were supporting the government position.

Now, this is a questionnaire that people have to put stamps on to send back, so it's not something that - people who feel strongly about it one way or the other can put a stamp on it and send it back in the mail, and the response was even greater than the public opinion polls that have been done.

Now, the Member for Windsor - Buchans, the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, wants to know whether the people of St. John's East understood both sides of the issue. Well, I would say they got a blast of $80,000-worth of advertising from Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. They got a blast of another $50,000 or $60,000, or 100,000 or 150,000, or however much the government spent on these fancy ads in the paper. They got a full-page ad from The Evening Telegram at least two or three times with the point of view of the minister, or at least the point of view of the Premier on this issue, and they had a little brochure from me, a little, tiny brochure, with one page detailing certain views about Hydro, and opposed to that were the two or three full-page ads, at great public expense, telling them how wonderful a deal this was, so they had the information before them.

They also had, whatever arguments that have been made, the benefit of a full public debate on CBC, a public debate on the cable television program. The hon. the Minister of Justice was kind enough to debate the issue one evening on Cable 9, and I think they were kind enough to replay it four or five times afterwards so everybody had a chance to hear the government's views and the opposition views on this matter.

I would say there are probably no more well-informed people in this Province than there are in St. John's East on this issue, and perhaps on many others, but certainly on this issue.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) send out a questionnaire.

MR. HARRIS: I don't know if the Member for St. John's South sent out a questionnaire. I sent out a questionnaire to all of my constituents and asked them for their views on it, and so far, the response has been 84 per cent who have indicated that they are opposed to the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, about 12 per cent are supporting the government's position, and about 2 per cent have no opinion on the matter; they wrote back saying they were undecided.

Mr. Speaker, that is a fairly good indication of where public opinion is in this Province, whether the government is supported or not. The real question that is now before the public of Newfoundland and Labrador is: Is the Premier as good as his word? Will he do what is right - he is always talking about doing what is the right thing to do - and indicate to this House that he intends to abide by the wishes of the people and take back and withdraw the legislation to privatize Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, take back the power -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. HARRIS: With leave, Mr. Speaker?

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


MR. HARRIS: - take back the power and give it back to the people? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I know today is Private Members' Day and we have a lot of petitions we want to present so I will be as brief as I can. I want to support the petition as submitted by the Member for St. John's East regarding the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

I think it is very clear to everyone that the vast majority of the people of this Province oppose the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. The Premier made reference today about having egg on our face regarding Hydro. Mr. Speaker, I have been told of a letter that has been sent by the government to all registered Liberals in this Province.


PREMIER WELLS: No letter sent by the (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: It was received - my information, I say to the Premier, is that it was received in Marystown I believe it was the Wednesday or Thursday before the ad in the paper for the 1-800 number. It was very interesting what the letter said. It explained it all to them, and then on the end was the part about the 1-800 number, Mr. Speaker. I don't know how many registered Liberals there are in this Province. I don't know how many registered Liberals got -


MR. TOBIN: I don't know how many registered Liberals in this Province, Mr. Speaker, are going to respond and are going to call in to the 1-800 number expressing their support for the Premier and the government on the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

MR. EFFORD: What is wrong with that?

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, that if you have to write the Liberals in your district, or the government, whatever the case may be, and ask them to phone in and say: I support, I would say there is something wrong with it.

MR. EFFORD: What is wrong with that?

MR. TOBIN: You don't see anything wrong with that? I think there is something wrong with it. I think it stinks, I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. Mr. Speaker, when you have to grasp at straws, when you are that far down under the surface and you have to reach up and haul at that final straw, if that is not a move of desperation I don't know what it is. I can say that the majority of people in this Province are opposed to the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro.

The Chamber of Commerce meeting the other night. People talk about the largest Chamber of Commerce in the Province, Mr. Speaker, the largest, bar none. It got an award a few weeks ago. What did they do when they heard the Minister of Mines and Energy and the Member for St. John's East debate the issue?

AN HON. MEMBER: No, no, no.

AN HON. MEMBER: Humber East.

MR. TOBIN: Humber East. Then they had a secret ballot after they heard the Member for Humber East and the Minister of Mines and Energy and two-thirds of the people there practically, voted against the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. Now, Mr. Speaker, did that chamber consist of Tory districts, I ask members opposite? Port de Grave, Carbonear, Harbour Grace, Trinity - Bay de Verde, Bellevue, that's where the Chamber of Commerce was constituted from, from these districts, from all over that area and what did they say? They said, no. Two-thirds of the members who took the vote, a secret ballot, said no to the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. Mr. Speaker, an interesting thing in this by the way, that it was the membership of the Chamber of Commerce who made the decision and not the executive, like what happened to the St. John's Board of Trade.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That's what happened or like what happened to the chamber in Corner Brook, when the next day they had a meeting and all of the people came in and they said: what's going on here? That's what's happening in this Province.

Mr. Speaker, I understand that we have other petitions to present and time will be consumed within ten minutes on that petition so I'll sit down but I'd say that to write the registered Liberals in this Province is a desperation move on the part of government, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, some of the comments made by the hon. member necessitate my response. To suggest that the government sent stuff to registered Liberals is totally incorrect. The government did not but the Liberal Party may well have sent it. Now the Liberal Party may have done that -

AN HON. MEMBER: That was a misprint.

PREMIER WELLS: - but this, Mr. Speaker, is not a misprint. This, Mr. Speaker, is PC Party propaganda mailed out of the government offices, at government expense.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Leaders News, Convention 1994 in Gander, sign up and come to the PC Convention - no you're not entitled to that. The Liberal Party doesn't use taxpayers' money to use at fund-raising, no indeed we do not.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Now, Mr. Speaker, if that wasn't bad enough their fund-raising campaign is now carried on at taxpayers' expense. Here it is, Mr. Speaker, a letter: Dear Tom, Just a note to remind you of the luncheon club - their fund-raising luncheon club - meeting on Wednesday, April 20, 12:00 - 2:00 p.m., Holiday Inn. Feel free to bring a friend. I look forward to seeing you.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Yes, mailed out of the government offices to Tory members, Tory Party supporters, yes!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, this is not the first time. I was informed of this before. I was informed of this two years before, Mr. Speaker, and I raised the question and stopped it at that time. The Opposition were abusing the taxpayers' money by using it for their own political purposes and stopped it at that time, Mr. Speaker, took steps to see that it was stopped but, Mr. Speaker, I didn't make a public issue of it. I didn't want to resort to petty politics over it. I just spoke to them about it, just advised them of it.

Now, Mr. Speaker, here they are back at it again, using the taxpayers' money for their own party propaganda. It's time, Mr. Speaker, they were called to account for their political misbehaviour. To stand in this House and criticize because the Liberal Party, at it's own expense, sent out letters informing it's members, at the Liberal Party expense, Mr. Speaker. Not this, `Convention '94,' sent out on government letterheads with eighty-eight cents postage on it, Mr. Speaker. How many were sent out? How much did it cost the taxpayers to advise the Tory members and send out applications to attend their convention? It's the Leaders News, you're not the Leader of the Province you're the Leader of the Tory Party.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Was it sent to the people? Here is the opening statement: Easter Greetings to Progressive Conservatives throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. What has that got to do with taxpayers? Now, Mr. Speaker, those self-righteous hypocrites with that false indignation standing up making these allegations - it is about time the people of this Province knew just what was going on. Mr. Speaker, I will get the rest of the information out, too, and demonstrate just what has been happening as they have been spreading this false propaganda about Hydro throughout the Province at public expense, and then they have the gall to stand up in the House and be critical of the Liberal Party because at its own expense it communicated to its members. Mr. Speaker, such hypocrisy is not deserving of any kind of attention, except the highest possible condemnation possible, and that is what I invite the people of this Province to confer on the members opposite.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

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

I want to present a petition on behalf of residents of Grand Bank from various towns in the district, but mostly from the town of Grand Bank. What a display, if you have ever seen a cornered weasel, a wounded rat, you have seen it here today. If ever we have seen an individual trying to crawl up out of the hole he dug for himself, in a hole not only with the people of the Province but in a big hole with his own caucus, I say to the Premier. If ever there was an action of desperation for the Premier of this Province to stand in his place today and wave around literature of the Leader's News, and a letter inviting people to a luncheon club, I say to the Premier, you call someone else a hypocrite? We can get the letters. The Member for Burin - Placentia West made reference to the letter, I say to the Premier, that he knows came into his district and knows who received it. He did not come in here and table it like you did.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. W. MATTHEWS: So, you did not table it? You should be made to table it, by the way. The Speaker should order you to table it. You cannot come in here waving around letters and other stuff and not table it. You table it. You are the one who talks about decorum in here and everything else. You table what you just read from I say to the Premier.

Mr. Speaker, you talk about a man who is desperate because he has lost an issue. I say to the Premier and to members opposite what an unbelievable display of behaviour for the Premier of this Province who came into this Chamber five years ago and was going to improve the decorum of the House. What a farce! What a hypocrite, I say to the Premier of this Province. When you cannot defend what you are trying to push down the throats of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that is the way you behave. I say to the Premier that in the last five years I have been in this Chamber when the Premier is on the ropes he attacks people personally, he attacks individuals. He turns into character assassination, I say to the Premier, and that is what he has done again today. When you cannot defend the indefensible, when you have lost the battle, that is what you resort to time after time, after time.

PREMIER WELLS: (inaudible) that will be back to haunt you.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: To be very honest, I feel sorry for the Premier. He has lost so badly in the last three or four months that he is now hanging on to the knot at the end of the rope and his fingernails are breaking off, I say to him. He has lost so badly on this Hydro issue, and he is now being exposed as to what he has agreed to with the Federal Government on the fish aid package, he is about to slip off the knot, and if the people behind him were honest, and spoke in the House like they do in caucus, we would know the true story, I say to the Premier. But we are going to keep up the fight against the privatization of Hydro. Eighty per cent of the people are against the privatization of Hydro, and again, it's time for the Premier to stand in his place and tell the House and tell the people of the Province that he is withdrawing the legislation, and if he doesn't want to do that then let it die on the Order Paper, I say. Let it die there.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

It now being 3:00 p.m., we will call Motion 4, Private Members' Day.

Private Members' Day

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is certainly a privilege for me today to stand here and propose this resolution to the hon. House, but before I get into the substance of the motion, I would like to ask unanimous consent of the House to make a friendly amendment to the last stanza of that resolution, since a number of members on this side feel, and also after talking to members opposite, they have concurred, because we are asking for a full-fledged seal fishery, some people might interpret it that we could be talking about a return to the white-coat hunt.

