May 26, 1994               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS               Vol. XLII  No. 49

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 Speaker's gallery, the Ambassador of Germany to Canada, His Excellency, Dr. Hans Guenter Sulimma, he is accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Helge Sulimma and the Honourary Consul for Germany in St. John's, Mr. Guenter Sann.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, today I table for hon. members the report of the committee of the Department of Health that recently conducted an audit review of the third party billing process relating to uninsured services performed by salaried physicians of the Grenfell Regional Health Services Board. They have made several recommendations of a procedural nature, which will be addressed.

Mr. Speaker, I have also been advised by the Director of Public Prosecutions that the police have completed their investigation and have concluded that there is no basis for any charge to be laid. The R.C.M.P. have found no evidence of criminal activity on the part of any person in the processing of these third party cheques and no further investigation will be conducted in this matter.

After three investigations, Mr. Speaker, one by the police, one by our audit committee and one by the three doctors - which I tabled yesterday - the matter has now been laid to rest, and the Grenfell Regional Health Care Board, its administration and staff, can get on with their work and continue with our total confidence and support to provide first-class health care to the people of Northern Newfoundland and Labrador.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

While the minister might not say it, there is reference in this report that the by-law regarding third party billing, there is no evidence to indicate that the doctors knew anything about it. Now mail addressed to doctors as acknowledged in this report that Grenfell felt might contain a cheque was opened, the cheque was cashed without being endorsed by the doctor.

Now this investigation may not conclude that there were grounds or intent or charges to be laid; it still does not dispute the fact of opening mail, cashing cheques without doctors permission, is a gross, unethical procedure and inappropriate administrative conduct.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to commend the Minister of Health for making available this report. I haven't read it yet but I did see the minister yesterday on t.v. talk about allegations of criminal activity being investigated by the Director of Public Prosecutions and being looked into. Considering that the brother of the Minister of Justice is the administrator I think it would be appropriate -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. HARRIS: - in these circumstances to have an outside the Province review of this.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

Oral Questions

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have several questions for the Premier about the disappointing announcement Corner Brook Pulp and Paper made this morning.

First, has the Premier or any representative of the provincial government discussed with the company or their banks, the banks which seem to be calling the shots, the decision to shut number 4 paper machine and reduce the workforce by several hundred? How long does the Premier expect number 4 machine to be shut? Does he think this will be just a temporary measure or a permanent measure? The company's news release indicates that the mill workforce will be reduced by 160 and that 355 woods jobs will be, quote: Adversely affected. Does the Premier know whether all those woods jobs will be lost this summer or whether there will still be some work for some of those loggers? Does the Premier think that shutting number 4 paper machine is really going to help the company solve its financial problems, and if so, how? What kind of future does the Premier foresee for the Corner Brook mill?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. VERGE: I realize I've asked a lot of questions, and I certainly expect the Premier to take his time in answering them. They are important questions.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I recall a couple of them and I will try my best to answer them. Have I discussed.... I don't remember whether it was Thursday or Friday of last week - maybe it might even have been Monday of this week - I received a call from Mr. Bunz of Kruger to advise me that they were considering this. I said: Is this necessary? On what basis are you doing this? He said: We feel that this may have to be done. They hadn't decided it up to that point in time, and they would let me know if, as and when it was going to be done.

I met briefly yesterday with Mr. Joseph Kruger who was here in St. John's, and he came to see me. He assured me that in their judgement they had no alternative but to follow this course of action. He couldn't tell me how long number 4 paper machine might be out of action. He did tell me - and this is the assurance that I asked for - that the company was committed to the long term successful operation of the mill in Corner Brook and all of their actions taken would be directed toward achieving that objective. That being so, I can't tell them how to run the company. They have the responsibility for raising the finances necessary to run the company and for running it successfully but I did get a firm understanding from Mr. Kruger that their objective was to place the company in a financial position that would assure its long term viability and assure its return to full production at the earliest possible opportunity. So I think that that answers most of the questions.

Oh, there was another question about woods jobs. I don't know - the woods jobs, as hon. members may have noted in the media release, were set aside. There were 160 proposed to be laid off in the mill directly and there was a suggestion that another 250 employees and possibly another 114 or 115 employees of contractors, woods contractors, could be adversely affected. Now, Mr. Kruger couldn't give me the detail as to the extent of the adverse affect when I was speaking with him yesterday but I am grateful for his assurance, Mr. Speaker, that the actions of the company are directed towards achieving long term financial stability for the mill and its future operation.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I'd like to ask the Premier whether the company or their banks asked for any assistance from the provincial government to avoid shutting number four machine and eliminating several hundred jobs? I realize the provincial government recently pledged $15 million over two years for land and timber rights and I appreciate the fact that this will assist the company with their current financial difficulty but I'd like to ask whether the company or the banks asked for any other kind of assistance and if so what the governments response was?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, if I were to answer the question and say no, the company didn't request any assistance to avoid this lay-off and the banks didn't request government intervention to avoid this lay-off but several months ago when the issue of their financial problems first came up and they advised the government of it, they asked what assistance might be available from the federal and provincial governments both. I met and had discussions in Ottawa with representatives of the company and with federal government representatives. I met in Toronto on another occasion and had meetings with representatives of the company and the companies bankers but that was at least three months or more ago and had nothing to do directly with the layoff of number four; but there were those discussions some time ago and both governments - both the Federal and Provincial Government - made it clear to the company that there was nothing that governments could do in terms of intervening in the normal competitive processes at this stage to assist one company or the other.

From the point of view of the Government of Newfoundland, if we intervene to assist Kruger, we would be expected tomorrow to intervene to provide a similar level of assistance to Abitibi in order to help it overcome some of its financial problems. And the Government of Canada expressed the view that if they did it for Kruger they would have to do it for all the pulp mills in the nation that had difficulty, so that it was not possible for government to intervene in what is essentially a market-driven circumstance. This financial circumstance of the newsprint industry in the country at the moment is driven, really, by market problems, and they are on the way to being overcome. It appears they are gradually coming out of it.

Kruger has a particular financial difficulty that perhaps some others don't have, primarily because of the massive renovation that they did in rebuilding the mill, and here, Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge publicly the superb job that the Kruger organization did in rebuilding the Corner Brook mill. I give the Kruger organization full credit for the effort they have made, because they have restored the viability of that mill and they are deserving of full credit.

The government indicated clearly that we couldn't intervene, but they explored other possibilities, and the government made an arrangement to buy certain freehold lands, not timber rights as such, because we have to make sure that the company has an adequate supply of timber to run its mill, but some of the timber limits are being made available as well, and government proposes to do work, for example, on the Bonavista Peninsula, so that significant reforestation might be able to be done from NCARP, and other fisheries compensation might enable us to achieve significant reforestation there.

So it was in the overall public interest, we felt, to recover all of the remaining freehold Reid lands that had been transferred to the company by the Reids in 1923 and, at the same time, get access to certain other timberlands for reforestation purposes. So it, in a sense, was fortuitous for the company that the government was anxious to do this, and fortuitous for the government that the company was in a position where they would want to do it. So we are sort of on a willing buyer/willing seller basis with respect to the lands, but it is beneficial to the company to the extent that it provides a cash flow, and is beneficial to the government in that it gives us back all of those lands, hundreds of thousands of acres of freehold land, as well as certain timber rights. That is as far as we are able to go with governmental assistance. Now, the simple answer is, no, there has been no specific request with respect to No. 4 machine, but that is probably because of the fairly firm position we took some months ago.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have some questions for the President of Treasury Board. Yesterday, I listened with interest as the minister gave a detailed point-by-point account to the press, some of the press at least, of everything that had occurred during his Tuesday night negotiating session with the Newfoundland Teachers' Association. I think it was at that time that you accused Mr. Sutherland of breaking off the talks and that became a bit of a controversy over the last twenty-four hour. I also noted that he sounded like he was very anxious to reveal everything that had gone on. It was gushing out of him, point-by-point-by-point.

Now, in that process, I suggest to the President of Treasury Board that what he in fact did was to break every rule possible that you would find in the book about collective bargaining. You do not do that, so I would like to ask him why did he do it? Was it because he was surprised to find out that the NLTA was in fact prepared to come to that meeting Tuesday night to compromise and to get an agreement which the government didn't want? Is that the reason? Could he tell the House?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, that is a rather complex question. At the meeting on Tuesday night we spent a couple of hours talking and I was very, very, encouraged. There was give and take and I thought we were getting reasonably close to something. The NLTA put a position on the table that had one aspect that was very distasteful to me. I communicated that to them, but I said, `Now, that is my immediate reaction. I would like to take some time to think about it and get back to you tomorrow,' and had the meeting ended there, of course, none of the other would have happened.

However, the NLTA requested about half-an-hour to reconsider. At the end of the twenty minutes, the half-hour, Mr. Sutherland came into the room where I was with my officials. He indicated that they had decided now to take a new tack, that this approach to the bargaining was no longer fruitful, and they were going to meet their executive in the morning, call a press conference, and were going to go public, and that this thing would now be thrashed out in the public arena. He then left, and that is, to my mind, breaking off negotiations.

At that point in time I was asked a question about it, later on, by a press person and I simply outlined the happenings. So, negotiations were broken off. I was encouraged later on in the day to hear that no, in actual fact, they were willing now to talk some more. I guess because it was already a public issue and their objective had been accomplished. There have been meetings since.

MR. SIMMS: Supplementary.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, thank you. I also heard the minister say over the last twenty-four hours that all outstanding issues essentially had been resolved in principle even though the details hadn't yet been worked out. You've got the 2 per cent clause - apparently there is an agreement available for that. You've got the three year protection clause settled, essentially, which will save you, I guess, $10 million or $11 million. Also you have already saved now as a result of the strike more than $10 million that you wanted to get from the teachers' compensation. The question I ask the minister today is: Why isn't this strike over?

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

MR. BAKER: I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition also ask the NLTA that same question. Simply because my understanding is that it is a very simple matter at this point in time. Our position is that the money saved during a strike is not money that we want to now put back. We can't have the NLTA being the only group that is not subjected to whatever decrease in total compensation we may need come October.

AN HON. MEMBER: As a result of strikes.

MR. BAKER: As a result of the strikes. We are not prepared to do that, but that is really the only issue. At least, Mr. Speaker, that is what I thought until I had delivered at my office this morning a complete set of new circumstances by the NLTA that I now have to consider. Things that were never previously discussed. In the last few hours it has become a more complex situation.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On a supplementary. This really is astonishing, the way it has been described by the minister here. Here we have a settlement on all the issues that have caused the strike in the first place, at least so we were told. You already have in your pocket the $10.5 million you wanted in compensation savings from the strike. All the teachers have asked as I understand it is that any savings over the - and this is in a letter that Mr. Sutherland wrote to all MHAs today - any savings over the $10.5 million be used to reduce the unfunded liability of the teachers pension plan, which is in fact a responsibility of the government, which he knows.

If you can't get an agreement out of that you have to say you either don't want one or you don't know how to get one. I would like to ask the minister: Are you in fact looking for more now from the teachers than what you wanted in the beginning? Do you in fact want compensation savings on top of the money that you've already saved from the strike? Is that what you are saying?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I got the same letter that the hon. gentleman got, and I guess all hon. members of the House got the same letter. In that letter there is a settlement and I'm ready to sit down with Mr. Sutherland at a minute's notice any time this afternoon or tonight and to do a settlement on the basis of most of the information that is in that letter. My understanding is it is a simple situation now, that we can in fact reach some kind of an agreement. I'm very encouraged. I'm willing to reach an agreement right now on the basis of that letter.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I can't say that I'm totally surprised by the way with the minister's response. I can't say that. Because I'm hopeful too that there will be an agreement. I think that the government either has delayed things or whatever. I think the suspicion is that there is an agreement there and that is what I said in my questioning.

Here is the bottom line, and I say this in conclusion. If this strike ended today government will have saved every single penny that it needed and that it wanted to save from the teachers.


MR. SIMMS: Yes it would. We just agreed a minute ago the compensation savings are there, and the savings from the 2 per cent clause. You have to ask the question: Why is the strike continuing? How can you justify it, I say to the President of Treasury Board, the minister responsible for negotiation on behalf of the government. Is he saying to parents who want their kids back in school today - they want their kids back in the classrooms today - that these schools, these classrooms, will have to stay closed until you've extracted some kind of a penalty from teachers for exercising their legal right to go out on strike. Is that what he's up to?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, what I'm saying is what I've always said that we want a quick end to the strike. We feel the strike in the first place was totally and absolutely unnecessary. The day before the strike was announced we met for five hours, I felt we were within another few hours of a settlement. The response of the NLTA, the next day, was to go out and call a strike and, Mr. Speaker, there have been occasions in the past when I felt that an agreement is possible. In reading Mr. Sutherland's letter, there have been some very significant changes in their position from the memorandum that I had presented to me this morning. I am now again very encouraged that an agreement is within our reach. If in fact, Mr. Speaker, we can believe some of the things - the letter was delivered this morning to everybody and the first time I saw it was this morning when the hon. gentleman saw it. Mr. Speaker, the changes in here, the new positions in here should be able to form the basis of an agreement. We are now very close to an agreement if in fact what's in this letter is accurate.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I'm sure that all parents will be most delighted to hear those comments of the minister because we do have a responsibility to assure that the educational system in the Province continues. I have a question for the Minister of Education. The Minister of Education some days ago caused parents some great concern by his comments that most of the school curriculum have been completed by May 16 and that the strike would not have any serious detrimental effects on the education of primary, elementary and junior high school students. Now the parents know that the ministers comments are incorrect. Particularly, in view of the fact that he's argued for a longer school year not a shorter one. I would ask the minister, what is he doing to assure parents of the long term and short term goals of the curricula will not be compromised by the current labour dispute?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, nobody wants this strike, no way in the world government wants it. The Department of Education and myself would certainly prefer to see teachers teaching, students studying. We would prefer the system going on as it is but in a democracy where people have a right to strike they exercise that right and you have to deal with it.

I have said and I stand by my statement that in most of the schools in this Province, the high school curriculum has been covered. Now normally at this time of the year students would be reviewing and would be preparing for their final examinations, that still stands. Ideally again, I would like for teachers to be in the schools so they could assist the students in that review. They are not there so in the view of the fact that they are not there I've asked students to do the next best thing, under the unfavourable circumstances, do the best that they possibly can and review, review, review, study, study, study.

We will endeavour, we will attempt to put on the examinations, Mr. Speaker - I don't know how much success we're going to have, I can't perform miracles. We tried to get the mid-term exam results and we didn't get them. When the teachers went on strike many of them actually took the records out of the schools, either on the disc or whatever, Mr. Speaker, we can't get access to that. Now we're trying to put on the public exams because we're concerned about the students of this Province. We don't want their careers to be jeopardized because there is a dispute between government and some of it`s employees, Mr. Speaker. We're doing the best that we possibly can but we have certain limitations that we have to live by.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I would agree with the - there's some merit in the minister's statement about the middle of May for senior high school students, however that is not true for the curriculum in primary, elementary and junior high schools. The minister knows that the school year cannot be completed at any grade level without the active participation of teachers in the evaluation process. The minister has tried various schemes to intimidate teachers to submit their marks prior to the commencement of the strike. The minister has been batting zero on the issue. What new strategies can the minister share with the House to assure that all students, at all grade levels, receive valid, consistent and reliable evaluations at the end of the school year and that their placement for next year will be commensurate with their individual academic progress?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, we're treating the graduating student and the others differently and I admit that. You see some day the strike will end and when it does most of the students who are not graduating will be back into the system and it will be quite easy then to deal with the situation. I will just read from a document, Mr. Speaker, which might help me on this: It is my opinion, based on advice from my officials that through a combination of good judgement by teachers and hard work by students, most of the losses to students resulting from a three-week teacher strike can be recouped. That, Mr. Speaker, is from a Ministerial Statement delivered in this House by the hon. Lynn Verge, Minister of Education on May 3, 1983.

I don't think anything has changed in the last ten years. When the teachers get back to work, Mr. Speaker, they can easily pick up the time which is lost; however, they will not be able to do that with the graduating students, but they will be able to do that with the primary students and all the other students who will go back into the system, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Health.

Now the report he released yesterday on the fact-finding committee by the three doctors to review the relationship between the Grenfell Regional Health Services and his medical staff, confirms the accuracy of virtually every grievance exposed by doctors and concerned citizens over the past two years.

Now I believe the minister was very concerned about the administration there when I presented him with documents itemizing those complaints and charges of several doctors. Their allegations are verified in this report. Now I ask the minister this: Having ordered this review, what action will the minister take to correct the serious problems there at the Grenfell Regional Health Services?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I am not taking any advice from the member of the Opposition any more. This man over there, has alleged criminal activity in Grenfell, he has acted very irresponsibly in this whole issue, not only in this issue but other issues and, Mr. Speaker, I am not taking any more nonsense from the member opposite. When he cries `wolf' anymore, I am not listening to him. The House is not on fire.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary - Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I took very responsible action and wrote the minister and he sat on it for one month before I made any further statements.

Now the minister cannot wash his hands of this report. He knows the volunteer board does not have the time or the knowledge of hospital administration to set this mess right. Besides, they are under the autocratic thumb of the chief executive officer like everyone else is. Now, even in the report's tactful language, the relationship is obvious. On page 16, it says: Physicians exhibited an unusual mixture of antipathy, hostility, dislike and fear. If ever a case can be made for the minister's intervention, it is made in this report.

Now, will you follow through and finish some of the work that you started by ordering the report, and I would like to mention in the report it states: Dr. Roberts, inherited a mantle of autocracy and a tradition of full control vested in the hands of the chief executive office. Now he runs the shop at Grenfell, the board is his board, it does his bidding and that's what the report is telling you.

Now the report described that man as autocratic, reluctant to delegate authority, and to whom many physicians had an unusual reaction of hostility, dislike and fear. I ask the minister now, will you follow through and finish the work that you started when you ordered this task force committee?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I don't have to take any lessons from the hon. member, however, I will say this: He is now insulting the volunteer board of the Grenfell Regional Health Services. He just said that they were incompetent to do anything. I have great confidence in the board of the Grenfell Regional Health Services, in Bruce Patey the Chairman, and all the other members and they were not appointed by the executive officer, they were appointed by this government and some of them are in place from the previous government, so we have confidence in the way that board operates and now with that report here, they will implement whatever is necessary to be implemented.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A final supplementary, the hon. Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I said the board doesn't have the knowledge of hospital administration or doesn't have the time because they are volunteer people. That's what I said.

Now, I will say to the minister, as I read this report, I fully expected a recommendation to replace the chief executive officer. The committee obviously considered it, because they wrote: It is outside the jurisdiction of the fact-finding committee to recommend termination or continuance of the services of any senior executives within the organization. These will have to be decided by the board following adequate performance evaluations.

There hasn't been one evaluation done since 1981, when the service went into effect, on a $44 million budget; he has the complete free hand.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The question, please.

MR. SULLIVAN: Since this report is a performance evaluation, I ask the minister, having read it, and having been briefed privately by the task force of three doctors, has the minister concluded that Grenfell should start now and find a new chief executive officer?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, a few minutes ago he was abusing the board, and now he is abusing the chief executive officer. Who next will he abuse?

Thank you.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Education.

Yesterday, students at Memorial University were told tuition fees for the next semester will go up 7.5 per cent. That is on top of a 17.6 per cent increase last year, and a 10.5 per cent increase the year before. In fact, since this government got elected in 1989, tuition has increased from $582 a semester to $1,075 - an increase of some 85 per cent. Does the minister support these massive tuition hikes that is putting post-secondary education out of the hands and beyond the reach of thousands of Newfoundland young people?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the university has been very mature, very reasonable, and they recognize that this Province does have some very heavy fiscal responsibilities, most of which were passed on to this administration. We have been going on five years now trying to clean up the mess that we inherited.

The university has had to take some very tough measures. They have laid off in excess of 5 per cent of their staff; they have renewed contracts; they have cut left, right and center. They tried to keep the increase in tuition down as much as they could this year. Reluctantly, they had to increase it by 7.5 per cent, which still makes them the lowest tuitions in all of Atlantic Canada, and some of the lowest in all of the country.

The good thing about all of this, though, is that our Federal Government and the Provincial Government have had the good sense to put in place a student provincial and federal loan system which makes enough money available to the people so that now they can afford education - the first time that the Canadian student loans have been touched since 1983; it is unbelievable. Since 1983, when students have been struggling with student loans, finally, we have had the foresight to put in place a provincial student loan so that now no Newfoundlander or Labradorian will be denied an education for the sake of money. It is a great statement to be able to make.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the President of the University, Dr. May, admitted that the increases would put university education beyond the reach of some Newfoundlanders and Labradorians; that is the point.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, the time to take this government to task is now. They claim, in their Strategic Economic Plan, that the economic future depends on more and more young people having access to post-secondary education.

Let me ask the Premier this: When will his deeds and his government deeds match his words? When will you take action to make post-secondary education more accessible than ever for students in this Province, and young people?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I don't have to do anything on a personal basis. The minister is dealing with it very effectively and, as the minister just explained, students in this Province have access to a university that provides them with a tuition level that is the lowest in Atlantic Canada -

MR. DECKER: And among the lowest in the country.

PREMIER WELLS: - and among the lowest in the country.

Mr. Speaker, the changes we made recently to the student loans increased the level of financial support.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: And in case the hon. member has overlooked something, there are tens of thousands of people in this Province who have to find their way, in making a living for themselves, who don't have the opportunity to have the government fund them through university.

This government, as did the former government, pays 85 per cent of the direct operating costs of the university directly by way of transfers. That leaves only 15 per cent to be funded from other sources by the university, including tuition and the rest. So, all that the students who have the good fortune to go to university have to do is fund that 15 per cent, or the portion of it that the university can't otherwise fund, plus look after themselves, and to help them achieve that, the government, on top of that, has in the past provided grants and now provides increased loans.

Now, Mr. Speaker, this government has to be sensitive to the interests and concerns of those tens of thousands who don't have the opportunity to go to university, and stop burdening them with an additional tax burden to pay for even more money, as the hon. member would have it, for students to go to university. This government has a greater sensitivity to the needs, concerns, and interests of all of the people of the Province, not just one select group to another, as the Opposition chooses from time to time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question Period has elapsed.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I didn't want to raise a point of privilege during Question Period, but may I do so now, growing out of remarks made by my friend, the Member for St. John's East, in his response to the statement made by the Minister of Health. My friend, I think, was trying to catch Your Honour's eye to raise a question during Question Period but didn't succeed, and I could have dealt with it there.

I think the hon. gentleman will acknowledge his remarks cast an insinuation, I accept, unwittingly, on my role as the Minister of Justice with respect to the investigation. I want to be very clear on this. It suggested, as I heard it, a possible impropriety.

Mr. Speaker, on March 16, the Member for Ferryland asked me a question, which was quite straightforward, as to whether a police investigation was under way regarding Grenfell and by whom it was being conducted, if it is. I'm reading from page 443 of Hansard. My answer made it very clear that my knowledge was second-hand, and as I said, "...for obvious reasons, given that my brother is Executive Director of the Grenfell Association..." It appears he has to pay a price for being my brother. Mr. Speaker, I went on to say that my friend, the Minister of Health, had referred the papers in this matter -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, if the hon. gentlemen opposite would be quiet, I would finish my point. I don't appreciate their interrupting me and I would just as soon they didn't. I'm raising a very serious matter.

I made the point in that answer to the Member for Ferryland that the papers had been referred by the Minister of Health "...directly to the Director of Public Prosecutions...", as is entirely appropriate. My friend, the Minister of Health, is well aware that my brother is the Executive Director of the IGA, and has been for fifteen years now, long before I came to this present job, and he may well be there long after I'm gone.

The other point I want to make is that my friend, the Member for St. John's East said the matter had been investigated by the Director of Public Prosecutions. I think he will acknowledge - I hope he will acknowledge - he misspoke himself. Because the DPP does not conduct any investigations. Investigations in this Province are made by the police who decide, and decide alone, whether criminal charges would be laid. I would refer hon. members to the statement my friend, the Minister of Health, just made in the House, to which my friend, the Member for St. John's East was referring. The minister said: "...I have also been advised by the Director of Public Prosecutions that the police have completed their investigation and have concluded that there is no basis for any charges to be laid. The RCMP have found no evidence of criminal activity on the part of any person in the processing of these third party cheques and no further investigation will be conducted in this matter."

Mr. Speaker, the record is clear. What I would ask my hon. friend for St. John's East is if he would be good enough to rise in his place now and acknowledge that he meant to cast no insinuation, and that the matter, as far as he is aware, on the public record, has been conducted with the propriety it deserves. Mr. Speaker, I take the matter very seriously.

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

MR. HARRIS: I don't see how it is a matter of personal privilege, Mr. Speaker, but I would certainly welcome the opportunity to address the point that I wished to raise in Question Period.

I cast no aspersions on the Minister of Justice at all. I'm not looking for anything other than to suggest that since it is the Minister of Justice whose brother was the Director of the organization subject of complaints of activities such as cashing and diverting cheques addressed to other people, opening mail and things like that, that any decision about whether or not criminal charges ought to be laid should be made by someone other than someone in the department who answers to the minister.

As to who lays charges and who doesn't lay charges, the RNC answer to the minister. The Director of Public Prosecutions answers to the minister. When a couple of years ago we had some questions as to whether or not charges should be laid against the police or former chiefs of police the government sought outside advice from another province to decide whether such charges should be laid. I wouldn't want any aspersions to be cast on either the Director of Public Prosecutions or anybody else, and I don't wish to cast any aspersions on anybody. I will say that I understand, for example, that the Director of Public Prosecutions is one of those being considered for an appointment to the provincial bench. I would not want it to be said that if he were to receive such an appointment that it had anything to do with anything other than his qualifications.

I am saying this without casting any aspersions on anybody, including the minister; but I suggest that where this matter does involve an individual who is the brother of the Minister of Justice, that in fairness to all concerned, a decision, a review or

a recommendation from somebody outside the department is appropriate in these circumstances. With respect to who lays charges and who doesn't, we all know that historically the police often seek the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions as to whether or not charges ought to be laid.

I think the minister's point of privilege is not a point of privilege at all, but I did welcome the opportunity to make the point that I wished to make.

MR. SPEAKER: Further to the point of privilege, I will look at the record of Hansard and see what was said here today, as well as on March 16, which I think was a reference, then I will rule accordingly.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Ferryland on a point of order.

MR. SULLIVAN: The point of order is not with reference to a question, but with reference to a statement that the Premier made last Friday in the House. He gave a commitment to this House that on the next day it sits, or if the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations is here shortly, he would inform the House as to the answer, but as of today, he hasn't provided me with anything.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, to that point of order, the hon. gentleman is either deliberately abusing the rules of the House, or more likely doing it ignorantly. My friend, the Minister is about to stand when we come to the appropriate place on the Order Paper. If my hon. friend, the Member for Ferryland would exhibit one quarter of the intelligence which I know he has, we would all be a lot better off.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order. I recognize the hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations under Answers to Questions.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Neither, in fact, we won the election, `Len'.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am having difficulty hearing the hon. minister.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I stand, to provide three answers arising from Hansard of Friday, May 20. Due to the point of order, I should probably hold one until tomorrow and do some further research, but I won't be childish, I will give the answer anyway, which I was prepared to do.

The first is on page 1662, a question from the hon. the Member for Kilbride with respect to electrical inspections and some of the regulations causing businesses to close down. I am tabling today a copy of the regulations so that the hon. member can have a look at them and be assured that that is not the impact and the effect of these regulations at all. I think when he reviews the regulations he will see that.

With respect to page 1663, there are some questions from the hon. the Member for St. John's East with respect to the policy of government about double-dipping and the status of appointment for Mr. Seabright at the Compensation Appeals Tribunal. The Premier undertook to provide the dates relevant in each case and I provide those as follows: Mr. Seabright was first appointed on March 16, 1989 for a two-year term, and was reappointed on December 31, 1991 for a two-year term, which was to expire on December 31, 1993.