I was going to certainly make that clear in the speech, but simply for the record, and to make sure that there is absolutely no dispute about where we are coming from, I would like to propose, if I have unanimous consent of the House - and I already discussed this with the hon. House Leader and the leader of the other party in the House - I would like to propose that the resolution be amended by placing the word `adult' after `full-fledged' in the last section, and the phrase `based on the full utilization of the seal' at the end of that particular section, so that it would now read:

BE IT RESOLVED that the House of Assembly endorse a full-fledged adult seal fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador, based on the full utilization of the seal.

I would like to propose that, Mr. Speaker, and have you rule on it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Does the hon. the Member for Eagle River have the consent of the House to amend the motion as indicated?


MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member has leave to amend his motion accordingly.

Motion carried.

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

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

Mr. Speaker, today we are going to discuss what I believe is a very important issue - obviously, the resolution as it stands, and I would like to read it into the record:

WHEREAS the economy of rural Newfoundland and Labrador has been devastated by the collapse of the Northern Cod stock; and

WHEREAS the seal population has reached more than 5 million, and created a clear imbalance in the ecosystem; and

WHEREAS the market is now available for the utilization of the whole animal;

BE IT RESOLVED that the House of Assembly endorse a full-fledged adult seal fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador based on the full utilization of the seal.

Mr. Speaker, coming on the heels of the announcement yesterday by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, it is now certainly more incumbent than ever for us to be dealing with the seal fishery, and over the next few minutes - and I am sure other members from both sides will touch on it - I want to give an overview of why this is such an important issue, and particularly talk about the ecological imbalance that presently exists in the oceans adjacent to our communities. I want to talk about it in respect to the present fisheries crisis that we have, and what it means, and how we must address it.

Obviously, we also should address the market developments that have taken place in the past six months or so in particular, to really give a good understanding of why this resolution, I think, is important and must be, I hope, endorsed by all members of this hon. House.

Mr. Speaker, presently there are over 5 million harp seals in the waters adjacent to Newfoundland and Labrador, but it also must be clearly pointed out that there are millions of other seals - I would say in the area of 3 million to 5 million more seals. Those are the grey seal and the hooded seal and the jar-seal, and the other seals that go to the inland waters. We know that the harp seal population, which is the only one that is surveyed by the DFO scientists in this area -

AN HON. MEMBER: Partially surveyed.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Partially surveyed in what some people certainly have been led to conclude after some of the numbers that they have reached in the past number of years. We know just recently that they've ended another count on the harp seal. It must be clearly pointed out - and also I'm reminded by the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir, that the seals on the South Coast of Newfoundland are not included in the count that is undertaken. There is a tremendous population in that area that is not included in the count.

Mr. Speaker, we now have situation where clearly we have with every confidence 8 million to 10 million seals in the Atlantic Ocean adjacent primarily to Newfoundland and Labrador. These are made up of the various species that I mentioned.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it has been a long-standing issue, I guess, as to what the seals eat. There have been various groups and organizations, but particularly the IFAW, that have always contended that the seals do not eat fish, but now we do have the scientific evidence, the scientific evidence is there, that shows that the seals, in fact, do eat any number of species of fish. And now, the IFAW have had to accept that fact because the biological information coming from the seals now confirms that they certainly do eat fish.

Particularly with the codfish, the seals take the underbelly; they come up and take the underbelly of the cod, because what they are really going after is the liver in the seals. Sometimes if you took a look at the inside of the seal you wouldn't find all the bones and everything associated with the codfish, because they take the soft underbelly and they get at the liver. Obviously, fish without a liver or without an underbelly don't get very far in the oceans of our shores and there is no doubt that the death of that fish is immediate. So, Mr. Speaker, it is very clear now.

If you take 8 million to 10 million seals eating just one pound of fish a day - and obviously the seals that we see are very healthy, those that I've been hearing about, along the Coast of Labrador, and others can confirm. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation probably can confirm it better than anybody else in this House because he still holds his seal licence and he still takes the seal. But, Mr. Speaker, if those seals ate, say, 8 million pounds of fish a day, for say, 300 days a year, that is 24 million pounds of fish, something like 1200 tons of fish being taken just by that population alone.

Just to give you some comparison of that. The latest scientific evidence that tells us about the state of the Northern cod says that there is now a biomass of Northern cod of less than 20,000 metric tons - less than 20,000 metric tons of spawning biomass for the total Northern cod fishery. It is absolutely inconceivable for us to continue to allow the seal population out there as it stands to go after what is the last remaining fish in our great Northern cod stock.

Mr. Speaker, it should also be pointed out that the seal doesn't restrict its diet to codfish. I am little bit amused when I hear people in the media talking about what is happening to our salmon. I'm a bit amused, because over the last number of years we've had moratoriums in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. The last I heard, the scientists were in St. Andrew's, New Brunswick, saying: There must be - we can't figure it out - but there has to be some kind of virus out there now. They've ruled out all the other things and they now conclude that it must be some kind of virus that is getting at our salmon.

Mr. Speaker, how obvious do they want it? How clear? The virus is the seal. There is absolutely no doubt about that. You go to any of our rivers in Newfoundland and Labrador - the Gander River, I am sure the Minister of Finance has seen them, where the seals have gone up as far as he has gone in the Gander River, right up to the lake, Mr. Speaker; and other rivers around, other members have given an accounting for it.

I had another letter just yesterday, from a senior citizen down in Cartwright, Labrador, who spent all of his time working on the rivers, the North River, the Eagle River, Paradise River, Black Bear River and all of those, Mr. Speaker, and he is telling me that for the last number of years, he has travelled through those rivers, he has seen seal after seal after seal taking the young salmon and also going after the adults especially as they are spawning; so if they are up there taking them, it makes no wonder they can't come back to the ocean, and make no wonder they are not returning in the numbers that they are expected to with the rivers.

So I would say to the people who are so preoccupied and dedicated to preserving the Atlantic Salmon, it is about time that you added your support to getting the seal population under control. It is about time that you admitted to all of the world, that the salmon population is being hindered in no uncertain fashion by that species, Mr. Speaker, and it has to be stopped.

Mr. Speaker, obviously, in addition to the terrible imbalance in the ecosystem, there is now upon us a fisheries crisis as we never ever thought it would be, and clearly, it never has been in the past to this degree. We now have the Northern cod stock decimated, we now have eleven species, eleven groundfish species under total moratorium, from Cape Chidley in the north right down to the George's Banks and other places in Atlantic Canada, a full, total moratorium on these stocks. The salmon, as we have already pointed out, are also in dire straits; there are other species outside of the Northern cod and the Gulf cod that are under total moratorium. So we now know, and it is no secret to anybody, that it is going to take some time before we have those species returned and in all honesty, they probably never will return to their original form even as they were five years ago. They probably will never return to that stage.

Therefore, it is more incumbent upon us now than ever before, to diversify within the fishery, to diversify to the point of looking at every resource that we have available, to get those jobs that are going to keep that community alive, that will give those fishermen some income and give our economy the kind of stability that we are obviously not getting at the present time. And, in the future, if we don't take advantage of this opportunity, it will be even worse.

So, Mr. Speaker, it is very important that we look at the seal fishery as a viable alternative for employment, as a viable alternative in terms of getting economic benefit to our people on the Coast of Labrador and all through the Northeast Coast of Newfoundland, the South Coast of Newfoundland even in other parts of Atlantic Canada.

We now have some very, very positive developments in the marketplace. My colleague, the Member for St. George's will talk quite lengthily and clearly and very, very substantially about the developments in the seal fishery. He is a very competent individual in this particular area when it comes to the research and development that he has put into the oil and the by-products of the seal. I am sure all hon. members should pay attention to what he is going to tell you, because he does have a substantial amount of information and very, very exciting developments that he has been involved with and which certainly can have very positive effects on our rural economy, and our economy in general.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. the Minister of Fisheries, I am sure, when he gets a chance to speak, will talk about the very substantial developments in the marketplace in Asia. Obviously, it was our Premier who headed up that undertaking this year to go to Asia, to hold discussions with people in the Asian market. And it was largely because of the work done by the Department of Fisheries over there and certainly promoted by our Premier when he went on his trip to Asia in January, Mr. Speaker, that we now have a contract that will see some 50,000 seals harvested.

I guess the real encouragement in all of this, the real substantial benefit that we are now receiving, is in the fact that there has been a market found and endorsed and appreciated for the full utilization of the adult seal. There is absolutely nobody in this Province who would support, and there are no reasons now for anybody to support or promote the return of the white-coat seal hunt. That was wrong before and it is certainly not going to be repeated. We have no intention of supporting any kind of a return to the white-coat hunt. Hopefully, everybody out there can clearly appreciate that that is exactly where we are coming from.

I am looking forward to the debate this afternoon on this very important issue. I will return to some of the other issues in the seal fishery, particularly some of the management issues that are now there in terms of the management of the fishery as it relates to licensing, as it relates to processing, and as it relates to being able to access that resource, at the latter part of my presentation.

Mr. Speaker, I think this is a very exciting undertaking for this Province to be embarking on. I think it has to be undertaken for all of the right reasons and I would hope that all hon. members here today will be able to support this resolution as it is now stated.

With that, I will now close off because I want to try to make sure that other speakers get an adequate chance to have their say this afternoon. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I want to have a few words. I thank the hon. the Member for Eagle River for going on a bit to allow me to get back from discussions with the Speaker.

I want to first of all say that I support the resolution put forward by the Member for Eagle River. I want to acknowledge that he did call this morning about his amendment, which I thought was wise. As a matter of fact, this morning, once I read through the resolution, I had a flag raised, as well, in my mind that perhaps we should deal with it the way the member has, so I support what he has done there as well. It is not that - I wasn't going to accuse the member of softening or weakening, like I did yesterday. In this case it is a wise amendment and I commend the member for both the resolution and for doing what he has done with the amendment.

I want to say to the Member for Eagle River that I was supposed to be at a meeting at 3:30 p.m. with the IEC but I wanted to listen to what the Member for St. George's was going to say. I want to say to the Member for St. George's, out of courtesy, that if I should leave to go to the IEC meeting, then I will certainly undertake to read Hansard.

AN HON. MEMBER: What was that again?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I say to the Member for St. George's that if I should be absent while he speaks - and obviously, from what the Member for Eagle River said, he has some very good information that he will supply to the House and some very interesting points to make. I want to assure him that I will read Hansard tomorrow and digest what he had to say. I don't know if I will digest what he has to say about some of the seal parts, or what should be done with it, but I will certainly read what the member has to say in that regard, and look forward to it with interest.