The policy with respect to double-dipping was discussed at Cabinet in February 1993 and circulated to all of the departments in September following the recent election last spring. On December 31, 1993, Mr. Seabright's appointment was extended for a further period due to the fact that the whole issue of the tribunal was under review, and the results of that review will be made public within a week or so.

In fact, Mr. Seabright was in place long before the policy and we took the same position as we have regularly done. As I explained in the House, before we did not terminate people who are in place upon the coming into effect of the new policy, but we did not make new reappointments, and the policy does apply and continues to apply.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, page 1663 of the same Hansard, a question from the hon. the Member for Ferryland, who is rather impatient about the answer, talking about a letter with respect to long-term attachment. I refer to the letter and the date, Mr. Speaker. The letter does exist and is dated 27-4-'94 to Catherine Gogan, Assistant Deputy Minister, Department of Employment and Labour Relations, from Mr. Bob O'Neil, Director of Community Recovery with Human Resources Development Canada. I won't table the letter because it is between those two people. I am sure, if the hon. member wants the letter, he can get a copy from Mr. O'Neil. I am sure he will provide it to him. That states clearly, and I read this for the record, Mr. Speaker, it states clearly that it should be noted that in the case of core fishers, which would be determined by the industry renewal boards and other process - they are not yet designated - they will be automatically eligible for five years under the TAGS program, spelled out quite clearly in the letter.

The other issue was with respect to training with people who opted for license retirement continued for the full NCARP period, with full NCARP entitlement, and since May 16 the training has continued on with the benefits now paid under the TAGS program, but they don't receive the same compensation as they did under NCARP, because that program is completed. Their training is continued, the training allowances are continued, but the compensation under NCARP has ceased because the NCARP program has ceased.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, the day before yesterday, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition raised a question. He asked me about the closure of a palliative care bed in Grand Falls hospital. I have since ascertained, what has happened is that the palliative care bed will be moved to another part of the hospital; again, Mr. Speaker, an example of the crying of wolf that goes on from the opposite side.


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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to present a petition of 820 names - 820 concerned residents of the town of Bonavista. It reads:

`To the hon. House of Assembly of Newfoundland in legislative session convened, the petition of the undersigned residents of Bonavista.

WHEREAS the residents of Bonavista must urgently request our Municipal and Provincial Governments to work together to find a solution to the problems caused by the sewerage treatment plant and outfall into O'Dea's Pond, and as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.'

Mr. Speaker, the area which those people are speaking about is an area in Bonavista where there is a pond known as O'Dea's Pond. Approximately twenty years ago, there was a sewerage treatment plant constructed, and the outfall from that particular plant went into this pond. The ideal situation was supposed to have worked, that when the tides would rise the water would come in and flush out this particular pond, take all the sewerage out, and it would clean itself out at least on two occasions every day. That hasn't worked, and as the outfall from the sewerage treatment plant continues to go into this stagnant pond now, we have a situation which is very quickly becoming a health hazard.

Mr. Speaker, I happened to view the whole area the other day when this petition was presented. I went down, and the gentleman took me out to the pond, poked a stick about fifteen feet long down into the pond and pulled it up with nothing but raw sewerage - the same thing as poking a stick down into a septic tank.

I have already had correspondence with the Minister of Environment and Lands in expressing my concern and the concern of the people in Bonavista about this particular problem, and I know there have been a couple of visits made, but the time is fast approaching when we have to have action, not just visits.

Mr. Speaker, the residents of this entire area are unable to open their windows in the summertime because of the smell from the septic pond. Rats are sighted in the area, and it has become a breeding place for flies.

The whole area, when we have a heavy rainfall, causes the pond to rise and the surrounding area is flooded. It is very obvious what is happening there. All you have to look at is the black grass and the area where the pond rises to see the whole area has now become contaminated.

Mr. Speaker, the fear of a lot of people there is that their pets, which continually go out there to play, and their children, are going to be subject to some kind of infection, or certainly a possible health hazard there, that will create a severe problem if this is not attended to in the very near future.

The pond is located right near the churches in the community. There is a bakery there, and bordering the pond is the Bradley estate, known as the Mockbeggar property, which is one of the historic attractions identified here in this Province.

So I call upon the Minister of Environment and Lands to attend to this request before it becomes a health hazard and we put the people's lives in jeopardy who are living in the area of this pond known as O'Dea's Pond.

Thank you very much.

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

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

It gives me pleasure today to rise in my place and support the petition with 820 signatures, presented by the Member for Bonavista South.

Mr. Speaker, obviously the people in the area are very concerned and with good reason. In a small area or town, coming up with 820 signatures, they must be very, very concerned.

Now, the Minister of Environment and Lands has received a number of letters with respect to this issue recently. The minister has received letters from the clergy, the various churches in the area, letters from businesses in the area, letters from the Justice of the Peace for the area, letters from the Lions Club, from the Concerned Citizens Committee, and the MHA, himself, for the area, Mr. Speaker. The people are very concerned with what is going on there, or what is not going on, more specifically.

The various letters were concerned with different issues - the length of time that this problem has been going on, has been going on for a number of years now, Mr. Speaker, and the situation is worsening over time. The pond itself is stagnant. The sewage settling in the pond is building up and is getting deeper and deeper all the time and there's no run-off to allow the pond to cleanse itself. There are odour problems in the area, obnoxious smells. Some of the people in the general area now have to actually keep their windows closed in the summertime. In the time of year when we like to get our windows open and get our houses refreshed with fresh air, type of thing, they have to keep their windows closed because of the smell, Mr. Speaker. There's a sludge build-up, as I say, it's pure sewage. It's from the treatment plant that's dumping into the pond, and I think it has to be dealt with.

The area now, Mr. Speaker, is becoming rat-infested, from the information that I have. It is developing a health hazard in the area, and my concern would be with the children in the area who are out playing around. Naturally, the children can be asked or told to stay away from any areas of danger but they would have pets and dogs running around that would possibly get infected with - it could be anything, Mr. Speaker, and could bring it back. If the children were petting their animals, they could be infected with any type of disease.

What is the impact of tourism in Bonavista with this type of situation, smells of this nature? I'm sure it would have a negative impact. Also, I believe we need some immediate action on this situation. From what I can gather in the short term, there's a natural ditch which was leading to the ocean and if that ditch could be - and it's grown over, Mr. Speaker. If it could be opened up and probably a two-foot or a three-foot culvert could be put in from the pond to the ocean, you could have the natural occurring of a flushing with the rise and fall of the tide, Mr. Speaker.

In the long term, maybe something should be looked at with respect to the treatment plant, itself, that if it was installed twenty years ago, with modern technology the plant could be upgraded and the outfall coming from the plant may not be as dense and cause the problems that it is creating today, Mr. Speaker. With that, I thank you.

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, I'm aware of the O'Dea's Pond problem and have been, I guess, for the past couple of weeks or so. The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands spoke to me about it some time ago and we are at present looking at the problem. We have sent some people out there and they've made a report to us. But I'd just like to take it a little step further for the hon. the Member for Bonavista and my hon. friend, the Member for St. John's East Extern. It's great to be able to stand up in the House and present a petition, which, by the way, I know - I commend the hon. member for getting the names on the petition. I had a letter from the pastor of the Pentecostal Church today and he totally agreed with what you suggested to him and he wrote me a letter outlining what you suggested. He thought you were doing a great job so I commend you. I say quite honestly to you, you talk about upgrading outflows and -

MR. FITZGERALD: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: On a point of order, the hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to correct the statements just made by the hon. minister. I can assure you that I had nothing whatsoever to do with putting those names on the petition. Those names were put there, in all sincerity, by people facing a very serious problem. The Pentecostal preacher that he referred to, Mr. Speaker, approached me on the subject and I don't think I want to get into that but I had nothing to do with the Pentecostal preacher writing the minister and expressing his views. Mr. Speaker, the minister is misleading the House when he puts forward those statements.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There's no point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. REID: I guess, Mr. Speaker, that's what you get for giving the member a compliment for doing his job in his district. But anyway, I'll pick up -

AN HON. MEMBER: No gratitude.

MR. REID: No gratitude at all. Let me make a couple of quick comments before my time runs out. Number one, it (inaudible) number one priority on the list of the infrastructure money - right?

AN HON. MEMBER: The Bonavista Council (inaudible) it would not appear top priority (inaudible).

MR. REID: No, I am assuming it wasn't. I don't think it was, I don't think it was top priority, and the member agrees. It is not the top priority of the Council of Bonavista, but the hon. members will stand up and talk about replacing a sewerage treatment plant which will cost us in excess of $1.5 to $2 million; he is talking about opening up a ditch into a freshwater pond to let the raw sewerage run out into the ocean, which Environment has trouble with. The hon. member told us to do everything in the world, except he didn't give us a price on it.

Now, all I say to hon. members - and I am being honest; I am not being critical of either one of the members. All I ask hon. members is this: Where do we find the money to correct the problem? If the Town of Bonavista wants to come in to this government and say, We will borrow the money - if it is that serious - we will borrow the money and we will correct it ourselves, I am sure that this government will give them permission to go out and borrow the money, but I ask the hon. the Member for Bonavista, where do I find the money to correct the hundreds of problems around this Province that exist basically in the same vein as the problem that exist in Bonavista?

I will continue, I can assure the member, to investigate it. I told the engineering staff of my department to get down there as soon as possible, to talk to the consulting engineers, get a price on it, do an estimate on it, talk to the Department of Environment and Lands and make sure that they are aware of what we plan to do, and I will try my utmost to help the people of Bonavista correct that problem - my utmost, but I am afraid that my utmost might not be enough in this particular case if we are talking millions of dollars in order to correct it.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to present a petition of several residents of the Avalon Peninsula, mostly residents of St. John's, some of Conception Bay South, others of Mount Pearl and still others of Trepassey.

Mr. Speaker, the petition is about Hydro. It's a plea to the Legislature to `demand the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador not privatize and sell Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro remains a Crown corporation.'

Mr. Speaker, these residents of the Avalon Peninsula, the same as the vast majority of citizens of the Province, the same as 68 per cent of all the citizens of the Province, oppose government's stated plan of privatizing Hydro.

Mr. Speaker, people are against privatizing Hydro for very basic reasons: One, they want a profitable, well-run corporation to continue operating as it is, keeping the profit within the Province to be available to boost the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador; keeping electricity prices at the lowest level possible, avoiding the massive increases that will be inevitable upon privatization, and retaining the means for the government to develop Labrador water resources in the most beneficial way for the government and the people of the Province.

Mr. Speaker, the government, in their propaganda, have tried to tell people that Hydro's mandate has been fulfilled because of the development of water resources on the Island. That is absolutely false. Hydro still has the mandate of developing the Lower Churchill and of protecting our interests in the Upper Churchill, and, as well, there are other undeveloped water resources in Labrador.

Hydro has the job of keeping electricity prices at the lowest possible level, and with privatization, there is no choice but for the Public Utilities Board to significantly increase electricity rates, because by law the PUB is obligated to give private investors a reasonable rate of return at the going rate in industry in the private sector, and that going rate now is about 13.5 per cent, which is twice what's provided the government for a publicly-owned Hydro. As well, the plan on privatization is to lower the debt-equity ratio from 80 to 18 which it is now, to a more usual ratio, and the conversion of debt to equity is again going to significantly add to the rate base on which the rates are determined.

Mr. Speaker, Hydro has been paying down the debt incurred to develop Bay d'Espoir and Cat Arm and the other Island projects and it was only two years ago that Hydro paid off all the bonds floated to finance Bay d'Espoir. The projected demand for electricity is such that it is not likely that Hydro will have to borrow at as great a rate as it will retire outstanding bonds, so the government can look forward, on retaining Hydro as a Crown corporation, to increased levels of revenue.

The government now gets from Hydro the $10 million a year loan guarantee fee. Now, if the government is strapped for cash, all the government has to do is direct Hydro to pay $20 million or $30 million a year as a loan guarantee fee or a dividend. If the government's only objective in selling Hydro is to get some cash for the Province to help us over the short term, then the government can have it both ways. The government can retain ownership of Hydro and the benefit of that asset and that expertise and that ability to develop the Lower Churchill, and, at the same time, get from Hydro more revenue. It can get the $10 million it is receiving now plus $14 million which Hydro is earning per year, approximately, that is going to build up our equity, $25 million, without touching the rates; or it can instruct Hydro to provide more to the provincial coffers which will translate into a rate increase for consumers. But, under privatization there will be a worse rate increase for consumers.

So, if the Premier's only objective is what he is saying, which most of us don't believe for a minute, all the Premier has to do is direct Hydro to pay more money to the Provincial Government. A variation would be for the government to impose a sales tax on electricity. If the only reason to sell Hydro is to get a bit of cash for the Provincial Government to help the government over the next couple of years,there is no need to sell Hydro - simply direct Hydro to pay more than $10 million a year as a loan guarantee fee; order Hydro to pay $15 million or $25 million or $30 million.

The Premier and the government claim that by selling Hydro they will realize net proceeds of about $300 million a year and thereafter will be paying down debt of $300 million less and save $25 million a year -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, let's put the House out of its misery listening to this. I move, pursuant to Standing Order 21, that the Orders of the Day now be read. We have had our two petitions.

Motion carried.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, could we deal, please, first with Motions 6, 7 and 8, and then we will go on into the debate on Committee of Supply.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Justice to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Internal Economy Commission Act," carried. (Bill 25)

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology to introduce a bill, "An Act To Incorporate The Grand Concourse Authority," carried. (Bill No. 23)

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Finance to introduce a bill, "An Act Respecting Newfoundland And Labrador Computer Services Limited," carried. (Bill No 24)

On motion, Bill Nos. 25, 23 and 24 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour, could we put the House, please, into Committee and deal with the estimates of CFS. My friend, the Minister of Finance, will be back imminently. Is he out front addressing - is there a large group out there?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Is it a large group outside, my friend is addressing?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: More than 4,000, I'd say.