I think, as the Member for Eagle River has (inaudible), many times we've had a very similar private member's resolution brought forward in the House, and I guess on most occasions it has certainly been supported. Some people have reservations for various reasons, depending upon the wording, but I think there is one thing that we've always been unanimous about since I've been here, and that is, the seal herd, the seal population has to be dealt with, if we are going to overcome this very serious fisheries -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: - this very serious fisheries crisis. I wish the press would stop sending me in notes like this because it interrupts my train of thought. I'm coming out after you, so be careful what you say, I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

With all the other things that we are doing, particularly as Atlantic Canadians, and Atlantic Canadian fishermen and fish plant workers, of all the sacrifices that we are making. It should be clear to the world now just how far we are prepared to go, and the harsh decisions that governments have had to make, and are still making, to try and overcome this very serious fisheries crisis, to rebuild and regenerate our fish stocks, that all of the contributing factors to the decline in our fish resources must be dealt with, and that certainly includes dealing with the member's resolution where he talks about the devastation of the Northern Cod stock.

The seal population, he says, has reached more than 5 million. I guess there would be a debate on that, but certainly the seal population is out of whack and that must be addressed. A clear imbalance in the ecosystem - I strongly believe that. There are those who would disagree with us, but I believe that.

The market is now available for the utilization of the full seal, the whole animal. There is some progress being made in that regard, and I understand there could have been some other opportunities, I believe, I say to the Member for Eagle River, but I think they were missed, for some reason or other this year, either for trying to access government funding, and the recent trip to Asia, as I understood, held out some promise for it all, but then I don't know if that's materialized or advanced the way that it should have. I think there have been some wrinkles in that proposal. We might be able to take advantage of those markets, or potential markets that seem to be there, from what I am hearing. I don't know all the details, but maybe some other members might allude to, or further develop that bit of a problem that is there, and that we endorse a full-fledged adult seal fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador. I certainly very strongly support that.

When you look at taking the fishermen out of the fishing industry, that we have been doing for the last few years and are about to do now in a very big way, when you look at the foreign fishing effort that is still raging on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks, members know that. We arrested a couple of our own vessels. I give them credit for doing that. They should have been arrested, and if there are more of them out there, arrest them as well, but that foreign effort is still there in a big way - sixty to seventy vessels that are still out there - and I believe they are still out there doing exactly what the Christina Logos was doing.

It was very revolting to watch. I watched it on television, and it would make you so upset, and think thoughts that you shouldn't really think, when you see that vessel with the small fish that were in the hole, and then to see the liners in the nets - and I believe what is outside there now fishing are doing the same. They are doing the same, and if we don't stop that - and I am sure the Member for Eagle River knows that full well, although I don't hear him refer to it quite as often now since Mr. Tobin is federal Fisheries Minister; you don't hear him talk about it quite as much - but if we don't get rid of that problem

MR. SULLIVAN: George doesn't talk about it as much either.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, Mr. George Baker doesn't talk about it quite as much. Certainly, if Mr. George Baker talks about it now he doesn't inflate the figures like he used to prior to October, when he used to have sixty into 120 or 150 in a matter of thirty seconds, but unless we take care of that foreign overfishing problem, we can take our own fishermen out of the industry, close up our plants, take care of the seal problem - we could do that - but if we don't get the foreigners off the Nose and Tail of the Banks, all of that, I still think, will be in vain, because I am very worried and up to, I would say, twelve to eighteen months ago I was optimistic that our fish resources would regenerate, they would rebuild, but I have to be honest today; I am not so sure any more. I am not so sure any more that they are going to regenerate and rebuild. I am a very worried person today about the future of this Province, and I am worried about the future of this Province because I am very worried about the future of our fishery.

If we don't control all of the factors, if we don't take action on all of the contributing factors, including the seal population, then I think the chances of that resource regenerating, and Newfoundland and Labrador being productive in the fishery again, is in great jeopardy. I just hope that we will see the seal population dealt with in an orderly, organized, planned fashion whereby the full seal is utilized. None of us can support just taking parts of the seal, throwing the rest away, leaving it for whatever, I think we all realize that. Society has made great progress in that regard.

Environmentally, when it comes to dealing with our food resources we've made great advances. We've become far more cognizant. So I guess what I'm saying is, we can't think about doing what we used to do. We have to be progressive, innovative and utilize the full seal, which the Member for Eagle River is talking about and which, as I said, I look forward to the Member for St. George's expanding on somewhat, to tell us what real potential is there. I know of some potential but I'd like to know just what full potential is there, which I'm sure the member can inform us, educate us on and which I will take great interest in.

Without saying too much more, Mr. Speaker, my concerns are that we need to deal with all those factors that have brought us to the state where we are today. The factors that have brought us to a point where we had the federal minister yesterday come in, although he didn't give us too many details on what's about to come down - anybody who's had any knowledge and followed the fisheries crisis, the way that I have, and know anything about figures - a number of people involved in the industry, a number of people being compensated.

Look at the total money package that's now being allocated for the Atlantic region, you know what the end result of all of this will be. It's going to mean that we're going to have between 17,000 and 18,000 people at the end of the fourth year of this program who will not be receiving any compensation benefits, that's what it means. I don't care who argues that point or for whatever reason. That's the facts of it all. We're going to be left with between 5,000 and 5,500 people in the fifth year of the program who are going to be receiving some form of benefit from this program.

If you look at the figures, you analysis them, you look at Atlantic Canada, you give us our 75 per cent or 77 per cent and it becomes clearer as you do that. Now I know there will be those who will argue, for whatever reason but that's what the end result is going to be, it's going to be devastation. It's going to mean 17,000 - 18,000 individuals that are going - hopefully, we all hope they will be retrained, we all hope they start their own business or they find employment somewhere else but again we all know that realistically there's going to be several thousand people who are not going to find employment elsewhere. So what recourse is there for them? Where are they going to end up? That's the big worry.

Hundreds of communities out and about our Province, rural communities, I'm not so sure that they're going to be able to be kept glued together. I look at my own area of the Province and I'm down there most of the time when the House is closed. When the House sits, I'm out there every weekend. I drive through the communities, I know them very well. I know the state of the infrastructure in those communities. I've watched how the infrastructure has deteriorated over the last number of years - roads, water and sewer - in communities that were very well managed and very well kept.

When I look at the impact of what Mr. Tobin announced yesterday - and being as familiar with it as I am because of obvious reasons, I've had to. I live out in rural Newfoundland and I've been fisheries critic and on and on. So you have to keep abreast of it all but I honestly don't know how hundreds of those communities are going to keep going. I don't know what's going to keep them going. I don't know how the councils are going to be able to get the taxes from those people to keep their infrastructure in place, to run the towns, to offer the services. So it's a very worrisome situation. Members opposite and members here are no different then I am, their communities are no different then the communities that I represent. They've got the same problems; social problems, education problems, employment problems, infrastructure problems and when you analysis really what - it hasn't flowed out of yesterday yet, it's going to take awhile for that. The real impact is not going to strike until January of 1995 and then for each successive year it's going to get worst that I honestly don't know.

But, having said that and not meaning to digress too much from the resolution, that taking action as the member proposes in his resolution - and with the provincial government playing a very important role and the federal government playing its part - that certainly there's an opportunity here - there's economic opportunities - at the same time we are benefitting economically, we're taking care of that great major problem of helping our fish resources regenerate, rejuvenate and rebuild. That is what is vitally important as I see it.

I repeat again. Unless we take care of all the contributing factors - our fishermen, we are dealing with that, in a very painful way, and for the largest part our people have accepted it. The seals have to be dealt with, and foreign overfishing has to be stopped. If we leave any of this out and we don't deal with either one of these contributing factors - I'm worried enough about the regeneration if we deal with all factors. If we leave any of those factors not dealt with, we think we are going to have a serious problem in the next four or five years as a fallout of the package announced yesterday, we will have a far worse one if we don't do something.

I want to just finish off by saying that I support the member's resolution categorically. I look forward to the Member for St. George's and what he is going to say and the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay and the Minister of Fisheries. I see the Minister of Finance wants to jump up and do something. I don't know if that is more bad news on the Budget or if there has been a provincial strike or - perhaps he is going to tell us all the seals have gone south.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, it is a mini-budget he is coming down with.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It is a mini-budget. He is going to slam a mini-budget on us now, that is what he is going to do. With that, I want to conclude by saying I totally and fully support the resolution.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER (Barrett): The hon. the Minister of Finance.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance on a point of order.

MR. BAKER: I would like to table something that I said two days would be ready today. There was a slight mistake in what I had earlier today and I had to send it back and get it corrected. I would now like to table the privatization expenses. It was asked for by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. minister have leave to table the information?


MR. SIMMS: To the point of order, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Yes. I didn't hear if the minister said publicly what the answer was, or just tabling it. The question was the $1.7 million. Was it - because I haven't seen it - in fact spent mostly for the privatization of Hydro? That is the question that was asked. Maybe the minister could tell us publicly as well as tabling the information. That would be helpful.

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I don't want to take up the time of Private Members' Day to go over this in detail. I will give the hon. gentleman a copy right now.

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, hon. colleagues. First of all I guess I will say that I am very pleased to have the opportunity to enter into this debate today. I should hope to add to this debate a little different slant. I want to discuss the vast marine resource we have out there in our seal population completely from a different standpoint, and that being as a source of nutritional and biomedical compounds.

Before I go into the text of my delivery I should also say that the hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation had planned on speaking in this debate today but he kindly gave recognition to the sacredness of the private member's bill and offered me his position to make this delivery. I am sure members on each side of this hon. Chamber would agree that the hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation would add valuable information to this very important debate on the sealing industry.

The economic situation created by the lapse of the sealing industry is well documented and you have heard some comments on that already here in the House today. Although much has been written in recent months in the popular press over the possible sale of seals to foreign countries for things other than as a valuable source of food and leather, I want to present again, a different story and a story I think that you will be interested in and most Newfoundlanders will be as well.

AN HON. MEMBER: Shampoo.

DR. HULAN: Yes, shampoo. We eat a variety of foods to meet our daily nutritional requirements and one of the requirements that we have is a need for essential fatty acids, and I just want to back up a little bit here and talk about essential fatty acids. Burr and Burr two scientists in 1944, established the essentiality of fat in our diets and established a need for certain essential fatty acids, and how did they do that? They did that with a series of experiments with primarily the white albino rat, and you might say: how do you know if fatty acid is essential or not?

Well, the two symptoms that you look for are: dermal lesions on the skin and alopecia, alopecia being baldness.

AN HON. MEMBER: What's your problem?