MR. ROBERTS: If we were to sell tickets we could probably balance the Budget.

On motion, that the House resolve itself into Committee of the Whole, Mr. Speaker left the Chair.

Committee of the Whole

MR. CHAIRMAN (L.Snow): The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I am not sure if the President of the Council, the President of Treasury Board, is going to be back. Are you expecting him?

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Justice.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, my understanding is that he will be. I understand he is simply gone out to join in the festivities outside.

AN HON. MEMBER: He won't be back, then.

MR. ROBERTS: That remains to be seen, but my understanding is that he will be here. In the meantime, my friend, the Minister of Education, and myself, I guess, are in the barrel.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Baker going to speak out there today?

MR. SIMMS: I have no idea; I don't know.

It makes it a little awkward, Mr. Chairman, because some of the questions I had related to specific things under Executive Council that I am not sure anybody else would be very familiar with.

MR. ROBERTS: Try us; we will get the answers.

MR. SIMMS: Let me just flick through my notes. Maybe I can come to an area where the Minister of Justice might be able to help us.

I think I will ask him some questions about the lottery operation -Newfoundland lottery. That is the President of Treasury Board's. Would there be any -

MR. ROBERTS: The Atlantic Lottery Corporation reports to the Minister of Finance, in fact - I believe it is the Minister of Finance. In any event, it reports to my friend, the Member for Gander, whatever hat, but the regulation of lotteries, and all of those good things, falls within my purview as Justice Minister - including bingo; I get to do bingo.

MR. SIMMS: Let me take a stab at this, Mr. Chairman. Maybe the Minister of Justice might want to respond. He might want to ignore it; I am not sure. Actually, it is a letter I received today. It seems to me, it comes from somebody outside of Newfoundland, but it is related to lottery, and some of the things that are going on in the lottery area, and wondering how long it's going to be before people start asking some questions about the administration of the lottery operation - all of that kind of thing. So maybe what I will do is just read through the letter, and by that time maybe the Minister of Finance may be back and I can get on to some of the other things.

MR. ROBERTS: We'll send a search party.

MR. SIMMS: It is rather interesting, and I wouldn't mind putting it on the record anyway. It is addressed: `To whom it may Concern. I certainly hope that the following information concerns someone enough to do something, and at the very least, to ask some questions' - that I am doing.

I wouldn't normally respond to an unsigned letter, but it has some really interesting suggestions.

MR. ROBERTS: Apparently, it is (inaudible) unsigned, as well.

MR. SIMMS: No, it is addressed to me.

MR. ROBERTS: Oh, I thought you said: To whom it may Concern.

MR. SIMMS: Oh, the letter is, yes, but the envelope was addressed to me. It says: `During the last few months I have been very angry about all the cost-cutting that is going on in the Maritimes, especially when it affects the critical areas like medical services and the education of my children and my family. The closing of hospitals, roll-backs on wages, compulsory days off for public servants, etc., are a few of the things that are most bothersome, especially when they seem to be done across the board, with no real thought being put into it. In particular, one particular area that disturbs me is the lottery business.

During the past several years I have been listening to a friend of mine, who is in a position to know, telling of situations that now, more than ever, actually make me sick to my stomach. Friendships aside, someone has to speak up about this government agency that is rolling in dough and spending it like money grows on trees - this is the lottery operation for Atlantic Canada. What goes on in this company makes the Hydro pizza expenses look like petty cash expenses. The last straw for me was the recent closing of the hospitals in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, that will save $2.5 million and $7.5 million, and the major wage cutbacks in P.E.I. I don't blame these workers for going on strike, and hopefully some of the following information will help them with their cause.'

MR. W. MATTHEWS: By leave to give the statement now?

MR. SIMMS: What?

AN HON. MEMBER: Going to announce a settlement, by leave.

MR. SIMMS: Does the President of Treasury Board want leave to announce a settlement in the strike or something?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: By leave.

MR. SIMMS: Oh, my colleague is just pulling my leg.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, no. He has it there in the folder.

MR. SIMMS: Just pulling my leg.

MR. ROBERTS: Carry on with the question.

MR. SIMMS: Maybe I will try to summarize for the minister what I am doing here.

This is a letter I received, a two-page letter, that talks about some of the extravagant things that are occurring with respect to the operation of the Atlantic Lottery, which should concern all four Atlantic Provinces and governments, and premiers, etc.

The gist of the letter is - this person, apparently, must be from outside the Province. It's just a Canada postmark, it's addressed to me. The letter is; `To whom it may Concern' and it's not signed but there are a number of things in there that are rather interesting - interesting enough, I think, for me to raise it and I'm going to put it on the record anyway. Maybe the minister might want to respond. It's in the context that this person is concerned because of all the cutbacks and things that are happening to public servants, hospitals and education. All the cutbacks that are occurring, yet, you've got this lavish Atlantic Lottery operation -somebody should take control of the management, that's the gist of it.

Anyway, here's what they say: `Did you know that lottery employees have received pay increases of at least 4 per cent every year over the last three years? My friend got 7 per cent last year.' This is a person who said he/she had somebody who obviously works with the lottery. `Those pay increases alone, and if you look at their annual reports, would have probably kept hospitals open in New Brunswick. They made some hospital cuts in New Brunswick to save $2.5 million. Never mind that, their sales people' - this is the Atlantic Lottery sales people - `get $1,000 bonuses every year and the same thing this year.' So they're arguing that this seems to be a little bit extravagant when you consider what else is going on around us, right? `They have added fifteen to twenty people every year' - I don't know if it's true or not - `and the only sales increases seem to be coming from that video business which only requires machines, not people.

The big shots are travelling' - this is a good part. The minister will like this part - `the big shots are travelling all over the place and the expenses are horrendous. The President has been to Las Vegas, Hong Kong and Paris all in one year, and apparently the government ministers on the board' - I wasn't aware there were government ministers on the board, there aren't, are there? Obviously, it must be the government appointees, perhaps, on the board; deputy ministers are on the board - `the plum job for any minister,' he\she says, `go on these trips, too. They take their wives and have a grand old time. The ministers' - I would assume they mean deputy ministers or whoever - `don't even know what's going on. It's a perk, supposedly.

I heard of a trip to Vancouver first class all the way and the meeting lasted one hour. Can you imagine? They spend over $1 million just on hotels, meals and air fare. Meetings, meetings, meetings, they have hundreds of meetings, a lot of them over their lunch hours, and they always order in - like for five to twenty people and at times they actually have them catered, sometimes as much as twenty dollars a person. Most companies drive to Halifax for meetings - not the lottery. They charter airplanes on a regular basis just to go for the day. It must be nice.

Then, they have these company meetings where they take all their employees to places like the Capital Theatre for a whole day, and other than a few speeches, they have a good time playing games, etc. They even make a video of the whole thing which costs them $20,000-$25,000 and they do this twice a year. They also have a big management meeting every year, thirty or forty people, they eat lobsters, steak and play more games for three or four days a year -for three or four days at some Tim Horton's place.'

Now, here's a real good one. They say, `They spend up to $15 million in advertising and promotion and apparently they can't even advertise in Newfoundland, but the sales keep going up there. So why do it at all?' Why waste the money on advertising, I guess, is what they're saying. `Well, if they don't spend it they'll lose it, supposedly. Why not give it to the hospital budgets?

The sales people have big meetings twice a year in all the provinces and they bring in the whole families, play golf, big Christmas parties. Supposedly, the meetings are just a cover-up for the fun.

Now I hear they are putting two new huge lottery games on the market. One has something to do with sports betting and the other is a huge jackpot game which is starting at the end of May called, "Super Jackpot", and they are scared to death of the backlash this is going to cause, because apparently some of the Premiers do not even know about it. Almost every vice-president in the lottery has their own special executive secretary making $30,000 a year. The annual report shows operating costs are up million of dollars and yet everyone else has to take cuts and rollbacks. To top it all off I hear there is a mail order lottery business in PEI and Nova Scotia, a mail order lottery business in PEI and Nova Scotia that is selling millions of tickets outside the country, and the winnings are obviously not coming to people in the Maritimes. If the faithful lottery buyers ever found out about this I bet they would never even play.

I could go on forever about the ridiculous things I have heard, and if the above isn't enough to get someone to start asking some questions then what can I say? The fact is this is a government body and they need to be as responsible as the rest. Someone has to be held responsible for the mismanagement of taxpayer's dollars. I calculated that if they were to reduce their expenses by one half of 1 per cent the money to keep the hospitals open in New Brunswick could be found. The pay raises they have all had in the past three years would probably allow the hospitals in Nova Scotia to stay open, so while these people are joyriding around Hong Kong and Paris someone is going to die because of not getting the proper medical attention. I ask you, is this fair or right? Name withheld for obvious reasons.

DR. KITCHEN: You wrote that yourself, did you?

MR. SIMMS: The Minister of Health must have been asleep.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Put on your dunce cap and go back to sleep.


MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

It is interesting that the person who sent that letter did not sign his or her name. I find it really strange that the name was not signed. There are a lot of issues raised in here and each taken individually does not mean a whole lot.

My experience with the Atlantic Lotto Corporation is, and I tell hon. members, it is headquartered in Moncton and it would not surprise me at all if they were top-heavy. It would not surprise me at all if there were avenues that they could use to cut their expenses. That would not surprise me. I had occasion, as I felt I should when I became minister responsible, to go to one of their meetings. I have attended one of those luxurious meetings that the member describes just to see what the corporation was all about. I did not experience all the luxurious meals. As a matter of fact I do not believe I was provided with a meal during the day. I did not experience the luxuries that the hon. gentleman referred to, but I did experience sort of a different atmosphere. It is a different world.

People who are involved with the lottery corporations across Canada are kind of a different breed of people. They believe they are in a business that must be promoted and must be expanded. Their whole thoughts are towards new games, ways of increasing revenues from games, and all this kind of thing, something that I am totally unfamiliar with and do not necessarily subscribe to. I thought it was a strange experience, but I did receive a little bit of understanding of how the system operates.

In terms of the claim of ministers, obviously the Leader of the Opposition has it right, there are no ministers on the board. There are some deputy ministers. From this Province we have two and there are meetings that have to be attended, however I am sure they have never experienced the luxuries to which the Leader of the Opposition refers. They go to meetings. They are working meetings, and they come back as quickly as possible, and they have not been subjected to all these days and days and days of luxurious dining and relaxing and a half-an-hour meeting and three or four days of sight-seeing and all this kind of thing. They have not experienced this so if the people in Moncton are doing it or if the people in Nova Scotia are doing it, I can assure hon. members that the people from this Province are not doing it.

We even went so far, and it is noted in the letter to cut back and eliminate advertising because we felt that the lifestyle ads that were being used by Atlantic Lotto Corporation were not appropriate so we cut them off. We felt that it was encouraging problem gambling, and it was encouraging people to become hooked on gambling and we are totally against that, so we have cut that off and we felt justified, Mr. Speaker, in doing so, so the comments in there are probably aimed at lotto headquarters. I suspect they are grossly exaggerated but at the same time I would suspect that there are efficiencies that Atlantic Lotto Corporation could bring in and I of course will be talking to our representatives on the board about that and especially about salary increases in a period when everybody else has been frozen. That bothers me because people in all Atlantic Provinces have had their wages frozen and ALC should be no different so I will look into that and when I get an answer I will report back to the hon. gentleman.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Chairman, I just want to have a few words. Too bad the President of Treasury Board is leaving but I understand he has to go out and meet the press, and I only hope that he is going out now to inform the teachers and the people of the Province that he has a settlement, because if you listen to the President of Treasury Board in Question Period today, you would certainly think that the only thing left, was the announcement of the settlement.

Now I don't know who is playing the games in this situation, Mr. Chairman, but obviously somebody is, and basically they are playing games with the lives of the children, the students of the Province which I think is rather unfortunate.

AN HON. MEMBER: Terrible.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It is terrible, I say to the Member for Fogo, it is terrible but if you listen to the President of Treasury Board today, when the Leader of the Opposition referred to the letter that all members had this morning from the President of the NLTA, Mr. Sutherland, you would think that the only thing left was the announcement, and as I sat here and listened to the President of Treasury Board respond to the questions from the Leader of the Opposition, that I figured, that either the announcement will come later today at the stadium or tonight whenever they have the reception for the teachers, but I figured that the latest it will come as a result of that exchange, will be Monday. I figure, we will either have a Ministerial Statement tomorrow or on Monday announcing a settlement of the dispute between the NLTA and the government.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well I say to the Member for Fogo, you said `they', if they want one.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: They want one; it is always, they want one, I say to the Member for Fogo. So, I think for what I read into this, Mr. Chairman, that it seems to me that we are very, very close. Yes, I think we are very, very, very close. I would say I think we are closer to a settlement than the 4,000 people outside the steps are aware of, I say to the Member for Fogo.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, when the two members stop debating over the numbers, all I can say is I don't know how many is out there but it is the biggest crowd that I have seen outside this building since I have been here.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well I didn't see that, I say to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs; but there is a big crowd out there and it certainly shows the concern of teachers and the support of teachers to their executive, and the negotiating teams, and I only hope that if they are very close to a settlement now that this show of strength by teachers from all over this Province, from the Northern Peninsula and the West Coast, Central Newfoundland and all along the South Coast and the Avalon, that at least, that will result in straightening out what few discrepancies there are left in the talks, and that we will indeed have a settlement. But I am sure that if you could have had those 3,000 or 4,000 teachers in this House of Assembly today and listened to the Question Period I'm sure they would have been just as surprised as I was.


MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes they would have been. They would have been just as surprised as I was to hear the exchange and what the President of Treasury Board said. Because as I said earlier, the only thing that was missing from the exchange today was for the President of Treasury Board to announce that there is a settlement. That is the only thing that was missing.


MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, I say to the Member for Fogo, it always comes down to only one question but most times it is a very big questions that stops the settlement.