DR. HULAN: Now hon. members, my condition of baldness is genetic related, but since my hon. friend from Grand Bank said that he was going to read a copy of Hansard tomorrow or this evening or whenever he receives it, I want to say that I highly suspect his condition is an essential fatty acid deficiency.

Going on further, I want to bring us now to 1967, when a very, very important discovery was made by two Danish scientists Bang and Dyreburg, who observed that the Greenland Eskimo, although he subsists almost entirely on a fat diet, there is a very low incidence and virtually almost non-existence of incidence of cardiovascular disease in the Greenland Eskimo. Well this was very interesting since they consume a very high fat diet and their cholesterol intake is roughly three-fold what our cholesterol intake is and yet no incidence of cardiovascular disease; so many of our laboratories around the world started examining the Eskimo diet to see what was unique about the Eskimo diet, and what we found was that the Eskimo diet was uniquely high in a group of fatty acids known as the omega-3 fatty acids. They are called the omega-3 fatty acids just because of their particular configuration.

We also found that the omega-3 fatty acids of note were primarily present in the fatty fishes that swim in the colder waters and I was here musing to myself as I heard my hon. friend from Eagle River make reference to the fact that seals will go for the underbelly of a codfish because they are looking for the cod liver and he also made a very interesting observation here today that seals are known very much to consume salmon and indeed herring. Well it just so happens that the omega-3 fatty acids which I am referring to are very, very high in salmon, in herring and it's only found in the codfish in the cod liver, and as a result in the cod liver we have this product that you should be taking if you are not, cod liver capsules.

The cod liver capsule is strictly an oil removed from the cod liver and of course the cod liver contains all of the fat in the cod. The viscera contains the fat, the liver contains the fat, the muscle tissue contains .1 per cent fat, that's why it is a very healthy food to eat, but the point that I am going to make is, it is very interesting that the seal will go after the salmon and herring and cod liver, because they have a specific requirement and a big demand for omega-3 fatty acids so that could answer the question as to why they consume salmon and herring, very interesting indeed.

Well, I will tell you these omega-3 fatty acids are very much of interest to scientists, myself included, many experiments, roughly 1,000 experiments have been done now on the effect of omega-3 fatty acids that we are talking about in the Eskimo diet on cardiovascular disease. What we have found and concluded very clearly is that if you increase the consumption of these omega-3 fatty acids in your diet in eight out of ten experiments all of the parameters associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease are reduced, and those parameters that lead to a healthier cardiovascular system are primarily increased.

Those parameters I am talking about are very low density lipoproteins which are the bad cholesterol, high density lipoproteins are the good cholesterol, and so on. Well, all of the parameters associated with an increased risk are primarily reduced in seven or eight experiments out of ten, but every once in awhile it is very interesting that you will have an experiment that does not fit into the line, and I will tell you why. The missing link fatty acid is not present in fish oils. It is not present to any degree in fish oil at all.

About five years ago a colleague of mine at the Technical University of Nova Scotia, and I, made the observation that Eskimos do not eat fatty fish as a staple in their diet. They are opportunistic hunters and they eat fatty fish when they can find fatty fish, and it is available, but the staple of the Eskimo diet is seal. So we started looking at the seal in great detail and we found that in seal blubber oil - this is not my shampoo, I can assure you because if you rub this on your head it would really produce hair, I am sure. This is blubber oil from seal, just pure blubber oil.

AN HON. MEMBER: Does it really produce hair?

DR. HULAN: No. It is pure blubber oil. The blubber of seal contains the missing link fatty acid, docosapentaenoic, DPA for short. What our experiments have shown to date, and what the Norwegian experimenters have found, is that seal oil - we are getting very, very interesting results with regard to the reduction, and, in fact, some German scientists are now saying that the prevention of cardiovascular disease in man is through the consumption of those omega-3 fatty acids, especially the one found in seal blubber.

I submit to this hon. House there is a tremendous and vast industry off our shores whereby we can take seal blubber oil and concentrate it into a concentrated fish oil capsule which will contain about 40 per cent of those omega-3 fatty acids, a little capsule like this. This is a product called cardi-omega-3, heart omega-3. We can concentrate the seal blubber oil into a concentrated capsule for market on a world market.

Now, I wanted to do some extensive research on this at Memorial University over three or four years ago and unfortunately our research project did not get funded at the University either by the medical research council, the national research council, or from provincial sources, and I am told primarily because we are going to be dealing with a seal product, we must not touch the sacred seal. Unfortunately the research was not done and the reason we wanted to do the research was to be able to put the product on the North American market and without the research we could not. However, the world market is open. Southeast Asia will buy every concentrated blubber oil capsule that we can produce. A bottle like this of sixty capsules sells for around $18 American dollars. I proposed in a proposal some years ago, and put economic tests to that proposal, that we could produce several cottage type industries around this Island to produce this product from seal blubber.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Even in Labrador?

DR. HULAN: Even in Labrador. The hon. Member for Eagle River reminds me of Labrador. I missed the point as far as the omega-3 fatty acids are concerned. One of the products found in seal blubber oil and to a lesser degree in fish oil is one of these omega-3 fatty acids, although they have in general not been considered as essential, one of them is very important in brain development of the infant during the first three years of life. That is why infant formulas that have been produced over the years can never mimic human milk. Human milk and seal contain a very high level of docosahexaenoic acid, DHA for short. It is very interesting that I have a colleague now in Ottawa who is producing a formula that is almost mimicking human milk and he is doing this by the introduction of seal oil and fish oil into the formula.

What this fatty acid does, it increases brain development. We know that it also will increase, because of its presence in the life of the infant, the attention span of that child when they get to be school age and also the ability to learn and the rate at which they can learn. We know this is a fact. Those fatty acids also have another important part in our life. That is in retina development of the eye. Without it most of us would be blind, and that is why it is important to get it in our younger life.

If you take a bottle of this product that is worth $18 American, translate that into what is on a seal, I can tell you the seal blubber alone if we were to develop it to this stage would be worth on each adult seal around $3,000. Three thousand dollars from one adult seal. Because each capsule contains one gram of concentrated oil and each seal contains roughly somewhere around forty pounds of blubber, I believe. If you calculate it back and concentrate it down that is how we find our figure.

We also have a reference here today, the information with regard to the carcass protein and the flipper protein of seal. We know that the carcass protein has a tremendous use in animal meal products. One of the big problems in the agricultural industry in North America over the years is that they have not been able to afford to buy good quality fish meal to put in their diets. Fish meal is the highest quality of protein to feed to any animal. Following fish meal, and a close second, or about the same, is seal meal.

I will tell you why the American and Canadian industry have not been able to afford to put fish meal in their diets. My hon. colleague for Humber Valley probably knows this as well. It is because the pet food industry will buy every bit of fish meal they can find at $600 or $800 a ton and put it in the pet food diets.

Well, there is a tremendous opportunity not only in the animal field for carcass protein but in the field of food science. We are now developing technology to incorporate seal into various salamis and bologna and things like that. It is getting to receive fairly good acceptance by tasters all around the world, for that matter, where we have gone so far. So there is the aspect of the seal protein.

We have the technology here right now to establish that industry. We have the knowledge, the technology, and the scientific wherewithal to produce the concentrated fish oil capsule. I'm so happy to be in this Province realizing that we have the capability to take the seal and produce the finished product, the finished product from the carcass protein in animal feeding and human foodstuffs for a protein hungry world. That we have the capability and the technology to produce leather products from the hide that you will never see better leather than we can produce from seal.


DR. HULAN: We have the technology to produce even better than that, sir. The technology involves a completely environmentally friendly process. We have the technology to produce cardiovascular supplements, as I have just told you, and we also have the technology to remove from the organs of the seal many other biomedical compounds that are not even available for use in medicine today. They don't exist; they are not there for usage. We know they are present in the seal, and in other marine species as well, and we have the technology right here in this Province of Newfoundland, the scientific know-how, to produce the finished product rather than send the finished product for other people to capitalize on the value added issue, the value added product of our resource.

Thank you very much, and I am pleased to support this very, very important resolution.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I will say right at the outset that I am very impressed with the Member for St. George's and some of the things he put forward here today. It certainly was a different slant to what most of us would stand up and say. I will speak in comment on yours before I will go on to some of the things I had here, so that I won't lose the effect of it, I guess.

To be quite honest with you, over the years I have also studied a little bit - not studied as close as you have, as a scientist - but read about things. Maybe you can respond to me, or we can talk later, but wasn't there something also in the compound of the seal that helped in the breakdown of cholesterol?

The Member for St. George's, I was just referring to it. I was going to maybe talk to you about it later, but referring to what you brought up earlier, isn't there a compound in the seal that also helps in the breakdown of cholesterol in the human body?

DR. HULAN: It is not so much to break it down. What it does is increases the capability of the human body to rid excess cholesterol.

MR. SHELLEY: Okay. I read that somewhere before, not long ago, and I just thought I should mention that to you.

It is very interesting that you bring up that slant, too, because we talked about the whole utilization of the seal, which we will get into in a little while, but this would probably be the last limb of the utilization of the seal, where we talk about something that could be developed right here in this Province, and also the point that you mentioned about us, the secondary processing, the finished product coming out of Newfoundland, that can be done right here.

I think you have hit on something that is very interesting, that we can also add to our argument that the seal can be very well utilized and it is something that is scientific, that can be proven by people in the industry, that the seal, if it is utilized, can, like you said, provide something to a protein hungry world that hasn't even been touched yet, and it is an industry that can start right here on our own back doorstep. I commend you on the report on that, and I hope to see you continue researching it and put it forward as an argument for our seal industry.

You also mentioned - I will mention this before I go on to some points I have ready there, is the leather products. Locally, of course in my district I have had the opportunity of seeing some of those products because there was a tannery in the Baie Verte - White Bay District. These chairs, I think the minister is referring to, are a product of the leather. Like I say, there was a tannery in Baie Verte and I was fortunate enough to go in there when it was open. They had some problems and, of course, it closed down, as most hon. members know, but I had an opportunity to go in there and see some of the products, and I was amazed at the quality of the leather, the purses, the wallets - everything that was made there. I know that is an industry that hasn't been touched yet. That is untapped, as far as the seal industry goes, but the whole point of all this, what the Member for St. George's says, and about the tannery I just mentioned, is that can strengthen this Province's argument for the use and the full utilization of the seal. This is where we can show the rest of the world, because those are the people we have to convince if we are going to make this industry succeed.