MR. W. MATTHEWS: I say to him, it is a big question. It mightn't be a big question in his mind but it certainly is a big question in the minds of the executive negotiating team of the NLTA and the teachers of the Province.


MR. W. MATTHEWS: I would encourage the Member for Fogo to get up now after I finish and have a few words on the situation, or on anything else. We are on estimates and it is a wide-ranging debate. If the Member for Fogo now has a point of view that he would like to express then get in his place and express them.


MR. W. MATTHEWS: That is all I'm just saying. Get up in your place and express them.


MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Chairman, I don't know if the Member for Fogo is under undue pressure from the teachers of his District. That might be. I can understand that. There are a lot of members over there who are ready to crack because of the pressures that teachers have put on them. Ready to crack, I say. A lot of members opposite who are ready to crack. Out in their districts singing one line to the teachers but in the caucus room out here singing a different line. Oh yes, Premier, we are with you. Out back, not so much with the Premier, I say to members opposite.

We've even got the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations under such attack from the teachers that he shaved off his moustache trying to disguise himself. I said to the minister earlier today: You will have to shave more than your moustache so that teachers won't recognize you. Because once you betray someone, I said to him, they never forget your face, regardless of what you do with it.

That is what has happened to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. That is what has happened to the Minister of Environment and Lands. Two former presidents of the Association.

MR. TOBIN: I heard him this morning on CBC.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, and now this morning he started to betray the Premier. He said: The Premier made the statements on Hydro, let him take it on the chin himself. He said: Don't associate me with the remarks of the Premier and what he said on Hydro. He said: Regardless of my own political ambitions the Premier has to stand on his own on this one. That is what is happening over there.

MR. HARRIS: Sounds like a sinking ship to me.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Sounds like a very leaky basket, I say to the Member for St. John's East.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: If what?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I would say, no, I don't - I say - there is no wishing about that, I say to the Member for Eagle River. It is written all over your faces every day opposite. From the present dispute with the NLTA - the teachers have put the pressure on you. It is showing in your faces. You've got dissension in your ranks. You've got members opposite now commenting publicly on the devastation and the implications of the elimination of the 2 per cent savings clause. The Member for Port au Port on television the night before last and yesterday morning on CBC radio. There are others. There are others who are in cahoots with the Member for Port au Port.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is that right?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh yes. That is putting the pressure on in the caucus now, and putting pressure on the ministers. That is what is happening over there. It is written all over your faces. When you watched the behaviour of members opposite yesterday when the Premier was under a vicious attack on privatization of Hydro you could see - they sat there, and you know something? Most of them actually enjoyed it. Most of them actually enjoyed the Premier being so viciously attacked.

AN HON. MEMBER: In your dreams.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, they actually enjoyed it. There was no support for the Premier. Of course we heard - what? We saw the minister this morning. I believe the Member for St. George's made a similar comment, that: The Premier will have to - what does he say? - be responsible for his own remarks. He will have to explain it.

MR. SIMMS: Yes, he will have to explain it.


MR. SIMMS: Grimes said the same thing.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did he say that?

MR. SIMMS: Yes. Grimes said the same thing.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Chairman, it is a sure sign.... There is one thing I must commend. I must commend the executive negotiating team of the NLTA and the membership. If they could sit with us here, yes, day by day, and realize how effective they've been on putting pressure on members opposite. They have made life unbearable for them over there, I say to them. I think it has played a very big part in the behaviour today and the comments of the President of Treasury Board. Because I tell you, that was a different President of Treasury Board today than it was just a few short days ago. A very different President of Treasury Board. There is something happening.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I say this to the Member for Fogo. The issue would have been settled if the Premier stayed out of the Province and not come back last week.

MR. TULK: You think so?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes. This issue would have been settled. If the President of Treasury Board had been given the flexibility and the manoeuvrability to settle this dispute it would have been over now. But once His Nibs came back in the Province late last week, whenever it was, the whole mood of this Assembly Chamber changed. The President of Treasury Board was reined in.

AN HON. MEMBER: Decker went to the Premier.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, the best thing could have happened to resolve this was to send the Minister of Education wherever the Premier was out of the Province. Send him out of the Province. Keep the two of them out of the Province and the children would have been back in the classrooms of the schools today. If the President of Treasury Board had that leverage.

AN HON. MEMBER: Do you believe that?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, I do believe it. There is one reason why this isn't settled and that is the person who sits in the Premier's chair. He made that perfectly clear a year ago what he was going to do. A year later he is still at it, still vindictive, still attacking the teachers. Not caring at all about the consequences on the students of the Province, not one bit, couldn't care less. Playing his own vindictive game.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: What are you going to do with him, I say to the Member for Fogo? I wish I had my choice. I can't do much about it, I'm not in that caucus, I say to the Member for Fogo. If I was in the caucus -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Chairman, it is absolutely amazing. I thought I was recognized but obviously there were three others as well. I look forward to them after, I say.

Let me say this. If I was taking the roasting on an hourly basis that the Members for Fogo, Fortune - Hermitage and Eagle River, and all through the ranks over there are taking on the teacher dispute and Hydro I would very subtly suggest to the Premier, I would subtly suggest to him, that: It is time for you to move on. If your interest is in law perhaps you should move on.

MR. SIMMS: Or Hydro.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Or if you really want to be the new president of the new Hydro perhaps you should move on, I say to members.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) Supreme Court judge.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Supreme Court judge. Yes, if he wants to be a judge of the appeal court he should move on.

AN HON. MEMBER: Bill, I think you are bluffing.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I'm not bluffing, I say - I would tell him how I feel. I will tell you something. If members opposite were honest there would be a fair number over there would say the same thing. They can't wait to see the taps of his shoes when he walks away from them, I say to them. Because they know he is a liability. The Premier is a liability. He is not only a liability - he is a liability to the Province. He is the biggest liability to the future of this Province.

When he stood in his place again today talking about Kruger, I mean I only pray for the day when this Premier will stand in his place and say that he is going to help some industry, some community or some group in this Province. If I can only hear the Premier stand in his place and say he is going to help someone. Five years of helping no one, of helping no community, of helping no group.

You could almost support it, but each year the financial position of this Province has deteriorated; it has gotten worse. Each year, I say to the President of Treasury Board, under his direction the last two or three years, the financial position of this Province has worsened, so the fiscal direction, the fiscal policy of this government, hasn't worked, but still they continue on. You know why it hasn't worked?


MR. W. MATTHEWS: Because they are following the direction of one person. No one else has any input. No one else can make suggestions. No one else can establish policy.

MR. SIMMS: One-man show; dictate.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That's right; it's dictate, dictate, dictate, dictate.

MR. SIMMS: What about that story? You're not going to tell that story - dick-taters?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, the story where they said, what was it? If you sent Clyde Wells to P.E.I., was it?

MR. SIMMS: Don't ask me; I don't know.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The story goes, if you sent Clyde Wells to P.E.I., with all their potatoes, what would you have?



AN HON. MEMBER: That's good enough.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Is that close?

MR. TOBIN: No. Clyde has a contract for seal penises (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, if you put them - anyway, you would end up having dick-taters; that's all I know.

AN HON. MEMBER: What is that?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: In the mix between whatever Clyde was and the P.E.I. potatoes or something, you would end up with a dick-tater, I say to the Member for Fogo. He probably can't catch that, but...

MR. TOBIN: He had a contract to sell seal penises in P.E.I.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, seal penises! Seal penises in P.E.I.

MR. TOBIN: He is going to manufacture them into dick-taters.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That is right; with the potatoes they would have a dick-tater. That's it. I knew I was close on the story.

That is what is happening over there, you see; they don't listen. Now, the members listen, by the way. The members opposite listen, but the Premier doesn't listen to them. He doesn't even listen to the President of Treasury Board.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He doesn't even listen to the President of Treasury Board, and the President of Treasury Board was out, and I said: If the President of Treasury Board had the flexibility, if he was given the leverage, the teachers would have been back in the classrooms Monday at the latest. This past Monday they would have been back, I say to the President... and he knows what I am saying is correct. If he could have kept the Premier away, if they could have arranged another couple of stops on his itinerary before he came back, we would have had a settlement.

AN HON. MEMBER: Back to China.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, if they sent him to Asia we would have surely had one.

I want to just follow on a point before the President of Treasury Board left. I wanted to talk about the negotiations, quite obviously, but I wanted to follow up on the video lottery issue. I basically haven't had too much of a problem with the video lottery games, I say to the President of Treasury Board, but I guarantee you that over the last few weeks it has really struck home to me, where I have had occasions to be in the presence of people who have been playing the games. There is a big, big problem.

I know the money to government is probably, in one way, a godsend, I say to the President of Treasury Board. Millions, of dollars, I guess - I forget what it is - you realize from the lotteries, but I guarantee you that there are more and more Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who have become addicted and are becoming addicted to the playing of those video lottery games. I watched it over the last few weeks on occasion, and most times it is people who really can't afford to be putting that much money in them. I think we are headed for a real serious problem in the Province. I think somehow we are - I don't know how we address it as a Province and as a government and as a people -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) people who lost their houses over it.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, they have, but -

AN HON. MEMBER: To ban it (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, to ban it, certainly, but then there are those who will argue that if you ban it they will turn to some other form of gambling, or risk, or whatever, but it has become a very serious problem. For people to sit for hours, pumping hundreds of dollars into those machines, first of all I wonder where they got the money. You never win on them, over a length of time. You never win. We all know that. You lose.

There is going to come a time, I would say, that we are going to have to look at some form of counselling, or something or other, in this area for those people, the same as we have for other problems, kinds of counselling and other stuff, but it is a very serious problem and I wanted to take this opportunity just to mention it to the President of Treasury Board because I know he enjoys divvying up the revenues that come in from those machines but I tell you, we are going to - we now have a problem but it's going to get bigger with the people that continuously play those games. I just want to express the concern here for the minister and to read into the record my concern because before too long, whether it's the government of this Province or whoever will be the government of this Province in the next five to ten years and maybe shorter then that -

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well I don't think there is either, I say to the Member for Fogo. I don't think there's any doubt who that's going to be. I don't think there's any doubt, I say to the Member for Fogo. It's going to be so bad for him and his party that he won't even be over here, I say to him.

MR. TULK: What?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You won't even be over here, it's going to be that bad for you and your party. You won't even be left here. You'll be out like you were for another term.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I'd like to take this occasion to comment on a couple of things that have arisen. First of all I'd like to indicate to the members of the House that members opposite - there are what, sixteen or seventeen of them in that party? I know most of them. I know a lot of them fairly well and some of the newer ones I only know a little bit. I know that they're individuals who - I wonder if the leader could stay for about two minutes? Okay - I know that there are people who are individuals, who have opinions of their own, attitudes of their own, who have ideas on issues and who are willing to express these ideas and so on, on the issues. Yet, Mr. Chairman, I'd like to point out that in my experience in this hon. House during the last year, since the election, what I've seen is that every single one of them, without exception, has expressed the views of the Leader of the Opposition. There's been no contradiction of his views, there have been no opposing opinions expressed by all of those individuals opposite who are themselves strong individuals and have strongly held opinions, not a single sound of discontent coming from the Opposition benches.

Now, Mr. Chairman, one has to wonder about - in this regard one has to wonder about the Leader of the Opposition. What's the size of his hobnailed boots? He seems such a mild mannered person on the surface, seems such a gentlemanly person, mild mannered person, a friend of mine for a long time and I normally think of him as being a mild mannered, sensible individual. Yet, I can't imagine the way he must operate in Caucus. The way the Member for Grand Falls, the Leader of the Opposition, must operate in Caucus. He tramples, Mr. Chairman, he must - he's got them frightened to death. Not a single one of them will ever express a view that's contrary to his. What control? Mr. Chairman, if there was ever a dictator in this Province, there he is.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BAKER: Now, Mr. Chairman, I think that the proof of that statement is in the truth of what I've said leading up to the statement.

Now, Mr. Chairman, on this side you've seen individuals express opinions that are opposite from the opinion of the leader, you've seen that. It hasn't happened very often but it does happen. Yet, amongst hon. members opposite it never happens. So, Mr. Chairman, if they want to talk about dictators imagine what a dictator the Member for Grand Falls must be and what dire threats and what horrible things he must do to these hon. members in the Caucus meeting before he comes to the House of Assembly.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: I would suggest that the Member for Fogo is right as far as it goes but I'll tell you that there's some new members opposite - then if that's the situation I would suggest to the members of the House that there must be a plot by the people in the front benches to harass the new members and make sure that they stay in line. Mr. Chairman, I'd love to sit in on some of their Caucus meetings. I'd love to be a fly on the wall and listen to what must go on and what harassment and pressure the Member must be under so, Mr. Chairman, that's the one issue I would like to deal with. The second issue is the video lotteries, the topic brought up by the Member for Grand Bank, and I would like to thank him for his very sensible presentation and expression of attitude about the video lottery terminals and the practise of gambling in the Province; and I think his views are honestly expressed and they are extremely accurate. It is not a situation that we would like to encourage; it arose because there were illegal machines entering the Province and there were -

Mr. Chairman, I have to go back, because I just had a note passed to me to remind me, from one of my own members, that I was not being entirely accurate in talking about the Member for Grand Falls. I was advised that in fact, the Member for Waterford - Kenmount did disagree with the Leader's position on educational reform for one day, but then he was quickly trampled by hobnailed boots and beaten into line, but, Mr. Chairman, for one day he did stand up and express his views.

Video lottery terminals, Mr. Chairman, there were some machines showing up and gambling was happening illegally because payoffs were being made under the counter, and we were afraid that these things would spread the way they spread in New Brunswick to the gas stations, the corner stores, every outlet almost in the province, and we had a decision to make at that point as to whether to ban the machines or to control them.

The decision was made on legal advice, and the advice we got essentially was this: that because these machines were similar to other machines for entertainment, there are video machines that you try to do something and so on, and you put your quarters in and you get credits, you get free games and so on, and because there was so much similarity between these video lottery terminals, the kind that were coming into the Province, and ordinary games for entertainment, it was very difficult to ban one without banning them all, legally; and the other thing was, the difficulty of enforcement, the extreme difficulty of enforcement in that you actually had to catch someone being paid off under the counter and that was very difficult and would require large numbers of enforcement officers and so on.

In other words we were told that from a legal perspective it was extremely difficult to ban, and unless we of course ban everything including pinball machines and all that kind of stuff, if we banned the whole lot we could probably have success in it, but if we didn't and tried to differentiate between electronic entertainment machines and electronic gambling machines, then we would run up against extreme problems, so at that point in time we decided to control them and we used age control establishments and brought in what we thought was a sensible process of control, but I have to say, Mr. Chairman, that I am not satisfied with that; I am very unhappy with some of the things that have been happening.

I am happy to see the money coming in but very unhappy to see some of the other things that are happening. I am very unhappy that for instance, there have been establishments that have set up and almost the sole means of support of these businesses happens to be five video lottery terminals. That's unfortunate. If you start a lounge then your business should be a lounge business and should operate on its own and there has been a tremendous dependency created out there as we found out when we lowered in the Budget the take for the establishments.

There are establishments out there that were relying almost totally on this and people have made business decisions based on the fact that they had revenue from these machines, and it is frightening that such a dependency is built up, and I am afraid what we are getting is a lot of little, tiny gambling casinos around, that lounges that are no longer lounges were simply gambling casinos, and that was not the intent and, Mr. Chairman, we are having a very serious look at the whole gambling regime in this Province. We are in the process of having a very serious look at that and that should take place very shortly within the next month or so.

We are having a serious look at the gambling situation and the video lottery terminals and other forms of gambling in the Province, we are having a review of it and that should be complete in a month or so, so there are a lot of things that are happening that we are just simply not happy with. I am not happy with it personally, and we will have that discussion in Cabinet in the very near future; so, Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank the member for his comments on the video lottery terminals, he is absolutely right and there are some side effects that we must deal with, and there are some effects that are not as happy as the fact that we are getting revenues from it.

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

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I say to the Minister of Finance that it is not a bit too soon that he decided to take action on the situation in this Province, as my colleague for Grand Bank mentioned earlier as to what is happening. I think the Member for Fogo shouted that people are losing their homes. He is the minister responsible for it, Mr. Speaker. What has he been doing the past two or three months if he has known people are losing their homes? Where has he been? He certainly has not been negotiating, Mr. Speaker. And he with the gall, Mr. Speaker, to stand in this House and accuse someone of being a dictator.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is running away.

MR. TOBIN: He should, too. He should come back.

The story my colleague for Grand Bank told, and the Minister of Finance was not here when he told it, about the Premier signing an agreement to sell seal penises to Prince Edward Island. Someone asked him what they were going to do with them and he said they were processing `dick-taters.' The Minister of Finance missed that statement when my colleague for Grand Bank told the story.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. TOBIN: Why do you not stand up and have your say? Where have you been since the Cabinet post became vacant?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. TOBIN: That is sure to get you in Cabinet.

AN HON. MEMBER: He would do better than you are doing.

MR. TOBIN: Well, why is he not in there if he would do better than me? The Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs says he would do better than me. Well, then resign and let the Premier put him in there. That is the honourable thing to do.

They talk about betraying, Mr. Chairman. My colleague for Grand Bank was up today and he talked about the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations betraying the teachers, about betrayal, how one day you were one of them and the next day in government. Now, here is the Member for Fogo over there talking about facts. He went on his hands and knees, made a thousand phone calls, I would say, to Leo Barry to come and take over the Liberal Party.


MR. TOBIN: The Member for Fogo was the leader going after Leo Barry. He phoned him, he met him, he dined him, he begged him to come over and join the Liberal Party. I ask the Member for Fogo who was involved with bringing turrs into St. John's and having them cooked down in the East End? I will not mention the house, Mr. Chairman. Who was the member who brought him in a few months after? He begged him to come over. Talk about betrayal. Anyone who would do that is the master of betrayal. He brought him over and then knifed him. That is what he did. He is still in the back benches and Mr. Barry is now Mr. Justice Barry.

MR. TULK: I think the world of him.*

MR. TOBIN: Yes, you think the world of him. He thinks the world of you, too - and a few others. You talk about facts and betrayal, Mr. Chairman.

MR. TULK: That is all fabrication.

MR. TOBIN: It is not fabrication, it is facts.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Who are you supporting for leader?

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I tell the Member for Eagle River that I am supporting the present leader who will be the next Premier of this Province. That is who I am supporting.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: I make no bones about it. That is who will be there. And I tell you something else, it may be sooner than you think if this Premier keeps the Cabinet on the corruption road it is on.

I remember when there were 1000 teachers out there in 1982 when a certain Member of the House of Assembly then, who is now a minister, said: they are the ones that brought down Smallwood and they are the ones that will bring down you. Mr. Chairman, there are 4,000-plus out there today. Who are they going to bring down, I would ask that minister? Who are they going to bring down, together with others?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: That is what is going on in this Province.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Order, please!

I hate to interrupt the hon. member, but it is 4:00 p.m. and under the Standing Orders I have to announce the questions for the adjournment debate.

The first question is: I am not satisfied with the answer to my question to the Premier concerning the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper mill. That is from the hon. Member for Humber East.

The second question is: I am not satisfied with the answer to my question to the Minister of Health concerning the Grenfell Regional Health service. That is from the hon. Member for Ferryland.

The third question is: I am not satisfied with the answer to my question to the President of Treasury Board concerning negotiations between government and the NLTA. That is from the hon. Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would say my time for this ten minutes is getting kind of short.


MR. TOBIN: By leave? Okay, I have a question I would ask the Minister of Education, and all the ministers, and all members. When are you going to follow in the footsteps of the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave!

MR. TOBIN: I don't have leave, I'm speaking on regular time. When are you going to follow in the footsteps of the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations when this morning he said: The Premier made the statements, let the Premier answer the statements -

AN HON. MEMBER: He didn't!

MR. TOBIN: - that he made.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did he say that?

MR. TOBIN: Yes, he did say that. The other interesting thing that I found in the minister's answer. He said: Regardless of my own political ambitions I would have nothing to do with the fact that the Premier went on television on May 24 and made the statements. Now let the Premier answer them.

MR. WOODFORD: What did Bud Hulan say?

AN HON. MEMBER: He didn't!

MR. TOBIN: The member - what? St. George's, is it? St. George's?


MR. TOBIN: Bud said: The Premier is well able to answer that question himself. He said: Because I don't intend to answer it for him. That is what the Member for St. George's said.

Mr. Chairman, the division is there, the seams are appearing to everyone. When are other ministers going to follow the lead of the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations and desert the Premier?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Right.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, I don't think it would be cat-o'-nine-tails. But the fact that the minister had to bring in his own political ambitions, the fact that he mentioned that, I thought was uncalled for. The fact that the minister said that he is deserting the Premier, let the Premier answer his own questions, I thought it was rather appropriate.

You should not go on the radio as the minister of a government and betray your leader, betray the premier. That happened this morning. I don't know why he did it because -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: It did happen. Get the tapes and see if he - and it happened, by the way, without his brother-in-law and campaign manager and Member for St. John's South being back. I found it strange.

MS. VERGE: Where is the Member for St. John's South?


MR. TOBIN: Who? Mr. Chairman, I didn't even miss him. I thought he was in the House every day. That will tell you what effect he has in this House and I didn't even miss him. That is what is happening.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I just mentioned two names. I can get into the Member for Port au Port, Mr. Chairman, what he had to say. The Member for Pleasantville said it best this morning when he said: When you have two-thirds of the population of Newfoundland telling you not to do something, how arrogant in the name of God must you be to proceed? Those are the words spoken by the Member for Pleasantville.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What is that? Mr. Chairman, the interviewer said: You are sounding like Len Simms. He said: No, I am sounding like two-thirds of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. That is what he said.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, if some of the rest of you had the same guts and gumption and desire to represent the wishes of your constituents, rather than being on your knees like in benediction to the Premier, then your constituents would be better off as well. That is what is happening. The Premier is dangling that Cabinet post. You would sell your souls - the back benchers over there, Mr. Chairman, to try to get it, and you, too, Sir, are involved in that practice.

The fact of the matter is, the Member for Pleasantville - one of your own colleagues -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

MR. WHELAN: I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity, Mr. Chairman, to express some concerns -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

I am having difficulty hearing the hon. Member for Harbour Main. I would like to hear what he has to say.

MR. WHELAN: - on behalf of the constituents from my district, and on behalf of myself as well.

I am in receipt of a letter received on May 24, requesting that I read it in the House at the earliest opportunity - or, on May 25, actually - they asked if I would read it in Question Period. Obviously, that is not possible. In the meantime, the hon. Leader of the Opposition availed of the opportunity on the same day that he received a copy of it, to get up and read it, I suppose, on my behalf. I don't know whether I should thank him for that or not, but I have grave doubts as to whether he had my interest in mind, so I will just reserve my thanks - or the interest of my constituents, for that matter.

Now they were a bit concerned. They were anxious for me to read this letter, so I think I am going to read it again, just for the record. It was addressed to me, and it says: Would you please read this letter to the House of Assembly during the Question Period on May 25, 1994.

The Conception Bay Centre Branch of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers Association asks the hon. Members of the House of Assembly to place the education of our youth number one on their list of priorities.

While teachers are on strike, government is saving millions of dollars, but at what price to the children of this Province? If this strike continues, all levels from Kindergarten to Level III will be adversely affected.

Teachers understand the economic difficulties of government, and in the past ten years we have done our part by accepting five years of wage freezes and cuts to our pensions.

Have we learned from our past? Governments, ignoring the many warnings of the people in the fishery, have allowed it to be destroyed. We look back and ask why nobody listened to the people who were closest to the industry, the fishermen; yet, government talks about restructuring the education system without listening to the teachers. Again we ask: Have we learned anything?

The education system cannot be changed without directly affecting the teacher and students in the classroom. Therefore, teachers and government must work together.

We, the teachers of Conception Bay Centre, implore the hon. Members of the House of Assembly to help us get back to what we do best - teach. Give us back the trust we had in the collective bargaining process. Allow both sides to maintain their dignity. Treat us like the professionals we are. Let us maintain the rights we have earned over more than 100 years as a professional organization. Allow negotiations, not confrontation, to prevail.

Mr. Chairman, as in most negotiations, issues and the status of negotiations change from day to day, and these present negotiations are no different. Some of the concerns they have addressed here, with regard to the 2 per cent clause, I believe, we may well be past that; however, there is one thing that I would like to put forth before I sit down, and that is that we must certainly keep our priorities straight.

Of course, the priorities that we must all have, and I believe everybody in this Province, everybody in this hon. House, and for the hon. Member for Grand Bank to suggest that the Premier thinks otherwise, that he doesn't have the interest of the children at heart, or foremost in his mind, I think is a little bit callous, and political posturing, and low tactics, in my view.

I would think that during negotiations sometimes we tend to lose sight of what our priorities are, and from time to time maybe we do need be reminded of those, and that is what I would like to do today. I would certainly urge both sides to negotiate as earnestly as they can.

It seems to me that the letter that we received today leaves room to be optimistic. I certainly hope that the children are back in school as quickly as possible. Again, I would just urge both sides to be as sincere as possible, and to sort of get things moving, get the children back in school, and I think everybody will be all the happier for it.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

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

I didn't know my colleague from St. Mary's - The Capes wanted -

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, the Member for Eagle River seems to have a problem. It seems he's muzzled from standing in his place and speaking, the Premier has laid the whip on him. He's to sit as far in the back as he can get. He's allow to speak from his seat when he's not recognized but he can't get to his feet and express his true feelings which is really unfortunate.

I wanted to respond to the Member for Harbour Main and say I respect his reading of the letter on behalf of his constituents, which we all do on occasion here, present petitions or read letters which our constituents want us to do and which is what we're here for. We're here to present and represent the views of our constituents.

The Leader of the Opposition was given a copy of the letter, I say to the member. He knows that, it was delivered to his office and it's a little bit unfortunate, I guess, what really happened. He didn't mean to take away from the member. He really didn't but -

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I say to the member, it's not political games. I say to the Member for Eagle River, if there's anybody in this House over the last five or six years that's been - I wouldn't say `best' because that's complimentary - but has played political games, I guess more so than anyone else, is the member for Eagle River because he's not very sincere and even the Premier himself said that he was immature. The Premier himself, about his own member, said that he was immature. He could not consider him for the Cabinet because he was to immature the Premier said about the Member for Eagle River, that's what he said.

I wanted to just respond to a few points that the Member for Harbour Main made, when he talked about the students being caught in the middle of this dispute between teachers and government, you're so right. I believe that - certainly all members here and certainly the parents out and about the Province and I would say that most teachers, Mr. Chairman, are not interested in having students caught in the middle of this dispute, I believe that. There's no doubt that by far the majority of teachers are very sincere about their jobs, sincere about education and good quality education, there's no doubt about that. They're not in a dispute today because they want to be in one. They feel they were forced into the situation by the government and by the tough stand particularly, of the Premier against teachers in this Province. It's hard, Mr. Chairman -

MR. DECKER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I say to the Minister of Education, he should relax a bit. You should relax a bit because if there's been an irritant in this dispute with teachers and if there's been an irritant in the negotiations with the church leaders on restructuring our education system, it's been the Minister of Education. Every time he goes near a microphone he just about causes a riot, I say to the minister, just about causes a riot. Even the church leaders have to use their utmost patience and understanding to tolerate it but, Mr. Chairman -

MR. DECKER: It takes one to know one, doesn't it?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well I think you should say that into the record, I say to the Minister of Education. That's a little bit of an inflammatory remark that I don't think the minister would like recorded. I don't think you'd like that recorded, I say to the minister. You just did exactly what I was talking about because we made significant progress now in educational reform and the last thing the minister wants to do is make inflammatory remarks to knock it all off the rails again.

It's obvious from the President of Treasury Board statements today that it looks like they're very close to a settlement with the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers Association which we all find positive. We all find very positive except the Minister of Education who should be most concerned about it and who should be happiest about it but for some reason the minister really doesn't want teachers back in the classroom until he's made up his mind as to the date they should go back, I say to the minister, that's the problem.