We have some very useful methods of using that seal so that we can utilize everything that is in the seal, and not use the - I don't know what the word is that I can use here that is parliamentary - the FFAW, when they just focus in on one thing in the ads they use. The whole point behind this - you mentioned today the protein in the seals; I just mentioned the full use of the leather, and the crafts - you have seen some beautiful crafts around this Province - magnificent coats, purses, and so on - that part - and now we go into, of course, using the whole seal carcass. So I think that the more that we, as Newfoundlanders, come up with uses for that seal, to show the world that yes, we do use it all; we just don't go out like years ago, like the Member for Eagle River mentioned earlier, and club a white coat on the head and take him in and throw everything away.

That was an image that tarnished us and hurt us badly in the world markets and it is something now that we are starting to rebuild, and I think we will rebuild and gain back the confidence of people around the world to look again at the full use of the seal so that we can utilize every single part of the seal. I think it is an industry that can be tapped into here in this Province, and we need all of those angles to come from: the protein, the tannery, and the actual meat of the seal.

I will take a little bit different stand to making a few comments today on this particular motion that was put forward. First of all, I was very pleased to have the chance to stand today because of course in my district there are many seal fishermen who over the years have utilized the seal herd and have gone out on the ice floes. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about the seal industry is watching the old black-and-white films of seeing the men jump off the boats on blocked ice and run out on the ice and harvest the seal, and talk about the stories that the old skippers would tell you or the grandfathers would tell you about how many times they risked their lives. Of course, we know of the story - the books that were written on the seal industry from years ago, and the great seal hunts. How many people risked their lives and died hunting seals. It is a tradition here. The tradition of course turned into a nightmare for us in a way when the infamous Greenpeace entered this Province years ago and disrupted something that went on here for years and years.

Our job as Newfoundlanders is to make sure that the world realizes - because that is where our world markets are, the market for the seals around this world - is that we have to help educate the rest of the world that we do utilize the seal and we are not barbarians and that this industry is a viable industry. Of course, when you talk about utilization of the seal the second thing I would say to that right now in this particular time I think that this right here today as we start this is that it has never been a more critical time for us to put forward our arguments for a full-fledged - as the member said in his resolution - utilization of the seal hunt. There has never been a more crucial time and I think any hon. member would agree with me.

We are at a brink now where our scientists can tell us so much about our fishing industry. The Member for Eagle River made a couple of really good points. One was that there is 20,000 tons biomass possibly left, and that one year of annual seal eating of fish could come up as far as 12,000 metric tons. That is an incredible amount. That just tells me that we may be on the brink of totally wiping out the fish population of our ocean -

AN HON. MEMBER: It is not "may be," we are.

MR. SHELLEY: We are, that is right. I agree with the minister. That we are on that brink and it is a crucial and critical time now for everybody, at all levels of government, municipal, provincial and federal, to start looking at a time that we can put forward our best efforts to make sure that the seal industry is now utilized.

The Members for Eagle River and St. George's made reference to the surveys that are done now on the seal industry. For example, the Member for Eagle River I think it was mentioned about how the seals take the underbelly of the fish. Here we have the same bunch doing surveys, scientists doing surveys saying that: We don't see traces of the bone, of different parts of the fish, in the seals. That is for obvious reasons. There is not going to be anything in the digestive tract of a seal which shows that they already ate fish. Like the member says, it just basically goes after the cod liver.

If these surveys and these scientists - and the Member for St. George's being a scientist - I would say to him that these surveys are not really showing the true story. If they are only showing in the digestive tract of a seal the cod's liver - maybe that doesn't even show up. I don't know how that digests in a seal. I'm not a scientist. I will say that we can't really take note for that survey if it is only taking the underbelly of the fish. There is no trace of bone; there is nothing in the digestive tract of the seal, so it would really substantiate those surveys that are done. I think it was a good point made by the Member for Eagle River that if it is just the underbelly of the fish being taken then the surveys are not going to show up the other parts of the fish that would be in the digestive tract. I think that is fair enough in saying as I talk to our scientist from St. George's.

That is a very important point that should be noted. As these surveys are continued that we ask them to take a survey where we really find out how much these seals eat. That is from the scientists side, without being a scientist, as most of us average Joes are when it comes to the seal industry and the fishery. I think it was the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation but I am not sure, you needn't quote me on this, but it was a few years back that somebody said: `They are eating something and they are certainly not eating turnips.'

MR. EFFORD: Kentucky Fried Chicken.

MR. SHELLEY: `Kentucky Fried Chicken', says the Minster of Works, Services and Transportation. You know, it is only a simply statement, but every now and then we have to step back and use a bit of logic and common sense; I mean, these seals are out there in herds, thousands and thousands of seals, they have to be eating something, and if we knew that one seal ate one fish, then we know that another seal has to eat another fish, and so on, and so on. If one seal eats a fish, it has to continue.

There is no doubt in my mind, without being a scientist, that seals eat fish. Now anybody who argues with that is just not using common sense let alone the scientific knowledge that they have.

The Member for Eagle River mentioned something that I had noted also and would like to bring up again, and that is, there are three to five million other seals besides the harp that haven't been utilized yet, that we haven't even talked about. We talk about going into an industry that has potential in this Province, we are looking at another three to five million different types of seals besides the harp that we haven't even looked at, and don't forget, a note was made before that this was only a partial survey of the harp, anyway. It wasn't a full survey; it was just a partial survey. So there are three to five million other types of seals that could be utilized off our shores besides the harp, and those are not even mentioned. How many times did we hear that from the surveys? So that's another important point.

It is obvious to me especially at this time again, at the critical time in our fishery, even, as in the last few days we see it becoming more critical every day. It is more important now than ever that this seal industry is revived. We all agree that it has devastating effects on the fishery; there has to be an imbalance on the ecosystem if they have the predator eating another animal, in this case, the seal eating the fish. There has to be an imbalance sooner or later in the ecosystem and there is going to be a decrease in our fish stocks. And we have had all the other reasons - the foreign overfishing, we certainly all agree with that, and there was another scientific suggestion, I think, a little while ago about the cold waters and the effect on the fishery, but if there is anybody with a little grain of common sense at all anywhere, any scientist, he has to agree that control of the seal herds would have a major impact on the rejuvenation of the fish stocks and if he doesn't, then he is missing out.

Twelve thousand tons of fish annually, that was the last quote I had on how much they guessed at least, and that was a conservative number -

AN HON. MEMBER: What's that?

MR. SHELLEY: Twelve thousand tons of fish annually, that's the last estimate I heard and I think the Member for Eagle River said the same one, that seals consume annually.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Seals, yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: No, no. What was the estimate you made earlier - the Member for Eagle River - do you have it there?

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible) million tons.

MR. SHELLEY: Okay. We talked about it earlier.

MR. EFFORD: One seal eats an average of one ton a year.

MR. SHELLEY: One ton of fish a year.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible), multiply that by (inaudible) million.

MR. SHELLEY: That's a fantastic statistic. But I would ask the Member for Eagle River, if he has some numbers there, to convey them to me and we have to make them public.

Now of course, there are two reasons, right, as we mentioned earlier, not just for the sake of saving our fishery which I think, is at a breaking point, it is at a critical point now that this is done, but also the seal industry and the potential for jobs. Now, I would just like to mention to the Member for Eagle River - and you can continue with this point later, but Carino, was hoping, and I have a press statement here, for 40,000 seal pelts.

Now, they were looking for support from the Federal Government to the tune of, I think, $106,000 to assist with processing. That fell through just recently, and now Carino who was going to be processing seal out of the plant in Fleur de Lys - that fell through. And talking about federal and provincial support, I would ask the Member for Eagle River when he stands to maybe touch on that point, that the seal industry needs the total support of the Provincial and Federal Governments if we are going to move at all in the direction of having a full-fledged seal industry in this Province.

I was really disappointed, and I must convey to the member who put this motion forward, that the people in my district who were about to get involved with the Carino group in processing seals in the district of Fleur de Lys were very, very disappointed that this fell through. They were optimistic up until last Wednesday, I think it said here in the press release, and it fell through. I can't stress enough, that we need the support of the Provincial Government and the Federal Government if this seal industry is ever going to get off the ground in Newfoundland - full support, strong, strong support when they go looking for their markets.

Now, on the comment about the markets - and I did this in the House, I don't know, maybe just before the last break - but when we talked about the markets the Premier went abroad to Asia looking for - and one of the reasons he was over there was looking for markets for the seal industry, Mr. Speaker, and I complimented the Premier on doing so. There were others who criticized him for going to Asia - well, I can tell you that I compliment him on that because that was very important to not just the seal industry. But I compliment him on it. I think he should be doing more of it, going for markets, especially as it relates to the seal industry. If we are going to find markets for them - if we can capitalize on those markets - we all know, Mr. Speaker, that if we can go out and find those markets, whatever happens over here on the ice floes, we will have a market in Asia, China, Japan and those places, who are looking for that. If we can nail down those markets then we will have a seal industry in this Province, and I compliment the Premier on doing that. The Member for Eagle River brought it up earlier that if those markets can be nailed down then we can move on in this very important industry in this Province.

Now, the full utilization of the seal, as the Member for St. George's mentioned, besides the whole carcass of the seal and also the leather products that we use from the hide, the next step, which hasn't even been looked at - and I say to the Member for St. George's, that it's very rare; as a matter of fact, it is one of the few times I've heard anybody in this Province stand up and talk about how far you went with utilizing the seal carcass. That's the thing we have to get out there and tell the world, that we are looking at the full utilization of the seal carcass.

I can tell you that in my district of Baie Verte - White Bay they were looking forward to some productivity in the plant at Fleur de Lys this year with the 40,000 pelts from Carino. They were very disappointed when the Federal Government didn't come across with - I believe, it was the very small sum of $106,000 they needed for processing of the seals in that district. I wonder and I'll ask the Member for Eagle River when he stands again, to bring us up to date and give us the status of how the Provincial Government - maybe the Minister of Fisheries would let us know what kind of involvement the Provincial Government had in those particular negotiations. How much support was given to the Canadian Sealers Association when they put forward - because they did put it forward, not Carino. The Canadian Sealers Association put that forward, and I'm wondering how much support they had from the Provincial Government. Is there anything else that you could have done to help make sure that that process went ahead? From what I've read in two press releases I have here, the CSA do not feel that they had the full support of the Provincial Government in looking for that particular $106,000 for the Carino company. I would like to hear the response from the Member for Eagle River when he stands, on that. Does he think the support was there? Why did that $106,000 - which I think was a very small amount, which would have seen 40,000 seal pelts being processed by the Carino group.

I say, very frankly, I'm very disappointed in that. I really thought that that could have come through. I didn't think it was a lot of money to be looking for. I've had calls from sealers in my district who were really disappointed. As a matter of fact, just up to a couple of days ago they were very optimistic. They were led to believe, they told me, that they would get that from the Federal Government but it seemed as if the Federal Government delayed it and delayed it until finally it was too late and it fell through. They were very disappointed.

AN HON. MEMBER: Are you saying the Provincial Government didn't support the Federal Government?

MR. SHELLEY: Well, I'm not saying they didn't support it. I'm asking what kind of support they did give. I'll let the people opposite decide and tell me if they think they gave all the support that they could have given them, and if that $106,000 would have come through if the support was strong enough from the provincial members here.

The last point I'll make is that on Sunday, April 10, The Evening Telegram, of course, the front page, `The unlicensed seal catch left to rot.' Now, it's very fitting that the particular fisherman, the seal fisherman in this case, his name was John Cabot. I am sure some people read that article. It is very fitting I found that John Cabot was the man who set this headline and said: unlicensed seal catch left to rot. Fishermen cannot sell pelts caught in nets. That is the most ridiculous, ludicrous, no commonsense - I just cannot believe that. For years and years we see seals caught in the nets, dead, but do not eat it, throw it away.

MR. EFFORD: (inaudible)

MR. SHELLEY: Exactly. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation makes a very good point, the same point that was made about the salmon, throw away the salmon. When you sit down and make regulations I do not know where they are made, sometimes behind a big desk, with people sitting down around in suits in ivory towers. Why can they not use some commonsense and a bit of logic? If there is a seal caught in your net and you are legitimately fishing, have your license, have your net, and you are a legitimate fishermen, for whatever species, and there so happens to be a seal, which there is an abundance of, everybody declares there is an abundance of, caught in your net, well why in God's name would they not take that in and utilize it, sell it, eat it, whatever you can do with it, but I just cannot for the life of me understand just throwing it away.

I would like for the Minister of Fisheries and anybody who gets the chance with their counterparts in Ottawa to drive home that point every chance they get because there is no one up there, I do not care where they are in Ottawa, or what scientists who can tell you that makes sense. It simply does not make sense and it is ludicrous to even imagine that this man - I am going to give you the numbers on this - I am sure most people read it, but because he did not own an eighty foot vessel. It says his nets have inadvertently hauled up thirty-five to forty seals a day for a total of 900 to 1000 animals. That is what this man threw away, 1000 seals in a week. It is an incredible thing.

I am sure that members opposite would support, lobby, and help drive home that point that is a ludicrous regulation. It should be thrown out, and if there is anybody who can make any commonsense or make any logic of it in Ottawa then please have them come down here and report to the people who haul these up in their nets. You cannot get enough food for food banks, you have people starving to death all over the world and there are regulations in our country that would allow the like of this to happen.

Mr. Speaker, the main points I have hit on are those. I ask that the Member for Eagle River respond to the support by the provincial government when they lobbied for the $106,000. I was very, very disappointed and I think I convey that message on behalf of a lot of sealers in this Province, especially in my district, who were looking forward for the Fleur de Lys plant utilizing the 40,000 pelts that were asked for. I do support this. It is an emotional issue to me and to people in my district. I hope this industry proves that they have the markets around the world and that we can utilize and we can be humane when we hunt those seals, and that it can be something that is viable and something that could be very lucrative to the future of this Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, I am happy to be able to take part in this debate and to offer my full support to the hon. gentleman's resolution. I was interested in some of the comments made by the previous speaker. I noted quite carefully, Mr. Speaker, that while he was very anxious to point out some of the things we have not done, or at least what in his mind we have not done, but he was not too anxious to come forward and give the Province credit for some of the things we have done in developing the seal fishery. That comes as quite a surprise because the hon. member's district has benefited more than any other district in Newfoundland by virtue of the rebirth of the seal fishery which is what we are experiencing this year.

Mr. Speaker, the district represented by the hon. gentleman today has two plants operating processing seals in various aspects of the seal processing. I think they are employing seventy-one people, not to mention the fishermen who are conducting the harvest. Likewise, Mr. Speaker, in a short time, days or a week or two, there will be twenty or thirty people employed in the plant owned by Terra Nova Fisheries in Clarenville, so altogether this year's seal harvest, which I referred to a moment ago as the rebirth of the seal fishery, will be providing direct employment for close to 100 people. I cannot be sure for what period but I would think maybe for a two month period, not to mention the many hundreds of thousands of dollars, in fact, maybe as much as $2 million that will go into the pockets of fishermen mostly who will be conducting the hunt.

Mr. Speaker, I view this as an accomplishment, something in which I take some pride. We have not said too much about it, for obvious reasons. I have avoided making any press comment about it, and saying as little as I have to, because to do so would quite possibly attract some very unnecessary and unfavourable comment from the animal rights people.

The deal that is currently being undertaken by Terra Nova Fishery has an interesting history behind it in that I have had people in my department now, some of my senior officials, working with that company and others in the sealing industry, and those who want to get into the sealing industry, for close to a year, helping to put together a package, and I am grateful to them for the amount of work that they have done, and I am only sorry that I can't publicly give them the praise that they are entitled to, for the reasons I just gave; I don't want to have too much to say about the seal hunt. Anyway, a lot of work went into it by people from my department, and a lot of the credit, of course, for what is happening now must go to them.

I give credit as well to other people who are involved in the seal fishery, Dr. Ho of Terra Nova Fisheries, the Sealers Co-op, the district of the hon. gentleman who just spoke. Fogo Island Co-op, for example, are desperately trying to finalize a transaction they have entered into with a Korean company to harvest another 40,000 seals. In fact, a few days ago I privately boasted the fact that this year Newfoundland will have a seal harvest of probably around 100,000 animals, which is four times as many as we had last year, and probably twice as many as we have had in any year since the late eighties, but the Fogo Island Co-op deal is running into some heavy water.

I am told that the animal rights people are now exerting pressure on the Government of Korea to the extent that that country, that government, is having some second thoughts about issuing letters of credit, and whatever else, whatever other documents must be exchanged in order to enable that hunt to proceed. I am told, in fact no later than lunch time today I discussed it and found that the deal is not dead yet. They are still hoping to be able to get it through. I am, too, of course, and if it does materialize then this year we will have a seal hunt, as I said a moment ago, close to 100,000 animals. That, I believe, is good.

Mr. Speaker, historically Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have been provided with seasonal employment in the fishing industry for centuries, but because of what happened, of course, in the early 1980's and the late 1970's, the animal rights people, whatever they call themselves, Greenpeace, animal rights activists, brought pressure to bear on the powers that be in Ottawa, and in other countries, to the extent that we had to forego an industry that was part of this Province and part of our culture and our way of life, and indeed made a major contribution to the social and economic life of Newfoundland for many, many years.

I recall very well the event when the animal rights people mounted a massive campaign against the seal hunt. The government of the day tried to counteract the campaign that was waged by the animal rights people. It cost a lot of money, and I regret -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

You can't even hear the speaker from here.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, I'm trying to hear him that is right.

MR. CARTER: They don't want to hear (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Somebody might be interested in listening to what is going on.


MR. CARTER: Mr. Speaker, the cost of that campaign that was waged back in the late-seventies where we tried to counteract some of the damage being done by certain activists, animal rights people, was quite costly, quite high. I must say, looking back on it I'm not sure that we got the worth of our money because it was a tough fight to wage. We couldn't seem to win.

I recall being in a meeting in Boston where we had members of the press there and large numbers of others. I was speaker, and a gentleman who is now involved with a certain radio station on a certain talk show, Mr. Jamieson, was there, as part of the press contingent that followed this group around. I got up and made my speech, which I thought was a reasonably good one, and people were nodding in agreement. They appeared to be reasonably happy with what I was saying and convinced that maybe things weren't all that bad. Just as I was about to leave this little old lady in the back got up and called me or all Newfoundlanders a barbarian. Of course, as usually happens with the press, all of the cameras focused on her. Microphones were being pushed under her face and she came off with a tirade against Canadians, Newfoundlanders and against me. That of course is what got the press.

That happened almost at every meeting we had. One person would get up in the audience and use words like "barbarians" or slaughtering baby seals not in a humane way. That is what got the press. In looking back I think we probably did the cause more harm than good, because by virtue of our appearance in some of those cities we did attract some picketing on the part of some animal rights people. By virtue of our presence there I think it only highlighted for example the problem and gave the `antis-,' the other side, an opportunity to get press to which they weren't entitled.

To make a long story short, that campaign fell flat on its face. When I hear comments now - I believe the hon. Member for Grand Bank at some point asked a question about seals. If he didn't I apologise. I seem to remember that he asked what was the Province prepared to do to counteract some of this bad publicity that we were getting from mainland and American press. I can only tell him now what I believe I told him then, that it is awfully difficult to successfully counteract that kind of a campaign. The cost is horrendous as you can imagine. The cost of putting ads in The Globe & Mail and some of the other papers with large circulations is very high and therefore - the campaign that we waged back then did in fact cost the Province a considerable amount of money.

We are accomplishing something now and I am very optimistic. Terra Nova Fisheries this year have entered into a joint venture arrangement with the Shanghai Fishing Company, which is an agency of the Government of China, or of Shanghai, the province of Shanghai. I should point out that even after the deal was made, after all of the agreements were signed, after the markets were secured, after the local entrepreneur who is involved in the joint venture, Dr. Ho, had ordered his equipment from the mainland and from Japan, even after all that happened, the animal rights people got through to the Government of China and succeeded in enticing the Government of China to put the whole thing on hold.

Apparently permission had to be gained from the national Government of China to make the thing work. The Government of China held up that permission for a number of days. In fact, it was only after we contacted our minister in Ottawa, Mr. Tobin, and the Premier and Mr. Tobin and all of us - primarily Mr. Tobin, I expect, Brian Tobin - who met with the Chinese ambassador in Ottawa and between them they managed to get the restricting order lifted. At the same time we had a group of parliamentarians visiting Canada from Brussels and from Europe. Instead of coming to Newfoundland to get a feel for what is happening - they came over here on a fact finding mission, these Parliamentarians from Brussels and London - instead of coming to Newfoundland, where you would expect them to come, they went to Prince Edward Island - I suppose the province with the least activity in the sealing industry in Canada.