You're more interested now in the almighty dollar and the $2 million a day you're saving on salaries, that's what this is all about. That's what this is all about, I say to the minister. You're not worried about the students who are out on the streets today. You're worried about the bottom line of the Minister of Finance and that's why it's hard - is it any wonder that teachers don't trust the Minister of Education and don't trust the - that's why they don't trust the government. Whenever before did you hear of a government achieving savings because of a strike and not use it and apply it to get a settlement? Have you ever heard tell of that anywhere in the democratic world before? That's how governments get settlements with employees. They use their savings from their salaries, when they're on strike, to give a bit, to make some concessions and get a settlement.

MR. DECKER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, but that's what I'm saying you're doing, I say to the Minister of Education. And you are going to keep the teachers on the streets until you absolutely have to put them back in the classroom to finish up the year, particularly for Level III students, and to get the exams supervised and marked. That's what you're up to, Mr. Minister, and that's what this government is up to. You're saving $2 million a day now and you want to save it for a few more days yet, I say to the minister. But I want to go back to the comments of the Member for Harbour Main, which he made very sincerely and which I respect, but there is one thing about it.

Study after study, Royal Commission after Royal Commission in this Province, have consistently said: that the future of this Province, the prosperity of this Province -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, there is no other item, there is no other situation, there is no other matter that will affect the prosperity and the future of Newfoundland and Labrador as much as a better educated society. That has been consistent from day one with Royal Commissions and studies. A better educated society is a more productive society. This government even says that on occasion - I don't know if they mean it, but they consistently say it - a better educated population will be more productive, will be more in tune with the 1990s and the 2000s and everything this government does flies in the face of that.

They are doing it right now with this strike and I tell you the biggest reason they are doing it with this strike in the biggest way, is that everyone knows that if your employees, regardless if they are nurses, if they are teachers, if they are fish plant workers, if they are council workers, that if you totally demoralize your workforce, then they are not going to be very productive, I say to members opposite, and particularly to the Minister of Education; and the tactics of this government in the last five years have totally demoralized the teaching profession in this Province. You have totally demoralized them and any way you cut the cake, if you demoralize a group of professionals or a group of amateurs or a group of labourers or whatever they are, they will not be productive. And here we are, on the one hand saying it's important that we offer the best quality education, that we have the best educated Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, but on the other side of the coin, the very people whom we expect to better educate our young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, our future, that year after year after year, you demoralize them, then how sincere are we about offering a better quality education in this Province?

How serious are we about offering a better education to our young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians? that is the question I have for the Minister of Education, the Premier, and the President of Treasury Board and all others. Are we really sincere about it or is it just a popular thing to say? And based upon the performance of this government, Mr. Chairman, it is obviously just a popular thing to say. It is popular to talk about better education and a more educated society because they are obviously not sincere about providing and getting one and developing one.

Teachers have been pushed to the wall, I say to the Member for Harbour Main. Four years they have been pushed to the wall, things taken from them; conditions in the classrooms have deteriorated, they haven't improved. If you are close enough to the teaching situation, you understand. Every week of my life, I spend time with teachers -

MR. TULK: You don't believe a word of what you are saying.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That's the problem you have, Mr. Chairman. There is the problem you have, you see. How soon we forget, I say to the Member for Fogo. Yes, I do believe every word I say, every word. I don't think I am the problem with the words that I say in believing them. I am not the one putting on the masquerade and the charade to the people of the Province, pretending that you are concerned and interested in education, I am not the one doing it; it is this government.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) problems.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am telling you what the problem is and the sooner that this Minister of Education and this President of Treasury Board and the Premier realize that, that if you are going to keep the teachers of this Province demoralized for the next ten or twenty years, don't expect to have a better education provided in our classrooms because you are not going to get one. You are not going to get one.

If you are demoralized, you don't produce, and that's what's happening in this situation here with teachers - they have had enough. They don't want to be out on the steps of Confederation Building today, they don't want to be there, they would much rather be in their classrooms. They didn't want to get up this morning at five and six o'clock to drive to St. John's and go back tomorrow, they would rather be in the classroom where they belong.

MR. TULK: Why (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I say to the Member for Fogo, why don't we go back to the IWA strike, whenever it was - 1950 or whenever; why don't we go back to Coaker, why don't we keep going -

MR. TULK: I wasn't around then. (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: There is another problem, Mr. Chairman. The Member for Fogo wants to go back all the time. Just think about the future, let's move forward.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Minister of Education.

MR. DECKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I take pride in my tolerance. I usually can tolerate most things. I can tolerate people because they are not Liberals. I can tolerate Tories. Some of my best friends are Progressive Conservatives - no problem.

MR. ROBERTS: Now, don't get carried away.

MR. DECKER: No, I'm a very tolerant person, but one thing I can't tolerate is political posturing. There is nothing that gets my dander up more than political posturing, to hear the hon. members get up and posture as if they were the personification of all the things that were right and proper and good and so on and so forth, Mr. Chairman.

I was browsing back through to 1983. I have a clipping here from The Canadian Press of April 15, 1983. Now, here, an hon. member just got up and postured, who was a member of this House in 1983, a member of the Cabinet in 1983, a member of the government. This is what it tells about. It talks about a strike lockout of Newfoundland's 7,600 teachers which has kept most of the Province's 150,000 school-aged children out of classes. It goes on - here is what the teachers were saying about this personification of caring and excellence, people devoted to education, devoted to the teachers.

`Teachers, for their part, are angered by the eleven months of negotiations with no discernible change in the position by the government.' This was 1983, Mr. Chairman. They say, `Treasury Board representatives bargained in bad faith by changing their stands on issues that had been agreed on and accused the government of bargaining by decree. Bargaining by decree is the teachers' catch phrase for the government's wage restraint program which aims to restrict annual salary increases for most teachers to 5 per cent and 4 per cent over a two-year period.' Just like today, Mr. Chairman, teachers say that money is not the object. They were not striking over money. But they want some respect from the government, an acknowledgement of what they feel are moderate demands. They want some respect.

This hon. member gets up as if he was the personification of excellence when he was a member of the government in 1983. I can't put up with it. Not only the hon. member, there are other members. The Minister of Education of the day, my friend, the Member for Humber East. Listen to this. She says - she is talking about her obligation to all the people of the Province. Talk about anyone speaking about reconciliation and smoothing over, throwing oil on the waters. Listen to some oil being cast upon the waters, Mr. Chairman: `I feel that in carrying out that obligation' - this is to the people of this Province - `that I and this government cannot be blackmailed by the Newfoundland teachers out on strike as a lever to extract from this government, money that we do not have.'

AN HON. MEMBER: Who said that?

MR. DECKER: My friend, the Member for Humber East, who today is so overwhelmed with the teachers, who today would throw all the money in the Treasury out to the teachers. Who today supports and thumps her desk -

MR. ROBERTS: How can we take her seriously?

MR. DECKER: How can we take her seriously today? Money that we do not have, money that we would have to get by raising taxes, by adding to our deficit, or by taking away from the budgets for health, social services or roads. I would like to ask the hon. Opposition member, my colleague - my colleague, the Member for Terra Nova was the education critic at the time.

By the way, when the hon. member for - the Minister of Social Services now, was the education critic, I believe he did a lot better job of drilling the government of the day than the hon. members over there today are doing drilling us. They are a bunch of pussycats compared - if you want to see a member in action, I would refer you to Hansard back in 1983, when that hon. member was over there. I can tell you. He said: `I did not ask the hon. Minister of Education what she did last week. I did not ask her what she did two days ago. I want to know what she did in the last twenty-four hours to solve this strike.'

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DECKER: Anyway, she goes on -

MR. TOBIN: Were you here then?

MR. DECKER: No, I wasn't here then.

`- extract from this government, money that we do not have.'

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DECKER: `I would like to ask the Opposition member, Does he favour giving in to the demands of the NTA by raising taxes? Should we have a 13 per cent sales tax,' she asks, `so we can pay more to the NTA? Would the Opposition Leader like to add to our deficit? Should we have a $50 million deficit?' It goes on and on. It is just the posturing that goes on over there. Here is another one. She says, `We are coping with serious difficulties with our iron ore mining industry, our pulp and paper industry, our fishing industry, not to mention suffering the overflow of other general recessionary problems arising in the financial world.'

To put it bluntly, Mr. Chairman, there is a limit to what government can spend for teachers' salaries and that limit has been defined. That limit is contained in the estimates for our new Budget and there has to be recognition of this limitation, and acceptance of it by the Newfoundland Teachers' Association if we are to ultimately achieve a settlement and ultimately end the current dispute.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) that?

MR. DECKER: Yes, when the hon. member was Minister of Education she said all this.

I will refer hon. members back. She keeps referring to the annual salary of the teachers. She asks, `Do you think we should pay them more than the $28,000 a year which we are paying them?' Then, the next day she says, `Do you think we should be paying them more than the $30,000 a year we are paying them?' The next year she comes back, `Do you think we should be paying them more than the $28,000?' I don't know what they were actually paying them at the time, whether it was $28,000 or whether it was $38,000.

Talk about calming troubled waters, talk about being concerned about teachers, talk about political posturing. She takes my colleague on and asks, `Does he think we should add to our deficit, a few million dollars more, what difference? Does he think we should take it from the hospital budgets, or maybe from the Department of SociaL Service? Maybe we should not be spending so much money on road improvements this year. I would very much like for members opposite to come up with some constructive ideas about the substance of government's package offer to the NTA.'

MR. EFFORD: Who said that?

MR. DECKER: My friend, the Member for Humber East, the former Minister of Education.

She says, Mr. Speaker, `As a member of this government, I have an important responsibility to students and their families for ensuring their education. I also have an important responsibility as a member of the Peckford team to ensure that the same people get adequate health care, get adequate social services, have decent roads to drive over, and, Mr. Speaker, the government' - this is a good one - `the government has a fixed amount of money which can be likened to a pie, and there has been a slice of that pie earmarked for teachers' salaries next year. The dollar sign on that piece of pie is $260 million. Is the member opposite suggesting that we make that slice larger, by taking away from hospital expenditure, road upgrading, or social services? Is that what the member opposite is implying?'

Mr. Chairman, the reason I am reading this is, today we have the teachers on strike and this Administration is doing an excellent job of trying to settle that strike. We believe in collective bargaining and we are trying our utmost - the Minister of Finance is doing an excellent job of dealing with a very serious situation, but hon. members opposite get up talking as if there were no yesterday. They get up and blame us for everything as if somehow they were to do something different.

When they were here, they spent as if there were no tomorrow. They took no thought for tomorrow. They spent this Province practically into the ground.

AN HON. MEMBER: Practically? Into the ground.

MR. DECKER: Thank you. My colleague says into the ground. I stand corrected. They spent as if there were no tomorrow. The only thing that has changed today is they get up and posture as if there were no yesterday. I don't know where they fit into the universe. They have no responsibility for yesterday and when they were in government they had no responsibility for tomorrow. Yet they get up and posture, they make themselves the patron saints of every single problem that comes up, they self-appoint themselves as the patron saint, get up and try to back up whatever is going on.

Whenever they see a parade they run out and get in front of it, they posture all they can, but, Mr. Chairman, the only problem with all this is this House keeps a record -

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. DECKER: - and I would refer hon. members to April 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 (inaudible).

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again.

On motion, that the Committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again, Mr. Speaker returned to the Chair.

MR. SPEAKER (L. Snow): Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, the Committee on Supply has considered the matters to it referred, wishes to report some progress, and asks leave to sit again.

On motion, report received and adopted, Committee ordered to sit again on tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: It is now 4:30 p.m., and we move on to the Late Show.

Debate on the Adjournment

[Late Show]

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Today, in Question Period, I asked the Premier questions about this morning's announcement by Corner Brook Pulp and Paper that the company is shutting No. 4 paper machine, one of the four machines at the Corner Brook mill, a machine that accounts for about 23 per cent of the mill's capacity. In the announcement, the company indicated that it will be reducing the mill workforce by 160 positions, and that 355 woods positions will be adversely affected.

Mr. Speaker, I asked the Premier about his projection for the future of the mill. I asked whether he, or representatives of the government, have had discussions with the company or their banks about what is going on and the reasons for this decision, and the details of the decision announced this morning. I asked whether the company or the banks have requested assistance from the government beyond the $15 million the government has pledged for land and timber rights - $15 million to be paid over the next two years.

The Premier, in answering, indicated that he doesn't really know what to expect, that Joseph Kruger, the principal of the company, met with him yesterday and said that he is intending to have a successful operation in Corner Brook into the long term, and that was reassuring. What the Premier couldn't say, however, is how shutting No. 4 machine and reducing the workforce is going to get the company through its current financial crisis.

There are many positive aspects of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper's operation. The low rate of exchange for the Canadian dollar, of recent months, is perhaps the best development of late. It's not necessarily good for the Canadian economy as a whole, but it is very advantageous for a newsprint manufacturer in this Province, or in the country anywhere, selling outside of Canada.

The mill in Corner Brook can make a substantial profit because of the exchange rate, but in addition to the exchange rate, the world market for newsprint has been brightening slowly and gradually. The Corner Brook mill has been able to sell all of their output, but the problem is that they haven't been able to get a sufficient price to make the operation profitable over the last couple of years.

Another positive development at the Corner Brook mill, of course, has been the result of the modernization program carried out by Kruger. Since they have owned the mill, about ten years, they have spent about $350 million modernizing the operation, and they have trimmed the workforce. The mill operation is much more efficient, as a consequence, and the quality of the newsprint has been improved. So there are many positive aspects of the Corner Brook mill but, nevertheless, the company now doesn't have quite enough cash to meet its obligations. It has a cash shortage, and there have been other businesses of various kinds which had good prospects but which never got through their cash crunch and as a consequence went bankrupt. So the problems facing the largest of our three newsprint mills, the Corner Brook mill, are massive. They're serious and they are cause for worry. I asked the Premier whether the company or the banks had asked the government for assistance beyond the $15 million and he indicated that months ago he ruled out any assistance. In fact, he doesn't seem to even want to acknowledge that the $15 million for the land is a grant to get the company or to assist the company through the cash shortage. Mr. Speaker, the mill in Corner Brook is one of the most important industries we have left in this Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I appreciate the opportunity again to make a few comments with respect to the question raised, in more detail at this point in time, by the hon. Member for Humber East. I was surprised that the question appeared again on the Late Show because in the Question Period today the questions were asked, the concerns raised and the answers, I thought, were given completely by the Premier to the best of his knowledge at that point in time. I thought that the - from judging the reaction of the hon. member I thought that - with her nodding agreement and so on - she had been satisfied with the answer.

So I'm surprised that it's here in a Question Period in the Late Show where you ask questions when you weren't satisfied with the answer. I thought that she was completely satisfied with the answer in that certainly, just like the hon. member - Mr. Speaker, the government and I think everyone involved has been pleased with the efforts of Kruger in terms of trying to secure the future of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper. The irony of this situation, as we understand the information, is that it's because of the commitment and the effort that they had put in to secure the future of that mill, as a continuing producer in Newfoundland and Labrador, that's led to the cash crunch right now that has led to this decision.

I think everybody would prefer that this decision didn't have to be made but the very best of it, I guess at this point in time, is that from the company's point of view in terms of making sure that Corner Brook Pulp and Paper is here for the long haul and can take advantage of what the hon. member points out, which are improving market conditions, and an advantageous exchange rate at this point in time and a lot, particularly of their exports that go into the United States and some of the other foreign markets as well where the exchanges are favourable. A lot of things are pointing in the favour of the company and in the favour of the industry generally but it's clear that even though Corner Brook Pulp and Paper has analyzed all of that and realizes that that's true and positive at this point in time, it's still not enough to let them overcome in their immediate cash problem.

The other thing I'd point out in answer, Mr. Speaker, is that the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture is also on the west coast today and is arranging to meet further with the representatives of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper either this evening or tomorrow morning to continue on with the dialogue that's already occurred between the Premier and representatives of the company. If there is any new information that can be made available publicly, I'm sure that any of us on this side will certainly make it available in the House. More importantly, I'm sure that first and foremost, the Premier himself, as the Member for Bay of Islands, would make sure that any available new information is made public on the west coast and made available to the workforce and their families because they must be very concerned at this time.

So I certainly can't add anything other than what the Premier contributed in the Question Period itself. I know that all of us are very concerned and hope that maybe some other resolution can be found but nobody is in a position at this point in time to do anything other then to say that the company, in their best judgement, feels that this is what's necessary in the short term to secure the long term position and maintenance of the operation in Corner Brook for years to come. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I was completely dissatisfied with the response today from the Minister of Health. For someone just to read Hansard in his response to my three questions today, I think it's a total disgust by the minister in dealing with a very important problem in the Grenfell Regional Health Service. Now I'll ask members to go back and read it. First he accused me of insulting the board and I said and I quote: He knows - the minister - the volunteer board does not have the time or the knowledge of hospital administration to set this mess right.

That's what I said. Then he accused me of insulting the executive director.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: If you read Hansard.

This report is a very damning report on an executive director. Since the Grenfell Regional Health Service was instituted - not the International Grenfell Mission - since it was instituted in 1981, the executive director, Dr. Roberts, who runs a $44 million operation with 600 employees and forty to fifty physicians, has never once been evaluated by the board - not once. It is unheard of in other health care institutions and other companies and so on operating in this Province. That is what is happening, and here is what they said.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I will get to that in a second, if I have time. Here is what the doctors in the report said: He inherited a mantle of autocracy and a tradition of full control vested in the hands of the chief executive officer.

The man was called, in the report, as autocratic, reluctant to delegate responsibilities, and whom many physicians describe with a mixture of antipathy, hostility, dislike, and fear.

I asked the minister if that minister is going to do something; is he going to do something, as minister, to see that the problems are corrected there? Do you know what he is going to do? He is going to give the report back to the same person whom this total report identified as being the source of the troubles operating at Grenfell. That is an insult to the people under the Grenfell Regional Health Service, the physicians and staff, and the people who need that level of service. He has completely ignored certain parts. I asked the minister if he is going to do something in his powers to address some of these problems.

Now we have, down at Grenfell Regional Health Services, and I touched the legality issue here today, the minister stood in his place today, in a ministerial report, and told about the lovely three reports that were done by a fact-finding committee that never addressed opening the mail. It didn't address cashing the cheques. The fact-finding committee didn't even touch that.

I got a letter today from the Director of Public Prosecutions that gives a slightly different story than what he indicated. Here is what the Director of Public Prosecutions said in a letter to me today. It said: Having conducted this review, the RCMP have concluded there is no evidence of necessary criminal intent on the part of anyone in the processing of cheques.

It went on to say, in the next sentence, the Director of Public Prosecutions, having concluded that there is no evidence of such intent...

Now, I would ask the minister if opening people's mail without their knowledge, if taking cheques out of envelopes and cashing them without their knowledge, because it is hidden in a bylaw, and this report today tabled mentions that they checked seven doctors. There was no indication in any of the files of specific assignment of third-party billings to the hospital, and were not referenced in the letter of appointment. That is in the report you tabled today.

Now if that is not criminal, if it is not criminal to open mail, if you didn't intend to open it, if you didn't intend to cash the cheque, I am saying: What is? Have we set new standards now, today? Maybe the intent wasn't there; I am not denying the intent. Maybe they didn't intend to do that, that is not the point, but this report today and the report yesterday is a very damning report on the operation of Grenfell and the minister said he is going to pass it back to that board. He is going to pass it back to the same board to do something about it that couldn't do anything about it since 1981, under complete control since it was formed. Now that's an insult to the people who need proper medical service and proper administration in that specific health care facility there and within the whole Grenfell region. Now that's not acceptable; and the minister didn't answer one question today, he got up and threw insults.

Now I asked sincere, legitimate questions that I received in letters from doctors, that I wrote the public prosecutions back in March 10, and sent them copies and I said to the minister, back on February 3, one month before it went public. I didn't go public with it. The department's lack of responsibility in responding to these matters - I had no intention of going public, in fact I refused interviews over the course of the month in February to deal with this and immediately you knew I had letters from doctors.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SULLIVAN: Now the minister should stand in his place and do the right thing -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Health.

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I don't mind the hon. member trying to assassinate my character but I really object when he starts looking at the chairman and the members of the Grenfell Board and saying that they are incompetent to carry out whatever reforms are necessary, and I also object to his character assassination of the executive officer and now, of the people who wrote the reports. I don't know what he is up to. We have now had three reports, he has been crying `wolf' over there for the past three or four months and he has to stop.

The Grenfell Regional Health Services is a very good service in this Province and we must realize that; they have some of the best features of any board in the Province. Let me tell you that the dental program for example, offered by the Grenfell Regional Health Services is the best in this Province. They have introduced midwives, nowhere else in the Province; they have the lowest rate of Caesarean operations in the Province; they have good relationships between the community health nurses and the district health people, so there are good things going on in Grenfell.

They have, on the other hand, a very difficult terrain. Their board serves an area ten times as large as any other board including the revised boards in this whole Province. Their transportation system is largely by air; there are roads only in the Northern Peninsula part, very few roads in Labrador and we need strong administration there, and we have strong administration. You have to have a strong leader here not a wimp running that organization up there.

I don't know what you people are up to. On top of that they have a tremendous turnover of people like physicians who come, get their citizenship here and then flick off to another Province, and then when they are gone they make charges against the Grenfell mission which cannot be substantiated in the law, and this is wrong.

What I ask of the hon. member is that he support and give credit where credit is due. Thank goodness, we have a capable board there, and a capable administrator, and we will carry out whatever reforms and procedures are necessary to improve it in the future.

Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, in the House on the 24th I directed some questions to the President of Treasury Board relative to the inter-relationship between the fiscal policy and the educational restructuring policy. I want to return to that, if I could, and to say to the minister that on December 22, 1993 you and your officials met with representatives of the NLTA regarding the implications of the government proposal for restructuring the educational system, the implications for the teachers collective agreement.

The NLTA stressed at that meeting that the process itself, restructuring, could not be separated from the collective bargaining process. In a meeting on January 18 with the NLTA you told the NLTA that the fiscal policy of the government, and the fiscal policy only, would direct collective bargaining processes.

Obviously, Mr. Speaker, the teachers of the Province, the NLTA, believe there is a need to co-ordinate the two thrusts of the government, the thrust of restructuring and what that means in terms of the collective bargaining process. We see implications, for example, of the co-ordinators. It is not sufficient that we say we are going to lay off the cor-ordinators unless we know that we are going to have a proper system in place to be able to properly co-ordinate the school curriculum.

On January 18 when we met with the NLTA you told them that fiscal policy, and fiscal policy only, would be the thrust of your government. Over the last couple of weeks we have seen what happens sometimes when the educational programs of government are not properly married into the fiscal policy.

I should say to the minister as well, particularly in view of my friend's comments just a few moments ago, that in 1983 as contained in the record of the House, the request of my colleague the Minister of Social Services was along the same line, saying that in terms of bargaining you cannot separate fiscal policy from educational policy, and it is needed for both ministers to be very much involved and to co-ordinate it.

Now, at that time, I can tell you now, that the Minister of Education at the time said no to it, and gave the same reasons the minister is giving now but that doesn't mean that it wasn't a good idea in 1983 and that it is not a good idea now. So consequently, I'm saying to the minister that the concerns of the teachers out there is still a valid concern. How can we talk about restructuring the educational system and get a collective agreement if we can't somehow get both ministers to be at the table at the same time? That request was made to the minister, he's rejected it and his government rejected it and that's been one of the problems in this round of collective bargaining. The teachers believe that one arm of government is not necessarily well coordinated with the other arm and we recognize that you can't solve all the problems at the bargaining table. You have to get protocols established to make that happen. All we're saying to the minister is that the situation requires coordination and asking him if he would not do something to assure that that happens.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. gentleman gives a rather rambling discourse every now and then and tries to work in all kinds of cute little things. I suppose I've got to deal with a couple of things he says, simply because I have the time and members opposite are very anxious to hear what I have to say and I'll use up the time.

First of all let's go back to his comment about the tying together, the restructuring and the financial situation of the Province. Now you can get up and spout motherhood statements all day long and nobody can disagree with him. However, when a bargaining unit comes to you, as the NLTA did, and puts the proposition: Well let's deal with all this restructuring and then we'll talk about what happens in this round of collective bargaining. In essence what they're saying is: We don't want to bargain with you now. Let's put that off for a couple of years until we handle this restructuring and then we'll come back and try to solve your fiscal problem this year - totally unrealistic. So I had to say to them, I'm sorry. We now have an immediate problem we have to deal with. A collective agreement that is finished and we have to have a new collective - let's deal with that first. The restructuring will go on.

It's a very sensible approach, one that had to be taken. I can't start negotiations with all the other units say and say: I'll forget about you. You can have your current contract, let it go on for another couple of years while we deal with this other problem out here and then we'll come back. That just doesn't make sense. It's not even sensible. So I had to take the sensible approach and say: No, we'll deal with the collective bargaining now, the restructuring can go on and will go on for some time.

As a matter of fact, this was confirmed some time later in a letter from the President of the NLTA to me, who indicated why they did not want to start any collective bargaining anyway, and his position was simply that they weren't going to start the process. They didn't want to take part in the process, because as long as they didn't they still had their current collective agreement, and they didn't want to give up the 2 per cent rule; they didn't want to give up the three-year protection letter. As long as they did no collective bargaining, they had all of those things.

So the objective of that exercise, it was a game that was played by them in terms of using that analogy about tying the two together. Their object was a collective bargaining object; make no mistake about it, and it was to simply get out of this year with no change. That's their objective.

Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of other things. I could go on for hours about what has happened in this round of collective bargaining, but the one thing that I will never forget, and I was shocked when it happened, and I will never forget it. I think it is the most unprofessional, unethical thing that I have seen happen in a long time.

AN HON. MEMBER: What was that?

MR. BAKER: After a five-hour meeting one night, where a lot of progress was made and I felt we were within a couple of days of a settlement, the NLTA, the next day at noon, went and announced a strike. Then, within a couple of hours after the announcement of the strike, the proposition was put to me that we can get a settlement over the weekend. We can have our settlement by Sunday, but we won't stop the strike. We will let the strike go on. It will take us four or five days to get this strike settled now, by the time we get our vote and everything, and at the end of the time you will have your money.

I think it was the most unethical and obnoxious proposition that I have ever had put to me, to say, before a strike starts, we can get a settlement, but we will allow the strike to go on, and this is the mechanism we will use to give you your money. Mr. Speaker, that is using the students of this Province, and that is something that I find very distasteful.

So those are just a couple of the things that have happened. It has been a very difficult session of collective bargaining. I hope it comes to an end soon, but there is an awful lot about this round of collective bargaining that I will remember for a long time.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you.

Mr. Speaker, now that my friend, the Minister of Finance, the President of Treasury Board, has exposed the hon. gentleman from Waterford - Kenmount for what he really is, it is appropriate that we ask the House to adjourn.

Tomorrow we will carry on with the Estimates of the Executive Council; we have I am told, nine hours and fourteen minutes left, assuming hon. gentlemen and woman opposite are determined to use every last moment of time allocated to them by the rules, notwithstanding their desire to sit late tomorrow, we shall not be doing so, the government will -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible), are we sitting Saturday and Sunday?

MR. ROBERTS: Well I will think about that, I say to my friends but we shall insist -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I believe my friend from Burin - Placentia West, when he says that, but -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I believe him on that too. But, Mr. Speaker, we shall not ask the House to sit beyond noon tomorrow and we will begin the day when we get to Orders of the Day after our regular two petitions with the Concurrence Debate on the Estimates of the Executive Council.

We have made such splendid progress today that I think we should carry on with it. With that said, I move that the House do now adjourn.

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Friday at 9:00 a.m.