Immediately upon learning that they were in P.E.I., I faxed a letter to the Canadian Ambassador, Mr. MacDonald, the Canadian Ambassador to the European Community, who is stationed in Brussels, and I explained to him just how ludicrous it was that this committee, these parliamentarians who were allegedly here to get information, would stop short of coming to Newfoundland, and I asked if he would arrange a meeting for me, either for them to come here, or I would be prepared to go where they were. I regret to say that I did not get a response, that this so-called fact finding commission, headed by the parliamentarians, obviously were not interested in the facts. They wanted to see only what they wanted to see, and obviously they missed the most important aspect of it when they failed to come to Newfoundland to see firsthand what is happening.

With all of that going on, the Chinese government putting on hold the transaction, the animal rights people using every device at their disposal to kill the deal, with the parliamentarians in the European Community in Brussels and in London - in fact, there were 100 British MP's at the time sponsored a resolution that was never passed in the House of Commons, Westminster, but they did introduce a resolution condemning Canada for initiating a seal hunt. At the time, of course, they were telling lies. Their argument was based on the fact that the hunt was being conducted just for one organ which, of course, was entirely untrue.

Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding all of the pressure to the contrary, we did manage to get that deal approved. The plant in Fleur de Lys is now in operation, I am told. Fishermen are out to the seal hunt, making money, bringing seals in, creating jobs, and I think that now we are on the verge of a very, very important industry. In fact, before I sit down I will make a prediction that all things being equal, and if everything goes as we plan, and if we continue to strictly observe the need for total utilization of the animal - because, let me tell you, if there is the least suggestion that seals are being slaughtered just for the sex organ, and if the animal rights people get wind of that, it is all over. The work that we have done now since 1989 will be for nothing, and the money we have spent, so we have to be awfully careful to ensure that the requirements that we have laid down as a condition of the licence are strictly adhered to. We have inspectors who are out in the various plants making sure that is happening.

Mr. Speaker, I predict that next year there will be a seal hunt of up to maybe 200,000 animals. I predict that we will have three or four plants operating on the Northeast Coast processing those animals. I predict that we will have at least 400 or 500 people working in those plants, and that we will have substantial amounts of money being put into the hands of the harvesters who will be out there killing those seals. I believe the seal industry has some real promise, and I believe if it is developed properly that Newfoundlanders will benefit greatly from it.

With respect to the Terra Nova Fisheries deal, the entire animal is being utilized, and utilized, I might add, for a meaningful purpose. They are not just doing it for the sake of doing it. The company itself has found a very lucrative market for the sealskins. In fact, the Premier, in his visit to Shanghai recently, visited a department store where products from Newfoundland sealskins were on display. He told me himself and told others that he has never been in a store in Canada on Christmas Eve where there was as much activity as there was in that department store at that day. People there buying objects of clothing and handbags and other things made of Newfoundland sealskins. I'm sure it gave him a good feeling, as it would any Newfoundlander.

They have a very good market for their sealskins. They have an excellent market for their fat, their blubber. They have acquired a reasonably good market for the meat. In fact, there are going to be 12,000 seal carcasses put in vacuum-sealed bags or packages and frozen and sent to Korea. That is a real breakthrough. Twelve thousand seals are being shipped into the country of Korea where the food will be used for human consumption. That is a first, I think, that that quantity of seal meat would ever go to an Asian country for the purpose of human consumption.

There is a market in Newfoundland, Mr. Speaker, for a million pounds of seal meat a year for fox feed, for example. That is maybe not the ultimate use for it, the best use for it, but it is serving a purpose, and it is part of the chain, I suppose. There is a substantial market in Canada, in Newfoundland, for fox feed. In fact, this year I expect to see maybe as much as a million pounds processed and held for that purpose.

The flippers of course are a delicacy. Most Newfoundlanders eat and enjoy flippers. I'm told by the principals of the company that the sale of flippers will not be a problem because there are probably enough Newfoundlanders living in mainland Canada to absorb all of the flippers that would come from 50,000 seals.

I'm excited by it. I think in these days of doom and gloom and negativism it is good to see an industry come back to life. Certainly an industry like seals. My forefathers were very much involved in the seal fishery. In fact, one of my forefathers held the honour of having landed in the ship Ungava the largest number of seals, the largest shipment ever brought in to a Newfoundland port. Captain Peter Carter. I think for his efforts he got a watch from Crosbie and company. I don't know what they paid for it but I'm sure -

AN HON. MEMBER: Where is the watch now?

MR. CARTER: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: Does the hon. member have the watch?

MR. CARTER: No, I don't have it, but a grandson of Captain Peter's has the watch.

AN HON. MEMBER: Still in the family.

MR. CARTER: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: Still in the family.

MR. CARTER: Yes. Anyway, he did bring in the largest number of seals.

My hon. friend for Eagle River mentioned the impact that the seals are having on the cod stocks and caplin. Of course, and he is right. Interesting, Mr. Speaker, to note that the harp seal - and there is estimated to be -

MR. SPEAKER (Bartlett): Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. CARTER: May I have just a minute or two to clue up?


MR. CARTER: The diet of the harp seal consists of twenty-seven species of fish. He has quite a taste for fish. He has twenty-seven different types of fish. Caplin is his main source. Based upon current estimates it is estimated that the seal herds consume one billion - listen to this please, gentlemen, and Mr. Speaker - the seal harp population, which is only a part of the problem out there, is estimated to consume 1,840,000,000 metric tons of fish a year. Just imagine. More than is caught by all of the fishing nations of the world.

MR. TOBIN: Oh, oh!

MR. CARTER: Pardon?

MR. TOBIN: Oh, oh!

MR. CARTER: One billion eight hundred and forty million annually. The harp seal spends four or five months in this area, around our waters, during which time he consumes large quantities of caplin and groundfish.

Mr. Speaker, my time is up, I have to take my seat. I can only say that there are extremely exciting things happening. I might in cluing up, by the way, say that the company that is engaged in the seal industry, Terra Nova Fisheries and their joint venture partner, have found a market for seal oil that contains certain medicinal properties. This year the oil will be rendered and partially refined in Newfoundland, in Clarenville, creating jobs, and then sent to China where it is going to be capsulized, put in capsules, and then sent into the Asian market. These capsules will contain certain properties that are apparently good for cholesterol, arthritis, and certain other things. Next year we are hoping that will be done in Newfoundland. Next year we are hoping that the entire operation will take place in Newfoundland, and if that happens, and I am hoping it will, then we will provide, at least a company will provide, a substantial number of jobs, again involved in a new industry in terms of secondary processing. The seal industry is not new but certainly what is happening now to the by-products is new and very exciting.

Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have just a few brief comments because I understand that the hon. Member for St. John's East would like to say a few words on this topic here today, this resolution, and I am certain that the hon. Member for Eagle River would like to have some time to respond. There are just a couple of points, Mr. Speaker. I congratulate the hon. minister from the other side on his approach to this problem we are experiencing here, and if his trips to the far East or any other commitment, or any other energy that he might put in that direction I can assure him that he will have support from this side over here, because it is a way of life we have had taken from us and it was a chance for many of our forefathers - in my case it was much closer than my forefathers, some of my immediate family took part in this hunt and it was a way that brought some extra dollars forward in the spring of the year when money was very, very important and very scarce. It put food and clothing, and a pair of sneakers on our feet sometimes.

Mr. Speaker, the one thing I would like to address here is the situation where today we see many of our fishermen who have had their licenses taken back, who have retired their licenses through license retirement, have had their sealing license taken away from them as well. This does not make very much sense to me when I see us as Newfoundlanders fighting for the return of a way of life saying - and we all know, and we all agree that seals are predators of our codfish, our salmon, our caplin, and what have you, and we are waiting for those resources to return so that we might go back to a way of living that we have been used to, taking an opportunity away from rural Newfoundlanders to go out and take a seal for food.

Mr. Speaker, I think we should very seriously look at this situation. We should lobby Ottawa. We should lobby the hon. Brian Tobin the Minister of Fisheries for us not to need a license. Why should we need a license to go out and take a seal for food meat? I am not talking about taking part in a commercial hunt, I am talking about depriving common rural Newfoundlanders from going out and killing a seal to bring back and be used for food meat, to put food on the table.

Mr. Speaker, we should be on the beaches handing out ammunition instead of requiring a license. I should take it even further than that, Mr. Speaker. Why do you need a fishing license in order to be permitted to take a seal for food? A seal is a mammal. It is not a fish. It makes about as much sense to me as telling somebody that they would need a cutting permit in order to go in and go moose hunting. The only relevance is that many times you have to go out in a boat to hunt seals and you have to go into the bush to hunt moose. That is about as much sense as it makes, Mr. Speaker, and I would ask the Member for Eagle River, when he gets up to speak, his feelings on that as well.

Mr. Speaker, I fully support his resolution and I am sure everybody here on this side as well support it. I give the few minutes of time that remains to the Member for St. John's East, and I am sure he will allow the Member for Eagle River time to respond.

Thank you.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to thank the Member for Eagle River, the mover of the motion, for allowing me part of his time to address the resolution. I want to say, Mr. Speaker, at the outset that I support the resolution wholeheartedly.

Back in the mid-70s when the attack was being made on our sealing industry, not for the first time but in a very big way, the attack on the way of life of Newfoundlanders was being made all across this country, across the continent and in Europe. At the very same time, Mr. Speaker, that the Europeans were being asked to boycott Canadian goods the Europeans were busy attacking our fish stocks off the coast of our Province. The very same people, Mr. Speaker, the very same countries who were boycotting our products because of the seal hunt were out here attacking our fish stocks and we're now left with the remains of that problem, Mr. Speaker, on our doors. It was a part of an attack on our rural way of life and on the ability of people in this Province to be able to build an economy from rural Newfoundland.

I support the resolution, Mr. Speaker, and I support the comments of the Minister of Fisheries and the efforts being made to ensure that this industry can be allowed to grow, develop and make use of the products of the sea. No sensible Newfoundlander, Mr. Speaker, supports cruelty, no sensible Newfoundlander supports slaughter and neither of these things were inherent to the seal hunt in the Province of Newfoundland. Mr. Speaker, that is why the seal industry must be regarded as such. It's an industry like any other and deserves the full support, not only of the government but of the people.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I have no objections to the beliefs, I don't agree with them, but I have no objection to a sincere belief by a person who is a vegetarian, who doesn't believe in hunting seals or eating meat, who doesn't support the poultry industry, who doesn't support the beef industry, who doesn't support the pork industry, who doesn't support the leather industry, who doesn't wear leather shoes, who won't wear a leather belt, who won't buy a leather coat, that's a matter of conscience, that's a matter of principle but, Mr. Speaker, I don't agree with that. That's not my belief. People who believe that are entitled to their beliefs but they're not entitled to have them enforced on the rest of humanity and certainly not entitled to use those beliefs to attack the people of Newfoundland and our way of life.

So I think it's important at this time, Mr. Speaker, for all of us here to recognize what we sit on every day. Every day we sit on chairs that are made of seal leather. They are made of a product of our environment, of our natural environment around us and every day we sit on one of those products. A very fine example of what can be made from this product of the sea. So it's worth recognizing, Mr. Speaker, that in this very House of Assembly - by including this form of leather in the chairs of the House of Assembly we are, as a body, recognizing the importance and the value of this industry to our people.

I don't think it's necessary to go into all of the kinds of products that can be found from the seal. I know the Member for St. George's gave us a good outline of some of the chemical properties. I know in other parts of the world they have certain parts of - and elements of the seal have great medicinal value in other cultures and I think that that also ought be recognized, Mr. Speaker. There is a lot to be learned from other cultures about the value of products and approaches to medicine and other aspects of life.

I support the proposal by the Minister of Fisheries. I support the efforts of the government in redeveloping the seal industry and I think that all hon. members should be happy to rise in their places and support an adult seal hunt, to make use of the full animal, to not see any wastage, to diversify our own economy and to find new uses for this valuable animal and protect the resource while we are at it. I support a sustainable adult seal hunt that can enhance the economy of rural Newfoundland and continue to allow our people to live and earn a living by the sea and on the sea.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and once again I thank the hon. Member for Eagle River for giving me the time to partake in this debate and offer my support to the resolution.

MR. SPEAKER: Before I recognize the hon. Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, it is my understanding that there's been agreement for the hon. minister to speak for five minutes.

The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I'm not going to take up a lot of time because I know how important this resolution is to my hon. colleague from Eagle River and it is his resolution and he would like to have the closing remarks so I am not going to take up too much time, but I do want to say a couple of words about this because it's important to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians about what is going to happen in the Province today and on in to the future. It is going to mean a part of the survival of Newfoundland and Labrador; and I have heard a number of comments around this afternoon and the one thing that I am happy with, is that everybody is in full agreement.

The one thing that I am not happy with is, if it stops here, and that's the key factor. It is no good to get up in the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador and expound ourselves for five, ten, fifteen or twenty minutes and say we should have a seal hunt because if we go back through the records of the last ten or fifteen years, it has been said ten thousand times over and over and over.

The seal hunt, and as stated in the resolution is the correct way to proceed. Yes, we have to be concerned about the animal rights groups, because yes, they have been successfully beating us to the punch year after year, day after day, week after week. They have beaten us to the punch, they have conquered and they have done exactly what they wanted to do for their own personal gains, and it's their own personal gains, because they talk about no other animal, no kangaroos that the Australians killed last year, one million kangaroos because there were too many in Australia. Nothing about the lambs, nothing about the sheep, nothing about the goats or anything else just about the seals because they get people's emotions stirred up.

Well if the emotions of Newfoundland and Labrador are not stirred up enough to start fighting those individuals and to start trying to win this battle and start meeting them face to face and point out to the rest of the world that we are a perishing people. We are a perishing people in this Province if we do not keep alive our fishery and we cannot keep the fishery alive if we allow 8 million seals in the ocean to grow; you have to do just simple multiplication -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: - simple multiplication of the number of seals plus the number of pounds they are eating, and you do not need to be a genius to figure it out and don't talk about codfish only. Every fish that swims in the water is a food for seals, every single fish. We may have no caplin fishery this year because of seals; we may have no flounder fishery, no turbot fishery. All the fish, herring, caplin, squid, they are all a food supply and the one thing that people are overlooking, the one message that people are overlooking, when the food chain for the seals become extinct, what happens? They will die anyhow, nature will take care of that and we are saying we don't want to kill them for food? We don't want to utilize them for the food of the world and for the markets and the products we can derive from the same industry, yet nature herself will kill seals, there is no doubt about it, but the price that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will pay for that is too great a price not to take action and take on the animal rights groups; and I think it is time that everybody in this Province became emotional.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: Emotional we should be, Mr. Speaker. Emotional is good in some instances, and if they have won it on emotion then we should fight it on emotion.

I am going to stand behind my hon. colleague, my friend from Eagle River, and all other members, but the one thing I will say in conclusion, and give him the opportunity to close, is let's not stop here. Let's take the necessary steps that we need to in order to win this battle and get Newfoundland and Labrador back on its feet where it should be. Imagine, 30,000 people unemployed and 8 million seals eating their employment.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Eagle River. If the member speaks now he will close the debate.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Needless to say, I am very, very happy, delighted, by the support that all members on all sides and all parties have given to this resolution today. It's a very important resolution, and obviously it has been shown that way because of the interest that the members have taken, and I was happy to be able to accommodate as many members as possible to have their views on this issue.

There are a couple of issues that have come up during the debate that I would like to certainly address, and hope that something can be done about them. One of the things that I wrote the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans on last fall, in December in fact, was the fact that up in the Labrador Straits, and I don't know if it is all the same throughout the Island of Newfoundland, but the season for seals was from May 15 to November 15, and for some unknown reason people used to go out and get their seal for food all those years, and this year they went out, and I know one man is in court today because he went out on November 12 and actually got a seal for food and found himself in a court of law, having his gun taken from him, because he went out and took a seal three days before an official season was supposed to be opened. Now that was wrong and that was corrected. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Mr. Tobin, took prompt action on that issue and corrected it and now, whenever the fishermen request that the season be opened outside of the normal public season, then it is going to be open.

Now there is also the problem that the Member for Bonavista South brought up, because again this year a number of people in my riding went to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, went to get their seal licence, as they normally would. In the past number of years the regulations were that if you had a part-time fishing licence you could get issued a licence, or an assistant sealer's licence. Therefore you would be able to go out with a sealer and be able to take a seal for food. They found this year, of course, there is a freeze on licences, so nobody who has traditionally went in that category could get a licence to go and get a seal for food. Also, all of the people who went under the early retirement program for NCARP and any other program that this was available to found themselves relinquishing their seal licences as well.

That was wrong, Mr. Speaker, and it is wrong today. I say here today that every Newfoundlander and Labradorian who wants to go and get five seals or so, they should be able to do so!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Just be able to go, get your permit, and go and take your seal for food, Mr. Speaker. That should be the situation and I hope that will be done.

The other issue that I would like to touch on and also put my support into is the issue of not allowing a vessel over sixty-five feet to take an adult seal. Again, that is wrong. We have seals that are dead in the water, hauled on the deck, but because the deck is on a vessel over sixty-five feet they are forced to throw them overboard again and that is wrong. That has to be changed, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Because, Mr. Speaker, one of the ways that we have found that we can obviously get better quality for some of our fish is if we took the fish right out of the water and we are able to bleed it and cure it right out there on the ocean. We don't agree with a total factory freezer arrangement, but I do believe that there is an opportunity for us to take the over sixty-five foot vessels along with some smaller vessels - I know the Member for St. John's South has been very vocal on this particular issue over the years - and that for safety reasons and also for the very important reason, that the other small vessels could go and get the seals, bring them to the mother vessel, and they would be promptly processed and frozen. I think we would get a much better meat product from that and be able to serve the domestic market that I know is here.

We all know of the demand for seal flippers. I know myself that we have looked forward every year to a number of meals of seal. If we could get the filet of the seal - because I have always argued myself that the people who are going down there mad after the seal flippers on the dock in St. John's, I always argued that if they were given the filet of the seal, similar to the filet of the other animals, that they would really go mad when the boats came in if they were all - down there properly cured, properly packaged and being able to take it and put it on their dinner table. So I think that we can produce a quality meat product, offshore as well as inshore, to give to our domestic market and be able to return obviously to the diet of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. If they don't get it, if they're not allowed to get it, then it's going to die on the vine like some other things have done in our Province and there's no need of it. It's a necessary, excellent, nutritional value and I must say, I am delighted with the performance and the input of the Member for St. George's today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Mr. Speaker, all other speakers have given a tremendous show of support to this resolution but I believe the Member for St. George's added an element today that will go down in the history of this House as the first time that we have had that extra element of credibility brought to the fisheries issue -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: - the seal fishery issue that will stand us in good stead with everybody in this Province and indeed throughout the world. They are onto something, it's a great thing to be looking at, I would wish him all the luck and any support that anybody can give in this House to that very, very important venture that the scientists he has been accompanied with have been undertaking for a number of years.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that it's important to send a message out loud and clear to the people of this Province and the people of the nation, that we are undertaking to reintroduce the seal fishery in this Province, by doing it right, by doing it for all the right reasons, and no reason can be greater then the fact that our fishery is on its face now. Something has to be done about this critical element of the explosion of the seal population and the devastating effect they're having on the biomass of all of our essential fisheries, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: In conclusion, I would like to thank all members, the Minister of Fisheries, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation and others opposite who gave very, very worthwhile input into this resolution today. I thank them all sincerely and I think that we are on our way to seeing another very important resource utilized in the best interest of the people of this Province and indeed the people of the world. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question?


MR. SPEAKER: I presume everybody is clear on the motion as amended by the hon. member when he - okay fine.

All those in favour of the motion, 'aye'.


MR. SPEAKER: Contra-minded, 'nay'.

Motion carried.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, before you leave the Chair at the end of the day, perhaps I could advise members of the business we propose to call tomorrow. I have already spoken with my friend, the Member for Grand Bank.

We will ask the House to proceed to consider second reading of the Electrical Power Control Act, which is Order No. 4 on today's Order Paper. I think the second reading debate has begun. The Premier has spoken. I don't think anybody from the Opposition has yet spoken - that is, the Leader of the Opposition has spoken, and there is, I believe, a six-month hoist amendment. My friend, the Member for St. John's East has spoken. In any event, he will then pick up tomorrow speaking on the amendment.

Notwithstanding the strong demands of a number of my colleagues in caucus, we do not propose to ask the House to sit extended hours. I know this will be a disappointment to my friends opposite.

AN HON. MEMBER: Would you reconsider?

MR. ROBERTS: Well, we will have to think about it. In any event, we do not propose to ask the House to sit extended hours as long as the estimates process continues. My understanding is that the committees are working in the morning and in the evening, so the House will sit only the usual 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. hours and 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

I have to tell you, Mr. Speaker, there was a real uprising in caucus. They were demanding night sittings, all-night sittings, and what have you.

MR. TOBIN: It's amazing what (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Exactly.

I will say, Mr. Speaker, the prospect, or the thought, in retrospect, of three weeks without my friends opposite was distressing. I want them to know I missed them regularly.

With that said, Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now adjourn.

MR. SPEAKER: The House stands adjourned until tomorrow, Thursday, at 2:00 p.m., pursuant to our rules.